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

Friday, 18 October 2013

Consistent canters and speedy jumping

I got my schooling head on yesterday with dear Rodney. My plan was to work on walk to halt transitions but we quickly chucked that and tried some leg yielding, transitions and canter. 

We tend to rocket into canter, roar along for a bit and then slowly die into a messy trot but yesterday we managed some much steadier transitions, a softer seat on my part and a more rhythmical, consistent canter. I was so pleased I jumped off, gave him a big pat and then walked him round to cool off. 

I read in a Kelly Marks book that it's nice to reward your horse for doing what you want by finishing the session rather than just hammering away till it drops to bits again. I hope I've paraphrased that correctly. At any rate, Rodney is not clipped and I didn't want him to be too much of a sweat bucket...

My other horsey news this week is that I did a bit of jumping in public the other day. I'd gone to see my friend Emma compete at Centurion on Tia and she offered me a go at the clear round. I had my hat and boots with me so thought 'why not?' and off we went. 

I was nervous, though I'm not sure why, because Tia looked after me very well. We were a bit speedy and I pushed too much for longer strides (that's just habit from riding Rodney) but it was great fun - even when we got lost half way round!

Emma and Tia then went on to place second in the 65cm with a beautiful round. It was a lovely, relaxed set up for anyone fancying a bit of jumping over the winter in County Durham.

And for now, that's it, except I hope you are enjoying autumn too, and getting plenty of riding in.

Happy horsing everyone x 

Ps - I thought this blog made a good point, and the photos are beautiful - click here

Friday, 11 October 2013

Hat or no hat....Hat!!

I found this an interesting read Wear a riding Helmet even if Parelli doesn't

And it got me thinking - I'm not sure I could get on a horse if I didn't have my hat on, even for a moment.

I grew up being told to wear one, always wore one and now it's a no-brainer. I have a lot of trust in Rodney but I don't want to give him any more responsibility than he already has. I haven't fallen off him yet but I expect at some point I will and it makes me feel a bit safer to know I've got my lid on.

I always wear a hat to ride and often for groundwork too.

Riding is high risk so if I can reduce that risk, I like to think I will. Yet I don't wear a body protector or air jacket and I've no plans to change that - particularly with the latter, I find the price tag very off-putting.

What do you think? 

Ps - Perhaps Cady helped cement my view on safety the thousand or so times she opted to stand on her back legs and wave at me. I never much fancied a pat on the head from the little monkey...

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Autumn days

It's a blowy day in County Durham today, with a strong nip of cold. Not cold enough for my new balaclava yet though, as I found when I took Nancy for her morning constitutional and ended up with a very sweaty head.

No harm done though and we saw two rainbows as the weather frigged about, showing off left, right and centre.

The leaves are starting to change, I'm about to run out of dongle data and I'm waiting for my bread to rise so now seems like a good time to get a post done.

I've had some more good rides on Rodney lately, and I think I can feel some improvement in my position while in canter. I'm trying to find that thin line between staying relaxed enough to follow the movement but still using my core muscles to prevent flopping about. Every now and again we get a few strides that feel good. I must try and get someone to film me so I can see how we're doing from ground level. I might be feeling that we're getting there when really we look like a jelly on a rollercoaster...

He's a bit nervous in the arena when it's really windy because we have lots of crackling, snappy-sounding branches but he's doing well to contain himself. I usually start by letting him trot some slow laps of the arena on a long rein so he can relax but also expel any nervous energy. After a canter or two he's down to business and continues to be responsive and great fun to ride. I used to often find schooling unsatisfactory and a bit aimless but Rodney has made it a pleasure and perhaps I have a more independent brain now which helps me decide what to work on as the session progresses.

I bought Cady in yesterday just to give her a brush and put her vest on to stop shoulder rubs. She's slightly better on that left circle trot but not completely so it's the winter off for her. That aside she is happy and well and moves comfortably around the field so I've got no reservations about leaving her to it.

This year I'm not minding the thought of winter so much. Their rugs are ready, I know they can manage very well as last year was a bad one and they both thrived. I've got my balaclava, gloves and torch, yes, I feel OK about it. And I hope you do too.

Happy horsing everyone x

Friday, 4 October 2013

Rodney and Tia - The Reunion

Before I bought Rodney and cruelly moved him to a new yard, he had a rather gorgeous girlfriend - Tia, the golden dun highland.

On Wednesday we (myself and Emma, Tia's mum) finally arranged the reunion ride and stood back, waiting for the air to fill with hearts and stars.

Unfortunately, Rodney didn't seem to recognise his former beau and returned to his haynet after a quick glance. It could all have been a bit awkward but when we went for a hack his memory returned and he spent most of the ride doing shoulder in so he could stare at his beloved in disbelief!

It is you!

We've had some great rides this week, and I'm enjoying each and every one. Although Rodney may look a little rotund and muddy, he's no slouch in the school. We've been working on leg yielding, straightness, bending and none-zooming canters. He's very responsive and works extremely hard so I'm thrilled with the way things are.

I've got a bit more time on my hands at the moment and I'm working my way up to doing something with Cady Pickle..what that might be I haven't decided. I'll start small and see how it goes.

Nancy dog is still a happy little fart face. She is very good when we go to see the horses and usually has a nap in the car. Already it's hard to imagine life without her!

Happy horsing everyone x