Monday, 28 March 2016

Rising sap

Summer grazing is the horse equivalent of black-eye Friday for hoomans. Law-abiding citizens turn into balm pots overnight and do things that will forever more induce a frosty silence around the dinner table. Cousin Eleanor will never speak to you again after the post jagger bomb incident.

Zed and friends went to their new field on Friday and immediately turned into little thugs, squabbling, playing and galloping around like yearling thoroughbreds. 

They are feeling gooood, and are almost cross-eyed with sugar, much like myself after Easter. I did worry slightly that my dear, sweet, floofy coblet had been abducted on Saturday morning when he lunged like Guy Martin on the wall of death...

But normal service has since resumed. We did our first few trots on the long lines this morning and he was ver ver good. We can nearly steer for instance. On Thursday I'm aiming to take him outside. The yard where I am is really a long, wide corridor that you can handily close at either end to prevent loose-horse-on-flapping-lines-syndrome.

I'm dying (bad choice of word really) to ride him now. Waaaaaa!

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Long lining: the obsession begins

Before Monday, long-lining held a peculiar terror for me. I've tried it a couple of times in my life, with mixed success, and thinking about it tended to conjure up an image of being dragged along in a dense spiderweb of ropes with Zed kicking me soundly in the face until the darkness rose up to meet me.

My usual sense of perspective and optimism, basically.

But on Monday, the mystery was unravelled in front of my very eyes by YO, who explained and demonstrated a method based on order and safety before letting me loose.

As it turns out, when I finally stopped sweating and my heart rate returned to normal - I love long-lining. It is awesome.

After one more dry run with a knowledgable pony named Snip, I unleashed myself on Zed (with experienced help on hand to call an ambulance). He was so good. He was actually perfect. Our steering was haphazard but we could stop and turn and he didn't water-ski me across the yard.

Since then we've long-lined a few more times and can now manage without assistance. The steering is getting there, and only tends to fail when I slide off into a dream about me and Zed at Olympia with Charlotte Dujardin pinning a rosette to his bridle with tears of emotion in her eyes.

"Never. In all my life, have I seen such a beautiful rising trot," she is saying.


Sunday, 20 March 2016

Fart powered canters

Today I had hours and hours of uninterrupted equine time. And the sun shone. Perfection.

I washed winter out of his tail, detangled it and slothered it with a load of neem oil. I also gave his legs a good squirt of frontline to keep on top of any naughty feather mites that want to live there. Feather mites! You are NOT welcome here!

Then we had a little play in the indoor school so he could sniff everything and have a canter. Zed only brings out his canter on rare and special occasions. I've seen him canter maybe twice in the field. It's slow, very stately, it ends quickly. 

On Saturday when he had an hour out with the mares he joined in with their shenanigans for approximately 30 seconds. While they galloped from one end of the field to the other Zed cantered slowly after them. Getting lapped. Then he decided the whole thing was ridiculous and went off to eat. 

So while he's young and impressionable I want him to know he has this gear. Otherwise he's going to be driving down the motorway in a Nissan Micra in third for the rest of his life. 

Getting into canter took some effort. He had to put his head on the floor, writhe around and then bronc slowly to muster up the speed. Accompanied with much jubilant farting. It was brilliant. 

This evening we went for a walk. He's getting quite confident now.

Lovely boy. Lovely day.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Tack trunks and shopping lists OR What's wrong with me?

There's a blog idea doing the rounds at the moment that makes me nervous. I love everyone's version of it - 

Like this:

But I think I'm a fail for this one. It's called 'What's in my tack trunk(s)' and the answer from me is: Not bloomin much.

I've been riding since I was 7. Competed here and there, owned several horses with all sorts of different rug and tack needs. And the sum total of my gear boils down to this. 

And this.

That's it. I have one bridle, one saddle, three rugs, three numnahs, first aid gubbins and a basic grooming kit.

Where is my tack emporium? Sold or given away. My husband says I've got a chip missing and that I'm the opposite of a hoarder.

He might be right.

So this year, with my lovely new pony, I have a wishlist. For the very first time. I'm saving up for a Fylde bridle (sexual) and a brown saddle, and I also plan to get some polo wraps, a new numnah and a new hat silk. Mine looks like it's been run over. 

What's on your wishlist? Are you a hoarder or do you play it minimalist?

Zed - Part 2

Zed is settling really well into his new home, and so am I. I can't tell you how exciting it is to have a plan and the place to do it in.

I've been walking him around the farm in his roller and bridle so he can see the sights and he's just no bother at all. As I've already wanged on about, he is in horse heaven and I haven't found anything that's really upset him. 

Sometimes he hears things and darts on for two strides but overall the theme is sane and sensible. 

For most people, sane and sensible are not sexy words.

But for horsey people, we're talking huge excitement. 

Because when you have sane and sensible, you can make plans. 

Like this: We're going to do a bit of lunging.

Or: We'll go for a walk round the farm then I'll tackle the jungle mane.

It's effortless good fun. Don't get me wrong, I've still got brown trousers about ruining his whole entire life by being a dummy...but when I'm not having an existential's very nice. What a weird feeling.

Thank you Zed. Angel horse.

Zed - Part 1

My little luscious on moving day

For the past six months my beautiful pony has been growing into his sizeable bottom which he has done with great success. Frankly, I wish that was a job for humans. Wanted: someone willing to sit in a pleasant field with a friend and munch good food for six months. Yummy, count me in.

Two weeks, with bottom and withers looking less crazy, it was time to move Zedny to his summer home. Fieldhouse EC is where I've done my BHS exam training and it is a genuine slice of heaven. Large stables, good fields, cross country course, indoor and outdoor arena, no crazy prices and all presided over by a yard owner and staff who run entirely on common sense.

No drama, no yelling, just a really great place to enjoy your horse and learn loads. Plus, it's a working farm, so the perfect place for a young horse to meet cows, sheep, tractors, quad bikes and so forth.

I was quite nervous on moving day but I shouldn't have been. He walked on to the trailer with total ease. He didn't even peer into it first, just stomped up the ramp and travelled with zero fuss.

Who could ask for more? Not me.

Sunday, 13 March 2016