Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Weird Week

Last week was a bit of a weird week - thankfully L had the week off work to move into her new house...Oh the excitement! But what this meant for me was that I could utilise my lunch breaks to eat and catch up with colleagues & non-horsey friends - rather than make my mad-dash across town on the buses to turn out ponies on my lunch break.
However that is not what made last week weird, what was weird was that between one thing and another I didn't get much riding done at all - in fact my backside was only in the saddle Monday evening (Kika) and wasn't back in the saddle until Sunday when I got to sit on both girls again.

L was, as always, an absolute angel and would take Kika for a walk in the woods when she was hacking her own mare. She also had a spin on Nancy on Wednesday to check out the steering - she agreed with me that she wasn't as well behaved as she had been the previous time she rode her. Nancy, like all young horses has her up and down days. For example, Sunday was a very good UP day - but last night (Monday) a bit of a down day...baby steps and it'll all come together. :D
So while Nancy and I have our disagreements about her gritting her teeth and/or locking her jaw when we are working, she really is a great girl for such a young greeny baby (see below for drama she hasn't batted an eyelid at while being ridden)!

Blacksmith was out this morning, so I had morning off work, bit of a lie in = happy days!
Kika has her new front shoes with tiny stud-type things to stop her slipping on the concrete - and Nancy had all four shoes taken off. We are going to try her barefoot and see whats he makes of it. Considering her first set of shoes were only put on in November/December I don't think she got too accustomed to them - but we'll keep a close eye on her feet and make sure they don't get too small or wind up hurting her. Bless her cotton socks, she's a bit of a martyr, looks like she had a small abscess/reaction to where the nails were in one of her front shoes - so methinks she might be happy to be barefoot again. However blacksmith said she has quite flat feet - so we'll keep a close eye on her and make sure being barefoot doesn't negatively affect her hooves!

Saddle fitter is coming back this evening with my GP which has come back from Stubben in Switzerland - not sure if I'll be riding in it this evening though as it has been altered to better fit Kika, but she wasn't 100% sound when i sat up on Sunday. She was fine in walk, and good to trot on her "bad" rein, however was quite sore when asked to trot on her "good" rein - so I mostly stuck to walk work (seeing as we were tacked up and in the arena) - got plenty circles, volts & serpentines worked on in walk, which makes a nice change for us as I tend to forget to work the walk and concentrate on trotting - SHAME ON ME!
I had hoped to pop her on the lunge last night to see how she moved from the ground - but I ran out of time. I don't feel too guilty about this though as herself and Nancy take it in turns to join L's horse O in the turnout area for the afternoon/days and yesterday was Kika's day outside so she wasn't stuck in her stable all day.

Things to add to the "Nancy" isn't bothered by when being ridden list:
- Snow melt falling off the roof
- Horses managing to get out of the cavesson while lunging
- Horses bucking on the lunge while she is being ridden alongside them

She is such a good girl when it comes to 'surprises' under saddle that you'd almost forget she's so young - the other one can be considerably less sensible.
Nancy is cool as a cucumber!

My sister is back for a week and a bit from Thursday evening, she will def be wanting to visit teh girls as she hasn't been abck since Nancy arrived. Hopefully I will be able to convince her to snap a few pics of us - as I feel terrible that the blog has been very wordy of late with no pictures to reward readers! I must contact the phone shop and see if there is any sign of my SIII!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

January Stage Day 1

I am finally managing to get these videos up on the blog/online. Following on from the videos of L & Kika during the November weekend with an external trainer (LINK) - below will follow the videos from their second weekend with the same trainer which took place towards the end of January (LINK).

These videos are all from Day 1 of the stage and were taken o my phone - which for the first few videos I forgot I could use the zoom on - so apologies if they look like midgets and are too far away to see anything clearly!
All videos are in and around the 1 minute marker for length which i hoped would make it easier to get them off my phone and online - let's see if it works!

First vid- Some trotting at start of lesson




Unfortunately for them, their allocated lesson time coincided with others using the main arena - so there was some steering required - Kika is the one in yellow, ;)

Second vid - Good side canter work


Third vid - Poorer side canter work - yes I did find the zoom for this video...from here on vids should hopefully be nicer to watch - although I still move a bit too much and they might make you a little seasick...or at least they do me - kind of! :/



Fourth vid - trying to get her head & limbs around a more extended trot - you'll notice she gets confused and breaks into canter. We have been doing a lot of work on the lunge and under saddle to get her to take longer strides in trot - although putting the front shoes back on her after Christmas have definitely helped. Still plenty to work on :)


Fifth vid - show how Kika is always questioning and thinking while she works. Head tossing a bit at the start and tail swishing is her way of saying - "Leave me alone I'm getting tired of this concentrating lark!" But she is still a very good girl and does what she's told without any of the fuss from the November videos!


Sixth vid - some more poorer side cantering, again with some resistance as she tired near the end - but again I was so proud of her for continuing to behave even though she was exhausted.


Seventh and final vid = some more attempted extended trot work towards the end.



Unfortunately I don't have the video footage from Day 2 yet - hopefully you have enjoyed the tidbits offered above. Please no comments on the rider as it is not me - but hopefully anyone who has been following my blog with Kika for a while will see the improvement in the horse that I can see with my very biased opinion. ;-)

In up to date news - well I don't really have much to say about this week so far, I had a meeting last night so didn't make it to the barn at all, L very kindly looked after the girls for me and tonight the blacksmith is coming so they won't be ridden/worked either. Tomorrow evening I have to go to something after work and will be unlikely to be able to excercise them and as all these things invariably tend to happen in the same week - I have a hairdresser's appointment for Friday after work and will be unlikely to be able to fit in more than lunge work that evening!
Saturday is a yard show day - so place will be jammers - but that hopefully means it will be quiet in by evening time and I should manage to get some more substantial work into them then!
Fingers crossed - this week is shaping up like a bit of a right off work-wise with the horses...But I shan't complain as they are both in good health and good form, so there is no reason we won't pick back up where we left off when I can get my backside back in the saddle! :-D

Monday, 18 February 2013

Cool Customer

Title sums up my spin on Nancy yesterday afternoon.
Sunday was Kika's day off, so L kindly turned her out with O in the morning for me and subsequently brought the pair of them back in that evening - so me being a bad mammy didn't see Miss K at all yesterday, *shame-face*
I got to the yard around lunchtime planning to do pole work with Miss Nancy and another yard friend on her OTTB who as it happens hadn't been ridden in a week, he had himself a little holiday - lucky him! :D
Anyway combine that with warmer temps and we're setting the scene nicely for the snow melt "avalanches" from the arena roofs as we rode. I can't say that Nancy was completely immune to the sound, but she reacted much better than I could have ever hoped for and a thousand times better than the older supposedly more mature Kika does. Nancy did a bit of a giraffe impression when the snow shifted, but other then that stayed good as gold and in the gait we were working on without so much as swerving a toe off the track we were riding!
A completely different reaction to Miss Kika who spins, jumps, dives sideways and stops poker legged with eyes on stalks at the snow falling off the roofs - which one is the older horse again? ;-)

Not only was a smiling like a cat that got the cream from her level-headed response to the snow melt, but she was very good under saddle in general. We are having issues with walking, whereby she wants to break into trot all the time, so we have plenty to work on there to get her to walk around the arena without breaking into trot - although this is an issue we had when I was trying to lunge her on Saturday - testing one's patience - young horses!
However when we did buckle down to trot & pole work, she was very very good - only slightly resisting + jaw locking on one rein at the start of the session, but then settled beautifully and stopped fighting with me - maybe I relaxed more after the first snow fall, who knows. But between us we sorted out our differences and had a wonderful spin! :D

Token piece of "art" work for layout of our pole work
She was quite warm and steaming when we were finished, as I mentioned temperatures are riding here - Roll on Spring! *dance*
So I decided to try Nancy again in the walker to see what she makes of it now that she's a little more settled. I went in with her once before, shortly after she arrived and to say she wasn't overly enamoured with it would be hitting the nail on the head. It is the only thing we've introduced her to so far that she hasn't been 100% ok with immediately - as title says - she is one cool customer!
So I walked around with her in there for 3 spins, then came out and left her alone following my friend S' horse. She was fine, not 100% happy but not freaking out either - unlike Kika who dawdles towards the end of her partition and attempts to sit on the divider to slow the whole machine down - Nancy was up at the front. I imagine she'll settle as she gets more used to it, or perhaps she'll be one who doesn't like the walker - which I will of course not hold against her - it is not for everyone after all.
So anyways, I left her in there till it turned so that she could experience that also - wasn't too sure what to make of the divider coming back towards her and she worried me for a few seconds until she did turn around - bless her she was good as gold, although she did want to turn around again a bit at first as S' horse was now behind her and unfortunately there were no other horses in the walker so she couldn't follow anyone anymore. However she did settle down again and when she walked the whole way around without trying to turn I took her out and praised her to high heaven as she is such a good girl! :-)
There also may or may not have been a treat included in the praise and dinner in her stable when she got back to it, ;-)

That's my Nancy news all caught up.

Miss Kika was an angel to ride on Thursday (I think i updated on that spin in my last post) in the main arena with the dressage markers littering the arena giving her plenty to look at if she'd been of a mind to. Friday afternoon (I had a lovley half day - thank you work!) I got a great spin in on Nancy, forgot to mention that in my Nancy catch up above. I then went back to the barn in the evening to bring Kika in from the turn out and have a bit of a spin on her, we had a wonderfully chillaxed spin - which made me so happy that both girls are going well.
Saturday we worked both ladies on the lunge, Kika took a little to settle as the big scardey cat heard a teeny tiny noise just before we started on the lunge and took a little longer than normal to settle, however when she did and I got her warmed up we worked with the side-reins on and got some lovely canter work in on the lunge - she looked lovely in my very biased opinion. I already mentioned Nancy's reluctance to walk when lunging earlier in the post, so i was a little frustrated with that, but not at her moreso that I couldn't help her/coax her to relax enough to walk while lunging. Plenty to work on as always with young horses, and we'll have many ups and downs ahead of us.
I must just remember to focus on the positives and let the negatives wash off me like water off a duck's back, while not letting any bad habits develop - a fine line but here's hoping i can find my balance and keep mistakes to a minimum! ;-)

Hope you all had as wonderful a weekend as I did! :D

November Stage

Belated but as promised here are some videos of Kika & L from the first stage they did together way back in the first weekend in November, while I was in Ireland for my sister's graduation. LINK to blog update documenting that time, for anyone who wants a reminder. ;-)

The first few videos (in the blue) are from the first day where Kika was very uncooperative! Downright obnoxious and rude is what she was actually, after these videos the instructor asked for a martingale to be put on her and after initial resistance she was much better.

video


video

video



The next video (yellow) is from Day 2 of the stage where they got on much better, but unfortunately the camera ran out of battery so there is less footage to see!




So sorry for teh delay in getting this post done, I had an awful time trying to get the videos to upload through blogspot & in fact ended up having to do the final two through youtube...should probably have done all of them through youtube - Oh well, live and learn!
Hopefully no one will think too poorly of Miss Kika, she is much better behaved these days - in fact we have not had any such disagreements since then!
I hope to get the videos from the follow up stage that L rode Kika in at the end of January up soon, but as evidenced from the delay it took to get these up. I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you! *blushing*

Friday, 15 February 2013

Nancy Nuissance

Apologies in advance that there will be no pictures of the girls to accompany this post - afraid my phone went on the blink again on Monday and has had to go back into the shop for repairs...so there won't be any new pics until i get that back. :(
Well unless i actually charge up and bring the big machine to the yard...stranger things have happened. :p

Title of the post is a bit misleading, Nancy is still a big sweatie-pie but she is starting to test the boundaries when under saddle. It started a bit on Monday where she would fight me by tossing her head about and trying to run through my hands - but she wasn't too bad about it so we worked around it. However it was a different story on Tuesday evening.
She was pretty rude to me under saddle, so we spent a considerable amount of time walking, circling and changing the rein until she stopped her messing. We then had to do the same with trot work where on her usually "good" side she was being a right nightmare setting her jaw and cocking her head to the outside trying to run though my hands. I realised that when i relaxed my hold on the reins she'd relax her head/neck but speed up which was not what i was asking for! *shake-head*
We kept at it alternating between walk and trot work, circling and changing reins until she was soft and receptive to what I was asking for. We ended up working for longer then I had originally intended, but I wasn't going to let her get away with her behaviour.

Wednesday saw her get her second bout of pessoa work and try out her new neoporene over reach boots (LINK). Size XL for her monster feet, or at least they seem like monster feet compared to Kika's pony feet *sniggers*. I bought a large pair & an XL pair, the L were too small for N and the XL a little on the large side - so we went with the XL as better a little loose then not protecting what they are supposed to protect. Luckily the L fit Kika's dainty little feet so the second pair won't go to waste, ;-)
Nancy was very good in her lunge work, better then Kika in some respects as she lunges completely off voice commands whereas Kika still very much needs the encouragement of the lunge whip to follow her around ... lazy so-&-so. Nancy's canter work on the lunge is also much improved, she was much more balanced in her canter work on Wednesday, no rushing or running when in the canter - hopefully we are making headway. :-)
We only worked a couple of minutes in walk and trot with the pessoa hooked up as she is still so young and developing that I don't want to do too much too quickly, her nice canter work was done in warming up prior to the pessoa being attached...just in case any readers might think me a smelly big meany to my poor young horse!

Kika has had a great week so far, and indeed given me no cause for complaint! The lucky sod had Monday off and was out for hours in the fresh air. I had a wonderfully relaxed spin on Tuesday evening despite there being two people lunging in the arena we were riding in and space being tight - she was good as gold.
Plan had been to also lunge her in the pessoa or side reins on Wednesday evening, but for the first time since Nancy's arrival out here I ran out of time to work both so Kika got another sneaky day off. She had been out in the turnout area for the afternoon so I didn't feel too guilty about not working her as she hadn't been locked in the stable all day she had been out to move around.

I did manage to have another spin last night on Kika as I gave Nancy the day off - I try to work her three days in a row and then give her a day off - like I did with Kika when she first arrived out here. So N spent the afternoon/evening in the turnout area with L's horse O. :D
We returned the the big bad scary main arena where the snow had been falling off the roof scaring the bejaysus out of her on Saturday - now lets remember here that Kika's memory is like an elephant when it comes to fear and that if something scared her in a certain corner last time...she will remember to give that corner an good eyeball next time she is in the vicinity.
As if that wasn't enough to contend with last night, we also had dressage markers and railings laid out around the arena in preparation for a yard show this weekend - so that had to get the old dragon blowing, slow straight-legged stepping & eyeballing for good measure when Kika entered the arena. On the upside I think they provided almost enough of a distraction for her to forget to eyeball the scary snow falling side of the arena for too long, ;-)

Again Kika was good as gold after an initial spook when i first sat up, so I cannot complain at all as i sneakily later used the markers to do slalom work between them as well as using them as more distinct guidelines for our whole arena serpentines. We worked solely in walk and trot last night, alternating between rising and sitting, circling, volt'ing, serpentining and transitions to really keep the pair of us thinking and ticking over. It was great, she was lovely soft, calm and supple - she is such a pleasure to work with lately that i can very easily overlook our weekends indiscretions over the scary snow-slides from the roof. :D

Work has been crazy this week even though it is a short week - in fact that is probably why it has been so tiring! I had 7x 70+ page documents to copy, paste & format with slight niggly changes here and there. Thankfully Mircosoft Word has the Compare & merge option and that many of the changes to the French didn't change much in the English - wahey for an uncomplicated language! :D
It was still tedious and taxing on my eyes - but all done for now and hopefully I didn't make too many boo-boos! ;-)

Half day today, so going to let Kika & O out for the afternoon and get after Nancy under saddle, hoping for some improvement on Tuesday's shenaningans - fingers crossed! :D
Also hope to have a spin of Kika this evening and if time/energy might try to meet up with some friends this evening for DVDs/take-out. As for the rest of the weekend I have no real plans, guess I'll play it by ear and ride/work the girls in some shape or form and try to catch up on some sleep as I'm feeling pretty drained!


Oh and just before I go, a colleague sent me the following picture which made me smile - just sums up the week really! :D


Hope everyone has a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Cassius Clay


 
Muhammad Ali may have floated like a butterfly & stung like a bee, so Miss Kika has been attempting to mimick him and uses the hay nets in the field as punching bags. I haven't seen this myself, but other yard friends have witnessed her in action - and reported back...never a dull moment with her, ;-)

Under saddle has been a mixed bag with Kika this long weekend (yay for having had Monday off work!), Thursday and Friday were very good. We worked for a good 45 minutes to an hour on Friday evening with a friend and 4 mad Arabs in an arena that in all honesty was too small for 6 animals to work comfortably together. She was an angel, didn't put a toe out of line and did everything I asked of her in a smooth & calm manner, not getting flustered by having to stop or change direction quickly if someone else happened across our path.

To say I finished with a massive smile on my face would be putting it mildly, I was overjoyed with her!
Saturday and Sunday were a different kettle of fish. Unfortunately for us, the snow started to melt on Saturday and was sliding off the roof as we attempted to work - snow falling off the roof sounds like a horse eating avalanche to Kika even though I had the radio on loud to try and drown out the noise. Sadly, luck was not with us and any time we went down one long side of the arena the snow happened to time it's fall to coincide with our passing that side!
Now I am not one bit upset with her as it was loud and scary sounding, especially as she couldn't see where the noise was coming from - between the mini avalanches she worked like a dream, but they really disrupted her concentration and after 20minutes her poor brain was fried & she was on edge. So when she calmed back down we called it quits for Saturday, I wasn't unhappy with her at all as she had been so good the day before and wasn't bold on Saturday, just on edge and not relaxed.
So i pulled the plug on my plans to ride Nancy as I was alone at the yard and didn't know how she would react to the snow falling, so figured I'd save my neck and chance such adventures on a day when there might be someone around to call for medical help if necessary, ;-)

Kika = Molting horse!
Sunday was Rugby day, England vs Ireland in Dublin, so decided to split the horses either side of the game, starting with Kika in the morning and the plan was to do Nancy after the game who was spending the day in the turnout area. Rode Kika in "our" arena, my favourite and out of the way of the general public. Again she wasn't bad, but she was on edge for some reason and just not herself. Or at least not the version of herself I have gotten used to in recent weeks, so we tipped away at our work but she never really let go or relaxed while in the arena. She did everything asked of her, but just felt on edge and as if any sound might set her off, so we cooled out and then I gave her a good grooming session which you'll see from photos above and below she's shedding like mad!
Now bear in mind she only has hair on her head, legs & 3/4 of her back as she was clipped for the winter!


I can't imagine how much hair she'd be loosing if we hadn't clipped her...in fact I can safely say that if she hadn't been clipped we wouldn't have been able to keep her in work over winter as she gets so hairy she'd have only been able to do 10minutes work before being drowned. Although Nancy wasn't clipped she isn't shedding as badly (as yet) but also doesn't seem to have as thick a coat as the other cold creature! Although Nancy does get quite sweaty when worked so takes some time to dry, hence why I must remember to not do too much in the evenings or I'll be forever trying to dry her off!

My Mammy & Kika playing nice yesterday

After the weird weekend's riding with Kika I decided to give her yesterday off to refresh her ideas outside for the day so she could let her hair down and just be a horse for a while - she & O went out about 11 and L was going to bring them in about 8pm - so they had a great day outside. Or at least it would appear that Kika did, L noticed when she passed the field to walk her dogs that Kika having finished scoffing the hay we'd given them was artfully stretching over the wires and stealing the neighbours hay...without touching the fence - sneaky sod! So we're going to have to move our fencing to keep her away from accessing their hay now as well as ours - she really is an artful dodger!
Again never a dull moment with Miss Kika!

First time in the solarium
 Monday was All about Nancy Day. :-)
I finally managed to get back in the saddle after some lunging and she was very good, we got plenty walk/trot work done and some canter to keep things ticking over. Hope to have a helping hand this evening so that I don't spend too much time working her on my own so that we don't start with too many bad habits. Mounting is proving a stickler for her at the moment, she no longer seems fond of standing alongside the mounting block to allow me mount - so baby steps to get her to behave there. Which include multiple re-setting the scene and getting up and down as I ride, until it is no longer a big deal for her...work in progress.

Don't know if you can see where she kind of skinned her hip
She has also started fighting em a bit when we are working, throwing her head about a bit. But when I remember to release my hands on the reins she settles back down again straight away - hence why I'm hoping for some help this evening so that I can have eyes on the ground to keep me out of my head and tuned into what she needs from me.


She was a little sweaty after our work, so after spending the time it took me to sort out the stables being fussed over by my mother while tied in the cross ties under her cooler - we decided to brave the big bad scary solarium - which of course caused her no problems at all. She is one cool customer. :D



Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Muck Monster & Snow Interuptus

No real news as despite having a lovely spring-like day for most of the day yesterday when I got out of my appointment at 5.30 last night the world was white! No idea how that happened as when I went in about 4.30, I left blue skies and was just thinking what a lovely mild day it was and that spring was finally here...not to be it would seem!
Anyways appointment was outside of town 6 out of my comfort-zone so I wasn't sure how to walk back into town so ended up waiting an hour and a quarter for a bus which then meant I had to take another bus to get back to town, before deciding sod it and going to have dinner with my mother to wait for the traffic to buzz off and buses to run normally again.

Outside my house this morning as I made my way to the bus stop
Needless to say I didn't manage to make it to the barn last night, but I had been there at lunchtime to turn Kika & O out for the afternoon. Snow was not so bad last night as it was this morning! L finished work early so she kindly brought them in and fed my girls for me, she also let Nancy out in the smallest arena for a bit of a run around to stretch her legs as it had been Kika's day for turnout.

Muck Monster
Not sure if the state of Nancy comes across from the above picture taken on Monday evening after her afternoon in the paddock with O. She had many's an enjoyable roll it would seem from the muck all over one side - wouldn't you know from the happy head up on her? ;-)
There is an 'after' shot from when I groomed her, but phone battery is dead and I didn't manage to e-mail photo to myself before it conked. She had a day off work that day and Kika got lunged in the side-reins, and was an angel to her credit.
*I-LOVE-my-horse-moment*

As I mentioned above I have no real news to report as haven't done anything with the girls seeing as I didn't get to the yard last night. L has today off work (as she has to work Saturday - Boo!) so she'll turn then out and maybe ride one if she has time/fancies it - decision is hers. I'm more than happy to exercise both this evening, but neither horse will be negatively affected for being ridden by a better rider if she feels inclined, so who am I to refuse? ;-)

I'll leave you with a parting pic, snapped Friday evening when I had to two run together in a bid to help Nancy with her Canter - easier to loose school two and have them motivate each other than my being forced to chase them...

Apologies for quality of shot, phone & dark arena don't always work together

Monday, 4 February 2013

Felt Like Flying

I had an amazing weekend with both girls!

Saturday: Started about 10.30 when I turned out Nancy & O in our turnout area with their haynets. Then decided while I was at the barn I'd ride Kika, as I wanted to be home for 1.30 to watch the Six Nations Opener between Ireland and Wales - turns out Game didn't start till 2.30 our time, but that's beside the point, just meant I got to catch up on Greys! Anatomy! ;-)
Saturday mornings are always very busy at the barn as yard lessons still run in the morning and most people want to get their own horses ridden for a clear run at the rest of the day I guess. I usually prefer to ride in the afternoons/evenings to avoid the crush in the arenas, but swallowed the bullet this weekend as I knew after the rugby game I had shopping to do, the little darlings need their food! 3 bags of muesli were purchased, so fingers crossed stores will hold for a while! :D

There were four riders in the main arena as K and I were working, so plenty navigating, testing of brakes and steering followed - I cannot tell you all how happy I am with Kika. We had a wonderful spin, without an iota of fuss from either of us. Lovely calm, cool & responsive work from Miss Kika and myself, everything just felt right!
It was a lovely change from Thursday's spin when I shared the same arena with one other rider, but she is one of the worst riders to share an arena with. She is a very good rider, but is just difficult to work with in the arena as I never know where she is going to go - so I was pretty frazzled on Thursday and called it quits early as I was just getting frustrated which wasn't going to help the good building blocks Kika and I have put together in the last months/year.

Fed her ladyship and tossed her back into her stable with lots of hay for munching, then I cleaned Nancy's stable and headed home.


Returned Saturday evening with the three bags of feed, a new schooling whip a new pair of gloves and a bag of carrots - shopping is dangerous!!

Brought N & O in from the field, tacked up and with moral support from O & L; Nancy & I braved the main arena which she hadn't been in before. The odds weren't in our favour as the darn yard cat was loitering around the dark corners and one row of arena lighting didn't want to turn on - which was odd as it had been on less than 30 minutes prior. So I led N around and around until she settled and I was happy to hop up, as always she was good as gold. We walked, trotted, circled and changed reins - baby steps. her personality is coming out more now under saddle, she can be inclined to set her jaw and try to fight at times but when I remember to relax my hands and not fight back we get back on track without any major issues.


Sunday: Was Kika's turn to be turned out, which L did in the morning. Plan for the day was to do pole work with both girls. I am delighted with the pair of them, we worked with Nancy first. She was so cute as I led her around the arena before getting on, she is not a spooky girl, she does look but doesn't refuse to walk past things and if allowed to stop for a nosy she is curious but not silly about "scary" things - all bodes well! We walked through one series of 4 poles so that she knew they wouldn't eat her before I got on.
Apologies for poor artistic ability!

 However getting on was a bit of an ordeal yesterday, I don't know was it new/young horse testing the boundaries and/or stubborn Friesan side shining through - but do you think she would stand alongside the mounting block when I went to get up - silly sod kept taking a step back as soon as I removed my hand from the reins by the bit to hold the reins by the saddle. With L's calm help we navigated the issue and got on board. Walked around and over a single pole on a circle in the upper half of the arena, then rinse and repeat in trot - aiming for the middle of the pole. As people used to working with young horses know, this can be tricky when developing a new partnership...but we'll get there. :D
When that went well, we trotted over the single pole towards the four poles, then up over the two poles a couple of times. Eventually we worked down the diagonal of three poles and up over the four before coming down the two again, as well as other variations & combinations of poles.

The main things I have to remember are to anticipate more, give her more time and guidance to make the turns, aim for the middle of the poles and keep my hands slightly wider then when I am riding Kika to help guide N in the right direction. Lots to work on as always, but plenty positives for the quirky lovable lady!

Now for Kika, we worked over the same poles although L left me to myself to work out how I wanted to tackle them and corrected me where necessary. Namely to try to pay more attention when trotting and to really try and feel whether I am on the right diagonal or not - I am terrible at noticing and need to watch her outside to shoulder to check that I am rising when her leg stretches forward. We worked more on transitions after the poles, trot/canter and trot/walk to keep everything ticking over and not allow anything become predictable.
Then came the flying! :D
L had us canter over the single pole and change rein asking for a flying change over the pole.
First effort was a fail, but for every time after that we managed it and I felt like we were flying - my first time actually asking for a flying change, we knew she can do them as she changes by herself when cantering courses so it was just a case of me learning how to ask and her recognising the signal change and listening - it was magic!

I had such a smile on my face at the end of yesterday, both girls were just amazing to work with. Nancy is quirky as we get to know each other and lay out the boundaries & Kika is just heavenly at the moment. She is such a pleasure to work with that I can almost overlook her terrible manners when demanding food by using her front feet against the stable door or scraping her feet in impatience and standing in the crossties while being tacked up...I did say almost! We are still trying to hammer home the fact she CANNOT do those things, but she is an opinionated lady and will take some convincing. ;)


PS: Sorry this (as always) has gotten so long & for the lack of photos. I'll try to think to snap some this evening, although make no promises. It's Nancy's day off, I'll be heading to the barn shortly to turn her and O out. Kika will work on the lunge this evening to change things up a bit.