Monday 23 March 2015

Sneaky Saddle Time

As previously mentioned I had a bit of a mental last week, in the hopes of recovering some & resting up ahead of Saturdays adventure at Equitana I took Thursday and Friday off work to play with the ponies. I was an absolute waste of space on Thursday and only managed to turn the girls out for the day while I lounged at home catching up on TV shows.

Sunday pre-work
Friday was a new day which dawned lovely & sunny, but made trying to see the eclipse a little awkward. It didn't get as dark as it did for the last eclipse (1999?) but the birds went quiet and the sky got kind of purpley. I have no idea what the girls made of it as I wasn't at the stable yet and they were still in their stables so I doubt they even noticed to be honest as neither has a window. Sadly I got no photos that day but both girls were very good for me despite neither of them having been ridden since the previous Saturday and only turned out Sunday & Thursday. I really have two of the most angelic & forgiving equines.
I ♡ them so much!

Clever clogs to stop the haynet swinging and eat moar
I started with Kika and we decided to tackle the main arena, somewhere we hadn't ridden in a few weeks. We had the run of the place and got straight to work. I have taken a new approach with Kika of late, when I get up we go straight to work at the walk. No more wandering around on a loose rein to "warm up" as she just takes complete advantage and spooks at everything she can, so I put her mind straight to work as best I can and then am better able to handle the silliness when it invariably does happen. As it did on Friday, there was one spot half way down one of the long sides that Kika found rather offensive going right handed for whatever reason. She did make me laugh as when I had her attention elsewhere she almost forgot about the spooky spot and had a half-assed attempted final spook. We did a lot of twisting & turning and changes of rein and paces within the gaits. Having lost my schooling whip last weekend I borrowed one for Friday, but it was marginally too long for K & I so I got rid of it for our canter work as I accidentally tickle her when cantering on a circle with a whip of carried correctly in my inside hand.
Our first canter was absolutely awful and took her a good 5 minutes to settle into a nice rhythm; but after that she was fantastic on both reins.

How not to eat quickly & to maximum effect
Nancy was next and again we worked in the large arena and wound up sharing with another rider who was warming up for her lesson. Our fishtailing was under much better control and we wiggled a lot less than we do in the smaller arena, perhaps for the moment we both need the larger arena to help us keep straight. Our walk was also much improved, still a long way from perfect but slowly we are making baby steps towards progression. Our trot as always was our better gait & our canter was really really sweet. I won't pretend that it was my riding, she was in a good mental space and I cheated perhaps a little and asked her for the canter with a vocal cue more so than actual aids *blush*
However the transitions were so smooth and controlled that I was overjoyed & opted not to drill or harass her. Again I will take all small victories.

Haphazard / guesstimated pole pattern
Sunday I had hoped to go for a stroll in the woods, but considering the mood Nancy was in when I rode her twas probably for the best ;-)
When I got to the yard it was grey and cold so I opted for pole work instead, I decided to steal the pole exercise I'd seen on someone else's blog. However I'm a muppet and cannot remember whose... O.o My apologies in advance if you read this please let me know as I tried to set the poles from memory & we all know my memory is awful so if you could please link me to your post I'll save it for future reference :-)

A bit BTV but better than her usual giraffe impression
Again I started with Kika and was overjoyed with her behaviour as she deff put her best hoof forward. There's nothing like some poles to grab both our attention and coax some better work out of the pair of us. She gave me some lovely bend work, something we typically struggle with as she gets fussy in the bridle if I get too handsy with her & rightly so - she deff keeps me honest. *nod*
Our first attempt at canter work, on the other hand, left a lot to be desired. I started with what had been our better side on Friday and it was pretty abysmal as Kika tossed her legs in every which way as she flailed like an octopus as I waited her out till she settled. As her head came up and the flailing shifted more to front legs and she wound herself up rather than settling. I slowed things down and started again. We changed rein at trot across the diagonals for a couple times to re-engage both our brains. Our canter work after the initial hiccup was markedly improved yet still has a long way to go for a cool calm and collected canter from the get go. Bless her little pea-brain, I think the presence of the poles messed with her composure a bit but thankfully she came back to me and was a great girl again as we continued transitions across all paces and worked on our halts which were so much better - no more neck stretching. In each halt she calmly waited for me to signal our next move without giraffe'ing.

Exasperated pony-face pre-work
Nancy was next & oh boy did Nancy get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. She was ornery & awkward for 90% of our spin. She argued with me the whole time and made a general nuisance of herself. In saying that she is still Nancy and as annoying as she thought she was being she was not bad in anyway shape or form. She just pretended to be unable to walk or trot when asked. If I wanted her to walk she wanted to trot or squirm and fishtail; if I wanted to trot a circle she wanted to canter. There was a lot of head curling to her chest and balling up like a spring beneath me but only once did she throw a frustrated buck when I asked for a canter transition.
I don't know if she was pissy because she doesn't like pole work, or if she was annoyed that I put tendon & fetlock boots on her, or if she felt hard done by for her lack of turnout on Saturday...or maybe she was just having an off day. We will have to see how the week pans out from here ;-)
Whatever the reasoning behind the moodiness, I still didn't feel unsafe or out of control at any stage but when she coils like a spring beneath me I am acutely aware of the power she can harness when she wants to - thankfully she doesn't use her bulk for evil ☺


  1. Those poles look like fun! So glad you have been able to get some fun rides in even with some moody mare antics.

    1. Looking back her moody mare antics may have made it more fun ... yep I'm weird. Challenges are good in small doses as i have to rethink how to ask for things and find another key to unlock what i am looking for

  2. I'm still so impressed you consistently ride two horses! Love your clever girl with they hay bag there. =-)

    1. I wouldn't say I manage to consistently ride two, but i do my best to ride them.both at the weekends and then alternate during the week if work allows...meaning if i get home in time to get haynets/water ready for turnout and bring them in with time to spare to ride afterwards.
      I am truly blessed that they are both able to get out for the afternoons (when I can get there on my lunchbreak) so of that if i can't manage to ride them at least they are not cooped up in their stables 24/7. Kika cannot handle that...or at least she couldn't when she first moved out here. She has mellowed since, but I've no intention of trying my arm to see what would happen if she couldn't be turned out for a prolonged period of time! *eeep*

  3. The poles definitely look like a good time! I like the photo of Nancy outsmarting the hay net, lol.

    1. She is such a clever clogs, much sneakier than Kika who still hasn't cottoned on to that fact - bless

  4. aww Nancy's expression in that last pic says it all haha - and i've seen that same face from my mare plenty of times!! at least the pole exercise looks fun :)

    1. She's gunning for martyrdom for putting up with me ;-p

  5. I was going to say great rides make everything better... But I guess the ride on Nancy wasn't great. Oh well! Majority rules hehe. I hope she was just having an off day and that you had great rides after that!

    1. For all her awesome good behaviour i can be guilty of forgetting her green-bean'ness at times. She truly is a great girl to put up with me & my patchy work ethic


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