Saturday, 1 May 2010

Still catching up and bits and pieces of present time

I mentioned a week ago about a teaching trip to Gloucestershire but still didn't write about it.
After a long drive from London, Kari and I arrived at this stunning place where I was to spend
my day. Church Farm is a beautiful set up of a stable yard and farmhouse:
We had a great day with some on the ground, "contact" training and ridden lessons in the arena with some stunning views.
The place is so nice I asked if we could use it as a venue for some future Academy's ventures (of which in a moment) and Lucy is very happy for us to go ahead.
Church Farm has the facilities for riders to stay with own horses which is perfect.

Now, talking about the Academy. I had to change the launch date from 1st May to simply May as there is still a couple of things that needs sorting out organisationally. I am also awaiting for various information from people involved and it takes a while to chase for all those bits and pieces.
Two out of five Programmes are pretty much finalised and ready to go on the site. The third one will be ready on Monday and the other two need my attention as are still in a form of million little notes.
It's hard work to put it all into a meaningful, easy to follow form, it's much easier to just 'do' things than to describe them well.
We are having some really good feedback so far so I am hoping this will continue.

Pic. above: Outdoor arena at Church Farm

On the horses front there is a very positive news on Kingsley boy. The vet saw him on Thursday and he trotted up really well with longer, freer steps. His back is in much better condition too and the compensation seems to be decreasing.
All this considering he is now allowed to trot for a short periods of time. As haven't ridden him much at all we will continue with walk hacks for a bit to strengthen his muscles and improve his balance.
I hacked him out properly on Friday for the first time. So far he was doing half in-hand walking, lungeing and short periods under saddle.
This was hist first proper 40 minutes hack and he was really good, very keen if a little tense. We went out in company but he was still a bit reluctant to leave the yard. That said, the moment we moved up the driveway he marched forward and wanted to lead all the way. The tree roots and smaller holes in the ground still made him trip and his undulation perception/balance weren't great but then he barely had a rider on board for the last 8 months.
It's quite funny to ride him because in a way we know him fairly well now but that knowledge of him is mostly from on the ground handling. It's like getting to know him all over again from a ridden perspective.
Hopefully he will improve now that we can take him out and about. This morning, I took Frank for a hack in-hand with Pauline riding Kingsley. Both boys behaved really well and already Kingsley was tripping less. Pauline's very calm disposition also has a very good effect on his hyperactivity and tension.

Pic. Pauline on Kingsley and Frankie with me in-hand.

It was also Frankie's first venture into the woods and apart from a few worried looks at more interesting parts of nature around us he behaved impeccably.
He still isn't too happy with a saddle on though so we are still "playing work". On Friday I did his girth one hole loser than normal which meant the saddle was moving a fraction. It wasn't any big movement and Kingsley wouldn't even have noticed but Frank wasn't impressed. I am yet to see him buck but he showed some interesting arched back upwards hops.
I decided not to tighten the girth, continued until he totally settled and didn't mind any movement anymore and we finished on an even, relaxed trot work.

Horses aside, I'm going through an odd time right now. Election in the UK is bringing up the subject of immigration a lot and not in a positive context as you can imagine. This means I am witnessing numerous conversations on my daily commute, in shops and on the streets and in many ways it does have a negative impact on my normally very positive attitude to life and future.
I guess I should have gotten used to this by now but I haven't. Perhaps I need to toughen up even more.
More updates soon but for now it will have to be rest time.

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