Do what people tell you. It does work. Today I had a lovely ride round the village with my friend and Rio's field buddy. On the way back, I put into practice what we were working on last weekend on canter transitions. We went up front, had a few strides of trot, and I sat in like I had a fifty under my butt, and we had a glorious canter. I was so proud of Rio, and myself - just goes to show, if I truly focus, so does he!
I wish I had taken a photo but when we got back, I found for the first time he had a foamy mouth where he had truly relaxed and enjoyed himself. It was only a little bit, but it was there! He's a superstar, and with every day I just love him more and more.
On another note, he has however jumped through the fence numerous times this week. They now have a completely new line run on the bottom rung as the old one had several breaks. The bottom of their field has also been slightly extended to the river line, so there's a little more grass. It seems to have worked for now, but he was obviously next door for some time over the week as I retrieved a heaped wheelbarrow of poo from the neighbouring field today!
Took my camera to the yard today (yes! and still failed to get any of Rio, I know!) here's a little snap of my friend's pony. She's such a star, she'd just practised some loading ready for the shows in the summer, oh and pony club very soon!
Rio has been escaping his field in search of pastures green. Three mornings and one evening visit resulted in bringing him back into his own field... Lots of poo to be picked in the neighbouring (thankfully empty!) field at the weekend I think. The fence line has been re-run with a new length as it seems he's being a clever sausage and lifting up the bottom rung where his rug goes up his neck and slipping underneath to avoid being shocked. Their field has also now been extended a little to cover the little bit of extra grass that they couldn't get to. Here's hoping.
I feel a bit sick tonight as I've lost my purse. I hadn't even noticed until I went to buy some chocolate for my sweet craving this evening that it was gone. After a dash to the cinema where I last know I had it, and being told it's not been handed in, I've been racking my brains but had to give in and cancel my cards. Now I'm worrying because someone out there may have my driving licence and goodness knows what other information in there. No pin numbers etc but driving licences have names, addresses, dates of birth... It's a perfect start point for fraud. So here I am quietly panicking. Don't think I'm going to sleep properly tonight...
I can't describe the feeling I had after making it down to the yard this afternoon.
I went down and did morning duties as normal despite being off work on holiday today, and just gave Rio half of his usual morning feed so that he could have the rest after we had worked. My head was banging, so once I was done, I came home and did a little housework before retreating to bed to try and sleep it off. Unfortunately when I woke up an hour later it was still there, but I decided I wasn't going to let that stop me, and duly headed to the yard.
There was nobody around when I got down there, just how I like it, so I made for the field. Rio was a model pony coming out of the field, walking in, and I am proud to say we had no stops or hesitations and he was absolutely on his own the whole time. We schooled, did work on transitions, walk and trot, and continued the cantering exercise we started yesterday. We managed one truly successful attempt, and I would give us a few points for another attempt. Rio did wonderfully, I just need to work on sitting in and keeping my hands still. I'm sure I'm just confusing him on some levels.
We got back, he had a brush down, ate the rest of his grub, and had his plait re-done. He behaved pretty well whilst I walked him down with a haynet for my friend's pony, and was rewarded with a little sneaky munch before I dropped it at the gate! When I turned him loose in the field, he stayed right next to me for a moment, went for some water, and then came back over. It was hard to leave him today, as he usually wanders off down into the field fairly soon after I turn him away, but today he watched me walk all the way back to the barn. I just wanted to cuddle him! I love this horse SO MUCH!
"All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day"
My little man having a snooze after some good work today!
I am a proud mummy today. We walked straight up the corrridor of the field to the gate, and straight through it without wiggling, walked straight down the track, stopped at the gate when I asked him to, straight across the schooling paddock, and only stopped once because he wanted to follow my friend instead of going left when she went right. We avoided burrs in the mane, however he got his own back by completely tangling up his feathers with the darn things... 20 minutes and a few bouts of head rush later and he was brushed and ready for a nice relaxed hack.
We went out up front with his field buddy B, and he was calm and walking steady from the get go. We had a couple of nice trots out in the village, and when we came back across the field we managed a bit of a canter! We walked back to the yard, and we were at the end of the field before I realised I had ridden him on the buckle the whole way after our canter. A little thing I was so happy with, because it means I'm letting myself trust him a bit more too.
I have a bit of a problem with leaning forward, it's just force of bad habit. I sit in to encourage him into canter, but as soon as he picks it up I can't help but lean forward! When we got back my friend suggested we do some transitions in the schooling paddock walk, a couple of strides of sitting trot, and into canter, to try and encourage me to hold onto my position. My problem is that I sit in, then it all goes to pot when he carries on trotting. We did manage one good one, and a second one when we followed B through, I just need to work on sitting in, and my aids! Still, I'm a happy mummy.
Let me leave you with some photos I took last weekend of my cousin and her horse out jumping.
We had a lovely moment on Friday evening, I had gone down to the field to check on my friend's pony and take her hay down, and thought I would pay the boys a visit whilst I was there too. When Rio wandered over, all I could see was his Elvis hairstyle where he's been burying his nose into the shrubbery and collecting burrs again (probably for bonus points if it really was a game!) After a few minutes of walking around with him, Rio eventually realised I was doing this, and dropped his head for me to start getting rid of them. After I had gotten rid of the main bulk, I started from the right and was seperating little strands out so I could get rid of the little bits that were left, and all of a sudden, I just heard a bit of a "flump" and he disappeared! (I didn't have my head torch on I was doing it by the moonlight, and feel) When I looked down, this is what I found:
You have no idea how pleased I was. I approached him again slowly and stroked him a bit, but he was more than happy and let me finish getting rid of the burrs whilst he had a little nap.
Today was windy. We managed to get out of the gates with minimal wiggling around, and a couple of snorts. The walk to the yard however, was a different matter. There was lots of persuasion required, he didn't want to walk forward, so the only way I could move him on was to keep walking a wiggly line! When we came to walking across the scary outdoor schooling paddock I walked him in several circles and was part way through serpentining up the school before he stopped dead again. Then he didn't want to go through the gate past the big scary tree...
Anyway, I will let him off for that as I eventually decided that I couldn't let the wind get the better of me, and we went in the little indoor school. We lunged, (even managed a few strides of canter!), free lunged (including changing the rein when I was asking a few times, albeit it quite tight turns) and then I hopped on to walk him round to cool off. We actually had a bit of sweating going on, so I was pleased about that too!
I'm going to reduce the amount of beet he has in his feed as despite the waning quantities of grass in their paddock, he's still managed to put on a good amount of weight, and he's now at the point where I don't want him any rounder! Coming into Spring soon, and we can start working properly to get his muscle tone up and he's going to look fab!
To finish - he reluctantly let me plait his forelock, in the hope that we can avoid more burr pulling... Teehee.
Yay for good weather, and (slightly) longer days! Today was pretty successful. The boys were both up at the gate when I went to get Rio this morning, so I very carefully opened the gate so it didn't click and scare him off, and we managed to walk out with absolute minimal fuss. He didn't want to walk back toward it for me to close it, so I left him where he was (a few feet away) and shut the gate. I'm happy with a small victory at a time. We can work on waiting around the gate! Once we got up to the second gate, he walked through as normal - we just need to work on convincing him he can walk alongside me and not just trying to go through me all of the time, but we're on it!
We went the opposite way to usual and went to say hello to a couple of friends a few fields down. He kindly cleaned out Leo's food bowl before we wandered up to the yard. He had a small blip and was shying at something at the metal gate but I turned him back and he calmed down.
We did some lovely grooming, standing quietly, met a pony who he'd not met before, and they had cuddles and a little squeal before we went into the outdoor schooling paddock to do some in hand and try and bust some of those scary spooks! We walked lots of circles, serpentines, investigated all of the scary tyres scattered about, walked over and through poles, round the tyres, stopped, started, looked, and then munched some grass (Rio, not me!) We even did a pirhouette, which he did quite well! Ooh and a couple of steps backwards with me. Have I mentioned yet that I love this pony?
I decided it would be nice to take him for a walk around the top of the farm to have a look around as he's only done that once. We went round to see my friend and her pony, and ended up walking out in hand up the road - who needs a dog when you can pony walk?? It was lovely doing something different, and people seem to think I'm mad, but I actually enjoy in hand work as much as riding. We even had to cross a fairly busy road to get across to the road we walked up, and he was as good as gold.
He certainly earned his breakfast today - complete with carrots with tops still on - just like horsey spaghetti!
Aand this was once he was settled back in his field, all nice and relaxed! I would like to add, that our last small victory was that as we got back to the gate he doesn't like, he did try and rush through it, but I wouldn't let him have his headcollar off until he took two steps back toward me, and after a few minutes of standing off from him, he came over.
We had lots of fun yesterday! I decided to forgive mum for turning up late again and not bringing breakfast down. There always seems to be a couple of days every week she slacks off! Once she had cleared our field of all of the presents we left, she came to get me and we did some walking around in the paddock before she made me walk up the corridor. I didn't even realise we were at the gate before I was through it - mum walked in a wiggly serpentine all the way up so I didn't get chance to look at it.
I was a bit confused as Barney usually comes up with me on a Sunday, but I was very brave after my ordeal yesterday and stood nicely on my own. Mum brushed me, and a few other ponies came and went and came again, and then it was my turn. I was looking around wondering who was coming out with me, then mum got on and we walked down the track all on our own. I stood so still when she got on - only because she wasn't stood near the mounting ramp! We went out on the field on our own for the second time ever, and I did hardly any speedy walking.
I found a monster in the top corner of the field, and mum made me stop. I did for a moment but it was a scary monster so I went for a canter across the back of the field. Mum steadied me and then let me canter for a little longer, so I tried to be good and came back to walk when she asked again. She gave me lots of wither scratchies and pats and was talking to me all the way around the field. I was a model pony for the rest of the ride and we went past the scary corner again in both directions and I managed to hold it together. We even had a few trots, it was fun!
When we got back, I stood nicely again and we walked down with mum's friends who kindly carried my breakfast back to my field so I could enjoy it with my field buddy. He got the day off! I was happy to have my medium rug back on, mum told me I can't have my new rug yet as I will get too warm though, so I still have to wait to try it on... Mum says both of my rugs I've yet to try on are in my colours, navy and burgundy! I'm gonna look so smart.
I feel like a bad horsey mummy today. Not only did I turn up later than usual to the yard (6.30am every morning on weekdays!) at 9am, I didn't take the boys' breakfast down. They didn't seem too impressed, but as they were going out for a ride together they would just have to wait. The hay delivery that was due at 10am was put back to 11am and then didn't arrive until midday, which threw my plans completely, we ended up riding out on the field before it arrived which was interesting.
The wind was up again, but Rio did behave well considering. We walked, and trotted, and attempted a canter. I do wish I could have had someone filming what he did - we did a couple of strides, dropped back into trot, so I sat in and gave him a pony club kick and he launched into another 3 strides before trotting again. My friend cantered up alongside us to try and coax him into a proper canter but that just resulted in some awesome trotting at speed. I'm now not sure he's Welsh D as opposed to being a trotter! I really want to start schooling him. If only this weather would just clear off!
So by the time we had changed plans I had to get away from the yard sharp to go drop hubby off at the football ground, which meant leaving Rio in his stable for a bit. This doesn't sound much but in the 6 1/2 weeks I have had him he has lived out 24/7, and he's not keen on the stable. He naps to the door constantly, and does get bargy and really quite stubborn. Not only that, but his field buddy was taken back down before I got back so he truly was up there on his own. A couple of the girls on the yard were on hand to keep an eye on him, and I'm told he had a couple of hissy fits but gradually calmed himself down after each. The only problem is, I really was a bad mummy and I dashed off without taking his turnout rug back off. The result? A sweaty mess on his shoulders and chest when I got back.
So now I just feel super bad as I couldn't leave him in his waffle rug to cool up at the top forever - he was still not settling too great. Instead, I've had to pop a lighter weight turnout over the waffle and put him out in that. I was hoping to go back down and change him back into his 220g but it's still drying out in my lounge... I will just have to spend my evening worrying about him I guess.
I went down a little after I had turned him back out to check on him, and he had a couple of rolls, but seemed happy enough. I gave him lots of cuddles as I know I told him off lots today, and that's what I feel bad about. However, it must be done now or he is just not going to take me seriously in the future. Does anyone else feel guilty after a day you've had to do more disciplining or is it just me?
There are some moments that you just really know that it's worth it. The long hours in the office, the freezing winds, the poo picking in the rain. I had one of these moments this morning, for no particular reason at all, just that I was down in the field doing my morning duties, and realised I was just happy to be there. Even better is that the last two mornings, daybreak has come as I'm finishing up - spring must be just around the corner! I'm so happy we are past the shortest day, and can now look forward to the next few months.
We've had more rain and the river has invaded the field again a little. The boys have their own paddling pool!
I'm helping a friend out at the moment feeding her pony and when I went up with her hay after work this evening, popped up to the boys' field to say hello. They were milling around the gate area so I made up for being naughty and not picking out Rio's feet this morning. He was such a good boy, it must be a bit daunting for a walking, talking lightbulb to approach! We had lots of cuddles and head rubs after, I just love this boy so much already.
I'm hoping to go and see my cousin and her horse tomorrow to take some photos - fingers crossed the weather holds out, although the forecast doesn't look promising. I had great fun photographing them on XC schooling over a year ago, and am hoping to be able to get more involved in photography with horses too. What do you think of my last attempts?
Well, I'm hoping for a hack out tomorrow after the hay delivery. I'm going to be working with Rio in the company of another pony for a little longer to give him some more time to get more comfortable whilst up at the top of the yard. Once he's more settled (and hopefully the weather will be too...) then I will start working him on his own a bit more. Will let you know how it goes!
Can you believe him? He came up with me to the gate last night - admittedly with a little coaxing and bribery with the wheelbarrow (he has a fascination with it) but once I got him there, he stood quite happily. Had a little sniff, and chilled out. Just goes to show he is probably just testing the boundaries a bit when he is causing trouble walking through it. I even took the bottom half of the gate off so it was clicking a little before this photo was taken and he still had a sniff and stayed put. Did it stop him from having a little argument with me today? Of course not. We followed his field buddy up out of the field today as it was super windy, and to be honest, I was quite impressed. He just needs to learn to take that confidence in me like he does from another horse being around!
Happy new year everyone, I hope you all brought the new year in as you wanted! I must admit to being in bed by 11pm, I was absolutely shattered. This is the first year I haven't officially stayed up to welcome in the new year, but I have already set up 2014 to be an exciting one with this little man, so with everything else already in place, I have no need. The only thing I'm looking to try and sort is finding a new job, but that will come in time. Just to prove that he can do it, here's a video of Rio standing like a trooper whilst we get blown around:
I don't expect him to stand like this on his own any time soon, but it's good to know he's more than capable of it when he feels comfortable in company! I missed the darn burr in his forelock though and by the time I noticed it in the field, he'd had enough of being fussed over! I do love this boy :) he stood here for around 20-30 minutes whilst we chatted and decided against riding before he had his feet picked, got his breakfast and then got to go back to his field. He's really picked up standing still - he was so fidgety when I got him home.