Monday, 31 May 2010

Birthday Blast

Once again, despite having a day to myself I didn't manage up to the yard until late afternoon. I achieved a few previously put-off tasks at home so no bad thing!

I couldn't decide between a long-rein hack and a ridden one. Feeling rather lazy, I plumped for for the latter ;)

Whilst it wasn't a roasting day it was warm in the sun, so Quadi was a touch sleepy and had to be dragged in from the field. He's not putting on any weight on the sparse summer grazing which is good, but I'm having to juggle this with getting enough fibre into him so that he doesn't get a bloated tummy. He was keen on his hay when he came in, munching away whilst I groomed his muddy butt.

I'm not sure if it was just his humour or the heat or tiredness from shivering yesterday but he was a little backwards today. Just not striding out as I'd thought he would. He was bright and alert in the stable and on our hack, and I took his temperature prior to work (37.3C for reference), nothing indicated he was feeling poorly.

We had a lovely hack save him being a little nosey and tripping up, or almost bashing his nose/my knee off of trees as he wasn't paying attention to where we were heading. Typical boy sometimes...

We did the reverse to our usual circuit around The Loop, so we had a little leg stretch down the hill and round the bend to the right. He was lovely and bouncy, I asked him to lengthen his stride once around the bend and he did so without going hell for leather. Very Good Boy. I hadn't really felt him use his back until after this so I think it was good for both of us! Not that I can really expect him to be using his back, we've regressed somewhat in our training but it'll come back as I get my head screwed on and we get some schooling under our belts. Both of us have reverted back to old habits, oops!

Rather a boring birthday by most people's standards but I was just happy to spend some time in the company of my favourite bloke!

Sunday, 30 May 2010

One in Seven

That's how many days I've ridden. One, in seven! I hacked him the other day but apart from that it's either been tipping down or I've had to work late.

Today it rained all morning, I dragged our motley crew in to give them a break, so that they could dry off and warm up. Mostly I was thinking of their feet. Quadi initially neglected to be gathered in but he soon realised he would have been solo and obliged me in having his headcollar on. All the while I was feeling super-attractive in full waterproofs and a woolly hat!

Once all in, Quadi began to shiver :( I put his fleece on, and a stable rug over the top. Plus he got a warm feed, which he was most grateful for. Anyway, he stopped shaking pretty quickly but looked a little withdrawn so they gang stood in for a few hours with hay and water until he brightened up. Of course, it was dry and sunny all afternoon, but I didn't want to ride him just in case his kidneys had gotten a chill.

To cheer him up we did some physio stretches for treats. Hopefully he'll be feeling like his old self tomorrow and we can do some real work!

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Interruption to Regular Services

Ugh. Just...ick.

Quadi has yet to do any real work since the weekend. This is partly due to the shape-shifting weather we seem to be experiencing. I can only describe myself as looking like a homeless and soggy spaniel-type pooch by the time I arrive at the boys' field. The only assurance I seem to have is that it will rain as soon as I leave the office every day >:( It makes for a soggy and unpleasant journey to the yard.

The other part is my being tired. I know I'm tired because my shoulder, neck and back hurt. Clearly I'm so preoccupied with carrying tension around with me all day, I haven't the time or inclination to do anything enjoyable like ride my horse! My shoulders have returned to their default position, lurking somewhere around my ears.

I've been maintaining 6am starts with 9pm finishes (when I leave home and when I arrive back each day) for some time now and they're starting to tell on me, I'm knackered to the point of forgetfulness. So I'm taking Friday and Monday off work :D

I did do some stretches with Quadi last night, tonight I would have worked him but he was a sodden, muddy mess and it rained most of the time I was at the yard. I decided to come home and soak my weary bones in a bath instead :)

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Quietly Does It

Not quite such a sunny start but I felt the need for more hacking today. So that's what we did. Once I caught him of course. I had been up in the field earlier and touched him to say Hi as I snuck through the switched-off electric wire. When I touched him as he saw the tape wiggle he shot off, poor love must have thought I was going to zap him! So when I returned to capture my pony he was having none of it. But the field they are in is much smaller so it didn't take much time to persuade him that I wasn't going to make his coat stand on end!

I booted his hind feet for a change, they seem in need of a little support, the heels aren't changing as much as I'd like so I think they need some help. So he was a little careful over stones but not stumbling or sore. I reckon we'll have to get another pair of boots...

We took the first track over the ditches and meandered through the forest. All very pleasant. He took a look at the water container both times around today but since we stuck to a walk for the entire hack he seemed calmer. I played once more with flexions and I think we're losing some ground so there will be much schooling this week.

On our way back into the forest there were some folkies cutting up fallen trees with chainsaws which made Quadi beetle his way home. Once we were in the forest and out of earshot I halted him and regained some calm before we continued. Much better :)

Not a terribly exciting day but productive. And most pleasant in the scorching sun, despite wearing SPF40 I seem to have caught some rays...

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

I had every intention of schooling Himself last night. Sadly the weather put paid to my enthusiasm. Glorious sunshine all whilst I was trapped in the office, and then the clouds opened at 4pm. The rain had subsided before I arrived at the yard, unfortunately Quadi had managed to find himself a mud patch in which to wriggle around in. Little worm! There was no hope of having him suitably clean or dry enough for tack so I fed him and chucked him back out...

Today it reached 26C, and I rode at lunchtime >:D

I didn't mean to, but got caught up a few chores, like giving the Baby his Very First Bath. He found this agreeable once he realised he would not end up dead. Then I had help trimming Quadi's hooves. In the sun, I was dying on my backside! We'd also had some clearing of hay and poop in the field so I was glad to get in the saddle for a rest!

Despite Fin being mid-bath on our way out, Quadi managed to tear himself from the yard. A couple of stop-starts but better than I expected. The sun had slipped behind a high cloud so our walk out was very pleasant, we even managed a little trot without any hysterics, and the forest was reasonably cool, humidity aside.

As we turned right for our first circuit of The Loop, Quadi took great offense to the now-fallen over water container, we had a few stops and sideways steps but we managed past it and onto a great canter. He spooked at something at the top of the brae so good brakes on this occasion! We also had a canter up the next part of the track, the forest was abandoned. Unusual for the weekend, I guess people had better places to be in the blazing midday sun :)

Mr Princess took exception to being asked to go around for a second time. Some ploughing backwards and indignant halts, but he passed the water container better this time. And I put my foot on the loud pedal! He took a good contact in the reins and really levelled out up the hill. I wish there were more room to do fast work with him...

After this he was a little jog-joggy, and heading up the next part of the track he was fine in walk. Instead of cantering I asked for a sedate trot. He returned with his head in the air and forged through the rein into a really daft big trot/canter/trot/canter every two strides. I harshed the good work we were doing by asking for trot, I should have continued in walk.

As we came back to the relative cool of the forest shade, Quadi started playing up again. I wanted to return home using the track we came along. As we stood that was furthest away, near the water container. Quadi assumed I wanted to go past the Scary Thing a third time. Which was tantamount to horse abuse in his little herbivore brain. He is nothing if not imaginative, we have a new evasion!

Once he realised that marching backwards over tree stumps, divots, etc, was making no impression, he decided to try his new tack. I reasonably and gently asked him to make a move forwards and he set his neck, ran through the right rein (his stiffer but stronger side), reared, plunged forwards. And reared, and plunged forwards. And reared, and I think you get the picture. He was in enough of a huff to keep this up the whole way home. I found myself bouncing through trees trying to wrestle a horse normally quite sensitive of the mouth! My upper body strength is non-existent, my arms are vestigial...I wouldn't fight a horse anyway but certainly I wasn't going to win this one.

I regained some semblance of control, dismounted, and walked him straight to the water container. In his mind, the danger is genuine because he was apprehensive even with me on foot. I asked him to sniff and touch the container. Which he did, and he was rewarded with praise and pats on the neck. We moved further along the track, and I mounted up (from the ground, not something I usually like to do but pleased I even could!), and he moved off happily. Go figure! I walked him a little further and, when it was my idea to do so, turned and retraced our steps to the track I wanted to use in the first place. We managed some flexions with varying degrees of success. By this point we were both tired, he was rather sweaty but only after having the aforedescribed hissy fits.

Home was reached without further incident and I gave him a bath. Despite the glorious start to the morning I ended up doing this in the rain but the water was brown running off of him so it was clearly overdue.

Quadrado, of course, pointedly rolled immediately on turnout. Didn't even wait until I couldn't see him do so!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Tired, but Happy

Am One Tired Blogger so it'll have to be short and sweet...


I decided it was high-time we went back into the school. Good move :) Despite a ham-fisted attempt at in-hand, and a distracted start he went superbly. I worked in all the exercises Perry gave me and muddled in some work of my own. He worked with his back up the whole time and was soft in my hand. All of this in the evening sunshine. Just bliss!


Because we'd schooled yesterday, I decided on a hack tonight. Once again we had sun and warmth. Little bit of a pest in that we also had a fair few midges (I've been bitten!) and Quadi did headshake out in the open, but a nice evening anyway.

We went out over the ditches, Quadi's starting to get to grips with just hopping or stepping rather than leaping! We had two flat out canters, managed to get him up to a gallop the second time around the loop, as we swerved round the bend downhill! Sadly I don't have the stopping distance to really open him up, and I'm always worried I meet a hidden dog-walker!

On the way home we met some young bulls :)

Monday, 17 May 2010


Nothing doing yesterday, naughty Danni!

But tonight I took Quadi for a hack. Not as long as I'd hoped, but it was work nonetheless. I think given his spooky humour I'd have gotten more out of him in the school. He didn't ever settle down properly, seeming to find everything very dangerous. We went for a couple of canters around the loop and the first time we had a 6 Ft Lateral Teleport. Bizarrely I managed to stay secure and central! We managed to collect our brains long enough for some respectful bend and relaxation but the minute I relaxed he was off jig-jogging or spooking. Just one of those nights, he was full of it :)

It was peaceful to be out in the evening sunshine with him, and great that he feels so good!

Saturday, 15 May 2010


Quadi indulged us in a little lead-reining today, my Mum's friend's daughter just loves horses and had asked to come up. Now, Quadi can be a real handful for those of us who chose to pose him questions. But kiddie wearing he can do, and he's super gentle. A real dope on a rope!

As we went up the field to collect him I even got a neigh hello, first time I've heard him do that in years. In fact, I wondered what he wanted ;) But he was just cheerful to see people I think.

I was helped with his grooming and tacking. Bless him, he stayed rooted to the spot. Once his Child was on board we set off to the forest. In addition to all the usual safety gear I put on the seat-saver because it's a little grippier. Just in case. And I had him on a lead rein obviously.

He was a little square paragon of virtue, he didn't put a foot wrong. Walking nice and slowly and not up to any mischief. My Mum said she was very proud of how he's changed, and proud of me for helping him to change. Big grins all round :D

His headshaking is getting worse though. I even tried Vaseline to line his nostrils but it just got snorted out. And onto me!

At some point tomorrow we'll go for a long hack. I could sure use another blast!

Friday, 14 May 2010

Couldn't Be Happier!

After bringing young Coffee in solo one day for a feed, Kate noticed just how relaxed he was about being on his own whilst eating his tea. So we decided to venture a short hack with the Grown-Ups.

Couldn't have gone better. Coffee received his feed as we set off and was still tucking in when we came back. Not a hint of a fuss.

Our hack was lovely too, it's been what feels like an age since I've hacked with anyone! Quadi was a little up Fin's bum as we set off, and there was some rain. But once again he was lovely and soft and happy to flex both ways. Once we were in the forest I could really feel him lift up his back and collect his stride a little. We decided not to stay out too long at all, and retreated back over the ditches. Quadi leading the way :D

He's looking wonderful just now, finally dropping his winter woollies for his silky summer coat. His ribs are clearly felt under his coat and his tummy doesn't look distended. Just perfect for heading into summer grazing. He's headshaking in the field now but we're on the case to make him more comfortable.

Not a ground-breaking day but still... :)

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

24 Little Hours

And what a difference they make!

As it happens I'm still struggling along, to the point where I don't mind revealing I was crying into my horse's mane tonight as I groomed him. He smells of grass and mud :) I can't say I was in the best frame of mind for schooling. Or so I thought.

I led him along to the school and thought I had best do some in-hand to start. But there were cows in the field next door. Probably a great opportunity to instill some discipline in proceedings, but he was much too distracted and I felt I'd be better able to hold his attention with legs and seat.

At first the cows were to be viewed from a halt and we had to do some advance and retreat but eventually they were considered ignorable! We warmed up with a lap of the school on each rein with shoulder-fore/in, and then set to some serpentines. The rascal clings to the outer perimeter of the school so I, rather sneakily, did our serpentines in a bit from the track. This required some reminders from my outside leg but good practice for us both. I noted that coming from a right loop he tends to want to drift when returning to straight. Wonder what it is I'm doing? I should have noticed which way he was drifting, but I didn't.

In any case, this went really well and after some leg yield on circles we progressed to the exercise Perry had us doing. Just putting him on a circle or equally bent school shape (we do good squiggles!) and using the merest of aids for bend, halt and walk.

You couldn't wipe the smile from my face, he was such a star. Naturally a little stiffer on his right rein but he hadn't been school in a couple of weeks and he was trying so hard, I could have burst! On the left rein he was fab and I didn't have to use any rein at all, he was just 'there'. Once I'd realised I didn't need to nag, I had him in both directions. Super pony.

Staying in walk, we went on to our shallow loops. They went well apart from a couple of places where, instead of riding each stride as it happened, my mind wandered and I got distracted. But he was fab.

I thought about trotting. I thought about being greedy and spoiling my session by doing so. But I felt we could do more. So we did trot. Once again sticky on that right rein but I was pleased with myself as my timing was good and I dealt with him with tact. Makes a change! We had carriage both ways and lovely soft transitions. Pony was patted repeatedly and given his tea, good boy!

His summer coat is finally coming to the fore and I can feel the end of his ribcage, so feeling quite pleased with his appearance. I think his massage has helped too :)

Tuesday, 11 May 2010


It's been raining on and off all day. I decided to chance it and got the bus after work out to the horses. The minute I stepped off the bus the skies opened, and with every step I took I swear it got heavier and heavier. By the time I reached the yard I was soaked to my skin. Kate had offered to look after the boys tonight anyway, I just wanted to school! So I spun on my heel and came home.

Really could use a car!

Monday, 10 May 2010

Better still

Yesterday Quadi had a massage from Liz, and it was really pleasing. He stood really well even when other horses came and went, and Liz agreed with my observations. He's lost a bit of muscling all over but I tried not to be disappointed given I haven't been doing the work to maintain his physique. She also reminded me to remain, in the nicest possible way, realistic. This actually helped me a lot, instead of trying to achieve what may not be possible I should strive to enjoy how well he feels now. She finds he is a totally different horse mentally to the one she met last year, and she's pleased with how well he's looking.

Probably because of the less-than-ideal shape of his hindfeet as we try to match heel growth with toe growth, he has tight hamstrings on both hind legs. But everything else is looking really loose so we're both pleased as we both expected him to feel worse than he currently does. I have to keep doing his hindleg stretch, pulling it forwards as I support his weight a little, and also use the pressure point in his abdomen to engage those muscles as we continue to 'unlock' them. And he really enjoyed having his neck treated. Funny, that's where I've been feeling I could use a massage lately!

I had a knot in my tummy and Quadi was asleep post-treatment so I didn't ride.

Onto today. Despite a horizontal onslaught of hail en route, I decided it wasn't too cold to catch a break in the weather and have a relaxing hack. I have the offer to use Fin instead but I was feeling positive about my own horse :)

Because of the hail and cold I dug out an exercise sheet and my winter jacket and gloves. I didn't feel cold when I got back but Quadi didn't feel too hot either. Good choices.

He marched right off the yard and only stopped when he saw the foal in the field and the mares on the other side came to greet him. How helpful ladies(!)

Sadly we were caught in a hail shower on the way but it meant he had to lower his head and flex right to avoid the worst of it, every grey cloud has a silver lining ;)

Once again I felt I had his back for more of the time than I didn't over the course of the hack. Round the loop we worked in walk on flexions the first time. I had to work really hard, my shoulders ached and I harboured some concern I was being too harsh but I think it was just lack of proper posture. I'm finding there is a very subtle difference in how I try and maintain my upper body in an upright position. It's very easy for me to arch my lower back the wrong way to 'cheat'. I know I get it right when I manage to sit on my seatbones properly.

The second round on the loop we had a lovely canter, nice and relaxed and rhythmical. On the way home I just let him pick his way on a long but maintained contact. I was rewarded on the home straight with a horse carrying himself so well on the lightest of reins. Really it was out-of-the-blue but so pleasing :D

Think we're almost ready to get back to schooling!

Saturday, 8 May 2010

A Little Better...

I took a couple of days off Quadi and rode him today, first time since his leaping and plunging.

Just a hack, just the route we normally take. He was fine to set off apart from a little distraction I will reveal further on ;)

He's still very backwards-thinking and spooky. I'm not sure if it's a flush through of grass, or if it's in-season mares, or something else.

I had his back working up for more time than it wasn't, which is good. We went around the loop twice in the opposite direction to what we have been doing. I used the opportunity to ask for flexions as we walked, and to contain the tempo of the walk a little. Quadi was a smidge resistant to this but in the end, on the way home, I got him both ways and he was really soft in-hand. We had a canter but he was rather strong! Funny what a couple of days off can do to them. There were too many dog-walkers around to do any more than that but it was good to work in walk.

Not much else to report, it was a nice enough hack and he was, in the main, a good boy. Very distracted though, am hoping increasing his workload back up will help. He has a massage tomorrow too :)

Onto the distraction we had on the way out...she is a week early but this little bundle popped out from behind her dam's legs this morning, much to my confusion!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Chalk and Cheese

That's what the past two days have been :(


Quadi was booted up with slightly thinner pads and we set off for a hack. It was a little drizzly and windy so we headed into the forest. Apart from a little stop/start at the Fell pony field where a dog walker stood every-so-patiently waiting on us to pass, he was great on the way out, save being a little backwards. We had a little trot and once into the forest he was really using his back and working off of my seat and legs very sweetly.

I took the unusual, and not very safe, decision to listen to my iPod on our hack. Just as we approached the track I canter him on (naughty habit, I know!) a song came on that, for the whole time he was on loan, I couldn't listen to for crying. Dayvan Cowboy by Boards of Canada, I have no idea why but it reminds me of him. So I got to canter him along whilst listening to it, magic. We lost a boot but I dismounted and put it back on, and off we continued. We went around the loop again and cantered there AGAIN. Big smiles from me, just what I needed!

But today, oh dear:

Firstly I must say that I'm not proud of my reaction. In fact, I'm ashamed of my behaviour!

The weather turned dire as I brought Quadi in. Really awful mizzle. But I had it in my head I ought to ride him on the road, we're staying out of the school this week. So we donned high-viz and set off. He stopped as we turned off the driveway. I got him going but he was even more backwards than yesterday. But forwards momentum was maintained. As we approached the closed road, the 'Road Closed' sign was no longer there. How busy can it be, thought I?!

Quadi took objection quite early on to some tractors in a field (we see these a lot, so I was having none of it). As the wind started driving the drizzle horizontally, Quadi would not be asked, told or foxed and decided to physically express himself by rearing. Absolutely any muscle movement in me set him off. I got off and led him to the stationary tractors and made him touch them. We walked on to the next passing place on our side of the road and mounted up again.

The saddle seat, by this point, was soaking. And I was in beige jods with pink knickers underneath. Great(!)

We managed about three strides before he started again, exactly the same. By this point my temper was gone and instead of trying to understand what Quadi was objecting to (I can't say I'm any the wiser now), I was rude and obnoxious. As a human I am in control of my feelings and emotions, except I wasn't!

He kept gawking around, so to try and regain his attention I asked for flexion. He decided I was taking a huge liberty by asking him to focus and put on his F*ck You and Your Commands t-shirt.

In my full-on seething strop, I dismounted again and could barely get him past the invisible line he'd drawn for himself on the ground. We walked on a little and he went well until a tractor appeared behind us.

I trotted him on because there was nowhere to let them pass us, and he was good. Worried, but did as asked. I halted him at the foot of the next farm track so that he could see what was 'chasing' us. He settled and I asked him on.

Once again, we were going backwards and then he whipped round and reared, and stomped, and reared, and stomped.

So I dismounted for a third time, led him a little up the way and remounted. By this point my jaw was clamped shut and I was grunting through my teeth. Anyway, once on board for a third time, and by this point soaked through, we set off briskly. He took exception to most things on this track but as soon as we were at the foot of the long hill I sent him up for a blast.

He spooked this way and that but he kept going and we waited at the top of the hill to catch our breath and I turned him right around for home.

The same tractor was bearing down on us on the way back. I pulled Quadi into a gateway and asked him to halt. I could feel him clearly worried but he did stand, and the farmer was very kind to slow right down and give us lots of room. I thanked him very much and he set off.

Sadly a driver heading towards us shortly after did not slow at all for us and she zoomed past, despite my signalling her to slow. Quadi was great, he didn't flinch and moved himself to the verge to avoid her, but hardly the point!

The tractors in the field were working on the way back, so we ended up jittering on the verge again, and an oncoming van driver also failed to slow.

Just an awful ride, I wish I'd gone into the forest. I'm off to harsh in the corner about all of this, I'm really not happy about any of it.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Back on the horse

Proverbially, and literally!

I'm feeling a lot better. Having a couple of days off was good but I did miss Quadi. I've been having internet woes the past few days which seem to have magically resolved themselves, thanks to gnomes or fairies or something...

Yesterday I jumped Quadi. I wimped out of it on Friday but decided gave myself a swift kick to get on and use the handy pole exercises that Kate had left from the day before.

We didn't start well. By the time I'd built up from trotting over some poles to putting up a weeny cross with a pole under it for a groundline. In short, very easy! My first and only attempt before Kate arrived resulted in Quadi halting in front of it from a trot, before throwing himself over. I guess it was honest of him to jump it given my yes/no/yes/no/yes/no wimpy aiding won't have helped him!

Kate put us back down to trotting poles and just got us trotting over things again. She had me shorten my reins and also shouted Look Up on every approach to make sure I was thinking forwards. Next I was to pick a set of poles plus wings (all were handily colour co-ordinated!) I planned to approach next and shout the colour of them. Likewise in order to get me to think forwards, plan ahead, and take a bit of responsibility for what I was doing! It worked because Kate put two of them up as crosses, just on the first or second rung, and we were trotting over them without the fly-swatting, plane-signalling, bouncing-llama impression we usually do. Once we'd done a few in a good rhythm I called it a day, gave him a pat, and am arranging a jumping lesson PDQ!

Today I sort of, maybe, had it in my head I'd do a road hack but it was cold and windy so opted for a walking hack in the forest. Which was a good choice. We met tractors and cows in fields where there previously were no cows, it was nice to just mooch along and not think too much. I did get a bit cold on the way home, it was tempting to have a good blast but I didn't want to ruin the nice tempo we had going.

I hacked him in boots plus pads in front, which made a difference to his way of going even on the soft. I ought to get some for the backs too, I'm not happy with the hoof/pastern angle on his hinds and he seems to have heel pain there. Hmm...

Also, we moved them into the far back paddock to give their winter field a rest, and since there's not much grass in there either, the boys decided to remove themselves into the next field, where grass is plentiful. Sadly it's not set aside for greedy Iberians *lol* I'm assuming the Baby just went along with what the Big Boys were doing, since ropes were lifted and knots were undone...