Thursday, September 30, 2010


Fun day today with both boys lunging over jumps (well that IS stretching it slightly as my 3m rustic poles on top of the mounting step or a big bucket hardly rate as proper jumps) but the boys don't seem to care. We started with poles, then X-poles and then little jumps of about 60cm with a stride between them. Once Chapsi got the idea he was really keen and even pulled over to take the jumps when we were lunging on a circle, bless his cottons. Moo is slightly more reluctant but once suitably encouraged with some click/treats he was flying. Chapsi was shattered after we finished and was soundly dossing in his box as soon as we got back, Moo on the other hand had bags of energy left so we worked on lots of canter transitions which seemed much improved; perhaps as a result of the jumping.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Another sunny autumn day had the darned bot flies out in force; Chapsi has BIG problems with them and whilst I was poo-picking he had a massive tantrum and high tailed it round the field for ten minutes! It's pointless trying to catch him when this happens as he is so unconcerned for his own safety that it is pretty dangerous. Eventually he came to me for help and in trying to swot the damn thing for him he caught my hand with his hoof while trying to do the same! No lasting damage but I got him up to the stables pretty pronto for a shower off and a snooze; didn't work him as he had already had plenty and in case we found more bots.
Moo on the other hand doesn't care about the flies, good job as he's a bit of a magnet for them. I had a good session with Moo, after starting in the same 'up' slow trot as yesterday I then let the reins out and sat it out :-o  lots of turning, circles, rein changes etc resulted in a quite stretchy trot, still fast and at times unbalanced but I gritted my teeth and stuck with it for 25 mins; boy do my legs ache tonight! He is so wide that sitting for so long in a fast trot is a real killer BUT I think this is my way forward. To finish we went for more canters down the field and this time I came up the steepest part and he flew and that's after an hour in the school!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

This afternoon I started with Chapsi in-hand, some flexion and head down and then into the walk on. I don't want him sniffing sand but just enough to relax his neck and stretch over his back; he's getting the hang of it and it's transferring to the ridden work now. Today I picked up the schooling whip once on board as I've been working on desensitizing him on the ground with it; he didn't take any notice even when I changed hands and it's not even a riding whip but a pretty long in-hand one, so I was pretty pleased with that. Lots of transitions and working on the forwards energy, as you could see from his spook he isn't that energetic about things and I feel the Iberian in him is hiding for now!!!

Moralejo worked on slow, slow, slow in the trot and lots of rein back. This is by no means collection work, purely slowing the trot and keeping him off my hands so that at SOME point, if we keep progressing, we will be able to develop the trot into something worthwhile. I have to say it's not always easy to keep patient through this work as it isn't consistent as yet but he just feels so much better. There's a tiny bit of vid here and for comparison here is an old vid (for my reference) of a broken pone earlier in the year. After 30 mins school work we went down the field and cantered up the field a couple of times :-) both canter leads felt strong and we both enjoyed the feeling!

Monday, September 27, 2010


My fave TV show is on tonight and a cute one from Chapsi today! I had long reins chilling after work and the tarp blew off the leveller (it was quite breezy this afternoon) I was pleased he settled back straight away.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Chatting today with Di I realised how much I miss having a trainer. It's not that there are no trainers in our parts, there are plenty but it's having a trainer that one trusts and those are as rare as hen's teeth! I can quite ably 'help myself' with video but it's not in the present, the here and now, so it takes longer to adjust the picture and get results. I guess it's pointless to wish for what you can't have so I'll just carry on the best I can and enjoy the process but one little wish surely wouldn't hurt?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

whose turn to buy the sweets

Well it was Lydia's turn last night! In the UK we bought cake if we tumbled, here it's sweets and last night Lydia took Haribo as she had been 'flung' by Darcos the week before; no lasting damage.
Yesterday the boys both worked in-hand and on the lunge, good work from both. I need to work Chapsi a little harder now, in our ridden sessions he's quite tired by the end of the trot work so perhaps a more serious lunge programme will now be in order if we ever going to ride the canter in the school and not just on the track. He really has a lovely balanced canter (so different to Moo) it's lacking a little 'jump' but it's a great canter to start from.
Moo is almost there (as in like a baby 'there') on the lunge, lots of canter trans and rein back/giravolta in between, he is still mega on the forehand in the canter but at least he can now maintain it; I'm so looking forward to being able to work 'within' the canter as I'm sure that will help.
Off to Limoges later to buy some winter gear for the pone and Lydia and I...the debit card is already trembling.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Gareth came today to trim the boys and it was good news all round! Cacahuète and Chapiro have always been fine but Moo has proved more tricky, he has taken a while to thicken his soles. Well it would seem that the hacking and consistent work are paying off because Gareth was very pleased with his progress. I'm such a numpty that I didn't take before pics so you'll have to take my word for it but they have changed lots. Today Patrick had a quick lesson on a maintenance file so that we can keep Moo even better between trims.
After lunch I rode Moo and Chapsi, both went well but Moo just feels so much stronger and able to carry himself in the trot work (of which we did a good 20 mins). After schooling I took Moo down the track to have a canter up the field and again he felt strong over his back and was not leaning on the rein, about the best canter I've had from him in a long time.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Only had a short session with the boys this morning but pretty satisfactory with both. It is wonderful having both to work with now and the ideas seep between the two (pretty helpful). Both worked in-hand and of course Chapiro had the 'over' theme of calm, part of his lack of calmness is his worry over the whip; of course I don't HAVE to use one but it is extremely useful to be able to touch the haunches in the right places when necessary so I would like him to be more accepting. He has never been hit with a whip as far as I am aware, never with us and I can't imagine his breeder having used one as he was very lightly handled and she was very gentle with him. I'm not sure but I think it's akin to his fervent hatred of flies; for one it's the noise (if it brushes against me, the sand, the saddle etc)  and then it touches him in a place that is alien to where I am stood (ie his hind foot when I am at his head) he's already greatly improved but today I started with him at liberty and me sat on the mounting step. A little targeting of the whip and then some backing and walking on from aids given through the whip whilst I stayed in place on the step. Then on to some foot lifting from cues given by the whip, well we'll have to start piaffe training at some point :-) finished with giravolta and shoulder-in on the circle (after a conversation Di and I were having about the differences between the two I thought I'd work through them to highlight the difference.

Moo worked a little on spanish walk, giravolta and shoulder-in and was uber relaxed (he like many boys has his special way of showing this!) loads of long rein backs on straight and curved lines; he makes me smile.

Trims tomorrow, must remember to take pics.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

flex and relax

Another gorgeous day, warm and sunny (dare I mention our need for rain) and chores all out of the way by the afternoon so time for the boys again.
Chapiro has spent lots of time working at liberty but he's finding it quite hard to make the transition to 'proper' in-hand. He tends to rush and almost panic when I try and control the forehand (slow it or move it). Today I started the in-hand in a shady corner of the school and just worked on relaxing his neck at the same time as asking for inside flexion (using the inside rein with a light constant feel). Once he flexed laterally in his neck I released the feel and let him stretch down (pretty much like the bit flexions but without a bit). He responded really well so hopefully in a couple of weeks we'll have the in-hand work cracked.
Afterwards I rode him and concentrated on a relaxed neck and good transitions and started to ask a little leg yield.
Moo had a lunge session interspersed with in-hand (worked a little again on spanish walk and giravolta tied into the long rein backs) and today the canter was really free, still not perfect but progress for sure.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Another cold, crisp start and a warm sunny but fly free (well almost) afternoon. I rode Chapiro in the school working on sharpening up the transitions. The downwards are actually too sharp and so we worked on smoothing them by staying in the rising trot and slowing it with the seat whilst keeping a little 'forwards' feel with the legs until a good walk transition was arrived at. To get him up and off into trot from walk more sharply I used some click/treat which always appeals to him. Some good work followed by a pootle down the track and round the bottom field. The video is from last week, just a few seconds of what's happening at the moment.

Moo and I went up through the hamlet for a hack and for the first time in a while he backed off. To be fair we met a generator running a plaster shooting nozzle wielded by a chap in full protective gear and full on NOISE! So I hopped off and led past and he was fine, got back on and no more problems even on our return when we had to come back past; of course we were headed home and he now knew it wouldn't eat him. To finish off we went down the bottom field for a nice long canter, he was very contained and stayed relaxed on a light rein :-)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Moulin de Fouilloux

Another sunny autumn day to play ponies! Chapiro had great fun playing over poles and a small jump and then this afternoon Lydia and I took Cacahuète and Moo on a new hack to the Moulin de Fouilloux. It was a very quiet afternoon and we hardly saw a soul in the hour we were out; it's a lovely route (once through the scary farm yard mentioned in a previous post) through woods and up and down some decent hills, we turned back but if we'd had more time it can be done as a circular route but we may need a pique-nique for that one .

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Well another gorgeous day for working so taking full advantage I rode Chapsi in the school. Having levelled the school yesterday I had removed all the 'toys' so I took in the mounting stool and one mat and left it at that. We did a little in-hand to start and really concentrated on transferring the halt aid to the rein. So to begin with I raised the inside rein AND gave the verbal cue 'whoa', clicked and treated lots and then began to remove the verbal cue and work off just the physical cue. At the same time I was asking him to slow down to my pace and not keep trying to rush me with his shoulder; we need to work more on this but he's getting the hang of it.
When on board I worked large in walk for a couple of circuits on each rein, just letting him relax and stretch. Then worked on the exact same thing as we had in-hand, taking away the verbal cue from the halt; really good halts on a very light vibration on the inside rein and lots of treating! Today's problem wasn't the halt but staying halted, as soon as I went to sit up after giving the treat for halting he would be off! Now I'm not averse to forwards but as he has always been so good at standing it was a bit disconcerting. After about 4 attempts at staying halted after the treating I finally got my brain into gear...doh...everytime I sat up my seat said go (as we have been practicing, double doh to me) so off he went, LOL. Easily dealt with by verbally cuing 'stand' whilst I gently recovered my position and then asked for the walk-on. I guess next session we'll go back over this but I think he got my point.
We then worked on turning in walk and working proper baby corners; then same in trot and had some better changes of rein today. Then IT happened!!! The first spook LOL! For a sharp pony he's been lacking in spook juice and I'm happy it's been that way (my last WB baby could spook so sharply that I could be left standing in the sand with him facing the opposite way!) but today he kicked a fallen apple out of the school and it ricocheted off the bank making it zip back into the sand with venom! Well bless him he did a neat wiggle to the inside and then just carried on...oh please let all spooks be so balanced! We cooled off (well aside from a little canter) down the track and I was pretty chuffed with him today (can you tell??)
Moralejo had a good lunge session; lots of canter and long rein backs, he is slowly joining up in the middle, one day soon he will be a 'whole' horse!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

same ole

Moo and I took off for another wander down the track, round two different fields and then back up through the hamlet on a hack we haven't ever done before...big test for the boy and he was just brilliant for almost an hour.
Chapiro was ridden in the school where I made a smaller area (by laying out poles)  in the centre. We worked on some 'proper' circle shapes, changing the rein within the circle and tried some turns on the forehand. It's very basic stuff but with a pony like a bendy bus it's got to be done and having no fence to lean on makes it even more beneficial! Then we worked large in trot and warmed up before coming back into the circle work. The trot is really getting energetic and he's pretty quick off my aids, something to work on is changing rein in trot as he gets a little wobbly through the change and stopping from a rein aid and not just my voice. There's lots of good things going on but more to work on; this has to be the best time with a baby.

Monday, September 13, 2010

happy hacker

The boys have worked for the last three days; Moralejo started first on Saturday with a great in-hand/lunge session. I was really pleased that he was relaxed and free flowing after being 'left' in the field for a week. Worked on the 'big' rein back (half the length of the school each time) and it seems to really help engage himself better.

Yesterday Lydia and I took off down the chemin for some hill work, bless Moo he kept a steady canter in the lead even with Lydia whooping like a cowgirl bringing up the rear! We did three circuits of the big field, walking down and cantering up the hills and then went up through the village and hacked round the triangle route, walking down the hills and trotting up. Both Moo and Cacahuète seemed on great form and behaved impeccably. On our return I took Chapsi down to the school for some in-hand and lunging...had some lovely canter transitions and he seemed not to have suffered from the time off!

Today Chapsi was ridden, after some in-hand work with the mat, and we worked on transitions and keeping the trot more free flowing. We finished with some gate practice and wandered down the tracks and had a gentle trot back; what a wonderful lad he is maturing into. Afterwards Moo and I repeated our hill/hack of yesterday but this time of course we were alone! Remarkably he was just as relaxed on his own and didn't even raise an ear at the noisy (hidden) tractor in the woods; blimey, I even enjoyed it!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

bunkin' off

Well what a lovely surprise! On the anniversary of twenty two years of wedded bliss I was given the day off! I caught the boys up and brought them in for a good groom and a lot of cuddles and scratches, couldn't resist a Lydia like leap on to Chapsi for a 'proper' cuddle....omg are horses good for the soul!!! I was then taken to St Jean de Cole for a pucker lunch and an amble around it's delightful cobbled lanes. I'm now listening to a Maroon 5 concert whilst typing this (missed it last night, thank goodness for the iplayer) and will leave shortly to take Lydia to her first 'double poney' lesson at the club, BIG PONIES Chapsi is already lost!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

nearly done

The painting plan is coming to an end, phew, so the boys will be back to work. I've noticed a neat idea that Kate has of keeping a work diary on her blog and I think that's something I should aspire to over the coming months. In spite of being a whinge bag about having enforced time off I'm realising that perhaps 'planned' breaks could do us all good. The big problem during winter is working in an outdoor school can lead to unplanned breaks!
It's been a lovely day and Lydia and I at least found time to wander down to the boys tonight, they seem quite  happy and obviously blissfully unaware that work will shortly resume.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

kick up the a*se duly administered

Sorry about that, I've recovered my sense of humour and my body seems to have finally accepted that 8 hours painting per day is within tolerance. The boys are out (well they do have their shelter) in the wind/rain/sun/night/day and seem unperturbed; no doubt they'll be a tad reticent to come in when they finally do!
I'll not have anything much to report until next week but painting leaves a lot of time for thinking ;-)

Monday, September 6, 2010


I hate to write pathetic, self indulgent, too tired, fed up with painting, haven't worked the boys for three days, need more sleep (did I mention tired) sorts of  posts ;-)