Thursday 27 February 2014

Thursday Titters

My sister sent me this so I had to share, as I knew you guys would geddit ;-)

Not my image, but don't have a link for it - no copyright infringement meant

This is going to be a bit of a humorous post as I meant to post this list when I shared the Wordless Wednesday Ireland photos.

Remember this list when someone asks "Are you Irish?"
You know you're Irish if...
~ The person that you insult most is probably your best friend
~ During your youth much of your food was boiled
~ You're strangely poetic after a few beers
~ You don't know the words but that doesn't stop you from singing
~ You can't wait for the other guy to stop talking so you can start talking
~ You have no idea how to make a long story short (Totally applies to me & this blog!)
~ Tea is the solution to every problem
~ And holy water is the solution to every injury
~ Saying 'I will yea' means that you definitely won't
~ 'For the craic' is the best reason for doing anything
~ Nobody can go a day without saying 'Jaysus'
~ You have a gift for swearing
~ You can insert the name of a gardening tool into any sentence and it still makes sense, e.g. 'I had a rake of drink last night' or "I'll be out in a minute, I'm just shoveling down the dinner'
~ It's perfectly acceptable to call your mother 'mammy' even though you are a fully grown adult
~ Saying 'Now we're sucking diesel' means that you are happy with the outcome of the situation
~ Drinking 'tae' is everyone's favourite past time
~ You're scared of the wooden spoon
~ The word 'like' goes in every sentence
~ You can say "Any craic' to a policeman and you won't get arrested

I also came across this link to a Ryan Gosling Equestrian Meme...I haven't had a chance to scroll through it properly yet; and you guys have prob already seen this as you're much better techies than me ;-)

I am hoping to share a Friday Flashback tomorrow as I missed last week, not sure how well that feature is received...
As for actual horsey news, well the girls have had two lovely sunny spring days in the turnout and may get another day off this evening as I found out that one of the cinemas here is showing a live transmission of War Horse from London...if it has subtitles (really hope so) the Guru & I will go, if not sadly probably not- although not that sadly as if I don't go to cinema/theater I will ride, so not that big of a loss at all! :D
Not my image

Monday 24 February 2014

Serene Settings

I had a wonderful long-weekend with the horses...or at least it felt like a lovely long weekend, even though I was in work this morning and then had another half day for house appointments - Yay for tile choices, doors + fittings & bathroom stuffs decisions being made. Fingers crossed now that my choices aren't crazy over budget!
Today was a gorgeous spring-like day and I'm so happy that I got to take full advantage - but I'll come back to that later.

We'll start with a Friday recap...boy was I glad to see the back of last week; it had been a long stressful week at the office with deadlines being moved up having a knock-on affect on workload which wasn't helped by my needing two afternoons off for more apartment decision-making. Anyway that's all besides the point! It basically boils down to lack of saddle time for me which undoubtedly didn't help the stress-levels as then there was the non-riders-remorse to deal with...maybe I'm the only one who feels like that though; as I'm sure neither girl was one bit upset at having been able to spend more time on turnout and no-time under saddle ;-)
Sunset from horseback this evening
So Friday I had decided to ride Nancy as I hadn't sat on her since the previous Sunday and a yard friend had asked to try her out this weekend - I figured although she wouldn't do anything negative from lack of saddle time, she also mightn't be as forthcoming with a working attitude with only one day under saddle in a week. Boy am I glad I sat up Friday evening, as I was leaving work I had misgivings and thought I would be too tired to tack up - but I sucked it up and am glad I got a spin in on her as she was awesome!
So much so that the rider sharing the arena with us (same rider I regularly complain about as being impossible to share an arena with - but she herself is lovely) actually complimented me on how she was going after we had all finished - talk about beaming!
It is not often other riders compliment me on how my horse(s) when I am riding - yes I know I am harsh on myself, but I must be or I'll never improve!

Saturday was another early start as I had to be at tile shop for 8.30am, we went from there to bathroom place to check out other options/pricing - thankfully sticking to original plan (I can go into more detail if anyone cares...but I figure this is a horsey blog and not a building blog - not that I am building anything, but I bought something from plans and now get to make all the "fun" decisions as to what goes where etc. I say "fun" as I am a Libra & decision-making and options are like my worst nightmare!); from where I headed to town to meet a friend for a quick lunch and catch up then out to the yard to turn out ponies...well O.
My poor little darlings were slated for a workout prior to turnout...they gotta earn their perks with me!

As is my norm, I started with Kika and we had a pleasant spin in the main arena with two French friends (one of whom was having the spin on Nancy the next day) - she was a gem when one of the horses they were riding would randomly explode bucking for no apparent reason. K didn't bat an eyelash...not that I am complaining, but long time readers of my blog will know that about two years ago another horse sneezing would have been enough of an excuse to set Keeks off. However silly Kika is never lurking far from the surface and she spazzed out and refused to get too near the horse-eating-cooler that was draped on the side of the arena...she really is a character, but at this stage I can but laugh at her and work through/around her crazies.
Nancy was next as my fellow riders finished up, she was good again on Saturday, but as is the norm for me...not as good as the previous day. There is a problem with my brain whereby if i feel something goes well one day or someone is kind enough to compliment me on something, I invariably fall apart and can no longer function in the saddle the next day...well perhaps I am exaggerating slightly - I could still function in tack, just not as smoothly as the previous evening. Fear not - I don't think I will ever be physically or mentally capable of EVER getting too big for my boots (big-headed). N wasn't bad or bold, I just wasn't very good at communicating to her what I wanted, but we still managed to get some nice work when I got my shiz together *blush*

Sunday was thankfully not as early a start as I had thought it was going to be as my friends decided not to ride N at 9.30am but it was closer to 11am when she got her spin - sorry I was too distracted watching my pony prance to get media.
If he asks to rider her again, I will deff snag some footage. I think he liked her, compared to his own horse (who is more crazy than Kika); Nancy was very normal & level-headed. He too noted that one of her go-to defences is to trot, I took small satisfaction in her doing to same things to him as she does to me - rolling in too much on herself rather than carrying herself properly (although this is partly the friesian half of her DNA) and also she attempts to escape to trot rather than walk...although Nancy & I have made progress on that front, when I remember to coax her forward with my seat and not touch her with my legs = no mixed-messages.

Best bits about Sunday & Monday were my escapes into the woods for some long overdue hacking!

Kika first on Sunday with L on her mare & the two wonderful bearded collies of hers. We had a lovely two hour stroll in the woods - where K was an absolute angel! The evil gerbils in my brain had gone into over-drive during the night & early morning and the nerves had kicked in, I had convinced myself she would be the devil incarnate and all her nasty old scardey-cat habits would resurface as we hadn't hacked in the woods since September (despite having spent 4 months of the summer doing nothing but hacking in the woods). Turns out the only scardey-cat with hamsters for brains is me, Kika strode around like a boss & was relaxed on the buckle the whole time - even when a dog came flying from another path barking like mad at the horses & dogs, she barely flicked an ear in its direction.

Apologies for blurriness
Today was such a gorgeous day that after my house meetings finished I text L, to say how jealous I was of her getting to hack her girl in the lovely sunshine...we had made loose plans that she wanted to ride N after & she'd offered to give me some pointers/a lesson on Kika afterwards. However when she realised I wasn't in work, she suggested we rendez-vous at the turnout as she returned her mare to the field, I'd tack up the other two and we could go for another quick hack before sun disappeared for the week (rain-forecast...yay-NOT)
It was glorious & where the majority of the pics came from for this post - we got some crazy fast trotting at first before both the donkeys settled. Kika required more convincing than N to settle and in fact had a bit of a shit-fit which resulted in some schooling rather than the supposed relaxing hack she had been slated for...she really should know better than to mess with the Guru. That aside, we had a very enjoyable hack and set us all up right for the week I think.

What happens when you try to capture the sunset from a moving horse

My plan for tomorrow is to give N the day off & lung Miss Kika in the pessoa, she enjoys it and I think a change of pace wouldn't go astray for her at this stage. Wednesday I cannot make it to the barn in the evening so L will play with the ponies, she may or may not jump K (depends on arena availability) and I dunno if she has her sights set on N. Eitherway I shall be making my return to their saddles Thursday evening and then seeing where the rest of the week takes us plan-wise...hopefully we can get another hack or two in over the weekend :)

Thursday 20 February 2014

Rider Review: Eurostar Carlotta Jacket

This has been a crazy stressful/busy week between work deadlines being moved up and apartment meetings & stresses of building ... I spent 3 and 1/2 hours choosing bathroom fittings on Tuesday afternoon - ridiculously exhausting! #grown-up-problems
Sadly all this stress has made for little saddle time for me, in fact - NONE - since I last posted on Monday evening. So as not to leave the blog totally idle and loose the little readership I have regained since the blog-silence of Autumn/Winter 2013 - I decided to post a rider review of my "new" jacket

Ladies & Gentlemen - the Eurostar Carlotta Jacket

Yours truly so please excuse the lack of quality/randomness of photo
I picked up this jacket "on sale" at a local tack store, I say "on sale" as it was still quite pricey but that's to be expected when buying brand-name and I deff wouldn't have looked at it twice at it's original price, cos I'm a cheapskate when it comes to my riding gear - the horses, now that's another story...they always get the best I can save to afford.
I needed a new winter jacket to keep me warm and this one fit the brief, looked nice on and had zip pockets, removable ticked all the boxes & was on sale.

I have had the jacket a while now and the rest of the photos in the post have been taken after it's first run through the washing machine, as let me tell you this jacket has been worn almost everyday since i bought it. I not only wear it to the barn every evening, but also every lunchtime on my mad-dash run across town to turn the horses out. It is the perfect jacket to wear around the beasties and for everyday tasks as it cleans up with a quick wipe of a damp cloth after horses scratch off you.

I find that it has a flattering fit due to vertical paneling on sides & under the arms - always more flattering than horizontal stripes IMO. It is nicely padded to keep me warm on cold days, has cotton elasticity around wrists and waist to hug to your shape, keep heat in and stop the jacket/sleeves riding up.It also has a lovely padded collar, again with cotton to keep you warm which can be zipped up and negates the need for a scarf - always preferable in my mind when riding as no risk of strangling...

Back turned up & normal to show cotton-elastic lining

There is a handy double zip system which opens from the top or the bottom - to allow you ease of use when in the saddle. The hood can be removed (zip) or fastened down (velcro) with a very cute stirrup shaped attachment to the hood - perhaps an unnecessary embellishment, but make it un-obviously horsey & I like that about it!

See earlier back picture for velcro fastening in between the shoulder blades
There are two zip pockets on the front to keep your phone and/or horse treats, keys, packets of tissues, money etc - with no risk of falling out  and no bouncing as the pockets are fleece lined so things "stick in them" ... or they do in my experience, plus these also keep your hands toasty and warm on a cold day.
There is also a "phone" zip breast-pocket inside the jacket which I typically use to hold my mp3 music player so that my earphones don't get tangled elsewhere...Keeping my phone in there would make it considerably less accessible and as i often forget my watch - I need it to know the time!

Other nice embellishments include a none to obnoxious logo over the left breast - I am not a fan of big in your face logos, so this suits me just fine even though it is a little blingy - as are the zips & cotton/elastic linings on sleeves and waist - but again it is relatively understated and only someone pointed it out to me I wouldn't have noticed. I am not the biggest fan of bling, so if it had been very noticeable I would never have gotten the jacket.

Negatives ... there are not many, that I can have noticed so far: after my month of daily abuse, this coat has weathered well.
One is that when wearing my riding gloves it can be difficult to get my hand out the elastic sleeve end - but that could just be my in-capabilities shining through. I could also always just take the gloves off and then put them back on again once I have the jacket on...but again, derpville resident #1 = me, so why make things easy for myself?!
It also feels to me like it might have lost some of its padded feel after having gone through the wash - but again this might just be my perception.

I typically don't ride in my jacket for arena work, and haven't gone hacking in the woods since I bought it so cannot comment with certainty what it is like to ride in, besides walking to warm up - in which case it is fine. Perfect length as you aren't sitting on it, if you want/need to work in it you can remove the hood or velcro it down with stirrup fastening - as I said I have been lucky enough with winter this year that I haven't needed it to ride.

A quick google showed me it comes in many different colours, although sadly I couldn' t find a Eurostar 'HOME' site to link to, perhaps one of you computer whiz-kid geniuses can help a technophobe out ;-)
All in all I am super happy with my purchase, I have had lovely comments from people at the barn & friends in work/I meet on the street - as I said it goes everywhere with me, like my Ariat Windmeres - both made the recent trip with me to Ireland and survived the rain & sea air there as I went "rock" climbing.
I cannot say enough positive things about this jacket and would recommend it to anyone looking for a warm winter jacket that can take you from the barn to everyday life and back again.

I am not in anyway connected to the Eurostar brand nor have I been asked to write this review - this is simply my opinion on a jacket I recently purchased and like so thought I'd share with whoever wants to read it.

PS: If you don't follow SprinklerBandit & Redheadlins, well you should their posts are awesome, but that aside - they have entered a photo competition with a fab French/paparazzi themed story. Please help vote for them and their fabulously imaginative photograph. :D

Tuesday 18 February 2014

Busy Bee

I was a busy bee last night as I ran around trying to get things done with four horses and home at a reasonable hour so that I could check electrics in apartment as some of the plugs that have been put in are in the wrong place. :-(

Anyway, I started out with a quick spin on Kika in the main arena. She was fantastic, her schooling session sunday with the Guru and osteo visit last week have worked wonders. As I had so much to do it was a super quick spin, w/t/c circles, changes of rein and some lateral work. She rocked it all! :-D


Then I went out to turnout area to open new bale of hay, fill haynets & hang them for todays Lunchtime Mad-Dash to turn them out. Brought in Nancy & O, rinsed O's mucky hooves and left the two of them tied in grooming area to keep each other company as O's feet dried so that I could later put on her stable wraps. Another yard friend is ill and signed off work for the week, so I said I'd hand-walk her injured horse 10minutes & filled his water bucket etc. I then put wraps on O and put her away before deciding I had enough time to give Nancy a little lunge.

Two photos of Kika today as she didn't feature on Sunday

Our lunging track record isn't great, N tends to rush and rather trot than walk; but yesterday went really well. I don't know was this a once-off or if our partnership is blossoming and she reacts better to me & my requests. We do have to work on getting her to look inside the circle while lunging and perhaps introduce a lunging aid; pessoa work did wonders for Kika and she loves it.
I was very pleasantly surprised and overjoyed with the work I squished in. Rugged N backup, prepared carrots for three (my two & O), refilled the injured horse's water bucket as he'd spilt it then headed home to puzzle over apartment electric plans hahaha.

My new EquiKozy Socks!
PS: Check out EquestrianTrend's blog (if you haven't already), she posts fab recommendation posts for equestrian products for both humans & horses. She has a poll currently running (top right hand corner) to see what readers want to see more of - love her posts, although they are 100% dangerous to my paycheck & credit card! LOL

Google Images

Sunday 16 February 2014

Unfairly Unfit

Or so I appear to be as my legs are saddle sore after only a week without horse-riding...what is up with that?!
I guess muscle memory doesn't apply to my body :-p

My body failings aside I had three wonderful spins on my girls this weekend; I rode both girls yesterday & Nancy this morning. The reason for my lack of saddle time is I was away last weekend; so no riding, had to catch up on what girls did on Tuesday and as I hadn't been able to turn them out at lunchtime due to appartment-meetings - their stables were manky so I cleaned them as they spun on the walker. Wednesday the osteo managed to come so two days rest was perscribed for girlies to get used to manipulations.

So, long story short; Saturday was my return to the saddle. I started with Kika and managed to snag some alone time in our favoured arena. Warmed up nicely with w/t/c and kept things simple with circles, changes of rein etc after  the osteo fixed her. She was very good, no longer locking her neck & tossing her head - calling in osteo was obviously the right call although I do need to count my pennies and get saddle fitter back for both girls. The saddles aren't awful (Kika WILL let me know when it no longer fits) but they do leave a bit to be desired :-(

Nancy was next, the main arena was free (woohoo - full back wall of mirrors) & L opted to ride her mare at the same time - yay for corrective pointers. N had one spook when we were near entrance end of arena and the wind whistled through rafters...I don't know if things are after coming loose or is wind just worse this year than previous 3 years I've been here as I have never heard it whirr like it does now with the wind - weird.
There were two other riders besides myself & L, one of them I have bemoaned before as she is one of the most selfish users of an arena at the barn - so much so that if she is riding in an arena before I start I will ride in a busier arena to avoid having to try to manoeuvre around her. Talk about getting too close for comfort! I am just glad Nancy is so cool & calm.
The ride wasn't as good as it could have been as I was distracted trying not to knock other riders like ten-pin-bowling-skittles with my tank horse .. I did learn that we have a much better set of brakes now than last year as we managed to avoid two collissions with other rider - who is now also being added to ny avoid-shating-arena-with-list. Gosh I sound really whiney & complicated! I really am not a difficult person to ride with (or at least i don't think so) I'd be better able to relax if I felt like the people riding at the same time as me respect distances and pay attention to other riders. I don't think that is asking too much; is it?!

I got another spin in on Nancy this morning while L schooled Kika. We had hoped to do a jump school, but sadly those arenas were crazy busy so we went for the large empty one and hacked around :-D My spin was much more productive on N this morning, we didn't do anything fancy, just worked through the basics of w/t/c; circles, changes of rein each time concentrating on maintaining tempo, balance and contact. Things are going so much better now that I remember to release my grip on her face and we get back on track so much smoother. It's the little things in life!

L & I then cleaned up our hay storage area at the turnout to prepare for a new bale; we dumped all the excess stuff that had fallen off the bale down the back of the turn out for the girls to work through at their leisure. I am on my way home to bring the little darlings in.
As always, I apologise for lack of images to accompany wy waffle - sadly as I'm the photo obsessed one no one takes pictures of me ;-)

Friday 14 February 2014

Friday Flashback IV

I actually have dates for this post - all photos were taken when we were on holidays in the south of France; Ste Marie de la Mer - lovely sport on the Mediterranean where we spent a couple of weeks our first summers in Luxembourg. The year...1991 - talk about a flashback!

"Family Portrait" Dad must be behind the camera ;-)
I'm very glad to see I have a helmet on in this one!

Leading the way - poor pony & check out the brazen face on me, hah!
I wonder what was going through my mind!

How a family portrait should be - ponies front & center!

Dunno if you can make out my t-shirt - lol MY NAME!
I wonder if we still have that somewhere...

I have vague memories of these photos being taken, but my over-riding (no pun intended) memories of those holidays are playing on the beach; topless women (we were in France - I guess even at 5 years of age I was a prude) & the smell fresh coffee & croissants - in fact that combination of smells still sends my brain into it's own series flashbacks.

PS: I'm not too sure about the suitability of our choice or riding attire (awesome name t-shirts aside of course) ... but whatevs we were on holidays & it was more than likely hotter than our pale Irish skin could cope with (my skins till can't cope with it lol!)

Thursday 13 February 2014

Clumsy Clutz

For a change the title refers to me - not the horses...yeah so this happened Tuesday night

Google Images
Well not quite that dramatic nor did my experience involve a rake, but you get the gist ;-)
A few yard brushes were leaning against the wall near the hay & straw bales, I accidentally stepped on end of one of the brushes and you guessed it...the handle leapt away from the wall and smacked me above my left eye socket - OUCHIES!
Thankfully I was able to put arnica on it when I got home and so far have stopped it becoming a black eye - imagine my shame of going to work and having to explain how I got the black eye...takes the walking-into-a-door/wall excuse to a whole new level!
Although I did tell 2 people at work & a couple yard friends what a numpty I am - teehee!

In equine news, the girls were visited by the osteo Wednesday Thursday & Friday will be doss days for them!
I mentioned in previous posts that Kika had taken to locking her neck & being a bit defensive under saddle. L babysat/bootcamped the girls while I was in Ireland at the weekend & tried all the saddles we own on K to see if that may be what was causing her issues. I do know my saddles do need adjusting, fingers crossed I can save some pennies and call out saddle-fitter. I decided to try get osteo out first as cheaper intermediate option while I save funds for saddler.
Collage shared on instagram, so my apologies to those who have already seen it!

While waiting for osteo to arrive the girlies got good elbow-grease groomings. Kika isn't too interested in shedding yet - at least not on her upper body (back) but her legs are happy to loose some fuzz; whereas Nancy's coat has had enough of winter and was quite happy to come loose with plenty currying.
Kika did have some blockages in her head/neck, withers/saddle area and lower back/rump from compensating for frontal issues. Nancy also got a cursory once over, with a smidge of tweaking but thankfully is in fine form. The osteo did say that Nancy has two funny shaped vertebrae behind where the saddle would sit, she said it is nothing to worry about and that it isn't affecting anything that she may have just rolled/lay on something as a foal that affected the shape of the vertebrae. She (the osteo) did say it was funny as it wasn't two consecutive vertebrae, but one funny shaped, one normal then another odd shaped one...horses like humans are funny bunnies. I am glad however that this oddity will have no ill-effects for my sweet Nancy. Osteo also commented & we shared a giggle at the gaping differences in the girls characters; Kika is a massive fidgeter & N is as laid back she's almost horizontal in the crossties!

Left Kika's paltry shedding attempt - Right Nancy's more substantial effort

I did have to giggle at the pair of them when I turned them out at lunchtime yesterday. Sadly they hadn't been able to get out over the long weekend due to the crazy winds - so Kika was a bit UP when she got out yesterday and wanted to play - O just wanted to eat & N just wanted to scratch her neck under low hanging branches (it now makes crystal clear sense how she managed to rip such a chunk of her mane out...silly sod!) - but Kika had other plans and squealed & squawked bucking, leaping and farting like a loopy loony.
You could see the other two join in briefly but as soon as Kika stood still they meandered right back to eating/itching - such funny creatures!
I completely forgot to try to grab some media of it, as I was silently praying she'd settle so that I could get back to work on time - while at the same time thanking my lucky stars that a friend had offered me a lift so I wasn't on as tight a time-limit as I will be when bus'ing it today.
Yesterday was a glorious sunny (if windy) winter's day, so that may have contributed to her friskiness - sadly this morning has dawned WET :(
Hopefully I can get a dry hour and a half window to get my Lunchtime Mad-Dash done without getting soaked!

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Images of Ireland

From our family Sunday at the beach at Goat's Island near Ardmore, Co Waterford ... to scatter my uncles ashes. Thankfully we had a lovely day, bot wet or blustery like previous days - i guess someone was watching out for us.

The bit jutting out to the front left of photo is where we climbed
Waves - piece of rock to the right of this pic is the outcrop we climbed from the left of above photo

My aunt's fiance taking pictures of the group, we are on top of the outcrop of rock from first pic - don't worry we were nowhere near as close to those waves as camera angle suggests...we were careful. Too many people have been washed away in Europe recently for us to be foolish enough to get close to anywhere the waves were hitting

Close-up of my Mama with waves crashing in background
Almost uncle-in-law watching waves

Aunt-in-law & almost-uncle-in-law wave watching
Apologies for poor shot - sun at awkward angle
Looking down & back towards the alcove from rock outcrop
Uncle's initials that passed away in October who we gathered to send off
Family descending rock outcrop, two of my mam's sisters are in forefront, with almost uncle-in-law in navy behind them; mam's brother in the khaki pants behind & his wife (aunt-in-law from earlier pic) bringing up the rear
View of flooding from plane as we left Cork Monday

And lastly I'll leave you with a video of waves from Sunday

I'm proud of my mostly Wordless Wednesday post *beam*
We were truly blessed with the weather that day, the rest of the weekend was pretty wet & miserable, hence no other photos!

Friday 7 February 2014

Friday Flashback III

This week's flashback is another undated entry but I'd guess I'm about 5 years old. This is one of my favourite "flashback" photos as (1) I LOVE B&W photos, there is something so classic and timeless about them and (2) the horse/cob I am on was my mother's horse & the horse I initially learned to ride on + did my first pony camp with her when I was just six years old. I shall have to see if I can dig out any of those photos!
Tassie was well into her 30s by the time I rocked up and started bopping about on her back - she was a super star & I cannot imagine how heart-warming it was for my mother to have myself and my sister learn to ride on her old pony. I know if I ever have kids it'd warm my heart to have them learn with Nancy...methinks Kika might be too much of a headcase lol!

Left = me on Tassie, Right = my sis T on Nipper

Thankfully I did get to ride both girls this morning, although I really shouldn't have bothered with Kika. We have CRAZY winds here this morning - 36km/h (fun fact - in a car that'd be breaking the speed limit in residential areas). To say the arena were noisy is an understatement - and we know how Kika loves unsuspected loud noises out of the blue.

Google Images
As always I should've trusted my instincts when I woke up this morning and heard the wind battering the house - I did say to my mother that it wouldn't be worth my time even attempting to sit on Kika in that racket; her response to me "Just get on with it" - my mama is Old School! So I put on my big gurl pants, got to the yard, tacked her up and went to find an arena with a low body count. I ended up in the largest arena which was shockingly empty - I realised why immediately!!
I hand-walked K around as I'm wont to do prior to riding in case there are any gremlins hiding in the corners - I'd rather reassure her from the ground before tightening the girth and getting up, it makes it such a non-issue once in the saddle. There was some whirring sounds from the wind on the roof, so I decided to turn on the radio - after walking around another lap (did I mention that the yard is hosting a small livery show on Sunday so a dressage arena is boarded off in the large arena complete with judges table / plenty for Kika's frazzled brain to oogly-eye at) I stopped at the entrance end to take off my jacket as before hopping up I was after getting quite warm.
Thank God I was still on the ground, the wind suddenly hammered & battered the roof with such gusto that I couldn't hear the radio and despite being absolutely terrified Kika managed to contain herself to stepping slightly away from me and tensing with eyes-on-stalks. One reassuring/heartwarming thing despite her usually completely irrational fears - is the complete trust she has in me when i tell her it's ok so long as I am on the ground with her once in the saddle it is an utterly different ball game - but such is the enigma that is Kika! Lol

RIP Blue Triangle EquiKozy Socks

Needless to say I decided against riding in that arena and went to seek refuge in the oldest arena where one girl was getting a lesson, rather than my preferred arena where 5 people were riding  they obviously all had more sense than me! While the "new" arena was considerably less noisy than the main arena it was still nowhere near quite enough for the hamster in Kika's brain - as always she settles better when hand-walked so I did a couple of laps on foot before hopping up. We got some nice walk & trot under saddle and lot of distracted eye-balling of the sides when we changed rein - when glass collectors outside started making noise I decided to call it quits before her brain gremlins took over completely and I lost any semblance of sanity from her. I took off her saddle and lunged her in the smallest arena where she behaved beautifully then tucked her back into her stable while I rode Nancy.

N is such a gem and behaved like an angel as I put her through her paces in our preferred arena, where I'd also ridden her last nigh. Both spins were very productive and allowed us to practice the lessons L had given us on Sunday & Monday. While we still have a lot to work on, when I remind myself to keep out of her face and attempt to un-knot/straighten myself on my bad rein we really do get some quite nice work done.
There were three other riders with us in the arena, so maneuverability was questionable at times - but despite this we got some really lovely soft & calm canter work with lovely non-stressed transitions back down to trot afterwards. Our trot/walk transitions as usual left a lot to be desired ... but it is all a work in progress.
Heck two weeks ago I was down in the dumps about my inability to ride Nancy, so to have made some progress since then is a huge stride forward for me.
Positivity & manageable goals + eyes on the ground is the key to improvement!

Sadly the crazy wind, meant I decided against turning the girls out today which I am super disappointed about as it really helps them mentally to spend a couple of hours a day out in the fresh air. Sadly such is life sometimes - i am super lucky to have access to winter turnout. One day inside in cozy stables with plenty hay won't kill them.

Right that's me all up to date & I'm now ready for road.
I'm all packed and on my way out the door to catch train to Brussels to fly back to Ireland tonight.
Fingers crossed the Mammy & I have a safe journey! The weather has been awful in Ireland since Christmas and most western coastal areas have been battered and are sadly flooded. So many people affected & businesses ruined. Hopefully we can get away with a hired car and not require a dingy or speedboat!

Thursday 6 February 2014

Quick Query & User Updates

I may just be being paranoid, but page views & comments are definitely down since I updated the blog url to - methinks people are either no longer being updated or have just lost their way to my blog...this makes me sad!

Google Images

If you do still read, please leave comments as I love to hear from you!

Google Images - how I feel when I get comments

I have joined, in the hopes of finding even more awesome people to bond over ponies with! 

I haven't quite figured out how to add the badge to my page yet,
but hopefully soon!

In order to help any newcomers I may or may not get through haynet, I have created two new pages (links on the right-hand tab) for background info About Us & my Equestrian Bucketlist which I hope to update as I get new ideas/actually do stuff and cross things off the list.

Quick Kika snapshot after our spin on Tuesday
Update on the girls:
I had another good lesson with Nancy and the Guru on Monday evening, I felt like some of the tips from Sunday's lesson had stuck and was very happy with both of us.
Obviously there was a lot of repetition from the previous day - i am never going to be perfect (who is, right?!):
- continuous reminders to keep my heels down,
- move my legs forward/back as appropriate,
- turn head to the inside (making me consiredably straighter)  on my bad rein
- softens grip on the reins & DON'T "pull" against her if/when she leans, sadly my instinct when she leans on my hands is to close my fingers on the reins and try to stop her...nasty habit!
An argument I can never hope to come out in pole position as she is so much stronger than I am and I fear making her hard mouthed *blubber*
L wants me to almost throw the reins at her (figuratively of course) when she tries to lean so that she has nothing to lean against and has to pick herself up on her own or fall on her nose. Gotta love horsies testing the boundaries & seeing what they can get away with.

Kika got worked by the Guru on Monday afternoon as she finished work earlier than me and had asked if she could take her for a spin - she said she was very good to start, K got a bit snitty about walk/trot transitions so ended up doing lots of them till they were no longer a big deal - Kika is such a silly billy! Always looking for ways to avoid work only ending up making it worse for herself *roll-eyes*

Tuesday was Nancy's day off & I got a good spin in on Kika, much improved on our Sunday session; in which she got herself a bit hot under the collar about I can't remember what and we ended up cantering till she sorted her brain gremlins out. We worked on the basics, w/t/c calmly & softly in the contact without fussing or blocking/tensing her neck - lots of circles & changes of rein mixing it up with transitions and posting + sitting trot. She was lovely, soft & responsive which left me with a self-satisfied smile and packed me off for a happy evening at home.

Today is Kika's day off and I'm not sure what time (or if the Guru is coming this evening), so I shall play with my Nancy-Belle myself and hope we can continue in the good vein of form from the two lessons. *fingers-crossed*
I am off work tomorrow as flying to Ireland in the evening, so hoping to get both girls ridden in the morning before turning the three gee-gees out for the day and leaving my girls in the Guru's capable hands for the weekend. Hopefully I can snap some pics & get the blog updated with our shenanigans before I jet off!

PS: I hope this post doesn't come across as whiney/attention-seeking...that is not my intention at all. I just love getting feedback, tips & suggestions from readers and am afraid people might be missing out on updates after the url name change. Although admittedly, we don't get up to much exciting LOL!
I don't know if maybe it might be best to "un-follow" and then "re-follow" with new blog url...