Sunday, 28 February 2010

Kingsley's New Home And Some Snippets From Today's Teaching

Kingsley all smug in his isolation box in his new home. All horses stay out of the main barn upon arrival so he will move rooms once it has been proven he doesn't carry any nasty viruses ;) He also has to be warmed before being allowed to join new field buddies so no turn out for 48hours. I am going to see him tomorrow and ride him if he seems settled reasonably well. We haven't ridden him for the last couple of days as were awaiting decision from our physio. The conclusion for now is to keep riding but if he rears again then turn out only until the re-assessment day on the 15th of March.

Another very wet day at work It rained all day but the very evening and some little windows of dryness for 10 minutes now and then. As the horses on my Sunday yard aren't expected to always be prepared and compete in all weathers we decided it wasn't fair to school them in the driving rain on lake-like surface. Instead, I was asked to come up with some good dry alternative to a lesson...Having decided that a lot of riders have problem with correct rein usage we arranged for some "contact" lessons...I might put some pics and videos up tomorrow as my mobile refuses to cooperate with my computer today.
The idea was that one person played a horse, one a rider. The "horse" had a bridle on with a bit resting across the person's belly. The "rider" stood behind the "horse" and held reins as normal. The "horse" had to close their eyes and let the "rider" ride her through transitions, shoulder-in, leg-yield, circles. The focus was on using various rein effects and maintaining contact so the "horse" felt secured and happy about the direction of travel.
I thought it would just be a bit of fun but instead it turned out to be a rather addictive exercise showing up all the problems each rider has when in the saddle! They all found it very useful and we had a few light bulb moments. I instructed each "horse" to drift, evade, not listen if the "rider" didn't use the rein correctly.
We'll see how we go when we put this all in practice next week!

I also had a rather interesting conversation with my new little rider. S. is 8 or 9 years old and quite chatty. She asked me whether the pony she was on could have babies.
-Well, not here - I said - we would need a field here especially for a baby foal.
-But she could have a baby and then you could take it to a field...
-That's true, but she would also need a daddy...!
A very long silence where I thought I have just gotten away when S. says:
- Horses are a bit like humans then, not like dogs. Dogs can have puppies without a daddy dog.
Hmm, damn, I think, did the kid learn about Artificial Insemination????
- Who told you that? - I ask instead.
- Mummy did.
Umm. Right. There are obviously some amazing theories being created by said Mummy so I reply: Well, S., I have never heard about such situation but you never know (that last thing I add just in case Mummy DID somewhat mean AI ;), let's have a little trot, shall we?

Then, just before we finished, the pony S. was on decided it was a good time to windsuck on arena fence. Loud. S. looks at me with a bewildered look on her face:
-Have you just burped? - she asks me.

So I gave her a nice scientific explanation of winsucking and cribbing!

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Fancy a WHERE IS THE LAMENESS IN THIS HORSE Challenge? Videos of Kingsley Spt 09 and Today.

Due to recent set back with Kingsley I've decided to video him and post it on here for all you out there who read and maybe would want to share their opinions. Please do let me know what you think. We are trying to fix him but the truth is that even vets don't quite know what's the problem. Officially, he is being treated for SI strain and serious muscular asymmetries.
I recorded him playing in the indoor arena today as I knew I had a similar video from September 2009 so conditions would be alike. I watched him as he ran around thinking 'what on earth are you doing with your body little horse'.
As you will see it is hard to say what's wrong and where but he is not truly sound. I will try to get a video of me riding him too but as I can only really do so after work when it's dark so there is little point. When under the saddle he loses about 50% of balance you see on video from today and the crookedness increases up to 80% (% are a bit of a guess work to give you an idea). Transitions are the worse as he seems not to know how to use back legs for breaking. He runs himself on the forehand and to bring him down from trot to walk you go through an odd variety of tolt, then walk.
As some of you know, he improved his way of going under the saddle but subsequently deteriorated, dropped behind the leg and started rearing and/or attempting to. He was OKish off the leg yesterday but still tried to hop up.

Anyway, here are the videos.

25th February 2010

If you thought that was bad watch the next video.

September 2009 (video taken sometime in between visits of 3 different vets. He wasn't ridden, turn out only).

After watching that September footage I must say I thought we've come a long way! If he seems uncoordinated now then he looked disjointed back in September.
Will his balance and coordination improve further with more regular physio/chiro and Vet care? Or are we wasting time on some unfixable neurological problem?
There is the option of £3k worth of body scan of course. But will it give us the answer we need to know?
Now what about the rearing? Is it behavioural? Fear induced? Pain induced? Dominant streak?
How long do we try for until we call it a day?

P.S. Without going into details - the problem with someone spreading some derogatory comments about my apparent post is over. It turned out to be a case of one person act and I hope I don't have to deal with such things again!

Right, time to catch some sleep. Teaching in Middlesex tomorrow, then full on weekend.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Kingsley Today And Real Life vs Blogging

Thank you for the supportive comments to the last post. Kingsley did not rear today; I rode him quite aggressively forwards all the time. He did attempt to balk/nap/hop up though and I wasn't pleased with that. However, he was easy to move on with a tap with a whip (he wears exercise sheet so every time I tapped him it made additional noise which made it even easier to get his attention).
So that's good. The less positive thing is, he really feels worse in general. Admittedly I had to rush him a bit out of his comfort speed but he felt really difficult to keep straight. Few times that he trotted felt like tolt and it seems that the more he works the worse he gets (and we are only up to 35min of work in walk really, the trot is just transitions, no more than several steps).
I wish I could just take him hacking as soon as possible but now that we have rearing to deal with I am no longer convinced it's such a good idea!

He is moving yards on Sunday and we will be looking at having the physio and vet as soon as possible for reassessment. Someone advised to just go for a full body scan and it's probably best we can do really. If he continues to get worse he will be booked for the scan.


To all fellow blog writers - have you ever found yourself in a strange situation caused by your blog writing?
Something happened today that I would like to write about. I am not sure how to discuss this subject as it's a bit of a soap opera/unnecessary drama one which I really can't be bothered with but in the same time it saddens me someone would go such way to create problems.
Someone sent me a txt late last night saying that she was told I had written something about people at one of the yards I work at. She said she was told by someone else that I'd written about some people at that yard "bitching" about other people at the yard.
As you can see, it almost already seem like an opening of an unnecessary drama. All of you who read this blog regularly will know I barely ever discuss people I work with on here. With very few exceptions, neither do I mention the names of the yards.
In fact, a year ago I wrote a post about a very unpleasant training session which taught me a very good lesson. Someone told me that trainer I wrote about was informed about my post and it all became unnecessarily poisonous. I subsequently deleted that post and decided not to write ever again while I am angry or irrationally annoyed.
This time I was truly quite shocked as 1) I haven't discussed anyone from that yard on this blog 2) I haven't written any post of that nature.

I spoke to the person who informed me about it in the first place but she would not tell me who is spreading this lie or why. Apparently it is someone who doesn't even work with me or know me which is just plain weird.
As there are no posts discussing any members of staff I can only guess someone read the quote I put on the 9th Feb and added their own story to it.
The quote was from a book I received as a birthday present that week. In the same week, I read an interesting article in Your Horse Magazine about the issue of 'bitching' on the yards and I thought the quote was worth sharing.
Here it is again if you haven't seen it:

Have you ever heard about 'spontaneous trait transference'?
When you gossip about another person, listeners unconsciously associate you with the characteristics you are describing, ultimately leading to those characteristics being 'transferred' to you. So, say positive and pleasant things about friends and colleagues and you are seen as a nice person. In contrast, constantly bitch about their failings and people will unconsciously apply the negative traits and incompetence to you. Source: Richard Wiseman '59 seconds'

Interesting isn't it? I think the world would be a much nicer place to live in if more people made use of the positive side of gossiping.

It puzzles me as to what benefits someone might get from making up my non-existent posts. I write this blog as little diary about a life. I enjoy sharing my experiences and I don't intend to create any dramas or soap operas. I totally acknowledge it might be boring and ordinary to read but I would really appreciate if people didn't feel the need to spice it up.

Have you ever had a bit of a Real Life "problem" with what you write or NOT write online?


Monday, 22 February 2010

Kingsley's Rehab Week 15: Up Up and NOT Away

Week 14 left me feeling very optimistic and happy that we were finally having a bit of consistency. On Thursday I had him shortening and lengthening his walk stride with soft mouth and no resistance. It might not be much per normal but considering that a month ago he would rather twist his neck in a knot if you applied pressure on the reins it felt pretty good.
It was probably the best week so far.

Now today, first day of the week 15 and I can very much file it into the worse of all weeks so far.
Went to catch him and he was quite bolshy and pushy and if amount of mud on him and rugs was anything to go by he must have had a productive racing day.
I basically had to bath 3/4 of him, then wait until he dried enough to tack him up. Gave him a super groom (he is starting to moult), tacked up and the one thing I noticed was that he seemed really tired and didn't pay much attention to his hay. He was literally having a nap standing there all tacked up.
Off we went and straight away he felt totally behind my leg. Not really like him at all as he normally power walks with me even if it's a crooked power!
One lap around and I changed my timer to 25 min instead of planned 34 just in case he didn't feel well. Turned gently across the long diagonal to change the rein and just as we were going over X he spotted a deer in the field next to the arena. I felt him wanting to stop and look so gave him a little tap with my legs and he immediately hopped up. Not high but enough for me to have to fold to stay in balance. Cheeky I thought and then he landed, the moment his feet touched the ground he pushed off properly and stood up. This time for long enough for me to wonder when he was going to come down again. Not good.
Gave him a smack and he landed, then proceeded to walk on. He did try again after about 5 minutes but I was ready then and turned him on a very tight circle with his nose to my boot. In theory we should be on straight lines and gentle curves but decided there was no such option. He got bored with trying and again proceeded to walk, quite sweetly for the rest of the time.
He felt weak and there was no push behind at all. He's either in pain or had a proper run around in the field.
Either way, rearing in this horse is just not on. I wouldn't say I have much experience with many serious behavioural problems...apart from with rearers. My youth was basically spent with them. It may have been good fun to play Zorro at 16 when I worked with plenty of stallions, lots of them notorious rearers, but it certainly isn't the case with a horse on a walking rehab and a buggered back end.

What really worries me is that it didn't feel like a shy rear. He knew exactly what he was doing and had pretty good balance in the air. Although it happened for the first time since with us I would hazard a guess it happened before we got him too.

All now depends on how he feels on Wednesday and Thursday - if still backwards we may need to get the vet to come and see him again a little earlier. For now I have cut his feed to chaff only although even his "full" ratio was a resting amount so I doubt the feeding has anything to do with it.

Considering the stopping he did for a few days 2 weeks ago and today's backwards attitude seem to suggest it's not the exuberance/over excitement rearing but rather evasion technique. It can of course be caused by discomfort he feels when ridden but then again it might be a learned behaviour.

Whatever it is, I am not happy about it all. It's a different thing to tolerate rearing in a fit, competition horse and the one that might never make it as a ridden one...
Down day.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Kingsley's Rehab Week 14

Kingsley enjoys the mud a little bit too much and comes back caked in it most of the time. The odd problem with stopping disappeared as soon as it started. Kingsley's walk is getting really good and we've done 31 minutes today. As the voluntary stopping is gone we are back to halt transitions and they are difficult to put it mildly. He resists quite strongly against being stationary and always leaves the right hind leg behind. We managed to correct a few halts today and stand square a couple of times. It's getting better but it's an extremely slow process.

On the 28th of February Kingsley will be moving to a new yard. I will post some photos once we've moved. It's a lovely place that uses the same physiotherapist as we do for him right now so we will be able to keep the continuity of treatment.

Here's week 14 plan:

Mon 15th: turn out
Tue 16th: turn out
Wed 17th: 31 min, halt transitions
Thu 18th: 32min, halt transitions, trot transitions (2-3 on each rein)
Fr 19th: turn out
Sat 20th: 33 min, halt transitions, trot transitions
Sun 21st: turn out

Due to various reasons we had to change the date of next physio re-assessment and it is now set for the 15th of March.
I will try to take a video of him walking under the saddle soon.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Monday in Suffolk - Do You Ride Like You Think You Ride?

After a reasonable amount of sleep and a longish but relaxing journey I spent the day with Suzie and her lovely mare Echo. Suzie writes a blog on her riding pursuits which is always a great read and I thoroughly recommend: Diary Of A Young Horse.

My focus was on helping the rider with some crookedness in her position. Suzie is a very quiet, knowledgeable and experienced rider but as she has backed and produced Echo by herself she has also ridden her through all sorts of balance issues. As a result, she noticed that now that Echo is much more balanced and even the same doesn't apply to the rider!
As horses are that much bigger it's very easy for them to position the rider 'around' their preferred way of going. It takes a lot of body awareness, core stability, skill and perseverance to maintain the correct position despite the crookedness in the horse.

I asked Suzie to do a very simple stretch work out before her lesson. The aim of that is:
1) To prepare the rider's body in the same way as we prepare our horses for schooling via warm up/long-low stretching
2) To investigate any obvious off-horse imbalances, muscle preferences, tightness and level of flexibility.

Although the work out is of low intensity many riders struggle with it! I am pleased to say Suzie did very well :)

I find that with more experienced riders who ride a lot by themselves it's not the lack of feel that is the issue. Often it's the fact they get used to certain status quo and find it difficult to readjust when their horse goes through training.
Being rather powerful, horses can permanently change the way we sit on them the second we descend into the saddle and if we ride one horse we tend to reflect its bio-mechanical problems.
On a good note, since the horse is the mirror of its rider, if we can change the way we sit and influence them, they often change too.

First though, comes awareness. If you've had your stirrup leathers for a long time, do check if they are still as even as a couple of years ago...At first glance you may look like you sit well but it could because your body got used to being slightly lopsided and adapted itself so you sit relatively even when stationary.

However, when we look properly:

One stirrup slightly longer might not be the end of the world. But it won't help you with even position of your pelvis. As you will naturally tend to try to keep the irons down, you might notice side effects of this like horse drifting to one side, difficulty with turning your upper body with direction of the turn, neck stiffness/cramps and the list goes on.
Even up your stirrups and don't be disheartened if they then feel uneven. They will as your body got used to certain pattern. Try walking and trotting standing up vertically in the irons and finding your vertical balance. Then re-check your feel.

Suzie is a fab rider to teach as she has both a lot of feel for her horse and the ability to correct herself. The difficulty lies in keeping the corrections consistent. As with every change, it's not easy and does feel alien, uncomfortable even. Perseverance is the key.

Suzie was happy for me to share the below videos with you. Try to film yourself too and check if what you feel equals what you see...

Canter work. Suzie tends to keep her head low and body forwards. Here we were practising sitting deeper in the saddle with centre of gravity back a little. What's interesting here is that the rider's perception of her position was that she was leaning backwards strongly whereas in fact she was just sitting vertically most of the time. Sitting up will help Suzie to keep Echo off her forehand. As you can see, the mare has powerful front end and will tend to run down onto it if rider's position and influence doesn't stop that.

And a few videos of the sort I often take to help riders to match their feel with perception. Here the rider was re-positioning herself in the saddle to play with her body awareness. Interestingly, after re-positioning herself into the centre she felt like she was falling to the left side.

DO try this at home ;) You might be surprised with your findings.

I had a chance to ride Echo and loved it. She is a pleasure and although due to 99% of focus being on the rider today we didn't give Echo full chance to improve during the sessions, she gave me a lovely ride. Definitely a signature of Suzie's calm and consistent training she is relaxed and very responsive to the rider.
We ended the day on a horsey chat with hot yummy coffee by the warm fireplace :)

I am putting together little homework for Suzie and will look forward to re-visiting them soon!x

Sunday, 14 February 2010

On the Go

Pic.: Kingsley getting all the attention from Jenny and Kari after Jenny's Training Day on Friday

It's very much full on this month and as much as I am enjoying all of the activity I am also looking forward to a lazy day some time soon!
After Training Day on Friday I ran another one on Saturday for Pauline, Kingsley's owner. All the planning of the sessions takes a lot of my away-from-the-yard time but I think it pays off as we are definitely getting more consistent progress.
The down side is, it's quite mentally tiring. I reckon it will get easier and easier as I have more experience and can structure the training in my head with less effort.
Fortunately, the pluses are fascinating enough to keep going.

Lovely day today with my Sunday gang. The off-horse exercises are definitely working and giving results in the saddle.
We have a new addition, a fun gypsy cob. Hacked him in Richmond Park today in freezing hail and he was fab. The Park is still very wintry looking, deer cull starts today. It's sad but there is not enough space for them all. Only male deer are shot.

I am off to Suffolk tomorrow to teach Suzie on Echo who asked for some help with sorting out their crookedness issues. I am very much looking forward to it especially that Suzie agreed to be a guinea pig for the Academy's lesson format. The mission is to test the format as much as possible prior to the launch of the Academy on the 1st of May.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Brain Stretch and Tai-Chi

I had a super day today running Training Day that was also a bit of test for timing and order of sessions for Academy's training. The rider events up to BE Novice and the mission was to tweak some imbalances, improve position and effectiveness and find the weaknesses that might be addressed via off horse exercises. I had help from Kari who is a professional human chiropractor and who will be working with Academy.
Although rather tired towards the end, the rider made some impressive progress that now needs to sink in and become more consistent.
My brain cells feel stretched and worked as I tried to observe all the possible causes of each problem and come up with ideas to improve the rider's feel and effect on each of the horses. Despite of this tiredness it was definitely my kind of day.
The process of re-designing the format and the structure of the Training Days to fit them into Academy's Programmes actually makes me much more perceptive. Being more disciplined with what and when I teach makes me think more about the whole process. I am hoping that it also improves the way I teach and the way the rider absorbs the information.
Somewhere along the way to get better I want to get rid of too much talking/waffling as I know it's distracting at times!

Kingsley's sensitive nature got me investigating the issue of breathing. So far I taught riders to use their diaphragm to be able to bring the centre of gravity down but having read an article on martial arts and Tai-chi in riding I am going to dig for more.
Anybody has some good links to breathing - riding subjects? Tai-chi for riders?
I am certainly not going to change into providing yoga on horses exercises but would love to learn more about breathing control and ridden work.

Right, yummy supper, then have to put together written feedback for today's rider and upload videos from her sessions.
Another Training Day tomorrow.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Notes From Lecture-Talk 2 with Andrew Murphy: Why Sound Horses Can't Always Work Well Under Saddle, Biomechanics and Three Bascules

Friend of mine got me involved in those really interesting lecture-talks run by Andrew Murphy, one of instructors/trainers of the Training Teachers Of Tomorrow Trust. The first one was in November last year and here is a link to some notes from it for anyone who might be interested and haven't seen my post back then:

The second one was on this past Monday and this time the focus was on the bio mechanics of training a riding horse, how any natural crookedness and any balance issues will show up with increased intensity under the weight of the rider.
Partly due to my interest in bio mechanics is general and partly because of Kinglsey's rehab I am finding the subject fascinating.
Andrew started off with explanation of engagement and thoroughness and although you could probably find plenty of books giving pages of text about both, it seems that you can define them very simply too.
Here are some notes I made on Monday:

Thoroughness could be described as unrestricted movement of every part of the horse's body. I actually always thought about it more in terms of feel. When I ride I look for the ease with which the horse accepts the aids and for me the thoroughness feels as if whatever I do with any aid I 'feel' it in all others. The idea of 'movement in every part of the horse's body' helped me see it better from a teacher point of view.
Engagement is "doing more", the joints flex more, there is more power and expression in each movement.

If you encounter schooling problems try not to think about them from psychological point of view only. The horse need not to be unsound to have problems under the saddle. Try to analyse issues from physiological/bio mechanical point of view. Many slight crookedness issues will give horses no problem whatsoever in the field, on the lunge etc Put the rider's weight on and the whole equilibrium changes.

I watched Kingsley galloping around the field today, having some chasing games in trot, changing leads in canter effortlessly. Ok, he's not totally sound but seems to have no troubles with free movement - and yet, he can barely keep a straight line in walk under the saddle...

What I found very interesting was when Andrew described the outline or silhouette that we normally want to achieve with a ridden horse as a combination of 3 bascules. Normally we say that an outline means that the horse 'engages' the hindquarters, brings the back up and rounds through the neck. To me, that image of three bascules, was actually much clearer. Again, from teaching point of view.
The horse bacules (rounds) over the neck forwards, over the pelvis backwards (by posterior pelvic tilt or in other words by tucking his bottom underneath him) and in between these opposing forces or pulleys the third bascule - of the horse's back - is created. None is more important than the other and all has to be present if the horse is to remain healthy and sound throughout his ridden career. All three give the horse the supporting structure on which further athletic education can be built.

Stretching. We all know the importance of stretching the horses in the warm up, during the work time and in the cool down. Andrew said that the most important element of stretching is not when the horse moves with the neck down etc but when it is in the process of lowering it. In other words not a stretch itself but an act of stretchING that is of greatest value. He compared this to when we stretch our own tired back, we lean forwards and the feel of stretch in the muscles gives us a relief. Once we got down to the floor with the fingers there is nothing happening and there is a little benefit of hanging down there.
Same with horses, the moment when the horse "seeks" the rein downwards is of more importance stretch wise than the act of the horse "arriving on the bit".

I hope this post made some sense. It's almost 1am and my brain is lacking function.

News On Rollkur

"Following constructive debate at the FEI round-table conference at the IOC Headquarters in Lausanne today (9 February), the consensus of the group was that any head and neck position achieved through aggressive force is not acceptable. The group redefined hyperflexion/Rollkur as flexion of the horses neck achieved through aggressive force, which is therefore unacceptable. The technique known as Low, Deep and Round (LDR), which achieves flexion without undue force, is acceptable"


Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Kingsley's Rehab Week 13: Little Problem

We are now up to 26 minutes of walking. Let me tell you, it took a lot of self-persuasion to do Kingsley's walking tonight. After whole day in freezing cold all I wanted to do was go back home and jump in a hot bath!
However, I thought that in the end it's easier to just keep going as skipping days will just lead to more skipping days and we might as well not follow any programme at all.
So off we went to the arena.
Up until last Thursday everything was going really well. Then on Friday I took him down the road and back through the woods for 10 minutes then into the arena for the remaining 10 minutes. He was very excited to be in the woods and marched with rather grand power all the way back to the yard. The moment I went into the arena he calmed down and relaxed a little. A few laps around though and he stopped all of a sudden. I asked him to move on and he put his ears back and refused to budge. I sat doing nothing for a moment, then gave him a tap with a whip onto the side and as he was wearing his exercise sheet it made a bit of a noise. He moved off straight away and continued very well until the end.
Saturday - P. rode him and he started off well on the left rein but the moment she changed the rein he started balking. I ended up walking by his side for 24 minutes and he still tried to stop (nap?) several times.
Sunday - similar scenario but this time he reacted to a tap and walked OK.
Today - back to a good pony! I walked for 26 minutes and he stopped 4 times but it didn't feel as definite as last week and he moved off the moment I touched him with a whip. His walk felt really good but I didn't insist on any particular outline in case some muscular tension was causing discomfort and resistance. I just focused on my breathing as I remembered being taught once and made sure I planned each step well so I could keep him as relaxed and supple as possible.
He did resist with the neck several times but I just kept moving him forward ignoring his giraffe like head carriage and he settled after a few steps each time.
Because of his voluntary stopping I only asked for a few halt transitions and focused on forward movement instead.
Possibly due to his weaknesses I started to notice how enormous effect every single rein aid has on him. If I only go slightly rigid through my arm or hand his back muscles block (feel like they stopped swinging) and he "loses" his hind leg. The moment I consciously give through my arm and soften through my back he regains the swing. I actually did it on purpose today to check if in fact that momentary (and I mean a second) hold/resistance through my hand/contact was causing him to lose leg sequence and the answer is yes.
I don't know if that's the only reason why he stiffens through the back but the moment I made sure I yielded the pressure quicker he walked fine.

Plan for Week 13:
08/02: longer turn out, no ridden work
09/02: longer turn out, no ridden work
10/02: 26 minutes
11/02: 27 minutes
12/02: longer turn out, no ridden work
13/02: 28 minutes
14/02: 29 minutes
15/02: longer turn out, no ridden work

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

One Step Forwards

Have you ever heard about 'spontaneous trait transference'?
When you gossip about another person, listeners unconsciously associate you with the characteristics you are describing, ultimately leading to those characteristics being 'transferred' to you. So, say positive and pleasant things about friends and colleagues and you are seen as a nice person. In contrast, constantly bitch about their failings and people will unconsciously apply the negative traits and incompetence to you. Source: Richard Wiseman '59 seconds'

Interesting isn't it? I think the world would be a much nicer place to live in if more people made use of the positive side of gossiping.

Anyway. That was just a little digression.

The past week was packed with long hours and I just didn't have the time to sit down and put it all into words. Up until Thursday I made a super progress with Kingsley but hit a bit of a problem when I rode him on Friday. More about it in a separate post on his Rehab.

Friday actually started with a lovely extension to my birthday. As I only had half a day off on the 2nd we decided to use Friday morning to top the day up ;) Rick and I went for a lovely walk through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park for breakfast in a recently refurbished Cafe on Serpentine. The weather was all of a sudden all springy and sunny, absolutely gorgeous. Didn't last very long though. Weekend was back to freezing cold. I ran a Training Day on Saturday which was great fun and the rider loved it.
The Centre had the Riding Club giving Vaulting Demo and I was challenged to have a go. I haven't done vaulting for 15 years but it was a good laugh. Hoping on in canter was easier than I thought it would be after such a long break. However, standing on the horse was a different matter. Quite spooky!

Pic. above: Ally patiently letting me stand on her back. Note her expression of total boredom ;)

Sunday was as always rather interesting with my dear naughty ponies playing up in the cold. We had a late evening stable-drink-party-leaving-do as my fabulous, funny, amazing beginner rider is daring to stop her lessons now that she is getting somewhere! She is off on a bit of a journey around the hot parts of the world and I am invited to Mango Beach when she gets there! I just need to find some time for the time off to be able to go. Oh, and funding!
Either way, I hope she will be back once her year around the world is up for more adventures in the saddle. In return for riding lessons I've been given some great driving instructions and practical sessions. We came up with rather eccentric mnemonic for various maneuvers that is unfortunately totally unsuitable for print but made us laugh so much I couldn't operate my facial muscles anymore. My driving is now taken to the next level, I only hope I won't use any of the mnemonics on my exam or I might have trouble passing it.
Will miss you loads Linds!! X

At the beginning of the year I decided I wanted to find an additional job so I keep learning new things that will help me with what I want to do in the future. Ideally I wanted something on a professional yard and take part in rehabilitation of horses with sports/performance related injuries and retraining of ex-racehorses. Well, I will be starting a job of the above description in March on Mondays and Fridays and I am very much looking forward to it. More details to follow next month.

Stressful as it is I also decided on the launch date for Aspire Equestrian - 1st May it is! End of procrastination.

Yesterday, I went to a second in the series of lectures by one of the TTT trust's trainers, Andrew Murphy. I will write a summary of it tomorrow as it's getting late yet again and an attempt to put it all together would probably end up in a chaos ;)

Another day with Anna Ross-Davies this month to look forward to and some more news to come soon.

I think that's it for now. Hands into olive oil and cotton gloves and off to bed :)

Update soon!

Crazily busy lately but large update coming - hopefully tonight!

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Feels Good!

Now that I'm 1,618 weeks old I feel like I should grow up and get myself a proper job, stop shovelling horse poo, wear jodphurs 12 hours a day 7 days a week, talk nonsense to horses while grooming them; time to go and earn some good salary, buy a house and a car.

Pic.: Peacock waiting for me to decide whether to share my food ;) Walkies in Holland Park.

OK, that was a joke ;) The truth is I feel very much committed and determined to carry on my play with life.
The only good thing I see with the growing up malarkey is that it's easier for me to make decisions that just has to be made. Easier does not mean easy. I am a creature of habit and as much as I like variety I am not necessarily that keen on big changes. There is a lot of things I like about current status quo. One thing I don't like about it is that, in my book, I have to feel I am going forwards. At the moment too many things are stagnant and need a bit of a kick.

It feels good to be OK with that. Math has never been my strength and as a result a lot of numbers don't up up here. I decided to make a bit on an effort and make friends with the theory of Making The Ends Meet. The next couple of months will certainly bring some changes and I will blog about them as and when.

Kingsley was a super star today. Relatively speaking. There are very subtle changes for the better that I can feel in him everyday but in comparison to a sound horse he is still very much a rehabilitation in progress.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Birthday :)

Lovely day with very unusual lazy morning in bubble bath, breakfast with Ricky, enjoying pressies from friends and family. Work in my super warm Blazewear gilet which makes it all so incredibly easier!
And now enjoying a lovely cup of super tea (pressie) and biscuits brought to me by my dear man :)
Ricky also gave me a Lucky Bamboo plant...for a whole life of luck :) Wouldn't it be good!

"Lucky Bamboo, for more than 4000 years, has been the symbol of good fortune in the Asian culture. This beautiful plant inspires art and creativity and is believed to bring luck and fortune into the home and workplace.

It is a symbol of longevity, durability and endurance due to its ability to adapt and grow in minimal and even poor light conditions yet still remain strong and resistant. This plant also has the ability to grow very rapidly, which makes it a well known symbol for prosperity as well. Placing bamboo in your workspace or home it will help bring the virtues and energies of this plant into your daily life."

Here is more info on the plant: All About Lucky Bamboo.

Here's to a year full of Luck! :)

Kingsley's Rehab Week 12: One Step Back

Week 11 was basically spent on turn out as I couldn't ride him. The hematoma is healing but is still there. Having said that, he is completely unbothered about it.
As I didn't proceed with walking times as planned I started from 21 minutes on Monday again. He actually felt super, really strong and less wobbly. Providing he doesn't find another way to delay the rehab, plan for week 12 is to finish it on 24-25min.
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