Welcome to my blog about horsey life in the North East - the good bits, bad bits, endless coffees and plenty of mud!

Monday, 19 March 2012

The horse owner's prayer

I enjoyed a trip to Beamish at the weekend and it is a really lovely place for horse lovers to go. There are actual real life horses, lots of old carriages, tack and harness from Victorian times and notices like this...

 I think the prayer from a horse is a lovely sentiment but I have to say I think we owners deserve one of our own. I started my own draft on the back of a napkin in the tea rooms..
"Trample not on my delicate cranium lest it burst and loosen my brains...treat me kindly though I make a hundred mistakes...please refrain from stamping on my foot when your breakfast is late...and when I am old and tired please do not set for home at a gallop in case I should I soil my pantaloons..."

It needs work doesn't it? On a better note I took these pics of Cady and Harvey at the weekend and I'm quite pleased with them. They imply my time at the yard is soothing, graceful, beautiful even...when in reality I am still recovering from Cady's first season of 2012. Let me tell you, it was not pretty. 

PS - If you know what they're looking at, answers on a postcard...

Friday, 16 March 2012

Friday yipee!

Here are a couple of quotes that made me laugh to celebrate the fact it's Friday and so...two days of devoted mucking about with the neddies :)

A horse which stops dead just before a jump and thus propels its rider into a graceful arc provides a splendid excuse for general merriment.
Duke of Edinburgh

Speak kindly to your little horse,
And soothe him when he wheezes,
Or he may turn his back on you,
And kick you where he pleases.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Thank you very much!

More than 2,000 people have looked at this blog since it started in October.

Thank you very much. I hope you like what you read here and if you have any suggestions to make it better I'd love to hear from you.

Monday, 12 March 2012

The view beyond the arena

Sunday. The weather. Oh my days. I think I speak for all of us oop North in saying it was glorious.
I stayed at my friend's house on Saturday night (countryside, stables, bedroom window overlooks the field) and it was great.

Not least because she said if she wins the lottery she's donating her freehold slice of paradise to my grateful self)

But the only minor downside was that I only had my thick winter clothes with me and the plan was to zoom over to my yard after breakfast.

I did my best but by the time I'd turned them out (no rugs - yipee) I had a sweat on and decided to do the sensible thing and nip home for a change.

Once I had my t-shirt on there was no stopping me and I mucked out, cleaned my tack, oiled Harvey's new bridle and had a good tidy round.

I then decided to try Cady once more in the Pessoa just to double check. I used it for five minutes and she looked much more comfortable. From now on I think I'll just use it here and there for no more than a few minutes and see how we go. 

Then I tacked up and took her in the arena and we had a great time. Lots of transitions, leg yielding and shoulder-in all in a very relaxed manner..I think, yes I'm pretty sure, I even admired the view from the arena at one point! This was a brand new experience for me as I usually keep my eye-sight firmly on where we are going in the optimistic plan that if I don't look beyond the fence, she won't hoy me over it. 

Anyway, the ride was in stark contrast to Saturday morning when we were accosted by all kinds of madness going on including cement mixers with scary air brakes, tractors, jcbs, two fat pigeons and a spirited Shetland galloping up and down. Cady was fine with all this but my nerves are still on the delicate side and I felt very relieved when it was over!

Harvey's doing really well too. It's still just a question of building his muscle so he's physically comfortable enough to carry a rider so we spent some time in the round pen working through walk, trot and canter on both reins followed up by a good groom.

I have noticed he makes a funny noise as he moves at the trot, like a duck being stepped on repeatedly. By pure coincidence my friend leant me Caroline Akrill's Not Quite a Horsewoman (excellent book) to read and she described the same thing with her piebald. It seems the noise comes from his sheath, and the solution is to don my rubber gloves and give it a good clean. Oh joy, I can't wait.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Back in the bridle...

Beautiful Harvey and his first time in a bridle for many months. What a gentleman he is - took it all in his stride.

Had a nice night at the yard yesterday - the good weather is a boon for all horse owners. I tried Cad in a Pessoa for the first time but I have to say I didn't like it much. I had it very loose and on the easiest setting but she looked miserable so I might leave it. Every horse is different and I'm just not convinced it's for her - though I know people who use it to great affect.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

New homes needed

It's been in today's Sunderland Echo and on the news last night that the RSPCA centre for horses near Chester-le-Street is facing overwhelm.

The number of horses they are taking in has shot up and they need new homes for them urgently.

Here's a link if you'd like to find out more 


School's in for Harvey

First five minutes in the round pen last night as we work towards building Harvey's muscle. 

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

No news like good news!

Just a quick update with some fantastic news...

Osteopath Emily Bewsey came out to see Harvey on Tuesday and did an amazing job with him. She identified some nerve damage and lots of sore spots but by the time she was finished we were looking at a far happier horse.

She's also given me the all-clear to start building his muscle with some appropriate lunging and long lining. 

It was fascinating watching her work and the information she could give us through feeling his joints and alignment. I only recommend professionals on this blog when I've used them for my own horses and I would whole-heartedly suggest you see Emily if you are worried about your horse at all. Here's her website http://www.equine-osteopathy.org.uk/ though she will shortly be on maternity so be quick!

I am really relieved he has no lasting damage and yet it explains so much of his past behaviour - he has clearly been in pain for a long time.

Cady and I had another lesson from Jo Forster on Monday and what a difference. Cady is doing really well now that I am being less wishy washy. I'm just starting to realise how much horses can pick up on and how much they crave that strong leadership. I even had an 'A-ha' moment when I realised that bending my elbows and reconnecting them to my core suddenly made leg yielding easy peasy!

Yesterday I decided we'd schooled enough and whizzed around a few trotting poles and a tiny jump - our confidence is definitely improving.