Saturday, February 28, 2009

recently i've noticed

that i've no sooner had a whinge about something than it starts coming right.

the hands are getting a lot better. i need to work on the legs more but that will come as molly improves, as the more steady she is, the better i am... what a vicious circle that is! It's good to know that i can still ride, after a couple of years of thinking that i'd forgotten.

Molly is finding it much easier left rein, to the extent that I can put my hands back up instead of carrying them low ... We had one EXCEEDINGLY good walk/trot transition, that we haven't had for ages, so hopefully more of that to come.

right rein not so good, of course, but getting there.

Friday, February 27, 2009

much better

firstly, the weather warmed up so much between my turning molly into the round pen and finishing mucking out this afternoon, that i had to take my jacket off

secondly, we are making progress.

the schooling stick is in my outside hand which means that i don't catch her wrongly on a circle and it's much easier to keep that right...

i forgot to say, my other problem is arthritis in two fingers on the right hand, combined with b'd right wrist ..

anyway, i was finding it easier myself today

Molly is finding it easier as well - particularly when i remember to advance the relevant seat bone as well for a circle!

maybe the day off yesterday helped as well....

Thursday, February 26, 2009

horrid north wind

oneof those winds that goes right through you, not round you.

pointless lunging as the lunge line would have been blown about too much

and too windy to ride really

so nothing done. but she DID need a day off.

and she wasnt' very suited when i turned her out in the pen for exercise, but there was no one to talk to over the fence....

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

some good some bad

OK - so, if I don't carry a stick, i can keep my thumbs very firmly on the rein and thus give/take with teh fingers effectively.

But if she then stops answering the leg (which sometimes happens) i'm stuck - i either get off and go get it, or sit there unti someone turns up to give me it, or give up for the day.

However, if I DO carry a stick, she moves off the leg very quickly, very rarely gets to the point of not doing so .... but I can't keep the thumb firmly
on the rein the relevant hand (the one carrying the stick).

so a bit of a dilemma there, since I want to ensure that Moly can't pull the rein out of my hand and at the same time want her to be forwards, not standing still sticking her (metaphorical) tongue out at me! and, apart from the fact that I don't want to go back to "kick kick" - if she's not answering the leg, she's not answering a kick either!

plus - RI wants me to ride with my hand lower ATM, essentially treating Molly as a young horse, (fair enough given her lack of training in the past, LOL) BUT if i also carry a stick (my schooling whip) i find that the hand position is all wrong and i can find myself connecting with her with the stick when i didn't want to.

having said all that, she's starting to get to the point where I can get her forward and into a sensible nice contact with a higher hand, but not very often...

so some of it was good, and some of it was bad.

the walk's still good though!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

good lunging again...

Friendship awards

"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."

Thanks to English Rider for that. my friends include some who have already been nominated (can one give these twice?) and some who haven't:

For a change of pace - She's going VERY nicely. I've ALMOST got the canter aid correct = sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, so i'm not being crisp enough or something ....but she has a nice canter when i get it.

and it was a lovely day again eventually.

Monday, February 23, 2009

not so good

probably because i was over dressed and overheated

and probably also cos molly needs a change of scene.

hoping to organise a hack out...

BUT we did get a small sideways ... when I DIDN'T also twist my body, LOL

and we DID get some nice walk

and we DID get me winning the argument about who had control of the contact...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

another first

once round the arena, on each rein, on the bit. YAY.

after some circles/voltes (large ones, needed to avoid the boggy bits!) and so on...

very pleased.

smalll show at the yard today, i could have done a walk/trot test and something to music, but decided not to, as it's still too boggy in places ....

interesting to see after i'd ridden, as YO harrowed it after everyone had gone and i was first in there after that .... you now can't tell it had been harrowed, really!

and we nearly fell over once, don't think that was to do with boggy bits though, think that was to do with Molly not quite concentrating at that point...

and we had a nice sunday lunch out, really recommend the Queen's Head at Lanchester - proper beef, thick large slices, proper yorkshire puddings, properly cooked roast potatoes, veyr nice...

we'll have some scones for tea....

Saturday, February 21, 2009

fun with poles

i thought rather than really work hard again, i'd do what i'd been planning for a while and put 4 poles and my polepods in the smaller arena, as it's easier to keep heron track in there. Happily, I got some help with the poles, which are solid wood, a ton weight.

anyway, that was a good plan.

I didn't put a bit on, just used the bitless - on the ground if we ended up in an argument about poles, i wouldn't be jabbing her in the mouth, and it's great for lunging in anyway

So molly worked nicely over the poles, followed me about like a lamb when i rearranged them, and finished up volunteering herself to freeschool over them.

my final idea was to have the polepods 2 high, with two poles - she did some nice jumps over them, and right rein i asked for and got canter before it and she jumped it nicely. Not so good left rein, but happy to trot it.

was good to watch...

the only thing was, i so wished i'd done all that in the morning, the weather was a lot better!

and when i got home, having made dinner, i decided to bake since i had the oven on - scones, which i haven't been successful with in the past, but these are great, properly risen - and i've had one already. very nice...

Friday, February 20, 2009

short and damp

Damp, because it was raining - that mizzle turning into proper rain that can't make its mind up..

Short - because partner had rung and changed the plan, and because it was raining.


I think so.

Molly much softer, quicker, left rein, and starting to get it (balance sooner) right rein..

We were in the smaller arena to avoid boggier bits, as it isn't drying out (because of the intermittent heavy rain on top of the wet left by melting snow)

Having 2 to choose from is useful....

and i think i've come to the conclusion that the internet problem was a cable problem ... now why didn't i think of that before? ah well....

Thursday, February 19, 2009

canter transition

on the lunge. finally got it quite nicely, instead of having to run round with her, which isn't good.

she was looking good on the lunge.

the only problem was - as we finished, it started to rain - and i'd left my washing on the line.

and the internet? the router clearly wasn't the problem, so i've wasted more money... drat. i suppose i can sell it.

the difficulty is to know what the problem REALLY is!

in the meantime, I also have a mobile broadband dongle, which I am using on the laptop next to the window when the main broadband is down.

very tedious indeed.

i guess i need to check the phone line with BT and check with my ISP in case of network settings. it may be there's some damp in a line box at the moment...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

wasted £40 ...

The wheelbarrow. That's the trouble with buying things on the internet - it's all very well if you've seen it in the shop first, but when you haven't you have to rely on the picture - which in this case, wasn't a good move.

It isn't as deep as it looked to be in the picture, doesn't have a square front, and doesn't have any stability side to side when you fill it.

so i've wasted my money (save that i'll bring it home and use it in the garden, since the barrow we had there got stolen by the someone some years ago .... and will have to spend more money on a barrow I do want... if i can find one.


when i eventually got her clean after her two rolls in the round pen last night and this morning (she was dirty!) and she currently HATES me trying to get the dried on sweat off the girth area on the right hand side, despite there being nothing whatsoever that anyone can see or feel to cause a problem - cow kick, anyone? i have to keep an eagle eye on the leg on that side!

anyway, rode, to carry on where we left off last night - only for 1/2 hour, but was being effective, as I eventually got something i haven't had for a while - all the way round in walk on the contact with no arguemnt - recently it's only been part way.

so i need to keep that up.

and I practice the "go sideways" aid a couple of times, with the purpose of moving her to the right towards the fence line - successfully, as we move sideways and stayed straight.

and the router? thought i'd sorted it this morning after plugging the ethernet cable into a different port onthe router, but it was gone again after a couple of hours. had planned to go get a new router after i'd been to the yard, but a lack of headlight bulb on one side meant the better option was go home....

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

new router

is what's required, i think... it isn't the phone line, or the pc, it's the router

ah well.

in the meantime, Molly.

We had a lesson today. RI thinks molly not strong enough for lateral work, but showed me how to get her to get her quarters moving over and gave me an exercise to do re. that.

then after that we worked on trot/contact

I MUST not let her get the better of me by letting her get the reins pulled through my hands

we got some really nice work!

and SO warm - shirtsleeve order for me! i was too hot with light jacket on.

and molly worked so hard it was an hour until she'd cooled down enough to have her tea....

Monday, February 16, 2009

internet connection

i'd been wondering for a while whethere there was something wrong with my modem... worked out tonight (after not being able to get on the internet at all, for ages!) that in fact the ethernet connection was slightly loose at the back of the modem (this is what happens when people move things from where theywere, not me, of course!).

sorted now.

someone has just sent me an email thanking me for an order and my money, telling me the book has been sent - when they sent it in July, I've just had to dig through my paypal account to confirm the date. how confusing.

back to the internet connection - it went down again for a couple of hours, wonder if i was right first time?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

more improvement

lunged today, since i hadn't yesterday. the new girth is a perfect fit on the roller, so that's good.

and Molly?

carrying herself much better, straight into it, i was very pleased.

I wasn't so pleased with myself, i cannot give an aid for canter to save myself.... pah.

whilst I was doing that, partner went for a walk over the fields and down to the River Wear, which is REALLY full with all the snow runoff:

Saturday, February 14, 2009

carrying me

Molly did feel very much as though she was learning to carry me today, it was a really good feeling.

I had planned to lunge - having bought a new girth for the leather roller - but when I got there YO had the BAlance saddle person there and she happened to mention that she'd shimmed treeless saddles with balance pads... so i asked her to check mine out (approval of my line of thinnking there! which is good ) - i've met that fitter before, fitted a friend's horse with a balance, trust her judgement on these things.

so i thought i might as well ride - in the small arena, better going.

such a good idea. totally different from yesterday - good ish going will have helped a lot there! - and as I say once we got the trot going, Molly was carrying me both reins.

i then ploughed it a bit by deciding to try for right rein again, and i guess she'd had enough by this time as we just had a lot of arguing with her head in the air and fighting me for it....i think i pushed her a shade far for the day. the more positive side of that, is that when i brought her back to walk she was happy to soften into the contact. So that was me, i reckon, just too much ...

RI was there giving another horse a lunge lesson, so i said, text me when you can fit me in.

i need some help just finalising the leg & hand position, and need to be properly taught (well, we both need to be properly taught) lateral work. no one ever taught me properly about this stuff (although i did manage SI once on Queenie at a clinic) and really it is something i needt o be shown properly and get established..

finally, i love the wood pellet bed. it's still expanding, i've had to spread it out more than i would normally do as it was getting too deep (bearing in mind the 28mm rubber matting) and i still haven't taken any out. NO bed comes out with the droppings ....

Friday, February 13, 2009

heat in the sun - on the snow!

still loads of snow on the ground, but when i went back to the yard at lunchtime with feed to drop off, it was so hot I decided to turn Molly out in the arena without her rug, whilst i sorted out the feed and skipped out again. These are the result. I didn't have it set to movie whilst she was rolling, i know, should have done. So i guess she was pleased!

Later, I rode in the large arena - not wholly successfully, i have to say, after about 20 minutes she decided not moving was good, and was ignoring my leg - now, i don't want to go back to kicking, which is just counter productive in the long run, so decided to see if i could sit her out - also thinking that if someone arrived, which happily they did, they could fetch me my schooling stick which was, unhelpfully, in the stable.

after about 10 minutes, my prayer was answered, RI turned up (she mucks out a friends horse sometimes) and brought me my stick - one tap, and molly moved.

after that, i concentrated on getting the walk right and getting her moving into the contact, ended up doing lots of 10 - 15 metre circles; could only get half round the arena before we lost it!

when i put her away, turned out a lot of the problem was that she needed a wee - she's one of those that doesn't when you're on her! ah well.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

2nd post - 2 inches of chaos

There was no more than 2" of snow, possibly 3" - it didn't cover my feet! - but it's amazing how much chaos that can cause when it's unexpected and snowing heavily!

i didn't take the car, got myself all warmly wrapped up and walked down - glad i did, as if there had been a gritter along the road i'll be surprised, and it would have been a bit dodgy, i think - plus there's an incline into our street makes it difficult once a couple of cars have been over and turned it to ice!

but after I got there, and had mucked out, it stopped snowing and turned into a mizzly rain for a bit - so I put molly in her waterproof exercise sheet and roller and lunged anyway - only for exercise, in the BB, rather than for work.

the only bit of the arena that ended up icy was the bit i was standing on, i turned it slippy by virtue of standing on it in one place, so i moved around a bit to avoid slipping.

so because of the non slippy snowy arena and the barefoot horse, some exercise at trot and canter.

and i walked home, also well exercised!

snow again...

this was at 12.30, all since 09.30 and there's more since....i'm going to have to walk down to the yard, and will take camera with me so more later. but there won't be any work done, unless I do some flexions in the stable!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

lunged again

i think i've pretty much decided that the plan is 2 days ridden, one day lunged....maybe interspersed with longlining as well

back in the day when i had Queenie in work, i used to do one day hack, one day lunge, one day school - don't trust Molly hacking on her own yet, i don't think, so that'll be ad hoc when i have some company.

so today i lunged. not QUITE as good as the other day, but partly as i'd chosen a time to start when I could only see for half the circle, due to sun in my eyes the other half!

but we got there, which is good.

yesterday we had another first - i've never actually seen Molly lying down in her stable before, normally she hears my car and is up before I get to her stable, but yesterday she was lying down, and stayed there whilst i went into the stable and said hello. so clearly a chilled horse..

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

hands .......

Molly isn't impressed at the notion that I WILL NOT let her pull the reins through my hands ....but if I can only keep that, then the rest will come in terms of keeping the contact consistent for her to work into, i can see that. I found my thumbs hurting after a while....

we were working in the large arena, for the space, but the boggy bits are boggy and it takes a fair bit of work to get through them, resulting in some unasked for halts/ trot to walk/ changes of direction, and frankly, i can't blame her but eventually was much more able to push her through them.

i did try the serpentine again, but since that involves passing through boggy bits twice, whichever way you go, it wasn't that successful...

on the other hand, the successes, she's definitely listening to my leg to go forward, i hardly need anything much to get the upwards transition to trot. the walk/trot/walk/trot is coming on in leaps and bounds (not literally, happily!) in that the transitions are better

the halts are good (i was very impressed when i got off, a very SQUARE halt!)

we did a full hour, i think, today - RI was giving a lesson to someone else in the other arena, and we were out as long as they, and that's usually an hour.

and Molly now has a brand new bed - moved on to wood pellets, good reports from others about them, so hopefully that'll work. i've ordered some in, shoudl work out cheaper, and i know it's easier to muck out (YO has her pony on them, looks like a nice bed and easy to do).

Monday, February 09, 2009

thumbs - and Tony Benn

one of my consistent issues has been inability to prevent the horse (any horse!) pulling the reins through my hands....

so one of the things i tried tonight was 5 minutes ensuring my thumbs were clamped tight to hold the reins between my thumb & finger .... ooh molly didn't like it! but, it was working. i didn't keep that up too long but it is something i need to work on consistently

before that i'd done about 15 minutes in the small arena, some nice trot, and managed to change the rein across the centre (not easy in that small arena! not a huge amount of space!)

al this while YO had been riding her horse inthe main arena, but then decided her horse needed lunging, as she wasn't listening to anything ridden ... so we had to swop arenas.

to change arena, had to get off, then remount once in. I think Molly thinks that leaving one arena means end, which of course it doesn't, but since she totally sets herself against the hand and i didn't have my schooling stick, but i didn't want the battle that would have ensued otherwise....

the main arena is of course still boggy.....but got some nice trot circles and some nice walk with the thumbs firm!

and Tony Benn? for overseas readers, link in name, but a very well known left wing socialist politician, former cabinet member - evenign with tony benn @ the sage gateshead, very good evening, he talked a bit, then Q & A between him and the audience....last minute booking we were lucky to get the tickets, partner on call so didn't know until 5 whether she'd be working late or not.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

frozen mud

at -4, which meant that molly could go in the small paddock for the day, since if it did thaw a shade that isn't deep mud at all (unlike the field!).

and i gave her the day off from work, as she's worked so hard the last 2 days & got to go out.

me? we spent the day clearing a drain ... cheaper than getting a man in to do it!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

the lesson

was in fact a lesson for molly on the lunge - we didn't do any ridden work as she'd worked so hard by then and was tired...

essentially, when we start off and she dawdles then speeds up, i should push her on - and then after a short while she slows herself down and evens up the tempo.

same on both reins

then put the side reins on - still relatively loose - and she remembered everything i'd done with her last night. essentially i'd been doing the right thing, small vibrations on the lunge line - wish i'd had the camera

the only difficulty - which will probably be sorted with more work as she strengthens - is that the inside leg comes across in front of the other hind, rather than tracking straight. some of that is conformation, some of it is accidents in the past, and some of it is lack of correct work in the past..

and again, if she takes herself too far down/tries to overbend, push her on.

then canter. better right rein than left oddly

and the piece de resistance - and coincidental given Caroline has written about the same thing! - medium trot, both reins. I couldn't have got that but RI did, and it was fantastic.

she was impressed with Molly's paces ... as am I, which is why i've persisted for 4 1/2 years! -

and molly was excellent, definitely with us - clearly finding the work easier, and "getting it" in her head....

and the other good bit, we got the best of the day weatherwise, after that the snow showers got worse and when i went back at 5 someone was lunging in the snow!

Friday, February 06, 2009

she's "getting it"

Lunged tonight - had vaguely thought about riding, but it was late, and i suddenly felt very hungry, so lunged instead.

Molly is most definitely starting to grasp the concept of contact, working into it, etc, and she looked great! fantastic in trot.

so part of tomorrow's lesson will be lunge work for her, to establish that a bit more and work on canter on the lunge, which is rushed.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

i am here!

and i did ride - in the arena, which is a total bog now after all the rain and melted snow - and in the smaller arena, which isn't a bog but doesn't have the space to get going (well, girl with warmblood can even canter in there, but we can barely trot because of our current lack of collection/balance for the space...)

it was very cold. I put the wrap round exercise sheet on (the sort that wraps over the saddle and velcros in front, also keeps my legs warm) but discovered that it is too long for Molly - it was fine with her mother, but on molly far too long and no way of stopping it pulling back, short of totally remodelling it at the front.... m. shame, my thighs were warm when it stayed in place!

a good look at the legs without mud shows that the hair is growing back, thus the cream is in fact working and i have ordered some more, but i shan't turn out until there's much more improvement, not into the mud soup we have at the moment...had RI to look as well, i find the angle difficult with these specs, and she agreed, hair growing back.

subject to the weather, lesson on saturday (bank says i have a bit more money than i thought I did...)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

black ice

an adventure this morning.

Samantha rode over to my yard and we went out for a hack. over the narrow bridge, up through the estate, down the country lane, a bit slippy, through a HUGE pond where the road was flooded, and it was at this point that the black ice either side was really a bit scary.

after the pond (which Molly went charging through after initial hesitation) the ice was really dodgy and we nearly fell over (despite being barefoot) and we both thought we could hear an engine coming up the other way - blind bend. so i got her onto the verge and got off - TBH, my nerves had been a bit frayed by the nearly falling over episode, and given that we were sure something was coming and she'd been REALLY good all the way round, i thought i'd lead the rest.

Then of course, there wasn't in fact anything coming, the ice eased off after the next corner, there was no where to get back on and once we got round back to the road I was struggling to keep up with my own horse! (on a mission, she was!)

but I was SO pleased with her.

friend was on a shod 4 year old, and not sure how they stayed upright, TBH, a couple of times!

I'll lunge her later, I expect, but that was a really good ride...

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

rain? pond? sun?

rained hugely overnight - not sure it stopped, was still raining this morning.

huge pond all round the barn this morning - blocked drains. hay got in them (going to get finer mesh covers! and we're all going to try and sweep up better...)

sunshine this afternoon, turned into a glorious day.

took molly out for a walk in hand - i'd kept her in, not happy with those legs

rang the people i bought the stuff off

decided to try and wash it off - NOT easy, as it's impermeable! a barrier - and try the healing cream, keeping her in.

i said, and i think this is right, what works for one horse, won't necessarily work for another! the bugs a slightly different, possibly, the horses of course are all different...might ring the vet and see what they suggest...

be easier if there was somewhere non muddy to turn out in through the day, but there isn't...the world is made of mud. and despite this having been one of the drier winters, the ground doesn't dry out after it's raing - clay subsoil, yeugh. never been on clay before....

Monday, February 02, 2009


of course, as forecast. Not as bad as down south, though (and I gather they don't have snow ploughs down there as they rarely have need of them). so horses stayed in, but we put three of them in the arena this afternoon to stretch their legs whilst we mucked out. this is a great shot, if I say so myself - accidental, of course!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

i never thought i'd say this

But Molly was a pleasure to lunge this morning!

Either rein, as i wanted it.

i decided to lunge early as the forecast is horrid for later in the day (indeed, we had a snow shower as I turned her out afterwards) and I need to have a wheelbarrow hunt.

So I decided to lunge with side reins (set loosely) to see if i could get

1. relaxed work
2. molly seeking the contact.

managed both. even on the right rein - which she has always rushed, when she would go that way - she was relaxing and seeking the contact, and I could see she was carrying her tail. i started with the side reins very loose and every time we changed direction tightened them up a shade, but still not tight ....

and we got canter transition - oddly, better right than left! - so my ability to do that (and her ability to listen to me ask for it) is improving.

Walk wasn't so successful, but I wasn't going to work on that so much anyway, I just wanted her to walk when i told her.

My lunge cavesson doesn't really work with the bridle though - it's a comfort headpiece and particularly thick, and the cavesson just doesn't sit right with it. I did buy a new cavesson the other week, but it doesn't fit Molly very well ... i'm forever getting cavessons that don't really fit her. perhaps a pony one? the one i bought has bit carriers which is good, but not if it's not right on her! webbing, so not expensive, but annoying.