Saturday, 22 October 2016

Zed's Christmas present?

I could definitely see Zed in one of these bad boys - he has a lot of potential as a Thelwell.

Though I did make a purchase yesterday that could reduce his fluff levels considerably...

He might be less than pleased about this...

All he really wants for Christmas is -


Which has me wondering. Are 'Zed's' Christmas presents really MY Christmas presents?


Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Hello and welcome

Snog, snog, snog

Hello all, I hope your week is going jolly well. If it isn't, I hope at least it's quick.

This blog has grown a lot lately (thank you!) and fellow horsey nutbars from all over the world have been visiting us in web land.

This is very exciting for me, and now seems like a good chance to re-introduce myself and my lovely fuzzas (past and present) to any newcomers who are feeling panicked and/or lost.

I'll try to avoid the War and Peace version. No promises.

Zebedee: stable name Zed, or poo face

This lovely bay sausage is Zed (both above pics) - destroyer of rugs, ruler of my heart and a major dork face. He likes bananas, cantering, and pulling my hat off while I pick his feet off. He dislikes the new 30 mph painted on the road near us, the daily shower of snogs he gets from me, and not being allowed to poke his nose in the air like a giraffe.

He is four, he is divine.

Beautiful Rodney

This chestnut hunk was the love of my life - Rodney. I lost him two years ago to equine atypical myopathy and I still dream about him and wake up thinking he's come back. We spent hours riding around the countryside daydreaming and jumping little logs and ditches. He was simply fantastic. In fact, the only blot on his halo was that he could be extremely naughty to catch when the spring grass came through.

Oh Cady, your eyes say it all

Above is Cady. I think the best way to imagine her is to think of a large thunderstorm poured into a small horse. I owned her for five years and it was one big trip to Struggle Town. She was as relieved as me to be sold, and now lives up north where she is much doted on and adored and is a reformed character.

Nancy Noodle: rarely asleep, always a menace

This fluffy tinker is Nancy. She is mad as a fish and loves long walks and ham sandwiches. I spend as much time with her as possible, in fact, she's next to me right now as I type this out, hoping I'll abandon all this typing nonsense and take her outside to sunbathe. She smells of wotsits and warm farts.

A perfect gent: Zulu is the black thoroughbred top left and top right and middle left and beach photo

I bought my first horse, Zulu, when I was 21. Before that I learned to ride by helping out at a brilliant riding school called Low Fold Farm. It was a lot of hard work and I loved it. I grew up in Liverpool, no-one in my family is horsey and no-one has ever funded my hobby. My mum and dad did drive me to the stables so I could be a helper which was the best thing they could have done. 

I've trudged through my BHS Stage 1 and 2 and plan to train for Stage 3 from now till next summer. 

I don't compete and I'm not a professional but I think those aspects of equestrian life are well covered elsewhere.

No, this blog is for people like me. With minimal money and very few fancy aspirations - just a wish to make the very most of the short time we have with our horses and dogs.

So if you're new, a warm welcome. And if you've been coming for a while, thank you, it means a lot.

I'd love to hear your horsey journey too. Come join the party on Facebook

Monday walk

My favourite time of year to be out walking with Nancy. The light and the leaves are just so beautiful. What's your most loved season? 

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Introducing...Bob Everett

If, like me, you struggle to make yourself ride your horse, despair not.

I have an answer to the problem. You don't need a different horse, a different instructor or a fancy new livery yard.

No. You need Bob Everett.

Bob is from Yorkshire. He's been around horses his whole life. He likes hunting, pies and tweed. He's very confident. Horses like him.

He looks a bit like this.

He's also, technically, not real, which we'll come to in a moment.

Today I did not want to ride my lovely pony. I wanted to stay in my pyjamas and scroll through Facebook while eating cereal straight out of the box.

However, four-year-old ponies need to be ridden often - laziness is not a valid excuse. So I ignored my brain, pulled on my wellies and trudged reluctantly out into a grey wall of rain.

I caught pony face, fed him, brushed the thicks of mud off him, tacked him up and realised the indoor was in use.

The rain had increased to a thundering torrent but I was in Full Fuck It mode and decided to ride up the drive and around the fields anyway.

As we rounded the first corner of the drive I felt Zed breathe sharply inwards to ogle a sheep lurking under the hedge and immediately regretted my stupid plan.

With no better idea in mind I resorted to some tried and tested horsemanship.

Namely, shouting: "GiDup" in a confident Yorkshire accent and giving him an encouraging bump with my heels. Against all odds, it worked. 

And at that moment, my mind gave birth to Mr Bob Everett. I stopped being Alison Hardy (jumpy, conscientious, slightly wet) and decided to become alter ego Bob (free from doubt, trousers held up with twine, jumper of five-bar gates) 

Before you scoff, consider the mighty Beyonce circa 2008. Her stage alter ego was Sasha Fierce and that ended alright.

I'm not suggesting Bob can turn me into a billionaire pop maestro but he certainly helped with my ride today. 

We went a little bit further than usual, we rode as if the rain was a mere trifle, we swaggered around the rest of the sheep without so much as a spook. 

Bob dispensed platitudes and encouragements like a crusty old version of Guy Martin and then decided it would be good to have a trot around the outdoor. He even made Zed work on the bit instead of sticking his neb skyward: "Come on lad, get thee nose out th' air!"*

It was the most fun I've ever had riding Zed on my own. There was no room for worry as I dreamt up new Bob-isms. Being a total tit was both soothing and hilarious and the horrible weather made sure I didn't have an audience.

Zed is really, really well behaved but sometimes my mind is doing a supermarket sweep of all the things that could go wrong and it's incredibly unhelpful because I struggle to concentrate on what we're actually doing and also...

...It's not bloody fair! 
Young horses need certainty. 
They need someone to hold their little hoof and tell them everything is fine. (Also, generally I do struggle to do things even when I want to do them. I am a master procrastinator at times.)

But there's no room for dallying when Bob is about, unless you want a kick up the hoop. 

So if you have the same trouble as me, and struggle to get yourself going, feel free to borrow Bob. He's surprisingly effective. He's free. It's so ridiculous it just might work...

Photographic evidence that we rode in the waterfall

*My fullest, deepest apologies to all of Yorkshire. You don't deserve to have your beautiful dialect treated like this. 

Friday, 7 October 2016

Oh my days...

When your riding face makes Jacob Marley look like a Kardashian...

Would anyone like to sponsor me for Botox and a spray tan?