Saturday, 31 December 2011

The Plan

Above is our plan for New Years Eve tonight. Specifically, avoiding what happened last year.

This year, the girls will be locked up in their stables (where they have spent the night for the last week), sedated, and out of sight of the fireworks thanks to our nifty blue tarps. They will also have some loud music playing from the radio to help drown out the noise.

We can not go through what we went through last year ever again. This will be my NYE every year for the rest of my life. Overkill? Maybe. But it is not worth the risk. Not one bit.

The neighbours had a couple of fireworks last night (maybe 3?) but they were over very quickly. The girls were already stabled away and they were fine. But that loud booming noise - it makes Nat and I feel like throwing up everywhere. I got physically sick and felt exactly like I did last year when we heard them last night.

Last year when we drove in the driveway and saw the fences down, was the absolute worst moment of my entire life up until that point. Then it just got worse and worse as the night drew on. We stumbled through the spider riddled bush looking for any sign of them. Calling, screaming, hearing hooves and soft neighs in our heads but thinking it was real. I even remember thinking "even if we find them dead, at least I know where they are".

When there was a car accident around the corner from my house about a half hour after we got home that night and I thought the horses caused it - cop cars everywhere and the cop I spoke to couldn't tell me what was going on. I swore I heard screaming horses and I envisioned my girls trapped between a car and a tree. It was really just the cop car radios distorting voices but it was all I could do to stop myself from pushing past them and running to see.

Hours of trudging through the bush, calling to them, praying to God, bargaining to just help us find them. Many many friends coming to help us look, some with their horses, some people I had never even met before, in over 40 degree (104 Fahrenheit) heat, all helping to find our mares.

And then the relief, when I thought all was lost, the relief when Andrew called me in hysterics telling me he had found them and they were safe (albeit cut up, thirsty and hungry).

Never ever ever ever again.

Friday, 30 December 2011

A little less sticky

A little update on the Allie cantering issue - we have right canter under saddle now. Just. I am working my butt off with her on this. Natalie has been lunging me while on Allie so she at least understands what it is I am asking of her - this seems to have done the trick. We have had a couple of off lead under saddle canter circles too. She picks up the correct lead to the right about 90% of the time.

Her left canter is depart is lovely and the left canter itself is pretty good too - balanced and light.

We are getting there. :)

Saturday, 24 December 2011


We have a sticky right canter people. And a big lug of a rider who is not helping the situation at all!

Pretty pony likes to tilt her head. : /

The lesson with Linda at the local indoor went well until we tried to canter right. I tried and tried and tried and tried. She just would not pick up the right lead. We had hissy fits, spins, leaping and disunited canter, all which ended up with me being so tired that I didn't have the strength to give aids anymore.

So this is what happens when Allie is over it and  'checks out'.

I was asking for canter right. Note how we are facing left.

Allie was pooped, I was pooped. Linda couldn't figure out what was going wrong from the ground.

Tired yet Allie?

Eventually, Linda got on and sorted her out. She got her cantering right a couple of times, but not without a fight. (Which made me feel a little better about it all).

Getting a feel for her.

Screen shot of the canter video. Win!
It was a good day really - even though we had problems with canter, it is something to work on now.

There are more photos and video, but to be perfectly honest, I look too fat and the videos of me trying to canter look so horrific and I'm so tired that my hands are bouncing around like no body's business so you are not seeing them.

That day has prompted me to start getting myself fitter - I can't expect my horse to be this fit athlete if all I do is sit around all day getting fatter. All this week I have gotten up early to exercise (not much yet, but it is getting me in the habit of it). I'm trying to cut out as much sugar and junk food as I can. I rode today for about an hour and a half (more canter disaster, see below) and we had two canter lunging sessions earlier in the week. The brat of a horse has almost no problem cantering right on the lunge, even on a small circle. So the problem is obviously me.

The disaster today was my horse chucking more fits because the pressure was on. I concentrated on my balance, position and having quiet hands but still, Allie got offended and did her spins and her leaps and I just couldn't get the canter again. Plus she unsettled me and I was not as tough on her as I should have been. :(

I have the next two weeks off work. Guess what Allie and I will be practising?

Sorry for this shitty downer of a post. Hopefully in a fortnight I can look back on this and think "Ha, problems with canter! So last month...". I can only hope.

Monday, 19 December 2011

My horse has leprosy.

Far out - it NEVER ends with my pets!!! Can't I catch a break?!?!

She is itchy, and the skin is flaky and coming off two spots (pictured below). Dr Google diagnoses ringworm.

I have never dealt with ringworm before and I have NO IDEA where the hell she picked it up from. So I am off to the saddlery tomorrow to get an anti fungal treatment to see if I can avoid another freaking vet bill treat it quickly.

We shall see. Harumph.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Ok, so during our blogging hiatus, quite a bit has happened with Allie's schooling. While I haven't ridden much (rain, rain, rain),  I have had a couple of lessons with Linda, and something has just clicked. If you remember my last riding videos, everything was a bit loose, very messy. She was blowing through my outside rein and falling out through the shoulder. If there wasn't a wall there, I couldn't turn her without this happening. I tried using a low, firm inside hand to turn her. This does not work people! She was also rushing, a lot and I encouraged it. Whoops.

So, what changed? My outside rein became a wall. A wall that I pushed her shoulder over with. This was a VERY HARD concept for me to grasp. How can I turn my horse to the right by taking a (firm!) contact with the left rein? I didn't get it, but I trusted Linda and it started working and now I got it. I can move that mare's shoulders wherever I want to. Whenever I want. That first lesson though, Allie and I had major words. A bit of tough love from me, firmer contact, and no more grey areas. We are doing this NOW! Not in two or three strides, not when you feel good and ready, now. Face please... No? FACE NOW! Ok, good girl. Now turn... TURN NOW! Good girl.... You get the idea.

I am SO unfit. During the first lesson, Linda asked if it was Allie huffing and puffing so loud but it was ME! Oh dear...

We also changed her bridle set up a little bit. I didn't want to put a flash nose band on her. I believe that your horse opens her mouth because your hands are not light and it is painful. But Linda asked me to try it, and to be honest, Allie has been much happier with it. It is like she has one less option to try before she gets the right one. She hasn't reared since I put it on her. I don't fight with her for her mouth anymore.She just gives, and is actually reaching out for a firmer contact now. So the flash stays for now. This one is a hard one for me to swallow, but the proof is in the pudding, isn't it?

So a few photos from a ride the other day. She is more 'there' in the bridle for me. Reaching for contact, instead of sucking back all the time.

I have another lesson with Linda tomorrow at the local indoor. I'm pretty excited to see how we go!

On another note, Allie is blooming with health (finally) and they are both looking super-duper cute.

Check out those dapples!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

A loving gift for Nat from Gracie

It's seems this mare is determine to send me broke.

She was running around like a maniac this afternoon, and she was headed for the gate, so I pushed it closed and by the time she got to it she tried to go through and caught herself on the latch.

She ended up bluntly ripping the skin on her off side shoulder.

Another vet bill to end the year (just the way 2011 started). Merry Christmas to you too Gracie!


I could not contain my outrage when I read this article that a Facebook friend posted.

Every Equestrian's Worst Nightmare

Very very upsetting! Poor Blas. :(

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Saving Argus

I have been following a blog for a long time - I can't remember how I found it, but it is about a rescue horse called Argus and his new owner's efforts in giving him everything he deserves in life after spending I think 14 years in a tiny prison. It was one of the very first blogs that I followed. Katie hasn't been posting much of late, but when she does I enjoy hearing about Argus and his quiet, horsey life.

Today though, a post about not only Argus' death, but the death of her other horse too, Ridge. On the same day. One after the other.

I am totally heartbroken for her. To loose not one, but two horses? To go through that pain and grief and tragedy but twofold? I can not begin to process that kind of pain.

Please head over and leave a few kind words for Katie. For all of us when we go through that dark time, when the kindness of strangers means the world.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011


SO MUCH to catch up on, so little time to write a catch up post!!

Most important update - look what we got the horses for Christmas: