Sunday, 23 December 2012

2012 Highs and Lows


Continuing box rest for the boy
Losing Millie cat
Losing yard cat
Losing our little rescue cat
Slow slow healing of C's ligaments
Looming redundancy (mine)
Fred's dental pulp having been exposed by previous EDT


Riding C again
Being allowed to ride Pooh in an outline
Flying changes on Pooh
Being married to a good man
Oliver coming sound
Being allowed to wear spurs on Pooh
Getting droppable elbows on Blackberry
Bruce Springsteen in Hyde Park
Obama getting re-elected
Having Pip in my life
SFO being well SFO
Spanish Riding School at Bercy trip
Barry the BMW
Avoided redundancy but looms for 2013 (again)
Fred and the magnetic rug
My wonderful patient farrier to whom I can talk and doesn't get the hump
Chez Bruce
Husband finding MA subject (Julia Margaret Cameron)
Lion Witch and Wardrobe in Kensington Gardens
Sitting in the National Gallery with wine listening to Bach's Cello Concerto
Discovering (late!) the Killers (Miss Atomic Bomb)
My vet
My physio

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Overnight at Arrow

So Friday went with J to meet SFO at Chase Distillery had a fab time tasting their products but sadly as a driver could do no more than let the liquid moisten my lips then put the glass down and lick lips. made up for it by practically buying the shop!

Planning to go back with taxi booked so can do a proper tasting session.

then drove the 30 minutes to Arrow whilst SFO came back via the Horse Boutique and Sue Adams so time for crumpets and tea; clearly J being a non driver and thus finishing up all the glasses had too much to drink as refused to take boots off in house as as predicted Ron came in, and of course being drunk she had to make sure Ron knew she had her boots on in the house by pointing it out and then wonders why he gets cross!


So onto Blackberry worked on filling the right side with SFO putting her hand on my right side above my waist and my having to push her hand whilst staying on my seat, rope around waist to test core stability, worked on legs and letting go so legs can just hang.

I am now allowed to wear spurs another milestone :-)

Pooh well this was mostly about elbows and why do I think it all changes once I am on a real horse? On BB I keep a good pointy elbow and droppable forearm but put me on Pooh and it goes to pot.

Is it because he is crooked and somehow I am trying to compensate in my body? Biggest issue is if I concentrate on keeping my elbows I lose awareness of my crookedness.

So SFO worked on my regaining awareness of my crookedness with SFO pointing it out whilst we changed rein frequently which helped then worked on elbows whilst trying to stay straight, spurs really useful for keeping him off my right leg and we got some decent work :-)

Watched J and then SFO ride Crisp bareback interesting how he connects better through back when bareback he did some good forward stretching with SFO

Got back to stables at 19:00 with Ron expecting us in for supper at 19:30 oops! So quick shower then grabbed two bottles Champagne out of fridge, a lovely bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and a toothsome red.

Supper was brilliant fun and the party finally broke up at 23:30 when SFO, J and myself did late night stables.  Pooh had managed to get out of his rug (!) J then managed to insult SFO by how she compared it to the wonderful wonderful Dovecot


Quick session on Blackberry working on contact, then onto Pooh much better from start got some really good work so good that SFO decided he wouldn't be ridden afterwards as had been planned. Me I was well chuffed.

Cup of tea with SFO then left later than planned (oops) and stopped for a very late lunch at Trumpet Corner 

I am going to scream if I hear one more time about 'my small house'; last time it was about how much easier it must be having a small house, yesterday it was surprise at our being able to have a Christmas tree in our 'small house' FFS it isn't that small and I am getting totally fed up with the lack of tact.

Next time I will be CROSS!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

You put your trust in a professional only to be let down

So my oldest horse Fred had his teeth enthusiastically over rasped/floated by the previous equine dental technician and because of this now has two molars rasped down to the dentine and the (dead) pulp exposed.


Saturday, 8 December 2012

Finally sound

So first session was 19th June going three times/week then twice weekly and then weekly at £55 pop for the pair of them and today he is functionally sound

Lily now loves her swimming and literally cannot wait to get into the pool.

Hopefully can reduce to fortnightly after Crimble :-)

Back to Arrow

So yesterday I made it back to Arrow, did think the IBS was going to stop play  but just mentally thought do your worst as having not been since October I was pretty determined to go WHATEVER!

Set off with loads of time to spare and ended up getting there 5 minutes before my lesson, no matter what time I seem to leave I get there 5 minutes before lesson. Yesterday I crawled from the A40 to the M5   behind gawd knows what as there was just a huge queue of us all doing 20 mph   but did see nice gunmetal grey Ferrari

So started off on Blackberry apparently I now have droppable  forearms so as SFO said whatever I am doing is working. Right side still in need of attention.

Onto Pooh Bear started off on buckle picked up contact and seems like I left the droppable forearms behind in the simulator room   SFO did at one point say you can ride better than this

So lengthen reins ignore Pooh and assume he will go around corners and just go back to being on Blackberry, point soften so that starts to improve things. I had a lightbulb  moment when I twigged the reason I was giving away my left elbow was Pooh was heavier left rein and I was giving rein OK not on a conscious level as issue is not enough right rein. So SFO asked how I would correct it which always makes  me  so I said bend in squash out, then got asked which way and I'm thinking crap crap crap as I'm not hugely convinced I actually know anything at a sufficient level to verbalise it so said bend in left as that is side he is holding, squash out right to get him to fill right rein and :hail: SFO agreed :hail:

Did shoulder in and counter shoulder in initially SFO couldn't see which way was which so suggested she look harder (!) did get Pooh much better aligned, will be a good exercise for the Chorrie . Also starting to feel when Pooh isn't off my left/right leg, just need to refresh more often and thus keep him aligned.

Overall it was just so nice to be back and whilst I didn't just carry on from where I left off on Pooh I did get him aligned.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Laminitis research published

Laminitis research published

British Dressage Convention 2012

Taken from the Horse & Hound Twitter Account 

Carl Hester: "There's no such thing as dressage for eventers and dressage for dressage riders. It's all just dressage"

Carl Hester: "Half-halts are invisible - or should be - that's why they're so hard to explain. It's what works for you."

Carl Hester: "You often have to ask a mare, not tell them - as you wives out there will understand"

Carl Hester: "Use lots of forwards and back transitions within the canter to spice up the hindleg"

Carl Hester: "When flying changes were introduced in eventing it was one of the most spectacularly amusing days"

Carl Hester: "Escapado took three years to learn - it was all flying and no changing"

Carl Hester: "Straightness is more difficult than piaffe/passage." 

Carl Hester: "Everybody should have to ride quarter lines - they show if the horse is contained in the outside aids."

Carl Hester: "To teach horses to land from changes in uphill way, ride fwds into them then collect straight afterwards."

Carl Hester: "Riders blame saddles when the problem is usually that the horse isn't straight and throws them off to side."

Carl Hester: "Valegro's so special because if you ask for nothing you get nothing, he moves normally & looks after himself"

Carl Hester: "Charlotte calls me Grandad and I call her Edwina Scissorhands as she had to learn to soften her hands & arms"

Carl Hester on Valegro: "He is gorgeous. Anyone says he isn't come and see me afterwards! He only ever wants to please"

Carl Hester: "In tempi changes let the wall help do the work of keeping the horse straight rather than always on diagonals"

Carl Hester: "Totilas proved that the lack of bond between horse and rider when compared with Charlotte and Valegro matters"

Carl Hester: "You should ride about 200 transitions per session - fwd & back to make the horse rideable & on the aids"

Carl Hester: "In the trot you have the piaffe/passage to get them light in front, in the canter you have the pirouettes."

Carl Hester: "Nip Tuck would love to be a front leg mover so we do lots of 10m circles and shoulder-in to engage hindlegs"

Carl Hester: "If Sam [Thurman-Baker] survives this session she'll be a star," - Dances With Wolves is super hot today!

Carl Hester: "With big young horses let the upper body and the corner do the work, not the rein

Carl Hester: "If you're doing young horse classes, take a box of tissues- not all judges will agree with you about yr horse"

Carl Hester: "Obedience to the hand and leg must start in the warm-up"

Carl Hester: "If a horse won't stretch at the beginning of session, work on a contact sooner then stretch when he is ready"

Carl Hester: "Walking for just 2 mins and sitting trot too early on in a session is not future-making for horses"

Carl Hester: "If you carry a whip just to make your horse go, you shouldn't carry one. They are just for small corrections."

Carl Hester: "I use the outside leg not the inside to give aid to canter because that's the aid in the tempi changes later"

Carl Hester: "Teach and practice flying changes on lines that aren't in tests, like the R-C line"

Carl Hester: "Don't panic if horse makes a mistake in changes, it's repetition repetition until he gets the hang of it."

Carl Hester: "A tense horse's lateral suppleness can be improved by very forward canter leg yields."

Carl Hester: "The only way to improve/influence horses' paces is to ride forward in a balanced way."

Carl Hester: "If horse isn't even in both reins don't keep pulling the heavy one - work to put the weight in the empty rein"

Carl Hester: "If horse is stiff on outside rein, use renvers to soften them up and add weight to other rein."

Carl Hester: "Horses in self-carriage will get tired esp if not used to holding themselves so intersperse with stretching"

Carl Hester: "Horses shouldn't be in box for 23 hrs/day & just ridden - it isn't fair. To keep healthy they must keep moving"

Carl Hester: "The trot is the easiest page to change & improve but you need to buy a good walk and a good canter"

Carl Hester: "Use half transitions to bring a horse back in trot and teach him to wait in balance rather than full half-halt"

Carl Hester: "I don't care what they say in young horse classes but Charlotte still thinks it's My Little Pony & gets upset."

Next up the hot boys, Dances With Wolves and Nip Tuck, whom Carl tried to sell but accidentally mixed up passports

Carl Hester: "It doesn't matter what type of horse you have, you can teach it square halts - they're 'free' marks."

Carl Hester: "If horse is strong, don't go in straight lines, circle & circle until he's not pulling & is balancing himself"

Carl Hester: "Valegro is the professor of dressage and has taught both Charlotte and I so so much."

Carl Hester: "Valegro has the best ability of all the horses in the world now to show a good hindleg."

Carl Hester: "Teach suspension in the trot and there in that moment you'll find the beautiful picture."

Carl Hester: "For lateral work always remember to sit on your inside seatbone."

Carl Hester: "Even with a straight horse like Valegro we keep the tempi changes on the long side to keep the straightness."

Monday, 19 November 2012

Today's scan

well the good news there is progress but not enough that I'll be cantering for Christmas :-(

This is partially a bind of my own making; 99.9% of people have stopped scanning at this stage post injury and would now be on a progressive rehab program, but of course me being me, he is being scanned as though he is an Olympic horse (which of course to me he is and as I have an Olympic vet ;~} )

 Like the physio she is really pleased with how he is trotting up so we are making clear, measurable and solid progress.

 I am especially pleased with how he is doing under saddle, the slow leg progress is a shame as it means more pen turn out but I can at least start increasing the trot work. Visually the legs are looking good, I think helped by use of the Equissage boot

 Vet was amused at my disbelief re the magnetic rug and Fred and has suggested I try it on Chorrie too

Friday, 16 November 2012

Bay boys both looking better :-)

So farrier noticed Wednesday that Fred is more comfortable so maybe the magnetic rug is working so will carry on carrying on.

Fred is now flapper pad less and back into ordinary shoes with Equi-Pak,

I was absolutely shattered post not sleeping last night and stress of talk to CMT so on Wednesday SueB rode the whole session. He looked fab from the get go, walk much improved SueB said he was much easier to get to unload his right shoulder and load left; presumably after Nicky freed off his left caudal shoulder? So if this is a training response to his getting straighter then I assume it will start to tighten with time, so may need Nicky earlier?

 Watching him I have a hope that he'll come ok.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Next steps

1/ Can increase time in trot
2/ Continue with Equissage on leg
3/ Pulsed mag on poll twice weekly 15 minutes
4/ Caudal shoulder left area of concern, probably training response to being asked to weight right less 5/ Carrot stretches daily
6/ Labyrinth in hand/under saddle
7/ As part of increased trot shallow loops, serpentine off track, wide sweeping figure of eight.
8/ Walk 10m circles leg yield in/out

Physio 12th Nov

This morning was the physio for Chorister, overall things are good and going the right way.

 The best thing was though his getting straighter in the trot up this is IMO no small thanks to SueB who pays attention to this, other than SFO so few pay real attention to this.

 Going back to SFO is one good thing that came out of his injuring himself. I should be there now but we had a complete power failure last week and the UPS failed too so I'm babysitting an engineer as my colleague is out (normally I'd provide remote cover if we both want leave)

 Use of the Equissage leg boot has made a difference to his posture Scan on Monday 19th

Monday, 8 October 2012

My wonderful husband

My wonderful husband got up at 04:30 to take me to the coach stop then later went and put my ponies to bed and then stayed up to 23:30 to see me home and make me a cup of tea,

A Day Trip To Paris To See Les 4 Ecoles D'art Equestre

So yesterday I went with Joy on a day trip to Paris to see the four schools at Bercy.

Alarm went off at 04:20 <groan> and I rang Joy with her wake up call, Joy sounded very bright and jolly.

So 05:30 coach to Baker Street then breakfast in St Pancreas International had a very indulgent breakfast of warm croissant with Gruyere and a warm Belgian waffle with a *lot* of white chocolate sauce. Clearly we were too relaxed as I suddenly realised it was 08:00 and we were supposed to be checking in on the Eurostar!

So onto Eurostar and we dozed ourway to Paris, first glitch was at Gard du Nord when my ticket wouldn't work in the metro gate reader so tail gated and off we went to the Tullieries for a stroll and lunch.

Leisurely lunch took a LOT of effort to get the bill, if it hadn't appeared at the third time of asking and some twenty minutes, walked to Place de la Concorde  and caught the metro, had to exchange my metro tickets as apparently my phone had nuked the magnetic stripe (!) 

So onto Bercy where we had a coupe de Champagne.

It was lovely being there again and once again we had excellent seats.

The stadium was less than half full, the performance itself was a lot more of a crowd pleaser then the first show back in 2007,

For me the SRS stood head and shoulders above the other three schools:-

I liked le Cadre Noir when doing the long reining quadrille but in general I do not get the feeling of partnership and joy from the Cadre Noir  that I feel stands out with the SRS, The Real Escuela exude joie de vivre and as always R Soto played to the audience and just looked to be having a thoroughly excellent time.

It was a shame that Rubi did not make the advertised appearance

We had to leg it as soon as the four schools had taken their final salute to get back to Gare du Nord to check in and go first through French passport control and the more passport control with the UK Border Agency some 10 metres further on. Why?

Grabbed a bottle of Champagne and a tube of Pringles and had a pleasant journey back to St Pancreas toasting horses we have owned or just owe a debt of gratitude to.

Crawled into bed at 23:30.

Another day that wonderful memories are made of

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Seven lessons in a day and a half!

So this is what we did   Friday evening was spent at The Jolly Frog for Ron's birthday

Friday PM

Turing left and right

Good ride got some decent FDO, looked at moving sideways in canter and how to keep Pooh moving sideways and not change. Fab fab bits of trot, walk -> halt was a bit agricultural at times

Mouse (lunge)
Worked on sitting trot with Connie cushions under legs.

What was interesting was that Mouse before riding was quite tight on the right side of his back but was so much looser post riding, whilst I have always known this is possible I hadn't expected that my riding could cause this change especially given my weight

Saturday AM

Woke up early and could lie in bed and look out of the window at Pooh and Mouse grazing 

Worked on rising trot and going down into heels and rising from back of legs at one point had my foot in SFO's lap   

Rope round middle to test core muscles, I need to remember to look at the psoas release article

Interesting that he was better today than yesterday we were much moree on the same page and doing things together rather than me doing things such as halt to Pooh, SFO was of opinion he came out better today because I put him away better last night, am still  that SFO could consider that my riding could improve a horse 

Got asked what I thought the schooling plan should be once we had done long rein/walk/ hlats and trot. I stated I'd now canter large and easy then see how he moved off leg in canter, then would go back to trot and sideways is trot having used canter as a warm up for lateral work in trot.

So got quizzed and failed to pass on the benefits of leg yield, SFO went off for a comfort break leaving me alone so I did some leg yield did think it was a bit quarters leading anyway SFO returned and was told my leg yield was nothing like a leg yield and that leg yield was often tuaght the way I was taught and was WRONG!  so parked Pooh in front of the white board and got an illustrated lesson on leg yield.

So onto leg yield on a circle, which is basically Erik's halt, angle, flow. So on ten metre circle halt/slow/woah move the quarters over and out then flow forwards. Found very hard to orchestrate all aids and not turn it into rein yield!

Leg yield really improved Pooh's hind leg engagement and we were off  

Break for lunch had bad news from a friend so lots of   good vibes and being sent virtually towards home for her. Felt very close to tears over it all as felt so helpless as there is nothing you can do to make it right just talk and let them know you are there but it doesn't feel like enough.

Saturday PM
Mouse (lunge)

More work on sitting trot with Connie cushions then looked at rising trot, need to rise through back of leg, however overall I am well chuffed with how much more stable my lower leg compared to how it used to be.


Dear dear Mr Pooh started off like a slug on Prozac but soon became super speedy Poozles! So this was great but I really struggled to get this energy up and under me rather than Pooh using it for marching around the school at Mach 3. Lots of   with Mr Pooh at his new found energy!

Looked again briefly at leg yield and that was much better than yesterday  

Put Pooh out in field, packed up last stuff in house, paid up and drive home in sun via a nice piece of topside from Marston Meats

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Drains and radiators

The difference between can and cannot are only three letters. Three letters that determine your life's direction.

Being positive or negative are habits of thoughts that have a very strong influence on life.

Positive and negative are directions. Which direction do you choose?

Positive thinking is expecting, talking and visualizing with certainty what you want to achieve, as an accomplished fact.

Riches, mediocrity and poverty begin in the mind.

Reality is the mirror of your thoughts. Choose well what you put in front of the mirror.

The mind is the decisive factor in your life, but who decides for the mind?

A positive attitude brings strength, energy and initiative.

To think negatively is like taking a weakening drug.

Positive thoughts are not enough. There have to be positive feelings and positive actions.

When you say, "I can't" and expect the worst, you become weak and unhappy.

When you say "I can", and expect success, you fill yourself with confidence and happiness.

Being resolute, decisive and courageous in small matters and in big ones is being positive.

You can close the windows and darken your room, and you can open the windows and let light in. It is a matter of choice. Your mind is your room. Do you darken it or do you fill it with light?

Positive thinking and negative thinking are attitudes. They are points of view, and show the way people handle their affairs.

Suppose you stand at a crossroads, one way leads to a desert and the other one to lush meadows, which way do you choose?

Clear thoughts produce clear results.

Positive thinking evokes more energy, more initiative and more happiness.

Visualize and Achieve

Learn how to visualize and achieve your dreams and goals!

Train your mind to think in terms of 'possible' and 'can be done'.

When you have control over your thoughts, you have control over your life.

Happy thoughts attract happy people into your life.

Happy thoughts fill your life with happiness.

When you change your habitual thoughts, it is like changing the direction of a train.

Affirm the positive, visualize the positive and expect the positive, and your life will change accordingly.

When there are difficulties and you feel down, this is the time to visualize, think and expect the positive.

Do not let circumstances influence your thoughts and moods. By rising over them mentally, you will eventually rise over them materially.

Fill your mind with light, happiness, hope, feelings of security and strength, and soon your life will reflect these qualities.

Reading inspiring quotes uplifts the mind.

Repeating inspiring quotes during the day, helps to better cope with every situation that arises.

The power of positive thinking is like a car with a powerful engine that can take you to the summit of a mountain.

The Rider

Posted Image

Monday, 17 September 2012

Amazeballs :-)

So in the second week of my leave I went down to SFO for a lesson and a chat about Chorrie.

So SFO is in agreement he needs to be off my leg and continuing to gently gently with no escalation is serving only to reinforce that my aids can be ignored. So need to have this chat with SB and establish if we are doing gently gently because I am blocking or ?

So onto Blackberry worked on left right (twas ever thus) and on sitting on my right seat bone and lifting my left and thinking of that diagonal

Onto Pooh and my hands were all over the place so carried a whip upright in each hand and moved  onto a whip in each hand which improved things no end.

Didn't look down too much so the hand bell didn't get too overworked! Produced the best canter work I've ever managed and even SFO thought it was good so was very very chuffed.

This time last year I wasn't even allowed off the lunge now I can produce minutes of work that is considered good also an getting straighter as corrections become less extreme.

As SFO said another WOW entry for your blog  :biggrin: :biggrin:

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Check Ligament Timeline

5th May 2011

Right leg Check ligament injured

4th August 2011 - pen break out

Right leg check ligament re-injured
Left leg suspensory injured 

14th September 2011

Left check ligament goes in stable

25th March 2012 - idiot livery letting horse go C got away from me

Left check ligament re-injured.

Another scan

So another scan and right leg looking good, but left leg stubbornly refusing to play ball and proceed at a normal rate.

So can do trot in school but a very little trot, he can now hack but all in walk, need to stimulate left leg to heal without aggravating it. 

Continue with icing post exercise monitor leg daily scan again in two months to see how left is responding.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012


has taken a few steps backward :-( not back to where we were when we started but definitely a set back.

Stiff in knee only apparent on treadmill when water increases resistance, still happy and jolly and bouncing about.

Have stopped physio exercises until we get treadmill back on track then will introduce exercises one at a time to try and see if there is one exercise in particular that is the issue or was it something else entirely?

Friday, 17 August 2012

Erik Herbermann Clinic Day 2

Sue S 

Do not think in a negative way be more 'let's go' do not pay attention to what he is; think of what you want him to be.

Do not pigeon hole

Both reins have equal value


Know your purpose

Details it is all in the details

Brief and effective aids

If too deep can raise both hands then leave alone and go forwards


If horse is against bridle animate and think loudly of forward and down

When bringing horse up from forward and down do not let horse know that you have noticed imperfections; keep going all the way up

SFO (Pooh)

Half halt to energise Pooh, it energises Pooh because it frees Pooh up.

Align halt go

Ignore head and ride body

Do not chase after feels, getting the technicalities right will result in good feels

If you feel that you want to pull on inside rein use leg/stick and outside rein to brief halt.


The last steps of an exercise are the most important ones

If you can't give without him curling up  then he isn't balanced.

Forwards and down it is the forwards that is most important

Take time to go to the buckle end just don't drop the reins

If deep then to raise poll drive halt light flow

SFO Tiswas

Energy halt turn

If you cannot move shoulders horse is not straight

Shoulders (horse) must feel mobile

Friday, 10 August 2012

Flying changes


Worked on improving my proprioception of right seat bone, pompom under right seat bone then remove pompom still MIA

Pooh (all captured on video)

SFO was trying new bit on Pooh, French link fulmer snaffle as opposed to eggbutt snaffle overall didn't think it felt any different but maybe it was the magic flying change bit of which more later :-D

So  usual start walk on long rein, then trot on a loose contact, similarly with canter. Canter need to remember to sit left and stretch right in canter.

Need to keep head up (SFO said to look at video to see impact of head up / head down on my seat / back) and keep right side stretched, plus elbows at sides. At times it feels like patting my head and rubbing my stomach to keep all these correctional balls up in the air and not drop one. However got canter on each ask except one where I didn't follow through the ask with intent.

Joy's correction on Chorister only works if I also sit left and stretch right on Pooh and probably on C too.

So time to put the Poozle Woozle on the aids need to get him sharper on this well actually I need to be sharper and more consistently demanding. Need to also make sure elbows are in place when asking. When riding on the aids my left hand goes to hell in a handcart, also need to make sure there is no backwards ask with my hands.

Holding whip in errant left hand does help as does maintaining my elbows.

So many trot/halt transitions later and I am getting a better sharper reaction so onto canter trying to sit left and stretch right so start on right rein with some goods from SFO then she suggests I come across diagonal and ask for a flying change. This is the point I should have clarified the aids for FC but no that would be sensible and involve inhibiting me I'd just rather gung ho into it and see what happens so around corner onto diagonal straighten Pooh and ask late behind bum bum bum, so onto left rein and nail that easily.

When asking from right to left, need to make sure I keep Pooh absolutely straight and not block with left hand or pull head to left and emphasise right seat bone to allow room for left hind to step under and through.

Can't believe that in just under a year that SFO would allow me to attempt a flying change that she'd consider I can ride well enough to attempt this on Pooh who SFO admits isn't the easiest of horses.

Wow just wow

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Today was a day I'll remember for the rest of my life :@)

Up shower breakfast walked dogs whilst Tony did bits and bobs, into car on time as driving away go through the have you got check-list to discover no railcard so spin round and Tony hots foots to pick it up.

Pretty sure we'd miss train but no just get onto platform with minute to spare; such a good job I asked Tony to collect tickets the night before. Tickets would normally be £58/each with the Olympic deal got them for £7.50 !

Train pretty empty :-) bought lunch at M&S in Paddington, tube to Charing Cross, train to Lewisham (first for me having never been on overground out of Charing Cross) then DLR back to Greenwich (another first never having been on DLR)

Lovely walk to  the Games Makers were without exception cheerful and just made the day even more special.

Swiftly through security with a nice Navy officer fanning my fevered brow with his cap :-D

Long queue for water so as water in loos was marked not fit for drinking on Tues thought fcuk it and bought five 250ml bottles for the bargainous price of £8 (!) then once inside loo water not marked as unfit so filled up our empty bottle in case :-) in case of what not quite sure but us Brits like to be prepared for everything with rain ponchos packed on one of the hottest days of the years so far and also more appropriately factor 40 sun cream.

Couldn't believe our seats SECOND ROW only one row in front of us and we were on the long side in line with where A is. Amazing plus because the exit/entrance was our side pretty much every rider passed close by :-D

History was made today I had been hoping for Team GB to take Gold and Bronze with Adeline Cornelissen taking Silver, just got the Bronze wrong as thought it would be Carl with Laura 4th.

Laura took Bronze and Carl was 5th with Charlotte taking Gold however I did think she'd blown in with the mistake in the piaffe but no she took Gold the stadium erupted I cried and it became a top ten day as history was made.

I really don't see what the judges see in Parcival he doesn't float my boat even ignoring any alleged training methods used; to me eye he is often chin to chest and mostly BTV plus if you cut the reins hell would break out, Laura does get an active hand with Alf that I will admit but it is only when he gets strong and he never looks chin to chest.

Loved the way the commentator urged everyone to drink water which given the interval was 15 minutes was in no way long enough to get out queue as always for the loo, seriously when will they build venues with a female loo/male loo ratio of 2:1 women always queue men rarely.

Caught the Thames Clipper to Westminster which was a lovely way to travel on a hot August evening then tube back to Paddington then home.

I didn't agree with Greenwich being the venue when announced thinking it should have been Windsor but have to admit it was a fab venue and will I think be iconic for the Eventing in the way Barcelona was for the diving.

Truly that was one of the days of my life and just so fab to see  humane training take Gold and Bronze.

Now planning a trip to the Europeans :-D

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Lesson with Mrs Morris or decapitation with a cheese knife

So today a lesson with Mrs M on C, have previously had lessons on Soli whilst C was off games.

So yes I do collapse right on C as I do on Pooh, however Mrs M's suggested fix was different to my one with SFO and Pooh. For C I need to sit to the right - yes to the point where I feel my ass is hanging off.

Sat like this my right seat bone is MIA, it is often MIA even not sat like this. We know my pelvis is not distorted having had SFO's paws disappear under my ample ass, both are equally there I lack awareness of the right one.

So we worked on this feeling in walk how my seat moves, I can feel the lateral movement but not the up/down of the seat bones.

So concentrated on feeling as butt cheek goes back then managed from there to get to feeling the up/down :-D

Well chuffed we were :-))))))

So as we can feel the back so should the hands think of moving, this was useful in helping C not go deep.

Excellent lesson with a butt cheek breakthrough !

Monday, 30 July 2012

Arrow Road Trip

So off to Arrow in Barry the shiny new car :@) set off 30 minutes earlier than usual and got there as always ten minutes before lesson start. Seems to be some time warp that means no matter what time I leave yard I end up at Arrow ten minutes before lesson. So journey can take anything from 1h50 to 2 h 40m!

Barry did 77mpg on the way up so that was :@)

Gave Pooh his carrots and went in search of Blackberry.


Chatted to SFO about Friday's breakthrough that is when C was halting nicely then yawing on bit having tried less rein to no effect rather than previously I'd have kept on with less rein. I went outside 'the box' for me at least and tried the "Woah no changed my mind now go" with the woah being longer.

SFO wants someone to see if I collapse right on C as I do on Pooh, so need to find the willing victim!

Worked on seat bone stability rope around waist with SFO pulling me off my seat with my legs over front of saddle.

Worked on contact really need to stretch right side and have 'oranges under armpits' to get a good following contact.

Then worked with leg sensors on going up to 3 and down to 2, apparently this isn't easy (No sh!t Sherlock) but it did emphasise when under pressure I attempt to follow by opening my fingers rather than following with my arms *doh*


So Ron and Richard getting the haylage stacked outside at the A end of the school, back in August 2011 that'd have been enough for me to have a meltdown, today whilst not delighted at this possible spooking opportunity knew I needed to get on with it and deal with 'it' IF 'it' happened. So of course the lovely Poozles never even thought of spooking at the noise outside but did spook at the bottle of fly spray on the 4th time of going past it which made me laugh; and that there is progress clear and measurable.

So usual start on buckle , then got told to pick up contact, do some trot work need to work on point/soften think I need to ask SFO to go over this again as my grasp on it is tenuous.

Then onto lateral work so change rein across long diagonal, then change bend then move quarters then leg yield parallel to wall with front legs on the long diagonal.

Rinse and repeat in trot.

Need to remember good position will get you 96% of way there, so adopt good position and sit and flow, kick kick and heaving makes it go to hell in a handcart.

When I remember to sit well and do less leg yield to left good and effortless, to right is a challenge to both Pooh and my crookedness.

Finished off with trot large need  to keep left elbow, Pooh tends to lean  tend to allow him the rein and thus arm straightens and I prop him up and it is too fixed. Keep elbow activate the horse and streeeetch right side.

Also did trot FDO need to be forward myself 'over knees' with a broad front line and stretch Pooh out to the rein.

SFO pleased with how I rode, me I was brain fried but happy.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Weekend at Arrow with Joy

So off to Arrow the lovely bit is that Joy was going to be there for supper on Saturday night, was expecting SFO to be a bit frazzled as Arrow week had ended on the Friday and that is always a bust week for SFO.

Well SFO was frazzled by a pupil and a jumping lesson and the fact the pupil holding onto the front end was all down to the bridle being the wrong colour. I guess you had to be there ...

Notes are sparse as didn't take any for Sunday and am late (31st July *doh* )writing up.


Move body as a chunk for position L / R

R seatbone needs to be down SFO suspects feel is out (as felt under my seat and seatbones feel even - that is some dedication as a teacher !) so put Connie cushion under seatbone and slowly removed it to improve body perception.

Loosened up hip flexors *ouch* by raising knees on backwards swing of canter stride


Can you do fire drill when on long rein and when SFO shouts 'fire' do fire drill do not look at her and say 'me?' :-D

Pick up connection without losing forward reach/stretch

Need deep shoulders, broad frontline and ELBOWS

Watch rein length, my chicken wings :-) need longer reins to have bent elbow, stretch right side and stretch again.

Use hands as a pair unless bending, think stick with single string in middle being held by SFO and two strings one at each end being held by me, think how you need to move both strings.

Use both reins unless bending.

If it goes tits up, first rescue is think best position you can do, elbows deep, shoulders down stay on your seat.

Longer reins but more connected elbows.

point soften


Had lovely G&T sat on terrace outside little house with sun going down absolute bliss,

Good times

Pooh Sunday

Can't remember huge amounts but the thing I do remember is on Sunday SFO took her hat and boots to the school with me thinking ???

Anyway because of Erik in August and SFO riding Pooh with Erik she had planned to ride Pooh after my lesson but because I'd done such a good job she didn't need to :@)

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Bruce in Hyde Park


1. Thunder Road (Bruce & Roy)
2. Badlands
3. We Take Care of Our Own
4. Wrecking Ball
5. Death to My Hometown (with Tom Morello)
6. My City of Ruins
7. Spirit In The Night
8. The Promised Land (with John Forgerty)
9. Take 'Em As They Come
10. Jack of All Trades (with Tom Morello)
11. Empty Sky (solo acoustic)
12. Because the Night
13. Johnny 99
14. Darlington County
15. Workin' on the Highway
16. Shackled & Drawn
17. Waitin' on a Sunny Day
18. Raise Your Hand
19. The River
20. The Ghost of Tom Joad (with Tom Morello)
21. The Rising
22. Land of Hope & Dreams

23. We Are Alive
24. Born in the USA
25. Born To Run
26. Glory Days
27. Dancing in the Dark
28. I Saw Her Standing There (with Paul McCartney)
29. Twist and Shout (with Paul McCartney)

Monday, 9 July 2012

Fourth pony ride

24th June first pony ride was in small (20 x 40m) school, pony was very tense and we never got off the lead rein.

2nd July Second ride pony less tense (still in small school) and got to walk about 10m on my own to halt and gate prior to dismounting.

5th July Third pony ride (still in small school) got off lead rein for twenty minutes with foot soldier walking alongside on foot then falling away.

9th July Fourth pony ride in large school pony much more relaxed spent most of time off lead rope.

So now planning to  ride in large school with someone watching 'just in case' for this next week and then hopefully we'll be good to go free range :-)

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Beaglie progress

He has dropped weight :-) is moving with more 'swing' and fluidity and has put 1cm of muscle onto each back leg and lost a bit around his tummy.

Really pleased

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

A new blog category 'Back in the Saddle'

Seems appropriate so today we did 15 minutes in the school tacked up in hand lots of school figures.

Chorrie much more relaxed about it all.

So looking forward to another session on board come Monday

Monday, 25 June 2012

So after thirteen months of box rest/small pen turnout I finally rode my pony!

Woke up feeling a bit apprehensive was OK until drove on yard then realised 'this is it' today I get back on board.

Foot soldiers  booked for 12:00 was hoping yard would be quiet but not to be as people still around and noticed the boy was wearing his tack :- 

Had both schools booked as wasn't sure which one I was going to use, decided to use small school as whilst boy finds it spookier than the large school, physio did say it is the best surface to rehab him on.

Go into school and walk boy around in hand very interested but not silly.

Take to mounting block and get on, wait to see if any reaction then sit up, clip lunge line on.

So now we're on the lead rein   Chorrie's back is very up and he is very tense. Oddly enough I'm not, I can feel his back is up and his breathing is shallow but he isn't the bucking type so we just walk around on the lead rein.

Get a few glimpses of relaxation but mostly he is tense. Keep walking and talking stop in a good moment and shower him with Polos.

I am  in shock and denial that I'm finally back on board. He just felt so familiar  did feel a bit disappointed we never made it off lead rein but do appreciate we need to go at his pace.

Will spend next week walking him in hand around school in tack; ideally I'd have done this prep last week but was cognisant of fact if I did so it would have built up today into and even bigger thing with the consequent danger I'd be too nervous to actually get on.

Am pleased I was relaxed, have two more foot soldier sessions booked in for 2nd and 5th July.

Interesting that when I took him back out to field he charged off bucking and wheeling releasing all his pent up tension.

Me I got home and collapsed in a heap with the post adrenalin crash.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Water Puppies

Oliver's first water treadmill session today didn't quite get the idea of walking on the treadmill and not swimming. Charlotte was lovely and he couldn't have been in better hands.

Lily went in the pool not very keen and I had to walk round the outside and Charlotte had to watch her for not trying to climb out, clung to me like a limpet when she came out.

Hopefully she'll settle into it.

Oliver next session Friday

Sunday, 17 June 2012


Lesson one Blackberry

Started off working on weighting left and right seat bones with pom poms and also added turning shoulders.

Then onto position left and right and  lightening left seat bone when in position left and similarly with position right.

SFO showed me how to have long arms but retain an 'elbow' also how shoulders stay deep and elbows and shoulders keep moving.

*THUD* SFO pleased with my improved rein contact, am barely collapsing right, shoulders were down was wondering when I'd wake up and reality (collapsed right and crap contact) would be restored? 

Lesson one Pooh

Work on right hand to Pooh's right bum/left shoulder, swap hands and then repeat on other rein.

Did rising trot and emphasizing left then right side by in sitting phase sitting more left and right; just doing this makes me more symmetrical.

Quasimodo is not the only correction, it is mostly for the left rein, on the right rein need to stretch right pillar, may also need when turning on right rein to have right side 'forward'

If it isn't working don't do more of what isn't working do something different, need to learn to experiment

Horse will follow bulk body weight, so can do leg yield just by use of body weight. Did loops in canter just using weight aids, was actually bloody impressed I could do this and if you think this is easy try it ;~} if you can't do a loop in canter on weight aids alone what does that reveal? Basically that you don't need the reins to stay in counter canter.

SFO did point out that six months ago this would have been beyond me and how I'd progressed and how she liked to keep pushing her pupils. Whilst I do have the odd whinge as it can be frustrating that as soon as you've cracked 'C' SFO is looking to crack 'D'; I wouldn't be driving for just over two hours if SFO wasn't constantly looking to progress me.

Need to stop being afraid of the rein, sometimes you just need to use the rein.

Supper was a hoot, drank a lovely NZ Sauvignon blanc and put the world to rights, haven't drunk wine since my last Arrow weekend due to MFP; ate my body weight in SFO home made chocolate mousse.
Lesson two Blackberry

SFO and I were talking about how it was interesting that I used to be collapsed left (really collapsed left and sat ass off saddle to right)  and now I tend to collapse right but nothing like as bad as my left used to be. Am hoping it is a pendulum and that the arc of swing lessens with each swing and this time next year I'll be basically straight.

Need to have open armpits think of being able to have space for an orange - preferably a chocolate orange! Also body moves through arms.

Did bicycling with legs which helped leg muscles 'let go'

Also did transitions looking back I think if I could nail 3 -> 2 it would help a lot with having Pooh on the aids.

Lesson two Pooh

Started off on long rein with no stirrups, six months ago that wouldn't have happened, and bicycling with legs as had been doing on Blackberry.

More work on right hand to Pooh's right bum/left shoulder, swap hands and then repeat on other rein.

Lots of serpentines/loops in trot need to remember, when turning left Quasimodo; when turning right then stretch right side.

SFO did say about how she  now has to think which side is my collapsed side as I have straightened up a lot :-)

Was then another *THUD* moment when SFO asked how would I put a horse on the aids,  I could  tell her, show her or ask her. So explained how I do it with Chorrie which I suspected had holes in it. 

So basically I determine rein length and then ask C to work within that rein length with an active leg and it happens well that is all I do at a conscious level.

So basically on Pooh in halt determine rein length and keep hand passive, active leg you should feel him step under as he goes to move off soft allowing hand can hold/resist if needed with shoulders/upper arm.

Fail on having soft allowing hand rather than throwing contact at him,  too conscious of not pulling to be effective. :-( but with perseverance and lots and lots of SFO encouragement to the point of being on the floor and walking alongside us, I got it and then wow.

Just wow

Victor Meldrew

I really cannot believe it, bought Claire Lilley's Scales of training book and took to Arrow to read, photo captioned as showing a 'good outline' so why then wasn't the poll the highest point?

I know getting a good photo is hard but why caption it as a good outline if the poll isn't the highest point?

Bangs head a lot really disappointed

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Claire Lilley

So off to a 'Position, aids and confidence' workshop with Claire Lilley, a very thoughtful Christmas present from the lovely Marianne.

Claire is lovely, playing at horse and rider was useful especially seeing how the 'horse' was confused when the outside rein was dropped.

Very glad have been to SFO as none of it was new but was excellent revision.

Think will think of pedal down for inside leg when wanting bend when SFO wants me 'down' my inside leg.

Excellent excellent afternoon thinking of going to her lunging workshop and might get her scales of training book,

Chuffed I am :-)

Friday, 8 June 2012

A new hope dawns and Fred worry

Two more weeks and I'll be back on board :-) am a little disappointed as was expecting it to be Monday and had foot soldier booked but vet thinks yes I could get on as originally agreed but two more weeks would be better, given how long it has been another two weeks isn't that long really.

Fred is a worry :-( his heels have collapsed since being in on box rest for the check ligament injury, got vet to examine him.

His feet are hot at the heels which isn't that much of a surprise as he is putting a fair bit of weight down through them, which of course compounds the issue. I couldn't feel a pulse (well I could but it was normal) but got vet to check.

So upshot is vet and farrier going to speak, vet thinks he is doing a good job but that Fred may need some ££££ pads that help with this plus half shoes have also tested ACTH . Farrier has used the pads before but without success in fact made that pony worse which is why Fred not in them but he is hoping vet can tell him about success stories.

To be honest I'm scared this could be the issue that loses me Fred.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Miss you

Miss you everyday, whoever said times heals was wrong it doesn't you just learn to live with the pain, and it buries itself a little deeper within you; so it doesn't take your breath away every day/minute/hour. I'll take the pain because it is worth it to have shared my life with you and to have known you and loved you.


I envy not in any moods The captive void of noble rage, 
The linnet born within the cage, That never knew the summer woods: 
I envy not the beast that takes His license in the field of time, 
Unfetter'd by the sense of crime, To whom a conscience never wakes; 
Nor, what may count itself as blest, The heart that never plighted troth But stagnates in the weeds of sloth; 
Nor any want-begotten rest. I hold it true, whate'er befall; 
I feel it, when I sorrow most; 
'Tis better to have loved and lost Than never to have loved at all.

In Memoriam A. H. H. by Alfred Tennyson

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Quasimodo or a weekend at Arrow

Quasimodo was this weekend’s theme. 

Saturday Blackberry

So discussed how last time SFO had been less directional for my last ridden session and that I saw this as progress, but also how to determine what I should do and how to determine what I should do. Led onto discussion of what I think is my biggest issue, I thought rising trot, SFO thought maybe the collapsed right side was more fundamental. Could be chicken / egg anyway agreed to concentrate this weekend on collapsed right side. SFO thinks now that I am not crooked on BB we are ready to tackle my crookedness on Pooh. So I can ride a mechanical horse!So did work on collapsing left side (would do this on left rein with Pooh) and stretching right  hence feeling like Quasimodo.Circling arms one forwards and on backwards at same time, showed up different range of movement in shoulders.Shoulders forward then up and then down, then shoulders back up and then down.Need to get shoulders looked at.Worked on point soften elbows in rising trot.  

Saturday Pooh

Quasimodo - push in left waist and push to right
Left rotator cuff down and back
Point soften

Had a discussion how at moment I need to just accept the correction for my right crookedness and not try to figure out why if am weighted more right seat bone etc etc Similar to you teach a child 2+2 = 4 and it is some time later you'd teach them how to do the proof. 

SFO concerned that by trying too much to analyse am not focusing on the actual issue and she doesn't want me to be one on those pupils who returns every year and acts surprised they're crooked as though it is a new piece of information.

So I have to crack this one, there is no other option.

Had a discussion about Billie whilst doing Quasimodo, SFO thinks good idea and keep in double (if in double) and just play and enjoy her. As for the buck if a lunge before gets the buck out then not really an issue.

Sunday Blackberry

Worked on weighting left and right seat bones, with a cushion  under left and then right to see what helped.

More shoulder work can now circle arms different ways :-)

Then worked on rein contact tension areas seem to be left palm and right shoulder.

Left hand gets grabby when doing Quasimodo

Sunday Pooh

Started off on lunge with a pom pom under right seat bone, hard to get left down as pom pom 'fatter' then cushion.

When doing Quasimodo need to collapse in waist and keep shoulders level.

Left/right element of walk easiest for me to feel, struggle to feel up/down element. So worked on this.

Sit on back pockets so slightly BTV and feel the up/down from crotch to boobs.

Then come to vertical and think of how on BB the hips joints move so ass moves back and forwards but not in front of shoulders.

Mentally exhausted when got to yard, met up with SWMBO who also thinks Billie is a good idea.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

These are better days

So indeed these are better days, some much needed sunshine, a trip to London with the husband and saddler fitter out on Friday to have a look at saddle in readiness for getting on board.

We are getting close just need him to stay sensible in the pen

Monday, 7 May 2012

A weekend at Arrow with Pip

So off on a road trip with Pip to Arrow for an overnight stay.

Day did not start well woke up with feeling of foreboding and no idea why then felt sick, did twig foreboding might be because last time I stayed overnight Millie became unwell which ended up with our losing her RIP Millie cat you are much loved and missed.

Arrived to find Joy still there :-) and in school with SFO; so unpacked made pot of tea and just enjoyed being in the lovely and warm 'little house'

Pip was first up on Blackberry then it was my turn; worked on rising trot 'ass to wall' bi fold shower door. Did some off Blackberry exercises against door frame and ass to wall!

It is all in the hip joints!

Then I rode Pooh was pleased that

1/ I can finally maintain canter and not lose my position or focus and thus maintain the canter

2/ I will now canter with reins in one hand whilst trying to feel my hip joints move.

Got a few moments of amazing trot down the long side towards SFO

Some good canter where I 'bear down' sort of breathe in and down ?

Had supper with SFO started off with Champagne to toast SFO's b'day on Wednesday, she liked her socks which are pretty pink! SFO did say she liked pink. After supper Pip helped SFO do final check and then we watched a bit of video and from there to bed.


Woke up too early then slept fitfully, odd as normally am like log so got up showered and demolished several pots of tea,

Back to Blackberry did work on seat bones with Connie cushions which killed my thighs.

Got some quality canter on Pooh so well chuffed with that.

Noticed that I am now getting less direction from SFO, no longer getting told what to do so need to start having a plan and not just wing it (!) However it is progress that I am being allowed to work in this way.

Was due to leave at 13:00 but was after 15:00 so Tony <aka my Sainted Husband > went to do afternoon stables as C would be in too long without hay otherwise.

Got home around 18:30 ate sat like Zombie on sofa went to bed early and slept for TEN hours.

I find it mentally exhausting.

Didn't manage to get to talk to SFO about schoolmaster am seeing on Weds but did get to talk about Portugal.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Slow down!

were two words I never thought I'd hear from SFO!

Had an interesting talk about drains/radiators or vampire/cheerleaders whatever ever you like to call those people in your life.

How drains/vampires can just sit in an Erik clinic and suck the energy.


Need to anchor my right seat bone more, so to do so right arm up and back (think rotator cuff moving up and back), point right boob forward.

Pooh Bear

Need a right side
Need to not look out on right rein going down open long side as Pooh will look out too, did try closing my eyes instead and he spooked :-) sort of like 'no that isn't what we do, back to default please'
Noticeable when anchoring right seat bone, he wants me off it and does the whole swing 1/4s 'thing'
When SFO says elbows need to think rotator cuff up and back, as otherwise shorten reins (!)
if LY not working then sit more not more rein
On left rein if I bend through ribs Pooh bends, probably at mo need to go everywhere in slight shoulder fore

Much more productive lesson than last one too distracted by eye candy that turned up!

SFO is a huge radiator/cheer leader for me :-)

Thursday, 26 April 2012

The therapy princess

  1. Equissage
  2. Magnetic rug
  3. Equilibrium massage  pad
  4. Equilibrium magnetic pad
  5. Magnetic boots
  6. Hot and cold compression therapy boots
  7. Cold water cool boots
  8. Pulsed mag unit + leg and back pads
Hmm quite a list :@)

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Do you want a loving loan home for your dressage schoolmaster?

Experienced but nervous middle aged lady looking for a dressage schoolmaster to lightly compete at Elementary level and have regular lessons on. S/he must be sane and sound.

My ideal horse would as a minimum have a competition record at Medium and be working at Advanced Medium at home.

 In return I can offer a loving home on a good livery yard in West Oxfordshire, with two schools, horse walker, all year round turnout, worming programme and with an excellent yard owner.

My horses have regular physiotherapy, Equissage, dentistry and saddle checks. I am currently training with Sue Neville Parker of Arrow Equestrian and at home I use a BD trainer.

 References are available from my vet (who is a GB team vet), physio, yard owner and BD trainer.