Thursday, July 31, 2008

first ride out

from the new yard, and Molly barely put a foot wrong. She only had one blip - that was when a van was coming down a track from our right that she couldn't see but could hear, and when it appeared it was loaded with hay - rather think she wanted to follow the hay!

we went a good bit further than original plan, but one bridleway has definitely been made inaccessible (we're complaining again! - people don't want flytippers & motorbikes on rainton meadows, fair enough, but we want to ride on bridleways!) and then the last part she led, along a narrow boggy track becoming overgrown now

as we leave and come back to the yard, we have to go through traffic lights for the water board's road works, good as gold with all of that

very pleased indeed, and her brain will be refreshed as well.

and we'd no sooner led the horses into the barn than it started raining, so we timed that perfectly (we'd thought we were going to get wet at one point!)

was sorry to hear that one of the horses at my previous yard had to be PTS recently - fractured shoulder, I am told, very old horse. very sad.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

busy day....

allendale to see Queenie and confirm my decision re her future.... she's now struggling to get up, and if she can't get up easily inthe summer, she CERTAINLY won't be able to get up at all in the winter!

to saddlers in hexham with stuff to be altered. He said he'd stopped making leather lunging cavessons as they were coming in at £100, which of course (he didn't say this, but...) people won't pay when they can get synthetic for a huge amount less. so he was interested to see mine, and impressed at the price i paid for it...but i'd forgotten to take my cottage craft one for comparison purposes, so have to ring him tomorrow with measurements!

on the way out i called to see Nicola - both her horses snoozling away, the borders looking really good (one tried to come away with me in the car LOL)

then back home, eventually, saw neighbour then down to yard at last about 6. partner had said she was going out with a work colleague, but then rang to say she'd come home instead 0 i didn't cancel my plan!

some flexions, then 15 minutes or so ridden. quite hard, as if i turn one way i am blinded (almost literally, and certainly it hurts) by the sun! glasses are supposed to be transitions, but i don't think they work very well and i probably should take them the meantime, no good trying to keep my head up, its tooo tooo bright... (sn going down by this stage, about 7.15 /7.30

and had to do more as she didn't want to go to the top of the arena on left rein, when we got there she would insist on u turns to go back the way we had come, it was getting stressy. So i went and got my stick to back my leg up (left it on top of the fence for easy access) and the result was some nice walk on left rein as well as right.

but a good day all round

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

horse dentist

tonight after work, so after that molly had a night off.

Monday, July 28, 2008

um .... failure

on the lunging front. We were back to "won't go right" - not totally as badly as it used to be but pretty bad. Shall review the vid of Wednesday to see what was done differently, if anything, to what i did today.

On the other hand, i kept her in walk both reins (which in the past has been difficult!), and quite slow, and she seemed to be working nicely left rein.

but this is SOOOOO tedious. if I have to go back to what I was doing to get her to go right, I will, but it won't be what's really wanted.

no heat here today, cool and misty all day ...

Sunday, July 27, 2008


i probably shouldn't have done anything ...... i did think about giving her a bath but had left the shampoo at home!

anyway, the flexions went a lot better today.

the riding wasn't great ... a function of heat/muscles/me being overheated (jods sticking to legs so couldn't get position quite right!)/heat but we did get some nice walk once I got it all sorted out. She is remembering, and I am remembering, so that is good....but the newly painted scary jumps were to be avoided, if slowly!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

no shan't......

well, almost no shan't and it amounted to that.

Trying to do the flexions before getting on for a ride, I got, yes i'll drop my head but THEN i'll move it about or move me or knock you over or stand on your foot....

i think part of it was still a bit muscle soreness, part of it was she'd been in on her own whilst I had a cup of tea after the farrier had been....

I then got on and rode, and decided again that the kerrits, whilst wonderfully sticky for a hack, are just TOOO much for schooling.... was so stuck to the saddle i couldn't quite get my leg right i'd forgotten to change my boots so still had the slightly too wide ankle boots on, so when the wagon arrived to deliver a load of hardcore (for flood combatting purposes) i decided that discretion was the better part of valour.

In the meantime, I had remembered how to slow her down and rebalance her with my seat, which was good, and when i did that she moved nicely for a few strides. I couldn't feel the belly moving side to side so couldn't time it right, that was down to the incorrect attire....

anyway, it was too d*** hot. my head was cool whilst on the horse though! a very slight breeze up there.

Then went up to Consett, where the only proper saddler within sensible distance has his premises - he was shut. i rang and left a message on his mobile he rang back, only open Monday to Friday 9 - 5 ... :-(. So there are two choices on getting stuff reworked to fit - wait until 12th August, when i have a day off, or go to Morpeth, where the next nearest one is....or Hexham, where there's another. Hexham might make more sense next weekend as I'll be going to Allendale - but then will have to go Saturday...

Friday, July 25, 2008

photos from wednesday

friday night off again

i didn't expect to give Molly the night off, given that she's just had a fortnight, but partner was going out on someone's leaving do, so we had to eat early then i had to take her to the station and the end result was it was WAAAY late when i got to the yard......

farrier due in the morning (i do HOPE he got my letter telling him I'd moved Molly and where to!!!) and we may go up see Queenie afterwards, he wants to see her for his academic study of feet, and it's not that often he gets a mother & daughter with the same issues!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


now I know how to do them, are the thing to do when the weather's pants (foggy, and blowing up, and may well rain!). Molly was very good about them when she didn't decide to chew the rein! oops.

i was right in thinking she'd been on a diet (which she did need, but now is about right!). very little grass left, the main cause being the local water board, which is currently occupying a lot of field space. they will reinstate, and are now, I am told, going to pay for supplementary grazing up the the meantime, YO has opened the large bale haylage loitering about from last year to supplementary feed. I've never had to think about that before in the summer!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A very good day!

and poor Molly worked really hard, and was really angry at various points that she had no option but push not pull! I'll put some nice screen grabs up in due course... possibly not tonight!

First, baucher flexions - which are completely not about force, and completely about warming up/stretching (a bit like, for an analogy, the warm up stretches an athlete would do before training/competing). She "got it" very quickly, albeit that, for her first time, she couldn't do a huge amount. but even with that, you could see an immediate change.

Then ridden - my asymmetries were addressed (having been viewed before we left my house!) and the knee blocks removed from the saddle. felt very odd at first, but the result was better and they won't be going back on any time soon. I could feel my seatbones for the first time in a good while, and I now know I should feel my thigh on the saddle....

then working round the arena on walk, back to the basics of very light feel with the fingers combined with very light push with the leg - and the half halt with the seat, not the hand!

By the end of this, we could see the muscle behind the saddle, her bum was a lot rounder, and you could see her neck muscles working (or at least, I could when i viewed the video later!)

After a rather good lunch at the local pub, back to work on lunging & longlining.
the new roller needs to have it's girth changed, as it's too short (caught behind the elbows! not good :-( - shall have to take it to local saddler for complete change to be able to use ordinary dressage girth with it. Had to stop earlier than would have wanted because of that. also, the new lunging cavesson is also too big and will have to be altered. drat.)

I was very impressed - molly WALKING on the lunge. the side reins were very long, effectively just to keep her straight, and provide something for her to work into, and in due course taken off. she could be seen to be using herself fully (particularly impressed to see her belly muscles rippling!), the neck muscles all working correctly, the dodgy leg coming through....totally different from the normal way we are taught!

and longlining - very good indeed! not pulling! and I think i finally know how to hold the whip whilst longlinging which I hadn't grasped before.

recommendation - lot of walk work per the above with the flexions for a few weeks, and not to try trot until Molly totally relaxed about it all (and, of course, until I am as well! and am sure about my feel!)

instructor -Jenny Franklin - was herself taught by Sylvia Stanier....and doesnt' live too far from you, caroline!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

back to it tomorrow...

for molly, that is, i don't go back to work until Thursday... so there will be an interesting report, I expect, with some pics at least, and video later...

Friday, July 18, 2008


bought some - bad me! equicomfort, not seen them in england. had to try them on with winter socks on, and slightly swollen feet because of the heat, so they should be ok - leather, leather insoles, zip up the front with closure press stud at the top, very dark brown, solid soles, very pleased with them. and as the lady and i agreed, leather stretches!

don't forget

some photos on there of where we've been.....

Thursday, July 17, 2008

CDI Pompadour report

here are the results for the Prix St Georges; placed 4th was Stephanie Ward of Essex, i watched and video'd this test (and will send her it). I KNEW she'd done a good test - by that time, my eye was "in" having watched a few of the ponys earlier (she was 4th on for the PSG) and the marks were good. She told me that the horse is only on its 10th outing, and its first trip abroad, so she'll be well chuffed with this. She had another horse there, but wasn't anticipating much from it, she says he tends to alternate between being a star and the opposite.

I took video for my own educational purposes, but will send her the one of her test. i took one of the other brit's test (Linda Hoad) but had pressed a button I didn't know was there on the camcorder and it kept pausing, so that will be a disaster. Plus, Linda said she knew she'd dropped a lot of points with one movement, which i missed through swearing at the camcorder!

Overall, i learnt a lot through watching - it's no longer like watching paint dry!!!!!! - and am glad I went.

But two belgians in particular struck me - one pony rider, one adult - BOTH leaning backwards, very very clearly. it was a very pronounced lean, particularly clear silhouetted against the judge's box at C!!!!!!

interesting to see the different ways of asking for rein back, and the variations on the theme of half pirouettes. Saw one half pass with defined haunches leading, and was pleased to recognise that fact for myself!

and a kind Dane lent me his sweater (believe it or not, it was cool and got quite cold at one point) - his daughter was 6th in one of the Pony classes.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


CDI at pompadour, about 50 minutes away from here, this week. can't find out how much to get in, emailed them and no answer, website only in french, but day to myself tomorrow as partner gone to Bordeaux.

Small Tour, + ponys

2 brits riding

i reckon I things for sure, partner wouldn't want to go at all!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

paul belasik

currently reading "dressage for the 21st Century" - fascinating.

I doubt I'll exhaust the library here before I go home, unfortunately!

but a horse story. the two boys in the barn knocked over their water bucket. the two in the field, pooed in theirs. phooey!

Monday, July 14, 2008

support british eventing

very funny!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

gerd heuschmann

I've just read his book, "Tug of War: classical versus "Modern" Dressage. If you haven't read it yet, read it.

It's a relatively quick read (i only started it this morning and have finished it about 2 minutes ago) but a good one and I will have to buy my own copy so as to be able to re-read it.

Shame i had to look at the rollkur photos - they're in, of course, to illustrate his point as to how bad it is and, even more importantly, WHY it is bad. doesn't make them easier to look at!!!

My next book is Alfons J Dietz, Training the horse in Hand.

Trudi has a good library! and she currently has some of my dvd collection!

Now, about molly.

I found that I had on this laptop 5 minutes worth of the video i did for heather - you may recall seeing it.

We found I could play it in slo-mo (one advantage of Vista and its related software!) and that WAS interesting. her head comes up more when her left hind comes through than her right. So, i need to more in hand/longlining/lunging.

So I shall try slo-mo on the other vid I took lately (shame it's currently on the PC at home!)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

spanish walk

i rode spanish walk today. WOW. and everyone's right, the horses do enjoy it.

I asked partner to video, which she did.

unfortunately, camera was held in such a way that the video comes up horizontal, and i can't find any method of rotating it the right way up. plus, not sure she's actually got the spanish walk.

sorted out some balance issues (mine ....) halt rein back, circles smaller & larger and in hand work done in a way that won't kill my back!

here's the teacher:

i'm going to ride today

and will probably learn something! hopefully photos later!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

for molly

and i don't suppose she'll be impressed by the work ....

molly's is the black leather; the other is for Steph's mare.... poor tada will be as upset as Molly!

Monday, July 07, 2008


now why does the internal network driver on thelaptop = the one that puts it on the internet? crash the night before a trip? apparently, it's a fault with vista ....

lucky me, i have a plug in driver. but i'm so glad we found this out tonight, rather than tomorrow night!

got back on

after a very busy day that so far hasn't involved packing, but has involved torrential rain. happily it had stopped raining (just about) when I got to the yard but i had to borrow some wellies to go up to the field, there was a lake across the track -and Molly came through it no problem, right on my heels, but through it. very pleased with that, as she always needed a lead through the ford on the estate and i never had wellies so couldn't do that in hand.... so that'll have done her good, and shows she does trust me in some way.

then once i'd got the mud off, and tacked up, we struggled through the clay between the barn and the arena (it's going to be sorted...) and after only a very small amount of ground work (essentially, one trip round in each direction!) she stood like a lamb for me to get on.

was very suspicious of the area where my jacket had been yesterday, but not silly about it.

i just went round in walk, again trying to get her to soften her jaw and not asking for anything. after a while the muscles/whatever in my right leg started protesting

the left leg had been protesting off and on all day!

the shoulder, i can't lift my arm above shoulder height without discomfort/pain, the cure for that being to keep lifting it above shoulder height/rotational work on it. i think.

my birthday was spent firstly at hospital (for the broken foot of two years ago) then morrisons (partner's breakfast) then tour of durham as we decided to do the next two jobs in the wrong order geographically! then durham city library for some books (audio and to read) then halfords to investigate cycle racks and then pub for late lunch/early dinner. then home and i went to ride. left partner with instructions to pack herself. she hasn't. but my ma turned up unexpectedly. now just got to finish packing.

but the blog will continue whilst i'm away (over on the holiday blog!). if i can find the card reader, with pics.

and bunglers, don't bother, the neighbours are all watching.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

horse eating jacket....

got her in, she was very good - first time since change of yard she's stood stil throughout the grooming (just as well, load of mud to get off!). AND did all 4 feet.

about 10 minutes ground work before i got on, by which time she was prepared to stand, as she was listening to me...

got on, and decided it had got far too warm. so took the jacket off and dropped in on a jump wing against the fence.

it turned into a bit of a frightener but nothing too horrid and after acouple of passes she was prepared to touch it so that was fine and then I was able to pick my stick up from the top of the fence.

the only plan for today was to try and work her through to be soft and get that jaw unstuck.

after about 20 minutes or so i think we were starting to get there.

YO arrived with some others including her OH, work started for them in terms of stuff they're doing to the place involvling drilling....

i'm coming down the arena towards the jacket and jeff's drilling ... next thing I know, she's whipped round the other way and i'm losing my balance to her right. i couldn't get it back and came off with my left leg still in the stirrup - thank goodness I'd realised my short boots are too wide and had mylong ones on - my left foot didn't come out of the stirrup until AFTER i'd hit the deck on my right shoulder.....

bawled for people, got up, caught the horse, helen held her whilst i got back on, trotted round a couple of circuits - not the best trot in the world as she was obviously a bit tense and the saddle was slightly slipped, but i didn't much care so long as we did it.

thought at first it was jeff drilling - but it wasn't - realised that when i'd picked myself up my jacket was no longer on the jump wing, so we reckon it was in fact the jacket falling that had spooked her.

but at least i was able to get back on, unlike last time - and thank goodness i didn't break anything, that would have not done our holiday much good (partner would have been well hacked off indeed, as we're horse sitting as well as house sitting!)

Saturday, July 05, 2008

pink charm

the little welshie. although I am not myself convinced by pink bandages....

And i spent ages last night reducing a video to under 5 minutes for photobucket - to find that it is over 100mb, even if it is under 5 minutes, so they lie! i am currently waiting for youtube, which says that 10 minutes or 1024mb is the limit, and my 5 minutes is just under that....

i give up, if it ever loads i'll post it later.....

edited to add:

raining all day

so the plan to ride this morning didn't happen.

spent this morning (and last night) sorting out the video i took last sunday - deleting loads of views of the arena that didn't have a horse in! made over an hour video into about 22 minutes, but will have to shorten further to post.

here's a screen grab - she may have looked that good at other points, but if so, they were out of shot!

then did some gardening in the rain, here's simba helping me put rhubarb leaves into the compost bin

and last night - does any one remember that game where you had a load of sticks and had to remove one without collapsing the pile? i was opening a packet of spaghetti last night not realising there was a hole in the other end!!!!
it was a solid pile that took some sorting out!

and finally, the men are in downstairs laying the wood floor in the sitting room, the last room to be done - has been concrete for more years than we want to think about.

Friday, July 04, 2008

round pen .... but not a lot!

i was too tired... didn't want to get up even this morning! so we did a little bit, but in a desultory sort of fashion!

start of my holidays.... YAY.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

mad mares

5 mares in a field - running riot. very fast.

there were 4 mares yesterday - YO put hers out with the others, and she's shouting for her son (2) 2 fields over...apparently the immediate cause of the riot was some rabbits, which of course were going to eat them...

it simply wasn't worth even thinking about getting molly in! i could see she was sound, and all i could do was hope she stays sound! and not watch.

this was after the early tea we had, during the rainstorm that had followed me home from work! the plan had involved the round pen .... tomorrow, then.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

never mind the mounting block

use the stool.

i took down to the new yard the stool I'd had at the last yard, Ikea's best.

5 minutes ground work, she stood like a lamb, no bother at all!

so, the problem is EITHER the fact that the mounting block proper is in the corner, OR that it's a mounting block at all. I think, in the corner.

Anyway, did some nice stuff, some resistance to rein back, but that was my fault and we did do one really nice full two steps back. got leg yield !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

then it started spitting to rain and a HUGE cloud was coming over, you could see the rain coming out of it ... went in .... untacked... cloud blew away.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


i couldn't find my yard keys anywhere, so came to the conclusion i must have left them at the yard. thank goodness i had.

then i couldn't find the keys to the mares field (they're padlocked up as they are the other side of a public footpath). eventually, found it hiding under Charm's baby pink rug ..... (this is a 3 year old 10hh bay welshie....)

so then, after i'd tacked up, 15 minutes to get on (i didn't, have to confess, try any groundwork first, wnated to see what would happen and in any event do think the mounting block needs to be moved for a while...)

it's pretty frustrating as we did have it cracked at Harbour House. ah well, back to basics isn't a bad thing...

after I did get on we got some nice work, a few rein backs when i asked properly, and finished with a really nice soft walk. that's to say, she did a nice soft walk, i thought, that's a good note to finish on.