Wednesday, April 30, 2008

back to wet mud

after last night's successes. ah well, i was knackered anyway! woke up wondering what the noise of the alarm was and a steaming headache... whilst the day did improve, thank goodness, i was in a way quite pleased that she was covered in wet mud as i don't think the motivation was there!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

very late night

out with Molly.

natasha rang this morning and said they were going up to holmeside (about 5 miles north of me) showjumping and did i want to come watch - we decided to put Molly in the wagon since there was a space on the grounds that it would be good for her. There were 8 other horses, all for a jumping lesson with an eventer based at yorkshire riding centre, and me along for the ride.

So whilst it wasn't a competition, it was Molly's first time away from home at that sort of venue. Huge indoor, show jumps set up one end, collecting ring/flatwork space the other, big wall between with a "cross country fence" forming a viewing place between the two. so she could hear horses thundering about the other side of this wall, but not see them.

She didn't put a foot wrong. When we first went in i took her in in hand, with the pressure halter and line, in case - then i had the tools to get her back to me if necessary.

Oh, and the instructor they had ajusted the bit - apparently i had it too low in her mouth.
then got on and essentially jsut walked about for 40 minutes. didn't get the nice work i've been getting at home, but then i woldn't have expected to, the object was just to get her used to that type of experience and not have any riots.

and we didn't have any.

she decided enough was enough after about 40 minutes - and then after everyone had done we went to the pub, horses stood in wagon whilst we ate.

so good night had by all and I was very pleased indeed with her for behaving to well.

She wasn't really interested in her tea when we got back - just wanted to be back out in the field, so most of her tea went in the bin! she wasn't objecting to that, fine put me out she said!

and i'm being really decadent - writing this in bed on the laptop!

Monday, April 28, 2008

wet mud

she must have done a rain dance .... it would have taken maybe an hour to dry enough to brush it off (it was right where the saddle would go), so of course, had i waited that long i would have not got home after doing anything until about 9 she got fed and put out again. i always say rugs are for keeping them clean!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

a mixed day

some things went really well. feet picking up - it's like a different horse, all four feet, not one protest!

mounting, not a problem - she's even moving up to the mounting block much easier, not setting her jaw about it...

down to the 20 acre (she volunteered) but instead of turning left to go to the 20 acre, she wanted to turn right. I wasn't going to stop her.

In the past when we've done that in company, it's been in the summer; in the summer you can then go straight on through a wood, but it's closed in the winter as it turns to a bog. still closed today.

if you go right, you go up a very very steep hill - the sort that's a pig to come back down (did it once, horrid!)

she stood at the bottom of the hill but didn't fancy it; i turned her round, did a circle, she really wanted to go straight through the wood and stood for a few minutes facing the close gate and the track through the wood.

you can see the bluebells starting to come through there...

so after a while we turned round to face the 20 acre; went through the gate into it but she really didn't fancy it on her own - paying attention, i could see her looking for another horse behind her ... had there been one, we'd have been fine.

so back to teh arena.

walk was fine.

BUT i had the kerrits on. I love them for hacking ... but TOO sticky for schooling, they just stick me a shade too much to the saddle and if i get a twist on (which I felt as though I had today) i can't seem to sort it out. very odd.

So i gave up before it rained (as it was threatening again - rained all morning!) as it seemed pointless winding each other up! I don't suppose anyone rode this morning, it was pretty wet!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

what a good girl!

Was very pleased with Molly. As i'd hoped, I did go ride this morning with the others. She was impatient to be off whilst Julie mounted, but settled; led the way down to the 20 acre no problem and was about 500 yards ahead of the others till more than 1/2 way round that, which was really good - normally, even in company, she stops at the half way point as there's a log and a (not very) narrower gap - when she did stop, once the others caught up, she was happy to walk on again (i should say Molly has a really good striding out walk! on all previous horses I'd be always trotting to catch up! it might be riding as well though..)

anyway, paul at this point said he really doesn't understand why i can't get out on my own when she's miles ahead in company - julie & I both reckon its still a confidence thing...

when we got to the end of the 20 acre i nearly lost my knee on the (narrow) gate and then of course she did think about giving battle on the left or right decision - left is home. but didn't - i insisted right was the way and she thought oh, go on then, follow the others.

Normally then she'll have a bit of an argument as we go through the gate, but she stayed chilled.

then right round 2 huge fiels - you go along the bottom, through an always open gate, to the next one, then left up the fence/wood line, then left at the top, through a narrow gate (this time we got lined up for it properly!) and then left down the hill to where we first came in

good as gold, save for one stop along the bottom, one stop going up and one stop going down. The stop along the bottom was caused by her clocking two horses coming the other way, she hadn't realised they were there i don't think and it certainly looked like we'd meet at the gateless gap. I think the stop going up was caused by the echo of my voice off the wood in front of us (it's quite dense) and don't know about the one going down.

after the ford/bridge again (she wasn't doing the ford today, she said) i carried on along the track whilst the others went for a canter

Do you know, I haven't cantered since June 2006, when i broke my foot?

really need to do that again, it's as if we've forgotten how - and TBH I'm not totally sure of my balance and thus am scared to do it again in case...

Think I need to do it out, not in the arena. As I've said, that arena is too small..Also, think i need to do that with only one other horse out with me, to avoid the possibility of races...

But I was very very pleased with her. she didn't get her stress head on once.

We were in the Myler combi of course.

and then i got really posh and cleaned her saddle whilst she was eating...

Friday, April 25, 2008

friday headache

but i reckon it's the paint in the house - partner's repainting some woodwork upstairs.

will try and ride in the morning, hope i'm ok to do so - forecast to rain tomorrow!

Thursday, April 24, 2008


with the myler 01 in. got right and left; but last time i lunged it wasn't nearly such hard work going right...can't remember which bit i used, will have to find that post and check.

I have:

1. mullen mouth snaffle
2. Myler combi short shank
3. myler 01 on loan (going back, she doesn't settle in it)
4. bitless (Dr Cook's)
5. Pelham (she tried to buck from stationery, but that might have been me - i think not)

currently she goes best in the myler combi, reins on the bottom ring of course, which is interesting.

Also, of course, the mylers are thinner, which is good for a horse with a small mouth (4 1/2") and large tongue.

so something thin, and not single jointed (HATES single jointed!) might be the thing.

i did think about the magic bit i hear about and might well try that. it's thin and ported ....

natasha thinks I should try a KK ultra lozenge..

Her issues with bits go back to her youth, so whatever the issue is it's too late to know what started it.

as for the going right - well, at least she goes. But whether long lined or lunged, she's really pulling me over almost have to work hard to stay put! left is fine.

But, on the other hand, she isnt' rushing as she used to so the balance is a lot better

and, when I put the roller and polypad on tonight (use polypad under roller) it was more symmetric side to side than it has been - normally (her mother's the same) you put in on and it's square one side, you go round the other side and everything's well off . Wasn't NEARLY so off today, so whatever i'm doing, it's working in squaring her up, which has to be good!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

longling bitless

is as bad as longlining with a bit. right is not good.

so, i think i won't try that again for a while, lunging/rope circling when I'm not riding..and sort out a dressage legal bit that she don't object to!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

another success

for four...

went round the 20 acre with Evelyn on scarlet (she shares him with her husband) - this time last year there was no way she would even hack out, she's come so far, and there she was volunteering to come round the 20 acre with Molly & I. I was so impressed with her getting her confidence back like that!

and Molly did protest a bit the first half after we got into the field proper, but i was able to keep her going so that was good too.

I'd put the mullen mouth snaffle in (hadn't anticipated going out) and I think she's gone off it - no beginnings of any lightness at all. but hey, we kept control and got where we wanted to go.

jean of course i was pleased with last night, compared with previous - what you said, really!

and finally, thoughts are with Erin in the states on the loss of her parents. Hope she's got loads of help from all round and keeps strong.

Monday, April 21, 2008

you're both right, of course

but on the other hand - there is something else as well.

You'd think she'd be bored with the arena and be more willing to go out, at least on a route she's been before.

Anyway, we got down to the bottom of the hill and through the gate into the 20 acre (which is always left open) but a few strides further on she stopped. she didn't try and turn round in usual style, unless i asked her to walk on ... eventually we saw george and sheila coming back, way over the far corner, and we weren't going to go forward then.

ended up back in the arena, and did get one really nice circuit of trot, with her soft!

but i keep saying, the arena's too small - can't get balanced... not enough room, so if you lose balance on a long side you haven't time to get it back before the corner...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

at last

was able to do something with Molly today. Actually was able to get on without any ground work (just a Polo) - 3 times, which is impressive.

First time - she wasn't listening to me and wanted to go to the track down to the 20 acre, but she was seriously on her toes and didn't mean that she wanted to do that (I can tell, by now....). anyway, that wasn't what I wanted to do, so we didnt' do it.

Led her back to the mounting block got back on and she did go where I wanted, which was into the arena so see what if anything we'd remembered.

she was doing quite well. came soft a lot quicker and i decided to see about trot, which I haven't done (deliberately) for a good while.

I had a habit of preventing the transition by tensing, so the object was just to get trot, whether sitting or rising (the latter for preference) on the correct diagonal and not rushing, which we managed a few times, also a circle - I'm doing something a bit wrong circling, as if I push her round with my outside leg we end up rushing, which isn't wanted.

We're not assisted by the fact that the arena needs harrowing - sides higher than they should be which is unbalancing...

a few times over the poles i'd set out (in walk...)

anyway, then decided to try to go through the yard. She didn't want to do that. i though, back to the arena to get her settled - she didn't want to do that either.

so we got off and back on again....

Paul volunteered to walk in front and see if she'd follow, but she ended up with her stress head on when I got under the willow. eventually got off and led her up the track a bit to where there's some rocks and stuff been left that can be used to mount. got back on, but she wasn't having any.

Now explain this to me - at this point, I can - if I'm pointing the direction I don't want to go - get her jaw soft, she comes soft and round and you'd think she was listening - but as soon as i try to turn, everything tenses up, jaw, neck, body - head tossing, de da...

ah well. At least I got on 4 times!

Oh, and I tried flexing the bit a little before i got on.... the first time.

then came home and planted potatoes... probably too late in the day but it needed doing or there was no point in buying them.

Experiment - some just in holes (hole per potato) some in a trench to cover over as they grow, and some in a trench covered over now...

When it all warms up i've got onion sets to go in, garlic cloves to plant, pea seeds, and want to get some lollo rosso plugs (easier to grow stuff from plugs than from seed...)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

nothing doing

last night was friday and whilst it had dried up momentarily, there was a howling north/east wind (i reckon here its a northeasterly, caroline!); today, i was thinking of doing something this afternoon, but we have just realised that our tickets for the Sage Gateshead are for today! this afternoon! next door neighbour (who was trained as an opera singer and has a fantastic voice, you'd love her Jean) is singing. We've been listening to her practice for months (well, we listen to her sing all the time!) and so bought tickets. so Molly Moo will get another day off....

Thursday, April 17, 2008

rain? winter? spring?

what is it?

someone on the radio yesterday said it was just a late spring such as we used to have... i dunno about that...

anyway, raining tonight. odd - molly keen to come in for tea, but quite happy to go back out again to join portia over by the exposed fence...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

meant to post this on yesterday's (written this morning) but forgot...

driving into swansea, ginormous warehouse on my right,; at the same time on my left, two riders, all hi viz, riding the dunes (well, what looked liek the grass area between the road and the sea, some sort of park)

then leaving swansea tonight local radio report that that was a brand new amazon warehouse just opened today.

Gorgeous weather - we were able to have lunch outside in the sun! - all 6 of us (2 lawyers for each party, we put the legal world to rights!)

and we won the case, YAY. even better as one defendant made an offer very late last night which we decided wasn't good enough.... more YAY.

got home, was in the last 5 miles - and it was snowing! only a shower, but crikey.

the difference between there and here is about 360 miles, left just before 4 and got back here 2140 - one stop ... good run up!


was a good drive down and happily dry once i got here. glad i have hands free on my phone as people kept wanting to talk to me about the case (a good sign).

the bad bits? restaurant where i had dinner seemed to think that lasagne was improved by heinz tomato soup - NOT. which made it an overpriced meal, to say the least - but i got some more of Racinet read whilst i was eating. and despite having paid for internet access when i booked the room, i couldn't get online last night at all and this morning it wouldn't accept the fact that i had already paid... pah. oh, and the satnav or some reason couldn't find a fix for the best part of 100 miles - dunno what that was about, but happily i was still on home territory, so to speak, then..

Monday, April 14, 2008

partner ill

spent the day in bed, got out of it long enough to ring me with an order for more medicine! and came out tonight to see Molly and buy tea (and go to the cash machine - i bought her a new car battery yesterday!)

but she'll have to look after herself the next two days.

Molly was of course quite happy to only get fed and not do anything for it!

and i still haven't packed....

Sunday, April 13, 2008

cold - but flies are out?

so it's not as cold as you'd think - but only when the sun's out.

had to do a bit of groundwork to get on, but only a couple of minutes ....

but she doesn't, i don't think, like the bit i have on loan from natasha....

some soft nice steps with her back round under me and everything doing well, but others - nightmare of jigging head, pulling reins from me, de dah...

ah well.

she'll not do a lot this week, I have to go to Wales for a trial!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

successful morning

Went out for a ride with Paul & Julie - just up to the riding school and then back round the way we'd come but we were all quite pleased with Molly.

didn't have time for any hoo hah with mounting so Julie held her head.

When we set off Molly was fine going out towards the drive, which she normally doesn't like, and for a wonder walked under the bogey willow with no problem at all, almost as if it wasn't there. so that was good.

Had a couple of stops along the track, then over the bridge at the ford no problem. she got a stress head on after that for a few strides - i think because Paul with scarlet wanted to go up the field, (2 gates) and i'd specifically said no gates this morning (wanted to avoid them).

When we came out onto the rode there were some builders bags on the left, which she avoided like the plague - will be fine with them next time I expect - and put an odd stop in before we turned left.

I think we all wished we had gone the road not the field at the left turn up to the riding school - scarlet & molly both ended up in the plough trying to avoid the mud!

then through the riding school yard, down the copse and out onto southill drive - for all of this Molly was ahead (she walks faster than everything else and then seems to get stressed when she thinks they've vanished!).

bit of a stressy moment as we came out onto the southill drive beyond hte riding school, but settled again - listning to me a lot more, i think - and then walk back along the road to the track and back to the yard.

This is probably about 40 minutes in walk only.

For a lot of the time Molly was pretty light in the hand. I was concentrating on sitting square - i.e., weight in left foot/left seatbone, since that's the side i favour and I need to stop doing that!) and i think that helped.

overall very pleased.

and this is Simba, having helped me make the bed this afternoon, just because it's a cute pose....

Friday, April 11, 2008


which is much less troublesome than Caroline's snow - the pennine divide strikes again!

so wet horse - but warm horse, interestingly being rugless and out. and she didn't really want her tea, she wanted to be out again, so out again she went of course. She and Portia are quite happy.

mind they were full of grass - some horse had knocked down the electric fencing, which was clealry suffering from a flat battery/lack of power anyway, so they'd got into the bit that the YO had fenced off since last summer to regrass itself....

which also had the advantage that we didn't have to go plodge in the mud at the small gate! how long that lasts is another matter.

i haven't looked at the forecast, hope it's ok, but they are forecasting more rain...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

late meeting

so nothing done with molly at all, julie did the honours with the feed!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

the 20 acre

on foot. I decided she needed to see the rest of the field again before I ride her round it, so walked her out in hand. she had two stops to look at whatever it was she was looking at - something she could hear, perhaps, in the river - and 2 stops to try and eat some grass

and she's out for the night now.

Portia was out (portia had managed to kill a stable by kicking the wall so badly it is going to have to be rebuilt) so she was out as there was no choice. So Molly's out as there's enough grass IMHO for them to be ok and it's about time. and the forecast is to improve, so i'm happy she'll be fine. and portia was glad of the company, and i'll be glad of the minor lie in!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

light on the longlines!

you may remember i said that Molly is always heavy on the long lines. She wasn't tonight. I remembered what you said, jean, about half halts on longlines so that worked fine when walking round the outside of the school, both directions. and i also thought i'd try working on turning her using the outside rein, as i've been learning to do riding, and that seemed to work as well. This was all in walk.

prior to that i'd done 10 minutes ground work to establish boundaries (like, you will stand still whilst i put the longlines on!) and then trot circles on the long lines (essentially two rein lunging...)

I might go back to the BB for that; that was what she had on when we first did it with Max back in June, and I find that she is ok left but not right (there's a surprise) and fights it. the bit, that is. my thought is that with the BB we avoid that argument and get the work into her, and then go back to trying it with the bit later.....

in the meantime, a new series of CSI ..Vegas, i can't be doing with Miami but won't miss NY

Monday, April 07, 2008


and not having the luxury of an indoor, no work was done with molly ....

supposed to improve as the week goes on, do hope so.

plan for sunday had included planting veg - put off for yet another week!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

snow - click on the pics to get full size effect

pictures... the top ones out of our front bedroom over the churchyard - spot the pigeon in the maple!, the bottom one from the back office window over the gardens looking down the street
and hope this video works...

and a repeat of the robin from last week, as it was indeed hard to see...

Saturday, April 05, 2008


I so agree with caroline about the weather. We had cold (but not freezing) and showers, very heavy ones of rain/hail, interspersed with sunny spells when it was warm. I ahdn't put molly's rug back on (it's been off a week already) so when iwent to get her in to ride, she was warm, but damp and muddy and of course it would take forever for her to dry...

but i was feeling huge amounts better, i have to say! possibly because there was nowt left...:-)!

more snow tomorrow....but apparently only over lunch time so should be dry when i go to ride....

Friday, April 04, 2008


which I like, no longer likes me. you'll remember a couple of weeks ago i wasn't well; that wasn't a patch on today, i had to come home early from work. the only thing that's been different is eating ryvita for lunch in place of baguettes/bread/like that. No more. Had to ring Julie to ask her to do Molly, there was no way i was up for that at that point of evening - glad I like doing my jobs in the morning then if anything does go wrong the worst of it is out of the way! that all started at about 12 noon, and finally started to settle after 6 (assisted, i think, by a bath for its muscle relaxant properties) ...

so no news.

in the meantime, here's a robin i photographed when we went to harlow carr week past tuesday:

Thursday, April 03, 2008

more good news

That was AFTER i'd had to re-establish the boundaries at the mounting block

Put the combi on as the plan was to see whether i could get down the hill to the 20 acre (even if we didn't get all the way round it).

so Molly's first idea was, turn the bum away! HAH. got the pressure halter, into the arena, 5 minutes ground work, back round, she stood.

I took my short stick.

she didn't set her jaw, and actually wanted to go into the arena but walked calmly along the track and a few steps down the hill, but turned - but DIDN'T set herself.

so back to the yard area in front of the arena where we stood for a couple of minutes, then I turned her round and back down - and she went all the way down, through the gate, and half way round the first half of the 20 acre when it all got too much for her - I rather think she heard a fisherman casting - we can't see them, can only hear them. so turned round, but again without setting. I think she would have "set" had I argued, but I was well pleased with the distance we'd got, considering she hasn't willingly gone anywhere on her own for months and months ....

and we had a nice, balanced trot along the track back to the yard as well, which was good, so something's going well on the getting balanced front!

Then we went back in the arena and some work ...then decided to follow a couple of other horses out the other way - which might have worked, but george & sheila were coming back in and it all went a bit pear shaped ... so she got taken back into the arena. But again, half good - i was really balanced, didn't tense myself, Molly didn't set her jaw and we finished up getting something nice and soft on left rein.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Molly thinks there's grass....she left hay last night and wasn't lacing into the haynet when she was brought in tonight.

But we can't get them out yet - snow forecast for sunday, which is mad considering how warm it is!

So we had another good evening. did about 10 minutes ground work and then got on - had to do one more bit to emphasise what i wanted, then she stood

then i did about 40 minutes schooling. Would have liked to go out, but no one about riding when i started (someone did turn up later but then i was committed to what i was doing....) and I was glad i didn't follow the people from another yard who set off down the 20 acre - they were cantering along it, as I could see from my vantage point in the school!

still weren't doing wonderfully well - more of a struggle to soften on left rein than right, and I do wonder if it's to do with me - given that left foot! i need to do work with no stirrups, i'm sure that would help balance me out some more and get the hips opened up....

but we'll get there.

and i did think i'd have to stop sooner than i did, until i realised george and sheila were going out, which meant i could stay on the horse until they came back!

so altogether pleased....

hopefully we can start going out in company soonn, then try again with the going out on our own. for that, it'll be back to the combi (currently using natasha's myler 01, which you will recall i have on loan) but i think the combi's better for preventing jaw setting...

and christened the new breeches i got sunday - nicely sticky! recommend caldene sticky bums!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

i wondered

who reads my blog. I am told that everyone on the yard does ... whether that means "everyone" i don't know, but certainly a fair few! so i was rung up and asked if i am moving....which i'm not... but i can see why people might think i am, bearing in mind what I said about the yard i visited saturday.

anyway, it was blowing a real howling gale tonight, so much that they closed the Tyne Bridge again, i walked round to see whether the arena was getting the benefit of shelter or not, and tonight it wasn't, so I made an executive decision not to do anything. i never could bear a gale! they upset me, and if i'm upset, so's the horse.

Blake got moved so Molly's new neighbour is moved in - not a problem, total sweetie....shame kirstie had to take an unexpected day off work for the purpose (some problem with the people moving out...)