Monday 31 December 2012

2012 Review & 2013 Goals

2012 has definitely been a very successful year for myself and Kika. We may not have gotten out competing or have any ribbons or trophies to show for our 12 months work but the improvements we have made and the complete turnaround in both her attitude & mine to ridden work has been the making of us.
We are not the same team we were 12 months ago where my confidence could still readily be shaken and where we'd often run into speed bumps along the way.
I can now actually recognise the progress we have made, which for those of you who regularly read this blog and know how hard I can be on myself will recognise that admission in itself is a large step forward for me!

Today I got a wonderful sign off to 2012, exactly two weeks to the day I last sat on Miss Kika, I got a very quick spin this evening after her lameness over the last two weeks.
L and I lunged her last night, a quick walk/trot/canter on the lunge to see how the front legs would hold up. She was a bit stiff at first but worked out of it quickly and was soon back to her messing, plunging antics - which in itself was a good sign as it means she is feeling better in herself.

This evening, I checked her legs when I took her out of the stable, thankfully all was well, there was no heat or swelling. Tacked her up and popped her on the lunge again for 15-20minutes to see how she was before I decided to hop up. She took every opportunity she could to throw in a buck/prance/plunge but yet still worked well in between. Again the fact that her messing on the lunge didn't intimidate me or scare me off hopping up is another testament to how far we have come in the last 12 months!

I'll add three little videos my Mam managed to grab as I gave Kika a bit of a trot & walk to see how she felt. Again like when on the lunge she was a bit off at first but then worked well enough once she loosened out and relaxed in herself.
You'll see from the first video above, she was still up for a bit of divilment (messing) when I first started trotting, but we got some nicer work afterwards.

Apologies that the next one is a bit blurry, I'm not sure what the Mammy's phone was doing...autofocus perhaps?

I was in the saddle for about 10minutes total, and kept it to large circles and diagonally changing the rein using the whole arena. No serpentines or spiralling circles so as not to do too much on her legs especially as she hasn't got her shoes yet and if that is/was what caused the lameness I definitely did not want to over do things!
I realise that I am not in "proper" riding gear, but I wasn't sure I was actually going to be hopping up so I was just in my Ariat Windmeres & normal clothes - thankfully no buttons on the pockets of my soft jeans! Had spent the day packing the boot of the car with branches as The Mammy & I brought 6 car loads of cut branches to the recycling center. Another day's work and we'll have the turnout sorted for Miss Kika to start going back out and in time for young Nancy to arrive, hopefully she's not another Houdini!
And last one for the year...

Looking forward to 2013 ...

I should probably set some goals for myself, but in all honesty if I can just keep making baby step improvements and enjoy my horse riding I'll be overjoyed.
I haven't really gotten into the competitive scene out here, but who knows maybe if we can keep on our upward cycle of improvements we might look into taking out a license and trying to get some outings under our belts...
Balancing two will be interesting and a whole new challenge, but one I am thoroughly looking forward to!

PS: I know I need to stop looking down and must also work more on my heels to (a) keep them down and (b) stop niggling at her with them...amongst all my other faults - but sure if I'd nothing to work on 2013 would be boring, right? :-)

I hope that 2013 will be fantastic fun for all!

Saturday 29 December 2012

Unwrapping Christmas!

As readers may be aware I am a fan of purple, something family members & friends have not failed to notice! ;-)
Hence the purple overload in the pony presents this year!
I got a lovely two part lunge whip which is just what i was looking for from my sister, and as you can see it is purple so I shouldn't loose it!
The saddle pad & headcollar were gifts from the Guru for Nancy, so that she can be purplified too!  I also got some lovely knee high riding socks from my S2S Secret Santa & a lovely purple fuzzy neck warmer.
I am now all kitted out in purple!

We had a bit of a visitor in the garden on Christmas day...

In Kika news - well I don;t have much to report really. Blacksmith was due to call last night but rang to say he had to reschedule to Wednesday - so no further info on that just yet. She has become more lively in our walks.
I try to get her out twice a day and have stepped it up from 10mins a walk to 20 to 30 minutes just to get her out of the stable and blow out the cobwebs - which she has taken to doing by jumping and snorting like  a muppet when walking outside and a gust of winds stirs - silly sod. So that in itself I am taking as positives as she is back to her quirky ways, ;)
I tend to walk around the yards during the day to get out in the fresh air and then walk in an arena in the evenings - last night I had the Guru on hand so decided to give Kika a trot in hand to see how she was moving on the sand. Cue Missy taking liberties and doing a bit of jumping and messing about.
L said from what she could see she seemed to be moving alright, so we're going to pop Miss Kika on the lunge this evening to see if we can get a better indication of how she is moving.
Fingers crossed!

Kika showing off her extra white legs with the Ice Clay to keep them cool

Now for some Nancy news!
I've had word from the transporter and they are hopeful of having a load come in this direction towards the end of the first week in January. So again, please keep your fingers crossed that Nancy may be with us as soon as next week!

Tuesday 25 December 2012

Christmas Cheer

 As mentioned in the last few blog updates here is some Christmas Cheer photos!
I promise to type very little else and keep this update brief - shall update again in the coming days with how Miss Kika is healing. We have only been hand-walking and following vets orders since the last update. Drugs finished yesterday so we'll have a better idea of how she's doing after they completely leave her system plus I am trying to catch my farrier in this festive period and see if i can get him to put some front shoes on her...Right no more typing - just photos!

Better Body View

Eurgh, I look awful & cheesey...but I rarely have anyone around to snap a shot of the two of us - so have to share even if i don't like me in it!


Wednesday 19 December 2012

The Lame Game

Bad news Kika fans!
The main woman has done herself a mischief and is lame. I rode on Monday evening, she was very well behaved but a little "off", not really lame but not 100% and she worked out of her stiffness. So i didn't think too much of it and put it down to spending most of her days in the stable at the moment (we still haven't had a chance to sort out the fencing!)

So there'll be none of this ... (photos again from Friday 14/12/2012)
Tuesday I had planned to lunge her, went to the yard at lunch time as a friend had a lesson so popped Kika on the walker while I turned O out and sorted out K's stable. I checked her legs before and after her walker experience and felt no swelling or heat in them.

.. or this...
I came back in the evening and popped her back on the walker while I again sorted out her stable for the night & to warm her up before the lunge equipment and side reins came out. I again checked her legs and even decided to pop on her Eskadron Tendon & Fetlock boots - which i don't always think of (shame on me - I know!)

or even this sadly for her! :(
She warmed up nicely with the side reins on the loosest setting, so I tightened them up a couple of wholes, she was working well if a bit sticky the odd time. I figured she'd loosen out of it like she had done the previous evening under saddle. We worked up to a bit of canter as she was flowing nicely in her trot and worked on our transitions and larger & smaller circles. She worked away happy out and then from nothing (so far as I could tell) had a little freak out in the corner - whether something spooked her or she just got a notion...I couldn't say. But she took off at a bit of speed with a buck/leap/fart thing thrown in for good measure.
When i calmed her down and sent her on her way again she was very much no longer right! :(

A gratuitous body shot as we haven't had one of her for a while -  apologies as she's not standing great
Called L & N (another yard friend) who were hanging around elsewhere for a second opinion - just to be sure to be sure...I'm still not great at trusting myself or gutt instinct. They both agreed that she wasn't right, we took off the boots and had a feel of her legs - was hard to tell at first as even though her legs aren't supposed to heat under the boots, they kind of do a little bit...but we did find some heat in her two front legs. We decided cold hosing was the best bet and a re-evaluation in the morning. L had today off work and said she could check on her this morning. After hosing last night, her right foreleg was after heating and was swollen around the fetlock. I cold hosed both front legs for 10-15mins each and popped her back in her stable, there was nothing else I could do last night.

Got word from L this morning that she found the leg more swollen after the night in the stable and advised getting the vet out before the holiday period starts at the weekend - plus to be honest we were both a little wary of the tendons, so better to be safe then sorry on that front where waiting would not be the best thing at all.

Thankfully vet could come out this evening after I finished work, first thing she said is that her feet are after getting very small in front. I had been worries about this in the summer and had raised a query about them with her before. The strange thing is Kika is actually coming up on a pairing, so if anything they should have been longer but as Miss Kika is inclined to stamp/scrape her front feet off the floor at feeding time - to scoop her hay around the stable and just generally make a mess of her straw bed - hence the multiple re-bedding I have to do a day!
The vet has prescribed 2x 10minutes or 1x20minute hand walking every day on hard ground, cold hosing and clay to keep cool. She gave her an injection, and left me with powder satchels for feed (to be given separately to liver supplement) and Hippopolazone (anti-inflamatory) of which I am to give her 15mls syringed into her mouth.
The end result may be that front shoes might have to be put back on...but we'll see what happens on that front.

This is just a theory that I am mulling over here, she has actually been stamping/scraping the ground less of late when tied up for grooming/tacking - so I am not sure that is the sole reason to blame here. L has very kindly been leading Kika out whens he hacks her mare O in the woods - the track they take has a fair amount of walking on tarmac - i think this may have had a more telling effect on the wear of Kika's hooves, although obviously her stamping at feeding time/when hay eating - does not help!
I am not laying the blame anywhere, as L was very selfless and kind in allowing K to tag along on their hacks, it also meant she got out of the yard and didn't have to spend so much time in the walker - plus the beneficial effect of her strolls in the woods with L were very much in evidence during our hack on Sunday!

It is just a pity that this should happen at all, but particularly heading into Christmas break when we had been getting on so well together lately - oh well...I guess a bit of a break is deserved :-p

Vet has said to see how things stand on Tuesday and go from there perhaps working some trot work back in depending on how swelling/heat /lameness are affected by drugs/break/hand-walking.

One last parting picture as a thank you for reading this far...One of my fav shots of K & O - unfortunately slightly blurry, but i still love it!

PS: All photos were taken on Friday 14/12/2012

Tuesday 18 December 2012

FEI launches global safety helmet campaign

Taking a break from my usual posting I just had to applaud this move by the FEI.

Taken from World of Show Jumping News LINK

'The FEI has launched a global campaign to promote the use of protective headgear. The move comes two weeks before implementation of a new rule making the use of a properly fastened protective headgear mandatory while riding on the show grounds at FEI events. The campaign, which will be conducted mainly online, begins today, a fortnight before the new rule comes into effect on 1 January 2013.

An important part of the campaign will be a series of emails with strong visuals reminding athletes of the importance of safety, and particularly of helmet use. These reminders will be sent to the National Federations, athletes and officials clubs, and various FEI stakeholders on a regular basis throughout 2013. A special page outlining the protective headgear requirements specific to each of the seven FEI disciplines on the field of play and outside the competition arena has been created on the FEI website and can be accessed here. Widgets for simple access to all the relevant information can be downloaded from this page.

“The helmet rule, which was unanimously adopted by the FEI General Assembly in 2011, is a significant step forward towards the better protection of our athletes,” said FEI Secretary General Ingmar De Vos. “Beginning 1 January 2013, protective headgear will be compulsory at all FEI events and we strongly encourage everyone involved in international equestrian sport to familiarise themselves with the new general and sport-specific rules. The welfare of all our athletes, human and equine, must be protected.”

Helmet use has been at the forefront of several campaigns in recent years. US Dressage rider Courtney King-Dye, recent winner of the FEI Against All Odds Award, advocates educating equestrians on the benefits of wearing helmets through the Riders4Helmets campaign ( In 2010, King-Dye, who had represented the United States at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and at the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Finals 2007 and 2008, suffered a traumatic brain injury. A horse she was schooling tripped and fell and, with no helmet to protect her, she fractured her skull in the fall. After four weeks in a coma, she spent three months in hospital re-learning how to walk and talk. The after-effects of the accident still severely affect her coordination and speech. She is now aiming to compete at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro (BRA).

“I think my accident was necessary in the fight for safety because an Olympian who sustains a brain injury while riding proves that injury has nothing to do with level of skill,” Courtney King-Dye commented. “For 15 years, I was a person who only rode the young or ‘dangerous’ horses with a helmet, but my horse did nothing naughty, he just tripped over his own feet.

“And while you can’t control what people do at home, the new rules can control what people do at shows and this will go a long way to create good habits,” she added.

The Yellow Warning Card system already in place will be used for those athletes who do not comply with the new rule. A Yellow Warning Card will be given if an athlete is reminded that he or she needs to wear protective headgear and the athlete fails or refuses to comply after such reminder.

Great news IMO, hopefully this will have a knock on effect to those riding at home. It is scary the amount of people at my yard of over 100 horses who ride without helmets!
I can probably count on one hand the amount of people who always ride in a helmet - and that includes myself!

Starting at the top and enforcing such a rule at the elite level of the sport will hopefully have a trickle down effect and encourage people in the lower levels and amateur ranks to sit up and take notice.
It makes me really uncomfortable to see people ride without helmets, especially in the warm up rings at shows etc where easily influenced newcomers to the sport and/or children watch those at the top of the sport riding without helmets and may follow their examples.

I cannot hold my hand up and pretend I have never sat on a horse without a helmet, I have been known to hop up bareback and in a headcollar - which brings about a whole other can of worms and safety hazards...but I haven't done that in quite a while. Nor have I felt altogether comfortable when I did.
As a matter of fact I would be very surprised at myself if I find myself on horseback without a helmet on anymore as it just feels wrong to sitting in a car without a seatbelt!

Sunday 16 December 2012

What a weekend!

We've had an absolutely wonderful weekend so far!

Friday started well as I decided to give Miss Kika the evening off, so i brought my camera and some Christmas decorations to the barn to play pony dress-up with her!

She wasn't best impressed at first ;-)
But with some TLC and a promise of a run around she surrenders to the madness, :p

The wind & rain were howling outside and she wasn't very happy standing tied, so I decided to let her loose to burn off some steam - as she spends most of the day in her stable now seeing as we still haven't managed to sort out the fencing around the hay.
Pals reunited.

Burn off some steam she did as you'll see from the following pictures as she got to stretch her legs with her good friend, L's horse, O.

And so the fun begins

Building up speed to launch herself into firworks

Picture looks worse than it is - no contact was made between the messers

We actually had to separate them after this mad escapade while I let Kika blow off some on her own for a bit as O is still recovering from sore limbs.
They were a right pair of mad muppets hairing around like loopers. L had had them out in the woods that morning and she said she had loose schooled them together not that long ago and really had to get after them to get any sort of movement out of them. I guess as Abba say "there was something in the air that night" on Friday!
We then got the Christmas gear back out to play with the pair of them now that they had blown off some steam, I might share a teaser pic or two, but I think I'll save the majority for a Christmas Themed post closer to the time. :-p
Mean aren't I?

Yesterday was a busy day for me, I had a class in town from 10am to 12pm and then a group of 13 of us, mixture of work, school & uni friends went on a chocolate making course from 1pm to 3.30pm - actually finished closer to 4. ;)
Gosh we were like children and had a blast!
L had offered to ride Miss Kika for me - who am I to turn down such an offer?! I love that she enjoys riding my horse as she can teach her so much more effectively than I can :p They had had a great spin together on Thursday evening in a busy arena. I was at my office Christmas Party & L had once again graciously offered to put Kika through her paces, she told me that there were 6 others in the ring at the same time as them and that Kika was an angel. She didn't put a foot wrong despite other riders getting a little close for comfort & scary dogs showing up in the doorway out of the night - this time last year those kind of interruptions would have been great excuses for Miss Kika to throw a wobbly and refuse to do any more work.
She is really after turning inside out and is a joy to work with at the moment - which is really saying something considering the hissy fits she could throw due to excess energy from no turnout!

Sorry, I digress!

About 6pm Saturday evening I text L to ask her did she want me to bring O in for her as I was going to head up to the yard about 7 to sort out Kika's stable and settle her down for the night. Unfortunately when she got back to me she said that she wasn't feeling great and apologised that she hadn't managed to do anything with Kika yet. I told her not to worry and offered to sort O out for her while encouraging her to rest up and feel better asap.
Still in my "normal" clothes I headed up to the yard intending to lunge her fine self in side reins as I was feeling pretty sleepy myself and hadn't been planning on riding in any case.
I got to the yard with the wind and rain hammering off the roofs and tossed Kika in the walker while I sorted out her stable for the night. The place was deserted, I think there was one young girl with her boyfriend looking after her two horses and few other bodies around. It was just so peaceful that I don't know what came over me, but I took a notion and decided to have a spin anyway - luckily I keep my boots & gaiters in my tack locker at the yard and was wearing a pair of skinny stretchy jeans that wouldn't damage my tack. :p

I hopped up and had a wonderful spin, Kika was just on and we worked really well together. Cantering alone for the first time unsupervised in quite a while! We were just clicking!
I hadn't tied her flash tight enough and she was managing to snake her tongue around the bit, so i hopped off to tighten it then popped back up and we went straight back to work without an iota of fuss - this in itself is a testament to how far we have come!
Well that and the fact that this time last year it would probably have never crossed my mind to just change my plans last minute and hop up for a spin when there were so few people about!

In case you haven't guessed, this is morphing into an "I Love My Pony" post ;)

But what's not to love about this gormless face?

So we come to today, I had told L last night that if she was still feeling unwell not to worry that I would turn O out this morning. My phone buzzed shortly after 10 to say that she was feeling much better and asked did I fancy going for a hack in the woods with her. I had only been thinking yesterday how nice it'd be to get out for a hack again if I could - so after a moments hesitation, as I was comfy in bed when the text came through, I mentally scolded myself and agreed. By the time I was sorted and arrived at the yard L had very kindly started tacking Miss Kika up for me as she had to be home for dinner with her folks at 1pm.
Despite being slightly apprehensive about riding out in the woods without allowing K to blow off some steam or spin in the walker first, I put on my big girl pants and just went for it - it was brilliant!
Kika has been going for regular strolls in the woods with L being led while she rides her own horse, she has become much more zen for the continued exposure. She relaxed much quicker then she would previously have done after having had such a break from hacking, so much so that the majority of our hack was spent riding at the buckle as K stretched out nose to the ground really opening up her back!
Something I am completely ecstatic about as we have such issues getting her to release her back normally. So to say I was over the moon is an understatement!

We had one woopsy moment, where Kika walked over a fallen branch with leaves etc on it which tickled her belly and she gave herself an all merciful fright and leap/bucked over it. Another testament to her zen status of mind and much happier place mentally she settled right back down after the hiccup and continued mosying along with her nose inches from the ground!

Christmas teaser shot

We continued our hack without any issues, incorporated some trot where Kika was happy to listen to me and work at the pace I was asking rather than just aimlessly following behind O & L. We had a sneaky canter also, which while less "workman-like" was nonetheless controlled and well behaved despite passing all the normally terrifying tree trunks that had been cut.

So that's my weekend so far summed up in a not-so-small nutshell! Will be heading back up later sort out her stable and bed her down for the night - but cannot express how happy I am with how everything is going so far this winter.
Fingers crossed it lasts & that I haven't just jinxed us!

Thursday 13 December 2012

IOU an Introduction

I am going to need your help re-naming my blog guys, as it is no longer going to be just Kika's Kingdom. I have kept the purchase of a second horse quiet for a while for fear of jinxing things, however the big reveal shall soon be upon us and I cannot stay quiet any longer!

Since 2009 I have had my eye on a young filly bred by my aunt, a lovable Friesian X ISH.

Meet Nancy (Tantassig Nancy), she was 4 days old when these photos were taken...

She was a lovely correct filly and sweet as could be, she got a lot of handling as a foal & yearling as she was worked alongside the TB foals as they went through sales preparation. She was a real pocket pony and loved being near humans, she would've crawled into your pocket if she could. Which is quite unlike her mother, who like Kika, can often do without the intervention of humans, so long as K's fed she's happy she doesn't give a monkey's which two-legger is feeding so long as she gets fed.

I kept my eye on her as she grew up and often said I'd love to buy her, but kept myself in check until she turned 3 and was backed.

I still tried to contain myself until after I had a spin on her. Video starts off a bit dark, but gets better. As always apologies for sound effects - have never learned how to remove sound.

I didn't learn until after this quick spin that this was only her 6th or 7th time under saddle and that the majority of her previous work was hacking in the fields - as it should be for such a baby horse. Please ignore my poor riding *shame-face*

I went away to have a think about things and did my sums, fully expecting her to have sold by the time I got back from my Autumn trip to South America. I figured if she was meant to be mine she would still be available when I got back and got myself sorted.
As you have probably all ready guessed from this longwinded post, she was indeed still very much for sale on my return and the deal was struck whereby she would stay in Ireland and be worked for me until a stable became available out here.

That stable will be free as of January 1st and it's now all systems go getting quotes and sorting insurance to enable her to come join the Luxembourg family!

A quick headshot taken on my last visit home at the start of November - when she was officially mine! In fact she wears Kika's old headcollar - I guess it was meant to be after all, ;-)
Unfortunately I didn't get to ride her then as she hadn't done any work since I'd last sat on her in July, but I did tack her up and lunge her in the lunging arena. She is obviously very green and didn't really understand the concept of working on the lunge - more running, but hopefully I can learn from mistakes I made with Kika and get things right first time with Nancy.

When I rode her in the summer I guestimated she was between 15 & 16 hands, my plans to save on expenses after buying her was to recycle Kika's old gear, rugs, saddle etc that no longer fit - but when I was back in November she was after shooting up and filling out some more. I reckon she will tower over Miss Kika, so those plans have gneo out the window. Current plan is to purchase a second hand saddle from my saddle fitter that can be adjustable until she stops growing in a few years time and then getting her kitted out with 'lifetime' tack.
I got word during the week that she has had her first set of shoes put on, the farrier was very impressed with her and in fact said he had rarely shod an easier horse first time. Fingers crossed this all bodes well for our future.
I think the hope is to get her a day or two's hunting in before she leaves Ireland in the new year, hence the shoes as there can be a fair bit of road work when out hunting...who knows where the day might take you. Although I shall be consulting my blacksmith when she gets here to see if like Kika, Nancy might be a candidate for barefoot. It really does work out much easier on the pocket and means no slipping on the tarmac on our way to hacking in the woods.

I'll leave the Nancy news with a few shots that my sister took on her phone, as she lives in Ireland, to share with me before I bought her as she knew I had a soft spot for her.

With her Mammy Mac in the background - She's not standing great in this picture, but will get better ones when she arrives in the New Year.
And last but not least, chilling in the field.


Not to be forgotten although perhaps slightly overshadowed by this post - Sorry Kiks! *hug*
Unfortunately I have no new pics of Miss Kika as my new phone fell out of my pocket while I was doing her stable on Saturday evening and although screen appears physically fine it was all black. So I brought it back to the shop and they have sent it off to be fixed, hopefully the guarantee will cover it ... although they said it doesn't cover oxydisation or shocks. Bad me didn't tell them it fell out of my pocket just that the screen is black - keep your fingers crossed for me!

Decided against a jumping lesson last night as it was so cold, figured it wouldn't be good for Kika's limbs. So I tacked up in my dressage saddle again and made my way to the main arena which was empty. As as I mentioned it was very cold so most people were gone home by the time I was in the saddle 7.50pm!
L was to join me on her horse when she was ready, so I set to work keeping in mind all the advice L had given me the day before.
Namely controlling the trot, not letting her get choppy and short striding and to watch my lower leg to try and stop it slipping forward. Bearing in mind the shopping list of other bad habits I am still trying to come to terms with - heels & hands etc. All in all I feel it went very well, our canter was much improved on the previous day - whereby I actually felt like we were working more together and I could sit better in the saddle. Our trot work was also much improved with less time required to get her to relax her head, neck and release her back to me. Now to hope we can continue making improvements baby step by baby step.

Am just back from the barn after letting O out for L and giving Kika some hay. My office Christmas party is this evening so L has kindly agreed to look after Kika for me, in fact she has volunteered to ride her.
Happy days!
L came back from her break at a friends Riding Center in France last week full of new ideas after riding a about 4 young horses a day with her friend. I hope Kika is ready for some hard work! She always works hard with L anyway, but she'll work extra hard now with all the new ideas...I'd almost feel sorry for K, but she'll be better for it ;-)

I know many will think me mad for taking on another horse while working full time, in fact my mother has firmly set up camp under this umbrella - but after trying to walk away from her numerous times I just couldn't pass up the opportunity when she was still available after my holidays in October.

We only live once and if we don't do the tings we love when we are able to, we'll only live to rue the regrets!

Wednesday 12 December 2012

Where does the time go?!

Title question fits in well with above photo - Miss Kika got clipped again Monday last week, as you can see from photo she had a sizeable amount of re-growth! I think this is the first time in the 5 (going on 6) years I have owned her that we have had to clip her a second time!

What have we been up to since my last update at the end of November - honestly not a whole pile! *shame faced*
I rode last Tuesday and for about 20minutes on the spur of the moment on Friday as the osteo came that afternoon and I knew Miss Kika would get 2 days to recuperate after her manipulation. Both days under saddle she was very good, lots of walk trot transitions, circles and serpentines etc - the usual! Although we still need to do a lot of work on our downward transitions as I mustn't forget to hold her together better!

Random pic I took walking home one evening last week of snow on a leave with snow falling hence white stripes ;-)
Osteo found that vertebrae 1 & 3 were out behind her ears, another was out behind her withers under where the saddle would sit and a final one out in her lower back where her hindquarters start. I mentioned about her sweating more on her right side then her left when worked to which the osteo said was to be expected due to how the upper vertebrae were out as Kika was having to work harder on that side.

I had Friday off work and luckily i did as the following photos were all taken that day - talk about snow. :-)

Evidence as to why I didn't manage to sort out fencing around hay to be able to let Kika back out - it snowed on and off all weekend!

Why I love my Ariat Windmeres!

The above is one of the girls who works at the stable's car - the snow piled on and around it is what fell from the time she arrived between 7 - 8 am and when I let O out about 12pm!

My foot print as I walked home.
As you can see from snow pictures I didn't manage to sort out the fencing around the hay so Kika is still under house arrest and I'm not allowing her out - but to be honest she doesn't seem too upset! Following the osteo visit she had a couple spins in the walker over the weekend and being the nice owner I am i decided to let her run free in an arena Sunday evening as I don't like relying on the walker as I don't want her to get sour about going in there!
The silly sod was feeling too good in herself and had a couple of happy bucks and tossing herself in the air - however she wasn't properly concentrating and didn't keep track of where her legs were going and fell over herself. Why she always waits to do this AFTER the osteo's visit - thankfully she didn't seem to hurt herself as I kept her moving when she stood up while she was warm to see if she took any lame steps.
The real test was going to be Monday evening when I scrapped plans to ride in favour of lunging considering her escapades as I'd be better able to see how she was moving from the ground.
All went well, she even had enough pep in her step to start being silly on the lunge 25minutes into the session just as I was thinking about winding down!
Talk about being her own worst enemy!

For the final bit of this catch up post, I rode last night in the main arena. Kika was a bit tense at first, but then L arrived and got the pair of us concentrating on what she was telling us...namely getting me to rise slower to slow her down and try to get Kika to relax thereby releasing her back. We did get there quite quickly, but I doubt I could've gotten there on my own without the constant tuition from the sidelines. Maybe some day,
We did get some canter work done, between Kika and myself it is far from comfortable at the moment - but if we could both relax into the movement and release our backs we'd be doing a lot better. L keeps telling me to sit into the saddle, make myself longer, leg on, softer's exhausting trying to keep on top of everything - but on the upside all the instruction keeps me out of my head!

Latest bad habit to add to the ever growing list is my lower leg creeping forward, particularly the outside leg more so than the inside leg - although that one is by no means perfect!
And to really concentrate on squeezing with my calves, not heels and only when I am sitting in the saddle - apparently I have mastered a weird bad habit of managing to squeeze while rising trot as opposed to sitting - how or why I started doing this I have no idea, but I didn't even realise I am doing it so correcting it will be fun.

An ever growing list of things to correct! Plan is to hopefully pop a couple poles this evening - but as it's so cold I may have to scupper that plan...will see what l says when we get there later. As I wouldn't blame her if she doesn't fancy sticking around to help

Lots to work on from last nights lesson, but all in all it was very good and i was very happy afterwards!
It was cold though yesterday and colder today! :-(
Radio this morning said we can expect highs of -2C today, lows of -8C forecast. However today I think is to be the coldest day, sounds like it'll warm up and rain for the weekend!
Happy days! *roll eyes*