Sunday, May 31, 2009


Too hot to be energetic today. I waited until 6 pm to ride and by then I have a nice few meters of shade. He is really chilled at the moment and I would have tootled down the hill or up the lane, however, the tractors were around baling hay so it seemed sensible to pop in the school instead. Just as well as they came down to bale ours whilst I was working.
We just took off from yesterday and worked the giravolta into leg yield and then into a trot transition. Played with the giravolta into shoulder-in and that made him so much lighter into my hand...nice. The trot work was really *considered* and not rushing and we tried a little giravolta in the trot, perhaps we are on an ascending line on the graph again, hope so.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Another gorgeous day; bright and sunny but a good wind making it seem less than the otherwise *sticky* 28°. I sat feeding the fish, camera in hand, marvelling at nature's ability to make the simple so exotic.

This water lily just doesn't look real it's almost too perfect.

Moralejo was chilled in spite of flies and the wind, I really can't believe how cool actually. He actually stopped twice when annoyed by horse flies and I dismounted, made the kill and remounted with zero fuss on his part. Worked lots in walk due to the heat and got some great leg yield after working first with the giravolta....took that forward to the trot and he was very light in my hand so I now need to add another pinch of that spice in my regular work.

Chapiro is hating the serious flies that have now arrived; dosed him up with Butox spinal pour on (another cattle product) and he was much more comfortable going out tonight.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

...while the sun shines

make hay.....
Thierry cut ours today and so here's hoping it stays dry for a few days!!
Didn't work my boys as I was over at Estelle's today. Her Danish cremello stallion is looking great and worked really well. I got to see a gorgeous palamino foal he has just produced (well actually the mare did most of the work, lol) and a spectacular coloured that one of her other stallions sired...I love babies, especially other peoples.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

squashed tomatoes and stew

Joyeux Anniversaire......well it all started at 2.20am with Lydia peering over our bed. 'What's up babe?' I manage to say, 'I think my alarm got set wrong' she responds. Mmm, good start to the perfect day. Usher her back to her bed then get some more shut eye until my own, correctly set alarm, bursts into action at 6.30am; at 47 a girl needs her beauty sleep.

I don't usually *do* birthdays. Like riding I find the less one expects the less room there is for disappointment. However, I hadn't allowed for the enthusiasm of an eight year old and so flowers, birthday banner and my carefully wrapped gifts, one bought from a recent vide-grenier (think junk fair) and a hand-crafted, by Lydia, painted pasta bracelet and all this before 7.30am.

I have now been wined and dined; ginger pan-fried fish, mussels in black bean sauce to name but two dishes taken at the delightfully named *Pagode Celeste* in Limoges. Too stuffed and squiffy to ride so I put the boys back out and walked the dogs.

If I have recovered my brain by tonight I may post horsey stuff, lots in my head.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

cowboy kid

I missed the opportunity yesterday but today I captured (with the help of the zoom) Lydia playing on her own in the school. Yesterday she fell off cantering and dusted herself off and vaulted back on, she's one determined kid, lol. Today she seemed to have it licked.

Had a good day with Moo and played canters up the field, he got a tad excited, bless, he was lovely.

Friday, May 22, 2009

bits and pieces

Being offline last night I'm a bit ('scuse that) behind. Yesterday we worked more on up and together and played with some different ideas.

Firstly I changed bits from the copper, loose ring, french link to an eggbutt, dropped cheek (aka fillis baucher/hanging cheek) snaffle. Now the beauty of this bit is the *steadiness* that it offers. The eggbutt can't pinch or chaffe, the hanging cheek stops the tongue taking too much of the weight (attach one to your bridle and look how it sits outside of the mouth) and for some reason the direct *nutcracker* action of the single joint snaffle seems to suit Moralejo. I imagine that's why we had success with the fulmered single jointed snaffle. So he preferred the bit, I think!

Next out of the tool box was the effet d'ensemble, link to the previous blog post on this topic

Around about 25 seconds on the video above we are working on the effet d'ensemble and it was incredibly *lifting* and brought him together. Still some head movement but not as much and generally quite pleasing.

Please excuse the lack of sports bra, LOL, somewhat of an oversight due to the warm weather!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

up, up and away

Well today I managed to actually video 20 minutes from the fence post. I've edited it so it's not too long and it's warts (well mostly warts) and all. We have done the stretching down bit and now the telling bring him back up. Only little bits of up, still lots of stretching down and using some opening of the shoulders and of course the higher hand to bring his balance rearwards if he starts to rest on my hands.

It's going to be a long journey and I've been at this point before with him but not much beyond it; so the next few months will be interesting. I hope I can get through the unsteady head :-( and the lunging/twisting down (he does this at liberty in the field too) but I hope we're going to get beyond the impasse...we'll see.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Why does it always surprise me just how sensitive my horses are? This last week when I've been leading Chapiro up from the paddock he has had a spooky moment each time we have passed the cow field. Now he's not fearful of these Limousin beasts, on the contrary, he seems quite chummy with them. It would appear that, undetected by me, the electric fence has been shorting on some long grass and ticking at horse detectable frequency.
This just got me thinking about the sensitivity of our equine friends and how, just like us humans, some of them can tune it out and others just can't. Part of our training strategy has to be to engage our horses to such a degree that they can block out these nuisance calls and concentrate on us.....what a huge thing we ask.

Friday, May 15, 2009

art is fantastic

check out the horse's eye, I think that is brilliant.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

rain stopped play

I think it has only stopped raining for 2 or 3 hours out of the last 24 and consequently I relented and brought the boys in tonight. Can't say they seemed grateful but I shall sleep better.

I haven't blogged for a couple of days due to the stormy weather and awful broadband connection but this was yesterday's work in-hand. Actually it's the first 5 minutes before I ran out of battery, I'm useless, lol!! I can't seem to get it onto movie maker to edit so it's all boring stuff except a few seconds from 1 minute where I'm really pleased because the entwickeln (shoulder-in, straight, shoulder-in/leg yield) is much more fluent and I'm especially pleased that we can also control the quarters coming off the track. That really is the power of video evidence, in the absence of regular training I can at least kick my own butt!!

I have lots still to cover on aids/turning but every spare moment is currently invested in paddock topping or painting; hence my brain is full of thought but nothing committed to print.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fidge news

Sorry to anyone who on EE who has already seen this but I'm really pleased to report that Mandeigh and Fidge had a...wait for it....SUNNY... lesson 'oop north in Scotland!! Doesn't the boy look great? Becky Holden is a maestro of ground work and it sounds as though Mandeigh and Fidge had a great time.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

parade of relics

This is most definitely an *aside* but nevertheless a horsey photo moment. *Les ostensions* aka *parade yer relics* is a catholic ceremony that takes place every 7 years here in the Limousin. We don't actually live in the Limousin any more but Lydia's club is there. There are 'pics of the girls on the *shets* with their flowers and some of the parade and the *relics* I guess it's just one of those *french* days out, lol.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Chapiro de Noaillas

Playing with my baby boy today. It's too tricky getting him to move and film at the same time so apologies for the quality. Looks like sideways will be easy, lol

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Greedy guts

Ask for much, be content with little, and reward often" (Captain Beudant) ...

..well today I'm ashamed to say I asked for too much. Yesterday Moralejo was a really good boy and today I was greedy and asked for some more. Should have lunged but couldn't resist riding, big mistake on my part. So I decided to accept that today wasn't the day and we went down the fields for a mooch and had a lovely time up and down the hills and came home quicker than we went out, lol!! I hope I brought us back from the edge by accepting little and then rewarding, he is so forgiving, I do love him. Horses teach us something about ourselves every day, I've just got to be more aware of my lessons.

techy vids question

OK, both these vids are from the same session, uploaded together but edited separately (although both on movie maker) so why is one clear and the other all blurry?? Just when I thought I'd mastered the editing thang, darn.

First is me warming up, he's such a good boy and stays slow through all this work which is a MAJOR achievemnt in itself (for him). The second I'm warming him up, a little correcting with a high hand but mainly just trying to get him to flex his neck and then chew the rein down. Still a way to go but it is getting there.

Monday, May 4, 2009

entwickeln first vid

OK, this took AGES and it's only a bit of in-hand, it's a bit easier ridden (I think) and if I have the stamina I'll edit the ridden vid later!! You will see how easy it is to *swing* the 1/4's and loose them in the turns (another good reason not to teach inside rein to turn) and also to *overcook* the angle in the shoulder-in etc, etc etc BUUUT I do think it helps him with his 1/4's and starting to engage them properly. I will report back when we've used it more. Anyone speak German? What does *entwickeln* mean??

Another good early morning session yesterday, got lots done around the place and a lovely walk alongside the river with Lydia to round off a good weekend :-)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

entwickeln (more)

OK, BAD diagram but it's a quick sketch and you'll have to click on it to enlarge. This is how I rode the exercise yesterday. It's all either shoulder-in position or straight and you have to be careful not to loose the shoulder but it worked really well. I hope to get some feedback on EE so that I can get some tips from anyone that already uses this exercise. Check out the instructions here and read them with the diagram, it may help

waking up on horseback

It's been a while since I did this, up at 6.00 and hayed, 6.30in the school! It's not even 9.00 now and I've ridden, turned out, breakfasted...oh I feel so good. The weather is just perfect and once he got over the shock Moo was a good boy. Lots of trot at the moment; figure 8's, serpentines, reinback to trot, leg yield and just trying to help him find his balance during the changes of direction and transitions.
Back down to earth now as I have to go to the dechetterie (so much nicer than tip) with a trailer of building rubbish!!

Friday, May 1, 2009


I love learning something new and by chance I happened (on EE) to discover the shoulder-in entwickeln exercise of Walter Zettl today. You can read all about it here and it's a great one to have in the tool kit. I tried it in walk and trot today and it really does open out the shoulder and help the balance. I tried it in conjunction with another shoulder-in exercise I use; shoulder-in down centre line, straighten half pass (same inside bend) straighten shoulder-in opposite rein, straighten, half pass and so on.
Can't wait to ride tomorrow and play some more.