Wednesday, 30 January 2008

What a difference a day makes!

Rode AliG yesterday with M on Ellie we decided to get him on the roads with her as El is excellent in traffic.The lane is quite narrow and we get a fair few cars on it now with the new livery yards so he was behind Ellie most of the way,when we got to the top of the lane Ali came alongside Ellie,he then seemed to lose the plot a bit!
He pinned his ears back and was wriggling around beneath me scowling and acting really threatening.I couldnt think what was causing it, he wouldnt settle and had his ears clamped back I said to M to keep going and gave him a few sharp smacks when he felt like he might go up. He walked along the road in this agitated mood for a good 5/10mins with me just keeping my leg on and telling him to get on,we turned off the main road and still he continued.A bit further down I told M to let me go infront with him to see what he did errr 30secs to one minute later the ears came forward and on he went sweet as you like?!?!
As we rode home I chatted to M about it as he's done this 3times now BUT only when he's out with Ellie,the first time he reared up.Ive racked my brains and the only reason I can think is Ellie tends to scowl and argue when horse's get close to her out on hacks,she's very submissive in the field and low ranking.
So I reckon she's done this to Ali and he's either felt threatened by it or he's got mad with her because she's usually so submissive,the more I think about it his body language was head down and sort of snaking(if thats a word) the way a stallion herds and chases(I havent picked up on it because Polo ignores her and M doesnt ride often so he hasnt been out with El more than a handfull of times).
So im pleased in one respect as the previous 2times I thought it was the treed saddle or something I was doing,I tend to blame myself if I cant think of an obvious explanation.
Also the fact he didnt rear this time shows he's progressed and accepted being ridden through it despite him being mad....he was also excellent in the traffic passing a bus while infront:)))

The vet came today and the both had their jabs,it was the same one who did all of Polo's abcess lancing so I had a long chat about Ali's splint and Polo's 'dropping shoulder thing'.
Firstly she agrees with the trimmer the splint has possibly developed because of his upright,high heels but was happy with it saying should reduce a good deal in size over time but suggested wrapping his legs in cooling gel or a cool boot after work for half and hour.She tried to suggest natural balance shoes to which I replied "mine dont have shoes" so she said well when he's getting more work and you shoe him to which I replied "no mine dont have shoes and wont be having any":))
She looked a bit baffled so I explained how i'd gone down the barefoot route due to Polo having months of lameness and stumbling then came sound 3weeks after shoes came off.
She had a good feel of Polo's shoulders and legs manipulating and stretching them,she couldnt pinpoint any areas of pain but found a hint of puffiness in his o/s leg(may or may not be related)... she did say 'now they are proper feet' when she picked his legs up:))
Her initial feelings are probably stiffness/arthritis so I have to bute him one a day over the weekend then ride if he goes better then its pain related and she recommends a course of the Adequan(sp?) she thinks he'll be a good candidate and it cant hurt to try.
Looking back i'd say he wasnt footy with the mud but it was in fact the heavy going was affecting his joints:(
The thing is he's actually pretty low milage for a horse of his age but he's had a few nasty injury's and accidents over the years or it could be that he was broken in to drive and trotting on hard tarmac early on or simply because he's built the way he is..impossible to know but I suppose he's done ok in that its only been the past 6months where age seems to be creeping up on him.
The weather reports are very poor for the next few days and the weekend but I'll start the bute tomorrow and hopefully ride Fri and over the weekend then I should know more.

Monday, 28 January 2008

What a horse!

WOW WOW WOW...AliG continues to impress!:)
Im still trying to mix things up with the riding and ground work so took him in the school today for some long rein work,lovely sunny day too.
I started with some long reining where I was working behind him then some lunging on the two reins with me in the centre.He was absolutely amazing, bear in mind im pretty new to all this making lots of mistakes and dont really know what im doing half the time but he just allows you to play and figure things out without any dramatics or getting into a tizz.
I tried some leg yielding coming off the circle and got a lovely few steps.I then attempted to change the direction in trot running my hand up what would be the outside rein(this is how Richard Maxwell does it on his DVD) and he went effortless into the other rein.He did some beautifully figure of eights in trot I cant describe how light,balanced and rhythmic he was it really did blow me away.
Probably only did 15mins but I was delighted with the work so he got huge praise and pats then we long reined over the road home.
This is probably the biggest difference between him and Polo, mentally, he doesnt get fazed when you arent entirely certain in what your doing with Polo if you arent 100% committed and clear he doubts then panics.

I then went for a nice ride on Polo with M and his chick Ellie,we saw some horse's on the way out then on the way home and he twice had to power walk to catch them and strut his stuff:))
Im getting a bit concern about the fact he keeps dropping down on his shoulder in walk it just seems to give way,its something he's done occasionally in the past but it seems to be happening more often,only in walk and when on a hack.Now he did have a serious elbow joint injury in his youth so I do worry about arthritis in this and because of his breeding and the fact he's built downhill make's me worry more.
Ive got a book on massage and stretches im going to try a few tomorrow plus the vets out for jabs on Wednesday so will have a chat about it.I'd have to pay for any treatment myself,if he needs any, because he's excluded on the joint due to the nature of the injury EVEN though I paid for the original ops and treatment due to being with a cr#p insurance company at the time (E&L!).

Hoping for more nice weather tomorrow!

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Defeated by the weather once again!

This week has been unbelievable heavy snow at the beginning of the week which turned to rain then the last few days we've had gales!
Wagon's overturned on the A1 and our gates blew off.

So done absolutely nothing with the neddifers this week.
Today it was still pretty windy but not gales so they both did some work.
First i hacked Alig. I felt it was quite a big ask for a green three year old as it was windy and he'd done nothing all week but decided to go for it.
He was pretty sensible considering there were some strong gusts and lots of things blowing around. He had one spook at a black bag blowing in the hedge.if he spooks it only seems to be at things that happen unexpectedly never when he can see it and think first. He did nearly fall down further along not sure whether he slipped or wasnt concentrating but he did a long skid on his front legs then pulled himself up. He continued on fine after this.
He got a little excited passing the riding school as all the horses were cantering round the school a few squeezes with the rein to say hey listen and he was fine.

I then took Polo in the school as it was empty. He was sharp and forward so i let him have 5mins trotting and cantering and a buck on a loose rein to let him blow off a bit of steam .
We them settled(ahem ish) down to some work continuing with the transition work as this really seems to get results with him. He was seriously lifting off his shoulders towards the end and working in quite a nice outline which is difficult for him. He was setting his jaw against me at times but i try to ignore that and as soon as he softens give the rein a little.
I did nearly come off at one time as some of the kids from the yard came shooting out on a quad. He spun sharply and plonker here hadnt checked the girth so the whole saddle slipped. He was nearly off in bronc mode but I growled stand and this seemed to check him and i managed to stand up in the stirrups straighting the saddle up.
Anyway pleased I managed to do something with them today and tomorrow is meant to be mild fingers crossed!

Muriel asked about my problems sleeping. I think the main reason i struggle is that I work split shifts so start work at 4pm then on shift till 11pm sleep over at work then up at 7am to get kids up and off to school finishing at 9. So I dont really get time to switch off before going to bed at work plus im stressed alot of the time! Difficult problems to get round.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

MUD,MUD and more MUD!

Im officially fed up of all the mud,I just hate constantly having dirty hands and skidding around the field:((
.........just had to get that off my chest.

I didnt ride today but got stuck into some serious turfing-out housework!I know im letting the side down but I really cant cope when cupboards are untidy or when the house is looking cluttered so have to do a clear out every few weeks or so.Plus im a bit of a hygiene freak,I probably dont come across like this~I hide it well:)))

Yesterday I spent the whole day at the farm M was away so I had three to turn out,muck out and bring in so thought I may aswell stay there for the day.Did all my 'jobs' in the morning then had a long hack out on Polo with the dog's.Nothing to report with Polo other than he was slightly sharper than of late(probably with being in overnight) and nearly spun on me as a bird flew up from the bushes while trotting along.
Buster on the other hand tried my patience big style!He was just being stupid and ran up to two much larger dogs barking,he's been much better lately so why he was doing this again I dont know but I could feel my temper going...probably good job I was on the horse or I'd have throttled him.
I decided to do lots of steady trotting and cantering to take some of the energy out of him (not sure thats possible).Im not going to take him out with Polo again for the time being he's going to run up to the wrong dog at some point and get a hiding and he is only a pup,plus it gets me angry which isnt fair to Polo when im riding him uptight and not concentrating on him.
He not been bad on walks recently but obviously I need to be able to get to him and stop him on the groun..strange cos Minx and Mouse arent like this at all,never had a dog like him!

I rode AliG out for a nice hack afterwards.He was very good again still slower going out but once we've cracked that I reckon he's going to be a fantastic hack,one you can totally relax on.We had a short canter along a grass verge coming home and well the only way I can describe it that he roared into it bouncing along and took a little bit of stopping.I dont mean I didnt think I could stop him just I had to take a good hold to get him to listen i'll have to work on this to make sure he doesnt get out of hand although it was fun:)
On the way home when we got to his 'funny hill' I kept him slow by squeezing on the rein when I could feel him starting to rush and get unbalanced and this seemed to help alot.

Hoping to get AliG out on the busy roads tomorrow with M and Jo on their two neds...

Friday, 18 January 2008

Ahhh he's been up to his tricks again!

...nothing serious AliG has been up to mischief again!
Ive brought them both in this week to give them a break from the wet,muddy field Ali must have been feeling bored so decided to empty the large box I keep in his stable with brushes etc in,drag it around and play with EVERYTHING.
I dont know how he managed to move and open it as its wood an dpretty solid but he did, he took every single thing out of it down to the last hoof pick,I was lucky as his bridle was in there and other than being covered in shavings it was fine.Bet he had a whale of a time:))

I havent ridden since Tuesday because of the horrible weather and had no energy due to the lack of sleep.
Today however I was determind regardless of how tired I felt and managed to get them both out...they were only quickies mind:)
I took Ali into the school and did 25mins mainly with exercise in mind rather than a schooling session if that makes sense.I got chatting to a lady from the yard as I was leaving as she spotted the treeless saddle so had a good natter about that,barefoot and how AliG came to live in Newcastle.
It was starting to get dark time we finish gassing so I quickly chucked the tack on Polo and off we went for a brisk trot up the lane with the dogs.
Nothing was achieved it was just about getting them out today which I did so they are tucked up for the night,hopefully these gales will ease off overnight....

Tuesday, 15 January 2008


anyone get it and how do you cure it...soon as i come back to work I cant sleep and its killing me:(

Anyway ive still managed to get both boys worked yesterday and today even though I didnt really feel like it!
Yesterday Polo had a hack out with Ellie and he was footy,his frogs are in tatters with all the wet and mud and its obviously bothering.He was avoiding all the muddy bits and just not walking out very well although he still wanted to canter along the verge.
Ive decided to bring them in over night for at least this week possibly longer the weather forecast is for more rain and I Polo seems totally fed up of the muddy conditions.They have the shed with a concrete floor but the area around it is very muddy so I think a week or so in,or until the field dries out a bit is in order!
AliG had a rope circling session I stepped it up a gear and asked for a good forward trot and some canter,he moves lovely.Argued a little about cantering right but minimal I think he's realising there's little point to it (mum's more determind he he) he's being very sensitive and focused and a few times I just had to hold my gaze on his bum and he disengaged and turned to face me AND without coming into me but staying on the circle...pretty good I reckon!

Today I was looking for excuses not to ride but Jo's offered to ride Polo once or twice a week so he and Ali can go out together (it helps me get them both exercised in one go too),she was keen to ride so i gave me the push to get motivated.
We had a very pleasant hack out both boys were very good.AliG actually had a lovely swinging forward walk for a good portion of the way,Polo had his boots on so was much happier too.
One funny moment involved a wagon coming along the lane and me saying to Jo tuck Polo on the verge behind AliG and he'll be fine cos I know Ali wont bat and eye at it:)))
One thing, when we are coming down hills Ali tends to rush a bit and on the steeper hill he seems to get you reckon this is just him still being weak and unbalanced or possible feeling his leg still?(im probably fussing there though)
We had a short trot too AliG astonished as Polo shot off at a rate of knots but did he panic or speed up to try and catch him??err noooo dont be silly he just continued to trot steadily along!

So they are in for the first time this winter hopefully not for too long but I cant really complain if its for a month or so.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Chill out day today.

I had a few things to do today so they both had a couple of hours in the stable (so Polo could have his snooze) fed then turned out.

They both had a hack yesterday.
Polo first, took the dogs and were out for an hour and a half.He was very forward once he got going,he takes a little while to wake up when Ive led him along with the dogs cos he just puts his nose on my back then plods along following me.If there's one thing I can say is he trusts me 100% so knows he can follow me totally switched off.
Our cantering was seriously hampered by lots of people being out with their dogs along 'our' canter tracks..most inconsiderate!:))But it did give Buster lots of practice at walking past people and dogs without running up to them barking which he did fabulous with the help of food of course:)
We also ripped the gaitor off one of his boots when we did manage to canter so will have to order a new using the boots on the longer rides with the ground being so wet his frogs are a bit tatty at the minute.
Tried to get a few pics of the dogs while I was riding they havent come out well as they were all blurred with being on the move..this is Buster looking for treats..

This is Mouse's usual position right on Polo's heels..couldnt get anything decent of Minx as she's always off infront and in the bushes hunting!

AliG then had a half hour hack along past the riding school by himself. He didnt put a foot wrong walking well and we had a couple of little trots,he sped up a little when heading for home and tried to jog a couple of times which I corrected even though it feels quite nice as he's so collected and comfortable...I seem to like all the naughty stuff dont I!!
He was gushed at while riding past the riding school, a few of the girls were outside and stopped me asking what breed he was and his name..apparently he's a "seriously sexy pone":)

Friday, 11 January 2008

Thanks Crunchie its Friday!

Havent done much the past few days with all the rain and wind so today I was determind to be productive.

Did my cleaning as soon as I got in from work then headed up to the farm. Did my usual poo picking then tacked AliG up hoping the school would be free when I rode wasnt my friend was having a lesson but it was just about finished so we waited.
Ali had a little bit of attitude on him as he just wanted to spend the time wandering around gazing at the horses in the field around the school so he got a few taps with the whip to which he does a little toss and flick of his head in disgust:))
He settled down but does get distracted so easily and his work is a bit inconsistent in that he will focus for a few minutes but then you can almost feel him drifting off again.Got some very nice work in trot and then we had a little canter on each rein at the end.He has this habit of getting really close to the arena fence where im hitting it with my leg and foot which he did when we cantered down the long side so I gave him tap to move him over it was a weird cos his seemed to suspend the canter and it felt like we were 5ft off the ground.... but I did like it!

I then took Polo over,I decided to put him pelham in to see if I could get a bit more softness and steady him up without having to resort to a strong contact at times.He was very forward when we got in so I did some lateral work to get him thinking then some trot which he wanted to power around.I kept giving him little squeezes which helped but lots of transitions seems to be the key for him. So we did lots of the walk to halt,halt to trot,reinback to walk or trot was really harnessing his power and gets him using himself,towards the end when he was going into trot the sensation was incredible.He was bit more unbalanced on the left rein and took longer to settle but we got there.
Halfway through the neddies in the field all started galloping up towards the school well this got Polo's attention and he was snorting and passaging around feet barely touching the ground.I did what Ryan had told me to do and kept him working channelling the energy.I was laughing my head off as I get a twisted buzz from being slightly out of control at times but was half expecting a huge buck or spin and to go flying..but luckily he didnt do anything nasty!
Had a little canter towards the end,he's struggling to collect even slightly after doing no school work for such a long time, it doesnt come naturally to him anyway the way he's bred, but it felt more balanced then last time.Will have to play a bit more with his canter on hacks shortening it and stop galloping around all the time:))

Enjoyed it today they were so different but equally good fun.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

We were lucky today!

I was up most of last night with a chronic pain at the top of my back between my shoulder blades,ive had what I 'think' could be a trapped nerve in my shoulder for a week but for some reason it seems to have moved and was really painfull through the night!
Anyway this morning I thought I was going to have to go to hospital it was so bad but then as I got going seemed to ease up so I discarded that idea (hate doctors and hospitals and well any form of treatment).I got to the farm poo picked but doing it in several trips instead of one huge barrow then thought sod it im going to ride and if it gets worse I have to do something about it!
I took the dogs so walked along the lane leading them and Polo then got on at the start of the tracks telling Polo to go easy with me,which he did walking like a donkey which irritated me(poor lad cant win can he).We got down the hills so I moved him up into trot and kept thinking whats going on, I was having to push him forward all the time which isnt like him,he usually looks for an excuse to nap but doesnt grind to a halt.Well after a few minutes I looked down to his left side and mmm hadnt the exercise sheet come loose from the right strap so was trailing along dangling between his legs!:0 I totally forgot i'd put it on and had looked back earlier to check on the dogs and it wasnt over his bum then so it had been dragging for a while.We were really lucky he could have got in a right knot and fell,bless him he'd trotted along for ages with it dragging and did nothing other than try to they deal with my scattiness at times is beyond me!
He was much happier for the rest of the way for some reason:0 We had a cracking canter along the track.. Buster is FAST he kept up running alongside Polo, the girls were behind and caught up when we slowed down,they love coming out with the horse.

Im loaded up with painkillers and one of the lads has filled my hotwater bottle to put on my shoulders so fingers crossed sleep is on the cards tonight.
Its blowing a gale outside......

Monday, 7 January 2008

Back to work!:((((

Oh dear im seriously depressed had insomnia for the past 4/5nights at the thought of coming back to aint healthy to feel that depressed about it is it!?!?!

Anyway my dad,god love him,came and fixed my gates on the back yard of the house when I got back from the beach yesterday so I was running pretty short on time.Polo got a quick flick over then tacked up and out for a quickie.
He is a queer one for sure!I rode along the lane which meets the main road,didnt have more than 20mins till it was dark so instead of going further I turned off right and went along into a little housing estate to see where it would lead.Now coming up the road we'd trotted with him looking for an excuse to nap and stop,soon as we turned off into the estate..which he'd never been along before...he started striding out as if you say 'ooohh never been along here before how interesting'.
Anyway it didnt go far and was a dead end!:)))

Today the trimmer came to do Ali and Ellie.Ali was much better although still trying to snatch his leg away if he could get away with it but trimmer did say he improves each time she comes.I told her how he'd nearly sat on me then stood on my foot so he'd got walloped..she fully agreed with my response to this:)))
I didnt have a much time at the this point so took him in the school for 20minutes of ground work,he was pretty darn good and was going right with nothing more than a scowl on his face as an objection!

Boohoo Im at work and have chronic heartburn have no tablets AND probably wont be able to get to sleep....I love my job!:0

Saturday, 5 January 2008

All eyes on the 'G' man.

Didnt get time to ride yesterday as my dad came to fit a dog flap in my back door at home..It turned out to be a real faff on as the door is PVC and the flap was slightly too big to fit in the moulded door panel so needed trimming down and because its plastic and brittle it kept cracking.Eventually we got it in and mmmm well its too blumming small for my dogs...oh I was mad! Buster and Minx will go through it,Buster bursts through it and has already pulled the door off once.Mouse the little princess wont use it full stop even with me bribing her with food and then holding it open and lifting her through what felt like a million times!Im sure she's not a terrier she hates mud,cold,wet,doesnt hunt and waits for you to open gates as she couldnt possibly squeeze under.
Anyway ive bought a bigger flap and ordered a new,unmoulded panel for the door.Luckily M's hubby works at a PVC window/door firm so they'll fit the flap for me and i'll get it cheap:)

Plan today was to do a short lunge/rope work session with AliG then ride Polo for a quickie as I was going to help my friend trim her horses.
As usual the school was full so had decided to ride Polo then see if the school was free afterwards.I cant moan about the school cos im not on that yard and even though our YO is jealous and a complete c#w to the other YO he was nice enough to say we can use his school but I dont like to take the mick so only go in if none of his liveries are using it.
Anyway Jo arrived and asked if I wanted to join her for a ride along with her little girl and the dinky loan pony.Well I thought Ali would probably be better suited to going as Polo walks quite fast and the poor pone might struggle plus he'd probably be more sensible so like all best laid plans the ground work idea went out the window:)))
On the way out some people from the other yard set off on a hack at the same time so AliG was very perky and bouncy wanting to catch them.Ive found Ali is much better when he's infront cos as soon as he goes behind he starts to dawdle so he led the whole ride.He had a little uncertain moment at the sheep he hesitated,stopped to have a look and think then continued on perfectly calmly.Further along the lane there was a loose sheep running around so Jo got off to open a gate to its field(it took off down the lane running!) I held her daughter on the lead rein while she did at 3 AliG is a lead pony,not bad eh!:)
On the way back the sheep was running along infront of us all the way trying to find a way back into its field,they really are silly animals, anyway it helped Ali with his sheep puzzlement,he kept speeding up trying to catch the thing im sure he was trying to 'get' it in the end.
By the time we got back,after all the faffing with the sheep I didnt have time to ride Polo they both got fed then turned out..sure he wasnt too disappointed:))

Tomorrow im meeting the girl who's got Buster's brother at the beach so i'll try and get some pics of them,then hopefully riding Polo.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Foiled again by the weather!

We've had snow,sleet and hail off and on all day today so got nothing done with the neds.I went up this morning did the field then hung around a bit waiting to see if it would ease up gave up so went and did my shopping thinking i'd go back if it improved.Unpacked shopping and it seemed to be brightening up but no sooner had I got to the yard it started again so I fed the boys turned them out with lots of haylage in their shed for the night.I dont mind riding in the snow,infact I love it but it was driving down making it pretty unpleasant!

Yesterday was a good day however I rode Polo first taking the dogs with us,it was cold and blustery but he was very good.He was keen to gallop along the grass verges but it was far too slippery so I kept him to a steady trot(well as steady as Polo trots!) much to his annoyance.The horse's in one of the fields we past started tearing around which resulted in much excitement from Polo,lots of snorting and tail in the air.

The school was actually free so I then took AliG in for 25mins for a schooling session.He started off distracted and slooowww so I did lots of serpentines,some leg yielding which he did very well and some halt to walk asking for an instant response.We did a little bit in trot then I couldnt help myself and asked for a few stride in canter on each rein.Its felt very strange because Ive not cantered on him for ages and Polo's canter is VERY different.Hard to describe but its like he's in the air for ages I suppose it feels a bit like being on a rocking horse!:)He's going to find collection so easy which he should given his breeding but ive never rode any horse that feels like this or works in such an effortless outline.

Finally a pic of me foot this was taken the day after it happened its gone a darker colour now and is itching like mad!