Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Having a blast!

As I haven't had time to fill in the last year I thought I'd at least make a start about what's happening now.

Basically, I'm having a blast! Here I have to acknowledge my wonderful teacher Patrice Edwards. I discovered her around a year ago and during that time my riding has improved hugely. Peculiar way to restart my blog but my lessons with Patrice have added so much to my enjoyment of riding! Here's a copy of an email I sent to her last week:

Hi Patrice!

Now I know you generally disapprove of riding gadgets. But this one I have to share with you.

Bruce is a very green rising 12 year old. As I've been mainly responsible for his education for the last 5 years he's pretty much "unspoilt" (one of the benefits of "not riding"!!!) But he's a big boy and until I met you I didn't really understand about crookedness and how to help the horse be balanced. Even so I've had to work hard to prevent Bruce falling in on the right rein and work in balance and self carriage.

This morning I rode Bruce. For 15minutes in the school and then a hack. I've been "playing" with this new gadget for just over a week. Well this morning I really felt its benefit. I started in walk on a loose rein moving Bruce around the school with my seat. Every time I blocked Bruce's back or got an unwanted response the sensors in my new gadget sounded an alarm and I made a transition using the exercises from my last lessons with you and "Bingo" the alarm ceased and I was lifted by Bruce's unblocked back! And even before I took up the reins we rode some circles without falling in!!

I took up the reins. Constantly scanning my body and hearing your voice. "Elbows (especially my left one!) by my sides - part of my torso. Forearms and hands soft. Are all parts of my legs and feet soft and available? My seat soft and "surfing" Bruce's back and placed by my toned torso and stretched spine. My ribcage open. My head floating away. My shoulders back and down. Ensuring that everything in contact with the horse is soft." Conscious incompetence!! And each time I didn't catch part of my body in time, before it reverted to its old ways the sensor immediately picked up and sounded the alarm.

Wonderful!! At last something that gives immediate feedback if I'm not riding correctly!!

Patrice, I have you to thank for helping me to understand how to switch off the alarm. I've had lessons with some truly gifted horsemen and women. I've had glimpses of understanding. But you have the most wonderful talent - not just with horses but perhaps more importantly with people. You truly have mastered the art of communicating with your human pupils!!!

And the gadget ........ why the horse of course!!!! But I have you to thank for finally being able to deactivate the alarm!!! Still goes off but less and less!!!

Thank you so much!

I feel so lucky to have such a great teacher! .... but if you're interested in in-depth explanations of equitation this is not the blog for you! Yes, I do want to ride beautifully because I want my horses to go beautifully. But above all I want to have FUN!! Yahoo!!


As I'm only sitting on Zeffy for a few minutes and the balance of work is still groundwork (lungeing, long-reining, etc), Mike has agreed that I can take Bruce to "camp" at Easter. Camp is a twice-yearly 4 day clinic with Patrice in the New Forest. Last August I took Zeffy and concentrated on ground work with some lunge lessons on school horses but this clinic I want to ride. And now I feel I've really got the keys to unlock Bruce! He's going better and better! Hoping to take him to some competitions this year too. This morning we went for a long hack, accompanied by Millie the labrador. Beautiful morning. Perfect ground conditions. All three of us came back smiling!


Last night I rode Zeffy for a few minutes. Lunged him in his tack first - very laid back. Then got on him and walked round the school for a few minutes with Cora leading me. (We plan to start sending him out on a circle i.e. Cora lungeing me on him. But as I haven't ridden him for a few days we'll take it slowly but hopefully in the next couple of days.) Finished by a short "hack" from the school, up the drive and across the yard to the boys barn. What a good boy! Totally relaxed!

Video of my first ride on Zeffy back in January:

Captain had his share of attention too. A nice groom, followed by a walk round the yard and up the drive in the dark and then some accupressure which he loved, eyes struggling to stay open! I worked on the following points last night: GV5, BL23+ GV13, BL20 + GV14, ST36, KI3 and SP6. Good reaction to all points!

Tonight want to spend some time practising lorry loading with Bruce (he hasn't been anywhere for months!) and ride Zeffy again.

Finally, music! I make CD's of my favourite music to listen to in the car. As I listen I fantasise about riding to the music! Sweeping canter half passes! Canter pirouettes! Passage, piaffe, the most wonderful extended trots! It's great to dream!! So I have ridden tracks for Zeffy and Bruce and "non-ridden" tracks for Captain (I imagine a slide-show and short video clips of him). For example, Captain's latest track is Annie Lennox, Shining Light. Mainly classical for Zeffy but one I imagine trotting round the school too: Human by the Killers and for Bruce, Walking on a Dream by Empire of the Sun. And I just love Stevie Nix live version of Landslide. Sooooo beautiful. I'm hoping before long to have music in the school. Have sorted the technology, just need some dosh now!

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Oh dear!!!

Started blog, 2 posts then nada!! Over a year since I've posted!

I have been attempting to keep a blog on a couple of forums really to record my progress so I can see how I'm getting on!! So I've decided that this is a more appropriate place and I'm going to start by a brief history of my journey over the last 2 years since I got Zeffy.

Note to self: Started Captain on Aloe Vera Juice on March 12th. 200ml per day.

Reason: Captain - 18 yrs old, arthritic, always had dreadful feet despite having a brilliant trimmer for the last 5 years. Some months ago my trimmer mentioned that one of his customers was trialling Aloe Vera Juice for her own and some other horses as it appeared to have a positive effect on feet. A few months on and several horses have shown dramatic improvement in foot growth and quality. I've always suspected with Captain that his problem is metabolic - but bloods normal. So I'm going to give the AVJ a go.