Friday 31 October 2014

Happy Halloween

My girls are more adventurous than me this year & actually got dressed up...

Instagram photo, same sunset in previous post but taken with phone camera

As MUCK MONSTERS again...very original ladies *eye-roll*
I swear Nancy in particular tried to bring the field with her. I mean I know they are going to miss the grass & living out 24/7 for the winter...but bringing mud memorabilia is going a bit far sweetie. ☺


They are now all tucked in their stables with a small handful of muesli & hay for their first night in since the end of April. I managed to get some work done on the winter turnout fencing this evening. I shall do the rest tomorrow afternoon (after riding them) while they are out there with me so that I can keep an eye on Miss Horsey Houdini. Although there is currently plenty green after growing in over spring/summer, hopefully Kika will keep out of mischief till I get the hay delivered some day next week.

Mucky Fuzzball

Yay for my "midterm" break, I can keep an eye on them, ride everyday & hopefully get a few lessons all going well :-D I love my job, but not having had any time off since a long weekend in early August has me feeling like I've earned a break *sigh*
Hopefully I'll have some more exciting pictures tomorrow & maybe even organise to have the monsters clipped while I'm off. I should probably get them done this weekend - but i don't want to rug Houdini yet! I want her to KNOW the electricity is on *mean-mama-me*

Sunday 26 October 2014

More Mucky Monsters

The girls outdid themselves today, both in their good behaviour under saddle & their ability to bring half the mud in their field in with them and by consequence transferring it to me during grooming - so much so that my mother kindly told me I'd a mudstach when I got home *sniggers*

Mucky McMonster
As has become the new norm, I started with Kika while Nancy spun on the walker. We warmed up well at the walk, I really concentrated on getting a good forward walk from K on a long rein and progressively more collected working in circles, changes of rein on the diagonals, circles and serpentines - really focusing on straight and then bending correctly. As always a work in progress, but to be honest & fair to her I don't work it as well or as often as I should. *shame-faced*

Hairy McMuckmonster
Just as we were starting our trot work, a fellow livery came to ask if she could lunge while we rode. No probs for me, in fact it was the same girl who lunged on Monday evening while i rode K - although she was lunging a different horse this time. Thankfully a quieter one, not that he mad one had bothered K on Monday ... but I digress. This meant that we were again working in only one half of the ring, which I find challenging to keep things interesting.

Only way to get a photo of me in the tack
 #sundayselfie  pre-work
Kika is so motivated lolz
The goal became transitions & softness from Kika, I didn't want any hollowed giraffe impressions from her. I'm not saying we didn't have any (hello - it is still us) but i kept asking similar questions till I consistently got the outline & give from her. Poor dear was destroyed when we finished - i cannot wait for her to be clipped and I'm sure she feels the same.

A hot mess after work
Nancy was next after i gave K a rinse and popped her on the walker to spin as Nancy & I got to play under saddle. It struck me as i joined three others in the largest arena that it had been a few weeks since I had ridden Nancy in company. As i have typically been riding Kika first of late; most people are finished and gone home by the time i get to play with Nancy. Not once did she look at any other horse nor put a toe out of line on that count.

Close-up of N pre-grooming

I didn't really have a set plan of attack for my spin with Nancy bar not get in anyone else's way while seeing what i had to play with in the N-meister.  A more forward walk wasn't really happening, but now that I think about it she had spent a good 30 (maybe 45) minutes at a good walk in the walker, so we'll tackle improving the walk again tomorrow perhaps when I will be riding after work and more conscious of not letting her get too sweaty before she goes back out to the field for the night.

Cute poneh being adorabubble after work

We did more trot & canter work than we have been doing lately. Her trot work was very good as almost always. The canter left a bit to be desired, probably my fault somehow...wish I had eyes on the ground to yell at me; but we'll go back to the drawing board another day. I am not saying it was appalling or anything, just that the last time we worked on canter went better. Admittedly that day we were in an arena alone & I dunno about you guys, but i deff ride better when I am not keeping half an eye out for other riders and/or thinking they're watching and judging me/my horse. Which let's be honest I'd highly unlikely considering they are probably concentrated on their horses & not paying me a blind bit of notice. Poor Nancy having to deal with a neurotic numpty like me on her back.
Our canter itself was quite nice, however our departs were a bit stickier than I'd have liked - however we didn't mess up our strike off. So I'm going to take that as a small win and update the mental to work on list.

#pamperedpony getting spoiled
The problems really are mine in that I still am not getting out to ride them as often as I should. Now I don't think they are in anyway upset at this lack of saddle time - i don't doubt they are happier out 24/7 without my harassing them the work on circles etc. Upswing of the clocks going back is that this is their last week on summer turnout. Friday they will go in for their first night since the end of April & I will be back to visiting the barn twice a day. Midday to turn them out and then again in the evening to bring them in and hopefully ride. Finger scrolled we can all get fitter again & start making positive progress if i can organise myself to take a couple of lessons!

See you tomorrow

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Movement Monday

I know I am posting this on a Tuesday, but it is a recap of my spins from last night - so technically the title isn't wrong - right? ;-)

Back where I belong

I started with Kika although as someone was lunging a horse in the lower half of the arena I was in, who was being anything but polite I figured it best not to stop for a selfie in the mirror - even though the mirror in that arena is the cleanest I have even seen it & would give a wonderfully clear shot.
Hangover from the show on Sunday aka - perks :)

Despite the other horse's ructions below us, Kika was a superstar. Sure she had the odd quiver when he'd take off bucking like a loony, but not once did she break stride nor spook at the corner she decided was scary last night. She would give that corner an evil stare as we passed it, but never did she refuse to pass it or shy away from it - I think we are approaching maturity folks...but shhh don't tell her that!

Super surprise awaited me in my locker from the Guru
 what a friend!

Kika & I worked on a circle in the upper half of the arena, only in walk & trot while the other horse was lunging. Lots of transitions and a few changes of rein. Once we had a bit more space we had a couple circles and a long-side of wonderful canter. I was very pleasantly surprised by her, although I really shouldn't be any more. I guess that doubtful little voice in my head is always tehre to remind me of just how bad she once was. I swear having more turnout time has been the saviour of our partnership.

Post-work & post-walker mmmm dried sweat stains - i really need to tidy her mane!
Kika then spun in the walker while Nancy & I worked in the main arena. Mostly on our walk with some trot work included, as I didn't want her to sweat because I was running out of time & wouldn't be able to dry her off before turning her back out for the night. Our walk needs serious work, so i was only too happy for a solid reason to work on it. She had spun in the walker while i rode Kika, so she was warmed up & had a good stride down, which deff made things easier for me. We managed to get through the spin without curling on her part - I for one take this as a win :D
Now don't get me wrong, we are not perfect and we have heaps of work to do, but that tiny victory last night - which i probably won't be able to repeat for ages as i do not know why we managed last night *lesigh* - gives me hope that we can crack this walking nut & make baby steps towards progression :)

Kika after another brush-down to remove dried sweat.
Shiny like a copper penny
I'm going to a London Grammar concert this evening, so no saddle time for them or me...but tomorrow night we'll try again and see where the evening takes us :)
I'll leave you with a youtube link to the album of the band I'm going to see later - nice mellow, zen music. Might buy it & listen to it while we ride :D

Sunday 19 October 2014

30 before 30

29 years ago today I came into the world and developed into the pony-mad loony you all know today.

My baby footprints alongside a postage stamp for size comparison.
I was 2 & 1/2 months early - that's why they are so small.

I have been inspired by Lauren's 30 before 30...and would love your help to make up a list of things to achieve over the next 12 months. Equine & general life experiences you think shouldn't be missed or perhaps even things you wish you had done sooner.

I hope to have gotten my act together enough to have a list of goals by the end of the month - or maybe I should give myself a month to set myself 30 goals...Please help with suggestions. ☺
One will deff be to try to meet up with as many of you awesome bloggers as possible!

Saturday 18 October 2014

Muck Monsters 2014

The yard was a hive of activity today as Apparently there is a  on petition there tomorrow, which I hadn't realised till I saw the food stands & tents set up when I got there today. This made bringing my girls in fun, especially after we navigated the work site in front of their field. Including all kinds of heavy machinery - thankfully at a standstill otherwise they would've stayed where they were ... I don't have a death wish, leading the pair of them in together along a public road is challenging enough without adding in actual heavy machinery to the mix.

Muck Monster #1
They were happy as two pigs in muck when they got in as you can see from the photos, they had had a great couple rolls, so I had my work cut out for me to clean them up for tack. I groomed them both together and half-tacked Kika up (saddle) before popping Nancy on the walker while i started with Kika (as she sweats so much she needs more time to dry out after). Kika was super, we just covered the basics of walk/trot/canter as there were two others in the arena with us who were getting a lesson so i was conscious of staying out of the way as best I could. She didn't put a hoof out of line at any stage, she stumbled from time to time but that was more my fault than hers as i doubt I had her revved enough as i was keeping an eye on others so she probably dozed off & fell over her own feet.

Muck Monster #2
Kika got a shower and then spun in the walker while Nancy got some saddle time. We also covered the basics of walk, trot and canter. It was my first time in weeks playing with Nancy's canter, and unlike then we didn't fluff our lead departs. Woop woop! However we had random issues and our spin was cut short as people asked to set up jumps, which wasn't a problem for me, but then one of the owners came to ask for them to be dismantled so that he could drag the arena. Unusually for N she had a spook as one of the girls doing the fences was at the entrance waiting for us the canter passed before coming in to the arena. N didn't see her till the last minute as she had been  concentrating on her canter work so when the girl moved in N's peripheral vision she scooted and broke from the canter, but came back to me wonderfully. It is so surprising to me when she spooks as it happens so rarely lol. Bless her she really is so sweet even when she comes in with half the field clinging to her ;-)

Tuesday 14 October 2014

Transition Tuesday

I started with Kika today as she is hairier so sweats more & needs more time to dry off after work. We really concentrated on walk/trot transitions this evening, with the main aim being to get cleaner/crisp transitions without her hollowing her back and tossing up her head. It was sketchy at best, but the fact we got it right sometimes gives me hope that with a bit more practice and actually proper effort to ride the transitions on my part we will get there...I hope anyway. Baby steps!

#motivated & #pamperedpony
Nancy was next, we also worked on transitions although I concentrated more on walk/halt transitions with her as our walk is atrocious and our halt worse. I kept trot work as our reward/break from walk/halt. Trot is deff the easiest gait for us, she is really sluggish in the walk and either drags herself along on the forehand or curls in on herself still avoiding walking properly. It's a serious work in progress and our halt isn't much better to be honest. It is like trying to stop a freight train that then stands like an offended giraffe - both need a lot of work and some eyes on the ground to help guide me out of my terrible habits which i'm sure aren't helping our cause. Again baby steps mixed with some consistency and a teacher & hopefully we'll get there ☺


Monday 13 October 2014

On to October

First, let me start off by saying a huge THANK YOU for all your lovely comments on my last post. *hugs*
Funnily enough, the act of typing it & airing my "dirty" secret in public has helped me rediscover my missing drive to climb aboard.

Saturday I rode both, I just covered the very basics of walk-trot with Nancy, who was better than I remembered at the downward transitions or maybe I was riding better...who knows. We shall try again soon, although I think I ride my girls better after a break as I am not trying to achieve anything in particular. However if we had a good spin I somehow jinx myself for the next spin as I inevitably want to achieve the same outcome but often don't manage as I get all caught up in my head, push myself too hard & am probably seven shades of tense so we obviously cannot repeat the good work of the relaxed day. Silly mental problems! Although I think I am better now then I used to be at just riding what I have under me any given day...we shall see.
Nancy was a big brave girl in the walker all by herself while I rode Kika as the smaller arena Ii usually leave her in was being used for lunging. N was a little wary & nose to the gate when she first went into the walker, but when I went to collect her after a quick 20 minute spin with Kika she was chillaxed in the middle of her slot vs nose to the grate or Kika's ass to the behind grate slowing the whole thing down...K is a liability the lazy sod!

Kika was again very good, is it burning my bridges to say we might finally be out of the woods? She will never be everyone's cup of tea nor 100% everyday, she still challenges my requests all the time and makes me a better rider by ignoring me if I don't ask properly. But she no longer pitches a shit-fit when she's had enough, or perhaps (probably most likely) I haven't pushed her that far in forever.
We worked a little in walk as she had spent my 20 minutes spin-time with Nancy turning on the walker, so not much walk work needed. However when she relaxed across her back we moved up into some trot work, with walk transitions and circles + changes of rein. We also snuck in some canter work as all was going well and she was relaxed, I hadn't planned on cantering as that spin was meant to be a "get-the-feelers-out" spin to see how ouchy she was without the shoes. Not a lame step was taken, so fingers crossed!
Kika is after getting so wooly that our 15 minute spin had her quite sweaty & in need of some drying time before I tossed her back outside for the night. She really is the epitome of a pampered pony! She is a funny creature though and doesn't really sweat while working, yet 5-10minutes after we have finished she is is like her body is on a go-slow...or maybe it just takes that time to work it's way through her mammoth growth so that I can see it...hmmm

"Stop interrupting my nap time with your silly human hand waving to catch my attention!"

Both girls are now barefoot, the new farrier/blacksmith(?!), I should probably say trimmer, came on Tuesday evening and removed Kika's remaining shoe (she did only have two to begin with, I am not so heartless as to have her loose 3 & do nothing). She tidied up both girls feet and gave me some pointers as to what I can do to help keep their tootsies healthy etc. I love learning new things & ways to help the little darlings live healthier & hopefully happy lives.
Although of course, Kika has now gone back to pawing when tied in the cross ties...wretched creature! That was why we had to put the shoes back on last time! Thankfully she does do it considerably less often now and she will not be in her stable for one of the two feeding times once she gets back in for the winter (hooray for access to winter turnout), so fingers crossed she won't make her hooves too small & sensitive this time. I feel more comfortable working with the new barefoot farrier as she is very approachable and said i can badger her and ask as many questions as I want. She may live to regret that offer ;-)

I had rugged them in 0grm Amigo Hero Lite turnouts on Thursday after it poured on them all week. Of course Friday & Saturday were dry to spite me, so I left the girls out without the rugs on Saturday evening as it was a warm 15C when I left them at 8.30pm. Q pouring rain all day Sunday and it's looking like sticking around today, so I'll be hauling them in & trying to dry them off so that I can put the rugs back on in the hopes of keeping their backs dry so that I can log some weekday saddle time!

A lot of my recent outside work/horses stress stems from the impending finalisation of my apartment & the stress I feel at furnishing it. This is the first time I will be buying my own furniture so it is a lot to budget for in one fell swoop & my browsing over the last month has left me cold at the prices of things in Lux. However Sunday I found a sweet deal (thanks to my awesome bargaining mama) on a super comfortable couch at an expo sale, so that has also raised my spirits. Now to find beds, why the mattress, slats & frame have to be sold separately and at such prices is beyond me...but now that we got amazing bargains on the kitchen & couch I know to hold out for bargaining on the beds etc also. All I can say is thankfully the bathrooms, tiling & painting was all included in the sale of the flat or I would be super strapped for cash if i had to add all that on as extra on top of buying all the furniture things!

Friday 10 October 2014

Full disclosure

I keep this blog to keep track of my equine adventure(s), however it has been very quiet of late and I am afraid I cannot put my finger on why my motivation & drive have deserted me.

Adulthood & scary monetary decisions about big purchases have me feeling stupidly down on myself. Which is ridiculous when we remember that this time last year I did not have job security whereas now I have, so really i shouldn't be worrying but the brain is a fickle fiend.
I fear I am taking my horses and their good behaviour for granted and worry that the day it will bite me in the backside can't be far away.
I am truly blessed to have them and that they are happy & healthy. I cannot fathom what is wrong with me & why I can't get myself into the tack.

It deff doesn't help that my work days run long & my weekends are spent in furniture stores freaking myself out at the price of the things that catch my eye. But really the issue is more mental than time constraint, if i truly wanted to ride i would find a way. I can't put my finger on why laziness has taken hold. If the girls weren't on 24/7 turnout and didn't have each other i think I'd be better at being More responsible and accountable.

Today I booked the first week of November off work and hope to talk to the trainer i took a lesson with in August about taking lessons with her that week. November 1st is the date that the horses officially move back into stabling, however again I am super lucky in that I have access to winter turnout for them whereas no one else at our yard does. So my daily lunchtime escapades to turn the girls out at midday will start again and the need to bring them back inside in the evenings will help me get to the yard every evening and hopefully get better about sticking to a schedule and ride more often.

I don't mean to be doom & gloom, but as this is my blog I have to hold myself accountable in all things. The downs as well as the ups, so that's where things confusingly stand for me.

Saturday 4 October 2014

Bad Blogger

I have been a terrible blogger and horse-mom during the month of September. Many things have been combining to keep me out of the saddle; namely work & life problems as i scurry around furniture stores every weekend trying not to cry at the prices as I attempt to decide on a sofa & beds for my flat before I get the keys in March.

I also got news from the yard that livery prices are going up as of November 1st, which led me to seriously consider sending Kika back to my aunts in Ireland as she could live out and maybe be a mama, but there wouldn't really be anyone to ride her and at 10 years of age she is too young and healthy to retire yet. So selfishly I'm going to keep her here a little longer and hope I can manage my time better to ride the pair of them. The option is always here if things don't improve although I would miss her terribly. :-(

I have managed to ride Nancy twice & Kika once since I last updated. I rode both without lunging or doing anything strenuous besides walk, trot and a smattering of canter with them. They are so good to me and forgiving of my lack of saddle time. I may have sweetened them up by bringing them an apple each when I visit them in the field in the evenings to check their legs & bodies in case they might have done themselves a mischief.

Nancy being a sweetheart & chatting to my mama

Kika pulled one of her front shoes this week, so has garnered herself some more time off, or spinning in the walker while I ride Nancy. It is just the two of them on the field again now as O has changed yards for retirement on 24/7 turnout all year around. I don't like the idea of leaving either of them on the field alone while I faff over the other one, so I bring them both in together.

I have asked a new blacksmith to come see them Tuesday. A friend recommended this lady to me as she is a barefoot trimmer, so I thought I'd give her a try as i worry that Nancy's feet might be a little low at the back. I also want to get her opinion as to whether I might be able to transition Kika back to barefoot again. This lady will come every couple of weeks to keep on top of trimmings and teach owners how to do the basics to minimise her trips to us.
I put the front shoes back on Kika as she has a nasty habit of scraping her front feet/stomping during feeding time and sometimes when tied in the cross ties although she does this considerably less when she gets turnout. It may not be possible to have her barefoot in front again because of this, but it can't hurt to ask the professional.