Saturday, January 31, 2009

nice trot

despite the nip in the wind .... in the barn, it's not noticeable, but go round the corner out of the shelter of the barn, and it surely is

nonetheless, decided to ride, and got really NICE trot - molly did try to wrestle the contact down a couple of times, but with some finger tweaks and pushing on she desisted.

tried a turn down the centre line in trot, which i hadn't tried before, a shade wobbly, but not too bad and nice left turn at the end which was good.

I didn't do a huge amount, my chin felt like a block of ice - the buff I've got to keep my head warm under the hat was sitting here on the desk, not helpful!

forecast for colder tomorrow, from the arctic, and snow tomorrow night/monday.

Arena had been harrowed & rolled, which got rid of a lot of the "divot type" lumps

researched the internet this afternoon and think i'll struggle to find a barrow that I like!


got to the yard @ 0730 or so this morning to find the gate wide open but no one there....odd.

went in, fed them all, opened the back door and went out with water bucket and looked for wheelbarrow -

3 wheelbarrows missing

then noticed the gap where a trailer was also missing.

so, Louise's trailer stolen, three wheelbarrows - 2 orange ones, and my green one that I've had for about 15 years and which isn't made any more (the company went out of business). the trailer was due an outing today, pony going to's insured, and they will have been able to borrow another but still.

I've been trundling round trying to find another barrow that i like - not easy! and an expense i could have done without (polycarbonate, about £50)

will tour the DIY stores & garden centres later after I've done something with molly .. not sure what, ATM, that wind has got up again - may lunge again.

Friday, January 30, 2009

poles? to be scooted and avoided!

i decided to put three poles out and lunge over that.

started without them, walk and trot, and brought her back to walk for first time over, which was fine.

second time she speeded up

in trot she avoided them

took her back to walk and led her over them three times, fine, then ran and led over, fine.

on the lunge? no chance.....rushed, avoided, rushed...

then canter? very fast, avoiding the poles (i moved us away!) and took a while to bring her back down!

ok, folks, how do i persuade her that she can go over poles? she has done in the past... but doesn't like them any more!

edited to add - they were raised poles, think i'll try again with them on the ground...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

better - but cooooold

Did some flexions inthe stable first - she was MUCH happier about those than she has been for a good while, albeit still not happy right - which is odd, as if I were to hold a carrot at the girth that side, she'd have no difficulty stretching round for it.  Actually, that's a thought - if I do that, that may help her loosen the muscles....
then i got on, and didn't have any of the grief I had yesterday, and i got a really nice trot as well - but it was sooo cooold - it had been one of those damp days, where even though it's not that cold it feels as though it is - and by the time i was riding, it was in fact getting colder and there was a stiffish breeze .....despite the riding hat, my head got really cold
so we only did about 20 minutes. if that

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

was she trying to tell me something?

probably, but i'm not totally sure what... other than it involved "don't want to"

At least I got on. But, she would NOT move. i'd left my schooling stick - hadn't needed it for i don't know how long, few weeks - but had to go back and get it.

Then i had her do 2 circuits each rein in hand, and got back on.

Then she moved, but never settled - occasionally I'd get the odd few nice strides where i could feel her back round under me, but then she'd start head tossing - at one point i ended up with her slaver on my specs!

part of it was the squidgyness underfoot, i expect, as it seems to have rained all last night and despite the warmth hadn't really dried much by this afternoon. the rest of it - who knows. it's not as if I work her too hard!

on and flexions? remind me to do in hand ones in the stable! she didn't want to know about them, either!

I gave up at the finish as I was getting totally fed up and hacked off, which is never a good mood to be riding in!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


and molly did work hard. I wanted to see how she's doing.  She was really using herself, but it'll take some work to slow her down but keep the activity.  At the moment, I think that is easier ridden, when i can slow my rise....
despite teh thermometer saying it was above freezing it was one of those damp days wher eyou end up feeling colder than you expect.  
and the car has to go for repair - an expense I could well do without! - as it's losing coolant, not good! 

Monday, January 26, 2009

teeth today

horse dentist was out today. She hasn't seen molly for 6months - thought she'd developed some muscles! so did that, then kept her in - plan to go see friend ride then come back and lunge - but time i got back from that, i was frozen and it was late - and i had no change for the meter for lights in the arena! so she got an unexpected day off.
and i put my riding hat on whilst the dental work was being done - bad enough being bashed in the head by molly's jaw, the prospect of being bashed in the head whilst molly wearing dental gag was NOT a happy one, so discretion became the better part of valour!  she did settle - i THINK i might have found the "relax" spot!

co-incidentally (whilst I do have Racinet's books) in this months' horses for life is a reprint of Racinet's article on Flexions from riding in lightness. so have printed that out...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

trot serpentine

i really can't remember the last time I did a trot serpentine - probably on Queenie, probably about 6 years ago? something like that!
Certainly hadn't done one on Molly before, and today I thought the trot is now good enough, and she's listening to me for turns well enough, to try one - and we got it! With no argument about the bends. not the perfect serpentine of course, but pretty good!
also some nice trot walk trot transitions, and a couple of halt/trot transitions
and she only got her head right down once (and yes, people it is too far down if i don't catch it) - did push her on a bit, which clealry helped, so thanks for that! and i pretty much managed to keep my foot in such a position that it wasn't getting twisted.
Mind, she wasn't happy by the finish but generally speaking i was pleased.
We do get put off by the boggy area H - C, which is quite deep and Molly don't like it, who can blame her!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

nose on the floor

Now it's good that molly is now much happier to accept the contact, and good that she wants to stretch over her back and take the contact down - but not to such extremes! especially when i'm on her, it's very disconcerting in trot! (bad enough in walk!!!). If i have enough thumb on the rein to stop her, we end up arguing about it.

Cure, anyone?

and my left foot - if i can't stop myself twisting it in teh stirrup, i'll break the damn thing again, probably in the same place! i did try hard not to, but it kept moving. the inside of the foot comes up and the outside down, hence the potential for flake fracture!

one other success - no, two.

walk trot transitions, good

sideways - i finally realised i'd been moving my leg back - WRONG! so having worked that out, i did get a few strides of sideways!

finally - hoping that Trudi, Di, and my friend Cory & her family & Inl aws are ok and surviving the horrid weather down there. Cory is in Bordeaux, which is having a really bad time, and Trudi, Di, and Cory's inlaws are in striking distance of it. (between 1 & 2 hours) - i am a bit concerned about all of them!

Friday, January 23, 2009

longlines ... improving!

I decided to longline tonight, thinking it would be easier on my foot (wrong!) and also to see how she's working.

she stood like a lamb whilst I put the longlines on in the arena - shows how far she's come, as it's not that long ago that doing that was a nightmare of movement! and tangles!

then she set off at a rate of knots and it took me a while to get her to slow down, which resulted in my having to jog to keep up!

BUT she was reaching for the contact, and round, and so on...

so we did about 10 minutes of trot both reins ( a few times) then 10 minutes of walking round the school and practising circles ... which worked well!

then back to trot again.

quite unnervingly, she had her nose practically on the floor a few times and I wasn't sure about that, but she was relaxed when doing it. The walk work was better than the trot, but it was all good to see.

the bandages are having the desired effect on the swelling -in that there is none when i take them off, so that's good!

Then tonight we went out to the Sage Gateshead
to see/hear Richard Thompson (a founding member of Fairport Convention) "1000 Years of Popular Music" tour, which was excellent! there was he, and two women. Judith Owen was fantastic, huge range of styles, fantastic voice. Debra Dobkin was the drummer/percussionist/and singer, also great.

and I got some nice photos of the Gateshead Millenium Bridge on the camera phone,
together with one of the Tyne & High level Bridges - shame I hadn't realised i was getting so much more in the pics...!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

leg bandages

are a pain to put on .... especially this morning when molly spent some time waving her near hind about!  she eventually stopped

The legs are the least swollen they've bene for a while, with bandages ... TBH, i don't think it all REALLY cleared up from the autumn

they were even less swollen this afternoon when i went back

spent some of the morning looking at what EE peeps have used for mud fever, and trundling round the internet.

eventually bought some aromaheel; once it arrives, i'll slather it on and she can go out, and we'll see....gets good reviews, anyway.

the weather was horrid this morning so didn't do anything (had htought about some groundwork) but rode this afternoon.  RI turned up to give YO a lesson whilst I was in - said, different horse!  we're going well.  I said, next lesson we need to work on 2 things - having molly accept a slightly stronger contact without arguing about it, AND my lower leg/feet.  i've stopped putting the leg too far back, but still have an issue with movement (ending up with feet too far jammed into stirrup)

molly did work well though, she's definitely strengthening up. a halt/trot transition was good at one point.

also need to work on her working out sideways.....

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

it's a form of mud fever


had a long chat online with natasha this morning, her OH is a very goo dhorse vet; they've had the same thing with one of theirs.  took 8 weeks to clear him... :-(

advice is to put an antiseptic type cream on, gamgee, bandage, keep in, and that'll mean i'll have to exercise her twice a day.

i'll have to keep a close eye on that swelling up, though, to be sure it doesn't!  but i need to keep her out of the wet to give the skin a chance...

and new farrier (YO's OH) saw her for the first time today in a professional capacity!  said she had really good feet due to not having had nails in them....

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

hack didn't happen...

all ready, hanving about outside with teh barn all locked up, redy for the appointed time. Molly relatively happy as she was grazing ont he grass round the paddock edges (there's none in the field) but I was getting colder & colder...

when they were 20 minutes late, i decided to just ride int eh arena and see whether they turned up - also being ocnscious that I had to be home no later than 12.

but by then, i was pretty cooold - so didn't do a huge amount of anything much, just enough to say i'd got on.

when got off, unlocked the place and tied molly up, got phone out - text to say it was too icey where they were coming from, so not coming, sent half hour after appointed time to arrive at my yard....

ah well.

and I'll have to have the vet out. Molly's legs were swollen yesterday, with having been kept in, including a front one.

tonight, hosed and washed (left with thermatex leg wraps on) - not mud fever, but losing hair, some bare skin, so definitely vet back out. vet coming friday anyway, and the consencus is that it can be left until tehn (share the call out...) - we think it's the lymphangitis recurring, but not sure. definitely not mud fever.

difficulty - i HAVE to turn out, to get the swelling back down again, so in the morning i'll clag all the affected areas up with (probably) sudocrem, which will act as a barrier. lovely

Monday, January 19, 2009

rain? snow? what was it?

who knows, but it ws so dire this morning that Jill and I agreed we were keeping Oscar & Molly in.  normally they're first out (and often only ones out these days) but it was TOO wet - considering the fields are muddy anyway, and we thought the downpours and wind of this morning was too much on top of that!

so in they stayed.  I regretted it though as Molly still needs exercise to keep her legs down.  They've not been so bad for ages, but particularly puffy today. Jill has the vet coming Friday, so I can see how she does.

so time i'd mucked out this evening (the rain having stopped and the wind dropped) i loose schooled her in the small arena.  Again, useful to see how she's moving.  and then we did some "picking feet up politely" practice, as we'd lost a bit of that!

and when i got home and FINALLY got signal on my mobile phone - got a text, going for a hack in the morning, that'll be interesting!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

a right radge....

that was me - well not a full blown one, but working on it! So I shouldn't have bothered riding. The cause? excessive noise - YO's OH had the roller going outside the barn, all over, and for some reason it really rubbed me up the wrong way today.

then, having cycled down in nice weather, and there being nobody there when i arrived - time i got her groomed etc the weather had turned and we ended up with 3 of us in the arena.....wind up all their tails - starting to get damp - pointless.

So i got off again after about 10 minutes, before i lost the plot totally and thus made Molly do the same.

I was on long enough to discover that Jean is right, it's my knees of course!

and of course time i set off home the precipitation had ceased (the wind hadn't, though)

Saturday, January 17, 2009


to the yard and back. It was reasonable weather when i set off, nice and sunny, no breeze.

Time I got Molly in, mud taken off, tacked up, on - the wind was picking up and it was getting cooold....

the continuing good news is that she is still stanidng to be mounted - this is after 2 days not being ridden (you'll remember i lunged yesterday and didn't feel up to anything thursday).

and she still offered to take the contact down a couple of times in trot!

I was also thinking about why i'm putting too much weight on the inside, will have to work more on that. If i don't put the weight on the inside, I end up with that leg coming up a shade and feet moving to end up jammed too far into stirrups. mmm.

anyway, 25 minutes of reasonable work, still with a forward and softish trot, the only person still there said she was going, and i was getting cold, so stopped.

cycle home? half of it. I'm not fit to cycle UP the hill from the yard yet, so walked half cycled half.

partner was impressed - she said, she'd seen my car and thought i must have taken hers, realised i hadn't and took a while to realise i'd taken the bike! how much i do that depends on the weather, but it's only a mile, and I should!

Friday, January 16, 2009


hadn't done that for a good while, what with all themoutning practice and good lessons & good riding, so I thought it woudl be interesting to see what she's doing from the ground.

She walks when asked.

Her trot is more through.

She cantered when asked both reins.

She went right rein with no argument at all - if a bit hurried.

she came back to walk when asked...well, not immediately, but hugely quicker than has been known in the past.

She wasn't as relaxed as I'd have liked, but no matter

The advance lempsips seem to be having the desired effect, in that I'm getting no worse, which is good, and felt inclined to do things today!

instructor rightly suggests lunge lessons for me - but can't do that on Molly, she's not strong enough and not good enough on the lunge for that! so she suggests a fellow livery's horse when he's back in work....(he hasn't done a lot all winter....). anyway, we'll see what we can do without that for the meantime.

Hello Danni & Trudi! put some pictures up!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

lemsips 'r us

think i've caught the bug partner's been fighting for a month am medicating it before it gets going!

was ok this morning, i thought, but by this afternoon i was really struggling to keep going and since it was a horrid day weather wise (damp, windy) and molly clearly couldn't be bothered either (she'd been demanding to come back in since 0900, and was brought back in at lunchtime when i got back from taking fellow livery owner to hospital & back!) i decided to just give more hay/feed to see her till themorning and come home and dose myself up with aforementioned cold medicine!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

take the contact down

in trot.

something else I've never had on any horse I've ever ridden before.

Am I making progress, do you think?

and she really did keep the contact. I remembered what i'd missed when she offered this during the lesson sunday, and was ready for it! A bit disconcerting in terms of horses head nearly on the floor, but hey.

BUT i've started putting too much weight on my inside foot again on circles, especially on left bend. a while since I've done that! and it may be one of the reasons I broke said foot in 2006. Now why the heck do i do that? a subject for next lesson.

Also have started halt/trot.

poor molly

because it's been so warm the last couple of days & nights, and she overheats if overrugged, she has a lightweight stable rug on.

I'm up bright and early as you see - and you should see the frost on the cars. drat. but at least it'll mean the mud is frozen and any hay I put out will stay on the surface!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

whoo hoo

it might not have been technically correct (in terms of where my hands were) but that was the best trot i've ever had on any horse ever.

through, round, soft,moving (was she moving!)

my hands were on my thighs but i was flexing the fingers as required.

instructor happened to see it (she was there mucking out etc. a friend's horse, friend being poorly bad)

i wish someone had been there filming, y'all would have been as impressed as i was!

Monday, January 12, 2009

still good

lovely trot, on the bit sometimes, definitley moving, and my steering has improved hugely as well.
walk wasn't so good - but i was thinking about forward forward - and TBH i don't think she could be bothered! until we'd trotted.
and the weather was great. no need for a jacket.  i even put some washing on the line....

Sunday, January 11, 2009

the saddle keeps the leg right, dummy....duh!

now I did know this - it was why i bought the Fhoenix and then the Vogue.

Why, then, was i moving my lower leg slightly back from where it should have been? put that right, seat more secure, horse goes better. Duh!

You'll gather we had another good lesson.

Didn't think it would have been as I had to go back in for the pressure halter to get on - although to be fair, it was blowing hard, going to rain, and I had some polos in my pocket I'd forgotten about but Molly knew were there.

Anyway, i decided my warm up was carry on from friday - move her on forward on a long rein to get her relaxed and thinking forward. Then when RI came in i had her take the halter off, and we worked on trot.

Instructor, having watched this (I have to say I knew part of the crap trot was me) decided part of it was Molly and part of it was me (the legs...). So, put the legs right, and just push her through it - pretty damn uncomfortable as apparently she's skipping all over underneath me trying to avoid working - not assisted by a need to avoid the d*** harrow that's been left in the arena! - and by the finish we had a really nice trot ON THE BIT.

this was all with an exceedingly light contact indeed and hands low.

Not once did Molly argue about any of it, she kept her mouth shut and her head was still virtually throughout.

So very pleased again, and will work on that for the next couple of weeks or so before arranging next lesson.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


which i think was caused by too much time spent looking upwards, with my neck bent back, into the tree - we were taking down the christmas lights. so i'd pretty much decided not to ride, and it was stil very cold (-3 this morning) with added windchill - so didn't. glad i didn't, i wasn't really up for it. painkillers to the fore! looking forward to the other half of my lesson in the morning, anticipate the headache will have gone by then as i'm not planning on looking up any more today, LOL.

Friday, January 09, 2009

good lesson

well, 1/2 lesson anyway, other half on sunday.

Firstly, Molly stood to be mounted without pressure halter etc - I did ask Jill to stand nearby in case, but she stood! YAY.

i'd had a text from teacher to say start warming up she was on her way, and was behind hand doing that due to receiving a phone call!

and Molly was in season - she and the other mare had been "tarting" over the fence - i blame the new mare for that, Molly hadn't done that before! That accounts for the less good work earlier this week.

anyway, instructor turned up 1/2 hour later, had been held up by her son having a tantrum, as they do.

She was pleased with where we were compared to last time (i'd been working, and we weren't as stressed as first lesson anyway!) and we worked on getting molly soft/round and on what degree of contact would get the desired result without stressing her head. at one point i had her so soft/round she offered forward into a lovely trot without my realising she was going to, and then did something that no horse has ever done for me before - offered soft and down! she wanted to stretch down. unfortunatley i didn't recognise that, so blew it, but there we go!

we then gave her a really loose rein and pushed the walk on, riding by seat, and then gradually took the contact back. very interesting!

then instructor's youngest child (fast asleep in car with engine on) woke up -someone had been minding her! wind - and needed her ma. so we ended lesson there, as molly had been out an hour and i was frozen. instructor said we'd finish up on sunday, she was clear she hadn't given as much time as she normally does.

she said molly was tracking up and overtracking really well and looking really god, and was pleased with the work we'd done since the last lesson. I was pleased. and of course, the first lesson, as I say, was stressful..

the other thing - with all the work, molly's mane now lies all the same way!

so more on sunday.

and my god deed for the day, i found some bedding for another livery owner, she thought no one had any of what she uses in stock, but someone did, so off we went to get it (beats hoovering as an occupation! but i had to do that later...)

Thursday, January 08, 2009

partly successful

but I don't think it quite works - partly due to the fact that the bit is a hanging cheek, and i think there's insufficient space between the top of the bit and the noseband on the bitless. someone suggested that it may be possible to attach the bit to the bitless ... not sure about that, but it might be

Worked in that I was able to get on first time with no hassle. But she didn't seem as though she was totally happy with all the stuff on her head.

I got off and removed the bit bridle and remounted (easily). with the bitless, i feel as though the entire weight of her head is in my hands! and that feels fairly dire. the odd moment when she thought about dropping her head, but only very odd moment... tried some trot, but couldn't get it (my fault again i think - reflecting on that, i need to get after her more to get more movement!).

got off and replaced the bitless with the bitted. first time of trying to remount she started to move, I moved her off smartly and then cracked my schooling whip off the ground, and then she stood whilst I mounted.

by this time she was unsettled and my thighs & bum were cold (it was back down to freezing!) and overall we weren't doing anything well at all.

So i got off again and did two circuits in hand. Just to prove to her that she CAN work nicely and CAN accept the bit and CAN work through her back into the hand.

this was all in the small arena - the main arena was in process of being resurfaced, nearly done, hope it's finished by 3 pm tomorrow as i am having another lesson.

anyway, it was more mounting practice!!!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


above freezing. got as high as 4!

following through my thought about the DR Cook's BB having the same effect as a pressure halter, today I rode in the BB. I got on first time with no argument.

BUT then we lose a lot in the work in that Molly doesn't then work properly over her back as there's not the same contact for her to work into. but no headshaking etc of course. Having said that, I have to think more about getting stuff with my seat, and circles, straight lines up the middle/across the centre inside leg to outside hand were working...

As it's such a long time since I've ridden in it i didn't try for trot.

I think it should be possible to have both bridles on so I think I'll play with that thought tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


-6 this morning, did get to 2 degrees this afternoon but that did nothing to make the arena safe - it was a shade TOO hard for my liking!

Monday, January 05, 2009


i was surprised, it had been raining last night, but there was about 1/2 inch of snow this morning and the arena was i put off the vague thought i'd had of riding this morning, and rode this afternoon instead.

the pressure halter is good when moutning, but really not so clever riding as after a while it drops down her nose and upsets her... so i'll go back to the on/off/on/off until i can get on without it...either that or if someone's available to take it off once I'm on....

but we got a few lateral steps today, not many, but more than we've had before! then it got really cold as the sun (what there'd been of it this afternoon) vanished to i got off, my head was getting REALLY cold...

Sunday, January 04, 2009

rode out!

i shall have to start using labels, as it then woudl be easier to look back and see when i last rode out. anyway, went out with Jill this morning, only up to the pub and back (Oscar's not fit yet and Molly's first time out for ages) and she was very good!

So for the first time in I can't remember how long, I was all done and home by 10, only thing left to do today is bring in & feed this evening.

going to watch Natasha stressaging this afternoon, at least we haven't got snow on the ground like last time!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

unsettled ....

for 4 reasons, i think

1. we were in the smaller arena
2. there was a jumping lesson going on in the larger arena
3. i left the pressure halter on.
4. 2 of the new horses were shouting for each other (one in stable, one in roundpen!)

i think 3 was the most important and will not do that again. i will go back to 2 or 3 on/off and then take the halter off and get on the final time....

having said that, we did get a few nice trot strides - the going is a bit better inthe smaller arena, no boggy bits to avoid - and i did manage a circle each rein.

but then she got against the hand again, not hugely badly, and i think a lot of that was i was trying to wrestle with the reins AND a lead rope - granted a lot easier than the 12 foot line, but still in the way!

Friday, January 02, 2009


stephanie & I had a really good day. we both spent some money - books, jacket, trainers, lunging cavession with bit hangers! lunch.

found a copy of Mrs Hubroun's SideSaddle but didn't buy it - it was £38 and we don't want to ride side saddle... but it's a rare book, probably won't be reprinted, and someone out there will want it!

molly did nicely without me, apparently, and i went down gave her tea and checked her over..

Thursday, January 01, 2009

i think...

we're at the stage with the mounting practice where really all Molly needs is the presure halter on and she'll stand....i tried first time without it today ,but that resulted in a move soon as i put it on, she stood.

but the 12' rope is too long and thick to carry in the hand sensibly, so i think i'll try it with just a lead rope (then i needn't get off again...)

interesting how calm Molly is about it all now.

a few more weeks of this, and I'll be able to try again with the tall mounting block in the's too heavy to move, you need three people at least, and it's badly placed altogether .. but given the progress i'm making at the moment, that one will be "cracked" eventually as well!