Monday, 31 May 2010

Backing Bailarina

BIG Baby Step!!

Well we did it!! And what a superstar Bally was. All the prep work we've been doing over the last 12 months paid off and B took to her first ridden experience like a duck to water.

Picked a ridiculously windy day, but hey-ho, we never let weather dictate what we're going to do...well unless it's absolutely peeing it down lol!

As you can see B was a superstar!

Today was if anything even better!!

Jen came with me for ground support and we started the session same as we did before, up to the mounting block, correct any movement, wait till she's standing and lean over. Got Jen to lead us a few steps and then slid off and walked her back to the block.
Then I got on her properly and slowly sat up, let her get used to the weight again and then off we went into the school with her on the lunge line - this time I'd attached stirrups..although they were set at "potentially whizzy baby" length - i.e not far off a jockeys ;-)

After we'd done a circuit each way I then asked for some big circles and changed the rein across the diagonal each way. Bally was really attentive and getting the turning aids clear so I asked Jen to let us loose, but still walk near us and so we went SOLO !!!

Bally was just fab, she'd got the idea of the steering from the long lining and working into the outside rein from the inhand work. She was fine with me giving seat and leg aids to turn, so it all flowed really beautifully :-D We used the whole school and lots of changes of rein and circles with odd halt walk transitions thrown in, she stretched down when I asked her to and gave no resistance when I collected the reins

I asked Jen to pop her on the line again just to be safe, went onto a 20 metre circle at B and asked Bally to trot on...which she did and she was lovely!! Bit wobbly to start, but we soon found a nice rhythm so did a couple of circles, came down to walk, changed the rein and did the same on the right, her transitions were great each way

Asked her to stretch and let her walk off on a long rein to finish.

I'm still grinning...although my hips and thighs are a bit ooyah lol!

Just noticed that the skinny blog interface cuts the right hand side of the video off grrrrr

Link to the whole thing is now in a seperate post.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Back in Business....2...

Have had another fabby couple of days with Bally, she's settled right down in the new surroundings and was a superstar in the school on Thursday night. Had to share it again with a rather naughty horse who was giving his rider a bit of a tough time...I'd liked to have given her some pointers about how she was blocking him and maybe contributing to some of the problems she was experiencing but didn't know her from Adam ...felt a bit mean tbh, but was worried she might be offended if I marched up and said things - It's hard when you're the new girl

Any way we just went over our lunging and inhand work and B was attentive, soft and willing (although she still had a couple of cheeky yeehaa's). Where she'd been quite resistant in the close inhand work the time before, this time she was really trying and the steps just flowed
Giravolta then change the bend out to half pass onto the fence and change again to shoulder in along tjhe fence line (which has caused her some bother before)....she gave me everything I asked for, what a good girl. I was grinning like a cheshire cat :-D

Paul the YO had given me a bit of eye rolling before, because I'd asked if it was ok if I lunged / did inhand stuff in the big school rather than the lunge pen because I need the straight lines and freedom of the big school to school her properly...he was very "oh right you know how to lunge then" (he's actually a very highly qualified and experienced horseman) and I was a bit ...well ;-)
Well he came over to the school whilst I was working B and saw her in action and gave us a nod and a wink, then asked when I was going to stop fannying around and just get on her

Answer my friends is very soon .....hope to have news on that front shortly

Last night we went and had a lovely long line hack. I tacked her up and led Bally out of the yard as we had to negotiate the path with the scary roller and harrow just lying in wait to eat her, the lunge pen and walk past the field with the mental gelding before we got to the bridleway. Mental gelding went yippeee-i-yay as we went past, so that was a good call to lead her first!!

Popped the longlines on and off we went...for a whole hour, for the first time in ages and down a path that B's only ever been on part of once...going the other way!! She was just brilliant, happily took the lead and was mindful of my steering requests, we did a fair few transitions and had a trot and she was happily powering along in my hand doing everything like an old pro!!
I was so pleased with her
One minor wibble as we approached some industrial units, so rather than let her get wound up I hitched the reins up and just took the lead to help her past the scary bit, no fuss or drama and a good lesson learnt... then put her back in front on the lines and on we walked up the lane and back onto the yard.

I was absolutely thrilled to bits with how brave and forwards and willing she was - superstar girly

It's nearly a year since Beautiful Bally came into my life and she's made fab progress at a pace that's suited both of us...hopefully I'll be able to back her soon and it's onwards and upwards from there.

Back in Business....

Sorry ......I have been hugely naughty in not updating the blog, but in my defence I have been a bit preoccupied with life.

It's been an odd couple of months really, major family crisis, getting Ardiente, losing Merlin, Bally been off work with her sore back, then a growth spurt, then teething and then her popping a splint - there was also the sadness over Little Dee.....

As I'd been getting on so well with Dee and tbh fallen completely in love with her I decided to get my own vet Andre (the guy that saw me through poor Safi's nightmare from start to finish and that I trust implicitly when it comes to legs!) to give me a third and final opinion on her forelegs - after much walking and trotting up the road and a gold star for behaviour from Uncle Andre he gave me the devastating news that he wouldn't even want to pass Dee as a prospective light hack. In his opinion because of her extravagant movement and the carpal deviations from her knees and fetlocks she'd not stay sound (although she's completely sound and not shown a hint of lameness to date) and would certainly not be able to cope with the level of work I'd want to be doing.
He was hugely sympathetic as he remarked on what a fabulous natured and super little filly she was, but he said I really didn't need to potentially be putting myself through more worry after the nightmare of Saf.
Had a long chat with her owner Steph and we decided she could stay with me indefinitely on a livery basis and we'll just let her grow up slowly without pressure and see how she gets on. She's such a plucky little fighter I just can't help feeling sure she'll come right in the end

So what have we actually been up to......

Still done a bit of pootling about with Bally although cut right back over the last few weeks as she had a small splint come up (ARGH!!!!) I'm stuffing her full of comfrey and also rubbing comfrey oil on it directly, so hopefully it'll reduce itself down in time. She's not at all sore on it - in fact it seemed to come up overnight cold and hard and hasn't given her a hint of just paranoid about legs....

We've just moved the entire herd from the 20 acre up to the yard so that the farmer can do some was a bit like the travelling circus :-D
The oldies Polly & Cossack went first, then two of the yard staff took Bonita and an hour later Gi and I along with three yard girls took Bally, Dee and the lovely new 2 yr old gelding up the lane - it's 1.5 miles and the big country house we pass on the way had an open garden day so quite a few cars.

Bally and I led the way as she's been up and down the lane loads so we hoped we could rely on her being sensible (hahaha) followed by Dee with new boy bringing up the rear. There were a couple of moments of skittery baby OMG from Dee & NB as cars went past, so I took Dee instead of Bally and she settled down, after five minutes she was like an old pro not batting an eye at anything driving past
Once we'd got them onto the yard they were all happily reunited and hooned around their new, much smaller home for the time being.

Great thing about being on the yard is that I can use the 20 x 60 school onsite without a 3 mile round walk .. So Bally and I have been in there nearly every night.

First time she had the horrors even walking up there - new place, new noises, lots of reverting back to refusing to move. Got her in there eventually and just led her round, tried a bit of lunging which was ok...but as I'd managed to lose half of my lunge whip not great and then some very unsuccessful close in hand work (leapy jumpy tense spinning hoohah a plenty) So just eased off the pressure and walked around in hand doing basic shapes and halt walk halt transitions.

Second night was much better, still a bit hesitant coming up onto the yard, but went to the school and worked whilst another girl was cantering her pony around - B was super fine about that and didn't bother when she left (the great benefit of always working on her own)

Got some really good focussed lunge work out of her - 10 metre circles in walk and straight between the markers, good half halts, halts and transitions (with a couple of reminders about what halt means when she suddenly went deaf) Got some nice steps of big trot- after a couple of yeehaaaa whoopee responses to me asking lol
Finished off with ten minutes of long lining to check our steering which was terrible after so long, but she was soft to the contact, not yawing or pulling which was good and we had a nice play with changes of rein and circles and finished with that as she was really trying hard.

Next update to follow....