Saturday 23 March 2013

Awfully Apologetic

As per title I am so sorry for the radio silence from Luxembourg this week - as hoped in last blog post I was granted this week off work up to and including Monday 25th - HAPPY DAYS!
Have hung out with my girls and clocked up some much needed saddle time on both - as well as running around like a headless chicken trying to get stuff sorted during office hours around turnout times & finally starting to learn to drive!
I managed to squeeze in 5 and a half hours driving time - fingers crossed I can keep it up and finally put that bad baby to bed. Buying a car will be a whole other ball game, and we'll cross that bridge when we get to it, but so long as I can pass the test I can move the girls to a cheaper off-site turnout area for part of the summer and save up some much needed pennies!

Nancy caught napping in her stable this morning - I guess she's feeling the effects of the increased workload this week ;)
I'll do my best to try and keep this brief, although quite a bit of time has passed since my last update - however I won't go back that far with this update - mostly because the Thursday & Friday after that post...I didn't make it to the barn due to the previously mentioned social occasions surrounding St Patrick's day...which were great fun. ;-)
Kika was however ridden on the Friday as L was hanging for a spin on Miss K...makes me smile that someone other than me wants to ride my girl; a year and a half ago people would run when they saw us coming...nowdays there are a lot more welcoming, lol, am very proud of my girl and uber-thankful to L (The Guru) for all her help in getting Kika & I on the straight and narrow!

Right sorry...back on track with the update!

Saturday: I managed to squeeze in a spin on Nancy in the morning, and finally got my backside in the jumping saddle my friend M is lending me in the hopes it suits myself & Nancy and that I buy it off her. ;) Nancy continued to be her star-self and despite snow (again) melting off the arena roof and the other horses in the arena getting spooked she just cocked an ear the odd time but continued on her merry way. We only worked on walk & trot that day as it had been a while since I had ridden her and it was my first time in the saddle.

Sunday: Ended up being a no-barn day for me, after having been at the Relay for Life walk/run-a-thon from 2.30am till after 6am Saturday night/Sunday morning and then an Irish Ceili (dance) from 3pm to 6pm...I didn't make it to the barn at all on Sunday - however I avoided the attack of the guilts as I knew I had the whole week off to make it up to the girls and myself!

Monday: Rode Kika in the morning before turning her out for the afternoon with L's horse O. She was a very good girl, and worked like a dream despite snow still falling from the arena roof - which previously has blown her brain and she couldn't be convinced that it wasn't a horse eating monster out to get her...mind you this snow-melt was a lot quieter in it's business of sliding off the roof. The sound of it was probably also masked by the fact that at least 2 separate farriers were at work on the premises while I rode and they made plenty of other sounds which all blended into background noise!
I had a spin on Nancy that evening in the main arena while L rode another horse - so she gave me a few pointers...namely that the jumping saddle I was trying didn't do anything for my lower leg position and that my foot was practically glued to poor Nancy's shoulder blade - talk about knocking the pair of us off balance!
However in saying that, I did venture back up to canter with N and we got some lovely work as i sat into the saddle for the first time - previously I had always cantered Nancy in 2-point (my backside out of the saddle) in an attempt to allow her find her own balance without my interference. Her canter when you sit into her is lovely and smooth - I cannot wait to work on it more with her!

Not sure if you can see Kika's hairs on the saddle pad or the pile of her fur that is on the floor having been removed from the other side of said saddle pad ;)

Tuesday: I sneakily spent pretty much the whole day at the barn! I arrived about 10.30-11 and didn't go home again until close on 6pm! It was a lovely dry, sunny day - so i spent the day fawning over the girls. Giving them each a proper grooming before and after their spins - thankfully neither is shedding as much as before... yet they are both still prone to hair loss ;) (See picture above)
Both girls were super stars to be ridden, as it was Nancy's day in the turnout area I rode her first, trying to be more aware of my positioning in the saddle and hoping to keep my lower leg where it was supposed to be, by not allowing it to swing forward therefore tipping me off's a work in progress!
Got some more lovely walk/trot/canter work done with her, plenty of circles, changes of rein and the odd serpentine. Mostly in walk on that day as we were using a smaller arena and our steering isn't always the best as she can attempt to resist me at times by locking her jaw & refusing to I said a work in progress - for once I didn't mean just me! ;)
I faffed over Nancy for a bit afterwards and then turned herself & O out, then came back to the barn once their hay & water situation was sorted outside and faffed over Kika for ages. Giving her a proper pre-ridden work groom - which I had been avoiding doing prior to riding in previous weeks as she'd been shedding so much it was just easier to groom her afterwards. I had hoped to ride Kika in the main arena as it is larger and has mirrors the whole way along the back-wall...A tool I am getting better at using to correct myself when I can! However a fellow livery on her young horse & the two working pupils had just joined her so I took myself and Kika off to the smaller arena which i actually prefer as I find the ground less hard underfoot. Again Kika was a superstar! Can you tell this is going to be an "I LOVE MY HORSES" post?

Wednesday: Kika & O went out by 10am and I managed to squeeze in a condensed spin on Nancy in the main arena before I had to be in town for a driving lesson. Again we worked on more of the same and as we were in the arena with full wall of mirrors I was better able to keep an eye on myself and correct my lower leg when it snuck out of position.
It was a miserable wet day, I'll bet Nancy was only too happy to have not been out in it. I had myself a bit of a lazy evening and didn't ride Kika on wednesday as the arenas are always more crowded on a wednesday due to one being pretty much reserved for jumping with an outside instructor and course set up.

Miss Kika today falling pray to the paparazzi that is me!
Thursday: I turned Nancy & O out about 11am before pottering off into town for another driving lesson - three lessons/ three different driving conditions!
Day 1 - Monday: Fog & salt needed on the roads as icy patches...thankfully I didn't find one!
Day 2 - Wednesday: Pouring rain which weirdly made it difficult to see the road markings in the wing mirror.
Day 3 - Thursday: Clear day and almost kind of sunny - although not sunglasses glare, thankfully!
Sorry I digress, but I am glad to have the opportunity to tackle different weather conditions under lesson protection of having the instructor in the car with me with his own set of pedals on the passenger side so that he can get me out of trouble if necessary!

Right back on track!

Rode Kika first yesterday as she was in the stable all day, place was weirdly busy - although maybe it was just the time of day as I wouldn't normally have been at the yard at that time on a week day. More likely though is that the Easter School Holidays started yesterday and perhaps people were getting their spins in before heading off on holidays for the week/2 weeks - I don't know how long people are off for!
There were 7 of us in the arena, 3 of which getting private lessons through headsets - to say indicators and traffic lights would have been helpful is an understatement!
I am just so glad that Kika and I have found a new level of maturity & concentration (not to mention brakes & patience) which allowed us to navigate the carnage! I will not pretend that we were anywhere near foot perfect, but Kika of 18months ago would not have been able to handle that situation - her brain would have been fried!
We got some lovely, calm, responsive walk/trot/canter, circles, changes of rein, figures of eight & serpentines slotted in around the many other riders - and only once almost collided with another rider - which all things considered I think counts as a major success ;-)

I put herself away, sorted the stables and went to get Nancy & O from the field, threw the tack on Nancy and had a spin in the same arena but this time I had it all to myself...well almost. The darn yard cat was loitering about and scared the poor baby at one stage - snow falling off the roof out of sight sounding like an avalanche, horses getting out of their lunging gear and/or horses in general misbehaving when she's been ridden aren't a problem for level headed Nancy...she might cock an ear in the direction. However the yard cat skulking...NO THANK YOU - says Nancy. It's funny how their minds work!
We got some lovely work done despite the distraction, plenty mini-arguments about turning and bending - but the positives completely outweighed the negatives as although we had our flight/mode after the cat surprised her despite having just given me the best trotted serpentines we'd managed to date - she quickly settled back down and we moved up to some very nice canter work. Her canter is just so nice, I could sit it all day - I even felt better in the saddle during the whole spin as I tried to be more aware of my position and in fact noticed that my heels were down better then they have been for a long while!

We're coming to the end of this marathon post *ahem*NOVEL*ahem*!

I rode both girls again this evening, starting with Nancy in the smaller arena as again the main arena was just too busy. Canter work was good, trot work sometimes left a bit to be desired - hoping The Guru might be able to give us a lesson next week (she was ill today so plan had to be scrapped) to tell me where I am going wrong with Nancy when asking for turns &/or bend at times as she can try to fight me and lock her jaw. Probably a bit of mis-communication from me and stubbornness from her - however I don't want to create any bad habits so I'd rather nip this in the bud!
By the time I brought Kika in from the field & tacked her up etc we were practically the only ones at the yard and in fact the only ones in the main arena. She worked like a dream - I cannot begin to express how great she has been all week - again I am hopeful that the Guru might be able to give us a few more pointers soon so that I can have new stuff to work on with her so that we don't get stuck in a rut. In fact I almost hope my mother or someone might be able to watch one day and maybe nab a few videos so that I can see for myself whether it looks as good as it feels - although knowing Kika and myself if we felt anyone watching us we'd (read:I'd) probably tense up and ride like a plank!

The two girls are getting the weekend off as L, S (another yard friend) and I are heading off to EQUITANA (LINK) in the morning. A mahoosive Equine trade fair with displays & exhibitions on. We leave Lux tomorrow morning at 8am, spend the day mosying around the stalls - tomorrow night we've tickets to one of the shows, we'll stay overnight in a hotel spend Sunday nosying about the stands again and then come back to Lux at some stage on Sunday. I booked Monday off work also as I don't know what time we'll be back on Sunday. My mother & L's father will be playing babysitters to the three horses and turning them out/ bringing them in while we are away.

My shopping list is very reserved and I really only NEED an eggbutt bit for Kika as her loose ring is catching her - I've been meaning to change it for months but have been naughty and held off so that I could hopefully snag a bargain at Equitana. If I find a cheap(ish) bridle with reins for Nancy I'll consider picking one up although funds are tight for the rest of the month and she has a perfectly usable bridle - so jury is out on that one. Only other thing I'd consider purchasing are bell boots for Nancy as the pair i ordered a few months back are too big and keep turning on her - so useless really!

Fingers crossed all goes well and that I can be good and not spend money I don't have on stuff I don't need...famous last words!
Have a great weekend everyone!


  1. Wow what a long post! Sounds like you some great time off and best of luck on your driving test. You'll have to take lots of pictures of Equitana.

    1. Yeah, sorry didn't realise how long it was till i hit post!
      Fair play if you read it all!
      Pictures of Equitana to follow :D

  2. Long post. Sounds like a great vacation. And yuck for shedding season... Obviously I know you are international but today was the first time I noticed that your post is dated for my "tomorrow" haha. It is still Friday the 22nd for me!

    1. Fair play for reading all that if you did, wouldn't blame you if you didn't ;-)
      It was LONG - sorry!
      Kind of cheated on date as it was only a teeny tiny bit after midnight when I hit post - so my brain was still on Friday as I hadn't been to sleep, teehee!

  3. Euro driving tests are intense. I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing - good luck!

    1. Thanks Lauren - hope I can get it first time as it's a pricey endeavour at 60euros a practical lesson and we have to do a minimum of 16! :(

  4. Great to read new update :) Sounds like you did some great work with your time off, with both girls and the driving lessons. Best of luck with them. Looking forward to the next update about Equitana.

    1. Thanks Laura, here's hoping I can keep up the work and start making some improvement with both girlies. Must see if i can swing some lessons to get stuff to work on and iron out the hiccups before they become issues!
      Equitana update to follow soon i hope - loads of pics so will hopefully not be too wordy!


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