Wednesday 30 December 2009

The Very Last Wednesday of 2009

Main Entry: soaked
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: saturated


dank, drenched, dripping, drowned, soaking, sodden, soggy, sopping, soppy, soused, water-logged, wet, wringing-wet
Another day that can only be described as per words above. I've decided to ignore the fact my clothes are permanently soaked and you know, if you keep busy you can just about assume the sogginess is a normal state of affairs.
It's a messy time around horses. If you think about career in equine industry you are better off waiting till the warm, dry spring days. It won't delete the drenched days of winter but will at least make for an enjoyable beginner stage.

Kingsley is doing well so far playing with his fieldmates in the mud. I am starting the walking under the saddle tomorrow.

Speaking of walking - I've initiated my new beat-the-delayed-transport plan...not sure how long it will last but I am determined to keep it up. It, however, means 30 minutes walk from station to the yard in the morning and 30 minutes of same walk in the evening after whole day on my feet. Hmmm.
On the plus side, it will certainly keep me fit[er] (not doing nearly as much riding as I would like due to the weather and short days so walking fast will have to do for my cardio workout ;). It skips on lengthy waiting for the bus to come and enduring it stopping at every bush and getting stuck in traffic. And it saves me good few £ a day.

Any waterproof clothing producer fancy sponsoring a drenched riding instructor?...

Tuesday 29 December 2009

What is it about throwing stuff away that...

...makes you feel quite liberated?
I did a substantial tidy up today throwing away lots of old horsey magazines (which I seem to produce in mountains throughout the year) and other bits and bobs that I really don't and won't be using ever again.
It was also my first day back at work and typically I got soaked to the bone teaching in a pouring rain from 11am till evening. It rained without a single pause.
Really bad news from First Great Western trains - they are changing their peak and off-peak hours and Transport For London is raising fares from January 2010. Very, very bad news for me.
Looks like I will be forced into finally getting a car...! Something also tells me I will have to work even more to be able to pay all those expenses back. A bit of a worry.

My mission today is to go to sleep at a reasonable hour as I am becoming increasingly nocturnal. On one hand it gets a lot of things done but I am not sure if it's any good for my mood and energy levels during a day.

Sunday 27 December 2009


Christmas days are not easy for me, being away from my family takes its toll at this time of year. However, I can safely say the 2009 was good for me and I spent a lovely few days with Rick and his family in Cheshire who made me feel very welcomed.

Lots of delicious food and probably a stone more later I am back in London and it's days away from New Year...

The Trees

The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too.
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.

[Philip Larkin]

I might disappoint some of you who wanted to read some detailed plans of goals and aims as I don't think I will be writing mine up like so. I do, however, have a few things set and there will be done. I am not even sure if I think about them as goals. There are more like milestones I know will and need to be achieved. My little quest in life might not be as regulated as a business person would like it mostly because I like the margin of luck and an input of coincidence. I like when things happen when I make other plans. It's exciting to keep the back door opened. Cat flap enlarged.
The Thing to achieve in that next year is to launch and start developing my little riding academy project. It's something I want to put my heart and skills into and make it work.

For aims keen my 3 main ones are:

1) Pass Stage 4 Riding & Care for full BHSII (Intermediate Instructor)
2) Get my head around the Stable Manager exam and get theoretically ready for it (and maybe have a go at it should finances allow)
3) Watch & Learn from the best out there (i.e. fit as many shadowing days into my year as humanely possible)

It's the year I will be tough on myself not because I feel the time is running out but because it feels right to push myself right now. As to the time...I think we all have to enjoy the journey. If you think you need to speed up or you will run out of minute, hours, years...then maybe you're on a wrong train. Heading in the wrong direction.
My belief is that if we can make our journey the most fascinating thing in life we will never have to rush anywhere. So that's what I am going to make my 2010 into - a journey I will love being part of.
This way, I know I can help others enjoy it too.

“Dreams are like may never touch them, but if you follow them they will lead you to your destiny.”

Bring on 2010...


Wednesday 23 December 2009

Tuesday 22 December 2009

It's not just the cold...

I've just came back from work and let me tell you, if not for a hot water bottle and a heated fluffy toy (yes, I did open those presents Wendy & Suzanne - sorry! but blimey you two know what to give me!!!;) stuffed under my three jumpers, a coat and another coat I doubt I would live up to this moment - a hot cup of tea in a beautifully warm house!
It's OK when you do yard work or ride in between lessons but 11am-8pm outdoor teaching in -4C is a killer.
The biggest problem though it's not just the cold. It's all the disruptions in the road transport that I am really worried about (this is a town I need to get to tomorrow and the news don't look great do they:

I am now going to submerge in hot bubbly bath and see what the morning brings weather wise. For the sake of my finances this weather had better calmed down...The thought of working few months a year in some sunny corner of the world suddenly appeals! Seriously!

PS. A video of French rider winning at Olympia International Horse Show 2009 - show-jumping in a beautiful style:


Saturday 19 December 2009

Reminds me of home

Somewhere in between the painful cold and the frozen arenas all this snowy aura warms me from inside. It looks homey :) There is no turn out in Kingsley's field at the moment as roads are slippery and ground frozen so the boy got his walkies in the indoor school and a little wonder around in the snow.

Despite all the problems to do with the weather my rider on Training Day worked her socks off which made for very productive set of sessions. Shame she can't ride every day, I am always curious how good motivated and committed people could get if they ride more ;)

I am having a good look at nutrition info as we need to build Kingsley's muscles up without making him fat and excitable. A little bit by accident he is put on Spillers Cool Fibre to go with his Baileys No 4 and I am hoping that this combination will work well together once I get the amounts up from trace amounts to proper build up portions. At the moment I am reluctant to feed him up as all he does is go out for several hours in the field. He seems to love Spillers fibre and eats it all up in minutes. He lost a lot of condition and muscles (the little he had) since September (i.e. since he's been out of work) so it will be a slow process.

There is a lot of things to see to before we set off for Xmas in Cheshire - I need to organise a lot of housework type stuff which isn't my strong point to put it mildly...;)

Friday 18 December 2009

On fast forward and yet in slow-motion

The more it snows (Tiddely pom),
The more it goes (Tiddely pom),
The more it goes (Tiddely pom),
On snowing. And nobody knows (Tiddely pom),
How cold my toes (Tiddely pom),
How cold my toes (Tiddely pom),
Are growing.
Winnie the Pooh
The House at Pooh Corner

It snows. It's cold. I am in need of warmth and energy giving sun.
Life feels a little on an odd side right now. There are some things I worry about and some things I have to arrange for and other things I need to plan properly very soon. My anxiety might have something to do with the year running out and I feel like there should be some goals for the next year forming, some resolutions being thought up and all that. That's despite knowing very well that the end of December is just another end of a month and nothing really makes me treating it like some form of catharsis. However, I also feel like I am rather gasping for breath in these fast moving waters, possibly being thrown into the wrong river. Thankfully, as we all know from geography lessons, the rivers end up in a sea anyway.
It always amuses me somewhat that we sit to plan things that should describe our next 365 days while we tend to feel tired, low and lacking in energy due to cold, short days, lack of natural get the idea. Shouldn't we plan our pursuits in the spring when we are possibly reaching the peak of our positive energy?

It's been a fast, hectic week but I somehow managed to fit in most of my Xmas shopping, cards writing and feeding myself (always a problem to find time for this!) in between all the running around. I also decided in the last minute to chop my hair off so spent a rather "hilarious" hour today among these surreal people dotting on their locks ;)

Olympia horse show is in full bloom and I popped down to walk around the shopping village. It seemed really quiet in comparison to previous years. I was looking for some good waterproof and warm overalls but couldn't really find anything that fitted my budget AND met the criteria! There were some AMAZING self-heated jackets and gloves ( which I am going to save up for. If you teach outside at this time of year and have low blood pressure like me you're going to LOVE this thing. I can't believe I haven't heard about it before.

I can't wait for Xmas break. Not because I am physically exhausted but because I need a break from every-day-life for a moment. To re-think a thing or two without events of every hour cramming me up. In a way I am waiting for it all to be gone too. It's this time of the year when I miss my family the most. It's the time of many rituals and I missing them with my whole heart.

Deep down I am still in a very up-beat mood and the up coming rest should complement that just right.

Tuesday 15 December 2009


A few words to send some healing vibes to friend of mine.
Hope all goes well. Hope all gets better.
There might never be a life without fear. There might never be a life without pain.
But we all deserve a break.
If any travel agency ever offered such a break I would have an easy Xmas gift sorted.


Monday 14 December 2009

Vet & Physio post injections re-assessment plus videos

Pic. above: Kingsley being given a sleepy stretch...
There is no doubt we are here for a long haul and we are miles away from soundness but there are some positive signs of improvement so here is where we are at right now...
We had Kingsley seen to today by Richard the vet (who did initial injections on the 16th of November) and physiotherapist Anna Johnson. The plan was to have Kingsley re-assessed to see if there is any improvement following the injections and for Anna to do physio under sedation to relieve his muscle spasms and devise further rehab programme.

1) There is a significant improvement in general coordination and movement as well as desire to move forwards.
2) The SI (sacro-iliac) joint is less sensitive to palpation but still tender. I am told the SI injury is comparable to suspensory injury. It's the ligaments that respond positive to palpation which is why it will take months of rehab for a potential return to soundness.
3) There is a lot of compensatory pain in the back muscles, around the withers and along the spine.
4) There is some secondary neck pain that should disappear once the primary injury is sorted.
5) He now needs to re-build his muscles along the back and neck in the right places before any further prognosis can be made. Months of walking ahead.

Pic.above: Slowly waking up from sedation.

The rehab plan for now is as follows:

15th Dec - quiet rest day, no turn out or walking
16th-21st - rest with turn out as normal to let him recover from today's manipulation
I am then away until the 28th so he will have a further rest with his normal turn out routine.

Then 30th Dec -18th January: walking exercise under the saddle 10 minutes a day, extended by 1 minute each day, either road work/hacking or walking in arena. Working in an outline if possible encouraging the weaker right hind to work.

18th January: Physio and Vet coming for 2nd re-assessment.

And here are the videos from first day of 10 minutes lungeing (4 weeks post injections):



Thursday 10 December 2009

Kinglsey's road to soudness? Bringing Back To Work Day 1

I've lunged Kingsley today (and will post a video as soon as I've uploaded it from my phone - the problem is my phone's software doesn't work with my new computer's mega newest software and my old computer takes about 25 minutes to switch on and another 2.5h of crashing before it manages to perform the simplests of tasks) and he looked EVEN!
I kept him on a large circle for about 5 minutes on each rein, walk and trot (about 2.5 minutes of each). He moved with much more freedom than 2 months ago, positevely rhythmic and level.
However, his body work is very crooked on both reins, a problem which I hope will be only a schooling/physio problem.

Got to rest now. Running one my Training Days tomorrow day time then Rick and I are off to have a look at a potential new house in the evening. Exciting :)

Tuesday 8 December 2009

Good value for money?

I started my day very early today which is probably why I am feeling overwhelmingly sleepy now. Thanks to a few breaks in between the lessons I made some all important To Do lists so I am somewhat organised in the run up to Xmas. Considering I only have 1 day off before the 24th (and even then it's the day Kingsley is having his physio under sedation and we have a Xmas dinner at one of the yards I teach at ) it's no wonder I am a bit worried about fitting everything in ;)
I suppose I could try to pop to some shops in the late evenings on my way back from work but hmmm to say gently, I am usually knackered by then.
Now, there is always the option of buying online but I would have to buy things right now so they arrive on time. So it all comes down to organising myself.

During my long day at work today I concluded the yard does give both the clients and instructors a fantastic value for money. I can perform trekking over some spectacular riding arenas, today defined as: wetland featuring temporary inundation of large areas of land by shallow bodies of water and gentle rolling hills. I also get superbly fit running with Full-Of-Life ponies, bursting with health & energy and thinking child is an unnecessary luggage.
My riders get to experience true outdoor sport of hacking without leaving the arena enclosure. They learn to balance on horses investigating variety of terrain, often losing balance themselves and yet soldering on.

You just can't beat that value for money. I mean, xc lessons are a pricey event you know. Same goes for Gym memberships.
So I better shhhushh and enjoy the fact I am saving some pennies before that Xmas shopping!

Monday 7 December 2009

The heating is back but...

The heating returned today - what a relief! I can't wait for a lovely hot bath after 4 days of cold water therapy! Suppose to be good for you, right?...
The heating is back but sometimes your friends can tell you things that freeze you right down to the bone whether there is 10C or 30C inside...bad news are the life's reminder that we better enjoy what we have because tomorrow is only a reality. And reality never last.

I can't even tell you how I hate this kind of bad news and if I ever had any super natural powers I would know precisely what to do with them. I am hoping for better news for my friend as soon as possible.

On the working front I am brain washing myself on how to improve suppleness in my two lovely Sunday riders who spend their lives on blooming office chairs 6 days a week. In a few words -one needs to be able to sit to the canter and the other to improve flexibility in the upper body/arms/shoulder/hands...

[What's Athlete's Flexibility - Read Here].

Here is a photo showing the problem which manifests itself through hand/wrists stiffness:

The rider basically keeps her hands in this position all the time and we have a grand problem with her using her hands with more feel. She does ride most of the horses very nicely I must say but we are stuck on a very basic level due to lack of flexibility.

I have a little programme for both of them which they haven't seen yet ;) but I will let you know how we are getting on.

Talking about flexibility...before I discovered Pilates I used Callanetics exercises to be able to walk without pain (after my knee op). After swapping to Pilates I almost forgot about Callanetics until one of my riders mentioned it the other day. I have an old book on it still somwhere but I've just googled it - read Callan's story, it's quite inspirational).

Little man is loving his new field, the mud and extended turn out time. He is so much more relaxed in the stable and doesn't try to keep himself in my pocket.

The mud though is relentless. Every time he is back from the field there are boots to clean and rug to dry and it just goes on and on. In the ideal world I would need a dry rug per day in a week plus set of boots per day! C'mon summer...;)

Below: Dry and groomed tonight. I am starting to bring him slowly back to work on Wednesday, then vet and physio are coming the following Monday to assess his response to work load. He seems to be trotting much more level but I now look for so many things that might not even be there so I don't trust my judgement. Fingers crossed...


Friday 4 December 2009

Surprise message from Horse Hero and something seriously not funny

Horse Hero, a great site with some excellent training videos among many other interesting content, emailed me saying they read my earlier post on shadowing Anna Ross Davies and they wondered whether I would want to embed a video interview with her.
As the site operates a subscription (£17.25 a year) I thought I will go for it so all of you who read my blog can have a look for free :)

Here we go, let's hope it works:

filmed some great training videos with Anna too but they couldn't send me the code so I guess if you want to see them you would need to pay. Tough I know. I am hoping Santa might bring me the subscription this Xmas ;) Here is a link to the training/schooling videos (they have FREE trailers):

Now, it's seriously not funny having your heating breaking down in the middle of the winter!!! It's the second evening in the cold :( Fortunately the plumber says he found what's wrong with it so hopefully he will repair it tomorrow.
Having to wash in cold water (oh yes, did I mention our water and heating are somewhat connected so if there is no heating there is no hot water either?) after whole day out is pushing it. Having said that, my feet were so cold when I came back I didn't even notice the water being of diffrent temperature...I am sitting here with hot water bottle by my side, in 2 pair of socks and a little heater on full blast.
Fun, fun, fun...NOT!

Tuesday 1 December 2009


Despite the far from satisfactory conditions I get to work in many a time I am feeling amazingly motivated. In fact, I feel driven more than I have had for a while which feels great.
I say amazingly as there are many things that are in urgent need of being sorted and I am often finding myself in various life's troubles and yet it all feels very very right.

I should sleep more but then I wouldn't have time for reading, blogging and learning more ;) December is looking pretty busy with very little time off, lots of teaching and with my self-inflicted deadline to get all the academy site materials ready by the end of the year.

If only I could just stop the time for a week so I could sit somewhere quiet and listen to all the ideas crowded in my head I might just be able to pull it all out just right. That luxury being obviously not possible, I will just need to cope as usual :)
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