Saturday, May 31, 2008

canter & farrier

got up early to ride early - Julie was going out at 0730 and I had the farrier coming at 9, so that made sense.....

went through the bluebell wood (bluebells have died, and giant hogweed is starting to grow!) up the hill, then in the field we cantered - not far, but did, and I sat to it quite nicely i thought!

Then round that field, through gate - along side of drive at the top of the field, then into next field and down hill.

The plan here was to turn left through another gate, along and out and into the 20 acre to go back.

However, Molly had other ideas and was insisting on turning right (home) - to the point that it was going to get a bit dodgy. She wasn't even prepared to follow Julie's Susie. So i got off and led the rest of the way. I wasn't going to give in and have her go the way she wanted, so we went the way Julie & I wanted...

we probably shouldn't have made the plan that we did ... she had been really good up to that point (bar the travers/renvers down the hill to that point and even that was controlled, if unasked for!) and had done a route part of which she hadn't done before involving loads of gates.

but there we go.

and the farrier? was REALLY pleased. I'd been working on the picking feet up with clicker training, and it has so paid off! all four feet with no argument, not even the usual problem foot (near hind). YAY.

here she is investigating the farrier ....

She once took his chaps off for him ... they had a velcro waist, not a buckle

Friday, May 30, 2008

ducks - and otters and kingfishers

as i was turning Molly out after her tea, there were three ducks in the mare's field - one female, two male.

then I was talking to one of the anglers, and he says just below the 20 acre there are 2 otters, he thinks youngsters, that he sees the same time every night, and furhter a long a kingfisher has a favourite tree.

and he once saw a stag (roe deer one) looking at him through a bush...

so must spend some time sitting by the river one night, i think

the men hadn't come back to finish the job; we went out for tea!

Thursday, May 29, 2008


are not in the 20 acre at all -they're in the area leading down to the 20 acre, and in the horses field next to that!

Went out for a ride round the 20 acre with Evelyn (who did the gate); molly was reasonably well behaved, only 2 blocks, one because of a fisherman at the bottom of the hill and the other some horses coming the other way, the second only really momentary.

she was a bit of a "klingon" with evelyn's horse, but I was pleased.

she didn't want to do anything afterwards though!

and then i got home and had to clean the kitchen before i could cook, so we've only just eaten - men in to sort the front room floor out, and they didn't shut the door....

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

the 20 acre .... gated

and full of sheep! they've put a gate across right at the yard, so to get even along between the fields to go down the hill towards the 20 acre, you have to be able to open the gate. and Molly doesn't really do gates (especially this one, which for brand new is a nightmare!). and the sheep can get right up to the yard.

the advantage was, of coruse, that Molly having done her usual of heading for the 20 acre (i didn't bother trying to prevent her and instituting some jaw setting!) was stopped in her tracks and a bit put out.

which meant that, once she turned round, she volunteered herself into the arena.

TBH i'm not over happy as the gates difficulty means that I can't think about getting out on my own unless someone will do the gate for me ... too many gates!

in the meantime, she did some reasonable work, we're getting better at circles.

Not convinced by the bit. or is it me? or is it her continuing bitting issues? this is still the myler hanging cheek i bought.

anyway, even with no contact, she chunters away at the bit .....

and i mean no contact -

or should i take more contact? i've enough that she feels my fingers move!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

lunging and lawnmowing!

as is so often the case, everyone had been and gone time i got to the yard. and it was forecast to rain. so i decided on just basic lunging, as the sky got darker and the clouds built up. that went well, NO arguments about going right, and she even did canter right - not because of anything I did particularly, I've always had great difficulty working out how to get canter on the lunge! but I was pleased. she was really moving and it was good to be able to stand back and look at her legs & her back muscles!

then came home and decided to attack the front lawn before the forecast rain arrived - it had been a bit neglected what with one thing and another, and now looks a whole heap better...

Monday, May 26, 2008

20 minutes

to get on, but I knew that would be the case after just over a week off - so went into the arena prepared for 20 minutes ground work, which was what it took.

after that worked on just a nice walk, and circles - eventually got a right circle - it is, unfortunately, hard work that! but easier than before I went away. eventually also got some sideways, which was good! and a shoulder in (or at least, a few strides thereof) which is also good!

too windy altogether to be too long after that, I guess i rode for 20 minutes as well. and too windy to think about trying to go out (I hate wind!). but it was a good drying day, so i have lots of clean dry laundry!

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Was, I think, pleased to see me!

I was totally tired so didn't ride, just did some groundwork (given she hasn't been ridden for a week! seemed like a good idea!) after being groomed and having her mane solo combed.

Hopefully will have some energy tomorrow, and it won't rain, and I'll get some riding done

I've put all the holiday stuff up onto a new blog:

but just for an introduction, here's a JRT we saw in Bantry

i'm back!

will post holiday report & pics later - but only one horse, and then it's back view seen from an irish jaunting car in the rain! we've just woken up, got in at 5 and been asleep until now...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

a moderate success!

which I then ruined.....

anyway, went down with a view to riding at 9, which is the time people go out on a sunday - julie had gone out at 7, i met her leaving, and evelyn & rhona went at 8 - ..... umm.

so, anyway, thought we'd try again (on the principle that if i keep trying that's something!).

after 10 minutes blockage at the top of the hill down to the 20 acre, (after she'd tripped over something, probably her own feet despite being awake) during which molly proved that she CAN step backwards under saddle (will have to try and remember what i did, it involved flexions....) I eventually managed to ride her 3/4 way round the 20 acre - after 3 other blocks which I'd got her out of, AND managed to circle back to the direction i wanted to face without grief.

that last corner, though, wasn't a block, it was "there's a horse eating something in the wood or somewhere and whilst I can just about restrain myself from tanking off it's all getting a bit much for me without another horse" seriously tense under me (which she isn't when she blocks normally), very up on her toes, any pressure at that point would not have been the right move, so I got off and led the rest of the way. The trouble with that is, of course, there's nowhere to try and get back on.

so how did i spoil it? i tried to get back on back at the yard, and she wasn't co-operating....

still a moderate success for a last ride for a week, so pleased anyway.

will take laptop, you never know i might find a wifi spot, and will try and work out how to blog from phone ....edited to add, can't do that latter, apparently..

Saturday, May 17, 2008

circles and balance - & glasses

we'll ignore the pratting about refusing to either through the bluebell wood or the 20 acre, and blame it on the plethora of fishermen. went back into the arena.

We got some nice-ish circles (well, they were fairly circulare and without any grief!) by placing my inside hand on the martingale loop attachment and raising the outside hand slightly and of course against the neck, and lots of appropriate leg aid, and ensuring my weight was correctly weighted.

then, following the debate about balance and reading racinet, we stood, we flexed, i could FEEL her withers lift, i could feel her coming more balanced under me, i could feel it coming right, and the move off to walk was hugely better and it was all a lot better.

so i shall continue my reading of racinet.

not sure i'm totally right, of course - and not sure the bit is totally right either (but also I think the leather has stretched slighly on the bridle pieces! they're gaping again, which of course means it needs to be up a hole at least!)

and spectacles? my visit to the optician showed that i was right, and i'm to have a pair that does everything, with transitions - ouchy expensive, though!

and we had our hair done. and some new sandals whilst waiting for it to be time for the opticians appointment .

and yes, holiday... will take laptop with me, don't know if i'll be able to get a connection.. and any burglars reading this should be aware the house is guarded and watched anyway

Friday, May 16, 2008

friday night tired

of course - and we now don't have to go back to work for 10 days, yay.

molly got an undeserved night off, but as usual, friday is tired end of week night..

see what we can do over the weekend and will definitely put the breastplate on ...after i've cleaned it!

Thursday, May 15, 2008


tried to go out again, then realised she had bit ring in mouth, oopsy. had to get off, put it right, and go back to the yard.

she then was happy to go into the arena but painful on right circle again. TBF it was a bit better than last night, but not hugely. got jackie to watch me, she said she couldn't see that i was doing anything wrong - reckoned it was molly, so that's reassuring in a way, if it's molly being a c*w rather than me getting it wrong.

then decided to try going out again. we ended up doing a lot of walk on the bit up and down the fenceline, but stressing at either end! at one point i also had a really nice trot going working really hard to keep it going - stopped at the small gate napped to it!

lots of long stick didn't really help in unblocking her, moving her head side to side did.

then the police helicopter decided it was a really good idea to circle over the fields and yard. heavens only knows why, place is only crawling with horses, and fishermen (i think i was the only rider...)

gave up.

but some progress, i suppose, in some respects.

a debate on EE about balance before movement, balance through movement (arising out of readings of racinet and comparisons with the german school and whether there is that much difference) got me thinking, having just finished racinet explains baucher.

i can see the point of relaxing teh jaw and getting balance inthe halt (there is a clear difference between balanced and unbalanced halt, and the move off one gets after that).

relaxed jaw results, in mollys case, in a horse on the bit working softly.

ah well, we'll get it together at some point

also, molly is bored in the school, fair enough, but isn't getting confident enough to go out herself.


and another thought - think i'll put the breastplate of hte martingale back on, hands much stiller when attached to that which means steadier contact which means better trot (when we get trot) - my arms go pear shaped in trot, where they're find in walk....

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


well - soemone had shut the small gate through to the 20 acre so the plan to try that agin went a bit pear shaped. i tried and tried to get her close enough to it to let me open it (including using my stick) but she wasn't having it and getting more stressed. by that time I needed to go to the went back up the hill (in canter) then she blocked and i had to wave the stick at her to get her going. then she set off in trot (good) but then started napping to the small gate to the field (not good). so got off nad led, put her in stable whilst i went to loo, went and got on in arena & had gate shut behind me and forced her to do circles.

now that's interesting. left circles not too bad. right circles - jaw set, trot, anything but do a circle. TBF the circles do get a bit tight .... and i think i do turn my body sometimes when i only intend to move my seatbone - but my goodness.

had to unblock her a couple of times but we did get some circles both reins. finished with a walk on long rein.

phoeey, though.

ah well, we will get there eventually...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


this time with a bit (the last few times i've lunged with the BB); she went pretty well, all things considered. right rein wasn't the argument I'd expected at all, considering the struggles we've been having with circles ridden. so that'll be me trying too hard then! which isn't to say she didn't protest, but the protest was a slightly more minor key than it has been and overcome relatively easily. and didn't pull against it going right as she normally does (well, not as hard, I could stay upright!) and is more balanced/less rushed.

One thing I was always hopeless at getting lunging, with any of the three horses I've lunged, is canter - and really with a less than 15metre circle to work in, it's probably as well at the moment!

so did about 20 minutes, twice each direction, shortening side reins as I went (started with them toooo long, and they still are a shade). was pleased with her.

on the riding with crop thing - hitting the boot doesn't have the desired effect, i shall need to connect with her. sometimes, waving the stick gets her attention and gets movement (same way a jockey does - forwards/backwards alongside face!). will ride tomorrow, see how we go.

Monday, May 12, 2008

late meeting again

but only 2 of us turned up. got some useful work done though! too late to work molly though.

caroline, you might be right, and it might also be that i'm frightened of potential reaction. and in a way that was proved when i did use the stick to get her into the arena. so i must try harder as well as getting her to.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


to stresshead mode; she was happy enough to set off, and to take the route we did yesterday, but then blocked herself. First block before we went through to the 20 acre; second block after we went through; several more half way to the gap in the fenceline; ended up unable to decide which way to go and whichever way i turned her she blocked. so got off, went back, got back on - and she blocked at the top of the hill.

got off, went back, got back on - decided to go into the arena, she didn't want to (she wanted to go out, where she would have blocked again ....) and did 20 minutes work there.

all in all, about an hour on her.

i can't bring myself to get after her with the stick too much though, as given that she's stressing anyway, i don't think that would help. she needs to work out for herself that she can go out and she'll enjoy it - i think she probably does know that, but can't quite bring herself to believe it, if you see what i mean?

and another photo (still not of a horse, though ... the sorted out back yard, what was all allotment that we couldn't keep on top of, from the upstairs window).

Saturday, May 10, 2008

breakthrough? and before & after pics

We got on. she set off (really keen), down to the 20 acre.

Now, bear in mind the usual track, well worn, is to the right hand side, with the River Wear on your right again and the field off to your left.

We got a little way along but she didn't like this. Set her jaw and turned round. But then stopped again. I turned her right (so i'm going at right angles to the normal track, towards a fenceline with woods on the other side)

We then turned right - so we are now parallel to the normal track but going away from the yard.

We carried on. There is a gap through to the 2nd half of the 20 acre. she looked at it but carried on walking through. We turned left up the fenceline. At this point, you get to the corner of the field and if you turn right you are then heading for the normal exit to the 20 acre, with a stream (that has come down from the ford) on your left, and both our thoughts were to do that.

But we both clocked people on foot - estate owner & wife - and their two dogs. Molly thought, no don't fancy the people - she wasn't sure - So there's also a gap to my left and I can see there is then a track which I "know" (not that i've done it before, it used to be closed off) up to the hardcore track that leads from yard to ford.

So through the gap, and Molly at first wanted to go across the field. BUT - i turned her to go up the track I'd spotted (pleased I could see other hoof prints ahead!) and up there we went, even got a small amount of trot.

At one point half way up there there is, on your right, a large (huge) whiteish slab of stone over a rivulet - that was a "stare" and lets move away from this, but she agreed to carry on and we trotted some more (me ducking for low branches) and out onto the hardcore as I thought.

and left along that, down past the main house and back into the yard.

really pleased. Course, she did blot her copybook slightly - i always go into the arena to get off, to save the foot, but Jackie was mucking out her trailer, so that was scary.

but I was SO PLEASED. I really think we are making a breakthrough now. it might just be she;s bored schooling (fair enough, so am I for now!) but there has to be some confidence there as well.

Now, the before and after pictures. you all think these will be the horse. wrong.

We had the carpet fitters in today! Hurray! this is Coir, herringbone pattern.

Friday, May 09, 2008


my long sight is going ... had to get driving specs last year, and now have to wear them riding/walking around.. back to the opticians, appointment week tomorrow - guess there'll be more money going on specs.....

friday night, molly got a night off ....and i made pie (home made pastry ...)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

a hack out!

with Julie on Suzie. round the 20 acre, an argument about turning right over the ford rather than left to home (Molly ALWAYS does that there ... very tedious! but this time i didn't have to give in...) over the ford, right along a track, through gate (stood nicely) u turn through another gate (stood nicely again) back along field parallel to track - was going to see if she'd do the gate, but another horse was coming through so that person did it), through ford (i.e., through thewater following suzie this time!) back round the 20 acre, and finished up with a canter up the hill, and had passed 2 fishermen with no worries about them

so a successful night.

Went to Killingholme today for work, and Molly's breeder now lives near there
, on my way back, so called (rang, of course); least said soonest mended, but i was only in the house a minute and shan't be going back...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

not so good tonight - with canter!

she actually wanted to go up that steep hill again, i think, but i wanted to go the way I wanted to go (20 acre) - which we eventually got into, and i htought we were going ok - i was relaxed, she was relaxed - then she stopped, and I really don't know why. so turned round, and nearly back to the gate when fisherman with rod popped up from bank side in to path in front of us! she didn't spook or anything, but did stop. then couldn't work out which way she wanted to go! she turned round (but not spookily) and faced the other way (which was the way i originally wanted to go, of course) but then decided that wasn't the way to home or anywhere else. so turned round again and we walked nicely back through the gate.

she still, i think, wanted to go up the steep hill ....maybe i shoudl have done that, but didn't, by that time, want to end up walking!

BUT cantered back up the track towards the yard, YIPPEE first canter since June 2006!!!!!!!

then back into the arena - some nice paces, and did eventually work out how to do a circle again!

need some lunging to remind her she can go right!

tomorrow, apparently, a hack out if i get back from hull - which i should! and maybe i should let her do that steep hill again! hopign she don't stop at the log!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

a positive adventure

on my own! We marched off headed to the 20 acre, and she didn't "block" when she saw two people walking towards her. Dwon the hill she did what she did the other week - turned right, to the wood and steep hill, not left to the 20 acre. (bear in mind one can't have an argument on these hills, they're a bit steep). After 2 false starts, she consented to GO UP the steep hill beside the geldings field next to the yard (that is, on the opposite side of that field from the one we'd just gone down) in trot of course as it is very steep (probably 1 in 3!). There was a log looming at the top round the corner we hadn't known about, so she blocked (don't like logs that look at thought they're blocking the way). So i got off and led her in hand the rest of that route - which we hadn't done before in that direction at all, ever (we once came down that hill with gaynor, something I am never doing again it is scary steep!).

So i guess we were out about 3/4 hour. I did try and find somewhere to use as a mounting block, but was pleased I failed (we had another block, despite being led, once we got out into the open again from the tracks as she clocked a pheasant on the ground on the other side of the field (well i assume it was a pheasant, but it might have been a fox? the distance ...). Then that takes us to half way down the drive and out next to a new cattle grid, and we are forced to go down the side of the other gelding's field which was a bit of a chew as they all were following her down from their side of the fence. happily she stayed with me.

she much prefers tarmac drive, but we can't do that any more due to the cattle grid and fencing, burgers.

the arena is 14.5 metres by 22 no wonder it's all hard work, we can't even do a 15 metre circle!

OK, now, video.

this is
with the new bit in - i.e., at the end of the session. I still can't get the other one short enough, will have to do some more editing on the bits i chose with the myler combi in, so that will come tomorrow/by the end of the week (tis' very time consuming!)

Monday, May 05, 2008


I realised today that i'd been concentrating so much on getting Molly settled in her mouth, i hadn't been using my legs as much as I should ... oops!

anyway, had a really busy day so I am well behind on sorting video out, sorry folks ... getting there!

went out at about 10.30 to go up to pay for queenie's keep and buy her feed and etc; Allison was at work so had to go there, rather than to allendale to see the horse as well..

then back home via the garden centre @ ebchester for plug vegetables (lettuce lollo rosso, leeks, a rose, an astilbe ....)

then to sainsbury's for shopping

finally got to the yard for about 3 30 and got molly in - then ate lunch! shopping went in fridge ...


out round the 20 acre, with gaynor & jackie, Molly charged off in a really fast walk down the hill and on, and had to be slowed down as no one could keep up! she kept that up until about 3/4 the way round, and this was with the new bit in - she was softening and then not - couple of attempts to turn round and go back! that was funny, as jackie had just finished asking why molly was so confidently in front, when she stopped being! for no reason. then after that molly was good whilst waiting for gates to be opened, normally at those two particular gates she has a strop, but was in fact very calm about them today, very pleased.

then back to the yard and i went in the arena for about 20 minutes or so (we were after all warmed up by now!) and this was when i realised i'd forgotten the use of my legs! oopsy. so started to use them again.

stephanie said yesterday what i'll have to work on now is just how much of any particular aid to use, now i'm on the way to working them out....that is true!

but molly did some really nice walk/halt/walk transitions. circles? no way, she said, so we've forgotten how to do turns and circles i'll have to remind both of us about....

then home for about 5 30 and planted most of the plants i'd bought, finally came in to start cooking tea at 8! we realised later i should have put the tea on to develop when i first came in.... but there we go, i didn't.

and whilst i was cooking i also made a video to upload to photobucket, definitely less than 5 minutes - but it's more than 100 mb and it won't have it, drat! will try again tomorrow, might hve to do some more editing...

Sunday, May 04, 2008



for two strides! i was so gobsmacked I lost it of course. that was when we were going really well, right at the end, finally relaxed (we'd had a lot of stress and tenseness for about an hour, for assorted reasons good and bad) and changed the bit to a new (bought this morning, reduced as previously tried) myler hangning cheek dressage legal mouthpiece.

that latter was as a result of a lot of thought about bits and the way the combi works, what she likes about thinner bits, the way she goes, de dah, and concluded worth a try; assisted by shop saying that they had one the right side, that had previously been tried that i could have for £40 and take back if no good.

it was really good, and once i have the video edited i will upload it so you can see...

in the meantime, we were trying to video a session and were handicapped by

1. napping away from the arena with a set jaw before we started, resulting in me tensing

2. starting to relax a shade from that when jackie turned up to move her trailer which is backed up to the arena fence.. that was SCARY.....

3. when that was done, new livery owner turned up with friend and child to get pony in from field.... which since it immediately followed the trailer being moved and much calling for new pony (normally not a problem) was scary.

noneo fhte scariness involved spooking etc, but did involve tense, jaw set ... listening a bit but all over - and then the vicious circle of tenseness and stress.

the trot was awful - did improve somewhat with less contact - but no room!

with new bit in we both relaxed (especially when we got the cheekpieces short enough, it was slighly difficult to tell at first!) and got some WONDERFUL walk with, as I said before, 2 steps or so of renvers.

that came about because of the lightbulb moment yesterday re moving the body t get SI etc.....was trying that (the SI didn't work, BTB) but that did ....

so despite the general disasters of teh day, we ended on a really good note!

and then we gave her an hour off and did some more (with the moulded panels, not the suberpanel) just to see what woud happen.

i'll continue with teh suberpanel, is what.

I'm still reflecting on the clinic yesterday....

but really lots more walk for me, and that's one of the things i got out of it - how much you can do in walk (which i think i'd pretty much got anyway but seeing it in practice, and consequential improvements, is another thing!)

and must move to somewhere with a larger and better surfaced arena, really ...

Saturday, May 03, 2008

anja beran

was a really good day.

no photography/video's allowed, of course.

lots of food for thought.

some interesting work

some lightbulb moments ...

steph & I are going to work molly tomorrow.....

Thursday, May 01, 2008

busy weekend coming up

company coming tomorrow night for tw0 nights so had to come home clean the bathroom etc as you do...

then we're going to Huddersfield Saturday for the Anja Beran clinic, really looking forward to that - partner's staying at home... so that'll be a good report Saturday night.

then on Sunday we're videoing me riding and hopefully going to see Nicola all being well....

so poor molly will work on Sunday having done nothing since Tuesday... but I'm sure that'll be good!

and then should find time to go see queenie....