Sunday, 27 February 2011

WORC Sunday 27th February 2011 P-DTM N28

Weather forecast for Sunday was changing on a daily basis went from heavy rain to no rain to sunny intervals by Saturday lunchtime, come Saturday evening heavy rain was forecast for when we would be out strutting our stuff.

So Saturday early evening was spent cleaning boots/bridle washing Chorrie's tail and socks. Got home stupidly late to baked potatoes cooked by my lovely husband, didn't go to bed early as planned *doh* anyway slept well and got up with a bit of a ho hum feeling that I squashed with some positive affirmations and so to the yard.

Lovely sunshine (so forecast right so far) turned Fred out, mucked out, groomed the now dry mud off C. Faye was back from Worton and reported very muddy outside arena so skipped a second wash of his socks, started to plait and then thought better of it as not enough time.

Got lorry out and sorted went to get changed into breeches and shirt, was putting boots on Chorrie when he poohed and I wasn't quick enough so ended up with pooh all down the front of my cream shirt and lots of splashes on my breeches!

And to top it off the rain started; a year ago I'd have cancelled but today reasoned shirt would be covered by stock and jacket and tough about breeches as what's done is done and given all the effort that the RC put into organising shows it'd be pretty poor not to make a bit of an effort.

So loaded up and off we jolly well set arrived parked in the VIP area :-) and walked through the court yard, through the normal parking and round to the arena and yes Faye was dead right about the mud :-( my lovely clean boots now looked like well muddy boots.

Warm up 1

Got on only one other horse in arena that was squealing and had been bucking so stayed well away and was even more appreciative of what a good boy Chorrie is. Didn't do all of my warm up plan as avoiding squeaky horse.

Dressage to Music - Prelim - Judge: Clare Goldie

Went in said my name to the writer who knew who I was anyway :*) but tis only polite, trotted C around arena and he cantered so went with it, judge rang bell trotted to position halted and very professionally :-D a la Laura B raised hand for music to start.

Intro music is Jaws - well it amuses me. Trot music is Wanna dance with somebody which I like as it seems appropriate. Managed to go wrong assuming you can indeed go wrong in a freestyle?
Ended up doing a few moves to cover it up and luckily managed to end up on centre line facing judge for final halt.

Got a round of applause from the spectators which was lovely; C gave them a bit of a Paddington stare but then realised they were clapping him so bowed to his audience :-)

Chuffed to bits as I kept our connection and managed to think when music was going awry.

Warm up 2

The heavens opened and it p1$$ed down oh and hail too, poor old C was soaked (guess who forgot his waterproof sheet) I had rain dripping off my hat and the arms of my jacket, You can hear the rain on the video and see just how wet C was :-(

Novice 28 Judge: Carol Hogg

Again chuffed as kept connection and didn't get bothered by my not riding so he broke to trot on 15m half canter circle back to track. Just caught the error and made sure I had him balanced for second 15m half canter circle back to track.


Came 3rd in both classes

very fair comments from both judges.

Was spectacularly chuffed when Clare said she was proud of me, that meant more than anything. Actually am proud of myself for
  • going in-spite of rain/pooh
  • first time out without trainer
  • first time DTM
  • kept the connection
  • did I mention kept the connection? :-D

and the shirt and breeches took two washes to get clean! Chorrie had a Kit Kat Chunky Duo as his post competition treat. I lucked out when he came into my life, he had me at hello that day I walked into his stable and he turned around and wuffled at me and still has me and always will.

Where in this wide world can man find nobility without pride,
Friendship without envy,
Or beauty without vanity?
Here, where grace is served with muscle
And strength by gentleness confined
He serves without servility; he has fought without enmity.
There is nothing so powerful, nothing less violent.
There is nothing so quick, nothing more patient.
~Ronald Duncan, "The Horse," 1954

Friday, 25 February 2011

Making headway

So last lesson before WORC on Sunday sorted out a warm up routine:-

Warm Up Routine

Walk moving onto walk pirouettes then put in some halts.

Moving up into trot SI on a circle, add in some trot -> walk -> trot

Use long sides SI, straighten move trot on

Canter (watch neck bend) then using long sides move canter on

Novice 28

Then rode through Sunday's Novice test.

Ride into corner to ask for canter think medium to marker then glide onto 20m circle at E/B

Look ahead more in serpentine loops


Keep weight even on CL before turn.

How did I feel?

Well technically he didn't go that well in my opinion, I can ride a much better test in terms of how Chorrie goes, but in terms of our being a partnership probably the best I've ever ridden a test. So really chuffed. I can put the forwardness and sparkle back later, for me the connection is my number one priority.

There feels to be change in the air.

Today we were connected and it felt easy.

I'm calm about Sunday but not in a defeated way, more in a we will do our best and we will enjoy ourselves way. This outing is not about rosettes it is about carrying the feeling of being connected into the test arena.

The arm

Clare commented that I was softer today, assume it was the massage Wednesday that helped, so that's good as means there is stuff I can do, am hopeful physio on Thursday will ease neurological symptoms some more.

I can be a confident rider, I can be a confident rider in the arena on my own and together we can do this.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

2011 so far

Nearly two months into 2011; went on a 'diet' start of month and 5kg lost so far, have been here before, need to pass by and keep going and not return to poor eating habits.

Am on verge of giving up with Saddle Up blogs, I now find it really hard to follow my favourite blogs and when they have new comments.

Am going to spend the time instead doing an on line anatomy course and when it gets light enough of an evening am going to do C25K with my iPod.

Am somewhat saddened that people I 'know' via FaceAche seem to think we should spend no money on overseas aid; so Daily Mail take and that of the Guardian I know where I stand. Each to their own of course.

And yes of course the preceding paragraph should be less judgemental, 360 degree respect, different world views.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Game changer number 2

Today I really got to understand the phrase 'There is no failure only feedback'

Lesson this morning in the rain :-( with Sunday in the middle distance Clare decided today was a good opportunity to go over test riding.

This is where it gets very interesting.

Chorrie went really well, OK a little deep and a bit too much tension on the reins, but he was forwards, happy and performing. Lots and lots to like.

However my world view was different, I didn't like what was going on, I didn't think I was going to fall off or that he'd spook it just felt on the edge of control and when I gave confusing aids and he sort of half passed left I very nearly panicked. It all felt rushed and pressurised. Of course I didn’t mention this to Clare just swallowed it down and tried to cover it up and then it all got too much and it all came blurting out as a garbled message.

Now some time ago that would have felt like failure, I couldn’t enjoy riding the boy how he needed to be ridden, but read on ...

Clare having translated the ninety words a minute thought perhaps the lack of control over what we did where and when may be an issue that was contributing to this feeling, together with holding of breath and not having a connection to him.

So I went off singing 'Happy Birthday' (you have to breathe if you sing!) and repeated some of what we'd been doing and it felt right and it was easy to put the forwards back in.

As I said some time ago it would have felt like failure, but now I have an insight into what presses the button that led/leads me to feeling that way and knowledge is power. I can now see a path to having him forwards and off the leg and going well whilst feeling OK myself. Before I couldn't see a way through to having him forwards and off the leg and going well.

So now I need to get connection and ride at the markers and just blinking well do it at the marker and not take 30 minutes to prepare (!). I need to know my test backwards (not literally!) so I maximise my controlling of the controllables as clearly that is one of my triggers.

I have the knowledge now I need to use it.

How interesting that a lesson where I have to stop is actually a lesson where I get another large piece of the jigsaw.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

NLP Performance Coaching 19th February 2011

Today I went to Talland for a Riding with Confidence one day workshop with seven other course participants.

It was lovely to see Maggie on the course as well as Caroline, plus two other ladies Carol and Ruth from Witney and then Jess who was born near by and used to work in Witney so six out of eight participants with a strong Witney connection :-).

The course isn't a magic quick fix pill, I have to work at this each and every day. There will be blips but doing nothing will not fix anything.

Daily Doings

Every day I will do something positive that moves me nearer my goal
Every day I will celebrate something I have achieved.
Every day I will do a positive affirmation.

When I ride

I will have a plan
I will do positive affirmation before I get on.
Focus and fear cannot co exist together they are matter and anti matter. If I get fearful I will focus. I will sing Happy Birthday or I will do mental arithmetic.

Some random notes that struck a chord
  • Imagine if you did know the answer
  • I might be more confident with someone around but I can be confident on my own
  • Imagine a good future, much more productive than imagining a bad one (!)
  • Focus is not the same as over analysing
  • What is happening not What if. If he is walking quietly then he is walking quietly do not imagine a bad future with the what ifs
  • Control the controllables
  • 360 degree respect, don't bitch about others, live your life kindly.

The bloody pigeons and crows

Are you focused on what you should be focused on? If he isn't spooking then what are you worried about? Are you paying attention to him or the crows? Have you just abandoned him to focus on the crows?

I can't change what the crows/horses in field/planes/sky falling in/whatever is going to do/happen but worrying about it could stop me enjoying the now. Imagine a good future.

I can't control the pigeons but I can trust myself to deal with it. If he does something I can handle it.

I might be more confident with someone around but I can be confident on my own.


It was a beautiful day in Athens. Socrates had risen early and was strolling on one of the country roads on the outskirts of the great city.

He had spent a good part of the morning taking in the beauty of the country side. He had also been pondering on the concept of objective reality, and thinking of the stories he could write about it. But now his thinking was interrupted by a grumble from his stomach.

His wife had packed a delicious light lunch of cold meats, cheese and bread. And he began to wonder if it was near enough to lunch time to begin eating. He looked at the angle of the sun. He thought it was almost close enough to lunch time to begin eating. He was in the process of deciding that there was enough food to eat over two sittings when his reveries and his stomach were interrupted. A happy traveler came strolling down the road towards him.

The happy traveler hailed the old philosopher and greeted him warmly. The sage returned the greeting. The traveler and Master Soc discussed the quickest way to Athens from where they were. The traveler was about to leave his new found friend when he seemed to change his mind.

The happy traveler asked the Greek master: “What are the people of Athens like?” the philosopher looked the fellow up and down and asked: “Where are you from?” The traveler replied:” I hail from Pyrus. I have lived there my entire life. I have heard many tales of Athens, and finally decided it was time to travel there and see it for myself.” Socrates then asked the fellow: “Well what are the people of Pyrus like?”
The happy traveler said: “Oh the people of Pyrus are warm, friendly, caring and generally well mannered. They welcome strangers with open arms. It is a good town because the people who live there are good people.”

The sage smiled: “My friend you will find that the people of Athens are very similar to those of Pyrus.” Happy the traveler then took his leave of Socrates and set off for Athens.

Socrates was about to sit down to eat the first half of his lunch when he was again interrupted by a second traveler.
Their interaction was similar to that of the first. The fellow asked the quickest way to Athens and then asked the old philosopher what the people of Athens were like. Again the philosopher asked the second traveler where he was from. Low and behold the second traveler was also from Pyrus.

But when Socrates asked the fellow what the people of Pyrus were like, the second traveler responded: “Oh they are mean. They are greedy and selfish. No one in Pyrus has any time for strangers. They spite and snub their neighbours. It is a terrible place, full of low-life and nastiness. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. I have lived there my entire life.”

Master Soc smacked his lips, he was thinking of one of the stories of wisdom he had heard as a child. Socrates sighed: “I am sorry to tell you this young fellow. The people of Athens are exactly as those of Pyrus.”

Friday, 18 February 2011

Nicky Desailly - Visit 4 - 18th February

Nicky out today to see the boy.

Nicky very pleased with him and how he is improving every visit so all good.

I must get someone sorted out for me.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Finding my way home

So Chorrie hacked out Saturday and I wimped out (am fair weather rider) of riding on Sunday.

Today was a lovely sunny day, C walked to the arena very quietly, got on did some warm up in walk and trot and Clare asked how he was feeling. To me he was feeling happy I think he might be a fair weather pony and like me prefers nice sunny days.

Did some useful work on trying to feel the hind quarters move.
  • I can feel on the left rein his hind leg moving under me for both 1/4s in and 1/4 out.
  • On the right rein I can feel 1/4s in, so something to work on for homework but not too much
  • Use one leg at a time depending on which hind leg needs activating.
  • Right rein getting better :-) so chuffed with that.
  • Left rein was even better. Initially was struggling to do more forward down long side as C was breaking in trot. Probably because I was not sufficiently committed and C unlike Fred or Skunk does require his rider to be committed and not to abandon him.
Got him down first long side but broke to trot second side and started being looky, it was at this point a switch flipped and I started riding him and being with him.

I need to cultivate this attitude more, being with him whilst still being soft.


Legs were better with spurs, am breaking old habits :-)
I was less grabby right rein
Think of using spurs down and meeting under him
I think I rode with a better attitude today, much more we can do this together.

I've been so lucky with the horses in my life, losing Skunk hurt like nothing has ever hurt before, but I knew him and loved him and was so lucky to have had him in my life. I'm a better person because of him. Sleep well darling boy.

Friday, 11 February 2011

There is no failure only feedback

Is something I was pondering whilst mucking out this morning, initially I thought no this is wrong there can be failure, such as not winning a race.

However not winning a race is not failure, it is failing to win which is not the same as failing.

Today's lesson was to be back in spurs choosing to ride in the metal roller balls as quite 'soft'.

So into school and get on, hadn't ridden since 4th Feb due to IBS/work felt surprisingly confident.

Chorrie more forwards even before using spurs, slight reservations over this as could be he feels pressured with my wearing spurs or that wearing spurs I get on with a more 'we can do this' attitude. Given he doesn't appear bothered am hoping it is latter and not former.

Canter is better with spurs on BUT, and it is a big BUT I have reverted to my habitual pattern of kicking every stride and tight right rein. So is the pattern triggered by the spurs or by how C feels either way it is not acceptable.

Did some simple changes (canter -> walk -> canter) whilst riding a serpentine. If I concentrate on giving my inside hand I get a better loop and a better change. First time through my brain was in a spin, second time through felt better.

Take home positives are I sit straighter than when Clare first saw me AND I can react faster so fewer steps of walk.

Looked at tackling right rein it is much better in canter but trot not so much. Counter bend then to true bend if right rein tightens back to counter bend. I need to be stretched down right side and give attention to right rein and how it is feeling.

Homework is to work on simple changes and trot with soft right rein, also need to focus on my legs.

The standout for me was the fact I felt I rode better but the empirical evidence (tight right rein and flailing legs) suggests otherwise. Really odd so are spurs a confidence support for me and that is why I felt I rode better or are the confidence high despite not riding for a week and spurs unrelated?

However the flailing legs has to be addressed and I must own the problem, all very well talking the talk, I have to walk the walk.

Whilst getting off C and being appreciative of him is good it does not excuse poor equitation whilst on board.

"Love is more than three words mumbled before bedtime. Love is sustained by action, a pattern of devotion in the things we do for each other every day." - Nicholas Sparks

So saying I love him isn't enough I need to act and own the flailing legs, saying I'm not aware is no excuse. I've been told (more than once) I need to give it the awareness it needs.

So that maybe what I ask Clare to focus on come Monday get my awareness into my legs.

Monday, 7 February 2011

One of those days

Woke up with feeling sick :-( IBS was back and with a vengeance reminded me of the film Along Came Polly.

Mucked out and asked Clare if she'd ride instead was going to ask her to have a sit on Friday as wanted to see someone else canter him to ensure that issue was me and I wasn't making invalid assumptions.

Well I wasn't it is me.

Got into work to be greeted by news that Paul is moving into S19 with me and not Julia which is fine other than I spent how long on Friday negotiating where the desks would go so the floor boxes can be moved ready for the move.

Plus no response to proposed server work early Weds am so well fed up plus a couple of rush to the loo episodes just about sums up my day at work :-(

Thank heaven for husbands and ponies!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Sunday Sunday

So elected not to ride as blowing a gale, however did test cheap CD player and I can hear it on diagonal so > 60m so if I run cable to jump platform should work. So hopefully will ride to music a bit more to drown out the daemons. Am peeved didn't realise we had socket as threw out CD player a month ago because radio didn't work and had no use for mains powered only CD player or so I thought! See I knew there was a reason I never used to throw stuff out!

Clare is going to go over test tomorrow, pants have just realised have forgotten to get a stop watch will have to use event watch.

Came home to a UFO (unidentified freezer object) in fridge thawing suspect it is cubed pork!

Have cleaned saddles that are for sale now need to upload photos, have treated Chorrie's new rolled bridle with GLP so will fit that tomorrow, made lunch, done filing, baked bread, interviewed a new cleaner who starts Thursday and tidied bookcase.

Have also bought some work boots nice Mountain Horse ones for under half price so can put the competition boots back in lorry and keep them tidy and clean!

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Dressage to music or not as the box failed!

Hmm would sum up today, having spent Thurs night sorting out length tracks needed to be and cutting and stitching together with appropriate fade in/out, then burning onto CD then onto Shuffle so could play through shuffle attached to boombox bought specially so can listen to music and school.

B;**dy box failed to play at yard.

Sue B wants me with longer reins and elbows back behind body and lots of walk lateral work to warm up, Clare tends to use walk piris and lateral trot work to warm up, shorter reins and thus elbows slightly in front of torso.

Asked YO if I could drive car into school, YO said that was fine but did I know there was a socket in the fuse box.

So all that sorting out the bleeding boom box was in vain, but at least it proved it was a useless piece of pooh, tomorrow will take down the cheapie CD player and see how that does and then maybe get a better aka louder one so I can ride to music when schooling.

So the positives from today are

1/ I can identify teaching styles that suit me and separate the style from the person

2/ I rode in stupid high winds

3/ Had a great laugh with Marianne at yard, laughter really is a very good medicine.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Windy day

Very windy today so opted not to ride as I loathe wind.

Steph and Janice off on safari this evening.

Got a run through of my DTM tomorrow see if I have got the timings right, if the timings are right I might go back anyway and pick different sections of the track for the canter as the start doesn't feel 'right'

Have decided to sell two saddles, the stop gap Albion and see if Lavinia will take my Balance and sell on commission. Whatever happens I'm not going back to the Albion and if I did ever get another horse I wouldn't be looking for a Balance saddle nowadays so might as well sell it.

Plan is to buy a significant piece of jewellery with the funds (plus some added) as I keep pondering something for Skunk so might as well use the money from his saddle to part fund it.

More useful than two saddles sat in tack room unloved and unused.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Solo Schooling

Rode was pretty good but need to remember to have a plan to execute once I have the connection I seek and not be aimless bunny!

Managed to finally clear field of pooh last night so that felt GOOD which kind of reveals my OCD side.

Trying to work out DTM timings from video not helped by going wrong in recorded test! Alos need to choose entrance music rather fancy the theme tune from Jaws actually might put that on CD for a laugh on Saturday anyway.

Two older gentlemen collecting muck this morning, clearly missing their hunting so thought they'd have a bit of sport with me, sadly for them am too old to rise to bait of why keep elderly retired horse and what he is costing you.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Solo Schooling

So rode today and goal was to recreate as near as possible to what I had yesterday.

For me to feel connected to Chorrie I need to have him literally in both reins as a start, our tendency is on the left rein to not connect and that is one of the things that prevents connection. If he isn't with me physically my brain goes into melt down and just jabbers away leaving no room for anything else.

To warm up walk pirouettes on a square both reins, then trot circles with quarters in/out.

When he comes into both reins breathe and allow.

Was really good to feel connected not as good as when Clare was there but almost. However the take home is that I did it.

Am still of opinion that getting this connection is the foundation from which all else will come.