Friday, October 29, 2010


I'm cross. Bloody cross. I thought I was good at looking away, not seeing the difficult stuff but no I'm afraid that seeing a lion and tiger sat in the back of a caged lorry, paraded around our village to advertise the travelling circus made me see crimson. I just felt the bile rise. These wonderful creatures just deserve so much better. France is my adopted home but sometimes.....

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What a glorious day, bright and sunny from the outset and full of feel good factor. Lydia played jumping and Cacahuète played alongwell. Moo had a fab ridden session in the school and then we went for a rather excited gallop up the hill :)
Sadly my French cooking course scheduled for Friday has been cancelled due to lack of participants, I guess it's another casualty of la crise.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Not the weather but the need to keep warm, the cold wind sucked all the breath out of me yesterday but by late afternoon I succumbed to the sunshine and got the boys in for some work. Moo is doing some sterling work and seems in rude health and even Lydia couldn't resist a zip around the place with Cacahuète to keep them both warm.
Patrick carved Jack and so now we can keep warm by eating pumkin soup.....yum.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

all that jazz

Mr Frost finally made his appearance but the ensuing sun earned him instant forgiveness!
Moo started in hand, working on the travers/half pass with some good results. Lots of rein back and transitions on the lunge to finish.
Chapsi walked out inhand for the second time this week and we went just a little further into unknown territory, he behaved perfectly and I shall be doing more of this over the winter, combined with some fittening lunge work and the occasional sit on to monitor progress.
I finished the day with a jazz dance class, I think I may have come home with the wrong legs! Great way to exercise and will be going again if I can find my legs!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


One of those bright crisp autumn afternoons found the boys loitering in the field shelter (I finally relented and let them in) away from the flies. They all seem so content right now, me too!

I worked Moo in the school, concentrating on lateral work; it's time to get picky! The shoulder-in is pretty OK on both reins now but the travers is better on the right rein than the left, no big surprise as moving from the left leg is our bête noire. Played with moving between SI/travers/renvers and finally some half pass exercises before moving on to trot. Finished with some half step work again; this will be a long journey for Moo as he is so fearful of getting new things wrong and tension abounds. We finished off with a walk down to the bottom field and for the first time we took the direct descent, blimey that is steep but he coped and then tried to wizz home when we came back up; kept him calm and we just walked.

Monday, October 18, 2010


The promised overnight frost didn't happen but nonetheless it was a nippy day. No work for the boys today as Di and I were keeping warm and dosing up on the caffeine....we talked plenty about my pet subject in horse training of FORWARDS and I'll probably pen some thoughts on the subject either here or my other place. Keep warm all.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

autumn rolls in

It's turned decidedly autumnal this weekend and with the impending overnight frost in mind I gathered up the remaining tomatoes, peppers etc from the veggie plot; I also dug up the lemongrass which I've divided for friends and will keep warm over winter so we can replant nexy year when it warms up.

As so often I have lots of training thoughts in my head but I'm enjoying playing ponies too much to find time to commit to words. Both Moo and Chaps worked hard inhand, lunging, jumping over the weekend (in spite of the stiff breeze and hunter's horns) and I'll write it up tomorrow if I can(only so that I have a record for me).

I set up a diddy grid for Lydia to jump today and Cacahuète excelled himself, now remember he ain't no jumping pony but he managed a raised trot pole to a bounce cross pole and then a canter stride to a little upright...boy did she have a smile on her face and he had a certain 'swagger' to him....

Thursday, October 14, 2010


It's still dry and sunny, cooler but that's fine as there are less flies. Yesterday Lydia and her mate had me messing about with the pone and we played all sorts of games; felt like I was a kid again and we had great fun. Cacahuète is an absolute angel and behaved perfectly for the girls, this prolonged period of being out in the field has really helped his COPD and I've never seen him so fit.
Today Chapsi and I got to play, a little in hand then lunging and then wheeeeeeeeeeeee jumping! He seems to love it and I put the jump up to nearly a metre and he just kept going....his confidence astounds me, even when he rattles them he comes back for more.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

back on

It was wonderful to work the boys in today's glorious sunshine. Good liberty/lunge with Chapsi and then down to the bottom field with Moo where we practised our lateral work along 100m or so of straight-ish fence line. Leg yielding uphill is a great exercise as is leg yielding to the fence (with a little bend) and then 1/4 pirouette away from the fence, then continue leg yield and then again 1/4 pirouette and so on and so on. Great 30 mins after no riding for what seems ages; bloody cold (if I was a bloke it would be flu!!) thank goodness it's on it's way out, onwards and upwards.

Friday, October 8, 2010

friday night fajitas

As part of my quest to be a more perfect mother I made fajitas tonight, we still have an abundance of coriander growing in the garden and a few mexican herbs thrown in with the chicken and veg makes an easy, healthy (yet amazingly child friendly) friday supper. Having enjoyed a good balade with the club tonight Lydia is now set for tomorrow evening's pizza and bowling session to celebrate her buddies birthday; we shall eat scallops and no doubt sup a drop!
Had a good lunge in-hand session with Moo today, the rein back to canter makes me want to cry (good tears LOL) when I think how awful a simple trot/canter transition was a few months ago. More work on shortening the trot into half steps; he's such a trier these days.
Chapiro had his first proper massge and stretch session, not sure what he made of it but he coped well. Followed this with some flexion work which he's starting to respond well to.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Another glorious day and I took the oportunity to ride Moo in between touching up the paintwork and vitrifying :(
I started with some stretching and then on to lateral walk in work (shoulder-in to counter shoulder-in, travers to renvers) on a square. Then on to the slow trot work, again working some lateral work (shoulder-in/travers on the circle) before allowing the trot a little more through. To finish I shortened the trot and rode lots of transitions (rein back to trot, trot to halt etc) and then just the teeniest bit of work towards half steps, he tends to tense but then anything new has that effect, hopefully he'll relax when he gets the hang. Finished with a stretchy walk down the hill and a rather whizzy canter up the field...wheeeee.

Chapsi got the hang of the double mats straight away today and so I gradually moved them so that they were touching and he had to make an effort to step under with his hinds. I won't push any more until this becomes easy for him, it made me realise how easy it would be to teach straight halts with two mats though :) finished with a little lunge.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Well yesterday the rain had subsided and at times chinks of blue were letting the sun through but still pretty windy; that’s autumn I guess. The veg patch is slowing up and only a few tomatoes still ripening, still have peppers to harvest but they are slowing down and the chillies are still managing to ripen. Sadly my aubergines  are plentiful but very late and I doubt they’ll make full size unless this warm period keeps going. The lemon grass, coriander and basil have done very well and will be a definite for next year.

Thanks to Di tempting me with videos of liberty work I decided to have a liberty day with Chapsi. I noticed in one of the videos how when using a pedestal to stand the horse on became like the exercise ‘goat on a mountain top’ which has been very beneficial to Moo. Basically by asking a horse to stand all four feet close together you get an incredible stretch over the back whilst maintaining the connection of the hinds underneath the stomach.

So to begin with I thought I’d try just getting him to stand with his back feet on a mat rather than his fronts, LOL, no way was he going to halt with his hinds on there, in fact he was actively avoiding even treading on it with them by swinging his 1/4’s. Plan B, I placed two poles parallel to each other the width of the mat apart, the poles kept him straight and by asking for the walk on with one foot at a time I managed to get him to stand with his back feet (sometimes only one) on the mat. Finally I added a second mat so that he could comfortably stand with all four feet on mats, this we conquered and all in a very calm manner, the aim being ultimately to get him to stand with all four on ONE mat! We’ll see.

After the mat work I did some liberty lunging and then some lunging from the cordeo, his left rein is very tight to stretch and we’ve been working lots on this in our flexion work and I tried to follow this through into the lunge work. This is obviously a natural one sidedness and is something I want to address off rather than on-board, I think with a bit he would be more compelled to release to the left, not because it is a tension in his mouth/jaw it is, as so often, tightness in his neck but perhaps the bit would be less easy to ignore than the bitless? However the bitless flexion option should hopefully have less side effects, that’s my hope.

Moo was ridden in the school and we had some great moments in the trot using the system of slowing it right down, he feels much stronger now and in the rein back to trot transitions he was really together and up through them. We cooled off with a lovely stretchy walk down the track to the big field, he let me know he was up for canter but I asked him to stride out in the walk instead which he accepted with good grace.

No riding today as I’m coming down with a wretched cold, no big deal and hopefully gone in a day or so but I really don’t have any energy to work the boys. They are however in the stables, away from the flies and the gorgeous sunshine, think I’ll get a book and sit in the garden.

Monday, October 4, 2010

rain and brownie points

Finally some rain after a cracking storm (hardly surprising after the warm week-end temperatures). I left the boys out as it was pretty 'fly free' in the rain, they repaid my kindness with multiple rolling; luckily I had shelved all plans to work! I directed my intentions instead on gaining some brownie points from himself and applied vitrifier to the new chestnut floor and rubbed down and stained some doors!

Hope I'll be back to work tomorrow as I'm working on flexions with Chapiro and it's just getting interesting, mind you the odd day to think things over isn't a bad thing for either of's just whole weeks at a time I get twitchy over!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

warm n' windy

An unseaonably warm (24 degrees!) but windy day today. This morning I spent some time teaching Lydia the finer points of French equitation (allegedly) because she is constantly being 'nagged' at the club about how she rides (of course being biased I think she's brill); after team silver in the dressage (at the WEG in Kentucky) and tonight's gold in eventing I can safely say that British equestrianism ain't that bad Mme Monitrice!!! Well we did a little turning with the nails skywards and the inside rein opening and a few slight adjustments to her leaning back (mmm, that may get her in more hot water as they lean back a lot here) and she made a good little picture by the end of 30 minutes. To be honest I hate to teach her, I'm fully aware that I obsess about position and I want her to have fun not be a dressage queen.
Chapiro and Moo both worked well in hand and gave me a lovely sunday feel.