Wednesday 25 December 2013

Happy Holidays!

First off I want to wish everyone a very HAPPY CHRISTMAS!
Apologies, I am no good at gifs or anything fancy and I sadly have not yet had the time to snap my own horses in Christmas get-up however I'm hoping to do those photos tomorrow as I for one cannot wait to see Nancy rock the red!
I am afraid I am blatantly self-advertising with this post and shall be "borrowing" pictures from the entrants into my Christmas Contest.


To qualify for the contest:
- post a picture of your horse in Xmas get-up (doesn't have to have been taken this year)
- link back to my contest post & to Niamh's TraceALine etsy shop
- please leave a comment on my blog with a link to your post so that I can find the photos, ;-)

A massive thank you to all who have entered thus far - we have fabulous photos and you've all made it very difficult to pick a winner & runner-up!

Here are the entries I have received so far. :)

Carlos from L @VivaCarlos
Simba from Amanda @ChasingTheSun one of many fab Xmas pictures
Dijon from Olivia by email as she doesn't have a blog
Simon from Lauren @shemovedtotexas
Bobby from Carly @poorwomanshowing and YES - those are real lights! C be cray-cray
Val from @calmforwardstraight
From Andrea @uncatchablenumber257 - first of three pictures

Lucy from Kate @theadventuresoflucy

Tuesday 24 December 2013

Quick Christmas Catch Up

Just a quick Christmas post with some photos of my 'baby' sister & I playing with the ponies this Christmas Eve.

Nancy ready for osteo last Wednesday
Rare photo of me & my two girls - Kika is as happy as i am to have her photo taken

Kika behaving great for 'baby' sis

Apologies for blurry mirror pic

Fun pic of 'baby' sis & two girls

PS: don't forget the deadline for the Christmas Contest is tomorrow. Be sure to get your entries in by commenting with a link to your Christmas photo(s) post includings links back to my blog (contest post) & TraceALine's etsy shop!


Thursday 19 December 2013

Christmas Contest

I mentioned the possibility of hosting a Christmas Contest in my last post - having spoken to Niamh the amazing artist @LifeorRiley / TraceALine. I have settled on a prize & an idea for the contest - hopefully you guys will participate in high numbers. :)

Last year I had fun playing with Kika taking these Christmas photos - well this year I'd love for my readers to join me in playing Xmas dress Up with their ponies!

To Enter:

- Snap photos of your horse(s) in Xmas gear
- Post photo(s) on your blog with a link back to this post & a link to Niamh's etsy shop, TraceALine - LINK
- Comment on this blog post with a link to your post

Deadline for entries is 25th of Dec!

I'll announce the winner on St Stephen's Day (26th of December).

What will you win - you ask...well there will be two prizes.
First place and a runner up will win a Paper Cuts made by the wonderfully talented Niamh!
LINK to her fab etsy shop - for more examples of her work.
First place will win a paper cut of their choice of photo (either the winning Xmas one or another one of their choosing);
and the
Runner Up will win a paper cut of their winning Xmas photo

Example of Niamh's fab work

I will however ask that there be a minimum of 5 entries for this contest to be run - so grab the Santa Hat, Reindeer Ears, Tinsel & Camera to capture some fun snapshots of your horse(s) - I hope to get some of both girls this year!

In actual update news - both girls had a timely visit from the osteo last night so have two days off to mope around the turnout area and scoff to their heart's content. My "baby" sister will be back in Lux on Friday - I am hoping she might come to the yard with me over the weekend to snap some riding footage of me as i re-acquaint myself and the girls with some ridden work! :D

PS: Please spread the word about the contest - hopefully we can get at least 5 entries while also promoting Niamh's fabulous Paper cuts!

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Nancy Dec 2013 clinic videos


My apologies for the delay in posting this Autumn/Winter, I'm afraid life has been a little hectic and I sadly have not been logging in anywhere near as much saddle time as I would like. As such my updates would be pretty redundant & boring if I wrote every day.

However I am thankfully still getting to see the little darlings daily as most lunchtimes I make the mad-dash from work through town to yard & back by bus and foot to turn the three girls out every afternoon for some fresh air & leg stretching.
I hate the idea of them being stuck in their stables all the time, not to mention the immeasurable difference turnout makes to Kika's (in particular) well being - both mental & physical as her hind legs get quite swollen/stacked when she can't be turned out - usually her own fault for being a Horsey Houdini.

Thankfully my good friend & guru has been a life-saver for me and has been riding the girls when I cannot get there. Sadly, this means I will be lucky if I can ride one side of them when I make my return to the saddle, as between the training clinic and her superior riding ability in general...iI'll deff be playing catch up trying to learn to ride the girls with all their fancy new buttons.

Right without further ado, here are the videos of Nancy from the training clinic. Again, PLEASE DO NOT COMMENT ON THE RIDER AS IT IS NOT ME!

Video I

Video II

Video III

Video IV

Video V

Video VI

Video VII

Video VIII

Video IX

Video X

Video XI

Video XII

Video XIII

Video XIV

Video XV

All these videos and those of Kika in the previous post were taken by me on my camera phone on Sunday the 8th of December. Both the girls & the guru had had a lesson with the trainer on the Friday & i rode the pair of them on the day in between - i cannot tell you how terrified i was that i would undo & ruin all the work L & the trainer had put into them on the Friday. Thankfully this was not the case, or if the trainer noticed or commented to L, it was all done in German & as such i was blissfully unaware of it!

The overall consensus from rider & trainer was happiness. It was his (the trainer's) first time seeing Nancy and despite an initial aversion to her due to her Friesian papa (dressage snobbery @ work) he gladly changed his tune after the two lessons. He said she was a lovely mover and seemed like a fun horse and level-headed animal to work with. Perhaps a not so covert a dig at Kika's quirkyness? ;-)
As you can see from the videos (I do not blame you for not watching them all) Nancy is showing more personality under saddle and pretends to be unable to bend on her bad rein - now she may need some adjustment which will be seen to this week as osteo is due out for both girls on Wednesday.

Kika did try to throw the toys out of the pram in Fridays session (which i missed as i was still in work) and reared once in defence as she didn't understand what was being asked of her. I in no way condone her behaviour, however it would sadly appear that this is her go-to defence mechanism when confused. She does have a tell though and can be cut off at the source and diverted back to the riders way of doing things without getting into a full blown argument.
Sadly she will always be opinionated, quirky and challenging but this os just part and parcel of her charm. She is your typical mare that cannot be TOLD what to do, you mist ask/cajole and win her around to your way of doing things.

In saying all this the trainer was very impressed with her and how far she has come since he first saw her, in fact he said that if  you'd told him after her first session, that she would be doing the movements in the previous post's videos at all let alone this quickly he would have said it was impossible as he thought her dangerous initially, which i deff did not know at the time and with hindsight am glad i didn't know as i'm not sure my confidence with her would be what it is now if i'd known then the professional thought her dangerous. It is a fine line to tread, i know, but seeing how far she & i have come i am super happy i was ignorant of that fact at the time!

He also said it is too soon for her to be working on lead changes in the canter that she needs a better foundation in counter cantering first. However those of you readers who have followed Kika's journey over the last few years will know she is very fussy about a strong hold being taken of her head, collection, proper use of her backside and opening up her back are not things she likes being asked to do - these types of requests are typically met with the severest resistance (rearing).
Bearing all that in mind you can imagine mine & L's (the guru's) pride when Kika calmly performed the canter/halt transition on the FIRST ever asking during the lesson (I hope I caught it on video and shared it, sadly at this moment in time I cannot remember). L said that when the trainer asked her to do that during the lesson she was very apprehensive of Kika's reaction & extra proud when K performed the downward transition without an iota of fuss.

Right i think this has been more than enough blabbering for one post! As always it is after getting SO MUCH longer & wordier then i thought it would when i started the update. It was supposed to be mostly videos and very few words, however, sadly the proud-mama in me raised her head & demanded to crow about her little darlings successes!

One final thing before i go...i would love to host a Christmas Photo contest with a prize giveaway. Would there be any interest in this kind of a contest?
Please comment to let me know along with any and all comments on all the rest of my waffle!
Please remember NOT TO COMMENT ON THE RIDER as it is not me. Massive thanks & congratulations if you have read all of this post and viewed some or all of the videos. I can only hope watching those snippets of "dancing" ponies & strops can be considered a form of reward for the epic wordiness of this post!
I only wish i could give those who've read this far, some milk & cookies or perhaps a shot of something stronger to revive you after the snoozefest of this novel post!

PS: this marathon post has been written on my phone at stupid o'clock in the morning as i couldn't sleep - I can't imagine this will be a problem for anyone who has reached the end of this mammoth post!

Friday 13 December 2013

Kika Dec 2013 clinic videos

This post is going to be video heavy as I played proud mama/horse-owner on Sunday while both my girls were ridden by my friend & guru in a training clinic with an outside instructor.

Before we get on to that I got great news last Monday week - I PASSED THE EXAMS AND WILL BE MADE PERMANENT IN MY JOB!
The relief is something else, the stress I placed on myself as I love my work & the people I work with so to now know that I have a job for life and can be up for promotions is marvelous. Job stability & foreseeable income takes so much pressure off! :-D

I also meant to post last week about how wonderfully generous @equestriantrendblog is - she contacted me through instagram to offer me two free passes to the Salon de Cheval in Paris. Myself & the Guru caught the TGV (fast train) down at 6am & came back that evening and were home by 11pm - gotta love service like that! I have been sharing photos from the event on my instagram account, but will only be too happy the share them here if anyone is interested in seeing them. :-D

On to the promised Kika videos now...hopefully they work! Please no critique on the rider as it is not me, but please feel free to comment on both girls. So much of their characters shine through - they make me giggle.
There are quite a few videos, but none are much longer than 2mins!

Sadly I have to post the first three as links, but should be able to "embed" the others - all shared in chronological order as they were filmed!

Video IV

Video V

Video VI

Video VII

Video VIII

Video IX

Video X

Video XI

Video XII

Video XIII

Nancy videos to follow in a separate post - apologies for the number of videos & I completely understand if not all are watched (or even any) - I keep this blog for myself to have all info in one place so that I can keep track of any progress made by my horses & myself (if & when that happens). I am just lucky that others have found their way to read my blabberings & share their kind comments & critiques with me!

PLEASE remember - NO comments on rider as it is not me

Thank you & I hope you are not seasick from my shaky videoing skillz! Also, as always my apologies for sounds - i still have never managed to play with video editing software to remove background noises!