Thursday 4 April 2013

Bullying Behaviour

Title relates to Miss Kika vs Miss Nancy, not unexpected - but we'll get to that!

First off I managed to get to the barn earlier than usual thanks to Easter holidays, a lighter workload & less traffic on the roads. As Kika was out in the field I threw the tack on Nancy and made my way to the large main arena.
I opted for the Dressage saddle as I have decided to no longer ride in the Jumping saddle i had been trying and shall not be buying it as not only do my legs swing forward the whole time (probably more my fault then the saddle's - but it deff wasn't helping matters!) when i attempted to correct my legs and bring them back to where they should be my upper body would get pitched forward - thereby unbalancing the poor young horse, aka: Nancy.

Thankfully there were only two other riders in the arena, one of which was just finishing up with her lesson - again the quiet arena is due to a lot of people being either away on holidays or riding during the day.
I tried to remember to keep my hands soft & quiet and to slow Nancy with my voice when she inevitably sped up, which she did. Matters weren't helped by the other rider in the ring, who despite having most of the arena to work with as I stayed in the upper half near the mirrors so that I could keep an eye on myself and out of the way, insisted on on crossing our circle by riding diagonals etc and not giving anywhere near enough lee-way for my being on a young horse.
Now Nancy is an angel and doesn't freak out when other horses get too close - but still it never fails to amaze me how some fellow riders can be so self absorbed that they can't give others a bit of wiggle room! I do not mean to pretend that I am a saint and never get in anyone else's way - but I do always try to watch what others are doing and what horse(s) they are riding to gauge how to ride my own horse around them.
Ok, sorry, mini-rant over!

Nancy & my spin wasn't perfect, we spent a lot more time walking then I'd really have liked as she kept breaking into trot - however I was more conscious of my hands on the reins and really tried to stay soft & not pull at her head. We'll get there :)

Nancy scoffing from the haynet while O's back was turned

Untacked Nancy when we were finished & decided to swap her for Kika in the turnout area as O was staying out but i wanted to jump Kika under the Guru's supervision.
Easy-peasy in theory to swap the horses, only Kika & O aren't fools and know that the three of them don't get turned out together so one of them must have been coming in - usually this just results in Kika wandering off down to the end of the turnout area when I arrive with Nancy.

Not yesterday - the wagon!

She stayed put near the gate and allowed myself & Nancy to enter, probably lulled into a false sense of security/entitlement as on Sunday L had swapped O for one of my girls and they were out together for the first time while the Guru went for a hack in the woods.
I made the silly mistake of taking N with me to fetch Kika's leadrope and hang Nancy's, thinking while I did so that I should just use the leadrope I had for Kika and nab here while she wasn't running off.
The leadropes hang in the "corner" of the field near the hay storage area, so Kika turned her backside on Nancy, and by consequence me as I was at Nancy's head to threaten her & establish dominance. I let Nancy go when I saw this so that she could get out of the Wagon's way if need be - BIG mistake as all hell broke loose and the three of them took off. Nancy most definitely bottom of the pecking order.
It took me 10 to 15 minutes to catch any of them, unsurprisingly Nancy was the one to be sacrificed and allowed herself to be caught to escape the other two. I thankfully managed to nab Kika and get out without any further shenanigans although she was now blowing and had warmed herself well up ahead of our jumping lesson!

The jumping lesson itself went well, even if K was a bit lethargic...i wonder why! *rolls-eyes*

Please excuse my poor Paint skills - or lack thereof!

 We warmed up over 1 with a pole in front of it from trot off each rein from above and below, each time continuing cantering to the track after the fence. Once that was done a couple of times, we came down over 1 from a trot and cantered up over the vertical at 2 once or twice before tacking the pole on the ground and the vertical at 3 on the end.

To change things up a bit, the ground pole was taken away from 1 and we were asked to trot down through the pole, vertical, pole, mini-oxer bounce combination at 4. First time through it Kika forgot to pick up her legs for the first mini-vertical, so we fluffed our way through it. The second time was much better so we were told to tack on 5 & 6 after it.

Kika was getting well sleepy at this stage, worn out from her gallivanting escapades around the field chasing poor Nancy until I could catch them - so I said to L that she'd better not make the course too complicated as we were only going to get one shot at it, by which I had meant for her to not make it too twisty turny on me as i struggle to keep myself & horse together to make some of the turns she asks of us - I know this is my fault as I am still in the bad habit of jumping fences one at a time and don't plan my route around the course thoroughly so don't have my turns at the ready before i get there!
*Light-bulb* moment just there, as i haven't been able to figure out til now that that is why I have been struggling - but sorry I digress. Hopefully I can retain that nugget of information for when we next jump!

Our course was down through the bounce combination at 4, up over 5 & 6, down over 1, back up over 2, around to 3 down back up over 1 then turn back on ourselves to come back down over 2 backwards - I hit a sticky spot with the final turn back from 1 to 2...but other than that was very proud of the pair of us for negotiating the twisty course she set us. I think it helped immeasurably that Kika had taken the fizz out of herself with her antics running around the field so didn't have as much in the tank to fight me when I wanted her to slow for the other turns - that is where we typically run into trouble - namely who decides when we turn!

Cooled her out as L & N (another yard) friend put away the fences, thankfully not all had to be put away as one of the working pupils wanted to use them this morning. Did a rush job on the stables, thankfully messy Kika had spent most of the day outside so I just had to shake up her straw and give her some more hay. Nancy required some cleaning, but generally she is a much neater horse then Kika who makes an absolute mess of her bed - Nancy also needed some more straw & hay - the one minor gripe I have with yard I am on is that they don't get enough straw or hay for my liking, but as I can give them more as i see fit it's not a major bone of contention.

We brought Nancy & O in and gave them a quick inspection to see what damage they had wrought upon themselves in the carry on tearing around the field, as an aside to see the three of them skillfully dodging the trees & me at speed would've been impressive if it hadn't been for the fact i was trying to catch one of them!
Unfortunately Nancy didn't dodge fast enough at one stage and re-opened the graze she'd given herself a few weeks after her arrival - thankfully it's much smaller than the first time and I was able to clean it & cream it both last night & this afternoon before turning her out again.

I almost signed off without further singing the Guru (L's) praises, she was only working until 2pm today (meaning a nasty 6am start), she has offered to take Kika on a "leash" walk in the woods while she rides O and exercises her dogs - it is thanks to these wood wanders that Kika is now much calmer when hacking in the woods!
And then as if she isn't angelic enough, she has offered to have a spin on Nancy as the other horse she usually rides is being ridden by his owner - how good is she to me?!


  1. That looks like a fun course! Glad she was a good girl.

    1. Thanks, she was very good under saddle. :)

  2. Looks like a fun exercise!

    1. It was, fingers crossed we can hi-jack the course again this coming Wednesday if the other lessons don't run too late for us to have crack off it after them!


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