Thursday, 28 April 2011

Abingdon Lock

So today was past the park into town, through Abbey Meadows then onto the weir and over to Rye Meadow then back along the Ock walk.

Lovely :-)

Abingdon Lock

So today was past the park into town, through Abbey Meadows then onto the weir and over to Rye Meadow then back along the Ock walk.

Lovely :-)

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

"The Kübler-Ross Model, commonly known as the The Five Stages Of Grief, was first introduced by Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book, On Death and Dying.[1]

Included in the book was a model, The Model of Coping with Dying, which was based on her research and interviews with more than 500 dying patients. It describes, in five discrete stages, a process by which people cope and deal with grief and tragedy, especially when diagnosed with a terminal illness or experience a catastrophic loss. In addition to this, her book brought mainstream awareness to the sensitivity required for better treatment of individuals who are dealing with a fatal disease or illness"

The stages, popularly known in its abbreviated form DABDA, include:[2]

  1. Denial — "I feel fine."; "This can't be happening, not to me."
    Denial is usually only a temporary defense for the individual. This feeling is generally replaced with heightened awareness of possessions and individuals that will be left behind after death.
  2. Anger — "Why me? It's not fair!"; "How can this happen to me?"; '"Who is to blame?"
    Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy. Any individual that symbolizes life or energy is subject to projected resentment and jealousy.
  3. Bargaining — "Just let me live to see my children graduate."; "I'll do anything for a few more years."; "I will give my life savings if..."
    The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow postpone or delay death. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. Psychologically, the individual is saying, "I understand I will die, but if I could just have more time..."
  4. Depression — "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "I'm going to die... What's the point?"; "I miss my loved one, why go on?"
    During the fourth stage, the dying person begins to understand the certainty of death. Because of this, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time crying and grieving. This process allows the dying person to disconnect from things of love and affection. It is not recommended to attempt to cheer up an individual who is in this stage. It is an important time for grieving that must be processed.
  5. Acceptance — "It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it."
    In this last stage, the individual begins to come to terms with his mortality or that of his loved one.
Above is all from Wikipedia

Then some 25 years ago she started to apply it to the grieving.

But losing a loved one is not like having a terminal illness, there is no end point to having lost someone, the loss remains and can cause perpetual sorrow. Yes the initial shock and grief subsides but it can ebb and and flow and you can still be hit by it when least expected.

The idea of getting closure on grief is compelling but is a fantasy, it is fiction to imagine we can love, lose, suffer and then do something to permanently end our sorrow. There is a reason it is called a loss is because that it exactly what it is a loss.

Closure is an appealing concept because that way we can never be surprised and disordered by grief years later.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Happy Valley

So walked the puppies around Happy Valley this afternoon, was glorious bluebells were out and down in the bottom of the valley it was dappled shade.

Lovely sat at the top of the gorge on the 'Seize the Day' bench looking out over the valley and putting the world to rights, life doesn't get much better :-)

Monday, 25 April 2011

Monday Schooling

Turned boy out first whilst I mucked out etc, went and spoilt his morning I'm sure by catching him in just before 11:00.

Sunny and warm with a nice breeze so lovely for riding.

Worked on halt just waiting for him to soften,no getting into a 'fiddle fight', ask for the halt get the halt, relax hands and wait.

Worked on travers in walk and trying to make sure I am not clinging onto the outside rein! So it is either

1/ getting easier and I am improving


2/ it feels easier and better because with no eyes on the ground am making a dog's dinner of it and hence it feels better :-)

Gentle reader you decide!

Did some trot work but not too much as need to put his hat on as he is getting bothered by flies so decided to call a halt and take him in.

Enjoyed myself :-)

Need to decide tests for Sunday and SOON!

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Sunny Easter Sunday Schooling

Today I was prepared for the heat, bottle of squash in freezer and alarm set for 06:30 so I could ride before the heat of the day.

Alarm goes off revealing overcast cool morning so have another hour in bed :) Off to yard turn Fred out start to groom Chorrie and notice he has a lump palmar medial right hind. Cold, solid and not sore to palpate so carried on with plan to ride him.

Walked on looser rein, did some travers might have been renvers *doh* need to get them nailed in my head next time I see Clare as find it worse than left/right.

Went over simple changes as these need to be nailed fairly soon, Chorrie can do good simple changes it is Peppa Pig on top who struggles!

Finished off with some halts and woo hoo and praise to the Goddess of Halts because

1/ I remembered to not fiddle the front end but let him be
2/ He stopped the yawing and stood

Result, also need to get this sorted.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Dancing Queen

Used Equissage before lesson (new organised Alexis ...) got a feeling that Chorrie wasn't right not in any physical sense just somehow not right. Clare wondered if he was feeling his physio or of course there was also the possibility I was just imagining it all :@) Decided to give him an 'easy' lesson to the sound of Abba!
Outline lesson schema (all work done on both reins)
Trot travers on short diagonal
Canter, travers across short diagonal, counter canter around corner and short side medium counter canter on long side.
What were the challenges?
Trying to disengage literal brain for doing travers on a diagonal. think of it as starting to change the rein *then* ask for travers.
How did we deal with the challenges?
Repetition and clear explanation
What went well?
Got a very good feel in canter, he is so much less heavy in the hand and there feels genuine relaxation.
What went less well?
First attempt at medium counter canter, too much thinking this isn't possible and no sh!t Sherlock that becomes a self fulfilling prophesy!
How well did I ride?
Cross between reverting to old habits and collapsing and as always better when put under 'stress' that is given no time to analyse and over prepare and then prepare some more.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Nicky Desailly - Visit 6 - 21st April

Asked Nicky why monthly visits necessary, was concerned I'd missed something. Nicky had treated a horse on yard recently 'LO' he'd had a week off with daily TENS/lunging one follow up visit and viola

Chorrie on the other hand no time off yet monthly treatments eh? Did not make logical sense to me hence question. Nicky's view is that is it maintenance and given his 'startle' reaction can see that'd tighten up muscles more than a 'normal' horse.

Need to be more organised and use many of the products I have available like shove Equissage on before lesson while I am mucking out.

So no real issues tight at bottom of thoracic sling, possibly hard ground possibly his exuberance over poles :-)

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Saddle Up

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair

Saddle Up is a funny old place, fairly large population, heavily female, mostly horsey.

Yesterday I was shocked at how a casual racist comment was just sat there as presumably until I reported it no one else had considered doing so. It has had its fair share of con artists one who used the forum to sell dodgy warmbloods with fake passports, others who have had horses on loan at livery and just vanished from the yard whilst stringing the owner along about how well the horse is doing. Bitter people with no idea that the reason everyone reacts to them in the way they do is because of them. Someone taking in youngstock liveries and failing to look after them with owners having to stage rescues. Others who have 'history' but hide their dark side well and.

And then you get ClassicalEq who puts their personal money on the line to rescue said loan horse from untenable situation and all without judgement. Bonbon who puts expensive Sprenger irons in post and trusts me to pay her.

Does one comment a racist make?

So does one comment a racist a make? I tend to think it does but is that too judgemental?

Years ago I was talking to an acquaintance and they misunderstood a comment I made and thought I was saying I was bi sexual. Their reaction was to flinch and move away. So despite having known me six years they made an instant judgement based on one comment.

So fast forward to yesterday and a racist comment on a forum, at first I didn't 'get' the comment as it wasn't in my vocabulary and given the author is I believe a teacher I assumed I was wrong.

However moments later you realise there is only one way the comment can be taken and that it does mean what you think it does.

Somehow and not logically writing out the comment seems to increase the depth of the racism as generally as you type you have time to consider and yet they could see nothing wrong in what they type.

But in my passing such instant judgement the same as the person who passed instant judgement me?

I'd like to think it isn't because someone who isn't racist doesn't make racist comments. Being a racist is in my opinion like being pregnant you're either pregnant or not, there is no 'little bit pregnant' just like there is no 'little bit racist'

And whilst I'm on my soap box, a local star football player was recently before the magistrates for assaulting a bus driver when drunk and making racist comments. The footballer said in the local rag article that he had friends that were black, as if that somehow absolved him of any possibility of actually being a racist. I would have said no you're not an overt racist but clearly you are a covert racist as otherwise it wouldn't even occur to you to make those remarks.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Monday 18th April

Hmm one of those mornings, nothing like a bout of IBS to start the day with a bang, almost literally as had to hot foot it to loo, there really is nothing like Too Much Information is there! Oh and the sore throat/ear ache is back too!

So toddled off to yard turned Fred pony out, mucked out then got txt from Clare who is unwell with sore throat and no voice so lesson cancelled.

Almost turned C out but thought had better ride as he had day off yesterday and we don't want him thinking he is retired. Tack up go to school go to get on and notice stirrup iron looks 'wrong' so closer examination reveals pin in flexi joint has moved so stomp back to tack room to get another iron.

Go back to school and get on, Jess is riding Dell, so nice to have company especially given Jess knows how to ride in a school.

Walk and trot on long rein, canter on a looser rein to warm up.

Today was mostly about canter and aiding for canter, easy on left rein, less so right rein as left leg somewhat aberrant in its aiding *tsk*

Mixed feelings overall pleased how left is improving, somewhat frustrated with me on right rein (as if that helps!)

Need to bear in mind it wasn't that long ago I couldn't get canter if I wasn't wearing spurs and carrying a whip so it is progress, however at some point to keep saying that will just become making excuses!

Seems like I'm the only one that likes the Shadows so maybe not best choice of music for my freestyle :-)

Sunday, 17 April 2011

A lovely morning

Up earlyish for a Sunday at yard just after 08:30, wall to wall sunshine.

Boys out in field mucked out, pooh picked, chatted to Steph and Janice.

Home via Waitrose, lovely lunch of lemon and thyme roast chicken.

So nice no longer feeling so tired and no sore throat.

Good times :-)

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Feeling groovy

So since last Friday 8th have been under weather with sore throat, ear ache and sniffles and have been stupidly tired all week inspite of getting enough sleep

Woke up today feeling tired and nauseous so only just beat Clare and her Mum to yard *tsk*; threw Fred out quickly ran grooming mitt over C and tried to ignore it was 10:00 and I'd not mucked out *slack Alice*

Pam arrived and admired C then Clare arrived with Claudia and Maddie who are so cute, I've never been known to do small children but these small children I can do :) Pink features heavily in their wardrobe choices too.

Maddie helped Clare take C down to the school, bless the C he was so soft and gentle.

Clare rode C then for the last few minutes I popped on and Pam videoed now need to go find some music I like with a decent beat and hopefully that C likes too.

Pam asked if I was musical opps no am tone deaf, put to back of school choir where I couldn't be heard singing out of tune :*) and struggle with rhythm (still at least I can spell it!)

Good times :-)

Friday, 15 April 2011

Skunk - forever missed

Skunk was the game changer, because of him I became a more patient and kinder person.

I learnt that whilst things may not work out as you planned you have choices and you can make lemonade out of lemons. Skunk went lame early in our relationship and I was advised to move him on by a well meaning friend. I let the advice go over my head, as riding was not the most important thing to me, my relationship with my horses was. Through Skunk I met many people as we searched for answers that I otherwise would never have met and I learnt to see shades of grey.

I believe you have choices in life and you can choose how you view an event. I could choose to be bitter at losing Skunk and yes there are dark moments when I do rail against the world and my loss; but I prefer to celebrate that I was lucky enough to know him, no matter how much losing him hurts at least I knew him and nothing can ever take that from me.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Two wrongs don't make a right

Outline lesson schema (all work done on both reins)
Walk loose rein
trot loose rein
canter loose rein
trot change rein in renvers trot
canter trot ten strides canter
What were the challenges?
Cantering on a loose rein as in just getting canter!
How did we deal with the challenges?
Doing the wrong thing more intensely does not get you the right thing! If the canter isn't happening *THINK* , apply logic, soft inside rein, position hind quarters, sit up and AID CORRECTLY. Flapping about in a fashion similar to when you were eight and trying to get a recalcitrant pony to canter didn't work thirty years ago and doesn't work now.
What went well?
Canter was forwards and light (Sound of Hallelujah chorus) in the hand which is a huge breakthrough for both of us.
What went less well?
Canter aiding on loose rein was so bad you had to laugh.
How well did I ride?
If we studiously ignore canter aiding on loose rein then I was thoroughly pleased with how I rode the canter and also how I'm so much more prepared to ride on a looser rein, also give the rein completely and I'm also buying into the idea of not hanging onto the right rein.

Real tangible progress.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Shoulda woulda coulda

So realised this morning I really couldn't be bothered to go to Isis to do a Novice test HC.

I like Isis, I like Crown Farm but just not motivated to spend about fours hours of my weekend for four minutes in an arena and drag poor old hubby along too.

I guess the honest truth is I know we wouldn't be competitive as our canter is still a work in progress and I'm not interested in making up numbers/having an outing/scraping by on 60%/61%

If I'm going to compete I a) want to be competitive and b) have the chance to come home with a ribbon. HC does not float my boat.

So I decided not to go. What I do want to do, what feels like the next challenge is

1/ Get Chorrie back out and about for some off the yard training of a weekend *that* I do miss.

2/ Go round the XC field with Carol, squash those daemons.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Calm before the storm? Contains profanity

So the lovely Clare came to ride C today as part of our cunning plan for dressage world domination, I popped on top afterwards and seriously fuck fuck fuck I realised just how bloody good a horse I have and his quality.

Yes I've always thought he is good in so many many ways but I'd never realised just how he could feel. I was over whelmed with just how he felt from behind.

Then went cake hunting with Carol and tracked down cake in Aston Pottery (we are good cake hunters!) and at one point when I wasn't being opinionated (!) Carol commented on how I do Chorrie justice. I didn't particularly argue (for once on my life) but I did think how actually I don't in terms of riding but you know I'm comfortable with that because a loved horse is never a wasted horse. My riding will improve and I will ride flying changes. This much I know.

Home and attacked the patio.

Poor old Beaglie is still sore of paw but it isn't infected so that is positive.

Looking forward to seeing more of Carol :-)

Friday, 8 April 2011

Sometimes you have to go back to go forwards

This occurred to me today that sometimes you have to take what to the external world may seem like a backwards step in order to go forwards.

So January 2011 you could have looked at videos of me and C and comparing that to September 2010 I think it would be fair to say rider has improved so legs less flappy, overall quieter picture but the horse was going less well.

April 2011 rider still looking better and horse going as well (possibly better) than September 2010.

So yes initially what appeared to be a backwards step was actually a forwards step in improving the rider and it isn't just position the game has changed mentally too.

I'll now walk on a loose rein whereas back in November 2010 that was an ask too far, I'll trot and as of today canter on a looser rein.

I'm much better out competing I can stay focused during my test and have time to think and prepare, things are no longer happening too fast.

Chorister no longer hangs back in his stable but walks out now without hesitation so I think he prefers my attitude too

Tautology or the study of tortoises

Outline lesson schema (all work done on both reins)
Walk loose rein
halt towards fence drop contact
canter loose rein
trot long side LY to track SI to end medium next long side
Change rein in travers
counter canter / medium canter / canter circle
Tautology is not the study of tortoises :~}
What were the challenges?
Cantering on a loose rein
Have forgotten what travers is
Not doing the 'what ifs' on the ponies in adjacent field.
How did we deal with the challenges?
By doing it regardless and giving as much rein as I can.
What went well?
Not being bothered by crow spook, riding large without 'what ifs' taking over
What went less well?
Travers - brain/leg interface failure
On losing connection to C I halt. I need to do something different. The majority of the time I lose connection because I start to think too far out about the next movement and stop riding in the now and abandon him.
How well did I ride?
Losing connection was an issue but overall I can feel there is progress. Canter has improved (yes a fair bit of that will be down to Clare riding him in between but I'm still riding better). The overall feel is also better, I feel we're on the same side and we're doing this together.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Tuesday 5th April

What were the challenges?
Riding in the wind and rain, riding when feeing tired, riding when still a bit *eek* over new horses.
How did we deal with the challenges?
Figured twenty minutes better than nothing so resolved to just ride for twenty minutes.
Maybe motivation to ride CD is working?
What went well?
Actually got ass in saddle and rode when raining and windy that is an improvement.
Worked using 80% of school
Worked on serpentines keeping legs long and staying central
What went less well?
Softness lacking so worked on that with transitions trot -> walk -> trot
How well did I ride?
Fair to good

Monday, 4 April 2011

Monday 4th April

What were the challenges?
New horses in field next to school were very unsettled and came charging over causing C to rush off in surprise. They continued to be unsettled.
How did we deal with the challenges?
By staying within my comfort zone. I no longer believe in the force yourself up that end of the school regardless. I value my confidence and can work C well enough in a smaller part of the arena. If the challenge was permanent then yes I would need a different approach.
Outline lesson schema (all work done on both reins)
LY on long side to renvers
Walk Extend to collect using seat only
Walk to trot to walk using seat only
What went well?
After the initial spook I didn't immediately resort to short reins, no the long rein work was not as it would have been had the spook not happened; not having short reins is progress REAL progress. Steph Croxford doesn't find it easy either.
Extending walk using seat only
Collecting trot using seat only
Right rein canter when I remembered to feel as though I was sat right back (I'm not btw)_
What went less well?
Trot transition using seat only
Right canter if I don't sit back
How well did I ride?
Clearly I am an oddity; I don't crack under pressure but ride better. Actually I think it depends on the pressure, but that does mean if I can do it under a couple of types of pressure I can learn to do it under all types of pressure.

Legs much less flappy, well you can't criticise if you have the same fault now can you (!)

I did feel I was holding him up less than is my old tendency.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Steph Croxford Demo & Sunday


Had a lie in which was much needed, walked the dogs and was somewhat gobsmacked to see my physio walking an elderly Labrador as 1/ he lives miles away & 2/ his Lab is a 10 week old puppy.

Turns out his daughter lives nearby and he was Charlie sitting :-)

Faffed about and ended up going to yard with barely time to get stuff never mind ride (my bad) am really not good when going to yard PM as just faff about all morning before I go over and achieve nothing!

Picked Clare up and went to the Steph Croxford demo at Moreton Morrell. We did not go directly to demo due to too much nattering and had to pull into layby and get TomTom to assist us as we'd missed a turning ...

Steph Croxford Demo

First rider

Started with mare at Novice level that has tendency to be inattentive and neighs.

Mare of course proved owner wrong by being pretty quiet.

Horse and ride both crooked and sure Steph saw both but tended to address horse as I guess no one volunteers as a guinea pig to be pulled apart in public so makes clinician's life pretty hard to effect real change in demo situation.

Steph very encouraging and did a fair number of things that are familiar to help this combination.

In and out on circle then shoulder in/fore and transition to canter.

Second rider

I seriously wanted this mare as loved her attitude and also less positively wanted to wrench rider from saddle remove her spurs and poke her with them at every stride. Yes I realise the irony in that sentence given how I ride and my flapping legs.

Lovely mare really got some good pointers from this combo.

Neck as a shelf - This is from Richard Davidson's teaching of Steph and basically neck should come *straight* out of withers and top of neck should be straight and long and thus shelf like.

Then pick up so ears highest point (ears up!) whilst keeping neck long.

Ears up! - Half halt with upwards feel and LET GO outside rein to keep poll highest point.

Steph VERY keen in give and retake in canter to ensure horse is not balanced on hands.

Also on long side LY three/four strides in off track, forwards the trot, LY back to track and similar on diagonal.

Steph Croxford on young horse

Steph then rode her very tense six year old that has a stamp of Rimmer (Mr President) about him.

Lots of shoulder in and Clare's 'bend him' walk past it but don't look at it so bend him around inside leg to get past monster.

Steph was amazingly honest and admitted how difficult this young horse had been putting both her and her husband in hospital and how long their journey had been to the point where he now trusted her (was quite teary eyed at this point)

Steph also admitted how difficult it was to actually let the rein go post a spook and not just keep him on a contact, really refreshing to hear that yes even the top riders find stuff like this hard going.

We then had a break for coffee and supper :-D

After the interval Steph came in with a young rider Louise on a nice horse Lindor the combination training with Stephen Clarke.

Louise a lovely rider and horse another one I'd have liked to take home but on the night horse not very forwards and through IMO.

In the absence of Mr P (suspensory injury) Louise rode through her music.

Really good evening.


Got up feeling totally shattered I do not do getting in after midnight very well any more, maybe I never did?

Got to yard turned boys out and had a putting the world to rights chat with Steph which was thoroughly enjoyable. Again ironic as I'm another one with grand plans who doesn't always prioritise riding enough and was also daft enough to buy a lame horse (Fred)

Mucked out got boys in, rode C said hello to new livery, went home for lunch had a little nap.

Back to yard skipped out pooh picked field home to supper and am more than ready for my bed!

Good weekend :-D

Friday, 1 April 2011

Taking Stock

So lovely morning at yard.

The ever lovely Clare rode Chorrie this morning, always good to see a better rider on your horse. It did make me think I must get some video of my lessons as watching Clare I'm now certain that when I think he is forwards and is going well the speed we cover the ground (and yes I know fast is not forwards) is not as great as I perceive it to be.

So if I could get a better reality in my head I think that would be useful.

Interesting that he's not hugely confident whilst trotting on a long rein and that he needs reassurance. Is this something I've created with my own prior lack of confidence and thus need for a contact or is his lack of confidence why I'm still finding this work challenging?

I do know however that this is a challenge I can overcome as it wasn't that long ago I was unhappy on a long rein in walk. so measurable progress in my letting go both mentally and physically of the contact.

At the risk of getting all soppy and I do know that is one of my endearing qualities ;~} I can honestly say that the last three months so Q1/2011 where I've consistently had lessons and input from Clare have been some of my happiest horsy months.

I've got a different attitude to my schooling I'm now going in the school more on my own and whilst it isn't as good as when Clare is there, I'm doing it with fewer evasions(!)

I'm also much calmer out competing and I can stay connected and it isn't as frantic as it used to be.

Carol came to have a lesson with Clare on Murphy to see how they get on together. The little I saw looked jolly good and I was so pleased to get a FaceAche message from Carol with the news she is doing a month's trial.

I'm hugely fond of Murphy, I think because he reminds me of Skunk, they have similar characters and a shared physicality. I think Carol and Murphy will have a lot of fun, good times and happiness in their future together.