Wednesday, January 31, 2007


after monday which i was reasonably happy with, i've been reminded of the safety issues involved in riding at night when everyone's gone home and there's no one at home to notice that you haven't come home..

it's a long time since i've had to think about that,but i'm having to this week.
shame, the weather's lovely - really warm, no wind (barely a breeze).....

but some things aren't worth the risk, i don't think (maybe it's an age thing.....)

Monday, January 29, 2007


is not sprung, but it was warm enough for us all to feel as though it was.

it was so nice tonight, no wind, no rain, full (well, nearly full) moon, clear sky, i decided to get on; only did 20 minutes (wasn't going to stay on when everyone else had gone, and no one waiting for me at home!) and had to get a hand to get on as of course she woulnd't stand still... but at least she THOUGHT about it tonight!!!

i was starting to get the trot, but she sets off in such a rush i lose it again ... not assisted by the stirrup buckle bashing into my shin, of course. but we were doing better on circles and i nearly got a little bit of lateral work (which i did ask for... i do tend to forget the aids though .... must re-read up on it)

overall i was pleased, better than sunday anyway!!!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

um ...

think i possibly need to be hacking out more.

it was too windy at the start. gaynor & i decided to go in the arena. that wasn't easy ... it's quite a small arena and i wanted to carry on getting used to the saddle/getting my position right in walk trot, whilst gaynor just wanted to do what she was doing (which involved lots of canter circles on both reins....).. I stopped to put my stirrups up a hole. I'm using my ordinary leathers but with the buckle at the bottom, and the buckle dug into my shin on one side. But I did start to get the trot better. then we decided to go for a short potter out, with a littel bit of trot. and my rising trot was somehow a lot better out than it had been in. that's why i think maybe i need to be hacking out. but madam molly decided to whip round before we got to where we were going (only the ford; the bend just before it she often takes exception to) and i wasn't expecting that as she normally will just follow on.... didn't come off, but didn't do me a lot of good. so we trotted back with me concentrating on slowing the rise and trying to get her to trot properly instead of the sewing machine trot she does when she's trying to rush back..

hoo, that was a long paragraph.

And I must see if i can get the yorkshire agent to come up; think i need some adjustments in teh shimming department (and i can't see where they go) (or possibly the other panels which haven't arrived yet but are promised soon). I'm seeing her saturday, so will ask then... decided that's a better plan than a phone call..

new jersey

jean, i saw this

and thought of you ....

do you get many round your way? (bears, that is, not ginger toms.....LOL)

Saturday, January 27, 2007


it was a gorgeous day .... regular heatwave outside molly's stable door! but once you were out of the sun, not quite.. but blue skies, no rain, no gales.

So why didn't i get on?

I dunno ... well, i do, it took ages to find some stirrup leathers, having sold the barefoot ones and still waiting for the hm ones to arrive .... remove entire contents of box, give some stuff away, re pack box. the leathers were the mouldy lengths. goodness knows how they got mouldy when everything else in there wasn't (leather head collar, a few other bits and bobs ...). time i'd done that, got half way through getting the mud off, the farrier arrived. and i still had haylage to get. so i thought i'd lunge, just using the BB.

I give up. I will not lunge ordinarily again. in future, if i want to do ground work, she gets two lines to the bit, with both through the roller rings. it's the only thing that works (at least, until i can get her seen by richard maxwell, that's the plan for the summer, he might have some thoughts/solution).

So essentially i shoudl have put it all together and ridden, and not bothered with the lunging. but also it had been a while what with the weather, so i thought it was a better idea.

couldn't loose school as someone else was using the arena as well (also meant i couldn't have the more major debate on the subject we normally do, there wasn't the room and the other person was in fact giving a lesson to a beginner..... )

the haylage involved borrowing landrover from instructor and putting as many bales in as it would take ... 5, given its an SWB. and the drivers seat wouldn't be moved forward, it's been fixed in place, so that was painful... could feel it in my lower back by the time i got back. but kind of her to let me use it (normally her OH delivers for free - it's him i buy from) when you buy off him, but he was away ... so no pick up either.) and by then it was getting on and a LONG time since breakfast as well ...

Simba went out for the first time today .... and went straight UP the canadian maple we have in our garden, I WILL HAVE THAT BIRD he was saying to himself. i left him to it, he came back. but I must try and take a photo. he was out along branches and all sorts... but he does blend in to the tree bark a bit.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


but a day off tomorrow, which i will spend all day rushing round like a paper kite...

simba has now conceded that i can hug him and he will purr not hiss...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

winter is here?

well, almost. snowing but not lying where i am but getting colder, and windy again. can't see any riding getting done for a few days. Molly's happy just to be fed & watered, and who can blame her. but a tad too wet of an evening to think about grooming, so just check her over and say hello and answer the demand for tea!

the good news is twofold. the saddle is now paid for so i can now start paying the payments (well, i suppose that's good and bad); and simba has decided to stop hissy fitting, has started purring, and tonight has spent some time on my knee, purring (then decided walking over the desk was good, but that was to be expected, so long as he doesn't start trying to type!).

so he's settling in.

now, all we need do is get friday (vet) day over and he can start going out. think he'll ust about know where he lives, and the tom tendencies will be subsiding.

think the birdlife won't be too pleased though... old tiger didn't have the energy, and blackie's too fat (always is in the winter, and takes all summer to reduce)

Monday, January 22, 2007


had to be up at 0415 this morning to get partner to the airport at 0500.... did it. amazing how busy the roads were, wagons setting off early, but we made record time there and i made record time back to the yard. molly and blake went out super early - about 0530, and blake had no company. I'm sure he survived. but at least i had breakfast in the house, which made a change!!!!

coming on to snow . but it isn't going to lie... on the way home; wasn't planning on riding anyway.. need to sort out some leathers, having sold the ones that went with the cheyenne and the ones i've ordered to go with the fhoenix havne't arrived.

and think i'm going to have to ring teh yorkshire agent (to whom I am going for an equisimulator session anyway) to some up and check out my set up. can't think of anything else to do, really ... and that's a 170 odd mile round trip.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

got to ride

amazing... the wind died down, the sun came out, it was nippy but it was nice.

again, just in the arena, practising my trot ... need to get my legs right. think i need leathers a shade shorter at the moment.

it was a bit difficult as gaynor was lunging charlie.... he was going too fast, really, and we had to work one end of the arena.. it's quite small.

i realised i'd been thinking about my seat so much my hands had gone pear shaped .. not so much in terms of fingers, more that very slight movement to point direction, oops, confusing her. no wonder our circles etc. weren't working.

anyway, did ok, but i do need to go back on the equisimulator. need to slow and lower my rise some more...

the bad news, the local fhoenix agent has broken her leg in two places.. so the email i sent her asking her to come out andcheck the set up, whether i need shims, whatever, is going to fall on deaf ears atm. and i gather she's a bit older than i'd thought she was .... and i only got on set of panels, the others still to come, and i've a feeling its the ones i haven't got that i need.

the hot water bottle makes a big difference though...

Saturday, January 20, 2007

welcome simba

new kitten, 6 months old... went down to fetch him today.

isn't he gorgeous.

this one is after he'd been in the house about 1/2 hour

and this one is as he'd just got out of the carrier and was coming into the house from the conservatory...

the older black lad we still had after Tiger went is a bit disconcerted - and doesn't understand the concept of play, we don't think. ooops.

it was an awful drive down.

the gales were blowing, i was down to 60 mph on the motorway when i usually max to the limit. and I was oh so nearly written off altogether by the tractor unit of a wagon ... there's a place on the road down, single carriageway, 50 mph limit because of a bad bend -- tractor unit came the other way round said bend, doing about 65 or so i would think, and in consequence was on the wrong side of the road. the language was choice, and I was oh so pleased I wasn't maxing it to even 50 there! or i wouldn't be here ....; ditto that he didn't have anything on the back! i was going slowly enough to be able to react and pull slightly to my left without totally losing it but I was bricking it and so, I think, was the chap in the car behind me who had a clear view as well..... shook for the next 5 miles ... essentially till i got to where i was going.

and as for molly - i clearly wasn't going to be riding her in that lot i thought. So we left the cats to get to know each other, and went to the local town and then went down to muck out/bed up/get molly in. it was dire as we were doing our messages ... but we got down the yard, the wind had dropped.... i could in fact have ridden. but partner wouldn't have been too impressed by that, and molly was anyway pretty wet, would have taken ages to dry the mud enough to get the bridle on. so she got brought in very early, and was left with loads to eat and a new bed...

Friday, January 19, 2007


has gone mad.

snow in malibu!!!! ice storms in the US south!!! warm in washington, new jersey (jean!) etc; howling gales and deaths in most of the UK, my bit of it gets off really lightly.... who knows why?

Connie Lawn, a white house correspondent, does a piece for our local radio station in Newcastle on a Friday night; she reckons our climate si worse than that in the US? can't believe that...

i was thinking tonight driving home how little attention the horses get inthe winter compared to spring/summer/autumn.... between the lack of light, lack of indoor, and weather, there's no chance of keeping anything going consistently for most of us.

the news on the lame mare is good - she's pottering about - she has a stable with a gated front yard with it, so she can get herself a bit of exercise. she's 26, so whether she recovers enough to be ridden again is an interesting question... owner will be content if she's happy which is all any of us can want .... i was really relieved it was only a tendon, as honeslty, when i first clocked her, i really thought she'd broken it (and so did the others who came to help get her in, i think!).

anyway, whether i get any riding done this weekend is a function of the weather, so that new saddle might well just sit there for a bit!!!!!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

slept in again...

well, not only did i sleep in but spent 10 minutes extra inthe house sorting out the laptop to take to work; i'd left it downloading a programme that took longer than i thought, and when i came back to it this morning to install it it said i can't without sp2... which i haven't got, WGA thinking that my genuine XP isn't....

so molly & blake got chucked out and that was it, and kirsty & I were both mucking out at a late hour, me round the horse! happily, someone had brought her in, which was good.....

howling gales the rest of the country (including teesside, where i work) but durham where i live was an oasis of calm ... just as well, sounds dreadful)

and there had been snow last night! just about the first of the winter, cars in durham with snow on them this morning...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

winter is arriving

there was snow in the rain today and it's forecast for the weekend... still, so far we've got off lightly.

Jean, thanks for the tip re pelham; in a way i'm frightened to try it, but i will. RI won't show me.... old school a bit on that i think. but isn't it typical .... new saddle to get into and the weather's too bad to ride... hey ho. I've even given in and put the heavier rug on .... hope she doesn't over heat, she's very difficult to get the rugging right, just like her ma.


here's blackie, the other one; new kitten gets picked up saturday, and hopefully i'll be able to book him at the vets the following friday when i've got day off anyway.... he's supposed to be on a diet now there's only him...

i've got a load more cat photos elsewhere, of the various cats i've had over the years....

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

i knew she didn't want to do anything

as soon as i brought her in.

but the weather was still and dry - if b*****y freezing! needed my fleecy chaps on!

the hot water bottle did the biz warming the saddle up ... immediately comfy. and I could really feel her moving, the back legs coming through, so that's an improvement. I did think about trying trot but she wasn't happy and i wasn't happy i had my legs quite right (think the saddle slipped a touch, despite someone holding it, needthe proper girth to arrive...)

and then second time we went past the arena gate, which was open, i didn't anticipate the dive for it quickly enough ... duh. but, whilst she did try to nap back to the stable, she didn't get as far as she normally does, i did turn her round through the yard (startled by the sight of a dark shadowy horse, let her off with that one!!!) and then back trhough, but she still wouldn't go back in the arena so i eventually got off and led her in, if only on the basis that she was going to go in there.

she's started getting unhappy in her mouth again... might be me, but we might be back to the bit issues we had before.

i want to try the pelham but still can't find anyone to show me how to use two reins/that bit effectively and properly. do'nt want to end up with a worse issue that i already had....

and in the meantime we think we're getting a new kitten - 6 months, a woman in the office building i work in, her daughter is allergic to it. perfect age, already house trained, what more can one want? we'd need to get it neutered (it's a tom, so all the more reason!) but apart from that sounds ok.

Monday, January 15, 2007

more gales

and i was very tired - comes of staying up late reading a book, always a mistake! - so didn't do anything save get her in.

forecast for frost but no wind, i can live with that - but those ice storms in the states sound horrendous.

the old mare apparently has a tendon .... which was expected to go up like a pudding overnight, but hasn't. and that leg isn't insured .... oops. previous incident apparently. but she's fine in herself, eating etc, just struggling to move.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

stopped in our tracks

by someone else's lame horse

i'd bought a hot water bottle to warm the saddle, but the entire estate had no electricity ..

anyway, got tacked up, got on, went into the arena, stopped to talk to someone who it turned out is saving up for a phoenix, started walking round, walking down the long side looking up and saw the mare suzie trying to follow the other horses and failing miserably - only half a step from half across the field, but didn't look right at all ..

so took molly up to the barn to call a couple of people out i knew were there, caroline walked up with a headcollar to get suzie in - she was hopping, looked as though it was both front and back .

i put moly away and untacked and went back to help, had to keep the field gate open and i had to shoo the other horses away. got on the phone - i didn't have owner's number but did have her friend's, and she rang owner whilst i rang the vet.

whatever it was she'd done, i think she did it when they were all hoolying about not long after i arrived; somone had a fall and there were two loose horses, which set them all off, and the high probability is that suzie hurt herself then.

Whilst I'm pleased I spotted her when i did, it's a shame I didn't spot her in the first place ... but then, i wouldn't as you can't see the field from the yard, only from the arena/barn

the vet hadn't arrived when i left, but the owner had

hope it is only a sprain; she's getting on a bit, that mare, late 20's i'm fairly sure i was told.

so molly got off really lightly.

the saddle felt a lot better as it warmed up under me of course. and i dropped the leathers a hole, my position felt really good. It's amazing how this saddle forces me to sit up

Saturday, January 13, 2007

you will sit in the correct position

is what the new saddle is telling me ... which is, of course, one of the things i wanted!

i do need to get a hot water bottle .. it was like a board when i first got on. of course it does have to mould to both of us....

i think i had it a bit far back.

and it definitely slipped as i got on (someone holds her head, but not many think to do it from the offside and hold the stirrup as well!!!)

stirrups too short in consequence of being put in the correct position, but too much hassle to sort out whilst onboard.

she wasn't wonderfully happy, but that was in her mouth - rather think she's unhappy at contact, which she always is, and of course as i was getting used to the saddle wasn't really working hard at getting myself right.

did a lot of walk work, just in the arena - there was a few going out for a hack, but to me it made more sense to get used to new saddle before hacking out on it, especially as there was 5 of them without me!

and we got the best of the day - i checked out the weather forecast at about 730 this morning, and it said it would be calm this morning but get gales again in the afternoon, and they were so right...

and we've had some wind damage - not much in the scale of things, but enough to warrant a call to the insurance company - the vent pipe for the drain has come away from the wall in the wind, there's a huge hole in the wall where the fixings came away ... ah well, that's what insurance is for. just pleased we had the new roof last year, don't think the old one would have survived...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

saddle part 2

it arrived. it actually arrived before i left the office last night, but i was at our other office and no one told me there was a parcel there for me ... so that was a mega surprise this morning! YAY. and I rang up, i can use it .... and the good thing is i can work out which size girth I want before that gets sent ...

but the gales are worse than ever, AND we had no light at the yard - had to leave my car lights on to see what i was doing, and will have to again in the morning, AND molly had been left out on her own, much to her distress and mine. I am getting SO hacked off with that.

She won't be getting mucked out in the morning if I can't see what i'm doing ....

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


we all cocked up on the saddle front - me and the arranger for not spotting the difference in figures, and the bank ditto .... so we have to start again.

in the meantime, a saddle with my name on it is sitting waiting for the money


molly's well and unworked.

thought about it last night but rashly had put the hay straign into the haybar, as the forecast was to be a lot worse than it in fact was. there was no way she was going to stop eating.

and tonight got really held up at work and ended up at the yard in my suit.... happily had a mack to put over, and had also asked kirsty to get her in (she had to ring me this morning, having slept in - we're all having a good time, time wise!)

anyway, ebay has a 10p listing day tomorrow, so i guess i should put the cheyenne up...

Monday, January 08, 2007

slept in ...

this morning, only had time to tip molly out, and blake for kirsty... so had to muck out round her tonight, AND she'd been left out on her own again .... duh.

a few degrees warmer where i am at home, than at work 25 miles south ... and no wind at home when it was blowing hard at work....

blogging this from the laptop, neither blogger nor the bbc is showing up properly and if i wanted to post a photo i wouldhave to do it from the pc... very odd.

jean, i think the long line is what you're teaching from a major distance!!!!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

she's a c**

Tonight I thought I'd try ordinary lunging . the thinking being that if she's going right with two lines, she should with one .


had to get someone to help put the side reins on, she still wouldn't do what i wanted, so i set her left, and she started backing up and thinking about going up. Bollocks....

so i went back, got hte other rein, and took her back round and got her going right with two reins. which she did nicely ...


and my foot is killing me. that arena is too deep really, and i can't wear my ariat boots as i end up with a boot full of arena ..

i shall save up and have her seen by richard maxwell .. she needs that sort of specialist assistance, as clearly do it.

but the weather is good (about 11 or so degrees), got the apple tree pruned and all the prunings shredded, so that's a job jobbed. think we might take one central branch out next weekend as well, couldn't quite make my mind up about it today ...

Saturday, January 06, 2007

RIP Tiger

Tiger was my cat .. had him since early 91, I think (it was either 90 or 91 ...); anyway, for weeks and months now he's been chucking up, with more or less frequency. whilst i was off sick and over christmas, we foudn he was doing much better on little and often and the vomiting was a lot less. Of course, we went back to work, and he started chucking up more.

so we took him to the vet this morning .. turned out he had a tumour in the tum ... I'd a feeling he wouldn't be coming home (indeed, we knew last year that when we took him we probably wouldn't be fetching him home).... and i was right, we didn't.

Vet said could have put him on steroids, but what's the point? at that age, it would only have prolonged the inevitable.

he went out purring to the end - was a bit miffed at us trying to keep his paws down, but carried on purring

gone in seconds, way to go.

my partner said he'd had a much better death than her dad, who died in february having been kept alive on ventilators etc for a fortnight...

(edited to add photos ....)
These were taken recently. The one with the bone was Boxing day. We'd had lamb on the bone, and decided to give the bone to the cats onthe basis it might tempt tiger to eat ... which it did, he loved it. And the other one was this last week, wednesday. The ones of him as a kitten were before the days of digital cameras!

as for Molly ... Jean, we tried the two rein lunging with the reins through the top rings on the roller.

started off with long lining round the arena both directions - but htat was AFTER i'd had to get someone to hold her head whilst I clipped the long lines to her bit!!! doh. Think we wil have to long line out of the stable....

any way did that, then we ventually got her going on left circle (after a turn in and a tangle, which i worked out how to get out of ...) and then later on right, in trot.

partciularly pleased as Gaynor brought Charlie in and was riding him roudn the outside of us.

She did get a bit strong, and I'm not totally sure my hands were as good as they should be, will need to re-read the book (i've got sylvia loch's, and i've got a video on the subject by a swede whose name i can't remember).

but she was acccepting the contact ... which is goot ... and looked quite good!

and had to get my car brakes mended as well...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

gales ...

no point even thinking about trying to do anything last night and tonight ... gales .... full moon, but howling gales.

and apart from that i'm not doing anything save vegetating in front of the telly.... and touring forums and other blogs ....

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

ground work

thought it was time we did some ground work .. so thought i'd try two rein lunging and see how we got on. last time, we got on badly as I couldn't get the reins set up to go either way due to her refusal to let me go to her right side....

tonight i conned her to start and managed to set it up and get her going to the right, yay. managed to get the offside rein caught under the pad i put under the roller, but never mind, better than flapping round her ankles.

also tried turning her, and succeeded in long lining all the way round the arena twice, on right rein. also at one point had the beginnings of a half pass - whichwas all very well, but i didn't know i'd asked for it and it was too close to a corner anyway.

but when it came to set it up to go left .... which of course means reorganising the reins .... i couldn't get her to let me round her right side at all.


so i gave up. yes ok i shouldn't, but there's limits to how long i am prepared to stand there since it only results in my losing my temper

i did wonder if next time i should just set it up and long line directly out of the stable. i think if i do that i'd better have someone there, as it would be not good if that went pear shaped. but it might be the way forward. a

anywhere except the arena, i can go to her right side.

friend of mine has richard maxwell coming out ... on thursday, though, and there's no way i can take the day off work, just having gone back after new year. good to know he's well enought to be back working though. i would LOVE to have Molly have a session with him, woudl do her and me the power of good.

friend is going to video the session though, so it'll be interesting to watch that...

Monday, January 01, 2007

back to schooling...

the wind was horrid this morning, so rode this afternoon, did some schooling. gaynor had to help me get on, molly has turned back into a right cow about standing still (she won't, again.... thought we'd cracked that one...)

so i was going for my position again, and kept getting in gaynors way, but did get myself sorted out ... found myself jamming my feet to o far into the stirrups, but by the finish i was getting there a lot better... mind i did have my fleece lined chaps on, which are a shade slippy

looking forward to the new saddle....