Wednesday 31 July 2013


Apologies in advance for lack of photos,  I haven't actually taken any of us on the beach yet! *Le Shame*
However I can share photos of the three girls getting to know S, who will continue to be their field buddy when we all get back to Lux. He was supposed to be with my girls since May 1st but had an operation to remove a growth from his leg in April,  so sadly he wasn't ready to go out with the others on the first of May.

I am writing this on my phone so hope this works, yay for wifi in house we're staying in! Everyone loaded up & travelled really well on Monday morning. Had travelling boots on both my girls for the first time, am I sadistic that I find it funny when horses walk with the back boots on initially - bless them!

Anyways 4hours later we arrived in the Netherlands at the seaside, unloaded the girls into their temporary accommodation for the fortnight and settled ourselves into our little house. This place is cool, it's a riding school with little houses attached and space for people to bring their horses with on holidays.
We settled in and headed to the restaurant on the beachfront for a slap up meal. Come 6 o'clock we were tacking up to head for my first ever spin on the beach. A first for both my hirls and myself. Going off past form, I opted to take Nancy first as she hasn't been frightened of much while hacking.
The firsts kept coming, I had my first spin on the beach and my first fall from Nancy in very quick succession :-D
Thankfully it was a lovely soft landing in the sand and neither of us hurt ourselves, otherwise it would have been a long 2 weeks!
Turns out Nancy isn't a fan of the waves, lesson learned it was a bit of a steep learning curve for us both, but no one was hurt en route.  I led her along beach till she calmed down even walking into the sea with her, she really is a good trusting girl. I hoped back up we rode back to the yard. We then rode around a field for a bit till we all calmed down,  or at least that haf been the plan but my mind was playing games with me and the nerves got the better of me which then transferred to poor Nancy and we both wound ourselves into a bit of a state.

No harm no foul,  tacked Kika up afterwards and went for a quick spin in the arena. She was an angel and behaved as if she was at home. Dare I say my opinionated Madam is finally growing up into a fine young lady.

Tuesday morning dawned grey so we knew the beach would be quieter. I put on my girl pants and tacked Kika up to tackle our first beach ride ensemble. She was a bit looky, but her love of water won out and we had a great time splashing in the sea. :-D
Came back to the yard and let my two girls out together for two hours then S & O went out together for two hours while we went to do some food shopping.  When we came back L & I decided to brave the grey clouds and try Nancy again on yhe beach when ot was guaranteed to be quieter. Nothing like the threat of rain to keep seaside deserted. It was great, N is still not overly fond of the sea but through a process of elimination we know she doesn't have a problem with water or the sound of the sea/waves. It is just the foam that she takes offence to - we can work with/around that.

Next first to tackle was turning the four horses out together - this had been causing us some worry as Miss Kika hasn't always been the most welcoming or open to sharing, meaning O & Nancy who K perceives as 'hers'. As you can see from photos, firstly we put O & K in one sand paddock and N & S in the neighbouring paddock as N and S had travelled together in the box. Nancy wasn't exactly hostile but she wasn't welcoming S into the inner circle either.

We figured what the hell, best get it over with and tossed tge 4 of them out together for our alloted 4 hour turnout window. We figured we could turn them each out one day at a time with S but the end reaction would still be whatever it would be once all 4 would be turned out together.  The new herd order would still have to be established.
We needn't have worried,  Kika has been very welcoming.  Perhaps too muvh for S' liking, she is almost like his shadow, real curious to get to know him. O hasn't really been allowed to mix with him yet despite them being olf pals, Kika is the self appointed boss of this little herd. Nancy has surprisingly been the least welcoming/accommodating to new-boy S. I reckon she's tired of being at the bottom of the herd pecking order and hoped this was her chance to have a minion below her - sorry Nanc, S has man-bits (he is gelded) and as such is simply more interesting to Aunty Kika - slag and all that she is. LOL!

What can I say the pair of them like to make a bit of a fool of me and do the opposite to what I have come to expect of them - horses eh? ;-)

Monday 29 July 2013

Ready for Road

Well I'm all packed and my bags are loaded into my friends car. Horses & all their gear is to be packed in the morning...Fingers crossed we don't forget anything or else, Le Gasp, we might have to indulge in some shopping!
So what has happened since i last posted...Well Nancy & I went on our first Solo hack from the off-site field and it went really well apart from the fact I foolishly didn't "Suit Up", Barney Stinson would have been ashamed of me & rightly so!
I ridonculously decided to try hacking without the fly rug and we were swarmed - I have never been harassed by so many horse flies at once - evil beggars! Nevertheless we survived and I shall strive to do better in the future.

How heartwarming - I think they actually do get on!
Thursday I had to day off work to re-sit my drivers test...and I PASSED!
Phew - can you say that is a load off my mind, as I seriously couldn't afford to do it again. Pah - wiped my savings doing it those two times so really did not want to fail again!
To celebrate I went to a tack shop to splurge on a new bridle for Miss Nancy-bell, well i went with the intention of buying her a new pair of reins as she helpfully snapped her pair after our solo hack adventure on Wednesday evening. However I ended up going for a new bridle (which came with reins) as there was only a fiver in the difference in price for reins on their own or the bridle with reins - as the store didn't have the type of reins I prefer, I figured why not get the bridle as I figured in the long run i'd be saving...warped way of thinking, but hey...welcome to my world! :p

My celebrations continued on Thursday with an hour poo-picking in their field - hence the photos of the lovely ladies "helping" me then ignoring me as they realised they weren't going to get any treats from me. Although in saying that, bless my two girls who kept wandering over to me from time to time to check in. O kept her distance, probably sulking as the first thing I did on getting to the field was put back on her fly mask.
L & I then went for a hack with O & Kika and the two dogs - it was a lovely way to spend the evening, followed by L coming to the house for take-away & watching part of my recording of this year's Hickstead Derby...I still haven't seen it all and don't know who won - shhhhh. Don't tell me ;-)

Long story short (although are they ever from me?!), the bridle didn't fit Nancy's huge head - so she has inherited Kika's bridle and Miss K got the new black one with grey trim from photo above (not a great photo - shall endeavour to do better on hols!). Poor Nancy has yet to get her own bridle, so far both have been Kika hand-me-downs, I'll have to be careful or she might start suffering from middle child syndrome!

Friday evening, we hacked back to the yard and turned the three ladies out on their winter turnout area so that they could do some eco-friendly clearing of the area. Meant I had access to the arenas to ride today (Sunday). Technically I had planned to also ride in the arenas yesterday (Saturday), but it was so hot that by the time I had all my gear on at home and was ready to walk up to the yard - i was so hot that I decided against it - stripped off into shorts & tank top and went to sit in the garden with my kindle instead. The arenas in that heat wouldn't have been any fun for any of us!
However today was a lovely cool day with rain - who'd have thought I'd be saying that ... although weather-gods, if you read this. Please don't send any rain to the beach! 20-25C is perfect weather for me, no rain or excess heat needed for me...Honestly I'm not asking for much! :p

So today i rode Kika first in her new-shiny-too-small-for-Nancy bridle, I really am quite sad that it doesn't fit N as I think with her colouring teh bridle would look so much better on her - but c'est la vie, it wasn't meant to be and when I rang the shop on Friday morning they didn't have it in a bigger size and weren't getting any more stock in.
*Le Sad Times*

But enough of that, I rode both girls in the arenas today for the first time (for Nancy) in forever - if you are new to the blog I was having trouble keeping msyelf & N relaxed when we tried to work in an arena so I changed track and just hacked her in the woods so that we could both get to know each other better and bond!
Both girls were excellent, Kika was an absolute superstar. Another friend rode at the same time as me and she said she has never seen us both so relaxed - I thought that was a really nice thing to say. Plus it felt great to "work" her again after all our hacking, although I have been incorporating some work into our hacks - relaxing just happens to win out a lot of the time! :p
Nancy and I got on a lot better then we had been before I stopped riding her in the arena. We still had some ups & downs, where she'd try to speed up and/or fight me some bit - but we managed to get back on track each time as I put her through w/t/c. I was super happy with her and myself!

Right, best sign off here and hope I can get some sleep tonight. We're hoping to hit the road tomorrow morning between 8.30 & 9 so that we can hopefully get through the ring around Brussels before the lunchtime traffic hits - keep everything crossed for us that all goes well with trip north & indeed the two weeks at the beach!
I have decided against taking my laptop with me, so unfortunately I am going to fall even further behind on my blog reading - argh...hopefully I can catch up when I get back!
In the mean time, I hope you all keep well and I'll fill you in on all the fun, hopefully with photos when I get back!

Hasta Luego!

Wednesday 24 July 2013

Bug Bear

This tile is a bit of a misnomer as I don't currently have a bug bear - but I wanted to share the snaps of my girls in their final items in their ongoing battle against the flies!

I left them on with headcollars the first night, but Nancy's headcollar rubbed a bit so I chanced leaving her with just the fly mask in the hopes it would stay on the next night. As it did and didn't rub anywhere else, I figured I'd also chance leaving Kika without a headcollar - I got word from the Guru last night that all girls still had their fly masks on - HAPPY DAYS!

Our slight concern about the fly masks at the moment are that underneath the girls eyes are getting a little weepy - I guess that is from lack of air or something...I'll have to do some research and see if i can find anything out while hoping it won't have any serious negative effects on them...

Never a dull moment, eh?!

Temps were well in the 30s the last two nights so we opted out of hacking and walked the dogs the old fashioned way - while checking in on our ladies to make sure they weren't after doing themselves any mischief in the field. Plus the fallen tree from Sunday hadn't been cleared away on Monday evening so we couldn't have gotten passed anyway and the other route over the tarmac would've taken way too long for the amount of daylight hours left in the evenings to go for a hack that way.
Hopefully the tree will have been moved today and I can take one of my girls for our first solo hack this evening - I'm thinking Nancy, so that she can have tomorrow off if I don't have time to hack her ahead of her carting me back to the yard on Friday evening while Kika gets to plod on the lead like a giant doggy.
We decided to try head back to the yard and turn them loose on our winter turnout area to clean up a bit before we hit the road Monday morning. Sunday night we'll see if we can swing stabling for the night for an early start Monday morning as we're off to the Dutch/Belgian coast for two weeks splashing in the sea!

Fingers crossed we survive as neither myself nor my girls have ever ridden on the beach!

Three humans, 2 dogs & 4 horses are going on an adventure - the other two humans, 2 dogs & 2 horses have all been to the beach before so it'll just be me and my girls' first time. It'll be myself, the Guru & her dogs and another friend Sa who came with us on the 25km Rally a few weeks back and went to Equitana in Germany with us for the huge Equi-Expo back in March.
If i have understood correctly we are renting a place to stay with stabling nearby that has some turnout during the days and an arena - but methinks most of our riding will be being done on the beach - all going well with the desensitisation process that is!
I think the place has wifi - so I shall have my laptop and camera & hopefully shall be able to check in...if not well I guess you'll have to wait till we get back to hear all about it! :p

Monday 22 July 2013

Monday Meltdown

Sunset from Thursday evening
 Thankfully the ponios and I haven't been suffering from communication meltdowns but the heat is melting us. Temps are topping 30+C these days, so horses are getting dowsed in fly spray and have new fly masks while they are in the field (photos to follow tomorrow if i remember to take some tonight!) and as well as the their courtly/knightly fly rugs when we are hacking they now also get fly fringes attached to their bridles to try and help keep the flies at if only there was such inventions for humans I am sure I would have less bite marks! :p

The girls coming to examine myself & the wheel-barrow
Monday consisted of hacking Nancy back to the field from the yard while The Guru rode her mare and led Miss Kika like a giant puppy dog, she is so good on the lead it is hilarious to watch how she can walk/trot & do everything while actually dozing...silly sod!

Tuesday & Wednesday ended up being days off for both girls as I had dinner plans with friends both nights and didn't make it out to the field.

Thursday was Kika's turn to get re-acquainted with working life after her week off for being like Cinderella and losing a shoe. She had one spook at god knows what but other than that was good as gold, including giving me some really nice work.

Friday was great fun as I'd the afternoon off work, vive l'été, so I decided to pack the car with my gear and then walk to the field via the stable to collect things like fly fringes and other bits & bobs I'd left at the yard after our overnight stay on Sunday ahead of the farrier's visit on the Monday.
As well as spending an hour poo-picking in the lovely sunshine under the careful supervision of the lovely ladies in their "new" (for this year) fly fringes - The Mammy opted to come with us for our hack and took the Lovely Nancy for a spin!

Kika behaved like an angel that day and bravely led the way down into the woods and through the stream passed all the families etc out by the pic-nick area for a lovely start to the weekend - what a view we must have given them...but thankfully we didn't give them a show! ;-)
Of course it almost goes without saying that Nancy was angelic, even if she took the mick a little in that she plodded along really slowly - i prefer to think of it as she looked after my mother rather then testing her luck!
Kika body-shot

Nancy body-shot
I got a lift out to the equine store across the border in Belgium which does the muesli we feed at a fraction of the price of any of the Lux stores we've found it in. While there I also splurged on fly masks for each girl as they are horrible at their current field. Kika was even getting a bit of a weepy eye. :(

 Saturday was a day off for Kika as I decided to take Nancy out to remind her of her manners and that she can't dawdle along at her own pace nor chose to drop her head willy-nilly to get rid of flies...she had been taking the mick the two previous outings and would scratch her nose once - fair enough, I said - but then she'd insist on stopping numerous other times in quick succession to capitalise on the first break...that was not on in my book. So we set out with the fly fringes attached to the bridle just below the browband & their fly rugs which are now staples of our riding kit, I had to have a few heels in side digs as we made our way down the first hill to get to the river crossing where again people were pic-nicking in the great weather. However, today they got a bit of a show as Nancy and I who were supposed to be in the lead, so that the Guru could keep an eye on the dogs. Nancy decided that she couldn't possibly go a step further without scratching her nose - and studiously ignored me when I dug my heels in her side and tried to get her head back up - she then got a fright when out of the corner of her eye a dog started barking at L's dogs and so tipped forward landing on her knees. Scared me something unreal as I didn't want either of us going down on the tarmac!
I think she scared herself a little bit as well and I was glad that we were immediately crossing the stream so that she could have some cool clean water on her limbs incase she'd done herself a mischief. Thankfully once safely across the other side I could check that she hadn't cut herself and decide whether our hack would have to be cut short or if we could keep going.

I was sitting on an overturned feeder outside their fencing.
Both girls came to say hi, but only Kika showered me in flower petals!
Typical over-sharing from Miss K!
Thankfully all was well, she wasn't lame and miraculously hadn't cut herself so we kept going walking to make sure everything was still ok.
We did 90% walking as it was still extremely warm for the animals and ourselves, we stuck mostly to the wooded areas in the hopes of avoiding the worst of the flies, and succeeded to an extent. We had one little trot and a bit of a canter where Nancy & I took the lead to set the pace. The previous time I'd cantered her on a trail, the Guru said I should steady her more and sit into the saddle to keep her steady. I had been leaning forward XC-gallop-style (2-point?), to keep my ass out of the saddle so as not to unbalance/inhibit her baby-self and her developing back. However the Guru reckoned i was accidentally urging her too fast in doing that - so i figured it wouldn't hurt to change it up next time and low-and-behold we had a lovely calm canter...which funnily enough annoyed L's mare no end at having to stay behind and go at my pace - that they had a bit of a discussion for a good bit of the way home - ah chestnut mares! Never a dull moment! :D

Saturday evening sunset

Sunday we decided to try and beat the flies & heat by going at 10am instead of waiting till the evening and it was Nancy's turn for another day off & Kika's turn to show me how brave she still was - ahem...that didn't last long. Whether it was the "early" morning start that upset her or what I don't know but for every 2 of 5 sun patches we passed on our hack she gave them the old hairy-eyeball. Even spilling and backing away from one particularly terrifying (to her) patch when she had been leading - I will never understand her logic - the silly sod!
All was going well, bar Kika's aversion to sunlight...maybe she's becoming a vampire...anyway we were bang on time to get the Guru home for her 1 o'clock Sunday dinner with her family when we came to the final stretch of trail to get back to the field we came upon a fallen tree right across the path we had taken down a few hours earlier - the path we take every day to and from the trails!
Boy were we lucky we weren't under it and/or anywhere near it when it fell! Hopefully a forester will have had a chance to clear it today so that we can continue our happy hacking.
Unfortunately this meant we had to double back and take the longer tarmac route back to the field, over two hours since we'd put on our suncream at the hottest time of day..what's the saying about "only mad-dogs and English-men go out in the midday sun" - we were very lucky not to get scorched!

Monday 15 July 2013

Summer Sunshine

Summer has arrived in Europe - we are having gorgeous weather all across the board. It has been so nice that I have been a bad blogger and not keeping you guys up to date - although to be honest nothing much is happening...

Kika conveniently pulled a shoe last Monday and had the week of work for herself...the jammy so-and-so
The sad face on her with her en-forced
holiday from hacking

Really she was transfixed by some new cows
a few fields down

Poor Nancy has had to "pick-up" the slack and was called upon to do more hacking then she might otherwise have had to - I usually try to alternate and take one each day.
It still it hasn't exactly been taxing work-wise on either of them as we meander through the trails with an odd spot of trotting or cantering when we feel like it and it isn't too hot!

I love eye shots
& the way the light affects the colour!

Ready for road in new fly rug

I recently ordered two fly rugs from German Equistore, Krämer - LINK, on in 145cms for Kika (Brown) and one in 155cms for Nancy. As you can see from above photo teh brown also fits Nancy and I am now thinking i should probably have just ordered a normal fly sheet in a similar size as I can only ever ride one at a time and if both come out with me - K is usually on a lead and the rugs Ihave bought would slip without a saddle - woopsy!
Lesson learned and I shall have to order a separate fly rug for when we take Kika on a walk - still if things pan out like a hope they will and either my mother or friends decide to join me for a hack sometime and I take my two girls - they will each have a fly rug that can be used with tack - so all is well that ends well!

O & N
on our first fly rug adventure

Last week didn't quite pan out as I'd hoped as I made a silly mistake getting onto a round about in my driving test and as such didn't pass - so I have to do 8 more lessons before sitting the test again in about a fortnights time - fingers crossed I keep my wits about me next time & don't make silly mistakes that I wouldn't normally make!

Nancy brought some berries home with her from our hack!
But all's well that ends well - the girls are good, looking & feeling well in themselves. They should be getting new shoes as I type - so fingers crossed all goes well with the new blacksmith even though I couldn't be there and he doesn't speak English or French - should make for interesting future conversations with my stilted German. Good news is two friends also use him and as we are on the same shoeing cycle one or both should always be nearby if I ever have communication difficulties!

Sleepy N - she had a 'tough' working week

The Guru and I rode Nancy & O, leading Kika back to the yard last night for an overnight stay ahead of farrier visit today. I was naughty and had a sneaky spin on Kika in the main arena last night for a 20minute flatwork session to see what she'd be like 1 week out of the saddle and three weeks out of the arena - I am delightedly proud to say that she didn't put a foot wrong and I smiled like a goon the whole time!
Our little snippets of work while hacking are paying off and I actually feel a benefit to my own position & riding ability through the positive effects of the bits of work we do while hacking. Fingers crossed - long may it last!

Promised Polo Photos

Gosh I am really late with these - sorry guys!
Last week got away from me as work is in high-drive before the Judges head off on their holidays at the end of this week...
This post will be photos taken the Sunday before last (7.7.2013) at the Polo tournament my mother & I went to check out - there was a cool parade of "Old Timer" cars, although before realising it cars cars I joke with my mother that we'd enter her in it! ROFL!
I snapped a few pics of the cars as well as the impressive polo ponies in action!

All photos taken on phone (so not great quality - sorry!) as we sat in the grass sipping on a lovely strawberry sirop & water mixture - it was deliciously refreshing!

Match 1 - Luxembourg team in Brown & Orange

Like Pretty Woman between Chukka's

Start of the "Old Timer's" display of vintage cars - 'up-close' pics of cars to follow as they passed closer to us

Photo doesn't do this car justice - it was huge. Like a small plane!

I've a later picture of the inside of this one - it is something else!

 Match 2 - Luxembourg in the Orange - 3 of the riders on this team were local with the professional being from Germany
One of the directors from the company my mother works for is in the red helmet on the chestnut with his 17 year old daughter on the darker horse (also in a red helmet) - they were amazing!


How frickin cute is this horse?!

Old school air conditioning/sun-roof perhaps?! ;-)

Inside of earlier mentioned car!