Wednesday 26 September 2012

Tuesday Tidings

Living out 24/7 at this time of year is not like last year - weather is after taking a nasty turn and dropped from our lovely blue skies & sunshine of two weeks ago to gray, windy and very wet in the last two days. Temps have gone from 25C+ to 12C - shock to poor ponio's system and the winter wollies are well and truly after setting in!
So I caved and rugged her last night before turning her back out, her poor little ears were cold and I felt like a bad owner! As it's a blanket with a hood/neck-cover I'm really hoping that she doesn't return to her old tricks and go wandering now that she won't feel the electric current through the rug material!

Thankfully last night I managed to get her in from the field during a dry spell so didn't have to dry her off or anything prior to working her - Bonus! However as mentioned above her little ears were cold and as I hadn't worked her on Monday I decided to edge on the side of caution and lunge her before hopping up in case she was full of beans that come with the cold.
Turns out i needn't have worried - she was a complete angel even though we rode in my least favourite arena; as she is usually very spooky in there due to it being the oldest manege, by the parking lot and under the "buvette" (coffee-warm seating bar-type area...well it has a counter for social events I don't think it is actually stocked with alcohol although not being a drinker myself have never felt the urge to check! ;-) )

So lunged her tacked up in the dressage saddle and once I was happy there would be no antics, up I hopped and we got straight to work. Ah the beauty of lunging first cuts down on warm up time! :p
Loads of transitions and changes of rein later we had managed to get some of our calmest and shaped canter work on our "bad" rein - we had a few sticky strike-offs scattered between our good work, but with all our transition work of late we now calmly come back to trot and then strike off again a few strides later much more controlled and without pulling, speeding up or head tossing which had been known to happen previously - opinionated madam that she is!

To say I was happy with how we worked is an understatement - following up from Sunday's good work to have two ridden sessions go so well with a break in between has me in wonderful spirits! Here's hoping that we can continue in this positive form, although progress will be interrupted by social outings the rest of this week and then a two and a half week travel trip for me leaving Wednesday 3rd of Oct!

Untacked her in the arena and let her loose to roll if she wanted as she was a little sweaty and I didn't want to hose her (a) due to cold, (b) the late hour and (c) rugging afterwards. So she followed me around while I cleaned up her deposits (downside to lazy horse stuffing her face with hay all day in the field and not doing enough moving makes for lots of arena cleaning after workout sessions!) then she did have her roll as i put away her tack.

Nosy McNoserson
She also started her new liver treatment yesterday evening, which fell well as the previous powder was just finished on Monday evening - so there's no lull in treatment. I forgot to take down the name of the granules she's now getting so will have to check that out when I get to the yard next.

Monday 24 September 2012

Fuzzy McFuzzerson and/or Fatty McFatty-Face

Despite odd title I did actually have a wonderful weekend!

Things didn't go entirely to plan last week and I didn't up up riding Tuesday through Thursday between meals out with friends and work dos...I was lucky to visit herself in the field and spoil her by feeding her down there without requiring work from her first!

We did some pessoa lunging on Friday evening as it bucketed down outside, luckily I had managed to get her in before the heaven's really opened so she was relatively dry. 3/4 of an hour's grooming later with me covered in dust and hair I decided against riding and sought out the pessoa instead. She works well in it and the change from what we'd otherwise have been doing in the arena wouldn't go astray...not to mention i was being a right chicken and could lunge in small arena near grooming area whereas to get to an arena to ride in i'd have had to go out in the rain!
She went really well, L popped by and decided it was time to try a new setting on the pessoa to work different muscles, she also had me slow the trot and really get her stretching her stride as she is inclined to get short and choppy. Loads of transitions and spiralling larger and smaller circles later we called it a night and i let her loose to have a roll while i cleared all the poop out of the small arena. Not all her doing - but figured I'd clean up while waiting for herself to dry off - the Fuzzy McFuzz-Monster is back with a vengeance which makes for a sweatier horsey!

Saturday I arrived at the barn around midday with the intention of riding then cleaning our winter turnout space for the afternoon. All the lower branches have been trimmed from the trees surrounding the 'paddock', so I collected them and piled them by the entrance where someone is going to help us collect them in their trailer to dispose of them.

Not sure if her hairyness can be seen in the picture - but there ye go...also in evidence is the reason she is such a Fatty McFatty-Face these days. Hay-Belly!

Saturday's spin was far from ideal, but we worked through the hiccups. We were alone in the main arena and any time i felt her settle and start to do some nice work she'd find some reason to spook or act the maggot and we'd have to re-settle and go again. Quite the frustrating little madam so she was - but I stuck to my guns and we got some nice pieces of work between the messing.
Hosed the sweaty creature off and popped her in the walker dry-off, as although the day had brightened up from when the photo was taken and blue skies peaked out from between the clouds - it really wasn't warm enough at all to leave her sunbathing like last week - so she had to spin in the walker - no harm for her & her Hay-belly to keep moving in any case! ;-)

I then spent 2 hours dragging and stacking the fallen branches by the entrance to the plot of land - I did snap a picture before i went home as I really liked the light - plus I'm vain and wanted something to show for my work! :p

Sunday was more of the same, although our spin on Sunday was much better than the day before. Loads of transitions, walk/trot & trot/canter - which actually went quite well for a change. I actually think we managed to get some lovely canter work...although I had no one there to tell me whether what we were doing is in fact right or wrong, but it didn't feel as awful as it has done in the recent past! I also added the spiralling trotting circles into our session, alongside serpentines with and without small circles when looping, changes of rein on the diagonals and the odd figure of eight, plus circles - we're always circling! How we don't end up in a dizzy heap is beyond me!
Finished up, hosed off, walker and fed - her liver powder supplement will run out today, hoping my message gets through to vet so that we can start her on the next course of treatment asap.
I then spent another hour and half clearing the branches with L and the dog's help this time and we're almost finished! The fun next will be in dismantling the pile we've made by the entrance and loading it all up into trailers and/or the horsebox to deposit it at the recycling center.
Pity burning it isn't an option - as that would be endlessly easier!

So that was my weekend in a not so small nutshell - I'm hoping to lunge this evening and ride tomorrow before cinema outings for rest of the week as The British & Irish Film Festival is on here for the next week and a half. Hoping to take in some of the once off showings of the films while they are here!

Sunday 16 September 2012

Welcome Weekend

First of all - I actually did manage to remember to snap what I hope are some "reward pics" for those of you who persevere and read my blog offerings!

All taken yesterday (Saturday 15/9/2012) as Miss Kika sunbathed after a brief encounter with the house where she sweated under the girth, explains dark patches!

We actually had a gorgeous weekend weather-wise, considering how grey and cold the week ended!
L and I managed to get out for a lovely hour and a half hack on Saturday with her two dogs. We took a slightly different route to normal which included some nice hill work to strengthen Miss Kika's backside in the hopes of someday coaxing her into using it! ;-)
We did loads of walking, some trotting and some nice and calm cantering. This is our third woods outing this "summer" (I know it's September but weather was so nice it still felt like summer this weekend) and it was our best to date. There was still some spooking and jelly-legging at piles of logs, but we had no stock-still stopping or spinning, so progress was evident - but whether this means the next outing will be as successful will be anyone's guess.
Therein lies the beauty of horses - living, breathing, thinking animals and always up to some form of mischief...or maybe that's just my madam :p

"I don't like posing ... but I can do coy!"
I decided to try to tackle some pole work with Miss Kika today, to change things up a bit. Thinking back upon our spin now as I write this post I am not entirely sure how to feel about the experience really....
There was no misbehaving and all the poles were tackled with her usual gusto when it comes to anything remotely resembling jumping or involving poles. I tried implementing some of L's tips from our Wednesday evening jumping lessons to our pole work in the hopes of coaxing better canter work out of the pair of us.

Namley that once we were all warmed up with circles, changes of rein, figures of eights, lopsided serpentines as I worked around the poles I'd laid out...I also tried to work in transitions walk/trot & trot/canter - however the latter didn't work so good - either Miss Kika got herself all excited and started anticipating canter requests which led to poor quality trot work or I was tensing in anticipation of the struggle that is our canter work...possibly a combination of both although my negative self-critical thinking is more inclined to blame myself!

"I am impatient to get back to the field - Quit with the pictures!"
Sorry - back on topic of attempting to implement L's jumping advice when working with poles, asking for canter upon landing, or in this case after clearing the line of poles I had down - continuing for either a few strides, a side of the arena or for a circle - kept changing it up all the while aiming for a correct lead strike off and trying to get a nice shape - however this is where I am now feeling like I may have let us down in our spin today.

Thinking back on the quality of our canter work, it was far from great and we slipped back into quite a few incorrect strike offs on our bad rein - I also realise how L is right and I am inclined to lean forward & throw myself into the canter which in no way helps K to stay balanced.

The good news is L has offered to give us a flat lesson tomorrow if we've time - which means a pair of eyes on the ground attached to a set of lungs to yell at me & correct my shortcomings! :-D

Strolling back to the field - showing off her Hay-Belly!
As always - thanks for reading if you've gotten this far!
Please don't be shy about leaving comments - I love feedback!

Friday 14 September 2012

Dressage Dabbling

Okay so the title is a little misleading and I haven't actually been doing dressage so much as just riding flatwork in my dressage saddle - not pony dancing like the superstars from the Olympics!
However we are making progress - or at least it feels like we are to me, L may beg to differ if and/or when she next gets her hands on me for a lesson/help session.
I rode the last two days in the main arena, last night with one other rider and the radio on - thankfully no messing from Kika and today with quite a few other riders with thankfully not gridlock traffic!
It is the biggest arena and I like using it as the whole back wall is covered in large mirrors so I can attempt to keep an eye on how we're doing - I mostly use it to check that I am on the correct diagonal when rising trotting, again I think I am getting better at noticing when I'm wrong - or maybe I just got lucky today!

We have been doing our best to stick to the inside track to try and strengthen my legs and to stop Kika hogging the sides - it also helps in encouraging her to bend and we're slowly making a better shape with less gawking to the outside...or at least when I remember that that's what we are supposed to be doing!
As always we do a lot of circling, changes of rein and serpentines...have to keep changing it up and one step ahead of Miss Clever Clogs. Have been trying to also work more transitions into our schooling, trotting is our best gait shape-wise, it falls apart in walk unless i am really concentrating on keeping it all together as otherwise she just flops down a gear and stickes her nose out - halt has a similar effect on her combined with head tossing and a form of zig zagging when we have to walk again...shall work more on improving both of these.
I feel like our canter is getting there, strike-off on the "bad" rein has been more hit then miss the last two days - which is great! It is also starting to take shape - although the "good" rein is still miles better, so we spend a lot of time first working on the "bad" rein then considerably less "good" rein cantering...I am not sure if this is really the best course of action - must say it to L and see what she can suggest, I'm always open to opinions if any readers care to share!
Constructive criticism is always welcome - although i understand that it is difficult without some form of image to go from.

I am trying to work more canter transitions into our work also and have branched out from mostly circling to also going down the longsides of the arena while attempting to hold our shape without loosing the run of ourselves.

So that's what Kika & I have been at the last two days - apologies again for the lack of pictures. I always have great intentions of snapping images on my phone as i head to the barn but then completely forget about it as soon as I get there! I do feel bad about all the waffle and think that as readers you all deserve a reward of at least some form of imagery!
Shall endeavour to do better!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday 13 September 2012

Vet Visit - The Results Explained

I managed to speak to my vet yesterday to discuss blood results I got through the e-mail last week and she is happy that Kika's Selenium level as that has come back in line with what is the norm for horses - so no more of the smelly granules in her feed which is nice.
However Kika's liver is still not 100% so we're to finish the apple flavoured powder from natural extracts she is currently on, not much left - i reckon I'll get another week from it at best. Vet said she'll then give me something else to give to Kika and we'll take another blood test in two months time to monitor for any changes.
Plus we'll have to re-evaluate everything when she comes off 24/7 turnout for the winter and returns inside as her feeding and what she's eating/has access to will change again.
I must actually try to speak to the people who gave us the use of the land last year and hope they're happy to let us use it again this winter as those few hours of turnout every day made for such a happy Kika!

Vet also said that we'll have to keep an eye on her eating habits and make sure she doesn't lose any condition as she (vet) said she (Kika) was looking very well last week and doesn't want to change anything with her - that makes me happy despite my thinking Kika's looking a little podgy...but that could be the hay bloating effect of face-stuffing in the field for most of the day
Admittedly when the vet saw Kika last Monday week they hadn't had their hay refilled - so was more refined then she has been since they got more hay again. I swear she doesn't move from the dispenser once the bale is added to it, bar the perhaps 10 strides to the water trough and back again - they lazy sods have actually worn a path in the grass back and forth between the hay & water

Hoping to have a spin in the Dressage saddle again this evening - dunno if L will be about or in the mood for a lesson. I honestly wouldn't mind if she is as I'd like to ride in the spurs again, but won't unless supervised - she has a few days off work at the moment and was planning on riding her mare this morning so may have the time to spare this evening if she's not too tired.

As always this is after getting considerably longer than I had fact I had originally intended to have the vet results in the Jumping lesson post last night - but then forgot completely about adding they have now gotten their own post!

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Jumping Jealousy

Besides the obvious jealousy of international riders and anyone who is out competing regularly - I have found myself jealous of myself.

Caution - Crazy Person Writing...

Not that I think myself a wonderful rider: FAR FROM IT...But I am jealous of how I rode in last week jumping lesson compared to this evening's - which is incredibly ironic as I was a bundle of nerves throughout last weeks lesson and couldn't seem to ease the knots in my stomach!
As a result of persevering, powering through & surviving last weeks lesson I went into today's lesson a lot more positive if still slightly apprehensive as we again were riding outside under lights - which makes for wonderful opportunities for Kika to remain tense and spook. Although in saying that, she didn't spook this evening but was tense at the start...more than likely a result of my being apprehensive as we warmed up prior to L's arrival - amazing how a pair of eyes on the ground and a voice keeping you out of your own head can have a wonderfully positive effect on your riding and as such your's & your horse's mental well being!

We warmed up over a pole on the ground to a cross pole on a diagonal off each rein from both directions, from which I had to keep Kika cantering after the fence. Once happy with our execution of that a combination of two fences down the longside of the arena was added which we had to keep our canter to and if we landed on the wrong lead we had to come back to trot and strike off correctly before doing the combination. Despite not getting my line for the middle of the combination fences correctly we managed to get our turn and not rush them - which is saying something.
The exercise then changed to keeping the canter from the pole & cross pole to a vertical on a curved line immediately after (we had been going around this one to get to the combination) - from memory it was approx 3 strides although I am nowhere near counting strides when jumping. We then turned back on ourselves to over another vertical down the diagonal - L would let me know when I landed from the first vertical whether we were on the correct lead to continue or not.
Rode the three fences a second time, continuing on after the diagonal vertical down the arena turning before another upright across the lower end of the arena to come up through the combination - that rode very smoothly for us.

Things then got a little more complicated as we had to ride the first three fences again, but this time after the vertical on the diagonal down the arena we had to keep our line to the longside to get the turn right handed to the vertical across the middle of the arena by the gate. I got my striding & take-off all wrong on the vertical down the diagonal and had to leave Kika to herself to get us over the fence while hoping to not get left behind thereby jabbing her in the mouth - needless to say I didn't get my turn to the vertical across the arena!
On the next attempt, it was slightly better however we still weren't going to our turn so I circled around the fence then jumped it across the arena.

L changed our course a couple more times, twisting and turning us in different directions so that by the end we'd jumped all the fences from each side - sorry my descriptive skills aren't good enough to keep attempting to describe the courses...that and I'm after forgetting some of them!

The things I have to take away from our lesson to work on is:
- to pick my lines prior to starting the course(s) and stick to them;
- always aim for the middle of the fence;
- if i'm not going to get the turn, we're to stay cantering to circle - not come back to walk/trot or Kika won't realise we are still doing the course and loose her va-va-voom;
- find a way to get her va-va-voom working while maintaining steering and control prior to fences but we need more lift off over the obstacles.
The last one is a to be worked on - I'm thinking if I can give her a slap with the stick on take-off I'll get my lift off ... must remember to try that next week when I'm feeling less wussy, hopefully!

All in all I am a happy camper with how things went, even if I thought our rhythm and va-va-voom were lacking compared to last week. However L was very happy with how we got on - while highlighting the above things to be worked on. We'll get there once I can sort out my head again we'll do a lot better, I think as the lessons move back inside and out of the floodlights at night both Kika and I will be better able to concentrate at the job at hand and be less distracted - I don't know which one of us is worse.
Probably me though - as I should know better! ;-)

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Monday Musings

Back in the dressage saddle yesterday evening, equipped with a new girth sleeve in the hopes that Miss Sensitive wouldn't get cut by the girth buckles behind her leg/ochster area. I also placed some vaseline over the almost healed cuts she got last week - something between those two things worked as, happy days, no new marks last night!

We did mostly walk and trot work with some transitions between the two - but concentrated mostly on circles, rein changes, figures of eight and serpentines with small circles at each loop. As Miss Kika decided that there was something terrifying about one of the longsides of the arena on the left rein and despite our working on an inside track and not up against the side, she couldn't possibly pass that side without eyes on stalks, giraffe-impressions with head in the air and sidestepping - making a general nuisance of herself and disrupting what up till then and everywhere but there was nice work...*roll-eyes*
However this extreme reaction only occured on one rein and only when asked to travel the length of the long side in a straight line, when changing rein, circling and serpentining there was absolutely no objections from her when passing the same spot - silly sod was just taking the mick!
So I ignored her, kept my cool and worked on anything and everything - twisting & turning to keep her guessing and mind away from spooky sides. It worked a treat and she settled down into some nice work including smooth circles large and small where I was better able to guide with my outside steps and we'll get there - I hope!
As we were doing so well I bit the bullet and attempted some canter. As always started off with the worst side, first strike off was incorrect but brought her back to trot, settled, rebalanced and tried again - result! It worked, cantered a couple of circles trying to coax her into a better shape - got it for a few strides, pushed again and lost it so came back to trot and started again. We got the strike off right first go next time, continued on our circles making them larger and smaller - spiralling slightly...didn't get as nice a shape as I have in recent attempts but as strike off was right not going to cry over the little things.
Changed direction onto our better rein and had no problems with a couple of circles on that side - she doesn't even lean anymore on that rein which had been a problem before, hopefully she is better learning to carry herself on that side - the difference in her canter on each rein is like night and day...I really hope I can keep working at our bad side and bring both reins closer together in our canter execution.

I won't lie and say that I was overjoyed with our session, as I was disappointed in her messing and pretending to be scared of the long side - but in thinking about it as I went to sleep last night I realised I was (as usual) being too hard on myself and my horse.
We did really well considering 6-12months ago such messing could have completely derailed the whole schooling session - but I managed to keep my head and go back to the things we can do without too much trouble and re-focused both of our attentions away from what was causing hassle.
I was actually touched as a friend who had been getting a lesson when I joined the arena came back while I was still riding to clean up after her horse (yard rule is clean up horse droppings after you've ridden) and said that she thought Kika has been going well of late. She also watched our jumping lesson last Wednesday and said that she'd been meaning to say it to me since then!

Fingers crossed that we're well on the road to better riding and don't slip back into bad habits!

Monday 10 September 2012

Happy Hacking

I somehow managed to spend no less than 6 hours at the barn yesterday!
Arrived at 2pm to meet up with a  friend to clean our tack in the glorious sunshine, L joined us after an hour and we all hung out chatting waiting for day to cool a little as L & I had planned to go for a hack in the woods.
Headed into the forest about 5.30 and mosied about for a good hour and a half. Mostly walking with some trotting and a nice stretch of canter thrown in for good measure. L's horse was on antibiotics last week for a cough and only coming back into ridden work - so we wanted to see how she was doing while not pushing too hard - fine line to tread.
Had to giggle at Kika though as her trot was all choppy & stressed and not really relaxed at all - silly sod, worked herself up a little but in asking her for a bit of concentration and by coaxing her to work a bit more in her trot she stretched out better and relaxed somewhat.
She had me laughing at her again when we had our canter, she got herself in a right muddle and struck off disjointed - so when she wouldn't correct herself I had to slow and start again. All good fun!
We also played in puddles - which with hindsight wasn't a great idea considering I had just cleaned my tack! Upon arrival back at the yard noticed it was all splashed & muddy - teehee - completely forgot while I was out hacking, I just like to test both Kika & myself and see what I can convince her to do for me.
Got back to the yard about 7.30ish, hosed herself, fed her and turned her back out with her buddies, it was after 8pm when I got home & that's when I realised I had spent 6 hours at the stable without any problem and at no stage was I bored or lonely lol!
Revelation how quickly time flies when you're having fun with friends!

Sunday 9 September 2012

Indian Summer

I'm not sure if the term 'Indian Summer' is a worldwide one, but for as long as I can remember it means a late summer or nice September. Last weekend and this weekend definitely fit this description, temperatures have been hanging out at around 29C during the days.

Between house cleaning, food shopping (both for me & horsey), meeting family friends for dinner and all of this combining with the high temps means I didn't manage to get the spin I had hoped into Kika today as it was just too warm to do arena work before at least 8pm - at which time I was at the restaurant for an lucky Miss Kika got another day "off" today.

I did pop by the field as she's not yet finished with the powder supplement for her liver issue - so the lucky sod gets fed doing nothing, ;)
The upside to this is that I had the time and battery recharged on the phone so I snapped some pics of her and her field buddies chilling out in the field.
I tried to catch her "just-drank-tongue-out-holding-a-mouthful-of-water" face...but I didn't manage to catch it - the nosy sod was just too curious about the camera for me to get the shot from an angle that it could be seen clearly...however I did get some fun black & white shots with my phone.

Here they are:

Love this one!

Curious C (left) and nosy Kika (right)
Kika wondering what I am doing on the floor again - i like her head in this but body is at a funny angle...

Cranky C
"Are you sure you have no treats left?" asks C, as P sneaks into background
"Even if i half-heartedly put my ears forward?" - C

P the Pony!

So that's today's non-update...thanks for reading and stay tuned for tomorrow's update where I've agreed to go back into the woods with L!
Here's hoping it goes as well as last time, that I hold my nerve and keep one step ahead of Miss Kika!

Friday 7 September 2012

Solo Schooling

First up I found two photos on my phone and are the most recent ones I have of Miss Kika despite them being taken in the evening and as such aren't of great quality due them being snapped on my always!
Of course this evening, when I had a perfect photo opportunity to catch Kika making her funny water drinking face my phone battery was too low to snap some pics! Sad Times! :-(
She is hilarious after drinking water and of course I don't catch her at this often enough!
But when she's finished drinking she holds a mouthful of water in her gob for a few minutes before swallowing it - however this can only be achieved with a teensy tiny bit of her tongue sticking out!
Hahaha - I find it hilarious and must catch her on camera some day!

Anyways before I wax lyrical & get all waffly about our schooling session yesterday I'll post the first photo - both images were taken on the 14th of August 2012.

Coat is getting better in this shot - although may be too far away to really be able to tell...
As title suggests I undertook a bit of solo schooling last night following on from Wednesday's nervy jumping lesson - I still haven't figured out what had my stomach in knots! I was also conscious of applying the tips given to me by L in our Monday lesson - however yesterday I rode without spurs & in my GP saddle as the girth of the Dressage saddle has been rubbing herself so going to go shopping tomorrow for a sheepskin girth sleeve (amongst other things ... my fingers are sneaking out through my gloves and Fatty McFattypants needs more muesli ;-) )

We rode in the main arena (Image LINK from yard website) which has mirrors along the whole of the back wall (short side of the arena).
So I could try to keep an eye on what we were doing, where my lower legs were and whether I was on the right diagonal when trotting - I am woefully bad at feeling that and need to see it in the mirror to know whether I am right or wrong! *shame-faced*
There was another rider in the arena with us who was getting a lesson from the RI, nothing against this rider as she is a lovely lady and a great rider but she is very difficult to share an arena with. You never know which way she is going or whether she's riding a circle, changing rein or doing lateral work - the most difficult thing is that once she's riding her line she sticks to it and will ride through you if you accidently wander across her path - makes for some stop-start riding from me...but Kika and I coped and we managed not to lose the rag with each other.

I kept L's lesson on Monday in mind and tried to stick to the inside track - which helped me keep out of the other riders way...well until she started her lateral work which unfortunately coincided with my attempts to canter circles - and if you've been following the blog for a while you'll know that Kika and I have trouble with canter at times (ahem - often).
Despite all this the Solo Schooling adventure was far from carnage - it wasn't perfect but it was happily middle of the road and in keeping with how we've been working of late, so I was very happy with how we got on.
Our "bad" rein canter strike offs which we'd finished Monday's lesson working on were considerably less miss and more hit then they have been of late - Kika retained her lesson from Monday's spin under L.

I finished up a very happy bunny and ended up lungeing herself in the pessoa in the outdoor this evening for a change of pace and because I had to have my Yellow Fever Injection ahead of next months holiday to South America with my mother.

I always think her very pony-esque when i see photos of her from this angle
As always thanks for reading if you've gotten this far - hopefully the photos made all the writing and waffle easier to digest. Must remember to try and get better pics tomorrow - not sure whether I'll be going for a hack in the woods or attempting to better our schooling attempts...all will depend on how day pans out.

I'm going to try and get back into updating this more regularly again as otherwise I'll lose track of what we get up to - which is the main idea behind keeping this blog...combatting my woeful memory by writing down our adventures. Well that and keeping friends who i don't see of speak to very often up to speed with Miss Kika & myself!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday 6 September 2012

Where does the time go?!

I can't believe how quickly time flies when you are having fun, sorry for the lack of communication from myself & Kika!
Also apologies in advance as this will probably end up getting long and wordy!
Although as always I shall endeavour to keep it as condensed as possible - and probably fail miserably!

We've had a productive few weeks with a sprinkling of lessons both on the flat and another jumping one last night. Towards the end of last week L commented that my positioning in the saddle was after deteriorating again in my GP so on Saturday I made the switch back to the Dressage Saddle. It took some getting used to again with the longer stirrups and different leg position - but we got there in the end. L has asked that i work more transitions into my schooling so we worked on that once warmed up & actually got some quite respectable canter work. I was delighted with our session and how well it went - so much so that we'd accidently worked her for almost an hour without realising it!

Ouch is all I'll say, the knee blocks on the dressage saddle left my legs quite sensitized on Sunday, lol, so I ended up taking K for a stroll in the woods like a big dog on the lead. Fun times as it's a break from the humdrum :-)

We had a flat lesson on Monday in the dressage saddle, where I rode in small spurs for the first time in well over a year. The move to riding with spurs is twofold:
(1) my legs aren't as strong as they should be so Kika is inclined to ignore me and
(2) due to Kika's ignorance I have developed a nasty habit of niggling & nagging with my heels which pulls them up and just fuels Kika's ability to ignore me as if i'm a fly.
The idea behind the spurs is (a) my being more aware of what my lower legs are doing and thus not nagging and (b) to get a quicker reaction from the mare.

 Our "bad" rein canter strike off was more miss than hit so L asked if she could hop up so as to figure out where we were going wrong, whether it was me asking incorrectly or K being a sod. I was convinced it was my request method being wrong - however she assured me it was Kika acting the plank and not wanting to strike off correctly. They had a few discussions, which thankfully didn't result in any rearing although there was "head-in-the-air-Don't-push-me-threats" from the main madam herself, stinky sod!
L explained in more detail what I was going to have to do to get what I wanted from her and to stop her taking the P. I hopped back up and practised a couple of times before we called it a night.
We are now under strict instructions to always ride on the inside tracks when in an arena to strengthen my outside leg and hand aids and get Kika listening better all the while continuing our work to round her more towards the inside when working as she's inclined to always try to keep an eye on what's going on outside - it is ALL a work in progress. We are still lightyears away from any sort of finished picture - but every little helps and the learning is half the fun as we are doing so together. :-)
Of course it would have been much easier to have bought a horse that could do all this - but when i was in the market for a beastie I couldn't afford the prices those were selling for - so had to do things the hard way and buy an unbacked horse and we're learning together.

Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately for the word count of this post) i was unable to ride on Tuesday, so Kika got a sneaky day off and last night (Wednesday) we were lucky enough to be given a jumping lesson in the outdoor under lights as it gets dark so early now in the evenings - Sad Times!
For some reason I was in nervous form last night, can't put my finger on it as to why - but i think it was a combination of nerves stemming from Kika's discussions on Monday and my fear of her returning to her previous bad girl rearing days. Either that or we were both on edge due to riding under lights and the noises and scary shadows that accompany such endeavours.
Despite my misgivings we warmed up keeping to the inside track as best I could around the fences and trying to keep my lower leg where it should be (no spurs for jumping - but I must still be conscious of my wayward legs).
Kika was a superstar despite my nerves she didn't put a foot wrong and we tackled everything asked and negotiated the twist and turns as bet we could with surprisingly good control from me. My weird nervous sensation and the knots in my stomach didn't abate during the lesson which I found odd as usually if all is going well they disappear - but for whatever reason the sneaky beggars stuck around last night to haunt me. Which means Kika earned a definitive spot in the good books last night for her stellar behaviour as if she had been of a mind to she could've taken advantage of my nerves and put me through the ringer.

So that is us more or less caught up for the moment...sorry i don't have any pictures to add to make all this drivel easier to read. I must actually snap some pics as the supplements she has been on for the Selenium deficiency & liver niggles have worked wonders. Her coat is after turning inside out and the poor confused creature has now finally got a semblance of her summer coat just in time for the cold nights - poor sod!
I had the vet out on Monday morning to take another blood sample as we finished the Selenium treatment to see how the supplements have affected the levels within. I'm hopeful of having the results before the week is out and we'll go from there to decide whether or not further treatment is required.

I really must get some pics to show the improvement - although she's sprouted another hay belly after her day off on Tuesday hahaha - so might wait till I trim her down with more work over the weekend before snapping the pics, ;-)

As always thank you for reading and hopefully it wasn't too long and waffly a post!