Amazing how easy it is to get up when it's jodhpurs at the end of the bed...
I ignore my alarm every day of the working week but 6.15am seems perfectly reasonable when there's something horsey going on. This morning it was a trip to a yard in Sunderland to meet the beautiful Juno, a four-year-old bay Clydesdale with a very soft and strokeable nose.
Gail Jeffrey, who has worked a lot with Cady, invited me along to watch her work with Juno, who's been getting very worried about being ridden and started having some explosive moments. He'd been given a full bill of health before we went so Gail was free to step in and get to the root of the emotional problem.
Everyone was pretty sleepy but a lovely pink sunrise and plenty of sugary coffee worked wonders and we all trooped down to the arena to see what was bugging Juno. Gail and Andy, Juno's owner, began work around the mounting block: asking Juno to cooperate and step into place to allow his rider to get on easily.
He seemed pretty worried but quickly understood what was being asked and gradually grew comfortable with Andy handling him and directing him from the top step of the block.
Then it was a question of some basic desensitising work, moving the stirrups about until Juno became totally relaxed about having them every which way. Andy then started to work on having his toe in the stirrup and resting his weight on Juno while praising him and encouraging him to stay still.
Forty minutes later and Juno looked a lot happier to have a rider hovering over him, moving him around the block and leaning on him, all while a helicopter droned noisily overhead! His head came down, his eyes softened and he began to relax his stance. Gail said she felt the root of the issue was that Juno had been rushed through his learning at some point in the past and gave Andy lots of homework for the next fortnight before she returns to work on the next stage with them.
It was a great morning and rounded off nicely with a trip to my old yard to have tea and a bacon sandwich. A group of us are heading to Your Horse Live in a month so that's all booked now and we are very excited about two of the demo horses - a 17hh Friesian and a Lusitano. And I won't even need to ignore my alarm tomorrow, as the weekend will stretch a little bit longer into a morning lesson with Joanne Forster, an expert in Centred Riding. Fingers crossed my back will be ok - I'll let you know how it goes.