Sunday, August 31, 2008

kendal - bees

again. we went this time last year, and mother found out on Friday that my cousin's son was doing something there this year again - therefore wanted to be taken over.

It was in fact quite good (although all we did was there and back again, i hoped to beat the rain back, but no chance!)

you may have all read bits in the papers about honey bees having a really bad time, lots of hives just vanishing - not reproducing, dying, etc - and consequential worries for plants and, essentially, for our food. there is a substantial body of opinion that takes the view that if the bees die, we die as all our food will die as it won't be pollinated.

anyway, peter's group (all two of them!) picked up on this and did a piece of theatre (happily in a tent! if a small one) on that. it was really good. started off really bizarre and i think we all (mother, cousin & I) wondered what we'd let ourselves in for, but it was excellent, got the point across in a very entertaining and thought provoking fashion.

It was a bit damp there. it was wet at home. Molly of course was a bit soaked (if warm) but i knew there'd be no way I'd get her out again if I brought her in for her tea, plus I would want her dry to go out again....

so the result is they're all in.

wimps, but there we go.

plus of course i need her to get her feet/legs dry again so i can attack the mud fever before I turn her out again in the morning.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

mud fever, parelli and a long day..

which started at 05.30 - had to get up as had to leave house no later than 06.40 to get partner to durham/tees valley airport 2 hours before her flight time (i.e., had to be there 07.30) . EEEK. did that, came home via Tesco's, had that all done and in the house for about 0900 if not before!

I'd wondered if Molly had mud fever = scabs round the bottom of her legs a bit suspicious, but could have been dried on mud, and today was the day to "bottom" it. It was mud fever. so lots and lots of warm water and medicated shampoo stuff got most of them off = had to do it in two lots, but she was VERY VERY good about having it all done, I found later when I put the mud fever prevention stuff on afterwards that i had missed a couple, but will get them tomorrow, I hope...

parelli. One of the livery owners does parelli (she started it as the horse used to be a bit of a B, and she's a small person, he's a large horse) and YO likes to have things on so today was the 2nd parelli type day - livery owner demo's the 7 games and then the rest of us try it. Set up a few exercises in the arena - narrow gaps, tarp, pole to stand either side of, big blue ball to touch, zig zag formed by poles to drive through or try and back through, and a wooden stand see if you can get your horse to put its front feet on that - the best at all those exercises was the backed this year Welsh Section A

It was interesting to see - a lot is similar to what others talk about, a different way of achieving the same end. the exercises were interesting. I did get Molly to stand on a scary blue tarp (not nearly as easily as I got her to walk through the huge pond we had last week after the rain!). some of that I might try and integrate in to the other stuff I do with Molly

this is all basic stuff, level 1

I then tacked up (must get my money's worth on the saddle trial, after al!) and rode whilst the others were doing stuff, and interspersed other things with riding through some of the things that were out. The zig zag poles are of course a good ridden exercise, but molly wasn't having any of the tarp ridden (but then, she hadn't seen one until today)

then YO got her eye on the saddle, which is striking, so put her up on molly to try it - poor molly thought she was done by then - YO rather liked the saddle, surprised herself I think

and how stable it is - i didn't realise until I got off that I hadn't fully tightened the girth, so I'm clearly doing something right balance wise as it didn't slip at all!

so was at the yard from just after 10 until nearly 6, and in all that time had eaten 1 piece of chocolate cake one of the owners had home baked, rather nice! and had 2 cups of tea. I was amazed that I wasn't hungry - but that soon changed when I got home!

so a very long day, but productive I think.

Friday, August 29, 2008


on trial.

today, the local agent (not the previous one, who has retired from such activities) came out with a vogue for me to try (and i have it until Thursday, we;re hoping that next person will call round here and collect it on her way south from a Northumberland holiday) and whilst she was here we checked out the fhoenix, since original local agent hadn't been able to, having broken her leg in two places and never fully recovering from that, I gather!

So, on the original fhoenix, I'd had it in the wrong place (duh! slightly too far forward...and thought it was right because it was level) but i was right to be concerned about things at the front. agent liked my new bit of kit (the griffin half pad, sheepskin lined, with shims) but it needs a bit more in front and generally the vogue is better on Molly because of her shape (thought it might be LOL).

and for me?

Well, hugely better, i love this saddle. my position was a whole heap better (the stirrup bars are slightly further back again), my rising trot was a whole heap better, and I think molly liked it better as well - at the point when normally she'd have had a tantrum and not wanted to do any more, i was able to move her on again. and she was working quite nicely once she'd got over the fact that it was morning and the waterboard diggers etc. were at the end of the arena (she's happy about the yards tractor etc, but hadn't been worked when the water board had their's on the go the other side of the fence)

it's the dressage, and i didn't like the Fhoenix dressage, but I do like this. so I'll be riding as much as I can in it. and I've a feeling it's not as slippy - will try it with ordinary jods, not just the sticky bums....

you know what's going to happen, don't you?

but I really SHOULD leave it until i get a new job - but of course, I can sell the Fhoenix...

and no one tell partner...

Thursday, August 28, 2008


have to confess to not doing any flexions before I got on, and didn't bother with the performance of trying to get on unaided, just had person hold her head.

i decided singing to myself whilst trotting would be good relaxation for both of us before i started to do any serious work, so i did that, and it was a good idea. i wasn't put on wrong diagonal and it was a nice forward trot.

After that, back to working on walk/softness and we were hugely better than last time i was on her. even once other horse was in arena being lunged, she jigged a bit and then we worked round them and i got some nice walk. I'm finding it easier to "get it" and to keep my bum/thighs in the right place.

then afterwards the new livery owner asked me to show her the rope circling work she'd seen me do Tuesday ... so i did, her horse in the round pen. and since she'd never worked in a round pen, i showed her how that works as well. Will lend her Max's dvd.....

didn't do too much, as he'd already been lunged, but he (the horse) was getting it (which pleased me!) and his owner could see what it was about...

tomorrow (don't tell partner) local(ish) agent is coming with a vogue to see how that suits Miss Molly...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


i bought some of these at the weekend - thought about it in december, and now have some - so tonight was lunging, and over poles. interspersed slow walk with trotting over poles. Interesting to watch her really pick her back legs up, was very pleased. we had three poles set up, on one pod high (I only bought two sets,so my max is 4 poles at one high or 2 at 2) in a straight line. did them once each way - and pleased to say she was much easier to move right tonight, one benefit at least of all that ground work last night!

Not so pleased with the rhinegold torrent rug i bought her. It may have been a bargain, and it's certainly the right length, and very lightweight - but not right at the shoulder, and at the front fastening it was folding itself back under and leaving a gap.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

55 minutes

of ground work interspersed with attempts to get on .... at the finish got new livery owner to come in and give me a hand, and of course she didn't need even to hold Molly's head, as Molly was interested in her..... i find that often happens, it just needs someone to stand there.

but pretty frustrating, as you can imagine.

Mind, after the last couple of weeks (what with rain, RTA, rain, and being away) I knew i'd need to do the groundwork .... just expected it to be more effective than it was!

hopefully we'll get back into the swing of it soon...

in the meantime, the scabs behind the ear/down the neck had cleared up, but some more had appeared on her face.

Monday, August 25, 2008

home again..

after a good weekend. lucky with the weather.

all was done at the yard as we drove past so will go see molly tomorrow. I expect she'll be wanting to wimp out and be in overnight....but we're all expecting September to be better!

called at stephanie's on the way down - lovely lunch, thank you, will sort the pictures out soonest!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

good weekend

we've had a good weekend - no rain yesterday, and despite some heavy showers today, not TOO bad - didn't need the wellies.

didn't spend TOO much money, honest!

saw some go cross country, and some show jumping today.

molly now has another rug - but at only £26 for a lightweight turnout, you can't argue....

i have 2 new sweaters - one fine alpaca for £5! and one cashmere for £25 - bargains all round.

avoided new boots (not for want of trying on though, LOL)

Friday, August 22, 2008


is where we are. glad we brought the wellies... it's been raining today, quite heavy showers....hope for sun! for tomorrow.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

RIP Queen of Timber

Molly's mother.

Regular readers will recall that the decision was made some time ago that Queenie would go this summer, before Blair. I rang last night, not having heard, and she went 10 days ago....

This was in her youth, when Liz had her, taken at a Horse Trials I think - can't remember which one - but would have been in about 1990 or 1991

this was taken in February 2002, a week before we moved

this was at Easter 2002, I think, at Union Hall - they were having a little "in house" show, and we was all dressed up for the showing class - there were only 2 in it, me & Natasha on Lady, and I won it LOL. Queenie was 20, just turned
and this was taken by me on the same day!

and this was the 29th June this year - I had seen her since, but not taken a photo....

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

rain scald?

behind the ears. feels like small scabby, if it were on the leg it would be mud fever. and because of where it is - right under the bridle! i didn't ride, as i'd planned now we finally have some dry weather.

So it's been hibiscrubbed and sudocremed and repeat tomorrow and friday morning. hopefully that'll sort it, as we've got tickets for Blair and are setting off on Friday to stay with friends.

Whether i'll survive the journey is another matter. a rather nice hire car (to replace minewhilst it's in being mended after last week) was delivered today - with a HUGE no smoking sticker on teh front dash. :-( :-(

I can DO a couple or 3 hours without a smoke when I have to - but driving "my" car is not a time when i usually feel I "have" to. so loads of polos and regular stops, i expect...

and I've just bought two of Paul Belasik's books, riding towards the light & exploring dressage technique, for under £11 including postage off ebay. I SHOULD have time to read them....but it's amazing how busy one can be when not in work! all the things one doesn't have time to do when in work. I'd rather be working, of course.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

more rain ..

it always happens when i have time off - that it rains - so this with a vengeance.

it occurred to me, Molly will in fact be knackered as the field is too wet for her to lie down ... we could start a rice paddy! (and we're no way as bad as some others locally). So she's in again tonight, my thought being that if she has a couple (or three!) nights in then she'll be much happier staying out at the weekend, when YO is going to be looking after her...

Monday, August 18, 2008

molly fed up

i think she must be fed up of the weather, and also of being the only mare out - even though she can talk to the geldings, they are in a different field.

the result was, she did NOT want to go out again. she'd walk with alacrity to her stable, but not the other way.

so she's in for tonight, and if she gets hacked off with that, only herself to blame! hope she survives, first time in this stable overnight since we moved there. I've not known her actively want to be in in the summer before, i reckon it really has to be the weather

did some rope circling tonight (she moved once she knew she wasnt' going back to the field...) as it had rained so much she was still wet in parts -front end dry, but back from about half way along where the saddle would go wasn't.... useful thing to do, get her listening to me and remembering where the boundaries are.

i think she must have been kicked on her flank at some point in the last week or so = there's one spot, when i go to groom it, she kicks. the only reason for that has to be a point of tenderness, so I'm being very careful. there's nothing to see, so it'll be a bruise, i expect.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

spending money

resulted in a headache ... and not assisted by forgetting to have a late lunch before going to see Molly.

I had decided that a small amount of my redundancy should go on a new suit, since I haven't had a new one for a very long time.... so we went shopping.. it was the thing to do in the rain, and we also ended up with shoes and useful things from M & S ... all at the retail discount outlet, of course.

new suit for under £50 (which is why i don't mind that it's not a perfect fit!). but i did spend a reasonable amount .... all needed, i hasten to add.

Molly two rein lunging .... phoooey. we did eventually get it left, right is a nightmare, and I cannot for the life of me get to keep the reins where they start and end up trying not to stand on the ends. I would have ridden, but I was too hungry, and that's never good, i find. so we did about 20 minutes or so in the arena, finished up longlining round the outside with both reins through the lower rings on the roller (still haven't got my leather roller back, must ring him this week to see if it's done yet!)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

hole in girth strap

was what was required.

think, it was last Sunday since I last rode - and a lot has happened, what with teh weather (which was mostly dire!) and the RTA and so on.

Anyway, put hole in girth straps, it needed to be pulled up one more on one side. sorted. saddle stayed put.

so i might try the new pad again tomorrow (depending on the weather and how i feel!)

was in two minds whether to ride or not, the neck was still stiff, i couldn't find the supportive stock (one of those things with a solid part at the back and you velcro on the tabs at the front, very supportive!) my back hurt and I had a headache.

Whilst the riding wasn't brilliant and molly gave up (probably because she knew I wasn't in it really!) my headache went (probably needed the fresh air!).

and it's amazing what getting on a horse does for a bad back ...shame that all the other horse related activities aren't so good for it!

managed to see most of the olympic dressage tonight - some triangulated piaffe, one horse with a dreadful walk, Isabelle Werth's horse threw its toys out at the first piaffe, amazed it stayed in the arena and well done her for getting him back and still getting over 75%. had it not been for that, she would have got a good bit more...

Friday, August 15, 2008

the week's really bad news

is that i was made redundant and today was my last day.

this all happened after I came back from holiday - andTBH i wasn't TOO surprised, as there wasn't much work, but there was alwasy the chance that some had been found.

but it wasn't.

so i have a 3 month cushion in which to find something else, and the job hunt started 2 weeks ago.

and then, i got to the yard tonight and found molly attached to the fence by her rug buckle. don't know how long she'd been there (she'd clearly been leaning over to get the grass on the other side) but she clearly hadn't panicked and was easily freed.

and i really should, probably, have gone and taken the rug off this morning, as it ended up getting out quite warm.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

couldn't be bothered

either of us.

i just thought i'll try a spot of rope circling - didn't think riding was such a good idea, as i'm still seizing up rather than loosening up (and had some tingling in my fingers hwilst brushing her tail, which is bizarre!!!) and she wasn't that interested, and wasn't happy about the going (who can blame her after all the rain!)

there was a HUGE pond on the track up to the field - i was pleased i'd dug my much boots out. up to my ankles! at least got the mud off molly's feet so i could see them...

do hope it stop raining soon.....

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

i gave in

found a clean lightweight rug and put it on molly. hope it was in fact still waterproof!

now, showing how fried my brain was - i told another livery owner she should have borrowed my mac ... then took molly out, without getting said mac out of cupboard.

result - soaked to skin.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Road Traffic Accident....

this morning, I was sitting peacefully at a queue of traffic waiting for lights to change so we could go, when bang! i was rear ended. well hacked off. and chap said "sorry my brakes have gone, i was on my way to the garage" - duh.

instant pain = given i already have cervical spondylosis! wasn't expecting a pain to kick in quite so quickly, but became aware of it whilst i was taking his details.

stupid boy.

and raining on an off, and started raining as i got to the yard again, so molly did nothing save eat her tea and some hay...

Monday, August 11, 2008

lunging/long lining

I know, i said i wasn't going to longline until I got the new roller back from the saddler, but decided to anyway, to see if it improved the going right situation.

the lunging was OK, think i'm getting the slowing her down - on left rein.

right rein was a pain - again, i got trot then slowed it down, but coulnd't keep it going at all and she kept turning in.

decided to try two reins - again, left was really good, could see her starting to get it (i was in a tangle, however with my reins, sorry jenny!)

I was impressed that she stood whilst i changed the reins all round, in the past she's insisted on moving so that's a great gain that she didn't.

but right rein? no, she'll turn in and turn in and turn in - so rather than persist with the resultant tangle of reins, i re jigged it to longline with both reins in through the lower rings, and went round the arena on both reins, quite short, concentrating on slow and feeling the bit.

that was having the desired effect. but OOOH, the right rein i WILL have to sort out all over again .. at least i'm not losing it now, stay calm, she stays calm

Sunday, August 10, 2008

with girth on top hole

and suberpanel - saddle still slipped back.

So molly has now lost so much weight that I ought to buy a new dressage girth.

she looks about right - it's really the grass belly that's all gone - and nowhere near dropping too much condition (especially as they've gone back onto a field that's had a month's rest and loads of rain!) but in the meantime, a tad tedious.

and I'm not sure that a new girth won't end up too short and catching on her elbows, so maybe I'll try putting new holes in the girth straps instead!

but of course, having worked that out, I'm no nearer knowing whether the new pad with shims is going to be any good or not, as i can't differentiate between slippage caused by that and slippage caused by girth not being tight enough....

anyway, the end result is that we end up pear shaped as the saddle gently moves backwards resulting in my feeling tipped forwards at which point I realise this and get off (and Molly points it out to me as well....)

on the other hand, the good news from today was that i got on twice. first time was relatively easy (new pad on, first time to mount, only once round the stool). Second time took a bit longer, presumably because molly thought she'd already done enough for the day, but eventually managed it whilst staying cool, which is pretty good for me so clearly i'm improving as well LOL.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

it helps

if the saddle doesn't slip back...

after i while, I though, why is this going pear shaped more than it should?

eventually molly had a block, which we hadn't had for a while... i got off - and the saddle had slipped back! so i wasn't surprised.

i was trying a griffin nuumed half pad with solid shims under the moulded panel - guess i shouldn't have put the griffin numnah underneath! i thought this might work better than the mattes, which didn't at all, as the shims are more solid and there's no solid seam to cause a rub on the spine should the same propblem as before occurr.

so if i can avoid the rain tomorrow (which i managed successfully today - we were t the hairdressers then went to look at sofas and such, as we don't have one) i shall try without the numnah.

the shop kindly said i could take it back if it doesn't work, after i explained the problem.

Friday, August 08, 2008


she's in season! that'll account for that then!

when I'd got the mud off, back to the round pen for some rope circling - got her listening, took a little bit of effort but got there!

forecast to teem down tomorrow .... again!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

so that was about?

they were all up a height.

molly was in the lane between the fields (the grass keeps her occupied, YO's horse was in, other mares not out fully as one is lame and thus it's companion stays in to keep it company). it was clearly going to rain. i thought, 1o minutes in the round pen, sorted.


Molly, pay attention? anything, pay attention?

Every single on of the horses, mares and geldings, were assortedly turning themselves inside out (the lame mare ! in paddock whilst mucked out) or screaming for each other (the rest of them)

so i gave up and fed her. even that was stressy ... eat a mouthful, back to door, eat a mouthful, back to door...

turned her out again and she spent the time whilst i went back down to get YO's mare cantering up and down the fenceline, instead of eating the piles of haylage.

some kind person took a couple of pics from the stressage, so i'll scan them in and post them later...

very stressy, as you can tell - i can't believe the look of concentration on my face in the second one

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

jenny franklin

due to a misunderstanding on my part, wasn't named as the trainer on 23rd July. I've edited that, and apologies, jenny, for that! i will now shout your name from all the local rooftops!

in the meantime, I had a late meeting tonight and so molly got a night off...

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

lunged in the damp

I almost thought it was going to be too wet, but went out in mizzle and it stopped - bit foggy but who cared, and got warmer!

good on left rein, but only got right rein after a bit of an argument - found i had to set her away in trot and then bring her back to walk and on the second attempt at this (after going left again for 5) she did consent to slow the trot right rein and gave me a few circles of walk.

So i called that a good note to finish on and finished.

I did think about longlining as well, but it all takes so long to sort out and threatening rein and she'd been good....

edited to add - and I heard today that YO had her own scores excluded from the yard comp, which was very nice of her but she shouldn't have (you shouldn't have!) as just as entitled to have a placing if merited as anyone else!

Monday, August 04, 2008

the rosette

was for third place in the senior section, which considering I retired and thus didn't perform the last 3 mvements is pretty phenomenal. i reckon judge must have had her rose tinted specs on - 7 5's and 2 6's, the 6's being for better trot steps and more relaxed walk steps. comment "when she relaxed in the walk she showed some nice movement" which was about 5 strides before she lost the plot at the spooky table! I would have give myself all 4's, if that, so it obviously looked a lot better than it felt.

And i didn't know there was food on, and jumping later (there would have been ground poles to trot over...) - YO didn't know there was food on until very late the night before! her mother baked!

tonight i went in and the first thing I did was that test again through, and then did trot as well as walk and got some nice trot steps in there somewhere!

I guess i was trying too hard again yesterday, what with all the stress of getting here in there - more than likely!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

i did - but wish I hadn't!!!

a bit of a disaster, finishing with us retiring!

anyway, got there early and plaited (posh, wot, can't remember the last time I plaited, should have taken a photo.....) she looked rather good and stood like a lamb for that.

tacked up and got changed....

the idea was, we'd warm up in the geldings field (they being all in!). I knew they were meant to be starting at 11 (nowt so posh as proper times) so got on at 11 and got her settled in the field and doing some nice walk, light and through; couldn't get a trot in their (not something we've been working on really....)

loads of people started arriving in cars, and a wagon (someone's friend, I think....) and that was unsettling ... then the local driving club came past which meant everyone had to stop and stare a bit (far enough away not to be problem, but close enough for us all to look at, if you see what i mean). Oh, and there were men there measuring up for some drainage work that's happening next week, as was all go!

by 11 35 i didn't know what was happening and Molly was napping AWAY from the gate out of the field.... followed another through at the finish - frankly, i wish i'd stayed in there... or better still, not got on at all until it was time for test, and not warmed up either!

anyway, didn't actually get going until about 12. I got on outside the barn - mistake, nap away from teh arena. so i got off again and got on inside the arena (judge/writer etc. still not set up properly, so that didn't matter).

ring steward had set up table/chairs by the gate, between M & C, and picnic benches with spectators between C & H.

Anyway, started ... got trot, if fairly crap trot, and got down centre line and track left and 1/2 20 metre circle @ b, got the walk (not wonderfully, we were both tense!) and the change of rein H - B and then the stop at F (not the best stop/stand i've ever done, but done); walk on, trot half 20 metre circle round to just before E, walk, turn right, halt at X, walk on track left at B and then trot on - at that point, serious napping away from teh white table/chairs between M & C and she wasn't going to have any of it!

So I retired.

well hacked off.

i suppose it was her first ever, but i wasn't over happy.

I don't suppose I helped myself by not having any sticky bum beige breeches (damn saddle is very slippy ) and a jacket slightly too small....

but there we go, I tried

It will be interesting to see my sheet in due course (or not!).

i guess also i should have just ignored the trot and concentrated on a nice walk, as we've been doing some really nice walk, but I didn't.

I think what I will do is try it again, and keep trying it on my own (i actually only learnt it this morning! not a difficult test though...) and try again.

However, i did say I wanted to do a walk & trot test by August, so I can say I have done that.....

Then I fed molly and turned her out again (after I'd tacked up two other horses for people! YO ran out of time, rushing round doing everything).

and one young lady (about 10) did it led on YO's horse, and from what I could see did it quite nicely as well!

I was pleased I hadn't had partner come down and video.....

edited to add - just received text that I have a rosette!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

um ... should I?

do a walk/trot test tomorrow?

i don't think so, but it's at the yard, so can't very well not! and can always just not trot and get null points for that!

Molly was struggling with the flexions this afternoon and we took a while to get a sensible walk.

i did try some trot, but it was choppy (partly my fault, i imagine).

i think i'm back to trying too hard, oopsy!

finished when we'd done a reasonably nice walk round the arena both ways...

then to gateshead flower show to pick partner up. didn't get there until nearly 4.30, it closed at 5.30, and they still charged me FULL PRICE to get in! I was NOT happy, as you can imagine, and have complained (in writing, we were all given a survey to fill in so i said it was poor value for money, and explained why!)

ended up at our favourite curry house for takeaway though, via Ikea.

Molly spend the afternoon in the stable, as all the mares were in so she had to be; had just been turned out again about 5 seconds before I arrived back!

Friday, August 01, 2008

three short things

we did today.

10 minutes groundwork (not very energetically, just to be sure we still knew the rules, really!)

5 minutes flexions (she's a shade anticipatory, and I really should ensure she's standing square!)

and about 10 minutes ridden, but I shouldn't have bothered with that, because of the wind and incipient rain....

I have to say, Molly is becoming a LOT better (hope I'm not speaking too soon) about standing whilst being mounted. twice this week, no bother at all.

and whilst I wasn't totally overjoyed with what we did, there were some nice moments and when i got off she was standing all square, which i didn't think she would have been.

setting against the hand!

but, a lot more settled in her mouth (that might seem contradictory ...)over the last few days we haven't had nearly the amount of fiddling with the bit/mouth opening and closing that I've been used to noticing!

my thighs still felt very stretched after yesterday, which is good!