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....