Monday, March 31, 2008

more good news

but before that, explain to me - it's a lovely night, warm, no gales, no wind.... and i was the only person riding from our yard? don't get that.

anyway, decided to do the ground work/mounting exercise.

she wasn't pleased having to do ground work, but it was certainly the way to go. she'd been sharpened up a bit (as had I!) by Saturday's exercise. So she tried it on a couple of times on the ground work front but failed in not going backwards - that is, she did - and failed in not going right - she did - and succeeded in standing still at the stool! twice. after I'd got on the first time, i decided to get off again, do a bit more ground work and then get on again!


then i couldn't do as much ridden as i would have wanted - as everyone was going. ACtually, if i'd known Gaynor hadn't arrived yet, I would have stayed on - but I thought everyone had gone .. and that was unusually late for her anyway!

blake is moving to another yard on the estate tomorrow, so Molly will have a new neighbour, pony Katie who will spend most of the summer in (laminitic...)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

standing and sharing and snoozling...

This was first thing this morning - I'd tied molly up with a haynet whilst I mucked out, and blake decided to share (even though he had one of his own!). neither of them were bothered!

and this was taken by Kirstie, blake's owner, some time later, before she went home herself - always amazes me how good a photo you can get on a mobile!
Anyway, a visit to Queenie in Allendale via the tack shop in hexham (which produced a pair of caldene sticky bum jod's, half price (£19.99) pleased with them!

Queenie had a very nasty cut on her foot....not sure how well the photo of that has worked, it was a bit dark in the stable - but lucky not to take her entire foot off. But looked ok, sound on it, will see how it goes. she'll have to be on box rest until it heals a lot more than it is.then via Ikea to buy stool to use as mounting block (£7.50) which I built after i finally got to the yard again about 4. the weather by then was glorious!

And Molly? up to the mounting block, stood like a lamb! very good. and picked all her feet out without a debate as well! She wasn't so good after I got on, but I think that was my fault, i didn't feel quite square. at one point I put my full weight on that left foot and it hurt, so I guess i'm right in supposing i'm favouring it when riding. we had a lot of rattling the bit about, and unsettled head, and waving it around a bit, interspersed with some nice work when she did round under me. We did a little bit of trot as well - it was at this point I realised how much i was favouring that left foot!

So given that we now have light nights, might start the odd small hack out with Julie on Susie if the weather's ok as well.....but at the least sign of her going back to her old ways for mounting, it's back in the arena! if I go on a hack, I can't keep Julie waiting whilst I do 10 minutes or so ground work as well....don't think that would be fair!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

ok, you've been waiting

to know how we got on.

that was the start. So you can all see what she does, and that it wasn't just me (the pale jacket is me, the pink is natasha! and yes, natasha did get a hat on shortly thereafter!)


or more to the point, natasha did.

the real problem was, by the time we did that, the light had gone & it was raining and I couldn't get any vid of the successful moment! sorry and all that!

essentially, instead of doing what i have been doing (one night riding, if i'm doing ground work, not tacking up and riding after) i need to be doing ground work before riding). and of course often it's easier for someone else to deal with this sort of thing....

there is some more video of the work that led up to success, but it is on the camcorder, not the digital camera, so is going to take some while to sort. and it's a lot of ropecircling, backing up circling, backing up ... and so on.

but I feel a whole lot happier.

and to investigate new yard - went up to visit a chap & his horses we've known for a while, nice yard, 3 arenas of much better quality than i have ATM, hacking without gates it seems! £30 pw inclusive of haylage & straw (possible discount available since i'm on shavings). so will go back, check out mileage, their terms, etc

Friday, March 28, 2008

the plan for tomorrow

involves natasha coming up in the afternoon, then boxing molly up to the indoor - which is on another yard on the estate - and spending time working on the mounting issue. i hope that plan comes off (i.e., nothing prevents natasha from turning up!). we're going up there as the weather is forecast to be not good! of course, if the forecast is wrong, we'll stick with the original plan, i expect, which is for tash to fetch a horse up and try getting molly out as well!

we'll see.

planning on taking camera as well, so if that works we'll have some video tomorrow night as well....

Thursday, March 27, 2008

one achievement in 3 1/2 years

is that molly will lunge to the right! we did 15 minutes lunging tonight - it wasn't raining (although thinking about it) and wasn't blowing, and everyone else was pretty much away so I decided that was the thing to do.

will need to go back to a few basics on the feet picking up, whilst she is a lot better it's not completely there yet and i need to reinforce that training with some more click/treat until I know she's consistent about it. would be good to be able to surprise the farrier in a fortnight!

I didn't say on Tuesday, but Queenie had to have the vet again Monday night - so busy trying to eat over the fence that she knocked it down and hurt her foot. alison wasn't going to call out as she knew what to do per clean up etc, but then decided on balance some antibiotics and bute were a good idea. at that point Queenie was showing her age - by the morning she was kicking hell out of the door to be out again, so probably not much wrong overall.

looking forward to the weekend - hope the weather is a vast improvement on last weekend, and i get some solid work done with her. Partner away to see a friend for the weekend so no one nagging as to why i'm not back yet...

and it's worming weekend, which means they aren't allowed out from saturday 10am until monday morning save for exercise, so an afternoon practising stuff is probably going to be a good idea!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

general consensus

is that the longline idea is a bad one - which is pretty much the conclusion i'd come to thinking about the tangles one could get into, let alone rearing possibilities!

friend's coming up on saturday so we'll have a conference...

the other option, of course, is doncaster sales.....and invest proceeds in an ottb....or see if someone has something available on long term loan....

don't think i'm wholly prepared to give up just yet....despite my frustrations!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

an idea

Kirstie had an idea that might work if it isn't dangerous.....and it might not be if I can get it right.

she suggests I clip a long line to the outside bit ring, gather it up in my hands going round Molly's bum as i lead her up to the mounting block. Thus, as she starts to turn her quarters away, I am preventing that happening. then of course once I was on I'd have to gather the line up quickly in my hand and tie it to the saddle such that it doesn't fall down again.

Thoughts anyone?

the other thing I have to think about, as I reminded myself this morning and forgot to say yesterday - if the stool I'm using in the arena isn't high enough - and most of them arent' - then Molly, when she isn't turning quarters away, is moving her body IN to me and thus pushing me off the stool! which isn't helpful, especially to the poorly foot which is the one I usually end up landing on....

For partners birthday today we went to Harlow Carr, the RHS Garden in Harrogate (which also has a Betty's....) and then on the way home to Brimham Rocks. We will go back to Brimham Rocks on a warmer day with our walking gear and a packed lunch - if we'd known they were there and that good before, we'd have done that instead of Harlow Carr! But it was itneresting to see the work they'd done at the Garden, and how the "gardens through time" are developing.

So Molly had nothing done with her - shame, as of course the weather at least wasn't windy, if a bit cold!

I was rung this morning whilst we were on our way south and reminded i have a meeting after work tomorrow night - burgers.

Monday, March 24, 2008

nearly in tears

me, that is.

Decided to go downthis morning, as we're meant to be out this afternoon. So after i'd mucked out etc got her in and groomed. By the time i was tacked up there was no one there but Liz was out on a ride. After 1/2 hour of me trying to get on on my own and failing - the usual bollocks, get her so far and then the quarters go round - Liz came back and came to help me on. so far so good you would think.

Molly set her jaw and set off for the 20 acre - which would have been all very well if she hadn't planted at the top of the hill. turned her round, planted again. turned again, planted again. said, ok then, down the hill - planted again. turned her round, planted again. Now this is quite a steep hill so not a good place for sitting out a plant at all - she was getting to a situtation where we would have been planted at the steepest bit, rather than the bit you can go down. So i got off and walked back, and whilst doing that saw Liz getting in her car and she drove through the yard in front of me on foot.

There was no way i was getting back on - Molly went back to quarters round when i got anywhere near.

No one will be back now until this afternoon.

so i called her several names and turned her out again.

The bit i had in was the new one I'm trying out.

and please don't tell me i shouldn't have got off. I'll scream at you if you do.

I know the idea of putting straw bales opposite the mounting block. There aren't any, and if I did I would have to put them there every time then move them away again, as they would be totally in the way of everyone else trying to do anything with their horse. don't think my back would be up to all that moving straw bales around.

And we did have a period when she did stand to be mounted, I don't know what happened to decide her to stop doing so.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

finally got on!

after how many days? Mind, i rather wished i hadn't - or rather, I'd wished I'd gone down in the morning, the weather was better! Managed to miss the actual snow, but the wind had got up again so my hands froze before we'd done the first half hour, and I had to get off as i was then too cold to do anything! Had got a bit of sideways, which pleased me!

I lengthened my stirrups by one hole, which i'd been wanting to do for a long time. It is better- at least, in walk it is! - my legs felt more draped and more effective and I felt more able to use less leg, if you see what i mean. so even though it was short and cold, i learnt something. Oh and I did get one moment of "up" with lightness as well! which was a first, usually it's "up" with a set jaw! hopefully i can repeat that when the weather's better!

but I wish she'd stand to be mounted...she will insist on turning quarters away, and she knows what she's doing, and there's nothing i seem to be able to do about it! get her so far to the block, and she turns away... depressing. One of the chaps insists i can do it, but the trouble is when he comes over then she stands - she always does when someone comes to her head. I'm sure i'ts just badness....well, not totally, but she knows what she's doing!

partner promised to come and video the exercise one day - i'll hold her to that one on one warmer day! someone might be able to think of something that might be persuading the moo to do this...

Natasha thinks I should aim to do a walk/trot test by august. I think, that's probably a good idea, as it gives me a goal to work to ....

Saturday, March 22, 2008


eventually the wind dropped - at about 5pm or thereabouts - by which time we'd done a load of stuff in howling gales and freezing cold and blizzards, so wehn i got back to the yard i was stunned to find NO WIND - but everyone else had gone home, of course, and i was knackered....

hopefully, it stays that way for tomorrow!

Friday, March 21, 2008

rainbow girls

today we went up to the Scottish Borders to visit a friend and her two fillies - one 2, one 3, from the iberian peninsula - crosses not purebreds, but they're going to be stunning nontheless.

The only photo you're going to get is one eye of each was VERY VERY windy (still is) and kept snowing off and on was too cold to be out more than 5 minutes
but I think you can tell they're pretty special and very friendly.

and we were given a fantastic lunch, won't need to eat again until the morning, so many thanks for that.

I wouldn't have been able to do anything with Molly even if I had stayed at home - it's been AWFUL. the only good thing about that was that the A1 north wasn't as bad as it normally is on Good Friday, as most people probably had the sense to stay at home LOL.

I'd arranged for Molly to be brought in this evening and left all ready (I turned them all out this morning....) as I didn't know what time we'd get back - that road is known for horrid accidents, no guarantees at all as there's too many people insist on breaking the speed limit, passing wagons where they shouldn't, and so on....

hopefully it'll improve for the rest of the weekend..

Thursday, March 20, 2008


you will remember the dizzy spells I was getting? had my ENT appintment this morning - the consultant thought he was seeing me at the end of labrynthitis running its course...keep on with the tablets but run them down and get referred back if it all goes wrong again. and I had an audiogram done, which was interesting - i was right in supposing my left ear to be worse than my right! but really not bad at all - couple of dips at the higher frequencies in the left ear (which means i don't hear those frequencies as well, early sign of age related deafness) - hate to think what it'll look like in a few years time!

and easter weekend is starting with a howling gale. swept the yard in front of the stables, put it in barrow - it immediately all blew out again.

early start tomorrow, going up just north of Berwick to see a friend & her 2 horses, looking forward to that - will have a lie in on Saturday!

the innards are settling down but will take all weekend to come back to normal with no pain, i expect! hope quicker, would like to be able to try molly with the new loan bit i've been left with!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

not well

IBS kicked in after i got home last night ...did spend some time today wondering why i'd gone to work! but it's settling down slowly so hope it'll be fine by the morning. in the circumstances, i thought riding wasn't a good plan - turned out everyone else had gone home anyway!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

RIP Blackie

parter's cat - seen here with partner! PTS today - he'd been failing since last summer when we found him motionless under a tree - reckoned to have fractured a hip - then had a lot of teeth out earlier this year - he'd been a rescue cat and always had bad teeth - been slowly giving up since christmas really and today had to be the day. last week vet persuaded partner that another steroid injection would or might do the trick, but it didn't.....she'll kill me for putting this photo up but it's the only one immediately to hand on the PC!

and Molly? natasha & philip came and lent me their myler 01 to try - complete wit hthe bridle it was attached to which happened to fit perfectly with no ajustment required! We tried it for about 10 minutes - it was dark and very very cold - molly wasn't objecting to it. So they've left it with me to see how we go with it - will need to change reins (i can't be doing with those thick rubber reins, they hurt my hand!). we did well for that time, pleased with her. she was a bit stunned, had been wondering where her tea was! it was nearly 730 when they arrived.... 1 1/2 hours later than originally planned!

Monday, March 17, 2008

daylight! WOW

until about 6.40 - put the lights on anyway (they were mended Friday) as it was going to get dark before I'd finished, but it makes such a difference.

i decided to lunge with the BB on molly, rather than a bit, as I just wanted to see how she's going re going right and being more balanced with it, and that was a good idea. we did both reins twice, and she didn't argue about it more than half heartedly.

The rope circling techniques that max teaches are quite effective when done just with the end of a lunge line if there is a minor protest.

and molly is becoming much more balanced going right

So we're getting there, slowly but surely.

oh, just to remind us - the left foot is the broken foot.....but yes, i see what you mean!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

ok, pictures.....

less may be more

but the video shows i wasn't really doing less....paul got his camera, i'll post something later once I sort them out (he kindly gave me the memory stick so i've put them straight on the pc...) but i look too big for the saddle.

She did do some nice stuff, but he wasn't videoing that - maybe i was conscious of being watched?

we started off tiggering round to the car park area in front of the arena and it was a bit scary as she was really hyper for a moment - i wasn't surprised, as she had been unsettled whilst i was grooming her, which is most unlike her.

i reckon the wind, and it was not in the usual direction (which meant it was a bit nippy in the arena, no shelter today!)

but we got in and then she settled down.

i must try and keep my hands stiller, i hadn't realised they were moving as much as they were (forwards/backwards, rather than up down!) and i was doing too much with my seat as well (possibly because i was trying to warm it up).

paul said we both looked much more relaxed, and certainly i think that's right...

i got better circles and serpentines, and we finished with three soft halt/walk/halt transitions, which pleased me! and i made sure we were on left rein for that so i could get off without landing in the fence.

you'll gather my back was a lot better - kept the back support on, of course, and kept taking the painkillers. that, of course, has the advantage of ensuring i stay upright!

update on yesterday

the warmblood came 3rd, and philip was 6th, so everyone is really pleased....i don't think i said, that was Novice 30

Saturday, March 15, 2008

back support

is still needed unfortunately - better when i move about with painkillers inside me (ibuprofen for the inflammation) but not right - and not assisted (indeed the cause is probably) by having to wrestle with soaked hay. i think i must have made a mistake at some point earlier in the week in that i can't have been straight in myself when hauling the hay up to drain, and i think that's what's done it.

so today, went up to watch natasha and her fiance philip stressaging at holmeside hall; got there, and natasha had me call her test (i do a good line in clear stentorian bellow specially for the purpose!) which meant she didn't get it on video - they hadn't brought their camera. that was a shame, he did some really nice work - 4 year old on his second outing - if it hadn't been for his canter transition, which was pants, he'd have won the class. as it was, he came 7th and got a rosette, just over 60% and nothing lower than a 5. TBF, as Tash & I agreed, the canter trans was only worth a 2 or 3, but each such transition was part of another sequence of movements, so judge justified in marking it overall up.

philip's horse went tense as soon as it got into the arena - it was an indoor, you'd think he'd be used to them, and possibly some rider tension as well - so didn't do as well. the other horse they brought ridden by a friend, 8 year old warmblood, did a fantastic test spoilt by her failing to count 4 seconds for the immobility at A and when she went for her second canter transition, her calf cramped so she had to tickle with the whip and the horse put in a minor buck (he doesn't approve of your not asking for the movement in the correct fashion!). but she had no choice and did really well, i know when my calf cramps all i want to do is scream with pain and rub it! happily that has never happened when riding (yet....)

then went and mucked out etc, and decided to just do a bit of rope circling- the painkillers i'd taken earlier were wearing off by then, and it was spitting on to rain.....

but a good day. am now going to check the video to make sure it came out!

Friday, March 14, 2008

sun! warmth!

so good i took her rug off this morning. i reckon i'll have to leave it off now - hopefully no more of those howling gales!

but i spent most of the day with my back support on - total agony!

Thursday, March 13, 2008


that's what we had one of in the bedroom last night - a live one! simba the hunter... at least it was live, the other day we found the back half of another rabbit downstairs.....euch.

evening meeting tonight, which means i'll have to soak tomorrow nights hay in the morning....

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

spoke too soon

at about 4.30 i looked out at a lovely blue sky and said (out loud, very rash) looks like it might just not rain.

how wrong can i be? huge black cloud followed me north (being blown by 60mhp+ winds) and started to rain about 1 1/2 miles from the yard. hasn't stopped yet. I don't know why i think i can do consistent work with molly in the winter, it ain't going to happen unless i change yards!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

i came out of the office

and looked at the black cloud to the north and thought, it's raining at the yard. I was right, it was. wet horse, wet arena ....

put hay order in, be delivered tomorrow (and he'll stack for us as well, which is cool!)

then had to go buy a new kitchen bin, ours broke, and finished up at caroline's favourite place - MacDonald's, as the gale started - horizontal rain, rather than just vertical! That had stopped by the time i got home, thank goodness, for long enough to unload the car....

Monday, March 10, 2008

it's raining

absolutely teeming down...but since they were forecasting howling gales as well, that's not a problem. a bit windy this morning but in the scale of things we can't argue. apparently it was sunny the other side of the pennines...but the south has had the forecast gales (about what we got the other week, i expect..)

Sunday, March 09, 2008


by a phone call whilst riding - don't really know why i had the phone on me, save that i always do!

Anyway, Molly and I are improving - certainly she is, in that she's softer, quicker, than she has been, so the work in walk is starting to pay off.

I'd left the poles where I'd had them last night - between B & E, parallel to the fence so that if you turned off the track at B you had to go over the poles to get to the track at E. so they were usefully placed for variation, Molly never knew when she might be asked to go over round or through them (the were either side of the centre line as well).

So some useful work. She moved up to trot 2/3 times, but I think i must have accidentally asked for it; it was a softer trot than it has been in the past!

I got a shoulder in position once (yes, i did ask for it!)

and half way through this good work the phone rang - friend having a whinge....interestingly, after the stand still whilst i had that conversation, Molly was moving forward better.

Had Rhona (hello Rhona!) check to see if the pad was still moving side to side under the saddle, and apparently not, so that's good.

and lovely daylight even when i finished...mind, that was only 17:20! roll on the end of the month when the clocks go forward...

Left her rug off in the stable. I get the feeling that she's shedding so much and getting so warm in the stable, she's itching with the rug on.... (bed all over when it isn't usually.... bit of a giveaway that). I might regret it, as i'll end up having to brush her to rug up before i can turn out in the morning (supposed to be a horrendous storm, and rain, tomorrow). so we'll see.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

perfect timing

in terms of the weather. This morning i really thought i'd not be able to do anything with Molly - it was raining, then when that stopped the rain got up, then later it was horizontal rain... got to the yard about 4, having put dinner (stew) in the oven and had lunch after a day out (been to pay for queenie's keep) - blue sky, wind slightly dropped, arena sheltered...

So after i'd done the chores (and everyone had got their's in for the night at only 5 pm!) i lunged

Bitless bridle, lunged over poles. First just one pole, both directions, then two poles, both directions.

That REALLY woke Molly up. First time going right she wasn't having it and I had to go back to MAx's techniques to get her back listening to me (advantage of the BB, it acts like a pressure halter as well when needed, not as much, but enough to make a difference).

Then she decided canter was good, so I moved myself so she was circling round the poles rather than cantering over them (actually, i was impressed, it's AGES since she's cantered!) then when she'd calmed down a bit moved back down so she was trotting over the poles again.

When she was eventually trotting over them calmly, brought her in and changed rein again, then two more times each rein, finishing on the left rein.

I can really see the way this is helping her use her back end, and work out where her feet are, and it should help her balance right rein as well much more than she as, as she's also forced to think about what she's doing rather than just rushing round.

I could really see her thinking about it as she was going round (the lick/chew thing...)

This was, of course, what I'd had planned for Monday, but probably its as well I did it in daylight first!

and then as I was leaving the yard, the rain started again, so even more perfect!

Friday, March 07, 2008

just to say

i am still here, and not looking forward to the weekend (weather going to be pants). Fay forgot to tell the lads about the arena lights, and they're now off until monday. phooey

Thursday, March 06, 2008


two of us left the yard more or less at the same time, i was second (still in the dark, by the way, someone's going to tell the lads tomorrow about the lights!) anyway, person in front kept stopping, driving erratically, whatever, i was starting to think either there was something wrong with the car or with her. this is still on the private drive, not the main road. eventually she stopped and came to tell me - she was stopping for the frogs! i hadn't seen any (because she was in front, i assume) but she was trying not to run them over and occasionally getting out and physically moving one!

so spring is springing -they're on the way down to the River Wear, which runs through the estate, clearly. and that must mean we should soon get some frogs in our new pond, as well, which is the idea (slug control!).

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

this is going to be a boring week

as there's still no lights in the arena. not that it made much difference tonight - had to get partner packed for a weekend in carcassonne (friend's hen weekend!!!!) - didn't know until i got home that also involved laundry, thus leaving heating on all night to get laundry dry.....phooey.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

still in the dark!

no arena lights again... phooey. dont know if anyone's had a chance to see the lads to say and have them find out what's wrong....

Monday, March 03, 2008

no lights

in the arena this time - i can see in the stable, but that of course did nothing to assist the plan, which was to lunge, possibly over poles. goodness knows what was the matter with them, but at nearly 7, there was no way enough light to see by

Sunday, March 02, 2008


put some poles out = over them each way, round them, through them, diagonally over them - at one point it was "OOH can we trot over them please mam?" - no, of course - took about 30 minutes again before we got some softening but since I was also trying to keep her "through" behind it was harder work, whilst trying to keep "less is more" in mind. i think i've said before, relaxing myself takes nearly as long - not so much the top half, more getting the hips stretched. and we got some sideways as well, a couple of times, which was good.

not so good on the halt/walk/halt transitions, but i wasn't really working for them , was working for more activity and softness at the same time.

and half way home remembered i'd forgotten to put the poles away, oops.

But it was COLD - could have done with an extra layer to proteect me from the bit breeze coming from across the field. but againn, I chose the right time of day the wind seems to drop abour 4 ish and not get back up again until after 6 or so. if we're lucky it'll have dropped altogether - but i don't think so.

Amazingly, looking out of our kitchen window this morning at the trees being blown about, their was neighbour sitting outside on her patio eating her cooked breakfast.... that patio is very sheltered from the prevailing wind, but didn't think that much. and it was a suntrap as well - her own microclimate! where our back allotment about 10 feet in front of her, you couldn't have done that...

Saturday, March 01, 2008

and to add

she's shedding! huge amounts. woulnd't have thought it was warm enough yet, but Molly clearly thinks it is.

and thanks to caroline for introducing me to the benefits of a shedding blade!

less is more

less is more, less is more. the less i did, the more i got...must remember that. she was quicker to remember soft and round - not consistent with it, but it was there.

i chose the only calm moment of the day - so that was well planned. what i call a good drying day (so have lots of dry washing as well :-)). needed help to get on of course, but was very impressed when molly's first reaction when i picked the reins up was to come to the bit. lost it again fairly quick but in a calm sort of fashion.

i was concentrating on not having my hands so close together, keeping a consistent length (have the continental reins on the mullen mouth - prefer the libbys, not so big in the hand and stickier!) and keeping myself upright. seemed to be helping a lot. i was pleased with both of us.

Now, how do I stop her overbending? lift my hands?

oh, and she blinked! so that's fine - must find a way of having her face me properly!