Thursday, 30 April 2009

At last I understand!

At last, after riding for nearly half a century and many years of trying to be a good student for my horses. Trying to find the best teachers. Reading all the theory. At last I not only understand but I'm becoming more able at translating theory into practice!

Those of you who are lucky enough to have learned these skills will understand the joy in feeling the horse's back truly engaged under my seatbones. To feel myself "lifted" by the back, horse in self carriage and his body ready and available to obey the lightest of aids! And the best thing is that this is now consistent. Not the glimpses I've experienced only to be lost again. Now I have the skill to consistently help my horses to be in balance and use their postural muscles.

I turned Bruce out after riding him and he just looked WOW! So uphill and engaged!!

Short post this morning - going out soon - but I wanted to capture the feeling in words. I'm so excited!!

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Vegetarians do not read!

Starting this entry with a fab hack on Bruce this morning! I always enjoy riding the lovely boy, but since "camp" I just feel great about my riding! (not meant to sound big-headed, I fully appreciate how low down the ladder I am, but I've just taken a big step forward!) Brucey was light and forward. We came to the river which is a little hazardous at this time of year with the duck mating season!! So (the bit vegetarians should avoid!!) I sang the following, partly to reassure Bruce and partly to scare of any ducks before we got to them!


I'll sing you a song about pigeon pie, pigeon pie, pigeon pie.
I'll sing you a song about pigeon pie, if it'll help you relax.
Repeat, inserting various birds/animals, e.g. mallard, rabbit, pheasant, etc

But if you spook and have me off I'll change the words of the song!
I'll sing you a song about Brucey pie, Brucey pie, Brucey pie!
I'll sing you a song about Brucey pie, if you spook and have me off!


The ducks rose from the river long before we arrived but my singing flushed a pheasant practically up Bruce's nose and he could not help spooking. But with my softly adhering seat (at long last!)I stayed in perfect balance, not even pulling him in the mouth! Big smile from me and Bruce!!

Finished our hack by practising an "individual show" on the water meadow. Local horse show in a couple of weeks and I've asked Mike if it's OK to take Bruce and Mike has said possibly, as long as it doesn't interfere with him riding his horse which is fair enough really!!

Extra carrotts for Bruce and out to play!

Last night the boys stayed in due to the rain. I didn't feel like doing anything "serious" so I took Zeffy in the school for a "play" and he was great! He just loves "doing stuff" and being a "good boy" being particulary responsive to words of praise and cuddles!! (Only problem is that even with "serious work" his willie comes out at every opportunity! I suppose it's good that he enjoys work!!)

Captain still looks more pottery than usual. But there's nothing obvious and most people probably would think he's the same as usual! So I'm just keeping a close eye and resting him.

I've been editing the English version of some articles about the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art and I'm thoroughly enjoying them!! The English version of the website should go live on 1st May. I'll add the link to my blog.

Watched Phillipe Karl's 2nd DVD during lunch. Apart from being a great horseman, PK's such a character! I just love the slow motion jumping sequence when he's on his young Luso!! Yahoo!!!



That's it for today!

Monday, 27 April 2009

Briefly!

Where has the weekend gone?

Captain is still not quite right. I don't think it's anything much so just resting hime for a few days. So on Saturday, Lizzie rode Bruce for the 2nd time (much to her delight!) In her words "He's just perfect!"

Zeffy's front end is catching up his bottom. Had a good lungeing then long-reining session with him on Saturday morning. Finished up in the wood playing "In and out the Scottish bluebells"! Weaving in and out of the trees.

Yesterday I took a load of stuff to sell at a local table top tack sale and much to my delight raised more than enough to tax the horsebox! Then in the afternoon went with Cora and her hubby Pete to Belton and watched some of the *** cross country. (Pete's training to be a BE course builder so wanted to suss out the course. Briefly to the yard to check the pones and give them their tea then all back to our house for a lovely meal cooked by Mike.

Left my car at Cora's yesterday (around 16 miles away). So Mike dropped me at the yard this morning. The horses were out last night and so cold and wet when I arrived at 7am. Captain was shivering! So got them all in. Dryed them off, breakfasted and back out with thin rugs on. Then prepared stables (if it's raining they'll stay in tonight) and walked back across the fields with the dog.

Just having brunch!

Friday, 24 April 2009

New addition, passage and ponying!

Where has the week gone!

Lizzie came to ride on Monday and Tuesday. A pic of us both on Captain and Bruce (but my word how crooked am I!!!)


On Wednesday, we had a new arrival at the yard. Lizzie and I prepared Captain and Bruce for a hack but as we set off it was obvious that Captain was lamer than usual. He'd looked a bit pottery as he came out of the field. Nothing obvious but it looks like his nearside foot so I suspect he's probably bruised it playing rough with Zeffy. So Captain was returned to his stable for a munch of haylage and Lizzie rode Bruce with me leading him for safety (he can be a bit spooky sometimes!) Lizzie loved him! She thought he was "perfect". I got a good workout with a few trots!

When we got back to the yard the new addition had arrived. Ellie, a 3 year old miniature shetland who's 90% certain to be in foal (vet thinks she is but she hasn't been scanned). She's got her own little maternity ward at the end of the school. Isn't she cute?






Her mum prepared her new stable (big enough for mare and foal - see pics below!)

That night I took Zeffy in the school for a lungeing/in-hand session and Mike took Bruce for a play. Bruce was first and he clearly thought little Ellie was a monster! He fled a couple of times to the other end of the school. Zeffy was very excited when he saw Ellie and he demonstrated his passage for me! Ooooo he looked absolutely wonderful!! Then he settled down very quickly and we had a good lunge session including some milling and leg yield and then we did some basic in-hand work, relaxing the jaw and walk/halt transitions. Also a little SI on the circle. Good boy!

It was dusk when I turned the boys back out. The horses in the lower paddocks were clearly spooked by something further down. I could see a blob in the field. A dog? it didn't appear to be moving. I walked down to investigate and it was a round helium filled balloon - pink with teddy bears and the words "It's a Girl!" So I rescued it and tied it outside Ellie's stable! Her mum loved it when she saw it next morning!

Zeffy is, to put it politely, looking well! I'm not sitting on him at the moment because he's bum high althouth his front end is now catching up. When Gareth was here we were discussing Z's training (G has horses to back or to deal with behavioural problems) and Gareth said how good it was for youngsters to be ponied if you have a quiet enough horse to lead them off. So yesterday morning I set off on Bruce (not the ideal lead horse!) with Zeffy alongside. We started through the wood as usual - but a monster had taken residence there during the night according to Bruce so we turned and went down to the river. Both boys were really good and Zeffy was enthusiastic about hacking with his big bro! When we turned round Bruce scooted off (monster behind him!), Zeffy followed and got round the wrong side and produced a super Levade! I managed to get the horses untangled and straight and we got back without further ado. I'm hoping Cora will accompany us at the weekend as a calming influence!

Last night another lungeing/in-hand session. Ignored Ellie this time (shame 'cos YO Jane had come to see Zeffy passage!) Another good session. Just want to get on with the riding now!!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Clinic Report - Day 2

First the second lecture, following on from the first:

HOW?

1. * Position (on horse), i.e. equitation aids
* Placement (in arena)

If the aid doesn't go through/work the reason is probably positional (i.e. the rider)
If the aid is being resisted, it's probably the horse.

Equitation determines the efficiency of my aids. We need to be passively consistent.

2. Patterns

1. & 2. are: interactive
NOT mutually exclusive
You must have both!

The Horse's Understanding (Diagnostics)

Diagnose: What have you trained? (as opposed to what you want to train!}

Does your horse:
a) Accept you on his back? Checks: does he wait (not stand!) when you mount? does he want to be there 'cos it feels nice? does he know the difference between rider sorting stirrups, girth, etc before he moves off? does he wait for you to give an aid before he moves off? i.e. halting with the "pause button"
b) Accept rein aids without resistance?
c) Accept leg aids without rushing?
d) Bend without falling? Can I move his shoulders wherever I want?
e) Slow without bracing?

How?
a) Acceptance: groundwork ie. lungeing, long-reining, in-hand (note - "acceptance" was used in the sense of everything pre-ride.)
b) Reins without resistance: educate the mouth. Flexions - longitudinal then lateral. Jaw release. Educate the hand!! Stretch and softly close the hands. "Hands fixed to the ground." Baucher (doesn't describe what he actually meant: still, soft, carried hands) Horse must perpetually seek the bit. Bit never moves backwards. (Obedience! Horse must listen. Avoidance not allowed.)
c) Leg without rushing. Training ladder (tof/ly/si, etc). In-hand first, then ridden.
d) Teach turn, then bend without falling. Shoulder control (rein aids)
e) Slow without bracing: cyclical throughout training programme

The Patterns & Training Ladder
* Forward response first:
- transitions in & out of gait plus halt
- large circles in walk and trot
* Turn on the forehand (introducing direct rein & flexing rein)
* Leg Yield (teach leg
* LY on circle, spiralling aids)
* Rein back (simple)
* Large changes of bend

Each stage prepares for the next. (PPPPP)

Assess )
Assist )
Assess ) KNOW WHAT YOU'RE TRAINING
Repeat )

Anticipation - is it appropriate? sometimes desirable.
Stop using anticipation as soon as you can feel horse "knows the answer" - change the question.

My Notes from Day 2

I do not create a resistance. I do not support a resistance. (Don't resist it, ride it!)
Passive riding before anything.
Lateral work: Pre-requisite = both sides of the back are available. Check on the "magic" circle. Are front legs and neck following back legs? The only way to access bend is through the horses's released back. Inside rein towards (riders) hip: behind withers - haunches in, in front of withers - SI.

The aid and release need to be the same. If the aid is longer than the release it ain't going to happen!

Passive accessibility.
Rein aids of flexion. Rein aids of direction. Passive rein aid (has no timing - predictable to horse). Active aid = timing.
Ride with intent. The horse doesn't get the point, so whatever you do (or don't!) is training!

My lesson Day 2 was a self-inflicted nightmare! I sat enjoying the lecture and at the end when P asked "Who's on next?", discovered it was me and panicked! BE PREPARED!! So endeth Day 2 report.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

The Now!

Fairly lazy week after we got back from camp. Hacking Bruce but always mindful that everything is training! Really pleased with our progress from camp. And best of all I finally feel I have a good seat! Soft, adhering in the right places and available to aid the horse! Bruce agrees with me!! Yipee!!

Zeffy has had another growth spurt and is majorly bum high again so no riding till the front end catches up. A couple of sessions of in-hand work with the bridle and a couple of long-rein hacks round the ride and lots of cuddles and scratches!! (It really helped watching the two youngsters in-hand sessions at camp. My communication with Zeffy has vastly improved!)

Lizzie (my niece) still seems very keen on learning to ride and care for Captain! Been up most days. Lovely yardmate offered Lizzie a ride on her little mare and took her in the school for some instruction. Before long Lizzie was trotting and cantering round with a big grin on her face. (Great 'cos Captain is walk only!)

My trimmer, Gareth, officially moved to France a couple of weeks ago. He and his girlfriend have owned a property there for around 4 years but they moved their 8 horses there. He'll travel back to the UK regularly to work and yesterday was his first time with us since moving. It was great to see him and he stayed with Mike and me last night so Cora and Vicky came to eat with us. Lovely to see Vicky (Antsje and Barney are also trimmed by Gareth.) This morning he finished at our yard (Bruce and Zeffy) and went on his way. We hope to visit him in France soon!

Camp Report - Day 1

Just a week since we returned from Patrice's clinic so thought I'd better do a write up!

My friend Cora took Gunner (WB/TB) working at medium level and I took Bruce (TB/Shire) working at novice level. The other clinicians were R with her recent gift horse a 10 year old Andalucian - very much a project only just starting correct work. B with her Irish (?) horse - established in all lateral work. C with her lovely mare (not sure but looked very like Bruce! and S with her super Irish Gelding - both working at around medium level. J with a gelding cob - probably elementary. And finally, H with two youngsters - a 4 year warmblood mare not yet ridden, owned by H since a yearling and a Luso mare, rising 6 and backed last year so very few miles on the clock. So a very good mix and very fertile learning material! (P encourages us to watch as many lessons as possible.)

Each day we had a lecture. The "camp theme" built up both through the lectures and lessons. Lecture 1: What & How? 1st: What is the point? Answer (from group discussion) To get the horse lifted and stretched through his topline. To get the hind leg under the horse. To engage the horse's postural muscles.
Why? To prevent damage to the horse and to make the horse feel wonderful! (The latter happens when the horse's body state is such that it releases endorphins. P considers it to be a huge priveledge to be able to make the horse feel good through equitation.)
How? Longitudinal flexion leading to the horse's hind leg stepping under and engagement of the postural muscles .... but the manner (exercise) depends on the rider skills and horse conformation and temperament. And also rider temperament! Our minds should be in position neutral! 70% of our capability is in our minds. Same is true for the horse!

2 schools Latin (French) and German. Latin downside - horses so supple and reactive that they can lack stamina and lift and forwardness. German downside - precision, not enough flexibility. These negatives can also, of course, be positives! Hence: there is never one answer! It depends!!

Checklist of honesty:
1. If I ask correctly
2. If my horse understands
3. If he is able
He will comply.

a) Asking correctly
Aid and position
Energy
Timing (you can only influence the leg when it's in the air), in the rythym, in the phase of the step.

Aid + Position + Timing can only work if the horse's spine is released.

You must have:
An absolute expectation (e.g. medium trot).
Clarity (rider).
Obedience (i.e. a response, a reaction.)
Preparation (remember the horse is energy efficient - so make the thing you want the easiest thing for your horse to do.)
Consistency.
Adding up to equestrian TACT

b) Does he understand?
Monitor what you're training. Stop when you're getting an answer you didn't want. Halt - rethink - ask differently.

Prelim/Novice syndrome - don't get stuck! What are you training? Move on!

c) Is he able?
Depends on: current body state.
* Is his mind relaxed & able to hear you? 1st is relaxation.
* Physical bodystate: stiffness; natural crookedness/lack of balance.
* Genetics
* "Wiring"(incorrect training e.g. being pulled into a contact.)

Once you have compliance, then repetition not maintenance. The power of "ing" (e.g. halting, trotting. Do something!!


My own ridden lessons started and ended on a high with moments of frustration in between (banishing frustration will always be a work in progress for this human!! - as P constantly says - "be bored" - by this she means aid when required but in a totally unemotional way.) I had a feeling of apprehension about camp. Bruce has done little and is very green. A couple of years ago I took him to another "camp" and spent a whole week regressing with Bruce unable to relax and constantly spooking in the indoor school. The trainer was less than patient with my ineptitude and the experience was not a happy one! So lesson no. 1: Bruce has only been in indoor schools on a couple of occasions. I did prepare by taking him for a walk round the school earlier in the day. Both Bruce and I were nervous! I've already said that Bruce is very green (the first time that P has seen Bruce. We started by helping Bruce to lengthen his neck. First on the ground by standing in front of him and asking him to stretch forward. Then ridden - firstly on the buckle, using a direct rein to turn him and encouraging him to relax. Then picking up the reins but ensuring that my forearms/hands were soft & allowing him to stretch his neck and not feel constricted. Seatbones in front of (my) shoulders. 20m circles - my outside arm allowing B to stretch outside, inside elbow by side, inside hand connecting with B's hind leg. My seat still needs tweaking so momentary exxageration: torso leaning back "surfing". Looked in mirror and was surprised that I was only slightly leaning back with my torso only around 1" farther back than it should be! (If anyone read this I would just say that P carefully selects words for each of her pupils to communicate with them as effectively as possible and therefore she will change the words depending on the pupil. So, the disclaimer!, although these words mean something to me they may mean something entirely different to you, especially as it's difficult when they are out of the context of the lesson.)

Notes/points from other lessons/discussions: Consistency - Perpetual Mobility. Don't ride the whole horse - change this part then that part. Train what turns up! e.g. your aim may be HP right but if your getting LY then work out why. Don't make, enable! Breathing in time with the horse. First rythym and relaxation. Assess what you have now. The past is irrelevant.

Gosh! Only Day 1!! More tomorrow!

Final note post camp. Finally I have a teacher who's teaching me what I want to learn in a way that is making me into the rider I've always wanted to be!! Another yippee!!!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

My Dad's Birthday

I will post my clinic report. But in brief, after nearly half a century of riding I've finally discovered my seat!! (And it's there to stay - not the frustrating glimpses I've had in the past!) And I'm much clearer about Zeffy's training!

I watched video of my clinic lessons yesterday ...... Saint Patrice!! I could never be patient enough to teach me!!! A bit of her reply to my email will say a lot about me as a pupil! "You're right that translating the words to action is what we need to be mindful of and riding with me is an education requiring study and practice. I have expectations of horse and student . I know you are more than capable of doING this. In fact I sense that once you make the leap to the other side of that line (mentally) to allow yourself to do things, then your current gains of equitation will reveal lots of ways you can assist the horses. No more pretty kitchen - - get that dinner cooked!"


Today would've been my Dad's 92nd Birthday. He died in January. We're not sad about his death - he was a very poorly man and really had had enough .... but we all miss him so much.

This is my parent's wedding photo - July 1940.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

I'm back! Exhiliarated and knackered!!

Got back from 4 day clinic with Patrice last night. We travelled (Cora with Gunner and me with Bruce) last Thursday to the New Forest. Lessons and lectures; Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Now I'm very tired but my initial thoughts are captured in this email I've just sent to Patrice:

Hi Patrice!

Thank you so much for camp!

Feeling tired this morning so probably fairly incoherent! But, initially (before my poor tired brain cells recover!!) these are my thoughts:

I finally understand the overriding concept: (and here you'll probably recognise Charles De Kunffy's words!) "disrupt the status, quo, ... in such a manner as to aid the horse to improve the effort and the situation." and then "harmonise with whatever the horse is doing to show approval by passivity".

I also know that the first thing I must be is a much much more serious student. Words are not enough!! From now on, my "ing" will centre around understanding what thesis, antithesis and synthesis will facilitate my equitation and the training of my horses. My commitment is that you will see a marked improvement next time we meet!!

Very excited!!!


I think, I mentioned early in this blog something along the lines that it would not focus on the training of horse and rider. Well, all change! It must for me and my horses to truly progress! I truly welcome comments and feedback but this blog is mainly a record for me.

Looking forward to the journey more than ever!!




Oh, and I forgot to mention that yesterday (13th April) was Zeffy's 5th birthday!! Pic taken tonight of him doing his favourite thing ....eating grass!

And, Helen, if you read this; Rija's daughter, Xita, was at the clinic! (Very small World!!)

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Lazy Sunday ....

The horses just love being out overnight .... and so do I! No mucking out! Half an hour giving them their breaky and putting flymasks on and then off to the local market with Cora to get the week's supply of fruit and veg! Mike actually rode Bruce (only the 2nd time this year!) Bruce was great and Mike enjoyed himself.

Got the horses in around 5pm for a couple of fly free hours. Mike and I took Zeffy and Captain for an in-hand hack round the farm accompanied by Millie of course .... at least she was with us for most of the time but nowhere to be seen when we got back to the yard. She eventually turned up looking a little sheepish! Captain was an absolute angel and Zeffy was pretty good apart from wanting to eat grass, wheat and anything else within reach ... which he was not allowed to do of course! Ooo and we walked right next to the really scary white scarecrow and neither of the boys batted an eyelid.

Chucked them all back out just before 8pm - flies not so bad.

Saturday 4th April

The boys survived their night out and were all happily munching away. Breakfast, poo pick and .... home. Hurrah! No mucking out!

Back up late afternoon for an in-hand hack - Captain and his friend Merrick along the road to the nearest village and back. Very fluorescent!!

Captain stayed in to munch some haylage and Zeffy joined him while I took Bruce for a (ridden) hack round the farm with Cora & Gunner and Millie dog. Bruce was a good boy and even managed to stay fairly relaxed past the scary scarecrows (he ditched me and galloped back to the yard when they first arrived!) Cora made me laugh. One of the scarecrows has moved and is now sporting a hoody or as Cora said "An ASBO scarecrow!"

Didn't feel in the mood for "serious" work so took Zeffy in the school for a "play". Great "on line" including some small jumps. Then had a go a playing at liberty - Zeffy stayed with me for around 5 minutes then decided eating grass at the side of the school was a much better use of his valuable time! So I gave up! In fairness to him I haven't done enough of the foundation stuff to expect him to listen to me at liberty.

The boys had tea in their stables and then back out for the night just as it was getting dark. When I woke this morning we'd had a frost! Felt very guilty as all the boys were naked.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Dirty stop outs!

Normally the boys come in at night but last night I left them out 'cos I had to go to work yesterday and was late back. Just went up to check them and give them their tea in the field. Had to stand guard over Zeffy so that Bruce didn't mug him - he's so greedy he wants Zeffy's grub before he's even finished his own!! Captain, on the other hand, despite being about a hand smaller than Bruce is the real boss and so Bruce would not dare to even think about approaching him.

Breakfasted and checked horses this morning. They all survived the night!! They are only on around 3 acres so not really enough grass for them to stay out 24/7 all Summer but nice at weekends! No mucking out!! Perhaps I'd better muck out the house instead!

Note to me: Started Zeffy and Bruce on Gastrisoothe today.

Friday, 3 April 2009

A visit from Lizzie!

Yesterday, my lovely niece Lizzie came to visit and ride Captain. (She weighs a mere 7.5 stone!!) Late morning we went to the yard, caught Bruce and Captain and tacked them up then set off for a hack around the farm. As we passed Zeffy, now alone and abandoned in the field, he whinnied piteously at his two brothers. "Soon be you!" I yelled. (He is surrounded by horses in neighbouring paddocks by the way so not really abandoned!)

Captain was an angel, taking his responsibility of looking after Lizzie very seriously and only once putting his head down to eat - as we rode across the hay field, just too much temptation! (Lizzie is a beginner and I didn't tell her that Captain hasn't been ridden since last Summer!) I decided to avoid the river with its deadly ducks 'cos I didn't want to chance the horses spooking and Lizzie falling off! Chucked the horses back out and home for leek and potato soup and ciabbata (both home made of course!) Sat watching an episode of the Dog Whisperer while we ate. Cesar Milan is another of my heros. I try hard to practise "calm assertive energy" not only with dogs but humans and horses too!

Back to the yard at around 6pm with the intention of working Zeffy in-hand and in particular doing some "bit work" as Patrice calls it. Zeffy's fine about having a bridle on but I must admit I've avoided practising with it - unspoilt mouths are such a responsibility!! But I need to press on now 'cos it won't be long before I'm riding him with no strings attached.

Prepared stables and went to catch the boys. Such a lovely evening, sunny and fly-free. Horses grazing peacefully so I decided to leave them for another hour, went home for a cuppa and natter to Mike and we got them in around dusk. Sleepy horses. So just a groom, cuddle and bed!

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Good decision!

Well, after my revelation yesterday, I've made a decision about Captain. I'm not going to ride him anymore - he doesn't need to carry my weight with his stiff joints! (I haven't ridden him since last Summer anyway 'cos of the ground conditions.) He will still be ridden occasionally. By my niece (actually she's coming today!) and a friend's teenage daughter. Both flyweights! There are lots of other things we enjoy doing together. Last night we went for an in-hand hack down to the river with his friend Merrick (also not ridden.) It was a lovely evening. Warm but slight breeze. No flies! Hot enough during the day to give the grass that "cut hay" smell .... delicious! Captain looked good - striding out enthusiastically. I feel really happy with my decision.

I rode Zeffy again. Lunged him first on a small circle concentrating on straightness and balance and reinforcing voice commands (as I want to use these rather than my hands when I first ride him off the lunge.) Good boy - very relaxed. Then some milling, leg yield and shoulder-in (gosh these Iberians find sideeways easy!!) Then I hopped on and Cora led me round the school in walk and we finished by her sending him out on the lunge - just a circle in each direction. Me halting him with my voice. He was a really good boy! Something unexpected .... like many horses, he's more crooked on the right rein than left. But when I'm sitting on him he feels much more wobbly and unbalanced on the left rein than the right! As I'm only riding him for a few minutes this will require more observation/thought.



Finally on Zeffy. He's very short coupled. He's usually very well behaved in the school and out on in-hand hacks. But he's very playful in the field and has a huge buck! I just know that if ever he bucks with me on his back I won't stand a chance! I've just got to avoid his eject button!! (Reminds me of the board game "Buckaroo"!



Mike played with Bruce last night. Mike had a 45' line for his birthday and he tried it out for the first time. He took Bruce down to the water meadow - full of lush spring grass - and Bruce didn't once try to eat! Huh! Bruce loves his sessions with his Dad and tries his big heart out, bless him! It's only just over a week until I take Bruce to camp so I'd moved the lorry, ramp down for Mike to practise loading. Now when I practise, he loads for me, but hesitantly and requiring "bribes". Huh!!! There was Mike standing about 20 metres behind the ramp and Bruce calmly self-loading!!! Mike has spent so much time on his relationship with Bruce .... and it shows!

Lastly, ulcers! Last August when I took Zeffy to "camp" he displayed typical ulcer, or at the least, acid-tummy behaviour. At camp we gave him Ranitidine and when I got him home he had Gastrisoothe and a chilled life. Most of the time he's fine but he does get a bit stressy sometimes. Also, when my trimmer last did his feet, he commented on Zeffy getting a tummy (he thought from eating.) I think his occasional stressy behaviour and tummy are ulcer symptons. So today I've ordered some more Gastrisoothe and I'll monitor him carefully to see if he changes. I'm also going to give it to Bruce before, during and for a short while after camp as a preventative. (Gosh these horses are expensive!!)

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Another lightbulb moment!

...... for me anyway! Got up this morning. Usual middle-aged stiffnesses. But instead of ignoring them and carrying on I tried to work out the effect they were having on other parts of my body and was surprised and a little shocked to discover how they affected my "way of going" and how if I didn't consciously make corrections, parts of my body reacted by becoming stiff and tense and moving incorrectly. Vicious downward spiral! By being conscious of the blocks and tensions, I can release them.

Then I thought about poor Captain. No wonder he moves in such a peculiar way, even though according to my vet "he's cured". Years of contorting his body to avoid pain! My lovely scarlet boy!!

I didn't ride this morning. Flies were awful! Will ride Zeffy later and possibly Bruce too.