Wednesday 20 June 2012

Uneven Update

I haven't had much to report as I haven't been able to do much with Kika since she got in the scrap in the field almost 2 weeks back.

Had vet out on friday as Miss K got a couple kicks the previous week and although cold-hosing brought down the swelling and heat very quickly she just wasn't 100% right in herself - so I called in the proffesionals.
She said she was fine on the hard surface/tarmac to walk and trot (including little circles) which was good news. Brought her into an arena for a spot of lungeing on soft going - to which vet agreed she was a little off. However she couldn't pinpoint if it was muscle ache from kicks or if Kika has somehow tweaked something in her back.
Vet gave me powders to help release lactic build up in muscles (i think that's what they're for - not always easy when vet trained in German to have right vocab in English, but we make it work, ) - if she's still 'off' after a week could be back issue and have been advised to get osteo/masseuse out to her to release whatever may be blocked.
I can still ride and was in fact advised to keep her moving however, only walk and trot until she is back to 100% and mostly straight lines and big circles...might even get around to testing my bottle and re-braving the big bad world of forrest hacking!
Best Buddies - C & Kika on friday evening

Sunday took Kika for a spin in one of the arenas, lil sis asked if she could have a spin so I got to see K moving from the ground with my own eyes - which helped pinpoint where she was off - as not easily felt when i'm on board.

I didn't make it to the yard on Monday as was invited to a garden party by one of the Judge's, Tuesday I gave her a lunge outdoors - was still not happy with her hind end action on the right hand side.
I hopped up for a walk & a bit of trot this evening as recommended by vet and asked 'The Guru' to have a look to tell me what she thought as i still wasn't happy...She agreed that she is quite sore behind and possibly even slightly worse then she had been when she first saw her Saturday week.
I have since heard that the ladies may have been fighting again in the field as there was talk from onther liveries about someone having got sticthes - so must text that owner and see what story is...
If there was more scrapping it would deffo explain why limbs not healing as hoped!

In better news the second Kika drawing was finished last week - but i didn't want to unveil it until i had paid for it!

So here it is with the picture it was drawn from below!

Add caption
I absolutely adore it and think it has captured Kika perfectly!
Thank you so much to Aoife from photosandsketches, i cannot wait for both images to arrive and get them framed!

I cannot recomend Aoife enough, her work is fab and her price very fair - she works quickly and efficiently. I don't think i need to emphasize her unreal talent - the two drawings she has done of Kika are spot on and IMO gorgeous!

Monday 11 June 2012

Ponio Portrait

A wonderful artist from S2S Froum kindly did a portrait drawing of Miss Kika from the picture below.
I am totally in awe of her talent!

From the following photo

How great is that?!
I have another picture commissioned - am looking forward to getting both framed when they arrive - don't worry I will also post the second one when ready! :D
The wonderful artist also has a blog - LINK, she takes commissions and thankfully has a paypal account to facilitate payment - which IMO is very reasonably priced and she'll send the drawing out to you when she's done!
When i last spoke to her today, she is hoping to set up a facebook page to help get her work out there so be sure to follow her blog & like the fb page when she gets herself set up!

Thanks again so much to my lovely namesake who has way more artistic talent than I could ever dream to have! Heck, I can't even draw stickmen!

LOVE, Love, love my drawing and cannot wait for the second one!
Thanks again A!

Sunday 10 June 2012

SJ, Scraps & Belated Birthday Gifts

The CSI de Luxembourg was on from Thursday 7th to Sunday 10th. Myself and some yard friends went along for the Saturday & Sunday afternoons - having not been to see this comptetion before I was wonderfully surprised by the great layout (think huge tent with varied equine shopping), large jumping arena, seating area, variety in choice of food & beverages and all very nicely priced, IMO anyway!
I did indulge in a small spot of shopping and got Kika a belated birthday present today of a leather headcollar with her registered name engraved on a below.

Before that however here are just three I snapped this afternoon. We were very lucky with the weather, it wasn't a scorcher (thankfully for my fair Irish skin), yet it wasn't too cloude or at all wet all afternoon - it was pretty darn perfect!
The show suprised me by how multi-cultural it was, there were the usual Lux, Belgian, German riders...Kevin Staut came from France (if memory serves he won the European Champhionships a few years back and is a familiar face in the French Nation Cups teams of recent years), unfortunately I missed the chance to snap a photo of him!
There were however riders from the USA, UK, Ireland, Russia, Brazil, Haiti, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Switzerland, Turkey & a Ukraine rider won today's Grand Prix!

Here are just three photos I snapped, sorry if quality poor - (a) I wasn't on the rail & (b) as always, photos all taken on my camera phone (so no zoom)!

Irish Rider - Alan Kelly & Picoline
Swedish Rider - Angelie Von Essen & Carrento Ztar
Luxembourg Rider - Charlotte Bettendorf  & Kiwi du Gibet
It was a wonderful way to spend the weekend. The next really big equine event in Luxembourg is towards the end of September a 2 week extravaganze of show jumping followed by dressage...hoping to get myself there to watch!

Here are some more photos of Kika's belated Birthday present - which wasn't initially on the cards, but when i saw it i couldn't come home without here is her first personalised leather headcollar!

I mentioned "Scraps" in the title...I may have mentioned that I was giving Kika friday off and i took myself off to the cinema with some friends from work, so i didn't see herself till saturday evening after having spent the afternoon at the show. Brought her in and set about grooming her, she had splotches of something all across her back - it looked like drops of something - upon closer inspection (aka a whiff) it appeared to be some sort of fertiliser! How she managed that is a mystery to me!
I also unfortunately discovered that she appeared to have been somewhat in the wars with scrap marks decorating her backside & hindlegs - not shocking as she's living outside...these things happen. It was not a fresh wound (meaning they'd presumably been arguing on the friday) but there was a bit of heat in it and it was a little swollen on her thigh above her hock. Gave her a bit of a walk and a trot, decided with some input from L on the ground who'd offered to give us a hand/lesson that she wasn't 100% so cold hosed her for 20mins and popped her back out.
Snapped this photo this evening before giving her a loose lunge - walk and a teensy tiny bit of trot this evening, before again cold hosing her for 20mins and popping her back outside.
She has a few other scrapes on the inside of her other hind leg, but the bit of heat was concentrated in this area...before you ask - yes it is the same side (other leg) that she damaged towards the end of May last year...
Bless her, I think she is also in heat as both yesterday and today she would call out for her field buddies while tied for cold hosing and "working" (she didn't really work, mostly walk with a small bit of trot) - she was also a bit tucked up behind which would be another indicator - normally she wouldn't be very vocal at all...Will keep an eye on her and see how we get on. Her hind leg was less swollen today than yesterday and there was less heat in it, shall cold hose again tomorrow and see how we get on...

Wednesday 6 June 2012

Another Good Lesson & Some Jumping - Yehaw!

I shall stop making empty promises to keep posts short and to the point, as I appear to be incapable of doing so...once again apologies in advance.
However, in saying that, if you are in anyway a regular reader of this blog - this info will be of no suprise to you, ;-)
I do however promise two pictures of her ladyship & fieldmate - back safely in said field, nice and calm taken yesterday evening.

One to whet your whistles - two calm girlies after their adventures, long may it last!
First up, I had another flat lesson with L (The Guru) in my GP saddle yesterday (Tuesday) evening, rescheduled from Monday due to a certain Madam's escapades and quest for a Pizza Hut @ stupid o'clock in the morning!
Upon another L's (old online friend & wonderful blogger @ Viva Carlos) advice after watching my lesson vids from Saturday, I shortened my stirrups a hole and am so glad I did - Thank you very much for that gem! My left rein canter was much better, I was brave and attempted it with my stirrups (only cantered without stirrups on Saturday so as not to flopidy-flop on poor Kika) and straight off the bat my legs stayed more secure and *shock-horror* my heels stayed down!
In the immortal words of British Comedian Justin Lee Collins - GOOD TIMES!

But I'm getting ahead of myself there - reel it in Aoife & start at the beginning!
*Le Sigh - I hear ye say* - teehee

Warmed up on my own - walk & trot, serpentines, circles, volts, changes of rein, figures of eight - really concentrating on keeping The Guru L's advice from Saturday in mind, namely hold more with the outside rein when circling and ask for the bend with inside leg. L sidled in after turning her horse out and watched us working away not saying much - which as it turns out meant I was doing well on my own and she didn't feel the need to comment at that time.
She then got stuck in and said I have to better prepare my turns (whether changeing rein/figure of 8/circles etc) to coax & guide Kika into them to give her time to know what I am after so as not to loose the run of herself and turn too sharly. Here she re-iterated the need to "brake" with my outside hand and to move my outside leg back just a small bit to keep Kika from drifting.
We also worked on "suppling" to coax Kika's bend towards the inside when working as she is inclined to look outside the whole time - twisting herself into an S-shape, I am now to pay extra attention and concentrate on being able to see her inside eye as we are working - I have to be stricter on the right rein then the left. So we altered the bend between the inside and the outside on the long sides of the arena a couple of times after our successful left rein canter (mentioned above).

Then onto the right rein canter, what I thought of as our better canter as unlike on the left-hand side she wasn't going around with her head up like a Giraffe, throwing her front legs about. But in saying that she is inclined to lean a lot more on my hands on the right rein then the left.
S2S magazine's friendly forum osteo offered me an insightful theory as to why this was happening after having viewed the previous lessons videos;

"One thing that might help - if your Osteo or someone similar can show you how to switch on your core and keep your lower ribs stable without tightening I think you'll find your straightness (both in lines and on circles) really improves. I noticed you're a bandit like me for dropping through the base of your ribs - effectively collapsing the hip and lowering the same shoulder. You were actually doing it on the right rein canter to the left, which may be why she was bracing more than you'd hope for??"
I must sort myself out with an osteo - I keep meaning to make an appointment with Kika's osteo as she also works with humans - sign of a horsey-person...the animal receives better care than the human - am I right?
Any readers notice this trend? Teehee

To work on our issues with this rein The Guru had me in sitting trot on a volt around her holding ("braking") with my outside hand while releasing with my inside rein which I found really hard to do as am after recently discovering a new nasty habit of mine - namely that my inside hand (in this case the right hand - two guesses as to why, darn dominant hand) is too controlling. For all intensive purposes it would appear that I invariably have things arseways!
The outside hand is to control while the inside hand is to act in a give&take capacity - no wonder we have been having problems - always something new to work on and think about, which is great! (sincerely - I am not being sarcastic there)

Needless to say my arms are quite tender today, probably a combination of the leaning - we were on that small sircle for quite a while till I got it right and the actual propper use of my limbs when riding for a change.
Again my brain was interfereing with itself and I had trouble distinguishing between the inside and outside hand and which one to send the messages to...does this happen to anyone else or am I just completely bonkers?!
I also get in my own way when trying to do lateral work, although I did find that exercise a bit better on Saturday - "What was she like before?" - I hear you ask horriefied...Answer: "Best not to know" *shame-faced*
All I will say is my horse is a saint to put up with a confusing numpty like me, ;-)
Although she certainly has her own quirks to her also, so I guess on some twisted/sordid level we balance each other out...probably corrupt each other more like...but whatever - so long as we're happy.
Which I am, :-p

After all that waffle; we did manage some good sitting trot circling without leaning and even got some non- leaning right-rein canter work, but for more consistency ... that is going to take considerably more work.
All in all I finished up a very happy girl! 

Lord this is getting long again - sorry!
I think it's time for the second picture (aka bribery/reward - whatever way you want to call it)

Here's hoping she stays put as of now! I promise the field isn't as bare as it looks in the patch - that's near the entrance

On to jumping today...

Wednesday is Jumping Lesson day at the yard. An external instructor comes in and does lessons in the afternoon over a course set up by the resident Riding Instructor (RI) on a Wednesday morning. Sometimes I am lucky and the lessons finish up early enough that I can ask them to leave the fences up for a pop around myself or under L's watchful eye and we then clear them all away when finished.
As it happens I had booked this afternoon off work to run some errands - namely only available time for my hairdresser to cut my hair so I went whole hogg & asked for the day off. This meant I was sneakily able to have a pop around the fences before the lessons started for the afternoon & that I could then be vain, get my hair cut and not have to put it straight into a helmet and ruin the effect before anyone might see it ... the only time it ever looks half way decent is after the hairdresser has been at it - can you tell I'm terribly un-Girly-girl? * the Shame*

Long story not so short, I was on a time-limit, arrived at yard at 2pm had to be on bus at 3.30/3.40 latest to be in town on time for my 4pm appointment to get sheared.
I managed to be in the saddle by 2.20, proceeded to warm herself up, keeping in mind yesterday's lessons and trying to get her circling correctly paying attention to my hands - I won't pretend it was perfect or flawless as I was distracted and acutely aware of the little time I had left myself.

Trotted over a couple of fences, was very happy when she waited for my cue for the first few, but then started to get a bit ahead of herself trying to pre-empt my next move with some Giraffe impressions thrown in for good measure as the excitment took hold. However she'd come back to me between fences and was fine on the corners/turns prior to fences - but one/two strides out the behaving lark would get to much for her and up pops the head with a bit of a bounce as if to say "Waaaaahhhhhheeee".
Bless her she does love her jumping!
Strung a few fences together and despite my original intentions we did canter them after the first one was popped - finished on two run throughs of a double composed of a smallish oxer followed by a higher straight upright with a higher again cross of poles either side, but obviously the height jumped was height of straight bar/middle of cross-poles - sorry I realise that that most likely makes no sense!

We won't be winning any style prizes for todays efforst, but considering where we'd left off with our jumping lessons with the previous jumping instructor in November 2010 - where she was rushing her fences something awful, not to mention the plungeing/bucking on landing. Then the lessons with L last summer where I was still very much a nervous wreck after all her misbahing carry-on during that winter/spring. I think we are doing well - if I may say so myself!
Admittedly I later learnt that the saddle I had bought the previous month (October 2010) likely never fitted her and was most likely a major contributor to her bad behaviour - so it really wasn't her fault at all!
Lessons with L Sept 2011 were in current GP saddle - which thankfully does appear to fit!

Right...I best shut up now, sorry again for all the waffle - hopefully you haven't nodded off and are still with me!
Come to think of it I'm not sure two aimless field photos were really reward/bribery enough for such a wordy addition to the blog!

Tuesday 5 June 2012

Horsey Houdini Strikes Again!

Kika went on her most daring (and scary for me to hear about) adventure to date yesterday! 
Will hopefully keep this long stroy short - and don't worry I have doctored a google map image to help you visualise.

Spoke to one of the YO yesterday morning before work. His kids get a school bus around the same time as i go to work and as it was raining he dropped them to the bus stop...not really important to the story - this is probably how my posts get so waffly. 
He told me that the police had called them at 6am to say that horses were on the main road! 
Yep you guessed it, my little darling and her fieldmate had obviously decided that the grass in their field was nothing compared to a Pizza Hut pizza so went walkies! They were caught at the bank, so they obviously didn't have the right money 
Here's the map:

- A is where barn is
- Purple Oval is where they were caught Pizza Hut, Chinese Restaurants & Bank are along that stretch of the road.
- Pink circle by green patch is where I live - someone actually joked that she was coming to see me - but i have never brought her to the house or indeed off the farm since she arrived 2 years ago! 

The Route d'Arlon which Pizza Hut etc are on is THE main road in Luxembourg, prior to the motorways it was the road linking Lux to Belgium - still one of the most trafficked roads in Lux...and at that time of the morning - start of commute to work for people who live on the borders (100,000+ people cross borders to work in Lux everyday, not necessarily all from Belgium but still staggering figures - imagine the traffic  )
To make things even scarier, if she and her fieldmate had turned left to the big orange road on the map - that is the MOTORWAY! I try not to think of what could have happened 

Silly creatures!

I didn't say anything yesterday as i didn't have the full story and as it happened in the middle of the night i doubt we ever will get the whole story! But by all accounts the wire at the front of the field was completely busted - so reckoning is that something must have startled them during the night ... there are a lot of foxes about at the moment, or boars or who knows what crossed their minds.

The YO's did put them back into the field yesterday day and when myself and the other horse's owners got there yesterday evening they wer grand and quiet. They were understandably nervous about leaving their horse back out last night and in fact decided to keep her in. As the other fieldmate is being kept in at the moment awaiting the farrier I didn't want to leave Kika out on her last night, as even though there are horses in the neighbouring field and she is well capable of staying on her own while the others are being ridden - I didn't fancy my chances of leaving her alone overnight 

I think K and C (the grey from the pics last week - her escapee pal yesterday) are two similar creatures - headstrong, silly mares who bounce off one another in a not great way from an owners point of view. Saying "Peas in a Pod" springs to mind to describe them...the sooner P (black pony from first field frolicks videos) can re-join them the happier I'll be!

I'll also be calling the YO's today to see if there is anyway of increasing the amount of current keeping them in...I cannot leave Kika in a stable for the summer. In my mother's words "She is a free Range Horse" and is really at her happiest and most zen when able to get out - admittedly i don't relish her ability to do so without human intervention!

The fall out from yestrdays worry has me thinking of those dog shock collars (please don't think me evil for thinking of this), you know the ones that you bury something in your garden and when the collar wearer passes a certain point they get a shock - theoretically learning to stay within their allocated boundaries...I don't know if something to that affect might work with Kika.
Then again horses learn from repetition and if i were to use such a devise to stop her leaving the field...would she then start refusing to come in when lead to go to work
Of course any such collar would be removed prior to leaving the field, but repeated stimuli from testing boundaries might make horses wary to leave through gate afterwards...I don't know if such drastic action will be necessary - guess we'll have to see if they stay put from now on or not and reconsider things then!

I had been planning to ride yesterday evening, but in light of the events i settled on lungeing her in her halter to make sure all was in order and that no damage was done - thankfully she seems to have got away unscathed. Let's hope there won't be a next time as I'm not so sure we'll be so lucky!

Both ladies went back out this morning and C's owners have decided to leave her out tonight, but they have said that if they break out again that they will be asking to change fields.
The field they are in is that bit further away from the houses and in that regard considerably less secure...I'm not sure what I'll do if they get out again, i cannot keep her indoors for the summer - I'll cross that bridge if it comes to it.

Fingers crossed they'll stay put! 

Sunday 3 June 2012

Lesson Report & Videos

WARNING - this gets long!
Apologies in advance!

I had my first lesson since the 21st of April yesterday (Saturday) evening with L, we worked on flatwork. I rode in my GP saddle as I feel I ride better in it at the moment - funny how things go in swings and roundabouts. When I first started riding in the dressage saddle I felt I went better in that one - now my allegiance has changed back to the GP. I will of course keep riding in both, but I do think that the placement of the knee blocks in the dressage saddle doesn't help with my knee gripping issue in canter...however I shall percevere with both saddles and am sure that my preference will undoubtably change multiple times.

The Mammy came to watch last night armed with my phone (Samsung Galaxy) & her iphone in the hopes of my getting some pictures of me riding to see where I am going wrong and/or what if anything was after improving since I last co-erced someone to take some snapshots of me in the saddle. She went one better and got a load of little videos, which are great as I can watch them back and hopefully not forget the lessons we were working on...Apologies in advance for sound - birds are lovely and relaxing sounding when watching the videos (I have to admit that I didn't hear them when riding!) and instruction is in French, so not sure if (m)any readers will understand what's being said to me - probably no bad thing as it is pretty repetitive, ;)

Practice makes perfect I hear...still waiting for this to come true!

Disclaimers prior to viewing (however constructive criticism always's the only way i'll learn):
- I know my hands are awful & too active
- as are my feet and heels aren't down
Both nasty habits I'm after picking up and shall work on bettering
- Kika doesn't always work from behind - i need to learn to make her do so and recognise when she is!

First up a little snapshot of Kika and I warming up before L's arrival for the lesson.

Lesson time - Some serpentine and volt work
We stayed on the smaller circle for the end of previous video and the next video as L had me 'brake' with my outside rein to stop Kika cheating and falling to the outside on her circle. Between these two videos I had gone back to walk to get it right before moving back up to trot...there had been a video of the walking phase but it was very long and having watched it and taken what I need from it I have decided against sharing it here as watching K and I walk in a circle for 2mins isn't great viewing for others, ;)
We moved up to some canter work next, for which I decided to work without stirrups...I'm sure that that won't help with my grabbing at the knee issue - but I find myself getting more distracted when cantering by my heels not staying down & my feet not staying in the stirrups, flopping about and generally being a Class 1 nuissance - so all ridden work in the rest of the videos is done without stirrups!
This is not a clip of our first canter but second I think...either way there is still a lot of work to do! Hopefully this won't be too cringe-tastic!
Also, please keep in mind that the left rein is our "bad" rein when cantering - ok no more disclaimers here are the videos ;)
Some more left rein cantering - exhibiting why it is my bad rein!
I got a slight telling off for next clip, as I slowed her back to trot after she going well on the left rein - I have to work on this - but I will plead exhaustion in this case as by the time I got this bit of work out of her I was spent in the saddle! Don't panic I'm not let off the hook that easily, ;-), we come back to left rein canter work before lesson & video clips are over!
After being told off for slowing up, L had me change rein - usually our better side for canter work before changing back left later.
Some right rein first - although this video makes me question why I think it my better rein...admittedly K & I were getting tired at this stage, but we percereved!

Back to left rein (bad side) cantering...

Lesson finished off with some lateral work in walk. This is only my third time attempting this excercise in a lesson - I don't have enough of a feel for it yet to try it on my own as I don't want to end up confusing Kika with my requests.
I know it seems like a lot of videos...but it does get  a bit better...I think! At first L is on hand with stick to help from teh ground...but then I think I managed some on my own! Didn't realise this until after the lesson when the Mammy reassuerd me that I had and indeed I have since seen from the videos that it would appear to be correct - funny how the brain blanks on things when concentrating!

Now that I have seen the proof we can do lateral work in walk - the tricky thing becomes distinguishing the difference and recognising the movement when she does it - I have to admit that I couldn't feel it when she was crossing her legs - speaking to L about it afterwards she says K takes tiny steps and that that might be why I can't yet recognise when she's doing it - hopefully practice will help the pair of us relax so that she can take bigger steps and I might be able to feel them!

We had a bit of a chat after the lesson - not our usual post-lesson postmortem, but between the Mammy & L, I have plenty homework - namely to fix my hands & arms, I need to keep my elbows bent & closer to my sides, lifting my hands, not bending at the wrist and less fidgitting when spongeing all the while alternating the spongeing - meaning not doing right/left all the time (as Kika will end up swinging her head all the time...I think she is in fact already starting to do this *blush* = Bad Me!) but to alternate by right/right then left spongeing or left/left/left/right/right/left/left/right etc spongeing to keep changing it up.
I also have to learn to relax my "bassin"/ pelvic area and go more with the horse - not force the movement. I hadn't even realised i was doing this so locating the muscle memory and pathways to get my brain to relax something i wasn't conscious of doing will be fun! ;) But now that it has been pointed out to me I can recognise another reason for why my canter is so awful!
Of course we musn't forget the heels & legs - I need Need NEED to stop gripping with my knees and train my heels down more!
Lots of work still needed as always - thankfully horse riding is never a done deal & there is always plenty to improve upon. Sorry for the video overload - also they make me giggle, L has two bearded collies who were outside the arena during the lesson. Leo is the younger slightly more playful one, throughout the videos you can hear L scold him and indeed The Mammy sniggering at him as he tries to open the arena door at one stage - anyway just thought I'd better post a quick FYI as to the dog whining noises throughout the speedier sections of the videos ;-)

I have decided to give Kika today off, while I digest and mull over yesterday lesson while re-watching the videos. That and the fact I have ridden her the last three days in a row and that L has told me we're having another lesson on Monday evening and possibly jumping on Wednesday - watch this space! :p

If you have gotten this far you deserve a some sort of reward!
Unfortunately I can't give you one, only my whole hearted thanks in advance for any comments/tips/advice you may offer!

Friday 1 June 2012

Picture Time

As Kika and her new fieldmate C loitered at the gate this evening I figured I'd take full advantage of some priceless photo always these were taken with my trusty phone and so quality may leave a bit to be desired!

C (newest addition to the field) & Kika
C - 6yr old coming back from injury, she's a real sweetheart
K looking a bit like a pony
Headshot close up of mischivious eye...
Which leads to this...
and this ;-)
To put these into context, that is the height of the wire she was managing to shimmy out under a few months back...admittedly these was no current going through it then. There is now!

And lastly my two fav pics of tonight

For those not interested in waffle, stop reading now!

I rode last night and this evening, mixed saddle yesterday and dressage saddle today. Both days went really well and our canter was considerably better than it had been on Tuesday. L (The Guru) popped by as i we managed our best left rein canter in ages...thankfuly she was there to catch it as I was invariably unable to repeat it again and may not manage to get everything right again for a while, teehee.
Input from eyes on the ground as to my issues with canter is that I am "crisping" making it difficult to go with the movement and that I need to relax more - easier said than done! But I will work on it and do my best to switch off the brain and just go with the flow if you will!
I am so proud of how Kika is doing, I have known all along that the canter issues are my doing - but her general work ethic cannot be faulted - she is such a pleasure when she gets turn out. Crossing my fingers that we will get the use of the piece of land ('wooded' area in the background of above photos) again next winter.

If we manage to be there at the same time tomorrow, L has offered to give me a lesson which will be great as I haven't had one for a while and sure while the going is good best get one in before we "need" one in case we were to hit another rough patch!
As always I can't promise any ridden photos unless one of the parents volunteer to come along for a looksee...Might suggest it to them as i can usually tell more about where I am going wrong/improving from photos then small glimpses in the arena mirror when riding - although that is mostly because i forget to look as typically am concentrating on what we're going to do next!

Right I think that's it from me today - thankfully considerably shorter then usual...I think!

Have a great weekend to anyone who reads!