Thursday 30 April 2015

Belated Backtracking

How has another week spirited away from me?!
I may not have managed to post anything since Saturdays video, but i did manage to pack in my fair share of saddle time over the weekend as well as surprise adventures on Sunday.

The two monsters patiently waiting for me
on their last evening on the winter turnout

First up Friday - i managed to get out of work with enough daylight to ride Nancy & lunge Kika in the pessoa before lights out at the barn. I cannot remember the last time I managed to work either horse after a working day let alone BOTH of them on the same day!
I may have cheated slightly in that they didn't go out at lunch time and we're going out on grass the following day so I didn't have to bring them in nor prepare the haynets & water for the wite turnout.

Sunset patience 23.4.15

Saturday was summer turnout day (see previous post for video footage of their "crazy")! Sadly their field buddies couldn't go out with them that day  as one needed vet clearance after a year of handwalking due to a tendon injury :-(
As of right now, it would appear my horses are evil creatures and highly unwelcoming to newcomers after initial turnout...i may manage to address this later in this post pending word vomit describing the weekend.

Nancy being sweet with my mama
before summer turnout
Saturday 25.4.15

I rode Nancy first while Kika spun on the walker to get her head in the game after 3 weeks of super light to no work as I could tell her back was at her and thankfully managed to get the osteo out. Nancy was a very good girl, both Friday and Saturday. We got some lovely w/t/c work on the books without many arguments and no bucking/dolphining. To be fair to Nancy our arguments aren't arguments so much as disagreements over her careening through my aids on corners and bends - less an argument and more of a balancing issue stemming from my inabilities and horsey desires to find the easy way out at all costs ☺

Trying to show Nancy's size
my mama is 5'1 of awesome

Kika was next and i will freely admit to not really knowing which horse would turn up. She had been inconsolable in the first arena i attempted to lunge her in Friday evening - lesson learned. The last three times I have had her in that  small arena she has had an irrational fear (to my mind) but she can obviously see/feel something I am missing and it seriously messes with her mind. Our lunge work was brainless running, she wasn't listening to me at all and couldn't even canter in her freakedness. That was exhibit A-Z for me that it was actual fear frying her brain as if she'd just wanted to mess and have fun cantering would have been a yippee get out of jail free card; but she couldn't even organise her legs to canter! Her hind legs were cantering but her front legs kept trotting - gosh did she look uncomfortable! :-/
We had zero issues when we moved to another arena - she w/t/c (normally) without an iota of fuss including changing between gaits every three strides!

Going to count this as April's awkward
Conformation snapshot taken 26.4.15 

Sorry - Saturday,  she was a very good girl as i clambered aboard in the main arena with another rider already in situ. An adorable kid came in on her tiny grey welshie which Kika loved (Yay small creatures for broodie K). We worked through w/t/c on a circle in the lower half of the arena, with lots of transitions and some leg yielding just to see if we still could as i hadn't tried in months. If she is ouchy she will immediately let me know with that request - so carte blanche for return to our "normal" work.

#conformationfail of Nancy
But sweet Kika & mama moment

Sunday was an early start for me as i offered to accompany a yard acquaintance to her horse's first show as her usual companion (boyfriend) took a tumble a couple of weeks ago and sadly really hurt his back so is laid up at home. The goal for the morning was to make the horse's first outing as stress free as possible, so we left early including plenty time to load him as there were many distractions. He was a super star and wound up winning his first outing (at an admittedly lowish level [E-for anyone who understands Euro dressage levels...i don't :-/ ]. He spent last year recovering from a leg fracture and is a huge beast of an animal,  think 18h+, so slowly slowly is best with him!
He won his test with 72.3% - 10% ahead of the second place horse...oops. The judge said she never wants to see him at this level again, winning wasn't the goal - his rider just wanted a positive experience for him. He was stellar! Cool as a cucumber the whole time - it was an excellent morning.

Soooooooo many dapples!
Sunday 26.4.15

We got back shortly after 2pm and as the weather was good i decided to go for a stroll in the woods on Nancy with Kika on the lead. I asked did my new friend want to come with as she has mentioned hacking together in the woods to help her horses get used to life outside the sandbox - but as she has 3 horses. She wanted to handgraze her oldest  (12) before getting her youngest (5) ready for a training session at the yard she works on. We board our horses at the same place but she teaches elsewhere. ..sorry not pertinent info
Off i went into the woods with my girls. Just as we got to the woods we caught up with another rider i knew to see but had never really spoken to before. I asked was she riding on her own or would she like to join my girls and I, to which she gladly did as she is leasing the horse and doesn't really know many trails in our woods.
My evening was rounded out when I got back and found out that the friend from the morning hadn't yet left for her training session and offered to accompany her for that too for funsies. I learnt a lot watching her ride her hot young mare who reminds me a lot of Miss Kika. Watching others ride & lesson is so instructive!

Mutually beneficial
Tuesday 28.4.15
Right i think i had best stem the word vomit now and hope that I can get in saddle time over this on weekend before my bedroom furniture FINALLY arrives Monday morning - here's hoping I can actually move into my new place next week SQUEE

Sunday 26 April 2015

Semi-Silent Sunday

A quick post to share the little snippet of video i caught yesterday as the girls got let loose in a grass field for the first time this year.
I think it sums up their outlook on life quite well - lolz.
The young gun Nancy wants to frolick and play but Kika just wants to EAT!

As uncomfortable as it makes me to see Nancy stumble like she does just before the water see her floating fancy friesian trot immediately afterwards reassured the worried owner in me!
Their field buddies can't go out until Friday so I expect more video footage and/or photographs as they hopefully make new friends.

Wednesday 22 April 2015

WW - Bloopers Bonanza

Sharing the many blooper shots taken on Saturday lolz

#awkward - Nancy

ADE breeches are the best
thing in this snapshot ;-)

So much awkward
Looking at the floor - check,
 broken wrists - check,
 lazy (useless) left leg - check
As above
Add in some leaning to really tell the
full story of awkwardness
More useless left leg just for good measure
Puppy Paws ftw
So much awk
Now for all the canter awk
We've a long way to go to work from behind
Leany McLeanerson - scary the weight &
 momentum falling on one foot :-o

She was having great fun free-wheeling

PS: please bear in mind these are all snapshots of moments in time and don't necessarily paint a positive picture.
For a better representation of how bad I actually ride - go back two posts to my Video Vault post.

Constructive criticism is always welcome - i can't get better if i don't know where I am going wrong...but I would prefer feedback on video clips vs these blooper photos ;-)
All tips & tricks to help fix my problem areas will be received with open arms & an open mind ☺

Tuesday 21 April 2015

Osteo Visit, reflections & photo dump

This post is going to be flooded with images kindly snapped by my good friend who recorded the video snippets on Saturday.

Having watched them a couple of times since I can see where we have improved and have a clearer road map to the issues my trainer mentioned last month in our lessons. There really is a gulf in difference between my right and left leg, the latter requiring a lot more work on my behalf. Having concrete evidence of its waywardness like this will hopefully help me home in on it and bring it more in line with the other one.

My hands, Lord where to start with my hands?! For a start my reins are miles to long. I need to shorten those suckers and raise my hands slightly - but that will come with time. My trainer encourages me to ride with them lower and further apart while i am still holding Nancy's hand until she has the strength and musculature to stays straighter and hold herself better. Baby steps and we will get there.

A little BTV but rest seems ok to me

I need to sit my backside in the saddle and perhaps slide a little forward as i think i might be sitting a little far back. The saddle isn't ideal for either of us, but we will keep working with it till I find the magic money tree so i can get us a better fitting one.

The only "okay" canter pic - bloopers will follow tomorrow

Monday night the osteo  am as Kika kindly let me know our last few spins that she was beginning to feel ouchy. She has her tells in this respect & the fact my horse is not a martyr is a blessing. B (the osteo) was very complimentary of both girls mental & physical state. She commented on their dapples, healthy coats and happy demeanor. K had a few niggles (as expected by me) a little blockage at the base of her neck/withers area, 2 lumbar niggles in her lower back and required a tweak further back but no major bones of contention. B mentioned her need for maintenance possibly being linked to her inclination to spook & hold tension tweaking herself.

Nancy was as close to perfect as possible, B found  othing out of place and said she was in great condition with a balanced musculed back. I mentioned my saddle fit concerns and she said she could feel some tension alright but that she was developing muscles correctly. She said I lucked out with her back not being inherited from her Friesian dad which can sometimes be dipped as they were originally bred to be carriage horses. She kept singing her brain praises and how she has such a gentle eye. I really am lucky with both my girls.
Their osteo also does archery from horseback and gas said she'll teach Nancy & I if i can get us to her place a couple of times - SQUEE
How exciting would that be?!

Saturday 18 April 2015

Video Vault

A friend stopped by while i was riding Nancy today and snapped some video for me. Before watching bear in mind Nancy hadn't been outside since Wednesday & not ridden since Monday.
She was such a great girl considering there was massive crashing as tractors and diggers worked to clear out the muck heap.

Please forgive my awful left leg and many other indiscretions in the tack.

Monday 13 April 2015

Wicked Weekend + Monday update

Saturday was sadly overcast and wet after our glorious week, I stayed in bed longer than I should have done and only managed to ride Nancy before the barefoot trimmer came so Kika got yet another day off tack - but she did spend a good hour and a half on the walker so at least she stretched her legs somewhat.

Sunday baby sister and I took the girls for a hack in the woods, thankfully the glorious sunshine came back. Kika was a bit of an eegit, but considering her carry on under saddle in the arena last Monday she was very well behaved for our stroll in the woods. Only spooked unnecessarily a handful of times lol. Nancy was an angel for baby sister & hand-holding for scaredy Kika.

I then went for a walk in the woods on my own two feet with the school friend I've known the longest (since we were like 5 or 6 before we ever went to school together at 12-13) who has gotten a new dog. A 2 and a half year old shetty who is gorgeous!!!

Monday update
My super sister dropped our mother to the airport for a business trip to Rotterdam/Amsterdam and offered to collect me from work on her way home. Which meant I got to scarper from work at a reasonable hour (5.30pm) so we were able to go for another stroll in the woods today.
Huzzah for longer evenings ☺
We must have looked comical in boots & helmets carrying saddles & bridles towards the woods as the girls winter turnout is part way between the woods & the yard; conscious of our limited daylight window i opted rather than to bring the horses in to tack them up we'd take the tack to them and climb aboard at the field.

I put their headcollars back on over their bridles today
 so that we would have them when we returned to the stable
 after out stroll otherwise we would've had to stop
 at the field and dismount to collect them #lazy

Kika was much better then yesterday, she always is with more exposure. To be fair to her she is windy but once she gets used to doing something she just gets on with things and in her defence yesterday she hadn't been ridden since the previous Monday. Plus the last time she was ridden in the woods was the day after Christmas - there have been lots of changes in the landscape since then for her to wrap her brain around. Yesterday to today she was better & if we were to go again tomorrow she would be better again. However tomorrow evening i am hoping to play in an arena and have my sis snap some pics of us. Hopefully the girls behave & I don't ride like a muppet so that fingers crossed i can see some improvement in the pics/video after our recent lessons.
Nancy was 100% foot perfect for my sis, even if she was a little on the lazy side in her stroll & Kika ended up leading the way hoe as K powered up the hill while Nancy dragged a bit eyeing up the grass vs heading for feed indoors lolz

Another capture from yesterday 

Tuesday 7 April 2015


We've good weather forecast for the week & I was almost as excited as the monsters to let them out this afternoon without their "raincoats". Now here's hoping they roll a lot and rub out the last of their winter fuzzies as I'm rather tired of scoffing horse hair while grooming ;-)
I was away for a long weekend in Ireland from Thursday to Sunday evening visiting family. My mother stayed in Lux having been back the previous weekend so she very kindly minded the hairy children by turning them out and bringing them back in Saturday & Sunday.

Nekkid Nancy
Monday i made my return to the tack, starting with Kika and almost regretting my decision as all the good work from last week's lessons seemed to have dissolved. When she was good, she was very good and relaxed but all around the good she was a nuisance. Spooking at i have no idea what, loosing all rational thought; taking complete advantage to oogle and ignore me when the horse sharing the arena with us came within her immediate eye line. We did get ok walk, good trot and a good canter on each rein with less initial flailing as i took care with my upward transition request only when our trot was good.
Sometimes she really is just a moron! Best to draw a line in the sand and start again next time.

Nekkid starving creature

Nancy on the other hand was an absolute angel! She had retained our lessons from last week. She was less squirrely on the left rein, we didn't need our 10m circles or shoulder in to get a nice walk. As always her trot work was lovely as we worked through serpentines, changes of rein and played with w/t transitions. Even our canter was lovely, patient and balanced. Such a welcome contrast to the frustration of the supposedly older more "broke" horse. Kika really does make me question my sanity sometimes...maybe I'm not the right rider for her. I sure as hell am far from the best rider for K, but at this stage I'm not sure many would bother with her, I mean she is 11 years old and has had all her formative years under me & my incapabilities. That would be a lot for anyone to take on at any age ;-)

She is a great snuggler  (apologies for my concentration face)
Despite yesterday's frustration with Kika, I still couldn't imagine not having her in my life. Maybe that makes me the moron...

Wednesday 1 April 2015

Double Trouble

Well no - that subject title is a bit misleading, I had a lesson on each girl today so to my mind they were thinking uh oh ;-)
Afraid I have no mirror selfies nor media to accompany this post so i will try to keep it short & sweet as most of what was said was repetition from the past two days.

Nancy got her mane re-braided
for the first time in forEVAR

With Nancy i need to watch my inside aids - keep my leg long and on so that she learns to bend and my inside hand has to stop creeping down. When I raise it she is magically better, I also need to not forget my outside hand. Yes I was more consistent with it today in that I wasn't throwing away contact out there but I do need to remember leniency too. No rigidness lady!

I thought of some media to break word vomit
 Kika's pedigree

Kika was Kika and made a general nuisance of herself today - she had to make up for being such a good girl yesterday *roll-eyes*
In saying that she was still very good if awkward and had a lot to say for herself. The trainer was entertained by her antics and kept making comments about mares. She did compliment me on keeping calm and not rising to her antics which gave me the warm fuzzies. To be fair though this month I will have had Kika 8 years, there'd be no helping me if i hadn't figured out by now that letting her drag me into an argument is a lost cause. ;-)

K's extended pedigree

S was complimentary of both and said we were all doing better today. I wish I could lesson every week as it truly is awesome! Maybe I can penny pinch and manage to do all the things i want some day ☺

Nancys dams pedigree as i don't have her sires lines :-(
As part of my 30 b4 30 i want to look up more info on both my girls ancestry...I'd best actually check back on that list to remind myself what tasks I set before I run out of time to do anything about them.

The last two pictures were not taken by me