Thursday, 26 November 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

Nancy is thankful for her giant stuffed turkey, naps and eggs.

I am thankful for my husband, family, horses, dogs (save some time here - all animals really) crisps (all of them) my health (admittedly this is at odds with the crisps) the fact that my car is still working (touch wood) and a million other things like the moon and stars, our big comfy bed, the upcoming arrival of Christmas and trees (I like trees. Plus they're useful if you need to touch wood).

Happy Thanksgiving to you all x 

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Fluffy ponies and sadness cannot coexist

Having a Sunday snog

Two months ago husband and I decided we wanted to have a go at this whole adulting thing and think about, possibly, maybe, sort of buying a house.

We thought of loads of reasons why this was a terrible idea and we should just stay as Peter Pan and Wendy and then my mum popped in for a cuppa and painted a heavy, terrible logic all over us.

Me: "I need to sell my flat."

Her: "Okay, why don't you do that."

Me: "Oh my God! Stop rushing me!"


Me: "And we like where we live at the moment."

Her: "You could look at some houses and see if you like them too."

Me: "Oh my God! What are you saying? Just chill out with the craziness!!"


Me: "Maybe we could buy a little house. And maybe that wouldn't trigger a personal Armageddon."

Her: "Maybe."

I may have applied a smidge of poetic licence to the conversation but you get the gist. I made some very careful, tentative plans to 'look into it.'

And 8 weeks later we have effectively all but bought our first house together. Hurrrahhhh! Thank God for mums and logic and stuff like that.

All very cool. Less cool when Foxy the car breaks for the fourth time this year while you have every last penny tied up in a deposit. 

Damn it! Money will be in short supply for the next few months. So tough adulting choices to make - no more riding lessons for a while, no more PTT for a while. Time to buckle under and save up again like a mother bear. 

Which normally would make me very sad. But I'm not sad. It's all fine. I'm going to run instead and get super ultra fit and save loads of money and then pick up my training in the spring and It. Will. Be. Fine.

I'm using my Ben Hobday positivity. This is not insurmountable. 

Also, I have the floofiest pony in the world to cuddle and fuss every day. Ponies and sadness can not be in the same room together. All the sweetie cutie floof drives away all feelings of sadness and makes everyone near the pony feel grateful and joyful.

So. I have a plan. I have a cure for sadness. I have a new house with my lovely husband.

It's all good. 

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Your Horse Live 2015

Now one of my most treasured horsey pics

It's that time of year when our horses begin to hide from us as we return armed with fresh ideas and 1,000 new rugs...

That's right - YOUR HORSE LIVE 2015 has just happened and the flames have barely been put out yet. In fact, my fingers are still smouldering as I type.

For strangers to my blog, here's an intro: We [gang of friends united by fondness for horses and crisps] go every year. Excitement and anticipation begins in June. 

And the event itself never, ever disappoints. It is basically a two-day equestrian oasis filled with professional riders and their stunning horses teaching you things: and thirty million shops. Only full of horsey things. And there's no proper food. Just two days of chips and coffee and doughnuts. It's a bit like those dreams that you really, really don't want to wake up from. 

Kelly Marks with The Pie

Skipping forward a bit - look at the top photo. Look. At. It. That's me and Anna with BEN HOBDAY. We love him! He's touching us! There's photographic evidence! He doesn't even look frightened! Well...

They say don't meet your heroes but he definitely contradicts that rule. He was super nice, said he liked our headbands and stayed and chatted to everyone who wanted to talk to him. He's also a Rocky fan, judging from the Rocky Balboa clip he played before his grand entrance.

"Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!"

Right on the money since Ben has just finished treatment for cancer. He must have been bloody exhausted but he rode great and made everyone laugh with his craic. At the end of his demo he had a shouting competition to win a voucher for Red Horse products and I won. Many nice gloopy products have been ordered.

So now I am an even more ridiculous Hobday stalker, and not the least bit apologetic about it either. Ben supports a charity called Bright Red, who do amazing work in the North. Find out more here

Pretty horses, shopping, quirky turkeys

Speaking of high spots, I was also lucky enough to win a gorgeous Charlotte Dujardin Annabel Brocks headband thanks to The Brooke and their charity raffle. Taking it off again has proved a challenge - it is too warm and beautiful and cosy for its own good. It's an actual head hug. I'm not sure I've ever owned anything so fancy.

And just before you start really wanting to punch me, there were some tough bits too. Namely, the 'singing' of our friend Anna. Think car alarm meets rageful turkey and you're getting there. I did think about opening the door and leaping out as we sped down the motorway but that seemed slightly over dramatic so I did this instead. 


In between watching demos we did some good shopping and some even better chatting. And we sampled the chocolate fountains. Repeatedly.

I got luminous jackets for husband and I, a quirky turkey for Nance-a-tron, a scarf for my friend and some very lurid socks. I also saw a beautiful painting on the Katie Hough stand and my friend sneaked back and bought me the card of it and got Katie to sign it which was soooooo nice.

vast amounts of shopping

So now it's all over and I am very sad, but happy to see pony face again. He didn't die of mud fever after all. Maybe there's something to be said for a positive outlook.

Be happy x

Friday, 6 November 2015

Fog of Evil departs, life is good once more

L-R - Fog of Evil; Fairy Starbucks; The horizon returns.

The everlasting fog of evil returned to Mordor this morning and it must have taken my foul mood with it which was a blessed relief for everyone.

I woke up brimming with alarming energy and took Nancy round the golf course to make sure all the trees were still there. After that I went and sorted out ponyface's mudfever patch which is roughly the size of a ladybird.

A small ladybird at that. I sprayed his heels with a load of Hypocare and covered the ladybird with Aromaheel which seems to be very effective and then brushed his fluffy little face. He's so terribly charming. 

'I'm so verrrr lovely!'
Thanks to all that early morning activity I had a couple of hours which I spent at Field House, riding Maggie and lunging Snip. With Maggie I did a lot of finding the rhythm in walk as she tends to rush off, and then built that into walk - trot - walk transitions. Short and simple but she seemed more relaxed by the end which was the aim.

Then I lunged Snip, who is three, and cute as a button. He tends to do baby broncs while he's organising his feet but these improve with transitions and he did some nice work. My lunging is still creaky, but a little better. Just got to keep plugging away at these things.

In the afternoon I had my lesson on Jazzy. We walked on leg yielding and jumping a straight bar at a slight angle which requires a bit of organising if you don't want to merrily plough into the arena fence.

We still had our painful first canter [where I get hold of him too much and he storms through my hands like a juggernaut] but I really loved riding him. He's a young horse, very talented, but you can make mistakes on him without ending up in a top to toe plaster cast. 

Then I did my first training session towards my BHS PTT exam (Preliminary Teaching Test). I was watching, not teaching, and it was very interesting. I do love a good bit of H'Education.

Be happy x 

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Goddamn mangey fog

For the past few days a thick grey fog has been lying like evil over the North East. Everyone has forgotten what the horizon looks like and whether it's night or day.

Night time:

Day time: 

See what I mean? 

Zed is still getting little open cracks on his near fore - the field is really good but when the weather's like this, there's no chance of it healing up. Which is causing me to have a major brood on the best plan of action, since the principle of treating mud fever is to keep it clean and dry and at the moment I can promise neither.

I've convinced myself that he'll probably develop an acute infection while I'm at Your Horse Live and explode in a ball of pus sometime during the Sunday afternoon while I'm clapping my hands in delight at Charlotte Dujardin like a neglectful bastard. 

Perspective - where are you? - we need you here asap.

My cheeriness is unhelped by having contracted the plague a cold and fighting the urge to boil the crusts off in a hot bath every ten minutes. 

On a less depressively whingey note, Nancy had a fab time running amok at Hamsterley forest this morning. Here's a pic.

Just kidding, here she is:

Now she's sulking on her bed because the slow cooker is on and the smell of meat and gravy drives her nuts. She wanders and wails round the flat like a Bronte sister until I make her go and lie down.

It's now 13.37pm - too early for bed?

Monday, 2 November 2015

"Done is better than good"

What it's all about

To mark the end of a very good holiday, I decided to have a jolly nice Monday.

We're house hunting (eeep!) at the moment so I drove an expectant Nancy down to our potential new neighbourhood and we went for a charge about together.

She LOVES new places, especially when they have woods, and open fields full of noisy crows to chase. A spooky mist made it feel just exactly like November.

At one point Nancy stood stock still and I thought she'd seen another dog but it was a tiny Roe deer tottering across the path. I always feel like it's good fortune to see a deer, though Nancy thought I was a first-rate meanie for stopping her sprinting after it.

After our walk it was time to spend time with my other fluffy child. Weird patchy weather had evolved into bright sunshine as evidenced in below pic.

We took another walk out and saw one car, several dogs and their owners and a gorgeous black pony pulling a trap. Zed seems to enjoy these trips, and although he's very alert, he's also very sensible. No leaping about which is good for my adrenalin graph (formerly detonated by Princess of Darkness Pony whose name I cannot speak in case of a Beetlejuice style incident).

In the afternoon I headed over to Field House to do some lunging. I'm a bit rusty but Snip and Spot stayed patient with me and I enjoyed it. Reading Big Magic has reminded me that perfectionism and happiness are never in the same room at the same time, so every time my ponies trotted egg shapes instead of circles I used Liz Gilbert's mother's motto - DONE IS BETTER THAN GOOD.

Forever I shall nail it inside my head - it is the foundation of a great day and a satisfying life.

My friend pinned this poem on my FB today - we are both obsessed with autumn and Christmas and I think it's just beautiful. 

Later on I was hunting around a tat shop for a plant pot for the rose Phil bought me for our one year anniversary when I stumbled across this little gem - it has red berries and white snow - just like the poem. Just look at it! Too pretty.

So, a gorgeous day - fitting to end a memorable holiday. Work tomorrow, but tonight will be dedicated to pyjamas, macaroni cheese and Friends. 

Be happy x  

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Falling in love with Big Magic and Rising Strong

It was my birthday recently, and Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert, was on my list, but Phil also got me a copy of Rising Strong, knowing that I have a super pash on Brene Brown.

Top marks to him, as these books go hand in hand so well.

Rising Strong can be best summarised as: Sort Your Shit Out.

While Big Magic follows on with: And Now Get Your Dreams Moving.

These are books to read when you've forgotten how wonderful life is. They're much smarter and more knowing than most self-help books, which I often find fall into the realm of Just Try Harder, You Idiot.

They're the written equivalent of that one friend we all love - the one you have a cup of tea and a 40 minute chat with and then you feel like you can do anything again. The reset button is pressed and all your miserly doubts are in the bin where they belong. 

With my new found enthusiasm I decided to get Zed out on the open road this morning and took him for a walk in hand. He was a joy. A total smarty pants awesome dude - alert, attentive and as well behaved as a scout. Here's a couple of pics of him in full cutey pony mode. 

He's much more settled in his bridle now and he was very easy to lead - not nappy or worried at all. Just pottering along and gently introducing things is working well with him so far.

By the way, all of the TED talks by Brene Brown and Elizabeth Gilbert are very very very worth a listen. If you're lacking mojo, you need to know about these women. Even though EG is often talking about art, her ideas are very applicable to horses, or any sport/obsession/passion. 

More soon, be happy x