Friday, 23 September 2016

Bert and Ernie

It struck me today that me and Zed have become good friends. We're pleased to see each other and enjoy each other's company. I wouldn't have it any other way, it's a wonderful thing. We had a super ride today. The rhythm is coming and we both put a lot of effort and concentration in. We practised trotting on the inside track to develop straightness, relaxed transitions and keeping to a rhythm within the pace. 

My job was to stay relaxed, use my legs to support and keep my hand still, low and upright (thumbs on top). I struggle with the contact so I'm trying to notice and reward every time he softens his jaw or maintains it. 

Not that I'm too fussed with what his head is doing. These rides are mainly about adding miles to the clock, getting us both feeling confident and good about the work and playing about with ideas that will be more important as he gets older and stronger. 

I also had a good catch ride for the PTT training, a 4-year-old handsome devil named Cookie (great name no?)

Cookie is approx 16hh? with good paces. He's green, but not green green and I've admired him from afar through the summer. We had a jumping lesson and although it was a bit micey in parts, I really enjoyed myself. I needed to use more leg and stop trying to be pretty when jumping more than one fence. It was great to ride a young horse who is further up the road than Zed as it reminded me of some important stuff. 

So, a good day with the horses. They give us so much. 

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Our girl Nancy

Nancy noodle has been with us for three years. It's hard to get across how much we adore her and Jonah Hill is having a day off so I'll just share some favourite photos that show off her majestic furry stick-insect being and leave it at that. Dogs rule. 

Blanket burrito

By BB Ramone - search for him on Twitter

The misery

The smugness

Blonde ambition 

Snow patrol

Pretending to be obedient

With this paw I smite thee

Nancy and relatives 

Nancy's album cover 

Sniffing bird plops 

Queen of the bales

'What you doing down there, puny human?'

Nonplussed by Buddy's behaviour 

I swear they do get on really well, just not in this photo...

Monday, 19 September 2016

Zed gets another pace

I can't explain my excitement levels after our first few canters went so well today...

So Jonah Hill is going to do it for me.

He's got this. 

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Rhythm, no blues

Wafting about in the Indian summer rays is the best way to spend a Sunday afternoon imo.

Zed was very pleased to be out on day release and did a lot of confident marching about with his nose in the air.

I'm so impressed with his craic these days. We volunteered to take part in the PTT training on Friday which means an hour of riding split into two lessons, taught by two of the yard riders who are taking their teaching exams.

This included many firsts:
Riding in a group lesson
Riding in the outdoor
Riding for an hour and not ten minutes...

He was really good, so calm and didn't put a hoof wrong. The only funny bit was when he got bored and started waving his head slowly and gently in the air like a grazing giraffe when no one was looking...cheeky pony, it mad me lol.

The lessons were both very appropriate too - and not strenuous enough to cause ructions. We worked on transitions for the first, and straightness/sitting trot for the second. I know it wasn't too strenuous because he barely broke a sweat and it was a great bit of experience for both of us. 

It has also made me realise that our rhythm is missing, presumed on holiday. We're either charging about like manic robots or slopping along like vacant ninnies.

The book I'm reading (Training your Own Horse - by Mary Rose) says: "You set the rhythm , in your head. It should be pulsating through you."

I do not have anything pulsating through me, least of all rhythm; so my job now is to start. I'm even practicing when I'm in the car, keeping it exactly at 30mph or 40mph or whatever the speed limit is. It's harder than I thought it would be and whenever I reach a constant speed I've concentrated so hard I've stopped breathing which seems to sum up what's happening when I ride.

I'm not moaning, it's nice to have something simple but important to work on.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Holidays, and an unfortunate weather incident

Storm season is here, and it is in a pretty zazzy mood. 

It's wide-awake, argumentative and keen to show off to anyone who'll watch it.

Some tremendously crashing thunder and lightning has adorned the last few days, with buckets of rain and steaming hot sunshine thrown in for good measure. 

Apart from fretting that Zed will be burned to a crisp or snap his leg like a twiglet charging around the field mid-storm, I am all for a good bit of dramatic weather.

Or I was. Until I went out to my car this morning and realised I had left every single window open. Thus turning car into a portable aquarium complete with dashboard water feature.

I've been driving around ever since on a thick pile of towels with the heating on full blast, revelling in the tiny rainforest environment I have created using only absent-mindedness.

Yet nothing, not even mushrooms in my air conditioning can dampen my mood. 

Because I have 18 days off to enjoy with husband, hound, and horse. It is a tripod of happiness. 

And I mean to enjoy every single second. 

18 DAYS!!! 

Monday, 12 September 2016

Actual Revelations

Have you seen this smooth criminal?
Until now I have approached my young horse as one might approach a dangerous prisoner.

I keep a close eye on him, make no sudden movements, and I'm ready to call for back up at any second.

The last four months have been Con Air, but set on a farm instead of a malfunctioning plane.

Slowly I'm coming to the realisation that this is UTTERLY RIDICULOUS.


Because baby horses are actually delightful beings.

99.9 per cent of the time they are wobbly, trusting lambkins tottering into the flames of hell because you've told them to.

And the 0.01 per cent where it goes wrong...

Bad luck or human error. In my case, the latter.

So I humbly hold my hands up and say, 'No more will I doubt the baby horse.'

Speaking of my own, we had a solo trip around the field today and he was beautifully behaved. My bravery stalactite is growing slowly but surely as we drip, drip along. 

Friday, 9 September 2016

Brave baby horse

Amazingly, riding properly makes your horse go properly. I've resisted that idea for a long time.

Baby horse continues to be fifty shades of awesome.

I'm very impressed.

Especially today, after riding out in the wind and making it back, not just alive, but un-maimed.

Baby horse is cool. He even has a Stop Being Silly Button. 

It's just behind the girth on his right side. When he tries to goggle at drains or spook I can press it with my right heel and he stays in a straight line.

The choir of angels that follow us around

We encountered heavy traffic, skips, motorbikes, rubbish, washing lines, barking dogs - all the things you're really pleased to see when you're on a four-year-old. 

And he was super super super saintly sensible. He waggled his eyebrows at a few things but was effectively perfect. All while carrying his scaredy pants human lump. 

I hadn't wanted to ride out with the weather, but YO was firmly persuasive and managed to get me round. Hacking out is my favourite thing to do with Zed but it's def the activity that turns my jodhpurs brown. I think Baby horse has serious potential to be great at hacking. 

He is brave. He is Rambo horse.

What's also nice is that he finally, finally has his own numnah(s) I've been riding him in Cady's but it feels mean to have former horse's personalised saddle cloth on him. I don't want him to have an identity crisis. Nor do I want any of her voodoo to seep onto him. 

His new ones are pretty plush. Second hand (natch) sheepskin Le Mieux. 

I've only trialled them once but if his back is as comfy as my arse then we're in business. Photos will follow.

Baby pony looking like The Hulk. Not sure what my hands are doing.