Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Day two of New Year's plan

Yes, I know it is not technically the new year yet, but it was easier to start on the Monday!

So, day two, Tuesday:

The mare and I did pretty much the same as yesterday. Lots of walk on a long rein to start, followed by working properly in walk, with as much seat and leg, and with as light and steady a contact as I am capable of. We then moved up into trot, and did the same exercises in trot. We had the slightly raised pole in the same place as yesterday and used that to keep her focused. Each time she tried to evade my aids, or stopped concentrating I would take her over the pole. This helped to keep us both focused, and perks her up a bit as she tends to find flatwork dull and hard work (lazy beast!)

There was an obvious improvement with the canter transitions today, mostly I think because I was using more seat and leg, and asking directly from leaving a circle or leg yield, so she was already switched on.

I still need to work more on the cool down. The moment we have finished working I let her trot one lap of the school in a long, low trot, then walk round once on each rein, but I struggle to get any more from her once she knows she has finished. I did take her for a bit of grass once I'd dismounted, as she deserved a treat for working so well.

My husband worked the gelding today. He loose schooled him for 10 mins, then led him over the pole a few times. Not a lot, but you have to start somewhere!

Tomorrow my husband is planning on riding the gelding, and I'm planning on a bit more flatwork, but with the pole in a different position in the school.

New Year's plans, one day at a time

Much as I have plans for 2014, I am realistic enough to take them one day at a time.

My plan is to improve our flatwork. I know the mare can jump, she has proven that on plenty of occasions. What we now need is some semblance of control. I have tried changing some tack around, and I think we have found what works day to day. She is in a loose ring, French link with copper lozenge bit and a drop noseband. She likes this, she is soft in it at walk and trot, and softer in canter than she was.  I also have a hanging cheek Waterford for her to hack in with a view to hunt/xc in it too if still necessary. It is not that she pulls, you have either 'got' her or you haven't, and when you haven't she just tanks!

So, flatwork. I plan to use lots of pole exercises to keep us both from getting bored, and plenty of warm up and cool down, which I am guilty of rushing.

This week my husband is off work, so I plan to make the most of virtually guilt free childcare ;D

35 minutes in the school, 15 of those spent walking, lots of stretching, walking over one slightly raised pole and encouraging her to step under more from behind. Halting over the pole too, to get her listening to me (makes a nice change!) The trot work I am trying to do as much as possible with my legs, as she has got into the habit of swinging her nose slightly, a classic avoidance technique! Still, good for me to keep my hands as still as possible and use my legs more. Canter is by far our weakest pace, she tends to grab the bit and charge (think rhino) and so I tend to grab back, before remembering and dropping my inside rein, which in turn makes me carry the outside rein and she eases off the bridle. It will come I'm sure, and with any luck I can burn off some of these chocolate biscuits! 

But isn't she looking pretty good? 

Thursday, 19 December 2013


As is customary for bloggers, here is my year round up.

2013 may have been my favourite year yet. So much has happened!

I did my trailer towing training and passed.

I joined the Riding Club (and didn't disgrace myself too much) Also met lots of new horsey people in the area.

We won our first 1st rosette.

We started competing again after a long break, with 1'9" showjumping, and ended the year jumping 3'3" hedges (well ok, 4ft if you count the one we jumped by accident!)

I had a complete confidence meltdown which made me start to consider giving up entirely, but actually when it came down to it, gave me the push I needed to accept the lack of confidence was what it was and do something about it. I now have some strategies to help when it gets bad.

Not horse related, but other very good things that have helped make 2013 the best year yet:

I got a job! After so many years out of work with having the children, I have got a job I enjoy, that is well enough paid that I can afford childcare and is very part time, so I don't get bored with the novelty of going to work - win, win!

I made some new friends.

My husband and I celebrated 8 years together and 5 years of being married.

My children are turning into rather nice people that I (mostly) enjoy spending time with (it is half way through the Christmas holidays, hence the 'mostly')

So, Happy New Year, and here is to a good 2014 !

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Real life returns

This week has been a bit of a let down after the excitement of last weekend. Admittedly I am poorly. I managed last weekend with a quite nasty cough (thank god for Benylin!) But by Monday I felt pretty rubbish. All the adrenaline had gone and left me feeling about as useful as a particularly watery jelly.

I have been making plans to hunt some more this winter, perhaps get out with the draghounds for some serious jumping. But this week has been so flat, the very thought of jumping hedges that size and being out with 'proper' riders has been daunting.

Add to that some extra work for myself and my husband, and there are not many dates where I can get out.

My horse priorities are getting the brakes sorted. As we are, we are a danger to ourselves and others. I have bought a hanging cheek waterford to try on the mare, and a friend has lent me a kineton noseband, so we have a few different strategies to try. The challenge is trying them in a controlled environment! She is a donkey at home, but in true Jekyll and Hyde style, she turns into a bit of a monster at 'parties'

I have booked a showjumping lesson for next weekend with a wonderful instructor and a full course of showjumps, in the hope I start riding the mare, instead of being a passenger (this could be a challenge!)

Here's hoping for a week of good weather, lots of hacking out and the cough finally clearing up.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

The most fun (but I am clearly mad!)

On Sunday I went team chasing. I have wanted to do this for absolutely years. I used to look at the pictures in the Horse and Hound and be desperate to try it.

Sadly, with my confidence issues, having a family, travelling troubles with the mare, and everything else, it looked like something that would never happen.

We walked the course on Saturday. Some of the jumps were tiny, some were pretty meaty and full up to their 3'3" height (possibly with a little extra brush added to that) I felt kind of numb walking the course, like there were nerves there somewhere, but they weren't vying for attention. Perhaps the Benylin cough medicine helped :-D 

Sunday morning I was up just before 6 to fill water containers, make lunch etc. Went to the yard, packed horse and horse stuff and on the road for 7.45am. We arrived shortly after 9am. 

I was on board for 9.25am, and that is when the nerves hit. At that moment, I could happily have gone home! 

My warm up consisted of walking for 40minutes, thinking about anything but jumping. I had one little trot and a pop over the practice jump, but then back to walk. The other team members started to get a bit jittery at this point, even the super confident one. I'm afraid I just had to walk away and do my own thing. 

Then we started circling at the start, and we were off! I would like to say I started with some control and it slowly deteriorated, but I would be lying. She started with her nose level with her knees, and tanked - the whole time! 

By jump number 2 I was upside rider 2, it was clearly a race (according to the mare) jump 3 was possibly the meatiest jump on the course.   No hesitation there, although I think I swore rather loudly! 

Jump 4 and 5 were a blur, think I jumped them. I then tried to circle to get some control before going through a gateway. The mare decided that what I actually was doing was pointing her at a hedge to jump. We were over it before I realised what was happening. It was a jump from the intermediate/open classes. She then locked onto a wooden fence around a tree, it took both hands on one rein to pull her away. 

After a few more terrifying jumps and a slope where I honestly thought we were going to die, I dismounted and walked back. But I was beaming! Ok, so zero control, but Wow! The walk of shame has never felt less shameful :-D

Pictures are me jumping no.3, me stood with a team member in front of jump no.3, and me with my kids in front of the hedge I wasn't supposed to jump. 

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

A confidence update

My last post a few weeks ago was all about how I had finally come to realise that I had a problem with my confidence. Lots of friends told me that it would come back eventually, and I wasn't to worry. I didn't believe them and started to get quite cross about it. How did they know that it would, it hadn't done so far.

In the last few weeks I have been cubbing, including loading/towing in the pitch black, and towing my mare further than I've ever taken her, I have hacked out a lot with a friend, I have clipped a friend's horse that I had never met before, I have joined a team for a novice team chase, and yesterday I jumped 3'4" joyfully (having not jumped for about 3 months) I had a wibble last week, but by the Saturday when I went cubbing, all nerves seem to have vanished. They have not made an appearance since. I do not know why or how, but I'm certainly not complaining.

My friends are encouraging me in my new found excitement of doing horse things. My husband also, even though he then has to cover child care and extra trips to the yard and so on.

The anxiety is still there, but I am telling myself that it is unfounded. It is just anxiety, it is not an actual thing, the issues are made up. Somehow this works for me. I'm acting like a pony mad teen again and I love it!

Saturday, 5 October 2013

I finally realise how bad it is.

Yesterday I took the mare out on a hack by myself. This may seem like nothing, but it was quite an effort on my part. I really had to talk myself into it. There were so many excuses!

I have been having some confidence issues with riding and horses in general for a while. Since my accident 6 years ago in fact. Instead of things improving however, they have been getting worse. To start with it was just handling horses other than my own, but I have recently had to face up to the fact that I have completely lost my confidence in general. It was a bit of a lightbulb moment when I realised that all the issues we have (hacking solo, shows, even travelling to some extent) are all in my head.

In the last week I have been researching confidence building for riders and have come across Amanda Kirtland-Page and her website Confident Horse Riding. Someone on the Horse&Hound forum sent me a message inviting me to call them to talk about Amanda and her courses.

Yesterday I spoke to the Secretary of our local hunt about Autumn hunting dates - exciting! Except the moment I put the phone down, the excitement was replaced by a heavy, sick feeling in my stomach.

So, I decided to call this person who had contacted me on H&H forum. She was truly lovely and her experiences sounded so familiar. I had always thought there were confident riders, and non-confident ones, and I couldn't figure out where I fit in. She explained that, like me, she used to help with breaking and riding other horses, then after her child was born she felt utterly useless. She told me how Amanda has given her something to work with, she is not 'cured' but now has coping strategies which means she can enjoy riding again.

Sadly Amanda is not local to me, and currently has not any courses booked in my area, so I am going to start with one of her cds and see how we get on.

I now feel like I have a plan :-)

Friday, 27 September 2013

My horses, the jokers.

I am starting to think there is some kind of conspiracy going on. My horses clearly hate me, or at the very least are having an enormous joke at my expense (in more ways than one)

With my new found freedom I had plans. Not big plans, just small to middling size plans. I was going to get the gelding going this year, and not waste his naturally floaty paces and athleticism (ahem, or the ability to change direction in mid air, either or) and perhaps be one of those riders showing off how versatile their ex-racer was. And the mare and I were going to find our sport, probably not dressage, maybe showjumping, hunting or most likely riding club all-rounder.

So, the first day I work the mare she pulls a huge chunk of foot off. Damn! But nevermind, I am ever the optimist, I'll just start the gelding.

After a wonderful lesson I am full of confidence, plans and enthusiasm, this horse and I will be out and about in no time! Oh, two days later it is like we have gone back to the beginning. I will just take a step back and calmly continue, except that doesn't seem to be working very well.
Today I rode the mare (yay!) Except she proceeded to heave and cough for almost the entire 20mins. Fuck.

My wonderful husband came out to see her, where she stood happily munching grass with not a sign of illness. The verdict was she had probably inhaled something that irritated her, but had now cleared. Hmmm, I'm not convinced.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

You know you are a horsey parent when....

- Your daughter complains her plaits are too tight. To be honest, she should be grateful you don't stitch them in. Oh, and while we are on the subject of hair, you call the detangler spray 'Mane and Tail'

- Instead of asking your children to do things, you command them. Also, when getting them to hurry up you say "trot on"

- You will quite happily, and casually talk about worming and de-licing your children.

- You think the key to happy, healthy children is plenty of food and decent turnout. Also, routine is important - for horses and children.

I'm sure I'm not the only one!

Friday, 20 September 2013

Two steps forward, one step back

The gelding and I went out on our first solo outing the other day.

This is HUGE for us. Last Saturday was the first time I had sat on the horse in around a year, and I hated every second of it! I was waiting for him to spook, and he was waiting for something to spook him!

My confidence is in tatters, has been since my accident over 6 years ago, and seems to be getting worse rather than better. I can cope on my mare, she looks after herself, even if she can be a bit of a tramp. Any other horse terrifies me. Unfortunately, the gelding now falls into this category.

I got a friend to come to the yard on Monday to just be there at talk to me while I rode, huge difference, felt a little bit more in control.

Roll on Wednesday and we head out in the trailer to a local show centre to have a lesson. I was apprehensive, but more comfortable knowing a competent instructor was there. The gelding was on his toes and my initial reaction to seeing him come off the trailer was "Oh Shit, I'm going to die" for he had grown several hands.

But, he was good as gold and tried so hard. We only walked and trotted but I felt we achieved so much.

Today I was really looking forward to riding him. He obviously didn't share my enthusiasm, as he had a right little foot stomping tantrum. I had been on him for about 10mins, doing some big loops in walk and just starting to do some trot, when we had a couple of mini spooks. I ignored these and kept quietly on. This is when he decided I was being completely unreasonable and he couldn't possibly trot anymore, so he planted and did his little rears (I say 'rear' but it was the front feet barely leaving the ground) and bunny hops with his back end. He was cross! Unfortunately he did a jink sideways and I bent my little finger back - ouch!

I carried on until he was doing as I asked, then got off and put him on the lunge for five minutes at the end of the school that he was fussing about - surprise, surprise, the monster had gone!

Letting him off a little today seemed like the best option, he probably is still feeling a bit stiff from our lesson and the travelling, and making him very cross would have been counter productive.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Blessing in disguise?

So, the kids are at school/preschool, I am not currently working, and housework is not what I would consider a pastime. What do I spend this new found 15hrs a week doing?

The horses! Yay! I have been waiting for this moment for about 6 years now. Biding my time, so I can finally get on with my youngster (now 12, and not keen on being told anything, thank you very much) and the retraining of my ex-racehorse.

The first couple of days I didn't do a lot, I was just trying to get back into some sort of routine, and I always think it can take a while to get into the swing of things. So I pottered, I enjoyed every moment of mucking out (properly!) in peace. Then, on Tuesday I got the mare nicely brushed, and took her in the arena for a loose lunge. She gets quite tight through her back and I have been trying to encourage her to stretch more. She can be a little 'gung-ho' on the lunge, but was actually pretty restrained this time. She lost her footing once or twice slightly, but the surface isn't wonderful in there at the moment. When I brought her back in I see she has pulled a huge piece of hoof wall off. Fuck! This is typical, fucking, bollocksing typical. I could have cried to be honest. But instead I dry poulticed it, and phoned the Farrier.

Now, the 'blessing' is that I wanted to get going with my other horse. Here is my opportunity......

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

I'm Free!

Well, for 3 hours a day, 5 days a week.

The kids have gone back to school. By 'back' I mean the girl has gone back to school, and the boy has started preschool. This means that from 8.45am til 11.45am I am child free.

Don't get me wrong, I love my kids and the summer hols have been great (if a little long) I mean there was that time that the boy found a dead rabbit, 'found' being carried around, or the time he had to be bathed in a bucket at the yard after a poo-cident, or the time that he walked into an electric fence (twice) with wet trousers on (I know) The girl on the other hand is an incredibly easy child, and had a relatively incident free holiday. She is glad to be back though.

I am proud of the fact my children seem confident and independent. Not once have I had tears at the school gates (I appreciate that could easily come back to bite me on the arse) but when so many kids are crying (or pretending to - I saw you, you little sod) and my kids practically run into school without a backward glance, I do feel a little insulted. But then I realise I am practically running out of the gates I suppose it is pretty fair!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Start of the holidays!

Today is the first day of the summer holidays. Half of me is looking forward to the next six weeks, while the other half is dreading it!

On the one hand there are lots of days out to be had, not constrained by school times, I get to see more of the girl, our week away camping in Wales, the boy's 3rd birthday and party, catching up with family, and possibly some fairly nice weather.

On the other hand, I am likely to have less time to ride, will spend too much money, have kids squabbling, the house will look even more like a bombsite, and too much time will be spent in front of the telly instead of doing wholesome family activities.

At this moment in time I am feeling a bit hard done by, having had a stressful day yesterday and feeling like my family very much take me for granted. This is not helping me get up this morning! So I am possibly looking at the holidays with slightly more dread than enthusiasm today.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Too Hot!

Yes, I am one of 'those' people. I hate super hot weather. I holiday in the UK and don't feel the pull of foreign shores for hot weather in the middle of winter. I am more than happy with -5c as long as the sun is shining.

I like the sun, just not the heat. In fact, out of all the people I know, the only ones who really like the heat are those who don't have to work in it.

It is too hot for the kids, it is too hot to sleep, it is too hot to eat (ok, that one is a bonus) too hot to ride, too hot to muck out. Even the slightly bright side of being able to dry copious amounts of washing is balanced out by the fact that it dries crispy and it is like putting knickers made of sandpaper on in the morning.

I may be slightly more grumpy than usual due to the fact I have had a lot to do this week, and the hot weather has made me that much slower. There were times this week when I genuinely wished I didn't have horses. Low points this week have been trying to catch four escaped horses, dealing with bees and an enormous hay delivery necessitating unloading 90bales and having to clear out all the loose stuff from the shed.

But the forcast says we may have rain next week - I can hardly wait!

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Car crash dressage

Today the mare and I went to dressage. It was possibly the worst dressage test I have done in my entire life, in fact I don't think I have even seen many as bad.

Thankfully it was short. After I had left the arena for the second time and pretty much been run away with in the second canter I decided to call it a day and retire.

This goes against everything I have ever learnt. I was always taught to stick it out to the bitter end, no matter what, but sometimes it is better to walk away. Especially when you are making a spectacle of yourself.

Here is where I think we went wrong/a list of all the cock ups (I do love a good list)

1) After the last outing with super relaxed mare, I assumed that she would behave the same (hahahahaha) and left myself around 30mins of working in time. Of course, 30mins is a schooling session at home, but need to almost double that when out and excited.

2) I should have sorted a new bit sooner. I used to ride her in a copper roller bit with cheeks, but of course it is not dressage legal. So, before our last outing I started riding her in the gelding's bit, which is a little big and a little chunky for her. But seeing as she was going 'ok' I kept putting off getting a new bit. I shall make a decision this week and get a new bit ordered.

3) It hadn't occurred to me that there would be so many flies out today, but they were horrendous. There were lots of large, but harmless, bugs crashing into everyone and everything, but also the dreaded Horseflies were out - dirty, blood sucking bastards! I really should have brought a sheet for the mare to wear while she was tied up to protect her a little.

4) I shouldn't have let all the above bother me!

Oh well, onwards and upwards (hopefully!)

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Why we have wine

Yesterday was a bit of a bastard.

The girl had her first school trip, and so the usual morning madness was a little bit more mad than usual.

I had cake to make. I like making cake, but the boy is being a bit of a terror at the minute, so anything that takes me away from giving him full, undivided attention is not going to end well.

So yesterday went something like this:

Get up, rush around trying to get everyone and everything ready. Be ready to tear my hair out by about 8.30am.
School run.
Home, put telly on for the boy and rush off to ice cakes for the school fete, and to make cake for the yard (I had promised)
Try to clear icing sugar off every single surface and kitchen appliance, while keeping the boy's grubby little fingers off the cakes.
Give in and let him have a cake.
Play pretend food with the boy (this mostly involved tipping dry pasta onto the floor and cajoling/threatening/pleading with him to at least help me pick it up again (this didn't happen just the once)
Have lunch.
Argue with the boy over anything and everything.
Hope the boy may nap (we need a break from each other)
He doesn't.
We do the horses together.
He then trashes my car.
I no longer care.
The girl is back from her trip early due to bad weather, so rushing back to get her and drop cakes off for the fete.
The kids are happy and having a nice game (involving the dried pasta) so I decide to have a bath. I have been feeling a bit crappy, hope a nice hot bath will help.
Nearly get brained by a Gup-A (toy submarine, for those of you not familiar with the Octonauts) as the boy has come to help.
Get out of bath, take kids to pool where the girl has a swimming lesson. Boy behaves (mostly)
Go to Hell on Earth, also known as school fete. But at least they had a hog roast and a fire engine.
Get the kids home around 7pm, wonderful husband puts them to bed while I escape to the yard to finish the horses and ride.
9pm wine.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Pretty Productive

Despite my having clearly failed at Monday morning, I have not done too badly since. In fact, by my usual standards I have been rather productive.

I am naturally a procrastinator, so will put things off until the very last moment. Housework gets done in the hour or two leading up to having visitors, despite having known about it for a week or more. I will happily give the horses a day (or 5) off, only to be desperately trying to get enough work into them in the week leading up to a competition.

Which is where we are now. The mare and I are doing dressage on Sunday, and although it is not just down to my laziness us having to play catch up (her having been lame too) it is a familiar experience.

I'll often write lists (I love lists) but although that seems very organised, it is just a delay tactic. I can't possibly clean the bathroom and hoover the stairs if it is not on some kind of list first!

So, this week (bearing in mind it is only Tuesday lunchtime) I have:

Done the weeks meal plan and shopping.
Exercised both horses.
Tidied and hoovered the sitting room.
Done a horrendous amount of paperwork (bank stuff, been putting it off for weeks)
Taken the boy to playgroup.
Played tractors with the boy (yesterday) and playdoh (today)
Taken my posh riding boots to have zip replaced.
Cleared out the car.
Washed lots of horse coats that were getting musty in the car.

As well as the usual dinners, packed lunches etc.

Pretty Damn good I reckon!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Monday again

Monday comes around way too quickly.

In some ways I quite like Mondays, I feel it is an opportunity to start the week as I mean to go on. Getting up earlier, making the beds straight away, brushing my hair before the school run etc.

But, inevitably, by about 7.30am I have already failed. Oh well, there is always next Monday!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

My wonderful Dad, and lots of rain

My Dad popped to the yard on his way home from work at lunchtime yesterday, and agreed to watch the boy for me while I exercised the mare. Excellent (my Dad is amazing)

So I ran to the field, dragged her in (she wasn't very enthusiastic) and got her ready. It was starting to rain, so at the last minute I grabbed my coat. My Dad had asked why the horses were wearing rugs, and when I told him it was because of the rain, he replied "what rain?"

By the time we got into the arena, the very light drizzle had turned into slightly harder drizzle, and within 5 minutes I was having to wipe water from my eyes and the mare had her ears flat against her head.

We stayed out there about 10mins, which was better than nothing. My wonderful Dad sat in the hayshed with the boy, laughing at me. I said to him "If I wasn't so grateful I might be pissed off with you, what rain indeed!" Which, from the dryness of the hayshed he found hilarious.

Despite getting soaked, and running out of time to skip out the field, I did manage to exercise one horse.

Learning to juggle

The boy is going to have to stop his naps. I knew it was only a matter of time, but while he was still wanting to nap I was willing to take advantage of it. However, if he has a nap now, he just won't go to sleep at night.

This makes doing the horses a bit tricky. He is fine to have around while doing the yard, but I don't like to have him around while I'm moving horses about. I'm often up there on my own with the boy, so if anything happens to me, I hate to think of the consequences!

I could ride early in the mornings, but my husband's job is unpredictable, so unless I was home by 6.30am (sometimes earlier) it just wouldn't work. That leaves the evenings or the odd lunch break (again, not reliable)

I like to ride in the evenings, especially at this time of year, but I also like to have dinner with my family. It used to work quite well, in that I would exercise the horses as much as possible during the day while the girl was at school and the boy napped, just hacking out once or twice a week in the evenings, which was a good balance I thought.
Now, my options are to only ride at weekends (which are often busy in their own way) with the odd evening thrown in. Or to start getting up ridiculously early, or to get in some babysitting favours. Or a combination of all the above!

Either way, juggling is the way forward.....

Thursday, 13 June 2013

A weekend off! Slightly more stressful than it should be?

I am starting to get a little bit excited, as tomorrow I am going away to Centre Parcs for a friends birthday weekend.

This means that from tomorrow lunchtime I will be free from childcare, horsecare and housework until Monday. I was a little worried about going, as I only know the birthday girl, and I have never spent more than one night away from the kids before. Also, I have been getting going with the horses lately and didn't want to chuck away a lot of the work.

However, the kids are tired and grumpy, and I am getting a bit worn down with going on at them the whole time, the house is (as always) a bit of a dump, and one horse is not sound and the other is off his little mind with the grass, so I'm very glad to be getting away.

As an added bonus, I checked my bank balance yesterday and I should avoid going overdrawn this weekend - result!

Of course, trying to get organised to go away is a bit a nightmare. I know my husband is more than capable of looking after two children and two horses, but I do have control freak tendencies.

One niggle I have though, is that I haven't had much practice being Christie lately. I am pretty good at being Mummy, or general shit shoveller/skivy/housemaid/cook etc, and I get some evenings where I get to be none of those things, just a 28 year old out with friends. But a whole weekend is going to be a struggle, I just know I am going to end up cutting someone's toast up into squares!

Sunday, 9 June 2013


Been a bit quiet on the blog front recently, not that we have been doing nothing, more that there has been nothing worth writing about!

We had the half term holiday, which meant more kids, less horses, and of course the obligatory wet weather.

I tried to pick up where I left off with the horses; the gelding just coming back into work and the mare working on going correctly.

However all is not going to plan.

Due to the very lush grass, both horses feet have grown stupidly quickly and they look rather desperate for new shoes. The mare is not moving correctly in front, and my husband thinks it is due to having unbalanced feet.

This means that I cannot take her to the riding club training evening this week, and although I considered taking my second string (the gelding) a quick lunge soon stopped that thought in it's tracks! The grass has another effect on the gelding, every year is the same. He seems to forget he is a 13 year old 'ex' racehorse, and instead seems to think he is, in fact a half broken yearling.

There is no way I am taking him to the riding club this week, as it may be the last thing I ever do!

So I am miserable. I am cross at myself for not going with my gut instinct of thinking the mare wasn't quite right last week, I just told myself she was being fat and lazy due to the grass.

So, I am waiting for the Farrier to get back to me, then she will have a few days off to let everything settle (which coincides with my weekend away) and in the meantime I will try to 're-break' the gelding and try to catch up with the housework. Fun.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Our First 1st Rosette!


Today was the riding club dressage/combined training. I decided to go for the bigger class as something to work towards, hoping to get 50% in the dressage and a decent round in the showjumping. My biggest goal was to stay relaxed and ride the mare rather than being a passenger, and for her to stay calm.

The dressage warm up was just what we needed. There was no warm up arena, so the the whole field could be used. The warm up arena and lack of space really stresses me out, I feel like I spend my whole time trying to get out of other peoples way. Hmm, maybe a blog post on warm up etiquette?

Anyways, the other big difference was that I had rather a large entourage! I had asked a friend to come with me as my nanny, and she was great, it meant there was someone to walk the course with, to go through my dressage test with me and to just be there for me and my horse. My husband is supportive but it is not the same, especially when he is trying to look after the kids at the same time!

My dad and step-mum came to watch too, which meant they could also help take care of the children.

The dressage test was pretty much as I expected, nothing amazing, but we did the correct movements at the correct time (well, mostly, I did miss out one circle!) and the second medium trot was a real medium! I got a 7 for that. Other than the one 7, I got fives and sixes, giving me a score of 56.9%  not too bad, and the comments were very fair. Out of the four competitors in the dressage competition I came 4th, but the highest score was 60% so we were all very close.

We were the only ones in the jumping warm up arena and the mare was really calm but pinging the jumps and enjoying herself.

The course was supposed to be 2'6" to 2'9" but I suspect was nearly all 2'6" which didn't really matter. Some of the jumping was a bit hit and miss, and while we are still having some control issues, I felt I was the one in charge this time. We went clear!

When I went to collect my dressage sheet, I was given a lovely green 4th rosette for the dressage, and then a red 1st for the combined training!!

Very happy, but exhausted. The mare spent the rest of the day on a new bit of field, with plenty to eat, and when she came in a couple of hours later she was sleeping with her head over the door. Day off tomorrow, let the gelding have a turn......

Friday, 24 May 2013

Competition Nerves

I seem to have lost the mental capacity to learn dressage tests. They just don't stick like they used to. To be fair, Novice 24 (2010) is a bit involved - so many bloody circles! I am going to get lost I know it.

I get a bit stressed about competitions. I suppose I always have done, but in a different way. I am very competitive and I used to get stressed about doing my best and doing well, and while that is still partly the case, I have other stresses now. Firstly, the children! Do I need to find a babysitter, or can they come with us, will they get bored etc. Then being the one in charge of everything, it is my responsibility to remember everything - horse, tack, money, lunch etc. Then I have to concentrate on the driving. Being a new trailer driver and having a bad travelling horse makes the journey there and back a bit stressful. Then I actually have to ride? I'm not sure I have any stress left!

This time I found a nanny for myself, my friend is coming along to be a calming presence and to remind me that this is for fun.

I suppose my greatest stress is that I am going to just not be good enough.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Sick (again)

We are in the middle of yet another sickness bug. I think this is about the 6th in 7months.

I actually don't know why we have had so many this year. We are all fit and healthy without underlying health problems.

We all get plenty of fresh air and exercise, we eat well enough (most dinners are made from scratch) and although the house wouldn't be the cleanest, the windows are always open and the main bits (kitchen and bathroom) are kept clean.

This is my daughter's first year in full time school, although she was at preschool for nearly 18months before that, so not the first time mixing with other kids. Baffling!

Anyway, we are now housebound until Wednesday (at least 48hrs after last sickness) with some very healthy looking children. Hmmmm......... might be spending quite a lot of time at the yard!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Happy, Happy!

Last night I took the mare to the riding club training evening.

It rained, a lot. The mare, who generally isn't very marish showed off every marish quality she could think of. She dug, she snorted, she stamped, she shook her head, bucked and generally ignored all my feeble attempts to control her. I felt like leaving her there and going home!

The instructor, Simon Somers, was a very calming influence. He made the group walk out on a large square, concentrating on straight lines and correctly ridden corners. He told us that we were being too nice to our horses and needed to get a bit of respect from them (very true!) I was told to shorten my stirrups a hole to give me better balance, and to slow everything down. I tend to ride very much with my seat and have become scared of putting my leg on due to the mare being very forward going. He told me to use more leg, the old "Between hand and leg" which is forgotten so often.

We did lots of walk and trot, concentrating on correctness, balance and rhythm. I was told I was very good at sitting there making the horse and I look pretty, but that sometimes you have to upset things to improve. As soon as I was given a job to do my nerves vanished and I felt that I was good enough to be there. When my leg yield in trot was deemed "nearly a 9" (!!!) I could not stop the massive smile on my face and I am still bouncing this morning :-D

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Ups and downs

Anyone who has horses knows how things can be wonderful one day, and go to complete shit the next.

On Sunday, the mare and I were off to the riding club for some more showjumping. We were going to attempt the 2'3" class again after having a blip last time.

It didn't really start very well, the mare was banging around in the trailer and the kids were restless and bored. It was quite busy, so we had a fair bit of hanging around. The jumping was a bit shit to be honest. Some very hairy moments with very little control, one stop and me trying to act like I had actually been on a horse before (it didn't look like it)

I came home feeling miserable and doubting my abilities. I'm sure everyone who has a horse has had that feeling at some point that they are not good enough for the horse. It is a horrid feeling and does nothing for the confidence.

Decided to stop wallowing in self pity and be proactive about it. Looking up instructors in the area and asking horsey friends for their recommendations. Looking forward to the riding club training evening next week, it has come at just the right time!

Monday evening I hacked out with a friend. Put a grackle noseband on the mare to gain a bit extra control. It was just what we needed, a really relaxing ride, making the stress of Sunday seem a bit ridiculous. Bathed the gelding - not much of an improvement!

Tuesday - schooled the mare today. She felt very flat. My husband, who is a vet, came to check her over in the evening. She was stiff but sound, and sweating in one patch just inside her right armpit. She is to have three days of easy work and painkillers. Next Tuesday's training evening may not happen. Going to give the chiropractor a call tomorrow morning and see if she will do some laser treatment. I suppose at least this may be the reason for the bad travelling on Sunday? Feeling a bit stressed.

Wednesday - called the chiro first thing - she is away at the moment!! Typical!
Architect coming over at 10am to look at loft conversion possibilities. Hoping for good news.
Found another physio that is already coming to our yard this evening and is happy to do some laser treatment on the mare. Things may be looking up?

Spoke too soon! Had a bit of a blow financially. Isn't it typical? The next couple of months may see some difficult decisions :(

Thursday - the mare is responding really well to the combination of painkillers and the laser treatment she had.
Went to a friends for dinner. Feel much more positive after a good gossip and several glasses of wine.....
Let's hope things improve or we find some sort of solution. May be looking for more work, but sadly I have very few marketable qualities, unless you count endless optimism and sheer bloodymindedness!

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

That moment when you think you have made a bit of a mistake.....

I schooled the mare today. The boy was having a lovely nap, the sun was out, and it seemed like a good opportunity to do some decent flatwork with her.

I decided to try her in the gelding's bridle, as he has a French link bit (she has a copper roller that is not dressage legal) and she seemed happy with it.

However, when we got into the school, I felt like I had very little control (eeek!) Our long rein warm up was a bit speedier than I would have liked, but the medium trot was quite something! Or, it would have been if I had asked for medium trot, as it was, I just felt less in control. At that moment I wondered if it had been a really stupid idea!

20mins of quite hard work later and I was feeling pretty pleased with ourselves. Tomorrow is going to be painful though.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Sleeping children?

As I write this I am sat outside the yard waiting for the boy to fall asleep. He is desperate for a nap, but has reached that age where he will fight it with everything he's got. I actually don't mind having him on the yard with me, especially when the weather is nice, but when he is tired he falls over a lot (more than usual) and it becomes rather stressful.

I generally don't ride when I have the kids with me unless my husband is here. There are lots of people who have their kids sat in buggies in/just outside the arena, but for me it just doesn't work. Not least because I have as much hope of the boy staying in a buggy as I do getting my husband to do dressage - none.

I just can't concentrate on myself and my horse if I know I am the one in charge of the kids. Even if they are happy in the car playing their computer games I struggle to concentrate fully.
Asleep or not with me is the only time I can ride.

I have now spent 15mins sat outside the yard gate in the car, and the boy has finally dropped off. Right, I have approximately 30mins, time to get going!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Gridwork (or something along those lines)

I probably shouldn't write a blog post this evening as I am in a bit of a grump.

I have just got back from attempting to do dome gridwork with the horses and it was a bit crap.

As I was on my own, I couldn't ride the grid without having to get off and on again about twenty times, so I made a jumping lane and loose schooled the horses over it.

The gelding was a bit confused, but it doesn't take a lot to confuse him, he did manage the trotting poles quite nicely followed by a mini cross pole, so not too bad an effort.

The mare is frustrating. She is a bit of a know it all, and if she doesn't like the idea, she will do it her own way. This makes loose schooling gridwork a complete waste of time. She has no respect for poles on the ground.

They are looking better though, I have upped the amount of oil and Purabeet they are having, just until the grass finally makes an appearance.

The kids are looking pretty healthy at the minute too, a bit of sunshine, lots of exercise and a fair amount of carbs, is apparently the right combination.

Just me and the husband who are looking weary and worn out then...

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Another Outing!

Bit of a disheartening week really. I seem to have worked really hard to get time to exercise the horses and it hasn't felt worth it.

The mare was stiff and reluctant on Tuesday when I was trying to school her, making me think that she was still sore from her slip months ago. On wednesday however, she was a bit of a tramp and proved that nothing was hurting as she bolted off around the school with a squeal and a buck (while on the lunge, thankfully!) Starting to feel nervous about jumping on Sunday......

No exercising of the horses on Wednesday and Thursday, as I was working (yes, actually working! My first job since before the kids - eeek!) The boy and I did some baking instead. He likes baking.

Friday was a bit of a disaster. We had an architect over to look at our house with a view to convert our loft into a bedroom and en suite but it wasn't as straightforward as we had hoped. The day just kind of went downhill from there. I got to the horses about 7pm that night in a foul mood. Wandering around the field poo picking in a bit of evening sunshine was just what I needed!

Saturday was a great day, the mare felt back to herself and I had a lovely ride. I bathed her, cleaned my tack and packed up everything for showjumping in the morning. The kids spent all afternoon playing out on the yard and in the giant sandpit, also known as the arena. The evening was spent eating pizza and nachos, and watching You've Been Framed with the kids.

Rather a leisurely start to Sunday morning considering we were going out competing. The mare was much more relaxed and there were no bucks! Rather a beautiful medium trot around the warm up arena that I struggled to hold, but still, that's progress! We entered the 2'3" class this time. We had a couple of little blips, mainly me nearly being jumped out of the saddle, but the behaviour was much improved and the actual jumping was better, more showjumping than hurdling!

Next trip planned is in two weeks. I'm really enjoying being able to get out and about so much.

Monday, 15 April 2013

The end is in sight!

Last week of the Easter holidays. From a parent/children point of view it has been a better week. It has been warmer, we have been places, seen people and done fun stuff. I have happy, hungry (in a good, eating all their dinner, way) sleepy children, and I am feeling a bit smug. I am pretty good at this parenting lark*

*this week. I feel you should take credit where you can!

The horses haven't done as much this week, possibly because I haven't felt the same need to escape as last week. But I did get in a good long hack on Tuesday, which was fun and perked the mare up no end.

Both horses got a good brush and a decent lunge at the weekend. Both went straight out into the field and had a really good roll. Of course.

Back to school next week!

Monday, 8 April 2013

Half arsed holiday

I was thinking this was going to be a rather half arsed post about a rather half arsed week, but actually it turned out not too bad (the week, that is, the post will still be half arsed)

It is the Easter holidays here, so the girl is off school, and our regular routine has gone tits up. I don't really mind too much, but nothing seems to get done and it throws the boy a bit.

My friend and I did a childcare swap, which seemed great in theory. I have the kids in the morning, she has them in the afternoon. However I ended up doing the lion's share due to her work commitments, and the kids spent the majority of their waking hours together and were ready to kill each other by the end of the week. Oh well, you live, you learn.

The horses have had a pretty good week. The mare has been schooled once, hacked out once and loose jumped through a grid once. The gelding has been hacked out once and ridden in the school (not really 'schooled' though)

Had a lovely family day on Sunday, but ended up exhausted!

Oh and it is sunny (yay!)

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Lurgy and a yellow rosette

A bit late this week due to the lurgy.....

I started the week with Playmobil in my cup of tea, and an enthusiasm to start getting out and competing. I found some promising looking competitions on HorseDates and allowed myself a teeny spark of excitement. Not only am I actually going to be able to compete, I am going to be so prepared, with the mare and I in tip top condition that I am going to win some this year. I don't know if I've ever mentioned, but I am very competitive (not the best trait to pass on to your children, I might add.....)
Anyway, there is obviously some kind of conspiracy against me and my plans to take over the world win some rosettes. Firstly, as we all know, the weather has been shocking, secondly, the boy has not been as cooperative as he could be by deciding not to really nap much, oh yes, and getting a vomiting bug.

I don't think there is anyone who lives in as much fear of sickness bugs than a parent. Before kids, I might get a couple of grotty colds, the odd bad cough, and very occasional sickness (though they were very nearly all to do with alcohol) which was fine.
Since having kids, especially since the second one, the amount of vomiting bugs really is astonishing. We are now on our 4th (or possibly 5th) bout of vomiting since the winter began, and we are in general a pretty healthy family.

Anyway, the boy decorated our hall on Thursday evening, he filled his coat, my coat, his shoes and a bin. That was round one. Around midnight he perked up and decided he wanted to go to bed. The next morning he was perky, he had a bath (as did I, I'm sure some of it had gone in my hair) a hot cross bun for breakfast and was ok. He dozed on the sofa having cuddles (lovely) He then woke up, filled a bowl, a blanket and soaked my legs and feet. I had to phone my husband to see if he was passing (he was, phew!) to give me a hand. He cleaned up the boy while I had a quick shower and put on my 3rd load of washing so far today.

Tempted to give up on this week.

On Saturday I went over to the Riding Club show ground to help set up the jumps for Sunday's showjumping. I wasn't planning on jumping after the week we've had, but after putting up the jumps I really wanted to! There were so many reasons why I shouldn't - the horse isn't really fit, hasn't even been sat on for 2 weeks, it is Easter Sunday and is it really fair on the kids etc...

But anyway, I decided we would jump. I towed her myself for the first time (a little bit proud of myself) and entered the 1'9" class. We may have embarrassed ourselves a little, with the wild behaviour (bucking and jumping like we were hurdling) but actually, the most embarrassing part was being the only adult and horse in the jump off. We came 3rd, and I did feel a little like I had robbed these poor kids of a yellow rosette.....

But still, did I mention I'm competitive?

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Week 9

6am on a Monday morning. Thanks kids, you shouldn't have. Yawn.
But the sun is shining, could this be spring?
Feeling springlike, the boy and I spend most of the day at the yard. We even take the trailer out for our first solo trip, empty, and only around the block, but still! Should have made the most of the beautiful weather and ridden or something, but the boy didn't want to nap, and I couldn't stop sneezing, it was ridiculous! Parents evening this evening, going to enjoy being told what a joy the girl is, sure it won't last.

Ok, so probably not spring, freezing here today. Mostly successful trip to playgroup with the boy, he seems to have moved on from biting, but likes to push instead. I suppose it is progress......
Lunged the mare this afternoon. Moving really freely at walk, tracking up nicely, trot shows her weakness though. Still positive. Was hair model for friend, now have swishy new hair.

Wednesday, quiet morning, coffee with friend, followed by making up a load of peanut M&M brownies to say thanks to all my friends who helped me with childcare last week. The gelding was loose schooled (in a very loose sense of the word) and looking quite pleased with himself. That will do.

Thursday already? Girl to school, back home for coffee and Nutella on toast, the boy watching Cbeebies. The cat then does a mad dash around the house, leaving nuggets of poo. Wonderful. Try to clear up and keep the boy from treading in it.
Make bolognese to put in slow cooker for tonight, chuck boy out into garden for 10mins, sort laundry, do a bit a clear up in kitchen. Then pick up pieces of puzzle that are scattered all over kitchen floor (for the second time this morning) reward myself with a sit down in the sitting room which looks like a toy explosion has gone off. So much I should do, so can't be arsed.
Lunged the mare, she is looking better and the trot was nearly as good as the walk today. Baby steps. Looking after a friend's kids after school for a couple of hours. Looking forward to a beer afterwards.

Friday, swimming day. It is good at wearing the boy out, but leaves me knackered.
Weekend! Crappy snowy weather, so all plans have been cancelled. Eating too much and being lazy instead. This weather needs to change a bit sharpish, or I will be the size of a house. Horses don't seem to mind the snow though.

Picture of the mare, looking not too shocking....

Monday, 18 March 2013

Week 8 - trailer training!

On Monday I drove up to Ipswich for day one of my trailer towing intensive course.
 I started with the reversing and the test manoeuvre, in an inch of snow! Did surprisingly well. The driving around Ipswich on the other hand......
Youtube clip of the reverse maoeuvre  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TW7DHqcO9Sg

Tuesday - day 2 of the course. I am exhausted! General driving with towing the trailer going well, but that bloody Ipswich town centre! As soon as I pass my test I will never drive there again. Got to memorise the correct sequence for hitching/un-hitching for tomorrow (YouTube is great for this). Fun. So far 12hrs of driving in 2 days. The day ended quite stressfully with the boy falling up some steps and getting a bloody nose.
Youtube clip of hitch/unhitch  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6xqb0tH5nU

  Wednesday - test day! Felt quite ill when I got up, but felt quite positive once I was in the car, that was until I got a phonecall to say my childcare had fallen through. Thankfully another friend could step in at the last minute. Not exactly a calm start! 2hrs of training, followed by the test at 10.15am.

  For the test I had to first read a numberplate (to prove I was not too blind) then a couple of questions. I was asked to open the car bonnet and identify where the brake fluid goes. Then I was asked what safety measures would you take when towing. I answered that you need to check your trailer and vehicle are fit for purpose (tyres, lights etc) and that your load is secure and evenly distributed. He seemed happy with that. Then I had to check my lights were working. For this I had to put on my headlights and hazards and walk around the trailer. I then had to do the reverse exercise. This was not as smooth as I know I can do it, and I picked up 2 minor faults. Cross with myself! Then the driving...... I think I was lucky more than anything! I had no buses try to take me out on a roundabout (unlike the previous day) and every time I needed to change lane I had a clear run. Back to the test centre and time to unhitch and hitch up. Had a sticky moment when I couldn't get it to unhitch, but I tried it again and it went.

Then the result........ PASSED! I had 2 minor faults for the reversing, 1 for a mistimed signal and 3 for not checking over my shoulder. 6 in total, I am delighted! (but slightly cross that I couldn't done it with less)

A quiet rest of the week, but then felled by man flu! Feel like shite and the weather matches my mood perfectly!

Monday, 11 March 2013

Week 7

The week started with sunshine and such a level of productivity that I scared myself! Both horses got ridden on Monday afternoon. This is the first time the gelding has been sat on in about 3months. It felt like riding a yearling, he was so weak and uncoordinated! They have really enjoyed having their rugs off for the afternoons. The gelding is filthy (but happy)

A friend came to ride on Wednesday, which was nice for both of us - I had some help and company, and she got to ride.

By Thursday the weather had turned and was cold and grey. I managed a coffee and a complete read of Horse and Hound magazine in peace - bliss! There was a very good article in there about an event rider who is also a single parent to two small children. It is quite inspiring and encouraging for someone like myself who struggles to get the balance right between children and horses.

Friday seems to be spent at the swimming pool every week now. I take the boy in the morning, then we are back there in the evening for the girl's swimming lesson. At least that only means one load of swimming washing each week.....

Saturday was a complete blur! The morning was spent going to town, then cooking meals for the coming week (going to be a busy one) followed by doing the horses in cold, wet and windy weather, the gelding has his third rug back on. Then the kids were dropped off at grandad's for a sleepover (felt a bit wobbly about it, we aren't used to leaving them anywhere) then home to scrub up for a party! On the (very late) drive home it started to snow, and persisted all the way home. Yuck. Lie in and a fry up on Sunday, then pick kids up, do horses (still wet, cold and windy) and onto a children's party at a soft play hell Fishfinger sandwiches for dinner, followed by Call the Midwife on the telly, and in bed for 9.15pm. Perfect.

This coming week I have 8 hours of trailer training and my test! Thankfully I have been practicing a bit this last week, so fingers crossed it goes well.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Week 6, a little bit of sunshine

Not a bad week this week. We have had sunshine. We have had a napping toddler, a child back at school and two horses who have been exercised. Not many weeks are this productive! 

The horses are slowly picking up. I feel more enthusiastic when it is sunny, so I suppose it makes sense that they do too. They have had some time without rugs which they love - dirty beasts! They rolled and rolled! 

The work is slow with them though and I'm finding it hard to keep at it to be honest, especially when I am tired or the weather is rubbish.  Sometimes it seems a lot of effort to arrange the whole day just to lunge for 10mins. But this week is making it seem more worthwhile.

The weekend was just what I needed. I went to a point to point with some friends, while my fabulous husband took the children to a birthday party, and then I went out with my mum friends for cheap and cheerful cocktails (and chips on the way home!)
On Sunday I was allowed a lie in (have I mentioned my husband is pretty fabulous?) Our afternoon was spent putting up electric fencing so the horses can spend more time on the grass, practising reversing my trailer ready for my test in 10 days time (eek!) and shifting hay from the big barn (wonderful husband again). I then repaid some of the debt by cooking a pretty damn good roast dinner.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Week 5

Five weeks in already, and no progress with the horses, well, not the sort of progress I had hoped for.

It is half term this week, so the girl is off school, and my husband is taking holiday.

The week started at 5am on Monday morning. We were having a day out in London at the Science Museum, but of course the horses need doing first. Fab day, but I am knackered by the time we get home at 8.30pm.
On Tuesday I had my first trailer lesson! It went well, but I am exhausted after 4 hours of driving. I did manage to give both horses a quick lunge though.

No exercise for the horses until Saturday, due to an Ikea visit and seeing family, but they have spent a bit of time out on the grass.
I lunged the mare and she is still so weak and unbalanced. I used two lunge lines, one behind her, to encourage her to track up, and despite my general ineptitude with long reining, it worked well. The gelding was lunged in side reins.

Sunday was spent trying to get ready for back to school tomorrow, going food shopping and stopping the kids from killing each other. I escaped for a while to hack the mare around the fields which was wonderful! Maybe things are looking up after all.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Week 4. Ups and downs.

Monday - The chiropractor came to see the mare. I am now slightly poorer, but have a happier horse, so completely worth it.

Tuesday - Under chiropractor's advice, I put a saddle on the mare today. Huge improvement from trying to put it on last week, I managed to lead her once around the arena quite comfortably. The gelding's mud fever has improved dramatically, due mostly to some drier weather last week.

Wednesday - saddle on the mare again and longer being led around the arena. Gelding lunged and looking quite perky (if a little weak and malnourished! *)

* he is not actually malnourished, just runs up very light without grass and enough exercise.

Thursday - I just want to forget today happened!

Friday - I can't believe the boy has napped every day this week! So helpful! The weather was beautiful this afternoon and gave me a much needed boost of enthusiasm (vitamin D is amazing isn't it?!) With this new found enthusiasm I lunged the mare (interesting, she is obviously feeling much better) turned the gelding out in the arena stripped for some gentle exercise, and mucked out a friend's horse for them. Unfortunately, my idea of 'gentle exercise' and the gelding's varies. I thought he should mooch about a bit, and soak up some sun, he thought he should roll in the wet bit and come in coated in wet sand. Nice.

Saturday - Despite a ridiculously early wake up call (4am, thanks kids) it has been a perfect Saturday. Lazy morning at home, followed by going to see the hunt (mostly the hounds, I love hounds) onto the horses, where the gelding was lunged in tack, the kids helped clean a rug (ok, bash the crap out it with their toy brooms - it helped get rid of the dust) and ended with a happy, tired family tucking into Burger King in front of a film. Sometimes it all falls into place.

Sunday - Bit depressing horse wise. I rode the mare today, but there was just nothing there, no lift, no bounce, no bend, just nothing. It was like riding a very rigid plank of wood :(  A lot of work to do here, but feeling a bit low about it, rather than enthusiastic.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Week 3, photographing horses is really hard!

Monday - More horse food needed today, so a trip up to Simple Systems horse feeds for some more Purabeet and Lucie Nuts. Beautiful sunny day, despite the cold and wind, horses all rather happy on the yard. Mare looking back to normal, so some tack on tomorrow hopefully.
I tried to take some pictures of her as a kind of 'before and after 8 weeks of work' type thing, but they are pretty rubbish - It's really hard!

Tuesday - only the bare minimum done today as I had a very unhelpful 'helper' in the form of a 2yr old boy. Wednesday - Bit of a mixed day really. Pro - child free afternoon, Con - neither horse can be ridden (gelding not quite there with being brought back into work, mare still sore, especially muscles around girth/front legs) Pro - erm....... had time to brush horses, Con - weather was atrocious, a sleet blizzard! Thursday - Running around like a blue arsed fly today, the horses and children are lucky to have been fed! Saturday/Sunday - Rather an uninspiring weekend, horse wise. The beautiful Saturday afternoon was spent at a child's birthday party, and Sunday was cold, wet and miserable. The husband was working all weekend too, so no chance of escape!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Week 2

Monday - it is very wet here this week, but at least easier to deal with than snow! The gelding has perked up a lot in the last couple of days and his mud fever is at last under control. Feeling a bit stiff after riding at the weekend (quite embarassing really)

Tuesday - Quite productive so far; I am on my second load of washing, I have built a Duplo house and a train track, packed up an 'emergency' box for the car and I am currently making an enormous cottage pie for tonight's dinner, in an attempt to get us eating more healthily (standards have slipped recently) Exercising either horse is looking unlikely today.

Thursday - The gelding is recovering from his mud fever and starting to look quite perky. A friend came up to ride with a view to making it a more regular thing, but unfortunately the mare was a complete and utter trollop! Turns out she has wrenched herself pretty badly (when she slipped at the weekend) and is quite sore, so a week of loose lunging ahead. Drag hunting is looking unlikely :(

Friday - This morning I took the boy to soft play in an attempt to wear him out, it worked a treat! So I had plenty of time to loose lunge the mare, she was quieter than usual, which is no bad thing!

Sunday - I have managed to lunge the mare yesterday and today and I am happy to say there is a definite improvement. The gelding has been loose schooled too and looking very pleased with himself. He doesn't seem to realise he is not attached to a lunge line and so trots around you in a perfect circle, the strange beast!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Week 1

I am aiming to go drag hunting in March. This gives me 8 weeks to get myself and the mare fit. It is achievable, if I stick at it, unfortunately I get sidetracked way too easily. Hmmm......

Anyway, I am going to take it one week at a time. This week, week 1, I am aiming to ride for 10mins, three times. Doesn't sound a lot, but I need to start somewhere.

Monday - A lot of snow fell overnight and the girl's school is shut. A fab friend had the kids while I got the horses done, but sadly no riding (lots of snow, lack of time etc...)

Tuesday - Still lots of snow, but the girl is back to school. Managed to lunge the mare for about 4minutes in the snow filled arena. Still, better than nothing.

Wednesday - the boy had an epic nap - yay! So a fairly relaxed afternoon doing the horses and I managed to sit on the mare, I  wouldn't call it riding as it was at walk in a snow filled arena for less than 10mins, but at least I remembered how to stay on and the mare was reminded that she is not actually feral.

Thursday and Friday - still deep snow, and two poorly children.

Saturday - proper riding! I rode for 5mins in the arena, where only the outside track was rideable, then out for a hack around the fields. Was fab! Mare nearly did the splits, followed by a mini bunny hop of a buck, which was interesting (I actually thought I was coming off) Mare came tottering hilariously into the yard on her snow ball high heels like a binge drinker in Stevenage town centre on a Saturday night ;D

Sunday - 20mins in the school on the mare. The snow has completely melted, leaving plenty of puddles. I am disgusted at how unfit the pair of us are, neither of us have any muscle to speak of, both are as weak as kittens and both were plenty worn out from this weekends work. Looks like we have our work cut out.....