Tuesday 22 October 2013

Brilliant Birthday Weekend

Saturday was my birthday, my "baby" sister surprised me on Friday evening by flying back for the occasion. Having her wake me up at 2am Saturday morning with the surprise was a little less fun but I had had a sneaking suspicion she may be on her way - I was glad my instincts were right on the money, :p
Plus she brought me lovely Cadbury's chocolate & my fav perfume Flora by Gucci, what a generous girl she is with her new job earnings!

My work colleagues also went all out on the gifts on Friday, when I got a lovely strawberry mousse cake at our mid-morning coffee break & loads more yummy chocolates & goodies such as Ferrero Rocher, Raffaellos & Taytos - all the way from Ireland...the Irish expats gold-dust! ;-) My sis in Canada also sent me yummy flavoured Skittles, the likes of which cannot be found here in Europe - Tasty Times were had!

Happy LS with two happy horses
 Little Sister (LS) came with me to play with the ponies on Sunday & got her first spin on the loveable Nancy. She insisted on riding Nancy first as she thought she might find her too big if she started with Kika. I was happy to let her try who she wanted first, but I probably should have insisted on starting Nancy myself as the little minx took the mick out of her a bit. Although to be fair I think they were both feeling nervy & sadly feeding one from the other - N as always was a gem and didn't misbehave as such, but as with myself previously, when she feels her rider's uncertainty her reaction is to speed up.
We swapped and C had some fun with Kika while Nancy was reassured. Nothing against my sister's riding ability - she was just a little nervous and sadly baby horse + nervy rider made things a little more awkward then they needed to be. However all's well that ends well and she hopped back up on Nancy afterwards for another little trot.
As an aside, my sister said she LOVED riding Kika - the LS has never shied away from riding Kika and it is really sweet how she natters to her the whole time when in the saddle...I don't know who the talking keeps calm, but I wish I did it more - I am a terrible internaliser and don't use my voice as much as a should! *blush*

Long-time followers of this blog, did you ever think you'd see the day where someone said they actually enjoyed riding Miss Kika?!
I can't tell you how hearing such a kind thing, from someone other than the Guru who is biased as she has helped me so much, has warmed my heart.

Can you guess which one is attention-seeking?

 Sadly LS was only here for a flying visit and had to return to Ireland Sunday evening from Frankfurt-Hahn in Germany. The drive to the airport was glorious, it was a lovely dry, clear day & the trees were stunning with their multi-coloured leaves. I shall be flooding my instagram (LINK) with pictures I took en route, as well as the usual spamming pics of skylines & ponies!

Yesterday (Monday) was another lovely dry day, sadly I think today may be our last day of "Indian Summer" as it is due to thunderstorm this evening and then the forecast looks poor for the rest of the week. I am super lucky in that of late I have been able to squeeze in spins on both girls in the evenings after work before barn closing time of 10pm.

Lovely gift from two yard friends - a new bridle for Nancy.
I started with Nancy last night, as almost always she was first up to the gate - so she got to come in first.
It took her a bit longer to settle then our last few spins, perhaps some side-effects from Sunday spin starting with LS. We re-encountered our pre-summer-forestry-chill-out-hacking issue of not wanting to walk but trying to trot all the time. So we did for a few laps to get the trotting out of her system as she is more comfortable trotting and settles well, then we cam back to walk and worked on transitions w/t. These were also a little sticky, so we changed tactic and in the walk worked on smaller circles in a corner focusing on bend before changing rein, doing a bit of trot, transitioning back down to walk to circle on the other rein before trotting and changing rein again.
I then tried another new thing, an exercise I used to do a lot with Kika and really helped us. 3-loop serpentine with a small circle at each loop at the walk, as N isn't balanced enough yet for this in trot. We were both concentrating hard for this, me trying to keep her balanced and soft on the circles and her just concentrating on something new and challenging. It was a really cool feeling to feel her think about it as we went through the exercise once on each rein with a bit of a trot break and large circle between rein changes to help relax. She was a doll as always - and I was super happy to be able to encourage her to relax and stop her attempts to trot when I wanted us to walk. We also have a lot of work to do on our walk, as she is inclined to prefer to walk really slowly and not stride properly - so i have to use my seat (basin) to coax her into striding better when walking - difficult to do at the start when she wants to trot, but we'll get there baby steps and keeping things fresh & changing stuff up when we ride will hopefully keep the learning process fun.

Sadly I hadn't received the shiny new bridle/birthday present prior to riding Nancy - hence why Kika is in the picture behind it lol! I am looking forward to trying it on Nancy's monster head this evening. Bless my friends - they said they bought the biggest bridle in the shop, here's hoping it fits! I have never had a bulky noseband bridle before as Kika's head is way too dainty to carry it off, it would dwarf her - I'm really looking forward to seeing how it looks on Nancy's humungo-head.

Not to be left out Kika also got ridden last night, picture is of her posing after our spin - she is such a ham for the camera!
The Guru happened to be around as I started with Miss K and popped into the arena with us to give me some pointers - I couldn't tell you the last time I had a lesson!
I was in my dressage saddle and riding without a martingale, when L (the Guru) rode K in the training clinic a few weeks back the teacher (who had originally put the martingale back on Kika last November) said we could start phasing out the use of it as she no longer "needed" it, however to keep it handy as she is the type that could use the odd refresher course. ;-)
As usual I have to keep my heels down and use my calves more to squeeze a response from her and carry my hands better - not let them droop as I am wont to do...nasty nasty bad habits!

As Kika is super hairy and in dire need of a clip we kept it short & sweet. Roll on Nov 1st, when they start going in at night and we can clip the hairy-Kika-monster!

L had me concentrate on lengthening her trot stride while not increasing the speed in both sitting & rising trot. We also worked a good bit on our canter, with my sitting down deep into the saddle and lengthening myself - apparently I am still "crispé" = tensing when cantering and not going with the movement. I have to ride my canter like I am about to ask for a downward transition as only then am I properly going with the movement of the mare. Yay for stuff to work on - but at the same time, I should be getting this stuff by now, no?

K showing why her rug is needed the state of her!

 I've seen mention of the "to blanket vs not to blanket" debate mentioned online again this year. Obviously it is personal preference. I don't think I could ride in the evenings if I didn't cover my girls, they are both muck-monsters and would be destroyed every evening prompting me to spend the time I need for riding cleaning them. As it is you should see the state of their necks & legs when they come in - it is laughable how much muck they can fit onto such "small" body surfaces! 

Nancy has a new rug ordered (and dispatched - thank you Old Mill Saddlery), sadly the plum colour was not on special offer so she's getting a blue one like Kika's. Seeing how she has destroyed the first one, I'm slow to pay the 60-80 I found online vs the 40ish I managed to find in the same colour as Kika's - probably stock clearance on an old colour combo - but I loves it anyway, especially the price. ;-)
Speaking of the state of things *rolls-eyes*
I am loving these Horseware Amigo Hero Lite 0g filling rugs as they are wind & water-proof and perfect to keep the girlies clean without fear of them over-heating in these lovely mild autumn days.

Also lastly, just before I sign off from another mammoth update (SORRY!) an equine dentist came to the yard for a friends horse so I asked them to check my girls' teeth. I knew from equine dentist in Ireland that Nancy has awkward teeth and food can get trapped between them, my vet has been keeping an eye on them for me and even removed three of Nancy's baby teeth back in September - yes I have them & suggestions as to what to do with them are most welcome!

 Please artistic blog-readers help an-artsy-challenged girl out!

Thankfully both girls are fine for the moment and need to be re-checked in 6 months. Dentist said N's teeth are changing at the moment, so not a lot she can do right now - she'll know more when she re-visits. Kika could have had some work done, her front teeth were a bit long and some of her molars a little sharp - but dentist said it was nothing drastic and that they could both be done in 6 months time!

Fingers crossed that Nancy's new bridle fits & that, as the Guru put it, Kika can get her bridle back - leather quality on the black & grey one I got in July is quite poor...but I knew that considering what I paid for it :p
Will hopefully have some new pictures and another (hopefully smaller) update for you tomorrow!

*hugs, milk & cookies to anyone who has read this update to the end*


  1. Yay for indian summers...and new bridles!

    1. Sadly the indian summer didn't last as long as I'd have hoped - rain, wind & cold have arrived with the first of November :(
      the New Bridle is awesome! I really must remember to snap a pic of Nancy & her new bridle with her newly clipped noggin! :D

  2. Happy birthday! That is awesome that your sister came to visit and brought goodies!! :)

    Yay birthday presents and good weekends!

    Love that your girls love each other!

    1. Thanks Karley, it was a great weekend & I am beyond happy that the girls get along. Was afraid initially that Miss Kika would be nasty & dominant mare'ish towards N - but she must have recognised a kindred spirit far from home...or Nancy smelled of "home" for Kika ;)
      Either way I shan't complain, they are happy out stabled alongside each other now which makes my task of mucking out much easier! :D

  3. Happy birthday! Sisters make birthdays special. :)

    1. Thanks Amanda, that they do - family is great!

  4. I nominated you for the sunshine award

    1. Wow thanks for the nom, hope to get a post up answering the questions & nominating some worthy bloggers of my own. :D

  5. Nice bridle :D
    Happy (belated) birthday, you got a great stash of goodies! Have to say, I've gone off Taytos. My new favourite is O Donnells crisps - watch out for them next time you visit.
    I stubbornly refused to rug my lads last winter but I'm teetering on the brink at the moment. I suppose it depends on whether we have a very wet winter like last year...

    1. Thanks for the belated birthday wishes. I'm not the biggest fan of C&O Taytos, prefer the Salt & Vinegar ones myself ;-)
      I have had O'Donnells crisps, an ex-pat has set up an Irish supplies company out here, he gad tasters for them once - but now supplies some of the supermarkets here with Taytos...guess they was more demand for them although now that you remind me the OD's were very tasty. :D

      Had to rug mine as otherwise they'd have been so destroyed in the muck-pit that was their field (thanks rain) I'd have had to spend my riding time grooming muck off to place tack on them - they are both muck monsters lol!


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