Sunday, January 31, 2010

rollkur behind closed doors-don't let the FEI get away with it.

There is a link here to Di  who has an update on the forthcoming FEI meeting on rollkur, please help horses by signing the petition she links to at the end of her post!!! Oh and get your friends to sign too.

Oh and by the way...Patrik Kittel got 'let off' his appalling warm-up horror (see here) and got off with a written warning :-(  

Thursday, January 28, 2010

above and beyond

As I mentioned yesterday, Lydia did a sterling job taking pics in the ffffreezing conditions. Here are three very short vids of some of our shoulder yield, leg yield and shoulder-in..they're not very good quality but listen to the actress as she *moans* in the background on the last one...I think I need reporting for abuse, LOL

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Freaking Freezing

Another cold day, I'm fed up feeling like the Michelin man with all my layers of clothes; luckily the weight I've dropped over the last couple of months means I can fit an extra layer under my riding trousers...thank goodness but I can't wait to peel it all off in Spring!

The school didn't defrost even in the lovely sunshine but we worked in hand and Lydia kindly braved the cold to be cameraman; she couldn't hold out for the ridden work as she reckons her teeth were chattering too much, takes after her mum. We had a good ridden session after some good in-hand; I'm so excited about using the cordeo with Moo (I'll cover that ONE day on the other blog when I get to that point) and used in conjunction with the indian bosal it's the best system I've used yet.

Then I took Chapsi down to the school, nothing exciting today just reinforcing the halt and walk on, he was a little bit *cross* to begin with, understandable as we have to pass some great grass on our way to the school and he doesn't understand why we can't stop to partake of some. He forgave me and we compromised with a little hand grazing on the way back!!

Lydia was at the equestrian centre all morning, playing catch up for the lessons missed during the snow...she didn't seem to notice the cold then, LOL

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

all behind

Oh dear I'm not keeping up to date!! Ah, you thought I was talking about my butt...all behind, well I'll have you know I lost another kilo, sadly though not from my arse. Maybe trying to run two blogs was a bad idea, somehow I'm not keeping up with either. We had a busy week-end preparing the guest room and bathroom for it's chestnut flooring; we managed it, just, and now the flooring is going down. So my excuse is that I was too tired to blog.

I've worked with both boys when the weather has permitted and Di came over on Friday and we had a play with Moo, unfortunately, I probably drove her demented with my new found enthusiasm (oops).

Chapsi has had a few days without work, just grooming and tying up on the yard but today we braved the biting cold wind *brrr*. I think it's really good to give plenty of breaks with all horses but certainly with Chapsi I find he benefits well from time to allow things to sink in. I am really pleased with his attitude on the yard; he picks up his feet in anticipation of them being picked out and he can stand still most of the time to be brushed. Tonight he was excellent when I put the saddle on and stood stock still while I fastened the ticklish tummy causing him to barge into me. Very pleased with him and I'm looking forward to warmer weather so that we can do more.
Next week a new horse group in the locality is holding it's first meeting...good excuse to get together and chat with other horsey folks although it's a little scary having *real* chats rather than cyber chats, LOL.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It's Official

Well hardly official but I've decided and that's what counts; working my horses makes me a much happier person.

Mother nature got her weather act together and strung three dry days together for us, this afternoon she even managed a healthy 10° C...woohoo.

I rode Moo yesterday and today; he's still full of energy but it's been weeks since we had a work routine so I can't really blame him. I took video today but as usual I ran on too long and it's too big to upload and I can't edit for some reason (computer says nooooo). It's really helpful to have some eyes on the ground, even if they're only mine! I need to take my neck back into my collar more and need a little more control of his shoulders in the trot lateral work. That'll do to work on for now, there's loads more but petit à petit. I was really chuffed though, that my right foot is not everting much any to keep up the exercises if it's working!

Yesterday I tacked up Chapsi and we went into the school. He is so chilled on the yard now; stands patiently, lifts feet for picking etc and stands beautifully for the saddle. He's a bit ticklish when the girth is tightened but that's improving. In the school we worked in-hand turning; halting, backing and he was a good lad.
Today, in an attempt to keep things changing, we went down to the square paddock and I worked him on the grass...weird he thought, all that grass and I can't just stop and eat. He was pretty chilled and we did a couple of circuits of the field, halting and moving off etc and then back up the hill to the yard.

Can you tell I've had my horse fix, LOL ??

Sunday, January 17, 2010

sunny sunday

The sunshine returned and so did my enthusiasm!
Chapsi and I took a walk up the lane after lumch, the first time for weeks due to the bad weather. We had an uneventful departure and aside from the odd snort we made it up to the turn into the woods without incident. We took our time and practised halts and standing still (oh that one is so hard) and double backed a couple of times...all of which he accepted wih good grace. The return journey started well but about half way home he panicked a bit and started calling. With hindsight it was probably a bit too long for our first outing in a while but we made it home in one piece and he really was pretty good considering how seldom he leaves the others.

I then took Moo in the school for some in-hand work; loosening the shoulders and quarters and some general stretching work. Then I got on and we worked similar exercises mounted. Sometimes his excess energy drives me nuts and it's a big effort not to be distracted by it but today I almost shut my eyes (truly only almost) and 'felt' where to move him...halt, rein back, yielding, shoulder-in, counter shoulder-in and it felt really good. Just finding the area he was avoiding working with and putting him into a position that worked that area, nothing exciting but oh it felt so lovely to be working 'properly' again.

The weather so far this winter has been dire for working outside, unlike last year, and it's driving me nuts; hope this dry spell may last at least a little while longer. Hope you all can enjoy some decent weather to play horses.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Backache; literally a real pain in the bum

The big thaw has arrived and with it the rain. Lydia is riding whatever the weather, maybe something to do with the pink barefoot bridle that FINALLY arrived or perhaps that she is practising for an online equitation competition.

I've been working hard on myself, trying to align hips and shoulders better and to put my body back to proper working order. None of this work is ridden, although I am feeling the benefits when riding. I was treated to Pete Egoscue's book 'The Egoscue Method of Health Through Motion' at Christmas and for the last three weeks I've been working through the exercises.
Twelve years ago I had an L1/S5 discectomy and as a result I have suffered with a lack of movement in my lower back and this in turn has lead to a total dysfunction of my shoulders and hips. I have lost count of the osteo/physio visits and lately I've just kind off seized up and felt stuck but without too much pain (aside from the bloody headaches and neck aches and little add-ons that you get from dysfunction of the hips/shoulders.

Egoscue's book is easy to follow, especially as I have already used most of the exercises in Pilates. So it's nothing new in many ways but what is new is his belief that the body can heal itself if put in the correct position to do so. Thus previously disused muscles can once again function in the way they were designed to once they are reminded of their true function.
The program isn't hard but it's quite a big commitment in terms of time and it's every day! So I'm fitting mine in during the late evening when I would be watching TV or on the computer. The first I can do at the same time, the second mmm not so easy.
The book offers self diagnosis help and shows all the exercises in the program (again I think it helps that I'm familiar with most of them) with some anecdotal stories to support the program (he uses program not that a US difference?).
At around £5 from Amazon I would thoroughly recommend this little book (recommended on EE by Trish)  but ultimately it's not the book that cures you but your desire to be desire is strong and I hope the flesh is willing. For so many years now my right side has 'swung' out and caused me problems, especially when riding as it is hard to close my right side around the horse. At worst I hope to be pain free (or close to) at best I hope to be able to ride better. I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Now this is getting boring

Still can't get out of the village, lovely neighbours came and offered to do a bread run on their quad but we're OK for food for at least a good few days more.
Lydia rode the Peanut and I gave my boys a groom, massage and stretch (first time for Chapsi and he was a bit fidgety).
Nice family day.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

total white out

Everything cancelled today...trimmer, Lydia's riding lesson...

The boys have been stoic about going out, totally chilled and Moo even seems to LIKE the snow (scratch my head in wonder). The only downer is having to run water from the house as the taps have given in to the big freeze. That aside it was a good day and I managed to have a play in the school with Chapsi.

Sadly I had to take pics/camera vid myself; photographers are like hen's teeth when it's cold!

I took some dire vid of us free driving and working in front of him. He is, frustratingly, more agitated by me working at his shoulder when loose but I feel sure that is coming soon (ever the optimist) but he works really well from behind or in front.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

BAD mum

Lydia didn't make school this morning as the hill was impassable. By lunchtime and with some help from a shovel it was 'proceed with caution'. So we did. Dropped mad'moiselle off at school and hit the supermarché. Lots of tooth sucking and oohing to be heard in the shops, the French (like the English) can talk weather to death.

I'm a bad Mum because there were only two kids from the class who made it in. I made up for it by giving out some mucking out duties and then we played in the school with Peanut pone. I think I'm forgiven.

Afterwards I took Chapsi down to the school and we did some free work. He was a good lad and only slightly distracted by sounds of screaming as Lydia and her two little boy friends hurtled down the hill on their sledges.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Indian Bosal

OK more on the pink bosal. Firstly it is an indian bosal (see this link to bitless bridles)  which is quite different to the western style bosal in action. The western bosal has no moving parts whereas the indian bosal has a crossover action with the two ropes that pass under the jaw.
The action of the indian bosal is like a sidepull,  you use either rein for direction (in theory putting slight pressure on the oposite side of the nose) and when you use both reins you get a pressure under the jaw.
I'm finding it good for Moo as I can aid the 'up' by lifting my hands and bringing the jaw up. Again, as with all the bitless work, it brings home how much we are tempted to use our hands to 'attack' a problem that should be addressed elsewhere. I of course only speak for myself.
If the temperature lifts I'll video but riding in my ski pants doesn't look so hot!
On a big plus note I only gained 1kg over christmas (gawd knows how) but I'm back on the wagon and eating for one again!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

the PINK bosal

Well here it is ** drum roll** the PINK and black bosal.  I can thoroughly recommend Wendy at bitless horse who offers a good range of bitless options to buy or try.

It's been so good to be back to work with the boys. I've ridden Moo a few times and worked him in hand and lunged today. He seems not to have suffered from a few weeks off, except that he filled up with beans rather!

Chapsi has been in the school to work loose and in-hand, we've had Moo's saddle on him and he looked so grown up and was just so calm for girthing and dropping the stirrups. I've continued standing on the big bucket and he now seems to find it totally *normal* that I climb on it and  lean over. Today we took a walk up the lane and saw nothing and nobody; he was the calmest he's been and appears to be quite relaxed most of the time.
I think Chapsi is quite happy to be back to work, he's become very cuddly and stands almost angelic like, without being tied, to be groomed and tacked up. I suppose the patient work pays off in the end. He's looking fairly grown up at the moment so hopefully we'll be on board before my birthday in May...that's the rough agenda anyway but I'll see how we go the next few months.