Wednesday, December 31, 2008


But before I get to them.

I didn't lunge, I rode. Continued success. Second time to mount I took the pressure halter of and she stood. Yay.

one slight problem. the saddle moves about 1/2 inch as i mount (the mounting block I bought is not tall enough to just step over) with the result that the shims are slightly off when i do get on and straighten it up. so even though i don't need someone to hold her head, i do need someone to hold the stirrup on the other side... oops.

hopefully, she'll eventually stand at the main block in the corner, and that IS high enough..

and the peas?

I like peas. partner hates even the sight of them. partner away, so dinner was home made pie with home made chips and garden peas .. yummy. and that was mince pie, enough pastry left to make a steak pie from the left over stew from t'other day. so i'll be well pied as well!

and finally - can someone tell me why it takes several million goes before I can comment on Jean's blog? no problem with anyone else's .... perhaps that's an exaggeration, but i think i've tried 10 times today, from both pc and laptop....

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

more massage and mounting

the equissage lady came back today so i paid for another massage for Molly, she does like them.

then we did mounting practice again. this time, the third time when I'd taken the rope halter off - she moved, so i had to put it all back on again! then I asked Louise, who turned up looking for some money she thought she'd dropped, to take it off...

But anyway, Molly was walking nicely and I could feel her back rounding under me, and we managed some more circles as well.

but it is cooold.....not as cold as north scotland, or canada or northern states of america, but cold and i'd not put my thermals on ... will do tomorrow if it carries on like this!

I think some lunging tomorrow ...

Monday, December 29, 2008

on, off, on, off, on....

hurray! seems to be sorted..

got on (with pressure halter etc on); rode round; got off; got back on again rode round again; got off; took off pressure halter; got back on and did about 20 minutes or so - TOO cold, my thighs and hands were freezing....and managed one circular circle (as opposed to an elliptical one punctuated by a "no i don't want to go that way" tantrum...)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

a success! gratitude to Natasha

Who came up to help with the mouting again and was able to spot an error i'd been making - essentially, leave the rope halter etc on whilst I mount until that is established, so that if she moves as I get on I can send her straight off to work again without having to step down and put everything back on.

so by the finish i was getting on and off no bother!

Then Natasha rode for a while - Molly had worked really hard by the time we'd finished everything (I'd already done about 40 minutes groundwork time Natasha arrived .....) so left her in with her cooler on

edited to add - I've added a new link which I anticipate will be of interest ...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

improving all the time

Molly is improving in leaps and bounds - or i am, not sure which! anyway, she was a lot softer altogether, and i was too - i'd put loads of stuff on teh player and set it to play the lot randomly - proved sufficient! and the speaker on the player is more than adequate for the purpose! anyway, i felt more relaxed and that will be part of why she was, no doubt.

People said we both looked more relaxed ......

so pleased all round.

but ooo it was cold today...

Friday, December 26, 2008

poles in a cross - and music!

would have been a better exercise if i'd placed them better, which i will next time.

but having said that, when we both got it right, it looked good.

poles are something i need to work better at, to get it all set up right, and my technique at slowing molly down needs work.... fine when there's no poles, but not when there are!

the haybar and stable mirror got moved along today into the stable i moved her into last week. can't move back now!

and music? i bought an mp3 player - what would you all recommend to ride to?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

7 mile christmas walk

it was meant to be 5 but we got lost, due to there being too many fields with streams down their right hand side...

partner's idea, of course, recce'ing a walk she wants to do for her walking group. but we were well ready for our dinners! and we like to do something on Christmas day - although I prefer riding the horse whilst partner leads on foot!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

circles - on the longlines!

we actually did a circle circle on the longlines, i was so pleased! and whilst she was mouthing the bit more than she should, she was in a really nice frame and through! all in walk. we'd done some trotting in circles as well, but i brought her back to walk for the purpose of working properly (as it's all easier at walk!!!)

then i got on - um. had to have a hand. then we did get some nice walk (but my stirrups were the wrong length). but hey, she did some nice walk ridden as well. but everyone had gone - jill stayed for 5 whilst i walked round but had to go (don't believe in being on my own, just in i didn't do much more, and she had worked hard on the longlines!

happy christmas all

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

equissage massage...

there's a lady up the road who has an equissage massage machine, and having heard good things about it Molly had a treatment today. she seemed to thoroughly enjoy it!

afterwards, I rode, and I do think she was softer sooner than she might otherwise have been. Difficult to know exactly whether it was that or the fact that it wasn't blowing a gale, there weren't two horses in the paddock next to the arena having a play fight, and we weren't having a lesson - but she didn't give as much grief as usual to get on (although i did, of course, get someone to hold her, since that saves the stress anyway...) but overall this was a much better session than I've had for a while (but given it's only the 4th ridden work I've done since i came back from Cheshire...)

anyway, overall pleased. not consistent in her mouth, which is partly her and partly me, but she was hardly against the hand at all and we had NO blocks, which is a first. a couple of moment of "no I don't like this circle", but no blocks. Also had some nice walk/halt/walk transitions as well.

so overall very pleased. Might invest in another treatment in the new year - only £10 a time. Lady said she's finding after she's been to a yard a couple of times, people are clubbing together to buy their own!

Didn't post yesterday as nothing to say - turned into a busy day, time I'd been to the dentist, done a last minute present shop and gone to a meeting in course of planning future....shame, it was a lovely day as well.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


was re-arranged to this morning; Molly put her stress head on for a good while, which didn't help either of us! but eventually got her (and me) relaxed and got some really nice work. there was a bit of a wind blowing, so one way the wind was full in our faces and the other way right up her tail! so in the circumstances, she was pretty good. as usual, a lot of it is her resisting whatever it is - and new instructor thinks too much leg is an issue with her (could well be right) .... i was trying too hard again at the start, as well. some things to work on but still with a lot of walk. Did get some trot but couldn't keep it going. instructor got on for 10 (i take the view that instructor gets a much better idea of the horse if she rides it herself) and then i got back on again - molly behaved well for the changeovers!

I'll have another lesson in a couple of weeks, and hopefully that will make more sense than this one. (which isn't to say this one didn't make sense, but a first lesson just gives instructor a sense of us and vice versa!)

Something I should have done differently - really we needed 10 minutes walk round on a long rein to get molly unstressed before starting work, the initial stress caused by work getting her to stand still for me to get on! and to warm the saddle up...

YO was watching, i should have given her the camera but hadn't realised she was going to stay and watch until she had, too late by then - there would have been some good shots!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

the problem with christmas

is that after having done the hairdressing thing, and the Xmas shopping thing (to be fair, for my present from partner!) one then has to help partner do the outside Christmas lights in what's left of the daylight, which left no light to ride in and by then it was raining again....

consolation, this photo, taken molly's first day at the yard back in June, taken by Louise who lives next to the yard and who had forgotten she'd taken it until this week. isn't it fantastic!

Friday, December 19, 2008

rained off

it was sooo wet and soooo windy there was absolutely no point in having a lesson.

the daft thing was, it was dry and calm in the morning and i was at the yard moving along to the next stable..instructor drove past and saw my car - debated calling in then as she had a spare hour - didn't. but really, by the time i would have got molly in clean and tacked up her spare hour would have gone.

we'll try again when the weather improves...

Molly quite happy in new stable - which of course she would be! hay bar and stable mirror will get moved tomorrow.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

late night!

after busy day - starting at the doctors, then to see if i can further the thought about setting up on my own (entgirely possibly, meeting on monday) then not lunch with friend who didn't make it so back home, then out to Molly - rain and howling gale, and too dark, and waiting to see if massage person was going to be able to come earlier than she'd planned in which case i would have had molly seen too - answer, not. She hadn't got the message, apparently, so booked for next week! then out of time to ride (weather had calmed down) as had to go home for tea and then out again for some CPD training

tomorrow i am moving molly into the stable next to the one she is currently in, which floods when it rains...will keep me busy and could not have stayed at home tomorrow anyway as the electric board are switching the electricity off for the day whilst they do some work in the area.... and then assuming the weather stays fine, lesson in the afternoon..

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

oops - forgot yesterday!

That is, forgot to post yesterday! Not like me....

I rode. for about 30 minutes. Some nice walk, and some nice trot, not necessarily getting it wholly together but it's all coming back to both of us. Finished as Molly was starting to be spooked by something - the traffic? perhaps? there's a road and junction just outside and the lights all coming down, quite busy it was, and then some idiot decided haring down the road with his horn going was a good plan. i got off and did some in hand, and then she got seriously spooked by something so stopped.

tonight, longlining - but i couldn't make the lights work, so had to stop when it got dark!

and I've been for an interview in York, but not good news as they'd misunderstood something in the conversation ... have emailed them to clear that up (in so far as the agent had the right of what the misunderstanding was!)

busy day tomorrow and lesson on Friday

Monday, December 15, 2008

5's & 6's !!!!!!!

generous (particularly for the non performed trot! LOL) but confirmed what I thought about walk/halt....

anyway, the person judging teaches, and I've seen her teaching, and riding, and we've had some conversations about ways to ride etc.. and I'm going to have a lesson Friday if the weather's any good

Sunday, December 14, 2008

rode twice! posh or what...

little yard show today. a walk/trot test (we didn't do a lot of trot, due to spooking at people's cars/depth of going) and a "dressage to music"

The first was the walk trot - the warm up was hopeless for various reasons, largely to do with saddle being not quite on in the right place/saddle pad & shims wrong, all my own fault! and couldn't really get going in more than some nice walk strides

so did the test (had it called) and did some of the trot but then decided it made much more sense to concentrate on walking which we're currently better at! first time down the long side going right she was spooked by person putting christmas hat on by back door of car (that isn't normally there) and then by car door closing... and it's very deep/boggy down that side ATM. but hey, finished the test! which was more than i did last time.

Nearly had a major disaster leaving the arena - she was keen to leave, but as we did someone clattered their horse down wooden ramp of lorry, which we weren't expecting, major spook and i ended up with reins round my neck EEEEKKK - sorted it though without being tanked off with and before she got 3 strdes out of gate.....

then untacked and left her for a while went for cup of tea and then retacked for the music session. now bear in mind i hadn't even picked any music and had no idea what i was going to do.

First ones in were YO and a fellow livery did a pas de deux which they'd been rehearsing and did VERY WELL (but they didn't win, and two others went in totally without rehearsal and did a reasoonable show without the practice).

I did something to David Essex's "Winter's Tale" which was rather good. People said they hadn't seen Molly go as well. The trot wasn't perfect of course, but much better than earlier - a couple of spooks, and someone with a flash camera. but we were the only people to finish dot on x dot on the last note....

Think I might get myself an MP3 player and chuck some music on, will help me relax!

by that time it was 14.30, so did all and fed her and left her for the day - was well ready for somethign to eat by then (There was food, someone had been home baking, lovely mince pies, and quiches and stuff) and I missed out on the chocolate cake...) but I wanted to go home and get warm as well...

Anyway, I was rather pleased with that!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

rain, rain, more rain, snow, rain

so no riding, of course. although I did find YO riding her horse back to her place from the yard - fond of a treat!

we went to blanchland - mother had paid for us to have a posh lunch at the Lord Crewe Arms - rather nice - but then had to rush back (people don't understand the need to get back for one's horse!)

and on the way back, the rain was turning to snow (that is quite high, and we came back through consett which is equally high) but back to rain again at home.

Molly was soaked, of course - we'd turned them out this morning anyway! - and ready for her tea.

no way i would have ridden in today's weather, and if it's like this tomorrow then the small yard show will be off....and i shan't worry about that! but i might keep her in.

fields are rice paddies again....thank goodness there's only Molly & a pony in hers!

Friday, December 12, 2008


Molly was already up a height when i got her in from the field, think she'd been playing with her new friend!

covered in wet mud - well, her legs and belly - so no way that was going to dry quickly so i could get it off and then ride, so decided on groundwork again rather than nothing.

went in the small arena. over the far side of the yard beyond the muck trailer & tractor is the haylage bale area. we have a haylage bale cover. the wind was catching it - or someone was putting it back, i think - anyway, molly clocked it and it seriously spooked her, to the extent that she was really struggling to go left (which effectively, from where we were, would have her facing it!). she was paying attention to me, but at the same time was seriously concerned about what this big green bag was going to do (nohting, it's tied down, but she doesn't know that...)

so after about 10 minutes i took her in the big arena, closer to the bales, and she had a bit of a hooley about

then back in.

wind was getting up, and it was a bit chilly!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I Rode!!

But i think that i should have had more layers under my jod's - my legs were cold and in consequence I felt slightly slippy even on warmed memory foam!

but she was very good - there was a boom box going in the corner of the arena, a mix of christmas songs and some other stuff (odd mix altogether really, started off with Vangelis and moved through Fairy Tale of New York and onwards...) people practicing for yard show on sunday, which i haven't given any thought to at all!

I need to remember the stuff I was doing before the long break, and so does she. I only did about 15 minutes (if that!)

and guess what? I had to have help to get on ... duh.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

more groundwork

largely because it's sooooo cold... bit of a breeze tonight, just a gentle one but made it seem a lot colder than it is so Molly got her exercise sheet on .. probably time I got back on, but will, I think, leave that to the weekend...

No news on the jobs front. A couple of agencies have put me forward for a couple of things, but that's about it...:-( One firm shortlists on Friday, so we'll know next week whether they want to see me.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

lunge and longline

with the bitless bridle, rther than the bit, as much for practice as anything else since we haven't longlined for a long time and i wanted to get her used to the idea of that again before re-introducing teh bit (given her past history of bit issues...)

the lunging went well, I wasn't aiming for anything hugely exciting, just for no tantrums, and going both ways. that was fine.

longlining, she pretty much stood still whilst i sorted the reins out, which is good in and of itself, and then was moving reasonably well both ways. didn't WANT to go right, but did go right. left rein she was reaching for the "contact" (in so far as one can with a bitless, you know what i mean..) very nicely fora couple or so circles, not so much right rein, maybe only a couple of paces, but generally not too bad. and we were changing the rein nicely as well.

only about 25 minutes all told, then it got too dark and went back in.

but i was pleased with that!

Monday, December 08, 2008


result - mud.

can't have it all ways though!

the arena surface was of course much improved. I didn't get back to the yard until it was dark, though (afternoon meeting in durham) and so did some more groundwork with the electrics on....reasonable lighting in the smaller arena, spots mounted on the barn wall. she thought about having a tantrum, but decided not to. and it's a bit dark outside the lit area....think there was some animal she could hear that i couldn't.

hopefully i'll get back sooner tomorrow and be able to lunge in daylight - lunchtime meeting in newcastle, but if i go up early i'll come back straight after lunch hopefully with all jobs done.

but it was so warm i could take the medium wieght rug off and put the lightweight back on, she was overwarm this morning under the medium weight...

Sunday, December 07, 2008

and more ice...

wish this cold spell would end....

went over to watch a friend do some dressage today about 15 miles away - called the test for her, she was riding her OH's warmblood, he got 65.5% which is very good, as he's hardly done anything for a couple of weeks and the warm up was non=existent due to the ice - the day was running about 40 minutes or so early (presumably because people had cried off) so she did her first test and decided not to do the second...

by the time i got back to the yard it had gone REALLY cold again - so Molly got about 5 minutes in the arena, but it was just too much, really.. She had been out in the field, though, once hte slippy bit had thawed out.

would like to do a bit more this coming week, but getting a safe surface is interesting - you have to hope for a clear day, as then the sun is on our arena and fields and takes the edge off, so you can at least do something in walk! and some bits you can do sometting in trot. no one would canter it though...

Saturday, December 06, 2008

ice rinks...

it rained on the ice and then life in hands.

amazingly enough, they managed to get the horses out - i left Molly in the stable, but someone dug out a bit of ice and put her and two geldings out - an edge round the outside of the arena wasn't frozen so out they went. oddly, there was quite a bit of heat in the sun when it eventually got out! I made up several haylage nets (we're on big bale...) ready for the morning as well as overnight.

by this afternoon, the smaller arena was useable so long as no one wanted to canter or ride, so more ground work.

we're re-establishing manners/who's in charge, which is good. she's stopped having hissy fits

when it thaws properly, i'll long line, but i don't want to do that until the surface is properly right... that is, all the ice has gone! not for Molly's benefit, the horse's weight is sufficient to break it up, but for my benefit!

a friend is having a book published by Blackwells in May, available to pre-order:

Friday, December 05, 2008


unfortunately, rain on top of frozen ground makes for ice underfoot ... a bit dodgy! checked the arena, but didn't think it was safe to use, quite. hopefully it'll be all thawed out tomorrow - and if it's not raining in the morning, Molly will be worked then (in case it does rain later on!). main roads ok, but everything else is at that treacherous point where you have to be super carefull where you tread....

Thursday, December 04, 2008

working in the snow (2nd post of the day)

i was right in thinking snow would enable me to work molly - arena surface was much imrproved. and it was the only chance for her to get out today. I would have turned out in the snow this morning, but no one else was, so i couldn't wasn't cold and they woudl have been fine but turned out there'd been a misunderstanding - when i got there i was told they were all staying in, so fine, but later turned out another would have turned her horse out if there was another out. the joys of misunderstandings!

not to worry.

She's stopped having hissy fits and is working much better, if I can I'll lunge tomorrow rather than basic ground work.

In the meantime, some more pictures

this was as i left her whilst I skipped out and put more hay etc. in ....

here of course she wants to be back in again!

this is good, she looks particularly pretty here I think!
this was a couple of seconds before the one above....she was thinking about it!
and this is the church next to my house (which I photographed this mornin from my window) but seen from across the football field (I walked to the yard and back, this was on the way back..)

winter wonderland

the top photo was early this morning, about 0815, and the other two were about 12.15, from the same spot.... upstairs window in my house!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

deep freeze...

didn't relent enough to thaw the arena surface - the sun didn't get out enough today ... so nothing done. It was just a shade too solid and icey to be safe. only good thing to report is that YO agreed we could put hay/haylage out in the field for them.

I have the advantage there, in that Molly is on her own so no one to fight with - so she stood and scoffed the lot, apparently, then went and stood by the fenceline next to the pony in the small paddock (they've fallen in love....)

and there isn't another big bale for tomorrow, or wasnt' when i left - happily, i still have a small bale left and dead easy to go get some more, so long as it doesn't snow heavily..

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

clipped and worked

the clipping took all morning - not for anything Molly did, she was very good (save for the "armpits" - but the clippers.

at the end of last winter I took my blades to be sharpened, as you do. when they came back, they were nicely wrapped up in oiled paper and in a box. They stayed there, until this morning when I got them out of hte box (which had been in the car's glove box).

They were blunt.

Louise offered to let me use her brand spanking new never used before liveryman clippers. It took us about 3/4 hour and 3 calls to the vendor to work out why they woudlnt' work (tensioning, resulting in the reset button needing to be reset, and that was a pain in the ....)

once i got them going, I whizzed through it all, and Louise was amazed at how much came off. People say TB's don't get hairy, but they do!

She looked very smart, if i say so myself. I must try and find the trimmers to attack between the legs (assuming that blade got sharpened, it went and came back at the same time as the clipper blades, so I'm not feeling very confident...) and finish that up. I did a better job than last year....

by then it was lunchtime, so went home, had a rest, lunch, and put dinner in the oven to cook (stew .... very good, if i say so myself!) then went back and did some work with Molly - surprised, as whilsst I was chopping onions I was watching it snow!

the arena had thawed out enough to be used, so some groundwork. Getting better. She was being challenging, but gave in much better than at the weekend, and the overall result was much better! Molly managed to avoid the total hissy fit of Sunday ... only thought about it.

hopefully it'll stay dry and not windy so we can carry on ...

Monday, December 01, 2008

what i should have done

was clip this morning when it was dry, if freezing! it started to rain properly lunchtimeish, and by the time i got her in, she was a bit wet... and it was still raining, and still is! so i guess that's a job for the morning...