Monday, December 31, 2007


mine & Mollie's ....

it was time to go up to Allendale to see Queen Bee; asked Mother if she'd like to come, we thought a trip out, lunch out would be appreciated, and it was.

No-one was home at the Allendale Farm save the horses, but happily Queenie was in a field next to the road and came over to say hello, and got some horsey treats. She's looking good, considering the position last month, i was very pleased!Then we decided to have lunch at the pub in allendale, rather than troop back down to Corbridge - right decision, we got in just before it got busy, the food was good, and then mother wanted to visit a gift/dress shop and got herself a really nice new top with earrings to match. don't know why i didn't take a photo whilst she was showing us it, it was lovely. the sort of thing that, if seen on the rail, you wouldn't try on, but once on, is perfect.

then the long way back to her house, the scenic route over the moors rather than the quick route down the motorway.

Then down to the yard to get Mollie in - it was getting dark by then, and I had to get home (see below!) so just in & fed tonight, the plans for inhand work will have to wait for tomorrow!

and typing this whilst waiting for an eBay bid to end - winning a horseware julia down jacket for partner, she was so impressed with the one i got myself in harrogate. wonderfully warm when it was so cold a week or so ago, and very smart as well.

so everyone is happy..

Sunday, December 30, 2007

choices, choices

choice between in hand or lungeing. After the hard work my foot got yesterday, I decided on lungeing (as at least I don't have to walk anywhere!) and it would be interesting to see if any progress had been made on getting Molly lunging right rein.

Pleasing to say, progress had been made, in that she did it, twice - once without and once with side reins - about 5 minutes each rein, with and without. Rushing a bit on the right of course, it will be some time before she doesn't, but i was very pleased.

in hand tomorrow, I think. in the daylight (it's much easier when you can see where you are going!) assuming it don't rain.

RIP David Wilford 1919 - 2007

my mother's younger brother - died, mother's just rung to say so. it wasn't unexpected, as he'd been ill for a good while with cancer, osteoporosis and something else that gave him severe anaemia; the final straw was breaking a hip a few weeks ago. Everyone's favourite. always a twinkle in his eye. Even more pleased I saw him in the summer.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


it used to be the case that getting out early got the best of the weather. I'm finding the opposite. Teemed down this morning (apparently kirstie & Julie were at the furthest away from the yard that they could be when the heavens opened and they got soaked....) so I longlined Molly this afternoon.

She was pretty good. Even managed to nearly stand still whilst I was putting the longlines on! and did some nice work

now, the way i longline is the way i was shown by Max - essentially, both lines through the stirrups (or, in this case today, the lowest rings on the roller!) and I stand in the middle and have Molly change direction around me. This interspersed with some walking round the outside.

But that, I was thinking as I was doing it, leads to different operation of the reins/bit aid to keep the circle, from that which I am taught to use when riding. I have to have little pressure on the outside rein, but ensure i keep her in the direction I want with the inside rein. I think that could create a bit of a conflict?

Still, it was good, she was starting to come balanced on the right rein (much as though she didn't want to go that way!) and was seeking the bit.

But oh, our arena is HARD on the broken foot and the leg muscles, it's SOOOO deep...

Friday, December 28, 2007


holiday weather! Got the midwinter clip done, just (still need to do her face), then the heavens opened....Had molly been doing a raindance? probably! and it's not the tidiest clip in the world, but at least its done and that's that until next year. She'll be a good bit more comfortable at least...

Thursday, December 27, 2007


out today for flu boosters for Molly & charlie.

Poor girl was on call Christmas day - had to PTS 2 (one slipped on ice and broke a leg, the other a toxic colic belonging to a child!) and 2 other colics and one other emergency admission....

how horrid!

So molly was good for her jab. I was going to clip - now bear in mind my blades for the large clippers have only been used once, and then only to do half the horse - they were blunt. burgers.

Then i went and did some rope circling. Haven't been doing as much of that as I should, and really must get back into a routine of doing much more groundwork = longlining, in hand if i can get the hang of it without twisting myself into a spasm! - and rope circling. I think it went off the boil with the severe cold and very dark nights we had before christmas..

kirstie in the next box had her instructor out, who also is a qualified saddle fitter so we had an interesting discussion about the fit or otherwise of saddles. had some horror stories of horses whose (treed) saddles had been far too narrow for them...she generally, she says, fits saddle company saddles.


after that reflective post on the internet, here's some photos from Christmas Day - clouds reflected in hurworth burn reservoir.

the power of the internet

we all know it's powerful, but it's interesting how that can work.

as you know, I posted last thursday about a former colleague/school"friend" who had died that morning.

a school contemporary & friend of hers in canada posted yesterday having seen it, and i then had an email exchange with him Googled him and dug round his firm's website to find out how his email address would be written...

i think that's pretty good, really!

the world is becoming smaller and we are all becoming more connected!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

we got round the 20 acre

with gaynor on charlie. didnt' bother with futile attempts to get on unaided, just walked her round to the barn and got Gaynor to hold her (oops, just realised left eh hot water bottle there...).

The plan had in fact been to go the track past the house, but the house alarm had been going all afternoon, sometimes ending up sounding like an air raid siren, and molly wasn't having any of that (who can blame her!). so down teh 20 acre we went, and she didn't put a foot wrong all the way round. It was getting on to be a bit dull to go up to the riding school so we headed back to go into the arena for a while. I DID get off at the last gate voluntarily, as the alarm was still going and I didn't want to be put into a position where she got me off in any way.

and she did have one plant - we'd wanted to go up a hill in a field to come out at the top of the drive, but she wasn't having that.

Gaynor - whose known her since I got her, and has ridden her - agrees with me that she would behave the same whoever rode her, and that it's something in Molly's head that suddenly makes her decide not to go somewhere.... even when it's places she's been before.

Glad we decided against the ford though - it looked rather deep! and we were lucky that the 20 acre wasn't too deep -it can be a mud bath in the winter, but since it hasn't rained for a couple of weeks it wasn't too bad at all.

I spent ages with the saddle and the mattes pad - saddle upside down on table, centre seam of pad being pushed into the gullet - was much better than last time, although does drop a bit.

The saddle sort of spreads as it goes onto the horse's back - which it would, being treeless! - and the shimming in this pad is keeping it off her wither but then it's not right further back as the centre seam drops down as you put the saddle waiting to hear.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

6 1/2 mile walk

on foot, not on Molly's four legs! partner wanted a walk, as she's leading one in february that she hadn't recce'd yet, so we did that.

then back to the yard to muck out, bed up, and bring molly in really early. well, not really really, but about 15:45 - by that time we were certainly ready for our dinner, which i then had to cook. never mind turkey, roast beef and yorkshire puddings!

got some nice unexpected presents (earrings from vietnam, silk scarf!) and molly got some carrots and huge quantities of haylage of course.

ride out tomorrow, supposedly .... hope she behaves!

Monday, December 24, 2007

bit more joy

because i got paul to hold her head! course, stood like a lamb. then wouldn't go through to the arena - it was dark by this time and she could hear but not see george changing his horses rugs, and there was a light where there isn't usually. got there eventually - think she decided it was better than going out! which was her only choice.

had some occasions when i really felt her back round under me, which was good.

i struggle to relax i think, but when we both get it it's good.

this is all really stretching my hips, which is good!

Caroline, yes, she knows what she's doing

had the stephens numnah under the wedge panel ... put the stephens in the wash to try and soften it ....

and then to cap it, kirsty essentially said molly wasn't the horse for me if molly won't do what i want, and it's all about the relationship between us and actually quite upset me, i think ...felt quite upset at what she was saying, really.

academic anyway, can't see anyone wanting to have the molly mare until she is doing the things she currently doesn't!

when the weather improves - or rather, when the days are longer - we'll try going out again.

daft thing is, couple of them had ridden this afternoon, but i didn't know. i suppose i'm no fun to go out with as we never know what molly's going to do (usually she's ok in company, just if she finds that she's not it gets a bit pear shaped!)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

40 minutes

of walking her up to the mounting block, her turning away and round and so on - and trying to keep the rein out of her mouth, she's developed an awful habit of getting it into her mouth and chewing it, i can't even see how she does it, something with her lip when i'm leading her... - and i was driven past by two people who KNEW i'd been there for ages (they'd walked past me when I first started ... and some tears ... and stopped for a fag to calm down - someone else finally arrived at the barn so I went round and asked for help. I am SOOOOOOO hacked off with this. and later when i'd finished riding, scarlet's owner turned up - his helpful comments were

1. you need to do something to crack this
2. have you had professional help with this?
3. you need someone to help you for hours....

i could have spat... but i didn't, i asked what did he think i should try that i hadn't already, then he said, he had the same problem with his first horse that he never cracked because she had girthing issues - which as i pointed out molly doesn't have. some people.

anyway, i did 40 minutes ride in the arena - some times getting there, sometimes not. I was well warm, thank goodness (the new thermal trousers and the mega horseware jacket) the only bit of me that was chilly were my ears!

sometimes molly was too fast and I struggled to slow my seat down to slow her down. but sometimes we got it. i'm getting better at controlling her shoulders. still need to think of less being more.

and remembered on my way home (just after Paul rang me to ask if the schooling stick left in the middle of the yard was mine) that my hot water bottle is still on the wall where it was left....phooey. it's full of water as well, happily only half full but the deep freeze of tonight isn't going to do it any good. oopsy.

equestrian access

readers in the UK should see & sign this petition:

massive quote from forum:

[quote]As the law stands at the moment, EU funding can be made available to maintain bridleways by converting them to 'sustrans' routes ('sustainable transport' in favour of cyclists). The problem is that the reclassification means that these old bridleways will get a makeover, but because they lose the bridleway status, Horses won't be allowed on them . There is a real risk that Horse riders are going to be marginalised in the name of 'going green' which is a movement which shouldn't be underestimated.

I had a conversation with (Director of Access for the BHS) Mark Weston at the time of the last petition, and he said that due to the wording and lack of consultation amongst the equestrian community in the CROW 2000 bill, no provision was made for horse riders in helping to provide alternative (safe) routes on which we could get about on.
With amendments of the Bill being looked at, it is crucial that Horse riders have our voices heard or we will continue to be marginalised, and our safe routes are at risk of vanishing.

BHS petition calls for bigger say for equestrians in access law-making
The British Horse Society is calling on all equestrians to sign a petition asking the Government to give them a say in all new access and rights of way legislation. Equestrians are the most vulnerable of road users and need increased off-road access for their safety and the welfare of their horses. Horse riding and driving provides healthy outdoor exercise, which the Government is keen to encourage. It is enjoyed by more than four million people in the UK and is the second biggest land-based industry, but equestrians have not been included in recent access-creating legislation which would help make them safer and encourage healthy outdoor recreation.The recent petition calling for amendments to the equestrian sections of the Highway Code attracted just under 20,000 signatures, showing the amount of concern there was in the equestrian community. The BHS Access Department and its regional access and bridleway officers would like riders and other horse lovers to sign the petition.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to include access for equestrians in all new access legislation, access given to walkers in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (CROW) 2000. Over 4 million people in the UK ride horses or drive horse-drawn vehicles. The equine industry is the second biggest land-based industry estimated to be worth £4 billion and to employ 150,000 people. The current coastal access proposal should be extended to provide access for all non-motorised users thus allowing mixed family groups to exercise together. This would be consistent with the joint Government/Industry-backed Strategy for the Horse Industry, published in December 2005. Providing access for equestrians and cyclists, as well as walkers, represents better value than just providing access for walkers.[/quote]

Saturday, December 22, 2007

holiday start

involved no lie in....took loads of photos of molly with and without saddle, saddle with and without numnah/pad underneath. Have now put the wedge panels in, and shims and we'll see what that looks like in the morning - it was TOO cold to wrestle with them at the yard, never got above about 3 degrees all day, and the very slight breeze made it feel huge amounts colder. For the first time this year, the tap was frozen - happily, it only took a kettle of hot water to sort that out.

My new winter thermal jodhpurs are really toasty - to get them on over my ordinary jods i should have bought a larger size again, but didn't need the extra layer i don't think. recommend them to anyone (from annadressur on ebay) - better than fleecy chaps, as chaps don't keep your bum warm.

didn't ride, did go to try longlining but she wouldn't stand still (possibly because the mares in the field next to us decided to have a hooly) so just lunged - and amazingly, she went right with no argument, so I decided that was the good note i wanted bearing in mind previous issues with going right, and left it at that. was conscious that farrier was due, and he duly turned up dot on time! left her all done.

still haven't bought our christmas dinner - that will be the very first job on Monday after i've turned the horses out (volunteered to go down and do that, since partner has to get up and go to work anyway!).

whilst we've been at work the last few weeks the gardener has been beavering away in our back allotment. which now looks like this:

This area where the pond is now used to be an overgrown herb area, with huge amounts of overgrown bushes (lilac, forsythia, a ribes of some description that i never liked, and weeds) with a collapsed/blown over fence behind it. we will have water plants as well, but they won't be got until the spring. you can't quite make out the two acers to the right, one bloodgood and one sango kaku, as they're both leafless at the moment!
and this used to be fruit bed that had, when the wall was built, become a disaster area with mounds of soil, rubble etc ...raised beds are going to be much more practical. the raised bed beside the trellis is going to have raspberries and blackberries (thornless ones - the wild ones run riot and are impossible to control!) and the trellis will also be useful for other climbing veg (shame partner hates peas). will get some new strawberries (the previous ones needed renewing anyway) and the whole thing will be much more manageable.

the bare soil is the middle third, and is going to be lawn which can't be put down until the spring.

It's a nice surprise every Saturday when we can actually see it in daylight to see what has been achieved during the week.

Friday, December 21, 2007

been busy

been busy making a home made sympathy card to post in the morning....

really cold (-4!!!) so not looking forward to going out in the morning. have to take loads of pics of molly with the saddle on....

bad day at work - neither my 3 pm nor 4 pm turned up, which wouldn't have been so bad but the appointments were at our other office, so essentially, i wasted the afternoon. but I've 10 days off now, so looking forward to that..

Thursday, December 20, 2007

RIP Jenny Winterschladen (nee Jones)

back in 71/72, i was in 6th form and jenny was a 1st year (Friends School Great Ayton). When I started working at my previous firm in 1988, Jenny & I didn't realise immediately we'd been to the same school but we had; we worked together until I left Watson Burton in February 2004.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer and I heard back this time last year she was clear.

I was rung this afternoon by WB - Leigh drew the short straw to sit in a quiet room and ring all former work colleagues who had moved on - she died last night in her sleep. It had come back to her liver very aggressively. her eldest child is only 16 (edited on 29th december to get that right, sorry emma!)....

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

the plan

did not involve coming home and working - at least, it didn't when i left home this morning. but by the time i set off, I knew i had to - the law on defering the dissolution of a company, to be mugged up by tomorrow morning. partner also ended up working late - she wasn't on the ASW rota for tonight, but her colleague who was, had an RTA.

and Molly has a longer wither than the usual so consultations are going on about saddle fitting.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Molly in the mirror

Hurray, got away from work on time (client I'd arranged to ring at 16:50 had his phone switched off so I gave up at 5!) and the weather was not at all bad - even got warmer as the evening went on, no wind and not frosty!
so i decided to try a bit of the in-hand work that Emma was trying (that being the operative word) to teach me. It isn't good for the back/neck (mine, that is!) and shoudl have dug the back support at least out of the car, it's in there somewhere.

Now, she's thinking when she sees me she should get a treat, so i had to get her out of that, but pretty good to get the bridle on (only took me a couple of attempts!).

in the arena - i don't think i've fully got it yet. not surprising. but we DID get some nice steps of shoulder in, which i had in fact asked for (TBH, thought i'd just asked for shoulder fore, but got shoulder in, so I did too much but rewarded that, anyway!).Apart from working hard at that, i'm going to have to work at her "knowing" she only gets a treat for getting it right - and then of course, sometimes i don't quite know that she has.

we'll get there, i was quite pleased.

and in the mirror? i was taking some photos of her back...
not bad with a mobile phone indoors in a stable!

and here is her ear - i was trying to take an eye, but she wanted to know if the phone was a treat of some description

Monday, December 17, 2007


yesterday a friend said, did i have a soft tyre? i said, it's just cos it's a bit downhill where it's parked.

today in the carpark, i thought, ooops she's right. assumed slow puncture so went to tyre shop when i left the office.

TWO new front tyres, £157, later...

i reckon they must have needed looking at before i bought the car, i've only had it since end of august and i don't drive that badly fact i don't drive badly at all.

what i hadn't twigged was that because it's a sports car, it's compulsory to have sporty tyres...


rang the yard and kirstie put molly's tea up and etc. for me. just as well i did, it was well over an hour before i could get away and even then have to drop it back tomorrow to get the tracking done...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

a bit better...

once i got on. that was the difficult bit (after i'd wrestled with getting the bridle on).

Because Molly "knew" she would get a treat, she never put herself in a position where she could be clicked, until after Kirstie came and held her head - at which point, click, mount, reward. but I think - i rather lost count - something like 20 attempts to even get her at a sensible place at the mounting block. and the only thing that got clicked/treated in all that time was one straight halt. my thinking there was, she gets clicked/treated for a square halt elsewhere, she'll get the notion that a square halt at the mounting block might be good. but no. and the number of times i had to take the reins out of her mouth...

when i was on, i had to get kirstie to walk in front of her round to the arena. she was allowed that uncertainty and need for reassurance, however, as there was a tractor with it's engine running round the corner, i knew it was there but she didn't.. car parked next to it wiht its engine running and lights on - YM and her b/f trying to fit the fence posting machine to the tractor...

then i did about 40 minutes walk. some of it was good, some of it was bad, but we are getting there i think. sometimes we go off when i get tense - found myself twisting my body every now and again...

but i think it was more good that bad when on straight lines. circles/serpentines not so good. can do small circles, but large ones we're still working on. and i need to think more about how to control the shoulder without moving my seat bones...

the hard frost has gone, but still cold.

if it stays like this - dry but not that bitter cold of last week - i'll try some in hand during the week at night...

Saturday, December 15, 2007


I had hoped there would be some sun, despite the cold, and there was!

I'm sorry to say Molly wasn't letting me on today - she never got the click because she never got as far as standing where i wanted her. Until someone came and held her head, when i clicked, got on, and treated.

i thought at first she was volunteering to go out on her own - no, she was volunteering to go to the field.

the arena was pretty solid, so i'm pleased i hadn't tried to do anything at night through the week. bear in mind the temperature was just above freezing, and after lunch the arena doesnt' get the sun (that is, after noon in the winter).

it was at least sunny wehn i started about 13.10. we did about 50 minutes again. Now, bear in mind it is impossible to close the arena gate when mounted (if i'd thought on, i would have asked the chap who held her head to come and close the gate behind me) ended up heading for the barn twice! eek. in walk, but off she went and i ended up having to take up a much stronger contact and haul her in to halt

I think, whilst I need to be lighter in teh hand than i have been prior to the lesson the other week, I also need to have more contact than i in fact had.

I did have some nice steps here and there, we were starting to get that nice feel again. took me about 1/2 hour to get back to vaguely where i shoudl be to turn - that's back to rein length/contact, and the overall way it should be.

then the third time she decided on leaving the arena, by this time the sun had gone and i was starting to feel it ... i got off and took her back for a very small amount of in hand.

you may say, the inhand should come first. that's probably true - but, given the temperature, i wanted a warm saddle!

left her in after that - time i got done it was about 3 anyway, so she got huge piles of haylage and her tea, and an extra bucket of water just in case. made more sense than turning her out when it was about to get dark and it was getting colder, and feeling like a freezing fog was going to descend.

This morning, i bought on ebay the fritz stahlecker dvds on in hand work - should be interesting. better price than buying from the vendors in germany! also bought some padded german winter warm riding trousers with full sticky seat .... been recommended, and if this cold keeps up going to be a good purchase...spending the money i got for the green saddle the other week!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

vietnam and cambodia

was where partner had been, so tonight was the first night she'd felt awake enough to start on the photos - two hours of temples and we're not done yet...

still too cold to do anything with molly - people may think i'm wimping out, as it's only minus 1 or 2 - but its the sort of cold that goes straight into the blood.... much easier to cope with in the sun at lunchtime, which unfortunately is when i'm at work. roll on saturday...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

don't know if i'd rather warm rain

it would be easier to deal with... or being able to ride during the day! It's just TOO cold at night. Looking forward to the weekend.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

too cold

i know i'm wimping out, but i couldn't face taking molly's rug off and exposing myself to seriously cold fingers (woudl have to wear less warm gloves to do any work with her...) so didn't.

in any event, partner back from fortnight in Cambodia/Vietnam. thought she'd be in for the night and planned to come straight home after seeing molly - in fact, partner has gone out! her singing group, last session of the season...wants to know what's happening in january...but at least dinner was ready for me at 1745! instead of me cooking it later. and i was ready for it (amazing how hungry one gets when really cold...)

Monday, December 10, 2007

back to work again

for me, that is, so back to dark cold nights... to dark and cold to think about doing anything, arena lights notwithstanding....

and i dropped a huge clanger at work, missed an appointment, ouchy.... kicked myself, it's not helpful when boss then kicks you as well... never done that one before, ever...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

a minor success!

i got on first time with no arguments at all!!!!! YAY!!!!

I was pleased i went down when i did - late morning, cold when i left the house but lovely and warm at the yard, sun heating up the stable!

so after i'd mucked out etc i thought i might as well get on with it. got her in and ready and we were mounted by 1.

Had a bit of a think about the bridle, but some click/treat got her into that idea and not arguing, so that was good.

and, as I say, the mounting was excellent! She moved up to the right place immediately so i didn't have to move her on an extra step or anything, so click/mount/treat and job done! and then she just wanted to stand there.

the ridden wasn't quite so good; sometimes we were nearly getting it, sometimes we got it, and sometimes we lost it altogether (my fault - need to work on less is more whilst remembering that my inside hand has too much of a tendency to be pulled back when going round a corner!).

Shame it's impossible to shut the gate behind me, would have prevented a minor mishap of being taken to the barn!

Some distraction as well - a man working overtime, in hi viz, turned up to put electrics in to the large greenhouse that has appeared at the end of the arena...that was fascinating!

Did think about trying click/treat to take her out of the yard along under the willow, but when i went along there, all she could see was the lab puppy (about 6 - 8 months) in the garden and thus wasn't interested in going further. but, we didn't nap back to the stable!

then after about 50 minutes the heavens opened, so off I got. minor drizzle's all very well, but this was a downpour!

given that it was nearly 2, i decided to leave her in - she didnt' want to go out anyway (was very keen to be in when i first went to fetch her) so went and did my shopping and got diesel, and then went back down to set her for the night. Made sense, as the shop is nearer the yard than the house by several miles..

so i'm really pleased

and the other good thing, managed to get my video editing software to do it's thing - had to uninstall and re-install, but now working properly . clearly hadn't properly installed last time! so i may be able to grab the odd still off it, still working out how it works of course!

Saturday, December 08, 2007


yesterday there was nothing to talk about save the howling gales, and the £67 i spent on plants ... ouchy. I was going round saying i'll have this that and the other (a fair few at £1.50 and the most expensive was only £7) - amazing how it clocks up... and a lot half price as well.

Today was much more interesting though - harrogate, for Heather Moffett/Richard Maxwell demo - Max was riding Jo for Heather's demo, and it was excellent. I took loads of video, which will take a while to sort out as I have an analogue camcorder, not a digital, which makes it more difficult to put on the PC. plus, I thought i was starting at the beginning of a blank tape, but found half way through in fact i'd not, so had to change tapes.

but really good, that'll be really good to review and review...

Max remembered me, which was impressive considering the number of people he must meet! he'd brought his wife & sons as well, so good to meet them.

Had to buy new pad for under saddle - not enough shimming, which i'd rather thought, and heather recommended (of the three options available, suberpad, memory foam wither pad, mattes correction pad) the latter, so that was to pick up and pay for, ouchy.

and of course managed to spend money on other stuff as well, more ouchy. wouldn't have been so bad if I'd remember during my three days off to pay the expenses cheque into the bank!!! gorgeous jacket at a really good price, a new broom (an odd thing to buy, but we decided, looking at them, that they'll be really good on straw/shavings/hay - one of those rubber ones, stuff won't get stuck in the bristles like with an ordinary broom) and only 2 for £ one for the house as well.

and met Emma, the teacher from Wednesday, and a couple of other people, one of whom came here last night to pick up the Barefoot Cheyenne she'd bought from me.

so it was good to have company, nothing worse than an event on your own!!!!!

so good day - and good to be indoors, the weather after a cold but lovely and bright start turned horridly wet with snow in it, eugh.

and then got in the house, and remembered there was a reason i'd thought about calling at sainsbury's (there is one as you leave the Great Yorkshire Showground ) - a lack of milk. i shall have to go to the shop before i can have my second cup of tea....

Thursday, December 06, 2007

the good things about today

Did not, i'm sorry to say, involve molly.

one good thing - made a start on cleanign up downstairs now the office is back in its proper place upstairs.

another good thing - the garden man & I sat down and looked at thr RHS plant encyclopaedia to decide what to put in round the rockery..plan being to get them after i'd seen molly...

the denture is now fine (even cancelled the dentist appointment). think we'd wrestled it in and out so much, my mouth had got bruised; a week without, and it was fine when i put it in today

and had a lovely lunch at the best fish & chip restaurant in the north east (no, not harry ramsden's - clem's in spennymoor)

And as for Molly?

Well, firstly, I couldn't get on on my own. spent ages and ages trying - at least a 1/2 hour - click/reward was all very well, but get her to where i wanted, click/reward ... and then as soon as i move to actually geton, off she goes, bum away .... gggrrrhhh emma I've pm'd you about that!

did try another place where there's a low wall and she wouldn't be able to go forward (but would be able to go round); might have worked, but the wind was starting to get up and people kept driving in when i was at a critical point, and since said low wall is at the entrance, kept having to move.

So, as I say, eventually someone turned up to hold her. by that time, of course, i'd well run out of rewards ....

so into the arena. couldn't get the lights to work, and certainly wasnt' going to get off again! couldn't see where i was going really ... well, i could but couldn't really work it out

wind really getting up. it blew the arena gate shut and then open again...other things were getting blown here and there and down....neither of us happy, so gave up and got off after about 10 minutes! Oh, and we'd ended up by the barn at one point.

and plant buying? not clever in the dark, their lights had died.

so plant buying will be in the morning after I've been to the doctor and mucked out the horse (and probably tried to do something with her then as well... although that depends on the weather...

oh, and neighbour is in hospital - some growth on her neck!!!! scary. they don't know what it is...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


someone on EE found this:


EE Lesson

was a major success. a dearth of pictures though - it was too wet to leave the camcorder on a fence this morning, although did dry up this afternoon. emma used the digital camera this afternoon but the new batteries that i'd put in at about 11 am this morning, gave up the ghost after only about 6 pictures!!! gggrrrhhh.... clearly been hanging around the shop for too long before i bought them.

slightly late start - Emma got held up with traffic, roadworks and torrential rain, so the 2 hours was 2 3/4 eek.

anyway, she arrived, and the first thing was clicker/groundwork. And the first thing on that was getting the bridle on! Molly picked that idea up really quickly, so will be doing that for minor bridle tantrums from now on.

Molly picked up the in hand idea really quickly, and once I'd been shown what to do (which was what i wanted - we agreed that all the books etc aren't at all the same as having someone actually show you what you are meant to be doing) and Emma even got her going sideways and a couple of steps of shoulder in! and she was starting to soften.

We did get a bit wet during all this - all in all about 1 1/2 hours of that - but it was all good.

I had to keep reminding myself to stop looking at Molly's head, but look where I'm going, and it does put quite a twist on the body so I'll need to ensure i wear neck and back support for that. But good.

Then we went for a rather nice lunch at the pub up the road, we were severely underdressed (it is very new - previous building pulled down and this is a totally new building!) but they were very good about it.

After lunch, riding. Emma agrees with me i need to do something about more padding under the saddle - shame I sold that suberpad I had under the cheyenne, it's true what they say, never sell anything horsey, you never know when you'll want it again!

this is a "before" pic

so ridden work. After watching me for 5, Emma got on = i always like that in a teacher, because, as Emma says, unless you've ridden the horse yourself you don't really know what it's like! So she got her softening to the bit with a seriously light contact - then i got back on.

Essentially, i have to do the opposite of what I've been told to do for years. e.g. on circles, push with the outside leg and rein and have pretty much no contact at all with the inside. At one point she said "give it away" and I literally did! tee hee.....

So we did an awful lot of that and Molly was with me, rounding up under me, very soft and light, fantastic feeling. and she was maintaining this on halts, and when moving off again (something i'd never managed to get!)

I even managed to get some sideways movement. Essentially, Molly hadn't been grasping that at all, and now she does.

Then we moved to trot - but only to get the upwards transition, me to not be tense and try and do the same with hand/leg as in walk, and then straight back to walk again.

We did click/treat through all this, but by the finish, Molly didn't really want any more treats!!!!!

We are both "sided & twisted" (that is, molly & I) as a result of our respective various injuries so don't always help each other that way.

my right leg is much worse than my left (interesting, as my left is the injured one - maybe i don't do horrid things with it because it is injured?!)

But this was fantastic work for where Molly had been before. Emma agreed with me that she's got the talent, if i can get it together to get us there....

and this is an "after" pic

So I'm to do an awful lot of walk work, working on this softness and getting me and her right, lots of serpentines, circles, leg yield, shoulder for (i think i finally grasp the concept of shoulder for) just one or two good steps of each till she gets it and then building up...

Emma thought that Molly's issues right rein relate back to her previous injury with the off hind, and that makes sense - it's the same reason she won't happily let me pick up her near hind to pick the hoof out.

And this so emphasises why I was unhappy with my last lesson with my local RI .... sad to say, don't think i'll be going to her again .... save possibly for an odd lunge lesson, and even then, she doesn't want me to take my own saddle...

but I can't use Molly for lunge lessons, and probably won't be able to for a while.

Will see emma again, possibly in a few months time and needs to be nearer her!!!!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


the weather is forecast to be sunny spells with the odd, rare squally shower and they said we'd be hard done by if we get wet. hope that's right, as friend who was going to come and operate camera (and provide wagon if needed) can't as she's got a very serious chest infection and had to have an ECG today - very scary as she's a good 20 years younger than me....

also, today's weather was, by tonight, total pants - warm, but huge gales. car got a tree bit glance off the windscreen whilst driving home from the yard, that was scary!

today, new anja beran dvd arrived - bought it off ebay - and found that this laptop will play it. a criticism already - she gets on from the ground! but, can see it's going to be good. and, discovered it'll play on this laptop!

Monday, December 03, 2007

one more day

at work, then three days of plust the weekend.

now have 2 clean bridles and a clean martingale. so why 2 bridles? the old leather one which has too wide cheek pieces for the myler. the wintec with added pony cheek pieces for the myler.

there's also the new leather one i bought this year which i'm using instead of the old one generally for the mullen mouth. but that is still waiting to be cleaned.

too cold and too windy to ride, and getting colder... must check the forecast again for wednesday.

the big news? a flood under the office floor. it's a modernish building, about 20 years old - pools of water beneath our feet, who knows if we'll be able to get in tomorrow? landlords are not happy. looks like its the heating!

Sunday, December 02, 2007


i had got up at the crack of dawn and gone out without my breakfast ... i could have ridden.

but i didn't, as clearly my body needed the sleep, and given last Saturday's mishap which I'm sure was to do with lack of breakfast I needed to eat that .... so by the time I'd done that it was p*******g down, and didn't stop all day

and just to keep me happy, when I did get molly in this evening and took her rug off - it had leaked. I think it has leaked where it was mended, so that needs reproofing.... so that was annoying. which means also i shall have to waste 5 minutes in the morning rug changing (we have all given that up, they keep their outdoor rugs on generally ... what with all the rubber matting, plus the time saving!)

hopefully it'll be dry tomorrow...forecast looking good for wednesday!

Saturday, December 01, 2007


good weather!

the forecast led me to believe that this afternoon would be wet - whilst it was a very close thing, and Molly and i did spend a couple of minutes sheltering in the lee of the machine shed, it stayed dry.

We did about 55 minutes work - mostly in the arena (another attempt to get beyond the house stymied by meeting the old lady again, my timing is pants! but at least we stood still, and i did get a back up out of it)

Did a lot of nice work, lot of trot walk trot transitions, lot of circles, small and large, and the walk at the end was really good.

at the beginning i was keeping my hands high, but my arms were tired at the end but oddly she was really moving under me. at that point, my hips were really open and today I could feel my left seatbone a lot.

I think, you know, i've been really favouring that broken foot when riding as well as walking - possibly more! - so thinking about not favouring is helping.

Cat got taken to the vet this morning, was pretty good for him, yet more antibiotics and he's to go back in 10 days....

Friday, November 30, 2007


pouring down when i left the office, and i think it's following me up - forecast to be awful.

i jammed my finger in the stable door when i shut it after giving molly her tea. don't know how i restrained the shriek of pain!

now, shall I take my friend up on offer of wagon to Richmond EC on Wednesday and have my lesson there? she said, if the weather's pants she'll do that (would mean a 4 time trip for her, as she's south of there!) and she wants to watch the lesson anyway.....which means i get a camerawoman as well. which reminds me, not getting the wagon i was going to get - not mended yet, and with incipient big vet bill if insurance doesn't pay... well...

And yes it's petplan nicola, so with what you say, I'm hopeful!

no news on Queenie yet today, I haven't rung as I don't suppose anyone is in ATM, will ring tomorrow and no news is good news.

cat to vet in the morning....normally partner's responsibility, but there you go, she's away.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

eating up

Queenie is. ate her slop last night. was let out for an hour today and TROTTED down the field to the grass! tucking into her hay at 5pm tonight. So looks like we're out of the woods. Here's a photo from the recent set I took (for all you reiki practitioners if you could/would?)
So we're all pleased about that. insurance claim form in the post to the vet, so crossing fingers that they'll pay!

Molly did a bit of groundwork again, after she'd had a good grooming. I was pleased to be able to give her a bit of attention. she was even behaving pretty well! but it was SOO cold, i only did about 10 minutes as my fingers were starting to get really cold.....

EE lesson next wednesday - friend is going to come up, watch, operate the camera, and if it rains (must look that up) she'll come up and get us and take us to richmond EC, which will be appreciated by emma, I expect. Apparently they're cool about letting you use the indoor through the week - especially for my friend who's friends with them and whose partner's a vet...

pleased about that; she'd originally been going to be away so i hadn't said, but her plans have changed.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

cleared - phew!

mid morning ish.

She was apparently a lot happier this morning. when vet eventually came (not the 0900 first said!) Queenie was tubed again, and it had pretty much cleared so swilled through again with water.

She went out for a pick of grass for 10 minutes in the afternoon to encourage her appetite (i expect she's got a humungous sore throat, which won't be helping!).

she's on very little and often for a bit; clearly if she doesn't start eating then that'll be a different matter, but for now we're all very pleased.


and to help = i rang the insurers (she's insured for accidents, a veteran plan) and said, how do you treat choke? accident or illness. the young lady on the end of the phone said, ah! has been treated as accident, a subject of debate, get form filled in, vet to do full report and they'll look at it! which sounded very hopeful. that's petplan ... if they meet it, it'll have been worth the 10 pcm i've paid them since she retired, as it'll amount to pretty much that much anyway i would have thought, three visits and loads of drugs already.

As for Molly - ii suppose she was pleased to see me - i told her her mother was ill, but she didn't care - but she was pleased to have her tea tonight! it's raining, of course, but frankly after the emotions, travelling and hoo ha of yesterday, i don't think I'd have had the energy to do a lot anyway.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

queenie - choke

I was rung this morning just before 11 - she'd been found this morning, clearly had been in some distress, vet called (had been and gone by this time but was coming back). had had some liquid poured down the usual tube but to no great effect.

I obviously went up - happily boss was OK about that when I told him (i was filling up, of course). We & vet spent about 50 minutes pouring the best part of a bucket of warm water down tube, got some out, but it's still there.

happily it wasn't blocking the windpipe, but is blocking the stomach.

vet's coming back in the morning, and is going to have one more go if it doesn't self clear overnight as a result of the sedative. if that doesn't work, the only option would be invasive surgery, and I'm not prepared to go there - she is after all 25 about to be 26.

so if it doesn't clear and the vet can't sort it, the decision is made that Queenie will be PTS. vet pleased I'm of that view, she said. I said, whilst we were in the process of pouring liquid down, that I didn't want to be officiously striving for the sake of it if it wasn't going to work. She says she's had 4 or 5 so far in her career and has always got them clear.

so of course emailed friend to do molly tonight, just as well didn't get back here till gone 8....

Monday, November 26, 2007

cold and dry so groundwork

rope circling the order of the evening, and i was quite pleased with both of us. i kept my body language positive, and she decided she had to go right and left in trot when i asked.

now, can anyone tell me why, when i send her back, she doesn't do it in a straight line? ends up with her left flank to me....

dug a rug out - i wanted a compromise between lightweight and heavy - and foudn one perfectly clean but with a rip in it. i think she's had it on once, and i forgot it had that rip..also i seem to recall it wasnt' perfectly waterproof...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

fugly horse

link in sidebar ... thanks to others for the reference ... love it. especially love the writer's take on rollkur..

alone for a fortnight

up at 04:00 - to get partner and her friend to airport for 0600, friend at Stocksfield which is about 15 miles cross country

so at yard about 0610, home for 7, breakfast and back to bed until lunchtime!

This is "worming weekend" - it is tedious. 48 hours in, and the YM never does what she's supposed to do = collect samples for testing! and, as with every other yard i've ever been on, poo is never picked. so I really can't see the point of keeping them in.

Anyway, got to the yard about 2 30 ish i suppose, groomed/mucked out. Clearly going to ride in the arena, no one about.

I decided to try the mullen mouth - had longlined in it the week before last and that was fine. But clearly was never going to be a good move today. She was setting her jaw against it before I got on, and in any event wouldn't stand to be mounted.

So, to the myler. she wouldn't let me put that in at all.

So, after several goes at that and rather than continued to stress us both out, i went for the bitless. That shocked her, actually, she was expecting to have another argument about a bit in and found herself bridled up with nothing she could do about it, tee hee.

That all wasted 1/2 hour!

Still couldn't get on, happily someone turned up and held her so finally got into the arena at about 15.40. Once the saddle had warmed up again, and i'd kicked myself for not wearing sticky jods, we got some nice work in the scale of things.

I decided to try what really raising my hands would do, and it did seem to help substantially in terms of direction, and we had some not too bad circles in trot. And I managed to find my left seatbone, which goes missing regularly, so I must have been doing something right there.

then decided to see if i could get through the yard, as she'd been going reasonably well. did that - she didn't nap back to the stable as I had schooling stick and kept tapping down shoulder on stable side when she tried. So we went out of the yard (heading to the bogey willow, after yesterday's success at going up the geldings field thought that might be worth trying on my own). Not to be. Partly she'd realised she'd let herself be conned into getting out there on her own, partly, possibly, because the old lady of the house & her companion had come out for a walk - so started paddying all over. That meant I had to get off - not because I'd started shaking again, I hadn't, but because the old lady is very pottery, has to have an arm to hang on to, and I certainly don't want to be the one to knock her over with my horse. don't have quite the control with the BB as one does with a bit.

Anyway, is there something with her teeth? who knows, tooth lady due over Christmas.

And the shaking - possibly once, Caroline, many many years ago and ended up feeling quite ill. but that time I hadn't got as far as getting on! don't know what it was about yesterday at all.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


and I don't know whether i'm annoyed with Molly or with me.

I did say whilst I was grooming that I thought she was in a bit of a mood - bouncing round the stable which she doesn't normally, but then the shoot people were all arriving.

when i got on, at first she was standing nicely which was what i wanted whilst the others got on, then as gaynor drove through in her car she HAD to follow and go into the arena.

on the other hand, she came out of the arena at the first time of asking with no difficulty.

She then happily went up the side of the geldings field, with no demur at all, past her bogey big log with narrow gap, having totally refused to do so for about a year.

Also walked happily along the track along the top, beside the drive, didn't spook at the new cattle grid, and waited calmly whilst the gate to the next field was opened and walked quietly through.

so you can imagine, i was very pleased so far.

The field we're now in is pretty big, and we walked round the outside, then through a gateway that has no gate, and about half way down to the gate we were going to leave by - she turned round. she wouldnt turn back. and just to really help, i started shaking quite badly. i'm not sure if it was the cold, the fact that i hadn't had breakfast (and it was now about 3 hours after i'd got up. i tried to relax, but couldn't stop shaking, and clearly shaking, whatever the cause, is not clever when you're on a horse that is in any event dooing what you don't want.

So i got off and led her back, which is about 1 1/2 miles. phooey.

and then she was, for a wonder, good as gold to be wormed (it's worming weekend, they come in no later than 10am and can't go out again till monday morning).

so what was all that about with both of us?

Friday, November 23, 2007

greek dinner

was huge - we went for the mezze (feast) and couldn't begin to finish it. food all very good though, the lamb was melting in the mouth. Friend did molly - impossible to do her and still get out in time - as it turned out, partner got stuck in ginormous traffic jam caused by massive accident on the motorway....we could see it driving up the side road parallel when we did set off, looked like a real horror (apparently a wagon had overturned).

Thursday, November 22, 2007

the broken foot

regular readers will remember than in June 2006 i broke my foot and had three weeks in plaster.

Ever since, I've had pretty continuous pain - at varying levels - at the site of the break and was convinced it wasn't mended.

back in October I went to the GP and he referred me to hospital, where I went to day - orthopaedic outpatients at north tees hospital

xrays were duly taken - and guess what, it's still broken. a clear flake fracture, never got anywhere near healing.

They can't take the flake off as it has a tendon attached to it and there would be no way of getting the tendon fixed back in place, so essentially i have to live with it.

as to support, he recommended one of those support things one gets from the chemists or wherever, such as sportsmen use.

ggrrhh...might do some research on the 'net to see what comes up, but i think he's probably right, and i don't want to do anything that might make it worse. i know i'm not short of calcium, that bone builder, as i eat loads (probably too much) cheese

and as for the fall i had Monday this week - think I've done something to the left leg, particularly noticeable when I try to get up from a chair, so will have to go back to the GP for another orthopaedic referral and more xrays on that. might be just bruising, but i've a feeling not.

as for molly - the weather is no way near good enough to do anything, so again she just got fed and left. can't even groom when it's like this (dirty bits are wet as well....)

We're out tomorrow night, so we'll see what the weekend brings in terms of weather and riding possibilities.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

dried out

at least, didn't have to drive home in the rain. but huge traffic jams.

i think i really jarred myself when i fell on monday, left leg seizes up interestingly when i sit at my desk at work...

looking forward to the next fortnight - sounds awful, but partner will be away and i therefore don't have to answer to anyone and can spend longer at yard at night without being nagged (subject to weather, of course!)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


just like everyone else in the country....

so i'm watching telly - bought a new digital box with hard drive recorder so have set it to record soemthing and we'll see what happens. a vast improvement on the old one though! and not hugely expensive

Monday, November 19, 2007

tempting fate

That's what i did last night by talking about the slippy mud and Blake's occasional tendency to bounce a bit when being taken out.

he was, in fact, good as gold. But that didn't stop my right foot slipping, Blake standing on it, and then me falling my length in the mud .....

i had to go home and have a second shower after I mucked out, and i haven't looked at the foot since then but anticipate a mahoosive bruise.

the jodhpurs & knickers I had on - which were clean on - got taken off IN the shower then left to soak all day. the jacket got left to try and dry in the tack/feed store area, and currently is in the washer without washing liquid to try and rinse all the mud off, along with the gloves. the plastic bags I'd had in the boot to protect it from plant dirt ended up on the car seat to protect it from mud whilst i drove home for the shower...

and I've been really stiff all day, so must have really jarred myself up!

Oh, and younger cat decided the catch for last night was - a PHEASANT! FULL GROWN! goodness only knows where he got that from, we don't GET pheasants in the churchyard or anywhere near the house...

and that was all in the dark.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

at least we didn't get snow

as caroline did ....but an awful lot of rain. It's going to be horrid leadinv them out in the morning, the track to the field gate is very slippy. Molly wil be OK but BLake, my friend's horse, has a tendency to pull a shade if he think's HIS friend is out. Hopefully he'll behave!

Plus, this morning the road to the yard was closed - apparently there'd been a fatality (one assumes an RTA) at about 0500 - not only did they close that road, they seemed to have closed all the roads roundabout and people had to remove bollards to get to the various yards! don't know what the police think people are supposed to do! and we didn't see any anyway! Open again by tonight.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


The reiki, that is. The person could tell where molly's off hind had been injured in the various places - more interesting, she asked about the near hind above the hock. I'm not aware of any injury there, but who knows?

molly was very good. took the off hind away a couple of times, but that was all.

I didn't do anything else with her at all today, planning to ride in the morning unless it rains. I thought (and reiki person agreed) it was probably as well just to let her be. She thought it would be interesting to know what reaction a Reiki master would have/molly would have to same (person is level 2, not planning on going further with it).

went and bought plants though; dwarf conifers I'm seeking for one side of new rockery, also bought some new raspberry canes. must get some rotted stuff off the muck heap man suggested he'd get his trailer emptied and fetch that down, otherwise its plastic bags in the car, not clever!

I should really post photos of what's happening in our back yard -- it's having a makeover of major proportions. when it's done, i'll post a before and after. new shed was put up yesterday (the old one was falling down, having been backed into several times by the coalman over the years (people in this street still get coal delivered....)

Friday, November 16, 2007

martin luther king

40 years ago this week, was given an honorary degree by the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (about 12 miles from here) and came over in person to be given it. I didn't know that before; it was on the local radio station tonight, as they are doing a special event commemorating the occasion. I didn't know he'd been to the UK at all (but I guess I can be forgiven, I was 12 at the time and he was killed about 5 months later). I do remember the following April when he was shot - I suppose by the following year I was taking more notice of what was going on in the world.

As for Molly - everyone had gone home by the time I got to the yard, and partner's going out tonight, so I didn't do anything - save put a heavier rug on. unusually she was feeling cool, most of last winter she was fine with the lightweight, but i guess we've been having much colder weather than this time last'll be totally filthy by the end of the week, from clean on tonight!

Tomorrow a friend is coming to give her reiki; don't know whether it'll help or not, but friend offered and it's for free, you never know! friend does massage as well....

Thursday, November 15, 2007


was in two minds whether to work or not, so groomed, then decided on longlining ... only 10 or 15 minutes (wasn't prepared to dig my watch out from under the layers to find out!), with the mullen mouth in.

she was working much better left than right - seeking the contact, softer on left rein, where right rein head in the air (not too much, but up) and slightly set in teh jaw. but i felt much more in control of the paces today, she came back to walk very nicely which she hasn't done in the past, so i'm doing something right there!

and i'm having a lesson on the 5th december on inhand work, clicker training ... see where we go. emma, hope you're enjoying the read! you're welcome to comment in advance!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


i had decided i really had to come home and get some washing done (running out of things to wear, as you do) - and it was cooold and daaark and looonley .... (now there's a whinge!). Molly only wanted her tea anyway (nothing new there then!). She'd managed to untie the haynet, which was in the bottom of the haybar (haynet for when she first comes in, then i can take it away easily if we're going to do something). also, alternate nights is good in the winter (unless it ends up raining tomorrow, of course...)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

and a lie in

thanks to friend doing early turnout! and I was so glad. didn't muck out until about 0900 on the way to the dentist.

Molly did a little bit of groundwork tonight, rope circling - worth doing that at least once a week, although probably should do more. I hadn't dried my glove off properly after it got wet this morning, the result was raynaud's in the right index finger which is pretty painful so we only did about 10 minutes work. but she was better about going right again this time (maybe the lunging last week helped!). But, she insists on coming in to me when i haven't asked her to when she's stopped, and so i have to send her back out again without moving myself. tedious. She is, i think, starting to find it easier to cross her hind legs when i ask for turn on forehand, so that's good, must be doing something vaguely right.

there's an auction (for a charity) on EE ATM and someone put up an EE etc. lesson within 2 hours of sheffield. I'm within 2 hours of sheffield so i've bid on that, so far the winning bid. I'm at the extreme of 2 hours from Sheffield, but it is 2 hours! assuming no traffic jams or other horrors....

and I'm seriously thinking about changing RI....

Wagon is still where I left it; it is going to be taken to vendor's fitter and looked at. consensus still is muck in fuel through being left.

I have said that next time i have to do that sort of trip i will go the day before (I'd been saying that anyway, but was over-ridden)

Monday, November 12, 2007


by train - 0656 from durham, got back there at 21.25 -----just got in ... .aargh. if there is a next time, i hope to be able to convince boss that the day before by car and drive back after...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

better day....

in that the kitchen floor got cleaned, Molly got ridden, and I'm cooking a home made moussaka; it's ages since I've done one of those so really looking forward to it.

I was pleased wtih Molly. I nearly didn't ride at all because of the cold, but braved it as I knew I'd warm up. She had to be held to be mounted (ggrrhh...) but when we went into the arena we were doing some nice trot, in that it was balanced, moving forwards, circles, diagonals, and she was wanting to move. almost, I thought, to th epoint of wanting to canter, but I don't think I'm up for that quite yet (still haven't cantered since last june!). I want to be much more sure that i'm getting walk/trot right and that we're more connected and balanced altogether before I do that. It's quite a small arena - not a full 20 x 40, keep meaning to measure it - so the horse (and rider) have to be quite balanced to canter it meaningfully.

Then did a lot of walk work just trying to get the contact right and keep the walk even and where i wanted to go. that was partly right and partly wrong, but when it was right it was excellent. we finished wihth a full circuit of the arena with her on the bit in walk. YAY.

Caroline, you're probably right about the fuel. wagon hasn't been anywhere since July or something. someone else suggested condensation in the fuel lines as well. either way, need to talk to vendor to see what plan we have. As it's still a decent wagon (partner not impressed, but as I said to her, new ones come in at £30K, not going there! unless i win the lottery, and if I do i think i'd rather have one of those canvan type ones.). If that's all it is, shouldn't be too bad, it's just a case of deciding whose paying to sort it out!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

what a day.....

well. Started at about 5 in the morning when it was clear younger cat had caught a mouse. so i got up and rescued that, then back to bed. Sleep was a struggle as partner had taken the duvet, the cats had the rest and my hip decided hurting was good. Julie was turning Molly out, so no rush.

Plan was, when we got going, to get wagon, take it to fitter's at Tow Law, then back to yard to do Molly and, if it had stopped raining/blowing, ride possibly. set off late (partner's idea of urgency leaves a lot t be desired!)

anyway, got down to friend's - 50 miles, not too far but the last bit from the A1 to the house is a pain - partner set off home andleft me, we did the paperwork and i set off.

Going up hill out of Masham, engine chucked it. I thought, might be i'd just not got enough power in it, got going again, didn't worry.

Got through Bedale and on to the A1 again at Leeming. First hill - and I was in top gear - chucked it again! This is a major dual carriageway folks, happily this section has loads of laybys. you can see already where this is going.

Got it going at third attempt, another couple of miles, next incline, chucked it again. this time had to sit a bit before it would start again.

Then it did it again. just before the catterick exit opposite the airfield (RAF Catterick; there's also an army base)

Rang fitter (who was waiting back specially for me - he was going to sort the hydraulics on the ramp). he thinks there's air getting in the fuel.

rang vendor - who was mortified.

We decided I should nurse it to Richmond Equestrian Centre, which I duly did, and leave it there. oddly, if I didn't go above 20 and didn't get into higher gear, it kept going.

Then, of course, how to get home? partner hadn't even got to where she was going by this point (her sister's in Cleadon).

This was about 3.15 in theafternoon by now. I finally got picked up at about 10 to 6 at night ... by which time i was frozen.

Some of the time iwas usefully entertained - the North East Welsh Pony show was on, so I watched the last two classes whilst keeping warm in their big indoor (partly in the cafe, which had a heater!).

There were some very nice ponies, some being very nicely ridden and some being very badly ridden.

two caught my eye in I think the ridden Section C's - that's what they looked like, too small to be section D's, too big to be section b's, although they might have been ...anyway, both in Pelhams with two reins. One was being very quietly ridden - the other, i cringed. The winner of that class was neither of those, but a nice palomino (slightly darker chestnut than the norm...) Having said that, the quietly ridden one, whilst looking to be on the bit, had a very downhill canter to my eye. and at one point i really cringed as one of them got sooooo overbent....

And then I saw the show championship - 5 winners from other classes. one lady on a Section D, nice horse, but the rider ... I know my ridings pants but she did let the horse down a bit, slumped.

and some of the kids in the earlier class - kick kick kick and of course pony won't move...

But interesting, and warm.

then they all finished, of course, and it was only 5pm... and it was blowing a gale outside... choice between sit in the wagon and freeze or find a sheltered spot and freeze. The wagon only had a view of the hedge.... i thought, partner would come to car park so chose sheltered spot, which wasn't that freezing; partner in fact went to wagon.

wagon will be picked up by vendor at some point and we'll have a discussion tomorrow about what to do. When my mate (it was her fiance who was at home) finally got back and heard, she texted me asking did i want her to tear the cheque up or send it back. She's fuming, but clearly we're going to be able to sort it. she's blaming the person who last used the wagon ..which will be right.

So we went to pub in catterick for dinner and got home about 10 minutes ago.

And of course I had to ring and get someone to do Molly ...ggrrhh..

and of course I hadn't been for shavings, since that was also part of the going home plan....

and when we got in, the elder cat has a very weepy eye. happily, still full of antibiotics from his op the other day (they do a long lasting injection these days) but has clearly scratched it. he's back to the vet tuesday...

Friday, November 09, 2007

a successful day.

firstly, Simba came home - in the middle of the night - but hasn't been anywhere since, i guess he thinks that was all too much! it won't last, he loves being out. I think we'll just have to get used to the fact thatoccasionally he does vanishing acts. the trouble is, knowing whether he's just having an adventure or is run over or has found a new home, it's a worry!

secondly, a major success at work. case went to trial - a rarity in itself - on the question of whether the client had brought his case within the time allowed. A Result - yes, said the judge. that's pretty impressive for a HAVS case - usually you are landed with having to persuade the judge to disapply the period and nothing else. But he said he would have found for us on that as well. so we're well pleased about that.

Then this evening I rode. Mind, I'd had about 8 goes at getting on myself before Julie turned up to give me a hand... ggrrh.

got some nice trot. but she's not as light in the hand as she was when i first put the bit in, and she certainly doesn't do what people say horses generally do with this bit ... i.e., have the head pretty well vertical.

But it was ok, i was pleased by the finish.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


bear in mind that there are no security lights in the yard - the only lights are when people turn them on, and of course we all turn them off as we leave.

so i got in the car and julie turned the yard light off - i started backing up before turning round to go. i was only going to go the edge of the wall (can't see if anything's coming through it whatever the conditions. someone thought i was going to back into their horse (which i couldn't see, as it was dark with a dark rug and h/she was in dark clothing). Oops. I wasn't, but they didn't know that... but i really couldn't see anything behind me.

but i guess i'll be consequentially unpopular.

julie said apparently someone nearly drove into another horse this morning.

guess we need to see YM about some proper security lights...

and it was very very cold and very very windy. So molly got extra haylage and her tea, which was all she wanted, and that's her tucked up.

apparently another friend has gone to YHL at Stoneleigh - jealous, moi?

and i finally got insurance sorted for the wagon, so need to see partner about going down to get it, and need to ring man who's going to sort the ramp, as it will have to be picked up and taken straight there....probably. makes sense to me, anyway. the alternative is pick it up one weekend and take it to tow law the next, either way, partner needs to be about to drive the car...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

road closed

the main drive to the yard was closed (but you didn't know until you turned in); we had to go much further a long and use the track (which apparently is called the "back drive" there's posh) which we normally use to ride along, the one that goes over the ford. potholes, very uneven, pitch black, very few passing places and an extra 2 miles. Didn't do a lot for my headache, of which i have a stinker due to my neck being stiff (and I blame the dental hygienist for that one!) so I just fed and came home.

and the missing cat is still missing.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


haven't done that for a long time, as you know, but i wanted to know if any of the work we've been doing has helped towards lunging.

answer - yes and no. I didn't take the risk of trying to do the side reins up in the arena, did them loosely before I left the stable (and we had to use the bitless i didn't want to dismantle bits and bridles ...but that was good anyway as if i needed to do rope circling it's good for that.

so, into the arena, got her away left rein ok - after she'd realised we weren't longlining, which she'd set off to do!!!!

right rein? had to use the end of the lunge rope to get her back end moving and then to get her away the direction i wanted, but once she did, she moved on and didn't turn in immediately, and when she did, i was able to get her moving again. What was interesting, i could use the whip to circle, i.e., use the end of the whip in the same way as the rope...

so i was pleased with most of it, save that when she did stop she came in to me instead of staying, but i was able to move her back out again.

Will have to dismantle a bridle one day and re-organise bits to see if I can do the same bitted, which would of course be preferable. Not sure that the myler combi would be quite the thing for lunging!

so, that was moderately successful.

the cats, however, are a problem. one went out abefore we came home last night and hasn't been seen since, so that's a worry, he's been away before a couple of nights at a time but 5th november? more worrying that usual.

the other was at the vet and has come back with no teeth. he was a rescue cat anyway, and has always had problems wiht his teeth & gums, but it was beyond controlling with antibiotics etc so he's had them all out.

he's still a bit wobbly, but asleep on a windowsill above a radiator.

Monday, November 05, 2007

commuting & bonfire night

can only be done once one can get out of the office car park.

Gridlock tongiht. there are two ways off the "office" estate where i work, one over a bridge over the tees, through stockton and home - that's my route, and about half the entire estate's route, i think. the other is right through the estate, onto the A66 then the A19 ....

the bridge had been closed from 10am this morning whilst they set up firework displays for tonight.

result - total gridlock. one of my colleagues came back in after 40 minutes sitting in the car park... i didn't go out, but rang the yard to have molly given her tea/more haylage than i'd left her!

Bonfire Night - otherwise known as Guy Fawkes Night - celebrates the demise of one Guy Fawkes, a 17th century home grown terrorist (tried to blow up the Houses of parliament), seem to recall he'd been trained abroad! this was during the reign of James 1, it was a religious thing (just goes to show, the more things change, the more they stay the same, and religion is the root of a lot of strife in the world!) is tonight. can't move for fireworks and fires. I had to ring the fire brigade on teh way home, someone had started a large fire in some trees between the A66 & 19 ... so i imagine they had to close both roads to sort that out! the trees are tinder dry, i should think, as we haven't had much rain lately!

Red squirrels are not extinct, but becoming very rare due to the influx of grey squirrels from north America. They are confined (reds) to a few locations in the North, and Allendale is one of them. Which I didn't know until yesterday! Greys are to be shot on sight....well, perhaps not!

Queenie is still mine, albeit retired. Bought her in 1995, when Molly's younger brother was weaned. Now 25. back the day when British Eventing put the results online, I could have linked you to her eventing record... but it's not there any more.

Pheasants are bred here for shooting as well (those that don't breed in the wild). but they're thick as two shorts, do a nice line in running under car wheels. this one wasn't tame, just curious .. perhaps a more clever one than his colleagues? who knows....

anyway, i've found the link to my first post on my earlier blog, here

Sunday, November 04, 2007

of horses and squirrels.


First, Queen of Timber. She looks tons better than she did when I saw her last month. Maybe it was the light in the stable, maybe it was a change of coat, but I was much happier today than I was this time last month.

Apparently, she's in charge - there's no youngstock at the moment, just Queenie, a grey Julia, and a 4 year old Blue (going grey, possibly ID connemara cross).

Second, the pheasant that was terrorising me yesterday. every time i moved - into the stable, out into the yard, into the tack/feed room, there it was, virtually at my heels. Maybe it thinks it owns the yard during the afternoon? certainly a safe place to be on a saturday when they're shooting!

Very unnerving though - sometimes clucking, the next minute hissing at me, a couple of times i was sure it was going to have a go!

And this is another view of the Tees from the work carpark, with swans. this was earlier this last week.

and the squirrel? driving up to the farm where Queenie is, you go up a very quiet narrow country track between some beech and conifer woods. There's a red squirrel crossing the road. it ran into a tree and sat looking at us but by the time i got the phone camera out and sorted it had moved and I simply couldn't get it. Fantastic though, they are becoming very rare (too many greys, killing them off by passing on a disease!). I hadn't realised they were up there.

early bird

mucked out, ridden and home by 10am. Fell out of bed at 0730 thinking OOPS .... didn't expect to ride as didn't expect there to be anyone to ride with, but Julie's back off her hols and despite not getting home till midnight last night, came dwon this morning. So we rode.

Round the 20 acre, through a couple of gates, up another field and back down.

There was the very odd sight of a hang glider not moving - goodness knows where he took off from, but there was clearly no wind up there as he wasn't going anywhere.

Molly blotted her copybook once - that was trying to knock a woman down who'd "helped" me get on, but since that particular woman is hopeless at the task (is frightened!) and also is telling untruths about another friend, i didn't tell her off too much. i rather think it was own fault - push my mare around she'll push back, kind of thing! and if you will walk away directly in front of a horse that's known to move onwards before rider is settled in saddle....

Oh, and going dwn the hill she decided she wanted to go the other way from the 20 acre - normally when i've tried to get her to do that she wouldn't. so maybe she's getting braver, but too opinionated. did get her sorted once she decided to listen!

off to see queenie today, have another good look at her - you'll recall i wasn't totally convinced last time that she is as good as she should be for another winter.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

rein back

Well, we tried it. Got jackie (who was nearby plaiting her horse, and did know the aids!) to come push Molly from the ground whilst I gave the aids. She did give a couple of steps of rein back, but I couldnt' repeat it for myself, so something to work on. But, I see what is meant by getting them under, she was moving better afterwards. Did try it your way first, caroline, but she went forward so i was obviously doing something wrong!

And before that, I'd realised the one mistake in dressing this morning (in a hurry to go down and turn out, that I hadn't remedied) - no bra. Doesn't half force you to ride correctly, though, to reduce the bounce!

and after about 20 minutes in the school, we went down to the 20 acre. down the hill no bother, through the gate, then i put her into trot. She's not sewing machining as much as she did. But we still only got half way! still, it is progress.

She was in really early in consequence - not quite wrapped my head round what time it gets dark, and we were done a bit sooner than i might have planned, could have left the house an hour later!

and i really must get Muriel out to look at the saddle...

now, on the subject of saddles, that barefoot cheyenne is on ebay, will someone please buy it!!!!

and one disaster. I bought a large container of screen wash the other day, and hadn't yet opened it. it should therefore not have leaked even if it did fall over. it fell over (in the boot) and leaked all over "100 exercises for dressage riders" which is now hopefully drying out with tissue paper, but you can guarantee a load of pages will stick together and therefore illegible if i try and pull them apart. bummer.

Friday, November 02, 2007

friday night

dark and lonely. i don't ride when everyone has gone home which they had tonight. generally there's at least one person around a lot later but not tonight! looking forward to a nice day tomorrow, weather going to be good, they say.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

i might regret

putting a rug on molly tonight, but i might not.

it was really warm again this morning, so she went out without, but then rained all afternoon - when i got to the yard, she was warm, and dry by then, but muddy. BUT the forecast had said it was going to get cold again, and obviously she can't keep warm in teh stable as she can't move about as much. so rug on (once i'd scraped the mud off!). but it was still warm when i left, so i hope the forecast was right or i'll have an overheated horse instead of a nicely warm one.

and it was continuing rain.

Mylers - it depends on the Myler, I think. This particular one is for a purpose, given Molly's issues. if we end up with a long term result, then probably I'll go for a dressage legal one ...this one certainly isn't that!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

now here's a thing

clipped yesterday as you know. it was so warm she went out rugless (and I didn't need my jacket to muck out, which is a balance - keep my top half clean from horse things, as i have the work shirt on, but not get hot and sweaty). and when i got back tonight, she felt warmer down her neck than she had prior to being clipped. So i reckon there's a thing there about being too warm and thus feeling cold....

anyway, i tried to finish the face off (at least made it a load tidier!) but it'll all have to wait to the weekend for some daylight now.

felt sure it was going to rain - kept spitting on and off on the way home and was forecast - so decided not to do anything work wise with her. and of course, by the time i'm on my way home there's no sign of rain... ah well.

Muriel, yes I think the myler combi has a lot to do with it. She can't set her jaw (although she can set her body if she really wants to....) which means it's much easier to get direction and softness.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I got off work early (dental appointment) so was at the yard with plenty of time before it got dark, and wahl pro trimmers - which i rather thought would do the clip I wanted, the girth area & between the legs, up to the wither then neck/face - and they did. Ran out of battery before i got the face done, and some tidying up needed, but considering that's the first time i've ever clipped a horse myself (in the past other people have done it for me - even when it's the clippers I own a share in!) i was very pleased. Molly is very good about being clipped - had a haynet in front of her, and got through two slices of haylage whilst i was doing it - but not bothered in the slightest. unlike her mother, who was a total pain, especially regarding the girth/between the legs. People were amazed i was able to do that clip with those trimmers (which is what they are sold as) but they're pretty substantial compared to many other brands of tiddly trimmers, and whilst not a full width blade, plenty wide enough, and much easier to get to the fiddly bits.

And then she was ridden.

bearing in mind that in the past we've struggled with small circles, i was very pleased that we did one of my favourite warm up/suppling exercises (well as taught by Marji armstrong, actually .. works though) which is round the arena in 10 metre circles - you do 1 1/2 right, then 1 1/2 left, and so on until you get round the arena again. not perfect circles by any means, but no argument about them, no attempts to not go the way i indicated, no stress head..

Oh, and I did leave the schooling whip on top of the wall in the arena, so I was able to get on first time of asking no trouble, so that was good as well. must remember that one!

Monday, October 29, 2007

it's not that dark

honest, not when there's lights in the arena! everyone else was away home, but i decided 15 minutes ground work would be a good plan...after I'd helped Kirsty get her hay in, had arrived really late (think she'd given up on it as she came back in her best kit! when i rang to say it had arrived).

Really good molly already being in when i get there, saves a load of time. It's amazing how much they can eat in a short time though!!!!

pictures from google earth:

close in on the shot you want to capture, then file/save/save image, and it saves it as a jpeg wherever you tell it...