Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Sarcastic Small Fierce One

Blackberry started off looking at crookedness I thought I looked quite straight SFO thought otherwise *tsk* had discussion on how crookedness is your normal view in the mirror it therefore becomes hard to see that what is normal in your world view is actually crooked.

Then did legs over front and take one down taking right leg down I pitch left, taking left leg down I stay straight. So SFO suggested try leaning right as take leg down (non habitual movement I assume) that improved things also looked at can I make correction whilst not looking at TV screen? I can but have to feel head is very tilted left for it to be straight.


My plan had been for this lesson to be one where I 'own' stretch right side and do not look down, following on from Tyranny of the Trainer :-

5/ Own your faults. My two biggest (not sole!) faults are collapsed right side and looking down. It is *not* up to SFO to keep telling me this. I know this, I need to do something about it.

SFO asked me if the diamanté was falling off my gloves, I looked down and replied 'no I don't think so' to which SFO told me to stop looking down :-D have renamed her SSFO Sarcastic Small Fierce One

Told SSFO about what my intention had been and her view is 'it depends' I wasn't aware I was looking down so until I do get some awareness it is her job to remind me.

Got asked why I chose to move the hind quarters over and not the shoulders as both would achieve the same, explained he had bought his quarters in thus to get him back on my imaginary line I had to move his 1/4s back moving his shoulders would have taken us off our line. Got a gold star for that :@)

Did some walk -> trot transitions paying attention to getting what I intend. Certainly improved our transitions.

Elbows were missing in action today :-(

Got a lovely trot after a canter and spent too long thinking ooh this is nice and didn't think enough about maintaining trot/rein length so reins too long so rather than try and recover asked for walk and gave the rein. My intent was good which was to be clear but could have tried to get reins back and enjoy the trot.

Next transition he went from canter -> trot -> walk of his own accord. Pooh is a quick learner :-) So knew the next transition I had to insist on trot regardless or I'd lose my gold star. So insisted we maintain trot.

I need to have a better balance between the technical stuff and intent. I am so busy running my corrections check list I forget the horse. Luckily with Pooh if you become absent he just slows down.

Last canter I paid more attention to intent and got a better result.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Joyeux Noël 2011

Am having a lovely day, probably one of the best ever.

Got up went to the yard everyone suitably happy walked C for his five minutes. Did a double take at his legs when I went to ice them they seem to have tightened visibly not sure that is possible but that is how it looks.

Back home for brunch at 11:00 with Champagne (good times) watched some of the Rotal Ballet's Alice in Wonderland, had a little snooze (good times) then morsel of *homemade* (Domestic Goddess) Christmas cake then back to yard listening to Queen's Speech (yes even a Republican can listen to the 15:00 broadcast)

Second five minute walk (so fourth walk in total) and the legs do definitely look tighter.

Back home more Champagne get changed start doing the veggie

1/ Thyme roast carrots and onions
2/ Purée of parsnips with nutmeg
3/ Goose fat roast potatoes
4/ Sautéed Brussels sprouts with chestnuts


A/ Bread sauce with thyme to link to 1/above
B/ 'Red stuff'
c/ Poultry gravy

nom nom nom

'Red stuff' was planned to be cranberry and Port relish but no cranberries sent in on-line shop so experimented with the mixed berries that were sent. So mixed berries cinnamon stick port and orange juice simmer until sticky and thick. Was really nice.

Downton and Christmas pud later

nom nom nom

Saturday, 24 December 2011

It isn't about the trifle

Being super organised did my shop on line to be delivered 23rd between 20:00 and 22:00. The IT gremlins had other ideas and downed the IT system, cannot imagine the stress and unpleasantness the staff on the helpline must have suffered.

So shop now to be delivered by 11:00 today, 11:00 passes now will be delivered by 13:00 am assured everything ordered has been picked bar a few canapes.

13:00 arrives and still no shop finally arrives at 15:00 with some weird substitutions!

So don't have what I need for my raspberry and limoncello trifle or cranberry sauce :-( all small beer in the grand scheme of things it is *only* trifle at end of day.

Started Chorrie's in hand walking regime today 5 minutes as timed by iPhone *I heart my iPhone* did the first walk this morning and burst into tears!

Christmas isn't about trifle it is about the handwalking!

Friday, 23 December 2011

Scan 9 - A new hope dawns


So today was scan number 9 and both legs are looking good and the left leg has really turned a corner since the last scan on 17th November.

So is the left leg good healing due to the pulsed mag or just how it heals? Liz's recall is that the right leg suddenly did this too.

Can now start hand walking on the hard for five minutes twice daily, if ligaments do not react after one week increase to ten minutes twice daily.

Best Christmas present ever :-D

Shoes can go back on with some sort of support (heart bars / pads) to get weight off walls

Had eyes and heart checked all OK, other than gut so loud Liz had to wait to hear heart :-)


Fred is 24 and old enough to know better and behave :-) but no he has to prat and spin and generally be a PITA. So good to see him feeling so jolly. Liz did say clearly he is happy and enjoying life.

Heart ok, cataract left eye almost certainly due to his age but is translucent so isn't a concern at this stage. Liz did say he wasn't a candidate for surgery I think she was making fun of me :-) as she knows and I am sure loves my tendency to over think.

Ligament History

5th May 2011 - Stretched right check ligament, box rest but allowed out for pick of grass

1st July - Can go out in pen twice stable size for 30 minutes

1st August - Can start five minutes walking

4th August - Escapes from pen; reinjures right check ligament, injures left suspensory. Walking cancelled.

14th September - Does left check ligament in stable.

5th October - Supportive limb laminitis pick of grass cancelled.

18th October can go back out for pick of grass

23rd December can start walking out in hand twice daily

Monday, 19 December 2011

Tyranny of the trainer

Firstly this is not about me or anyone in particular that I know it is a work of fiction with some snippets of reality.

So how did we get to this position where we pay someone to *help* us yet when they are less than helpful we

1/ Don't give them any feedback to this effect

2/ Stay quiet for fear of upsetting them and ignore the fact we're also upset and paying handsomely for the privilege

3/ Keep paying them and yet not try a different trainer so we don't hurt their feelings? What about *our* feelings.

It is too much to ask for a trainer who

1/ Actually leaves you feeling better about your riding post lesson than pre lesson, clearly a trainer is not a miracle worker but you shouldn't be leaving 19 out of 20 lessons feeling bummed.

2/ Doesn’t diss their other students. Seriously you're being paid to teach no you don't have to like the person paying you but if you accept their money then be professional enough to follow 'if you can't say anything nice say nothing'

3/ Don't diss other trainers. It sounds like sour grapes especially if their students are doing better than yours. If your students are doing better then let that speak for itself.

4/ Doesn't try to sell you a wonderful uber horse. The horse I own is wonderful to me and is not going anywhere so you can either train me on my donkey or not train me at all.

5/ Doesn't sell you wonderful uber horse that turns out to be too hot for you to ride; so trainer ends up with the ride and you become an owner.

6/ Who doesn't tell you in your first (and last lesson) with them (yes this one is true) that riding is like a book going from A - Z and that you aren't even at the letter A.

In what other aspect of our lives would we let this go unchallenged yet somehow the heady smell of horse pooh turns confident capable women into women who 'keep the peace by saying nothing'. Would your colleagues at work recognise the person you become as soon as you smell horse pooh?

OK so that's the rant about trainers as students we also have responsibilities.

1/ Give feedback your trainer is not a mind reader.

2/ Do your homework

3/ If you don't understand ask, if they can't explain it to you simply enough for you to understand then they don't understand it thoroughly enough.

4/ Don't say things to your friends about your trainer you wouldn't say to their face. Respect is a two way street.

5/ Own your faults. My two biggest (not sole!) faults are collapsed right side and looking down. It is *not* up to SFO to keep telling me this. I know this, I need to do something about it.

This rant may get continued ...

Sunday, 11 December 2011

A day of ups and downs

Arrived at yard late :-( my bad and Lorna was there not seen her for literally months was so nice to catch up and chat, was very sad to hear about her father so hard to lose a beloved parent.

Anyways lovely to catch up then Steph came into barn with Janice's Charlee is it wrong to feel so maternal towards a puppy? Human babies don't float my boat but give me a puppy :@)

Took C out for pick of grass mucked out then off to yard coffee, Gill had made Rocky Road and Louise chocolate brownies was nice to sit down and have a natter.

Then mucked out Fred then off home for quick lunch then back to yard with Tony in tow to put boys to bed then off to RDA for Tony to play Santa.

I had visions of Tony walking in and several smalls running over to 'Santa' and Santa making a quick exit pursued by small children :-D

Went off well have a hard act to follow when I play Peppa Pig in March (!) home in pouring rain to make another 1.5l sloe gin

Must learn to keep mouth shut !

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Perfect pooh

So as always started on Blackberry, legs over front then Connie cushions under thighs whilst SFO waggled my legs around to try and improve

1/ the weight going down them
2/ separate moving my legs from my body. So move legs and body stays same.

Tried moving shoulders whilst not moving head still find that bloody hard plus coupled with staying on right seat bone.

Then tried rising to the canter brain exploded at this point. SFO not happy with my rising too much movement in lower back and shoulders doing too much so spent what seemed like forever going over and over it. With me having to sit on SFO's hand talk about feeling the pressure (both of us!)

Finally got a chink into what I need by thinking about rising into my heels.


Had a letch with SFO over Ash from Masterchef ;~} SFO not keen on his accent, me I don't care as don't want him for his conversation! So agreed he'd be ok for cooking and shagging :@)

SFO asked what I wanted to do should have said repeat the canter exercise from last week but instead asked what SFO thought I needed to do knowing she'd say rising trot so rising trot it was.

Started off no stirrups loose rein in walk and felt totally spaced out and not really with it, balance felt shot away and didn't feel terribly present, felt better once stirrups back.

So loose rein work and turning then onto lunge and look at rising trot think rise into heels then onto turn on forehand which became turn around a cone which sounds pi$$ easy but shows up holes in basics for both horse and rider.

So imagine cone in school you want horse's nose over cone and you move horse around the cone pivoting on the nose over the cone. So nose stays over cone and legs describe two concentric circles around cone.

Thought left rein was hard enough until I tried right rein!

Had some good walk -> canter trans and felt this week I was actually committed to forwards in the canter. Got my first ever snort in canter so something is improving! Need to keep my right side stretched and left side softened and keep looking up.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Beaglie - Cruciate Ligament

Clearly as Janice put it so well I have displeased the 'God of beloved pets' on Tuesday morning I booked Oliver Beagle in with Ginny for a check up Thursday PM as he'd been a bit stiff over a week ago and whilst it had resolved I wasn't happy and just wanted him checked to make sure his spondylosis hadn't worsened.

So Tuesday night he gets off the sofa and walks off 6/10 lame down to 2/10 lame in about six strides. Wednesday morning he is fine but do paw position proprioceptive test 'just in case' and he's fine. Thursday am he isn't placing paw 'correctly' so short walk and off to vets.

Ginny diagnoses cruciate ligament damage, I was a bit stunned and didn't ask if posterior or anterior or both, but NSAIDs for two weeks and lead walks only on good going.

He is a candidate for surgery should we need to and Ginny's colleague Tim does them as routine having done three this week already.

Just need to convince the Beaglie that being quiet and sensible is the way forwards!

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Blown away


So started off legs over front whilst putting world to rights.

Worked on left and right pillars, stretch right soften left. Too easily pulled off right seat bone need to stuff pillar more.

Did left / right position is clear from back view and plumb line that position right my spine moves to side of plumb line and I remain 'stacked up' / straight. Not so much left spine barely moves so worked on that.

Then onto contact jeez how difficult was it to follow SFO :-(

Finally leg and rein sensors on and up to gallop 3 then down to canter 2, sounds easy but as my following is not that good too easy to go from 3 to 0. Managed it a couple of times.

Needs more work

Pooh glorious Pooh Bear

Decided to do a lesson off the lunge said I wanted to work more on steering and lateral movement in trot.

So started off with on the buckle gaah clearly I cannot bear not to hold reins with both hands.

I will need to sit on bloody free hand to stop it trying to join in, on the upside am happy enough at buckle end just not with having a hand wafting around.

So could then pick up reins and not told to change anything.

Need to watch I do not get sucked into joining Pooh's lateral wobble in walk stay on my seat no sideways for seat bones, streeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetch right pillar. Found resisting the wobble bloody hard.

The bugger of it is Pooh and I have the same 'issue' strong left side weaker collapsed right side so I have to 'be' to enable him to follow. Which translates to on left rein, need slight travers with slight left bend whilst I stay down my right leg and stretch my right side. On right rein need to keep the right hind stepping and not allow hindquarters to swing in, oh and have a right bend.

Onto trot with SFO muttering at regular intervals more activity whilst I am thinking trot is active. Clearly it isn't else SFO would be quiet but did think what more does she want ;@}

20m circle to 10m circle and LY out, all easy enough when not under the gimlet eye, got some goods :@)

Canter exercise, actually easy enough but blew my brain, too much left/right too fast.

Walk to true canter at 1/4 marker along short side to next 1/4 marker then walk then counter canter long side between 1/4 marker walk and to true canter for short side.

SFO did say I could do a flying change I think she was pulling my leg :@)

Gawd put me under pressure and I forget which is left and which is right *doh*

Got some good transitions and all were on intended leg so clear and measurable progress but Pooh is a super star staying so calm whilst I faffed about on top.

Actually I feel he trusts me more didn't get that worried feeling from him on right rein when he overswings 1/4s in and you need to stop and move them over, he just did it without worry. Very chuffed with that.

After the canter exercise back to trot and wow just wow can now see why SFO wanted more activity, he was aligned and it was just so easy and whilst he was more forward than I've ever felt it was just lovely. :@)

Monday, 28 November 2011

Fred Bod

What to do about Fred?

He is 24 has a clinical history of arthritis, caudal heel pain, impinging dorsal spinous processes and is missing a check ligament.

He is lame near fore, not laminitis doubt it is 'a leg' he seems happy enough but realistically what to do?

I think I'll get Liz out to give him a once over he deserves that but no box rest.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Trainers on the internet

Is it me but I just don't get all these trainers who spend what seems like ages online and they seem to be everywhere and all they do is pick holes in the other online trainers.

Occasionally they throw a curve ball and we get a bit of a love in and A who previously had nothing good to say about B is now their newest and bestest friend.

So is the internet driving them crazy or is it because they are already crazy and ego driven they spend so much time online getting their egos massaged by their little band of devotees?

It isn't as if it is the the odd one I could name several some of whom I've had lessons with.


Spanish Riding School - Magical evening

Last week for personal reasons has been to say the least not the best of weeks, on Friday having heard of a possible glimmer of good news thought fcuk it I'm going to the SRS on Saturday as who knows when I'll get the chance again and if I learnt one this this last week it is that we have no idea what the future holds for us.

So went online and splurged on two tickets, being situated on the floor alongside the pillars row B. Sent txt to Pip to see if she'd like t'other ticket as early Christmas pressie.

Poor Pip talk about not giving her any warning but took view if she couldn't make it husband could come along. Luckily Pip was able to fit it in which husband was very pleased about as SRS not his idea of a gripping evening!

So caught the 17:45 and headed to Paddington got to Wembley Central at 18:20 and went and collected tickets from box office so far so good. Pip was on Jubilee line so supper before show looked go!

Went in search of Chinese following directions Pip had been given having walked round block still no Chinese so asked chap directing traffic and retraced my steps and went in opposite direction and found it!

Pip was now stuck on Jubilee line due to electrical failure, Alisan was full and Indian next door couldn't get us in and out in 30 minutes but as I walked out Alisan had emptied so went in and lovely chap assured me he'd get us fed in 30 minutes so went in search of Pip.

Found Pip on Olympic Way (how did we manage before mobiles) and went to Alisan had lovely meal courtesy of Pip's generosity :-D and then off to see the white ponies.

Found our seats and waited, show started off with Carl Hester on Donald and Lee Pearson on Mavis (?) the compère Nicky Chapman (who is she?) was just fcuking irritating. Yes I am fully behind making 'dressage' more accessible to Joe Public in which case explain what levade is before we see it in hand not after! Had seen Richard Davidson with Gill whilst on my restaurant search now he'd have been a much better choice as

1/ He actually has a clue
2/ He might have asked Carl something intelligent
3/ He wouldn't just woodenly read the auto cue / whatever
4/ He is good at this sort of thing

Anyway enough of my gripes the evening was magical, was so pleased Pip was there with me.

I have no idea if I've changed or if the SRS have changed but the first time I saw them was at home some 15 ish years ago (was at the Bensons with just Skunk so it was pre 1997) and I spent most of my time with tears running down my face I was so blown away.

They then I think did their first tour of the UK when I was at Calais Oak so Sept 2001 to Sept 2002 or around then. I remember thinking how tense the stallions looked but got told I had a lack of understanding.

When they next came over with the Mounted Police doing a display I thought the horses still looked tense and some of the riders seats weren't as I'd expected to see. Whilst still very good some for the SRS were 'below par' . Hence why I hadn't booked tickets when they announced the tour but with the bad news on Tuesday this week I am glad I though bugger it as it was a magical evening.

The horses this time looked relaxed and to be enjoying their work, lovely to see after doing some movements the stallions clearly looked pleased with themselves and showed their joie de vivre .

The riders were all excellent and it all looked so quiet especially in the changes.

So so glad I went :-)

Monday, 21 November 2011


I do wonder if Sue is a mind reader or maybe I just wear my heart on my sleeve?

Anyway driving to Arrow I did think I should really ask to go over steering as it was blindingly obvious from Pooh last week I don't own this part of the puzzle.

Had a good lesson on Blackberry as always a lot of laughs plus as always when we're alone some thought provoking conversations that let me examine my views and prejudices a little. SFO is now looking at getting more weight going down my leg and arriving at my foot. So lots of wiggling my legs and threats about hammers :-) and mobilizing my ankles.

Did work with the rope and softening left side and stiffening right while staying on seatbones. IIRC SFO said she is always amazed at how every-time she thinks the problem is right side it is really over dominant left IIRC. Also I get a better pathway to what I need to correct if I go through my left side and then go right side.

Onto Pooh perhaps it was because I strolled down to the school casually that SFO suggested a free (as in non lunge) lesson? Said I was up for this and wanted to do steering. This is actually kind of mad on my part as I know it is going to expose holes in my equitation but you know what I'm now OK with that. If I'm going to make lemonade out of the lemons then sometimes you might have to try a lemon and just get on with it to get out the other side.

I'm still amazed at the argument I had with SFO in the past that she had me back. OK I wasn't rude or personal but plenty would have washed their hands of me am eternally grateful she didn't. The other thing I really like is I can just ask her anything it isn't taken personally and I don't have to dance on a pin head. I also like her honesty as I find it works for me.

So overall summary SFO pleased with the progress we've made and there was a lot of goods but I need to own my collapsed right side. So many things to think about!

The following is my understanding with additional comments by SFO


Can break down into component parts in no particular order

1/ Turning
2/ Moving the shoulders
3/ Bend
4/ Flexion
5/ Moving the hind quarters

1/ Turning

To turn you use your bulk body weight to direct the horse which way to turn. Weight to right to turn right.
You can turn with no bend (so like a plank).
You DO NOT need leg to direct the turn. Legs should be used as a pair for forwards movement *if* required .

2/ Moving the shoulders

As part of turning you may need to move the shoulders to keep on the path you wish to follow/describe.
To move the shoulders the hands are used as a pair and they move across the neck of the horse in a straight line that is parallel to the pommel. (the hands move as a pair towards the turn so that the outisde hand is close to the neck and the inside hand is away from the neck)
Again you do not need leg to move the shoulders. Legs should be used as a pair for forwards movement *if* required.
Ask / release / ask / release - nudge the horse around not hold and haul

3/ Bend

Position left or right you may need flexion depending on the path you are describing (straight lines do not need much flexion ...)
Bend implies that the horse is bent evenly (preferably!) from nose to tail therefore the horse must be soft to the inside leg, at the ribs and the inside hind leg will have to bend more to stay on the curved line. look at most GP horses when they go through a corner and you will see a number of them step out with their outside hind leg because their inside hind leg is stiff and cannot bend sufficiently to stay in line with the inside fore. This is most noticable in passage.

4/ Flexion

Achieved with the hands, may or may not be even weight in the reins.
Ask / release / ask / release - as much as necessary as little as possible but release do not hold neck in flexion.
Flexion is a bend in the neck and may or may not involve the rest of the horse. It can be done at halt. A show jumper may flex his horse's neck left and right without any change in bend. Some dressage riders do the same in an effort to supple the horse. A horse with a loose neck (disconnected) is not a pretty sight and a real pig to correct. Normally a bending exercise would help supple and the engage the hind leg but with a wobbly loose neck, this wonderful yet simple exercise becomes virtually useless!

5/ Hindquarters

May or may not follow the path you wish to describe so adjust as necessary.
This is achieved by the legs as in a leg yield, moving the quarters with either a straight horse or with a little flexion/bend, or travers/renvers which implies that the horse understands bend.

Me: "I think I am confused about having counter bend / flexion whilst going round a corner. If I am on the right rein in left bend and I want to go around the corner. I should be in position left (because I'm in left bend) but I need to turn so I'd weight my right seat bone more to get the turn whilst staying in position left?"

SFO: Yes and no! My best way of describing it is "sit left and go right". Which seat bone to emphasise depends on what your horse is doing at the time. If all is well..... our seat bones will be 50:50 while you are in position left and your whole body goes with the horse in the direction of the turn.

Example - kid on a pony, in a "natural" balance (ie not thinking too hard but just sitting on his pony) is on the wrong leg, bent to the outside cheerfully unaware that anything is wrong and just rides around the corner, reins and legs flapping in the breeze!.

You could say "lead with your head" (Alexander) or "send your energy in the direction of the turn" or "turn your solar plexis in the direction of the turn" or "step into your inside (right) stirrup". Your body/bulk weight should go with the turn without you changing your position left. You may want to put a little more body/bulkweight over the right seat bone; the horse generally moves under your weight to "catch you".You may chose to emphasise your left seat bone and leg to "push" the horse to the right like a small leg yield. Either way, do not change the neck bend; not more not less, just the same

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Ride your horse forwards and straighten him

Yesterday I had a lesson with Sue and I think I may have felt briefly a straight horse.

The classical maxim is allegedly 'Ride your horse forwards and straighten him' which I've never really bought into as I think it is ass about or maybe I'm too literal?

If you do literally ride a crooked horse forwards what do you get? I think you get a crooked horse going forwards? I'm more with straighten your horse and allow him to go forwards. How can a crooked horse go forwards?

I'm as guilty as a guilty thing for not really doing what I say but under SFO you don't get to be crooked well not for very long unless you have cloth ears and no sense of self preservation.

So yesterday going large on a straight line away from SFO Pooh was reasonably straight and I could feel the power surge as he straightened under me.

Am going to need brave pants, fuller lesson report to follow :-)

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Scan 8

So scan number 8 steady but slow progress can now start walking around yard for few minutes to start strengthening left check ligament. Pen turnout too risky whilst left check fragile.


5th May 2011 - Stretched right check ligament, box rest but allowed out for pick of grass

1st July - Can go out in pen twice stable size for 30 minutes

1st August - Can start five minutes walking

4th August - Escapes from pen; reinjures right check ligament, injures left suspensory. Walking cancelled.

14th September - Does left check ligament in stable.

5th October - Supportive limb laminitis pick of grass cancelled.

18th October can go back out for pick of grass

Monday, 14 November 2011

London 14th November 2011

Went to town and saw four exbish:-

1/ Leonardo da Vinci National Gallery

Billed as the 'once in a lifetime exhibition' and in some ways I hope so as the queues were daft. Luckily having advance tickets meant we only queued the once. First time the two 'Virgin of the Rocks' have been shown together, for me the stand out thing that I learnt was that his rough draft sketches took only minutes.

Stand out image was The Burlington House Cartoon

2/ Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2011 National Portrait Gallery

Loved the Kiera Knightley

3/ The First Actresses: Nell Gwyn to Sarah Siddons National Portrait Gallery

A nice exhibition all pretty Gainsborough type stuff :-)

4/ World Press Photo 2011 South Bank

Brilliant photography but mostly illustrating all too well man's inhumanity to man

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Your Horse Live

Went with Marianne and met Gill and Sally for lunch.

Good stuff
Two tickets for £17.50 thanks to Gill :-)
Laura B demo
Spending time with Marianne
Claire Lilley demo
Observing the two minute silence hall went silent
Coffee and muffins from marquee
Husband doing ponies

Not so Good stuff
Lack of decent food from clean stalls
Somewhere to sit and eat said food

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Pom Poms!

So as always started with laughing on Blackberry.


Stand up in stirrups, turn belly button/shoulders/head sit back down, how do seat bones feel? Can you now change ratio of weight in each?

Connie cushions then can you feel weight all the way down your legs to your feet?

As always turning body whilst staying on seat bones. Easiest to turn shoulders when hands in riding position.


Pooh started off on lunge, without stirrups then with stirrups changing weight every three strides. Tractor started hedge trimming I spooked Pooh didn't :*) SFO went to get pom poms on basis if she occupied my brain I wouldn't spook!

So in rising trot have to hold the pom poms one in each hand and move hands holding pom poms up and down to the rhythm of the trot.

Sounds easy but not as easy as it sounds, then throw in walk transitions and have to move in new rhythm then as you move into trot.

Then pom poms over left knee for three strides, then square then over right knee.

Well it worked I was too brain confuzzled to worry about the tractor!

Then off lunge and walk free whilst SFO went for a comfort break.

Felt really spaced out and pondered getting off, wonder if it was the ear infection that had made me feel grim on getting up or just the extra visual stimulus of bright orange pom poms whilst going round on a circle?

Was quietly pleased that I stayed on board and did some leg yield, wonder if SFO would have been pleased with the LY?

Onto canter loose some good transitions BUT not so good at

1/ Turning *doh* :-)
2/ Keeping the 1/4s out on the right rein

So to improve 1/ on right rein need to think of riding circle as a decagon and at each point of decagon ask for flexion left then let go no leg needed to ask for flexion, then ask again and so on and so forth.

To improve 2/ just do it even if at halt and watch that right leg when on inside is activating.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

It is the small things

Went to see Peppa Pig today with Clare and her girls Maddy and Claudia, on getting out of the car needed to all hold hands to safely cross car park. Claudia aged two and half didn't want to hold my hand so Maddy had Claudia hold Clare's hand and Maddy held mine and Claudia's hands.

Amazing how such a small thing can speak volumes, such a small thing but a large act of kindness. Really touched me.

The show was lovely so nice to see so many small smiling faces.

How can you not feel hope for the future when you look around the theatre and see all those smiling faces loving the Pig!

Lovely lunch then back to tell Grannie all about it.

Such a lovely day and such a tonic.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

The hunchside of Notre Dame

So not only do I have chicken wings I'm also related to Quasimodo :-) but my crookedness is sided not front to back.

Had interesting discussion on how even obvious asymmetries may not be obvious to the person with them as it is your normal view of you.

My issue seems to be one of feel if I raise mt right arm above my head to me it feels I come off my right seat bone; to SFO it looks as though it puts me on my right seat bone so who knows. Either way raising the arm gives the effect SFO was looking for.

Put gloves under my calves on Blackberry interesting that the right one never moved, not so with the left.

Onto Pooh in rising trot tried moving seat left/right whilst arm raised then swapping arms, in sitting trot no stirrups/reins also moving seat and then emphasizing seat bones.

Was impressed I kept my seat when SFO accidentally caught Pooh with lunge whip and he shot forward.

Pooh becomes more elevated if I sit to the inside and emphasize the outside seat bone.

Doing this in canter gives a much more forward canter and much better transitions. Need to try and loosen off right leg especially on right rein as tendency is to grip up. So tried cantering whilst moving leg from hip.

Pooh very jolly in canter can feel the progress and my hips ache now!

Watched a bit of the lesson after mine L on Crisp, very interesting to see how to activate a stretch to the rein using leg (wiggle legs) and not the hand as so often seen.

Sunday, 23 October 2011


So Chorrie has been on box rest since 5th May; longer than it should have been because of 'The Great Escape' in August. Looks like another month to go before he can go out in the pen.

He's missed the decent weather and all because I want the possibility of riding him again.

If he was stressing I'd obviously have turned him out and let the injuries take their chance, but because he isn't and he is coping I'm going for the best chance of him returning to work.

Only upside is he can start going out for grass again.

I'm clearly putting my wants above his.

Guilty as charged

Saturday, 22 October 2011

One handed canter

So back to Arrow, lovely Autumnal day sun shining what could be nicer?

Arrived to find the hunt 'around' not much of a surprise having driven past two members of the field.

As always started off on Blackberry, legs over front, turn left/right (stay on seat) Connie cushions, then small stool under each foot and canter through the knees/hips. Stools made me much more aware of being connected to balls of my feet.


Lots of lunge exercises (now mostly forgotten almost a month later! *doh* ) but highlight was canter transitions with reins in one hand

One handed canter / Pammy Hutton

So back to Arrow, lovely Autumnal day sun shining what could be nicer?

Arrived to find the hunt 'around' not much of a surprise having driven past two members of the field.


As always started off on Blackberry, legs over front, turn left/right (stay on seat) Connie cushions, then small stool under each foot and canter through the knees/hips. Stools made me much more aware of being connected to balls of my feet.

Worked in moving head, then shoulders then pelvis, then back to centre one bit at a time.

Then look right move head then shoulders then pelvis left (found that hard)


Started off 'free' doing circles and turns in walk on a long rein. Sue then put a lunge line around my waist (same exercise as we did with Pip on Blackberry) and I had to 'fill' the rein front back and right side, to try and get feel for correction needed for collapsed right side. Not quite lunging the BHS way and would make for a comedy You Tube video :@)

Then onto lunge and worked on no reins in trot, hands above head turn left/right, hands on shoulders tilt left/right, one arm up one arm down.

Onto canter reins in one hand whilst cantering and then for transition.

Walked Pooh off then off to Talland for 'An evening with Pammy Hutton and friends'

Love Pammy such a good egg! Not hugely impressed by student riding in group lesson generally, too much hand not really doing as Charlie asked but then who knows how they ride when not under the pressure of riding in public. Judge not less yea be judged.

Very impressed with the four girls Pammy taught, canter no stirrups whilst doing lunge exercises whilst not on lunge. Very very impressed with their seat and balance.

Can just about forgive Charlie :-) for having James Blunt in his freestyle!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Scan 7 steady as she goes

So mixed visit more GOOD than BAD and for left leg it is still early days.

Feet x-rayed no rotation GOOD
Right check ligament injured 5th May/ 4th August continues to heal well GOOD
Left check injured 15th September has improved but not good enough for pen turnout so GOOD for improvement BAD for no pen turnout.
Shoes to stay off as vet concerned laminae may have stretched and not yet have tightened BAD
Can go out to hand graze GOOD
Another month in box before next scan BAD

Overall it is improvement so am holding tightly onto that. Realistically left is only a month so no surprise really! But I wish it were different.

1/ Decrease bute to 1.5 daily
2/ If 1/ goes OK then on Sunday reduce Sedalin to 2ml / twice daily

Still using laser daily on coronary bands vet did wonder if it would open AV shunts, seemed happy enough when realised was under physio advice.

Need to get a set of hoof boots now

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Where I have chicken wings for arms!

So back to Arrow *whoop* *whoop* lovely driving over in the sun with the Autumnal colours beautiful countryside that makes you glad to be alive and living in England.

Remind me of this when it is January, grey, cold and pi$$ing down with rain!

Remembered carrots for the Pooh Bear who was pleased to see me or maybe pleased to see the carrots!

Started off on Blackberry got told I have chicken wings for arms! My upper arm is shorter than you'd expect hence the chicken wings gag! Remind to to always have a wee before Blackberry as we spend so much time laughing it certainly tests your pelvic floor!

Used the Connie cushions under my thighs and SFO spent time 'lengthening' my legs which clearly is a physical impossibility but had to let my leathers down FOUR holes after! So I assume you de-contract contracted muscle hence the apparent lengthening.

Need to have moveable forearms, I tend to get a 'hitch' in my upper arm that fixes my forearm. So moveable forearms

Onto Pooh Bear

Biggest take home is give an aid and immediately 'lengthen' the leg, I tend to give an aid 'upwards' and my leg contracts and contracts then SFO tells me off I lengthen my leg and to Pooh it feels like a halt so we get a halt!

However if I think aid, lengthen then 1/ SFO stops telling me off :-) 2/ Pooh gets a more forward active trot 'for free' clearly the contracted leg has a retarding effect.

Worked on weighting seat bones 60/40 (60 to inside) and aid with outside leg, need to keep inside leg soft to allow Pooh to step over.

Clucking was heard at one point :-D got reminded that whilst I may have chicken wing arms no need to do the funky chicken and stick my elbows out in canter!

So temporary fix is to think elbows by side.

Canter trans much better but need to get to the inhibit organise aid not flap aid bugger!

Seriously good two lessons, this is the lemonade from the lemons of Chorrie being off games. It is a total and utter bugger he is off especially for him as he is stuck in but it forced me back to SFO which is doing me good!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Supporting limb laminitis.

Wednesday 5th October

YO doing AM shift so arrive 15:30, move Chorrie's to Fred's stable and he isn't sound. Legs are the same, so walk him out and fcuk he really isn't right on his right fore.

Bounding digital pulse and crippled so am thinking foot abscess. Can't get him to lift left fore, nothing to see right fore. Call vet for advice wouldn't have under 'normal' circumstances but am now paranoid. Liz is off to Holland tomorrow as team horses running at Boekelo so she calls in on way home (not that we are any where near her way home). I love my vet. Walk him out for Liz and he is still crippled, shoe off Liz can't find any sign of abscess so have to assume laminitis.

So 1 bute twice daily (increase if needed), 3ml Sedalin twice daily to improve blood flow to feet. Hay to be cut drastically by 50% Liz explained doing so can shock body and stop laminitis in its tracks.

Get farrrier out asap to remove other shoes, bed down on deep straw bed. Prognosis for laminitis in horses less good than with ponies, next seven days are critical.

Put on Nicky's support bandages overnight and send text for advice.

Call farrier who is off to Wales tomorrow but will come to us on way home, again we are nowhere near his way home. I am very lucky with the professionals I surround myself with.

Gutted doesn't even begin to sum it up.

6th October

AM Chorrie looking comfortable and bearing weight well right fore; has laid down overnight. Liz rings to check on him. Physio agrees that support bandages overnight and during day between visits way to go. Also use magnetic boot right fore. Nicky suggests use of grazing muzzle which will be easier than stones in hay bar to slow him down. So muzzle him and go home for lunch.

Call EqueStride about their medical device boot 1250 euro; Nicky will call engineer who designed boots tomorrow.

PM Call WFS to see if they have any Global Herbs Laminitis Prone in stock and they do so will go collect if farrier cannot find abscess. Arrive and farrier Chris is waiting, C seems OK in his muzzle.

Chris can't find an abscess nor any signs visually of where one could be no marks on sole. Digital pulse is down from this time yesterday. More reactive RF heels than yesterday but more comfortable at least in stable.

All shoes removed and started on GH Laminitis Prone.

Now soaking hay overnight for morning.

Bandaged legs and left him in muzzle.

7th October

AM most of the bucket feed eaten overnight even with muzzle on so that is good. Remembered to feed him first so he could eat without muzzle, increased GH Laminitis Prone to two scoops and he's not a happy bunny with that. So will buy the liquid as that is supposed to be more palatable.

Looking very comfortable in his box, walking out well on rubber mat walkway and turning well in box. No so good on concrete apron but hard to tell if this is because he is barefoot or laminitis. Either way he is better than Weds night.

Feet are normally warm, and digital pulses down.

To my mind it is perplexing he was so acutely lame on Weds PM that I thought there was a very real chance I'd loose him to this bloody nasty disease and yet 24 hours later he was almost normal. YO thinks he may just be very sensitive regarding his feet so another horse might not have shown signs yet.

Would like an explanation but will settle for him just getting better.

Am amused by fact am now using two Global Herb supplements, opinion of SA remains unchanged! Also using magnets which whilst I don't believe in static magnets it is any port in a storm!

PM Boy still looking good :-) is eating the liquid version of GH Lami Prone WTF did WFS not know the liquid is more palatable? FFS it is written on the tun retailer know thy product!

Nicky has spoken to designer of boot he'll fly over to meet us next week, would like to meet with Liz too. Fat chance she get back from Holland Monday and is off again Wednesday. If Liz is not available then Nicky will do (!)

Saturday 8th October
Boy still looking good, feet warmer initially in morning until supporting bandages have been off a while. No digital pulses has stopped eating feed with GH liquid supplement.
Syringed GH supplement into him, need to remember to do feed BEFORE dope! No change still looking comfortable.
9th October
Liz rang wants to review him tomorrow. She knows Marcus Head (Orthopaedics at Rossdales ) so will ring him about the boot.

Nicky concerned re boot if we reduce loading of inferior cruciate ligament LF will that load RF more?

10th October
Left fore considerably warmer then previously and pulse apparent.

Liz pleased with how he is doing, confessed she had been very worried Wednesday night for him. Some concern regarding rotation so review next week, scan legs and x-ray feet as if nothing else will establish baseline.

Drugs to remain as is, keep shoes off, restrict hay, watch re bed eating. Any deterioration call immediately.

Physio spoke about boot, agrees with vet, laser coronary bands twice daily for 20 minutes in total 40 seconds/foot going round feet. Magnetic boots all round during the day. Increase EMS frequency on back.

Long afternoon session, vet at 16:30, physio at 18:00 left yard at 20:20.

11th October

Feet feel cooler this morning but LF is still warmer.

Weighed out 8kg of hay (1.1% BW) have decided to soak hay supply for the day overnight then feed 1/3 for between visits then 2/3 overnight.

Wednesday 12th October
Soaking hay working well but it is a very small amount for 24 hours. Pondered using 'Russian Doll' style nets but too much risk of troughing straw when hay finished without muzzle.

13th October
Feet feeling cooler.

14th October
Herbs have arrived from EquiNatural

Feet still holding up; farrier out to Fred.
Saturday 15th October
Boy holding his own blasted EMS machine not working!

16th October
17th October
Nicky due

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Need a sedative

Me that is!

Late into work as feeling rancid then had to leave early to take puppies to vet. had originally planned to go last appointment but was considering blood test for Beaglie so had to go in earlier.

So home whisked dogs out and arrived with two minutes to spare :@)

Lily terribly stressed and was reminiscent of a child clinging to Mummy not wanting to go in the school gates. So elected to do her first to 'get it over with' had to muzzle her :@( when I went to put her down off table she tried top clamber up me for comfort so now I'm sporting a HUGE scratch. Fat Pig weighs 8.30kg.

Beaglie as easy going as ever, his lip fold pyoderma has cleared up well. Discussed use of NSAIDs for his back. Still not really using them other than when we went to Exmoor for prophylactic purposes. Doesn't feel there is any need to x-ray again.

Discussed his borderline thyroid result last year, her view is to only treat when symptomatic and as he is currently asymptomatic see no clinical reason to repeat tests as his heart rate is normal.

Have hopefully found a house sitter (one of the vet nurses) so that should make the East coast road trip next September easier.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Check ligament update

Nicky out this morning thinks left is looking firmer and he could perhaps go out in pen.

Also mentioned EqueStride boots which look interesting and could be useful. Unless they are > £500 and assuming they check out by Nicky and Liz (vet) then I'll get a pair.

Can start using TENS/EMS on left leg.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

To Whom it May Concern

Thanks for the email, but I do have Chorrie's best interests at heart and as soon as he can go out in the pen he'll be out there like a shot!

Do you think I want to keep him confined for a moment longer than necessary?

So when exactly did you graduate vet school? I'd also like to know how many check ligament injuries you have *personal* experience of?

I'm going with my vet and physio, they may well be wrong and you may be right I won't know until it is too late.

Until then please bite your tongue and try to believe I'm doing what I think is best and that I've taken a pretty wide view and considered a lot of options.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Third pony or not that is the question

So on Friday on the journey to Pembridge I was confidently saying to Clare had decided not to have a third pony. I had decided that

1/ Too risky to buy as could end up with three retired horses which would be no fun!
2/ Wrong time of year (going into Winter) to get third pony
3/ Just too much work for me and YO
4/ Horses suitable for a nervous nellie who wants a horse with good paces are like Rocking Horse pooh
5/ I am going to use the money a third pony would cost to go to SFO on a more regular basis and improve my riding.
6/ I don't have the time, just keeping head above water now.

But have been emailed details of a horse A N Other is trying to place by word of mouth:-

Anyone looking for a lovely schoolmistress who has been there and done it up to and at medium level. She has just turned 15 a few months ago, but very sound and full of energy and enthusiasm and going beautifully. She is a delight in all spheres! very civilised and easy and really loves her work

She has bred two foals so isn't a maiden should I want to breed her (mad mad mad)

I've asked to see video!

So much for rational thought!

Bandaging exam

So Nicky out this morning at 07:00 *yawn* 07:00 isn't early but given I'm 30 minutes from yard and need boy mucked out, groomed and iced it is a bit challenging when I'm too stupid to go to bed early!

So Nicky arrives does the Ultrasound / H wave / general massage. I get shown how to apply her figure 8 support bandage then have to do one to demonstrate competence. Found this stressful as never like practical exams but pass :-D no idea what pass mark was (get teased later by my vet over this!)

Nicky likes my Eskadron Climatex bandage pads, see knew they'd come in useful eventually.

Pointers Eskadron label on outside of leg at top (!) start pad mid leg width.

Walk boy out is loading medially on left fore, suspect ties in with fact that last Thurs there was a focal hot spot on left check ligament laterally on left fore.

IBS is playing up big time grateful we now have loo at yard, spent far too much time in there this am, one visit every 45 minutes!

Walked boy out for pick of grass, thought Fred looked like he might be out on track but then thought not, carried on hand grazing as Fred bod casually saunters up track to see whats occurring!

Finish Chorrie then go back to sort out Fred bod!

Go home and go to bed as feeling rancid, sleep for several hours, force myself up and onto sofa which is where I've been since 18:00.

Liz rang me back, carry on hand grazing, need oedema to reduce some more, drop bute down, happy for me to bandage overnight and whilst out grazing. Amused at bandaging exam (!)

Have heard of nice mare up for sale, need to sweet talk husband and get head around do I really want a third horse or do I stick to my September plan of going to Arrow 3 times/month instead?

Saturday, 24 September 2011

30 hours with Clare at SFO's place

Started off by walking the puppies, lovely walk around park with the mist rising, some concerns over Oliver as he's been a bit 'off' not too keen to let me examine his mouth but can't see anything so after much discussion decide to book them into vets early for vaccinations on Monday.

Friday blue assed fly impression to get to Clare's for 10:45 well that was a fail but only by about six minutes!

Saw the girls bedrooms would happily move into either Claudia's Peppa Pig or Maddie's pony princess palace :-)

So squashed everything into the tiny boot or onto the parcel shelf and set off on our great adventure.

Arrived a few minutes after 13:00 no sign of SFO so went to play house and make a cup of tea. Was pleased with the idea of freezing the lasagne so it acted as its own ice pack less pleased at the milk leaking.

So after a reviving cup of tea went off in search of SFO and Blackberry via Pooh Bear a kiss and a carrot.

Blackberry Lesson 1

Worked on position right and left which is improving, also flatness of back and staying on seat whilst turning left/right so progress.

SFO used two 'sausages' (clearly not real ones !) under my thighs and I just cantered along with them in place which is an idea from Sally Tottle. Really releases the thigh muscles. Was very glad I'd had a wee as when SFO was sculpting my right leg it hit the leg sensor and Blackberry galloped off and all I could do was laugh. Good test of my pelvic floor. I didn't grab the reins clearly having been told last lesson on Pooh to stop climbing up the reins clearly too scared to pull. :-D

Pooh Bear Lesson 1

So lunge on Poozles, did work with no stirrups and reins which was a bit surprising as two weeks ago I'd not have been up for that, just goes to show that SFO is making significant changes for me. Possibly confirms my theory about balance being confidence? Worked on canter much easier to get transition still not sufficient body tone to maintain.


Supper deserves a subject heading as food is important in these over nighters, as whilst the lessons are for me mentally taxing, part of the whole Arrow 'thing' for me is a nice supper, good wine and good company.

Lasagne worked well as in it cooked without needing and attention so we could sit and chat over glass of wine then go shower, open a bag of salad and taa dah supper is served. Chocolate tart to finish (we know how to eat)

Personally thought it worked better than a take away as no need to drive to collect so more time to chill/drink/shower.

Breakfast was warm pain au chocolate and getting up at the luxuriously late time of 08:00.

Blackberry Lesson 2

SFO has the vaulting roller back so did some work on that, managed to kneel and did the one leg thing to the side and down whilst kneeling which was agony so soon sat down again!

Otherwise all felt good until I got off then the agony hit!

Pooh Bear Lesson 2

Was thinking I'd only manage 30 minutes but SFO took pity on me and let me keep my stirrups! Worked on my rising trot, need to 'point' elbows as I rise and think give hands as I sit. Worked on canter and I need to ask for canter with the feel/tone I have when I've just halted. Got some good transitions so pretty chuffed.

General mumblings

Told SFO how much I'd missed her teaching and she told me she'd missed me too :@)

Am thinking fish pie next trip!

Tony took Beaglie to vets he has lip fold pyoderma which accounts for the sore looking skin but it isn't I don't think the issue. My gut feeling is his back has worsened so am going to do a NSAID test and see if he feels better on a low NSAID dose. Will also ask for blood profile to be run when he has his yearly jab which won't be next week now as he is on ABs for the pyoderma.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Scan 6 hope dies 15th September

Not one of the better mornings of my life, picked up wrong house keys so had to turn around and go home to exchange one hour wasted. Janice saying goodbye to her beloved Jade and then bad scan for Chorister.

At the moment life feels like a dark night the sort where looking up at the sky it is jet black with a load of shining stars. The stars are my husband, physio, vet, yard owners and friends who shine in my darkness with their caring and kind words, without them I'd be in the pitch black.

This feels worse than 'the great escape' TGE because I guess it is worse, the right leg which he first injured on 5th May is healing well, the left leg which he injured in TGE is getting worse. The check ligament is now damaged which it wasn't on the 5th August presumably it has gone under the strain of TGE plus uneven loading due to yet more box rest because of TGE.

So we've not got away with it definitely not and whilst TGE wasn't my fault it was my responsibility.

So now have to balance box rest until at least Christmas to allow left check to heal with some prison pen turnout where vet is hoping if he mooches quietly about will give a more even loading of front limbs than stall rest and thus prevent further deterioration of left check ligament.

So plan is to build a Winter prison pen on hard standing around 20ft by 30ft put down straw floor (imperative he has flat surface underfoot) as doing a prison pen on grass is going to be impossible come the wet weather. Fred could go out with him initially.

So that's it two hours turnout/day until Christmas and to think that I started off today assuming we'd be back to starting five minutes hand walking today.

I thought the leg looked bigger this am but just assumed because I'd not ice'd it and was being paranoid, took a while for me to twig what Liz (vet) was saying as for me it came out of a clear blue sky. Just not been on my radar him doing the other check well not whilst on box rest.

Life f'ing well sucks!

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Pelvic stability

Back to SFO, slower journey than usual not helped by not having volume on Tom Tom up and took wrong slip for M5 so had to do detour to get back to where I was supposed to get onto M5 *doh*

So arrived 10 minutes late bursting for the loo! Whizzed past Pooh quick peck on nose to loo *oh* the relief! :@)

Back to say proper hello to Poohzles whilst Sue bid the vet goodbye. Vet didn't seem to want to leave.


Started off on Blackberry SFO commented how much squarer I am sat, so legs over saddle and sit, then legs back whilst keeping pelvis square and my lower back 'filled'/'in play'/'stuffed'. Well that was a big fat fail! Seems like my legs and pelvis move as one.

So one leg over saddle and one leg hanging whilst SFO moves hanging leg and I need to try and figure out how to stay on my seat with a level pelvis. Got a slap on the boot at one point! Client abuse!

So right leg drops easily BUT body joins in, left leg doesn't drop as easily but is more independent of body.

So lots of playing with that, with good results :-) quite proud of my short stumpy legs looking so much better.

Then back to position left/right and changing between, for some reason passing all understanding I have to look to the side I'm changing to. SFO suggested blinkers!

End result was pretty good but still moving head! *doh* *doh* *doh*


So now the lovely Pooh Bear.

Legs looking better, need to have more body tone in trot without tensing the legs, sounds simple!

Much more lateral stability whilst not thinking about it, was too busy trying to have tone in body and flexible leg joints!

In canter need need need body tone, as soon as I collapse so does Pooh, your horse your mirror. Oddly enough collapse more pronounced on right rein than left. Had expected right to be easier as my left side is more stable (pillar and staying on seat bone) than right.

Who knew!

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Fallen fast and hard - head over heels in love

So have fallen for Pooh Bear he is just such a nice person and it is so easy to feel a connection to him. He just 'lets you in' he stops when I get too unbalanced and is such a wonderful soul.

Had a easy trip down (actually West and a bit North but in my world it is down) sun came out as did the tractor and straw bales, seriously could you not wait 30 seconds for me and blue car to pass?


Started off on Blackberry my spine around L4 is solid! SFO was saying to curl thinking of each process individually and curling them down well I kind of have no feel for this past about T3 and then get to the lumbar region and well nothing happens. Sue had me doing some 'stuff' and then I could feel the muscles around my lumbar region so something changed.

Who invented left and right can they be put on trial? I get so confused.

Confirmed sit left/sit right would still argue incorrectly which hip feels forward; not that is matters what matters is that if I sit left or sit right that works, maybe my internal feel will one day match reality.

So sit right and turn body to the right should not move the seat, pretty ok going right but going left I come off my right seat bone.

Did some work on correcting this. Also worked on weighting differentially seat bones. Can't lift left seat bone for toffee, easy peasy lemon squeezy to come off my right.

Then did sit left , half pass to left. leg yield to right, so how you can change direction whilst not changing your being in position left, same for position right.

Did some work on contact which has improved unless I change my seat then I tighten (shoulders) and Blackberry goes down a gear; so worked on that too.

And I wonder why my head literally hurts after a Blackberry session.

So to summarise

1/ I prefer turning right to left
2/ I find it easier to come off right seat bone than left
3/ I like to collapse right

However I did achieve level shoulders, level pelvis and not collapsing right!


And then onto the one the only the unique the special

Pooh Bear

felt weird to be getting on a real horse post Blackberry, lateral wobble from Pooh :@) Sue said to walk him round Pooh did half circuit of school and parked himself by Sue!

So on lunge did some going right for three strides, then central then left.

This felt better than last time no 'bubbles' rising so much more positive.

Slowly we make progress elected not to canter this time as still want to nail this wandering seat bones and being able to change relative weight on seat bones without leaning.

Saturday, 27 August 2011


So what's changed? Something has but I don't know what.

So we have the law of conservation of energy, is there a law of the conservation of friendship for me or is it as Mary Tyler Moore said:-

Sometimes you have to get to know someone really well to realize you're really strangers.

So my friendship with A is going down the pan, the distance between us is widening; yet my friendship with B has finally come good again having been on life support.

My friendship with C I treasure, it is one of those lovely ones where we don't see each other for ages but we can just go away for a night together and it is all easy.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Fred and the physio Treatment 1

Long story short from the knees up he is in amazingly good nick :@)

Bit of tightness in the neck which she released off, he has *very* odd hamstrings in that one of them (forget which one) on both sides has become fibrotic. Suspect more fusion of more spinous processes as he now has no back mobility.

N did some Polo stretches with him and Fred was 'can't be asssed' so went and located a carrot and suddenly he is highly motivated and my goodness can he stretch, hard to believe he is 24 looking at his range of movement.

N thinks hamstrings connected to fused spinous processes and was amazed given extent of fusion he was asymptomatic.

Fetlock mobility slightly limited and pastern limited too on fronts.

N happy for me to start riding him should I so desire and just be guided by Fred.

I do like N she was with him for two hours and this is the first body worker where he hasn't snapped the air, so made me out to be a big fat liar :@) having warned N of this tendency. No idea if N didn't go in 'so hard' as others but clearly he enjoyed it and was offering to mutual groom with me and really seemed to let N in.

Bless the Fredster, he is such a lovely pony

So carrot stretches and passive leg stretches

Comparison of equine and human skeleton

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

No regrets

Have been pondering about Arrow a lot; I am very good at navel gazing!

So before this weekend last time I was there riding was July 2006, Skunk died Sept 2006 that killed Arrow for a bit, went to watch Erik March 2007 then I got Chorrie and then in June 2007 hit the deck and shattered my confidence.

On the uk-r weekend Jan 2006, I had to ride Pooh as Slipper was being ridden by someone else and whilst not that confident I wasn't that bothered either.

I'm not convinced had I gone back earlier I'd have been confident enough to get benefit from going.

It is only this year that things really changed, so whilst I have foregone the opportunity to go for a few months I'm not convinced I have foregone years.

End of day we'll never know but I do think I wasn't ready to go until recently, so a case of when ready the teacher will appear.

So going to Sue will be the lemonade that I will make from the lemons of Chorrie's injury.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

20th / 21st August a weekend of why and wait

I was last at Arrow Equestrian riding way back in July 2006, then Skunk died Sept 2006, I went to watch Erik March 2007 then never saw Sue (SFO) again until I took Chorrie to ride with her at Waterstock November 2010, then we had 'the weather' hit, then I couldn't make a couple of Waterstock dates. Now I've been back to Arrow I can see what a fool I was to stay away, huge huge mistake! Not to mention Slipper has died since I was last there.

So I went with Pip travelling down Saturday before lunch, staying in the very nice on site accommodation and travelling home Sunday after lunch.

We arrived at 12:10 after a good journey down, saw Ron and got directed to our apartment so quick unload of the car and SFO appeared with a horse, so quick hello Sue then went off to ride and we went inside to load fridge with all the lovely food Pip had prepared despite so frantically busy since Remi went lame :-(

So realised we hadn't any milk *doh* but SFO rescued us :-) so went and sat with cup of tea and watched Sue ride.

Then went to meet Blackberry SFO's mechanical horse by way of saying hello to Pooh Bear who was dozing in his stable in the sunshine.

Pip up first, then my turn on Blackberry who is a canter model with leg aids set to be very sensitive and similarly the rein aid sensors.

Blackberry Lesson 1 - MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH - Canter seat positioning

So started off with back and side cameras on, then legs over front of saddle, then legs down. This was all about trying to achieve a 'filled' back, still need to expand my right side as I like to crunch it down. then moved on to canter and this is where my house of cards came tumbling down but also where we made significant inroads into why my canter aids were so hit and miss on S.

Somewhere since I was last with SFO (July 2006) I lost awareness of just how right hip forward feels and have managed to neatly reverse it. After much patient working through and over and over the same old ground I finally found something that is meaningful to me to help me with the feel.

'Sit right' and 'sit left' positions my seat correctly for canter.

Pooh Bear Lesson 1

So I was riding the ever lovely Pooh Bear. Started off on the lunge, SFO not much liking my rigid legs in trot, nor my left leg rather liking to go somewhat too far forward!

Need to think about bouncing my legs, and being over my knee, can't recall what Sue said about *why* my left leg actually go forwards or what we did to correct it :-(

Finished off with being off the lunge and doing a bit of trot work, pleased with that as I wouldn't have done that so soon two years ago.

Blackberry Lesson 2

Started off with legs over front of saddle then Sue did some hands on lengthening my legs which was weird as I wasn't really sure what she was doing but my legs changed and got longer. I assume some tense and tight muscles went from contraction to neutral.

Then confirmed that I still owned the canter correction from yesterday, then added legs to it.

Starting to look sorted, so plan was to take this to Pooh and see what I'd do when I had a real life horse under my a$$.

Pooh bear Lesson 2 - POTENTIAL MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH - Confidence is balance

Again started off on the lunge legs over front of saddle in walk, was threatened with trot :-) presumably if I didn't behave myself!

Then legs down and Pip remarked how much better they looked following Sue's hands on work than they did yesterday.

Then off into trot and putting one hand of back of saddle and turning to outside and then inside, this is where I had what I hope to be a light bulb moment! On the left rein as I start to turn to the inside a feeling of panic starts bubbling away and even doing 'what if' to 'what is' doesn't really stop the bubbles rising, not quite so bad to the outside on the left rein but still there.

On the right rein I'm happy to do inside / outside all day on the lunge.

So talked this over with Sue and I think that my balance on the left rein is compromised because I collapse right and slide my seat left so put me on the left rein so tendency is to go yet more left and add inside turn on unstable seat and is it any surprise I'm unbalanced and my brain start screaming 'you're not safe' and my body starts to react and the panic starts to bubble?

So did a lot of work on sitting far over to left and right and getting the inside leg down whilst keeping the outside seat bone anchored as need both to be stable and not feel the 'bubbles'.

Decided we'd leave canter and keep working on the trot as seems to be such a key part of what I need to really go forwards, and until I am solid and secure in trot not much point IMO looking at canter yet. Get a good solid trot base and be able to turn which ever way on either rein then we'll look at canter.

General musings

SFO has changed how she teaches steering (Andrew McLean)need to go over this again direct rein and indirect rein.

I wonder why Becky or her simulator didn't pick up my collapsed right side? I think from here on I will only use SFO with a mechanical horse as she has an eye for a very fine granularity of detail.

Lessons learnt


Need to record what Sue is saying as can't recall it the next day :-(

Take evening supper if eating in, will be much quicker and more relaxing to throw lasagne/garlic bread in the oven and open salad bags, go lie in Jacuzzi while lasagne cooks then drink wine and put world to rights!

Do not stay away so long, yes it *is* two hours by car, yet it *is* a fair old way, yes it *does* take a chunk out of the day BUT there is no one else like SFO. If you want SFO then to SFO you must go, there really are no substitutes!


  1. Petrol £30
  2. Apartment £25
  3. Blackberry £40 (x2)
  4. Pooh Bear £48 (x2)
  5. Arrow membership £35 (annual cost)
  6. Supper £10

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Is good enough actually good enough

So I'm probably a good enough horse owner but is that actually good enough?

Would my horses choose to be with me?

Do they benefit from my riding them as opposed to my looking after them? I can't think of a single positive benefit to a horse from it being ridden, the benefit is to the human, all we can do is make it as pleasurable and enriching an experience as possible.

I will continue to ride but it is for my good.

Friday, 5 August 2011

One lucky pony

So vet out to scan at lunchtime am lucky to have a vet 1/ who rearranges their day for me and 2/ who just happens to be the team vet so is bloody good :@)

He has set the check ligament (RF) back about six weeks LF he has stretched the suspensory.

The above does not seem credible given how much stress he put the leg under yesterday, not entirely sure vet could believe the scans. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen the scans.

Yesterday given his antics and the fact the tissue was not yet repaired it didn't seem possible we wouldn't be back to square one.

Yard owner has been beyond wonderful, icing it every hour for me yesterday, they are also going to build him a 6ft high pen so when he can go back out we will not have a repeat.

It has been a roller coaster of emotion this last 36 hours, am still slightly disbelieving that he got off so lightly.

I was sat outside his stable this morning looking at his soft brown eyes and it was a mix of love, adoration and heartache. Now it is just love and adoration.

He is also a charmer as he seems to have trained the vet to hand over some of her biscuit to him too.

So hand graze next two weeks then out in pony prison pen, no EMS on legs until physio has seen on 15th. Increase icing for 96 hours post injury then back to twice daily as from Monday. Decrease bute to one twice daily for weekend then back to one daily.

Scans 5th August 2011

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Down and out

That's how I feel.

Constantly on the verge of tears, when he did it the first time I didn't feel like this, this feels something like how it felt when I lost Skunk and yet C is alive and in no danger but I feel almost as low.

I feel responsible, it wasn't my fault what happened but it was my responsibility and I failed to keep him safe. The first time was just bad luck this one was preventable and I failed.

Seriously considering giving up riding and just having ponies as pets.

Yet in the midst of my misery I know I am blessed, I have a wonderful husband, YO, vet, physio and friends.

Back to square one?

So good scan on Monday, physio yesterday all going well.

Mucked out this morning as normal thought I'd pooh pick as I often do (1 day in 3) whilst C is out in his pen.

Take him out to pen make sure he is settled go to get wheelie from gate. C goes down to roll, bit too close to fence but am too far away (as have moved pen to be on decent grass surface) to get to him.

He rolls right over catches foot on fence pings fence, fence collapses C gets up and stands there scared, still too far away. Fred goes over fence that is now down, C hesitates but decides to join his best buddy. C and F spend what seems like hours but was probably five minutes maximum charging up and down. C stops as he is now non weight bearing on his previously injured leg.

Remove cool boot (bought new yesterday and now shredded and totally ducked) and he hobbles up track. Ice leg which has blown up, arrange for vet to come and scan tomorrow, take ice off go and move Fred and pooh pick.

Ice back on check good leg and good leg looks to have gone too, hardly surprising if 3 months of box rest leads to 30% reduction in elasticity. Not surprised at all it didn't stand up to his antics.

Had I not walked away to get the wheelie I'd have got to him, yes taking him up track with Fred loose would have been interesting but damage would not have been as great.

Am in a very dark place right now, please don't tell me it'll be OK because you know you really don't know that and I can't abide false hope. It ducking well sucks and sucks big time that is my reality.

Am lucky to have such a good YO who is icing it hourly plus a vet who is rearranging her day to come scan it.

I know I'll get through this I've got through worse but at the moment my hope is on life support and I just have no fight or strength left. It feels similar to when I lost Skunk and yet it isn't life threatening but I'm not coping today.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Scan 4 a new hope dawns

So today was scan number four twelve weeks and five days post injury.

Bad news

Total spend to date about £1800, scary how it adds up but the following are currently my averages per week

Supplements £15
Physio £45
Scan £50

so basically £110/week, that ignores extra livery care costs, extra petrol when doing both ends of day, laser hire in first month, two sets of cold boots at a shade under £300. Hopefully insurance will pay up for the vet, laser and physio my claim is in am awaiting a decision.

So that's the bad news in summary a check ligament injury is not cheap to rehab if you go the route of ultrasound, monthly scans and herbal supplements that are essentially faith based!

Good news

Now for the good news the scan looks much better than the last scan :@)

Lots of linear fibres and very few cross fibres, it is looking a bit less linear at 14cm but overall it is good, so good in fact we are going to keep on keeping on for another month and not start a formal walk programme. Can also see on the scan space starting to appear between structures on ultrasound so good good news.

Vet's reasoning is it is healing in a linear way on current regime and that formal walking is used to reduce cross fibres which we currently don't have hence stick with current regime and add in five minutes walk a day to his daily trips to pony pen.

Lessons learnt

1/ Expect a bad first scan, even if too bad an injury as Chorister's was for stem cell or IRAP you can still get good healing using old fashioned methods of cold therapy and anti inflammatories.

2/ Second scan isn't going to be that great either you're only a month post injury and soft tissue heals slowly

3/ Assemble a good team around you:-
  • vet
  • physiotherapist
  • livery yard owner
  • friends

4/ Try and stay happy, you might as well, because the time doesn't pass any quicker for being miserable nor does the injury heal any faster or better.

5/ Bury the bodies of those who say 'It is only a few months' under the largest patio you can find as there will be quite a collection of bodies! See also points 6/ and 8/ .

6/ Bury the bodies of those who don't understand that whilst you are grateful it isn't worse that also doesn't mean you're not going to mourn for what you've lost and it is bloody hard work! I am allowed to be sad, it is a sad thing that has happened; if you don't understand that then say nothing.

7/ Do not underestimate the healing power (for both of you) of biscuits, chocolate, love, Peppa Pig and small girls.

8/ You will meet people who know more than your vet despite never having been to vet school, they too belong under the patio. The only exceptions are those who have treated more check ligament injuries than your vet, they may be spared the patio treatment.

9/ Hope and desperation trumps common sense I know this because I am using an untested herbal supplement upon which no trials have been performed, there is no known efficacy, zilch nada. Yet here I am using it just in case it might help.

10/ Hiring a laser see 9/

Chorister 1st August 2011

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Faecal egg counts after tapeworm treatment

Horses infected with the horse tapeworm (Anoplocephala perfoliata) cannot always be identified by performing faecal examinations. Unlike roundworms, tapeworms don’t release eggs regularly. Not only does this make it difficult to identify infected horses; it causes problems monitoring the response to treatment.

A serological test for antibodies to tapeworm antigen gives a good indication of level of infection, but the test is not available in all countries.

It may be possible to increase the sensitivity of faecal examination by treating the horse with a custodial drug, such as praziquantel, and performing the examination 24 - 48 hours later. Once killed, the tapeworms may disintegrate, releasing the eggs into the faeces.

Research carried out by Johanne Elsener of Wyeth Animal Health and Alain Villeneuve of the Faculté de Médecine Vétérinaire, Université de Montréal looked at whether treating for tapeworms one day before carrying out a faecal examination improved the chance of identifying infected animals

The study involved horses of differing ages on a single stud farm - from weanlings to adult breeding mares and stallions.

All horses were presumed to be naturally infected with Anoplocephala perfoliata -as tapeworm-infected animals had been identified previously on the farm.

The horses were weighed and dosed according to weight.

The researchers examined faecal samples before and 24-48 hours after treatment with a paste containing praziquantel (and moxidectin). Faecal samples were examined using a modified Wisconsin sugar centrifugation technique - performed by a technician who was unaware of the treatment given to each .horse.

Overall, the researchers found that they were twice as likely to detect tapeworm eggs in the faeces of horses 24 - 48 hours after treatment with praziquantel than they were before treatment.

In adult horses (mares and stallions) the difference was statistically significant. Young horses (weanlings, yearlings and two year olds) showed a numerical increase in positive horses after treatment, but the difference was not statistically significant.

The two-year old horse group had the highest proportion of positive faeces, (66% horses were positive before treatment)

The researchers conclude that sampling after treatment may give a better idea of the true prevalence of tapeworm infection.

© Equine Science Update 2001 -2011

For more details see:Examination of faecal samples after cestocidal treatment in infected horses. J Elsener and A Villeneuve
Canadian Veterinary Journal 52, 158 - 161