Thursday, 29 October 2009

..And even lovelier longlining!

I'd had a teeny flicker of concern when I got her from the paddock tonight - She'd come in feeling a bit warm, but she wasn't blowy or tucked up, she had good gut sounds, no runny nose or eyes and her temp and respiratory rate were spot on normal...have to put it down to the unseasonably warm day we had. A couple of the other liveries had said their neds came in the same (and one was positively sweaty), so maybe there was a bit of illicit hoolying going on before we turned up...hmmmm!

Let B have a munch on some hay (no appetite problems either lol!) whilst I brushed her off, then popped her roller and bridle on and we pootled up to the school.

Did our usual of leading around for five minutes, adding some walk/halt/walk transitions, change of rein across the diagonal and a four loop serpentine in as we warmed up. (all good practise for school figures being ridden ;-) ) I wanted to see how she was in herself and , well, absolutely fine was the answer thank goodness!

So I popped the two long lines on and off we went - and suddenly it seems so easy! B was attentive and very locked on to my direction change cues. The blind leading the blind seem to have turned into a passable in-tune duo!! Safi never took to it and the pair of us used to end up in a tangle every single time, but B seems to be taking to it really well - especially now that there is a real flow to our work.

We did quite a few circle, baby leg yield to fence and along the long side manoeuvres, some nice changes of rein, some nice reinback and the pièce de résistance was doing a few nice neat figure of 8s around some jumps left up from yesterdays showjumping clinic...most impressive!!

I still need to concentrate on keeping a steadier contact - Far from being harsh... I'm guilty of letting the reins get a bit baggy (remember to work into that outside rein Mrs!!) We're still working off the rein attached jointly to B's headcollar and bit rings to minimise any chances of putting too much pressure on her mouth, but if she keeps on improving and being so good and settled in her work then I can't see any reason not to start working her directly from the bit.

Finished with a couple of short trots and then we walked off on a nice loose rein so B could have a good stretch down and then we walked back to the stable, both feeling very smiley!

Another super nights work from Brilliant Little B :-)

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Lovely lunging

No chance of walking Bally out after work now, it's just too dark, so it's time to brush up on the school work...keeping the sessions short and inventive to make sure they are positive :-)

So tonight I wanted to work on the lunge and I was looking for obedience, calm, straight and forwards from B. She was in one of her lovely amenable moods, so a great night to really make some progress with her. She'd had a few whoopees that last couple of times she's been on the lunge and I wanted to male sure there was none of schooling is whoopee time if she needs to let off steam - If I'm attached it's a no-no.

In we went and I started off leading her, working off 10ft of line and walking to her inside, using body language and the lunge whip to keep her to the outside track and then after a circuit or two cue her to make small circles at chosen markers, then back on to the track again. I wanted all of this in a nice steady walk....and that's exactly what I got!
Left rein first and B was absolutely super..pretty much foot perfect, What a good girl!!!

Right rein is her worst / fizziest and she gave me a little evasion with a couple of jogs if I pointed the whip at her shoulder to move her out, so I used nice steady vocals and blocked her forwards by coming in front of her shoulder, then letting her walk on as soon as she half halted and praising her walk on so she could figure out what I wanted, she picked this up nicely. Once I'd got a good circuit with six circles we stopped again and Bally got loads of scratches as a reward.

Then it was in for a close up and asking for some lateral crossing by putting her on a 10m circle asking for her front feet to come in on a smaller circle so she is in effect leg yielding. The key with this is to keep the walk very slow and only ask for a few steps at a time. As soon as I could get a few steps with her soft in the hand and crossing nicely we stopped.
Soon as We'd done this on the left rein I pushed her out on a large circle and asked for a nice trot out to get her thinking forwards again. Bailarina gave me a lovely steady trot, nicely tracking up and working herself low to stretch.

So repeated the close work on the right rein and she was pretty much as good straight away which was nice, so again once I knew she'd got it I popped her out and trotted her off on a 20m circle, just a couple of circles and that was plenty enough. I was so pleased with how she'd worked :-)

Gave her five minutes loose to let her stretch her legs as a reward for working so well...and she certainly gave them a kick out and a stretch lol!

Was able to bring her back down to earth without an issue and that was us done. We stood at the gate for a few minutes chatting to my friend Di and B was patient, no fidgeting, just happily waiting to go in..all good stuff

In for a good brush and her tea, then off out into the paddock..great night!!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Short and very sweet!

Just back from a fabulous weekend in York, a much needed battery recharge for both Gi and I :-)

First thing we did was pile down to the yard, with my daughter Jen and grand daughter Faith..who has inherited the horse gene it would seem! With her little toddler sized brush in hand Faithy asked if she could see "Ballyrina", so we did and she gave her a lovely brush off.

Later on Gi and I went back down so he could help me with Boxing B.

So I popped her head collar and long line on , we walked round to the box, B stood completely calmly whilst we undid the ramp and opened the gates. Popped her on with a couple of stops to think and tied her up whilst Gi shut the gates. This time I stayed on with B so I could just see exactly how she was coping with the new steps we were taking. As she seemed nicely settled today I asked Gi to take that last huge step

So he put the ramp up...yup ramp up, all the way - completely closed and no tap dancing, no snorting, a little bit of tension held in her body, but outwardly calm.

And so we stood calmly and happily on the box, tied up, closed in. Wow

Might not mean a lot, but for B it was a huge leap -such a difference from the last time!

Ramp undone with much squeaking from the springs (might have been Gi actually lol!) and still no reaction from B, so I gently backed her off took her for a little wander, came back to box and she popped back up the ramp and onto the box again. :-) I stayed on jut long enough for a click and a treat then let her back off again.

Phase one complete, one happy pony and one very, very happy me *Yay*

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Pony progress and a wheee!

Finished work late tonight so didn't have much daylight left, but quickly grabbed Bally, my clicker bumbag and a teeny net of very nice haylege and headed off round to Bessie Horsebus. I don't think I mentioned that I'm bringing clicker back into the training equation...mainly to stop her being muggy about food - odd as it sounds there is definite method to that particular brand of madness lol!

Won't be able practise loading for a couple of days so going all out at it this week to take a teeny step further each time we try this (B willing of course)

Bally was in a jolly mood tonight, pretty much matched by my own - it's been a tough week at work and I was damn glad it was over! So we got to the box and I popped the net on the ground and undid the ramp next to her - again accompanied by a couple of snorts, but with no pressure on the line at all B stayed put and didn't even move a hoof backwards!

I popped on and tied the net up and B followed to the bottom of the ramp. She took a click for two feet on, then another for inching up, but then stopped. I let her think about it and after a minute or two and a look around outside she took the rest of the ramp in one go earning herself a jackpot!

Tied her up and I noticed she was far more settled - happy to move about but no quivering at all tonight, bit snorty and still obviously tense but loads happier for some reason...bizarre!

After a while chilling out whilst B snacked I popped off the box and shut the loading gates, had a wander round the box and then went to the ramp.

Well I got the ramp and lifted it and lowered it a couple of times up to about 7/8's shut..and apart from a bit of a snort at the squeaky springs we had no reaction - no tap dancing at all!

I won't actually shut it for the first time until Superhubby is manning the ramp and I'm onboard to monitor her, but that is the next step after a couple more sessions like tonight....I can't believe we're here already. But under no illusions she's ready to take to the road yet...we've got to start from scratch with the engine running. Bessie is booked in for new battery, MOT and full service in November so it gives us a couple of weeks of practise with the ramp first :-)

Anyhoo after hoiking the ramp up and down a few times I undid everything and backed B off the box, took her for a wander and brought her back to load again - exact repeat performance of first loading, but this time we just stood for a minute and I backed her off again...with masses of praise!!!!!

Still had a little light left so I thought we'd go for a nice wander around the yard, but as the school was free and there were some jumps left up in the manege from yesterday's clinic we popped in there for a play instead. We had a wander round and then I put them down to a couple of 18" x poles and with Bally on the longline just walked up to them...bless her she had a good sniff, looked at as if to say "what?" and popped over the first one neat as you like! :-)

So suitably in the mood we had a pootle round and popped them in both directions, singly and in the pair - B didn't put a hoof wrong...and more importantly didn't fizz up at all just approached every time completely calmly in walk - even when I had her loose! She'd canter a stride or two on landing but as I clicked to signal well done she walked back to me for her reward.

We then had a lovely loose trot around the school and lead on back up to the barn, both grinning ear to ear *YAY*

Groom, scratches and tea then I left in her in her box whilst I went to pooh pick in the extreme twilight (think I might have missed one or two lol!!) then off out she went to join Button - last two left out at night on the yard - what a shame, lovely mild night as well!!

All in all, great effort from the delectable Princess, Brilliant fun and much chuffedness going on!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

A Funny Five Minutes and other stories

I know, I know, I'm terrible at this keeping up to date lark, but to be honest we haven't been up to a great deal this week.

The funny five minutes was Sunday morning, and oh lord Bailerina had me in stitches :-) She started charging and dodging the wheelbarrow as I was pooh picking and it eventually prompted an all out hoolie up down and around and round the field - I was treated to extended trots, canter serpentines with perfect flying changes on each bend, some beautifully cadenced collected trot, some gallopy bucks, some hand stands, some buck rear spin combos and a fair bit of flat out whooooohooooo gallopy gallopy (me with hands over my eyes as she executed sliding stops approaching the fence :-o )
Someone was feeling particularly well lol!
Once she'd had her blowout she stopped and wandered over to me and started grazing calm as you like...funny girl

I've missed being able to practice box work for the last few weeks as someone had parked a car right close up to the back of my box and it took me a while to figure out who owned it, then after I'd asked if they could move it they forgot, so it was only Monday night I got hold of them and they very apologetically and sheepishly moved it for me.

I brought B round and with her on a long line actually opened the ramp whilst she was there so she could hear the noise of the springs, she had a little snort and a jump, but walked straight up for a sniff once it was down
And then refused to go on it...*sigh*
It took me 15 minutes of gentle persuasion in pressure / release mode to get both front feet on, Bally was just planting like she did right back at the start. I was setting myself up for a long haul when a chappy at one of the industrial units suddenly pulled his metal shutter down....well you've never seen a horse go up a ramp so quick :-o
Once on I tied her up and let her have a nibble of feed, then shut the loading gates, all good. B was still nervous - she doesn't sweat up but I can feel her tiny tremors and her eyes are a bit worried, but bless her she let me move her around the box without any panic at the movement. After five minutes I backed her off , gave her a minute to chill and asked again
Not much better, she was still quite sticky, but eventually wandered up the ramp and I let her back off straight away with loads of praise.
Third time lucky and a much better effort, B took maybe 2 minutes after getting her front feet on and fair motored on up the ramp. This time I tied her and shut the gates...and walked off the box for a minute or two for the first time!!! B watched me without showing a hint of panic - nervous and tense still, but no tap dancing *YAY*

I let her straight off after that to huge praise!!

So on to tonight and straight back to another box session as I really want to try and move things on a step each time (B willing of course!) So again I undid the ramp and lowered it whilst she was on the longline behind me - better, still a bit of a snort and a step back but again as soon as it was down she walked straight up to it..banged a hoof and put both front feet on. What a good girl..I asked for another step and...she walked straight on the box in one go!!!

This time I tied her up, did the gates, stayed with her for a couple of minutes and let myself off. Again she was nervous but steady. I got back on and off a couple of times without provoking any kind of keeping a light chatter up I lifted the ramp up half way and nothing but a snort. So I lifted it a little more, but Bally thought that was a step too far and had a shuffle so I brought it back down to half way and kept chattering to her and she stood nice and steady again. Gave it a minute (I must have arms like popeye) and then lifted it again - just a snort this time so I lowered it again, undid the gates and popped on the box to give her lots of scratches and a cuddle. She was still a bit quivery and it's a testament to her wonderful character that she can be so obviously worried and still try her heart out to be brave abut this - quite humbling!

I gently backed her off and gave her loads of scratches and praise and walked her round to the stable where she had a quiet five minutes and her tea. She's perfectly settled in her box even when she's in the barn on her own which is a big improvement :-)

All those little baby steps are really starting to add up to quite a journey!

Friday, 16 October 2009

When she was good she was very, very good.......

...And when she bad she was horrid..... an absolute minx!!

Went to work Bally on Wednesday evening and the school was booked solid so I thought I'd work her out in the hay field. All well and good, she was a little on her toes - a bit feisty and not really focussed...
Well any hint of focus went out of the window as Holly and Button headed out on a hack off down the path at the side of where we were working...oh dear!! B was going with them same as she had the night before...well no she wasn't, but she seemed to think she could and got just a little bit frustrated when I wouldn't let her.

When I say a little - we had an attempt to take off across the field, followed by leapy, bucking head shaking and general frustrated stroppiness as I firmly held my ground.
B really doesn't do heavy handed, she's way too sensitive and new to the feel of contact on her mouth (reins are still attached via the headcollar rings on to the bit) so I had to balance taking a hold to keep her with me and releasing the second I had any kind of response down the rein and get her on a circle ASAP :-o
So we had a minute or two of legs everywhere whizzing with B really diving onto the reins and trying to lean into the bit and I just kept myself still and calm and repeated asking her verbally and with body and rein cues to slow down, calm down and listen.

Eventually started to get some sense and managed a bit of nice big long lining shapes...until Chris & his daughter Rosie came out from behind the hedge and rode along the edge of the field on their horses...argh!!!!
Cue another take off in their direction and a repeat of the plunging and a leaping accompanied by head throwing when I stopped and blocked back onto a circle and lots of G & R play with the reins.

It worked thank goodness and pretty soon I was able to get some really nice longreining in walk, doing lots and lots of changes of direction and figure of 8s to keep her brain as busy as I could!

Bally was showing me that she needed to stretch down to release the tension she'd developed by bracing, so I encouraged nice soft stretches down in walk and halt, then adding a slight bend to the side in the stretch - B liked this, think it felt good!

Finished on that good note!

Well I learnt that B needs a lot more work on keeping her focus on the task in hand in the face of distraction and I need to do a lot more close in hand work on getting a calm happy acceptance of a contact from B - I'm not liking the diving onto it I was getting from her.

Chatted to Dawn (YO) about how it had been going and she said she could tell that I really love the challenge of working with youngsters - which I do, it's such a bloody great buzz when it all comes together , knowing that it could all go so horribly wrong if you don't get the right - slow, calm, steady, sensitivity and conviction is what I'm aiming for...oh and a good sense of humour helps lol!!

Which brings me on to tonight :-)

Bally came in really happy after giving me a huge neigh hello when I came round the corner.
She was chilled but alert and on the right side of cheeky - just exuding a good feeling!

Gave her a nice brush and popped her lunge cavesson & bridle on - B has only had the cavesson on a couple of times and isn't too keen on the feeling of having jangly stuff on her nose yet...well her happy go lucky mood seemed a good basis to work from, so I figured we could have a change of tack and concentrate on calm acceptance of the bit and noseband.

Once we got in the school I just walked around with B on a loose lead - she had a couple of little scoot moments accompanied by chucking her head about when she felt the pressure on her nose from the noseband, but as she realised it was her putting pressure on herself this stopped..clever girly.

I put out three blocks in a circle and two individual poles in the top corners of the school and just quietly attached the reins and long lined her around and about and over, again working on the fact she had to concentrate and listen to what I was asking and not be distracted. Of course we had a few moments of steering failure when I wasn't clear or quick enough in my directions but all in all I was really chuffed as B was trying so hard - a marked difference from Wednesday night *YAY*

Then just popped her on one rein and did a couple of minutes each way on the lunge - I was after a good slow steady walk with B going exactly where I wanted her and on as light a contact as possible...and got it!!

I let her off to have a good stretch and had a very quick walk around the blocks and over the poles loose, I love doing that with her - think she gets chuffed that she's so clever too!

Great way to end the week :-)

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Out with the big girls again!

Fabulous long reining hack out with Michelle on Holly and Nettie on Button tonight :-) We're all making the most of the last few weeks of actually being able to hack out in the evening before it gets too dark and as much as I like making sure B is completely OK hacking out on her own, it is lovely to have company sometimes :-)

All of us were decked out like Christmas trees in our Hi Vis gear - not taking any chances on this route as it's all lanes apart from the last bit. We were doing the reverse route of the last group hack we did, so technically another first (amazes me that you can still have sooo many firsts!)

Part one was down screeching car lane and we were back markers so I had some trepidation, but B was marching out so well I only led her the first couple of hundred metres then we were straight onto the long lines. I forgot to mention that as she's been so consistently good on the lines the last few times I'm now attaching them to the bit and headcollar side rings together, so she's learning all about working into the contact in a safer steadier way...almost grown up!

We'd been passed by two cars from behind already at this point. Bally was a bit eek about the first and had a mini tap dancing session at the side of the road as I'd moved her over and halted her - I think that was as much about my tension as hers, but the second time I just kept leading her and following the others and she was much better - a teeny bit tense but acceptably so.

On the lines she was great, we had a few more cars in both directions and bless her she was super going past them from then on, I could feel her confidence growing and her becoming at ease with the situation, so I just pushed her on from behind still long lining and B just kept on a marching past them.

We also had to contend with a couple out on bikes, a Landy haring across the fields to the side of us, a woman walking her dogs behind us (B was craning her neck and wobbling all over the road trying to keep peering behind her to have a nosey lol!) The most scary bit of all was passing a garden full of young boys yelling and leaping around on a trampoline, despite asking them to be quiet for a minute as all three ponies pranced past with eyes on stalks the temptation to make the horses go clattery whee down the lane past them was too great *sigh* Still I got to experience Bailarina's wonderful dragon snorting passage again lol ;-)

On down the bridleway and through B's nemesis field where she's had a proper paddy each time we've gone down the path through it ....and......nowt, she walked through on a nice stretchy long rein without a hint of trouble whoohoo!

All the way back down the flitch way now it was properly dusky and on to the yard with no problems at all, brush off and cuddle, dinner and out into her paddock

Bloody brilliant!!!

Monday, 12 October 2009

Nice and Easy

Really lovely day yesterday Bally had the wind up her in the morning and was having a whale of a time following me and the wheelbarrow then scooting off at high speed a snorting and a leaping. Gi had brought the dogs down and she seemed to find their presence quite provocative - a good excuse for a headshake and a hoolie!!
It's been good having rain over the last week, the fields needed it so desperately, but that wonderful sleek babe you saw in the photos last week has been replaced by the dreadlocked bog pony :-o

Brought her in and brushed her off then tacked up for a walk out / long line. I did take her back out down the lane where we had the car incident and she was hesitant and wary (understandably) and wanted me to lead her all the way down that part of the lane for security. I don't have a problem with that.

Rather than come off onto the bridleway I took her down another extremely quiet little lane and unhitched the lines so she could exercise her brain as well as her body and she was super - one of the houses down there is a bit spooky at the best of times, but it's now adorned with scaffolding so doubly scary. B had a look and gave it a fairly wide berth, but walked right on past it without a hint of a start or attempt to turn...brill!

We then joined the bridleway at the end and longlined all the way back by the side of the stream with me asking her to leg yield from side to side by changing my body and the rope positioning, she's picking that up really well.
One eek whassat anchors on moment when a bird few out in front her but again, no attempts at turning or running which is such a big improvement from when we first started this. Her confidence has blossomed and she really seems to enjoy going out and about taking the lead.

She still had a sticky moment at the corner of the hayfield onto the path between the fields though but this is now down to walking a very wobbly line as she evades to the side and I catch her and push her on instead of frantic circles and planting :-)

Gave her some treat stretches and a brush off once we got into her stable and wandered out with her hay and dinner with the intention of having a quick loading refresher. We passed Dawn's box with the ramp down on the yard and B made a beeline for it!! Ok says I, on you go and blow me down she did - gave the ramp a sniff and walked herself onto it! I backed her straight off and then we went around to the car park only to find someone had parked right across the back of my lorry so I could use it anyway grrrr...ah well at least we had a bit of a practise and a very good one at that!

Friday, 9 October 2009

Downs & Ups

Sorry for not posting, had a BAD day Wednesday, really knocked my confidence and just needed a day or two to get my head around the whys and wherefores.....

I took Bally in the school as I didn't get to the yard until late, she came in wired, very very jumpy and tense. The intention was to lead her around get her to focus and listen and the school is next to both the drive and the road it was also a good opportunity of having cars go past her in a safe secure environment.

Well we managed 1/2 a lap of the school before we had the first panic stricken, leap, barge and spin as a car went past on the lane as we were at the road end of the school, closely followed by several more leaps for no reason I could see - B was actually shaking she was so fired up with adrenaline.
So we stopped and we stood and then I worked on lowering her head and moving her feet, just tiny little asks, keeping my own energy very low, completely calm, never upping the pressure just remaining very flat.

This worked OK, to the point that although she tensed, we were able to remain standing still when the next car went past with nothing more than a jump on her part.

I tried a little inhand work with her but she found the pressure too much, holding her close on her face just made her brace her head and neck and I couldn't get any poll flexion as she was too tense. If we tried walking forwards she was worse - just planted or barged through the aids and I had another couple of leaps and spins to contend with so I just very softly asked for stretches down in halt which I was able to get with a small vibration and a leading hand.

I stopped it there as I knew I wasn't going to get much better than that.

Popped her back in the stable whilst I sorted her hay out for the field and she just box walked and pooped..poor babe :-(

I felt really disheartened as I thought this was all a bit extreme considering how well she'd long lined the night before once she got off the road.

Made matters worse as when I got home I caught sight of some Safi pictures on the computer - a couple from just a few days before she was pts and her eyes, oh god the look in her eyes: just said she'd had enough and seeing them along with some from when she wasn't much older than Bally is now..her future bright and clear ahead of her it just made me weep my heart I said, it really was a BAD day.

I had a think about the whole Scary B situation and the only thing I could think of that had been any different for Bally was the addition of haylege to her hay ration over the past week. Thinking back she'd been jumpier on Monday when she had her feet done too...then the big reaction to the car on Tuesday, only one thing to do - cut it out again, and go back on to plain hay in the field

Gave her yesterday off to let her chill and went tonight with a fresh head and a hope for a better day!

Well Bally boo was waiting for me at the gate, walked in on a loose rein, tied up in the stable, stood loose in the stable whilst I sorted her tack out..hmmmmmm much better!

I took her into the school again and let her loose as I put a few poles out in a fan, then attached double lunge lines and off we went....

Well Bally was lovely to work with, had one tense up and little jump at a car, but otherwise she walked and trotted and halted when asked, happily let me move her about the whole school doing figure of 8's, lunged and long lined over the poles on each rein...she was like a different horse - back to the sweet fun happy to try little mare I've got to know and love Thank GOODNESS!! I let her off to loose school and she happily and calmly used the whole school even the lane end, no leaping, no silliness...Yay!!

So something may have completely freaked her out in the field, but I'm hoping it was just the haylage that was too much for her, time will tell I guess, but I was absolutely relieved that she was such a good girl again tonight..phew!!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

So Bloody Angry!

Lovely blowy evening, B was quite on her toes when I brought her in...funny though, she's passaging up the path past the other horses on a loose lead but no attempts to shoot off - we like that kind of hoolying!

She was nice and calm in the stable though, had a brush of her muddy bits, then I kitted up ready for a long lining hack out. Although I had already got a fluorescent sheet for her and a jacket for me, I'd been out at the weekend and bought some Hi-Vis leg wraps, a neckband and a tail guard as well to make sure we were easily visible in the darker evenings if we are on the road...hahaha might as well have saved my money!

We walked out of the yard and on to the lane, B was nicely marching on in hand. We'd only been out a couple of minutes when I noticed a car approaching back along the lane, I watched to see if it was going to go into the yard, but no it continued so I walked B along to a bit of road where she could stand at the side to let it this car took a good minute to get close, so I'd seen it from ages away......unfortunately said car was being driven by some idiotic blind arse that shouldn't be allowed on the road..... I'd already halted B so I stood out to the side and waved my arm to slow the driver down...nothing...till she was almost on us ...and suddenly must have seen us, slammed her brakes on so hard they squealed and locked and the car started skidding towards us...what a complete and utter F***ing IDIOT !!!!
Poor B was terrified and clattered about in the road as I tried to calm her down. The girl got out of the car and her first words were "I didn't see you"
Words fail me...well actually they didn't, I went ballistic, absolutely mental yelling at her because I'd not only seen her all the way along the road, but done everything I could to keep us safe and her utter stupidity had almost caused a serious accident. Yup, despite being decked from top to toe in bright yellow fluorescent gear she didn't see us!!! I was running on adrenaline from the shock and I know I was really abusive but I make no apologies for it - she needed a bloody wake up call - what if I'd been a kid on a bike?? (which incidentally there was about 5 mins down the road!)

After she'd gone I just stood shaking as much as B was and chatted to her and stroked her to calm us both down. Of course Bally was on edge after this, but coped admirably with a couple of cyclists and a car coming towards her I just stopped her asked them to slow and gave her heaps of praise as she stood and watched them pass. She did however get panicky when another car approached from behind. This driver was kind enough to slow right down and creep past, but poor B was still far tenser than she had been :-(

I was glad to get off the lane and on to the bridleway, where I unhitched her lead and set up the long lines. I was a bit concerned she might be too flighty to cope with taking the lead, but no, it seemed to focus her and help her to settle right down.
Bailarina excelled herself and we long lined all the way home along the bendy path by the stream, not a flicker of interest in the scary bridge or that corner that she had issues with before, never once did she try and turn back.

All the way we went around the hay field where she had a little plant as we approached the path back to the yard, but it took barely any persuasion to get her walking forwards again...a million times better that the last couple of attempts!!

I actually got her to lead all the way back onto the yard and the entrance to the barn...BRILLIANT!!!!!

I met my YO as she was coming out from finishing her horses off and she asked if we'd had a spot of bother - apparently back on the yard they'd heard the screeching car...and my ranting!!! She said they'd fully expected to see B galloping back onto the yard on her own, but she was really impressed that not only had we carried on but had actually managed a really great session.

I gave Bally a really good scritchy scratchy groom and a couple of treats to stretch for before her tea. She walked back down the yard to her paddock like a lamb, so hopefully the good outweighed the bad in her mind.

I'll take her back over to the bridge over the dual carriageway where she can see and hear the traffic without it coming near her again the next few times we go out, hopefully that'll help to desensitise her again..poor baby!!

Monday, 5 October 2009

Glamour girl!

Superhubby got a new camera and lens and as he was going to come down to the yard yesterday, he asked me to get Bally to strut her rather wonderful stuff so he could take piccies :-) All of them are thumbnails so if you click on them you'll get the bigger picture

So he took some in the field..saying hello!

And putting her headcollar on.

Then we went out and did some mounting block work...B was her usual extremely well behaved self and let me lollop about all over her This was B getting a telling off - look at her face!!

Off into the school where I just baby lunged off the headcollar - not asking for anything other than forward movement..preferably when and in the pace I asked for.......She showed off her stunning trot ....

Oh and And her amazingly whoopee... er...canter / leap/buck combo (unasked for I might add!)

Once she'd calmed down and we got some sensible walk and trot work I let her off and
We played with the blocks off the lead ...and she happily wandered around completely loose

So it wasn't a fluke!!!

Then off to Bessie Horsebus to have our weekly loading training.....

B went on OK, let me move her around..then with some trepidation I got Gi to bring the gate across...and I clipped her onto the leadrope in the box, so she was tied in for the first time!!

She was brilliant, no bother at all. We even got the second gate shut whilst we were there, but for safety sake Gi was on standby to open them in case she wasn't happy...but as you can see she remained calm and relaxed throughout!!

All in all we had a lovely and very successful day, B looked gorgeous and loves showing off for the one so very beautiful (who knows it) should!!!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Just lovely!

I'd been feeling increasingly poorly today -felt like a cold creeping up on me, but felt awfully tired and a bit zonked out with it.

I'd pretty much decided just to bring Bally in for a nice groom, but on the way I saw that whoever had been in the school last had left loads of poles and a few blocks out...never one to turn down the opportunity for a bit of fun I though we could make some obstacles and have a play :-)

Had a wander up there, B in just a head collar and I took 1 lunge line. I gave her a little bit of a lunge first and someone was feeling far better than I was - she had a proper funny five minutes kicking up her heels and larking about - never trying to pull away though (thank goodness I don't think I had the strength to do anything about it!)
She settled really nicely and I gave her a go on both reins followed by a little in hand refresher work which went well.

I then walked her over a couple of single poles - I say walked - the first one taken with a massive leap and a wheyhey whoopee buck! I halted her, had a word (lol along the lines of "how RUDE!") and then we tried again...much better! Once I could walk her calmly over both poles on either rein on a loose line I let her off to have a sniff about whilst I made some shapes with the poles.

We had an L shaped corridor to which I added a single pole at 45 degree angle to make a fan on the internal corner....on the longline we walked through the straight part of the corridor then I asked her to back up, interspersed with walking over the poles like a maze to make her think about where she was putting her feet because the distances between them were all different. We actually managed to work up to backing up all the way along it even managing the corner without putting a single hoofer over the poles!!! She was so focused and trying really hard.

Then we moved on to doing clover leaf patterns and figures of 8 round three blocks I'd put out..more great fun. We were really having a great time B was loving having to think about what I was asking and was chuffed to bits at getting it all right

And then.....

we did it all over again

at liberty!!!!!!

I unhitched the line with the idea that we were done and went to put the poles away and Bally just followed me so I went through the maze..she kept her nose at my shoulder and followed me through, then along the corridor, over to the blocks and round each one changing the rein to the next....she was just BRILLIANT! I couldn't believe it, what an absolute SUPERSTAR!!!!

Back to the stable for a groom and dinner, then we pootled to the field where I sat down after putting her hay out and she came over and grazed around my feet, having her ears rubbed and her face stroked - today was one of those days when I felt truly honoured to be sharing my life with such a wonderful little mare (and wishing to high heaven that superhubby had been there to capture our little success on video ;-) )