Sun 1st Sept
Been doing daily play sessions with Bella but decided to give her a wee break today so just checked her feet (familiarisation with the foot stand) and took her for a short walk into the long grass part of the field for some hanging out together while Mark rode Stormy.
After a nice walk around the field I did a short session of familiarisation with the mounting block and having my weight on her back. She moved away from the block a few times when my weight went on her back but I think this was more about her not having the saddle pad on and me being balanced on that on her back so my weight was more on the inside so she moved away from that pressure. Anyway, because she was moving about a bit I took more time than I thought we’d need to just keep getting off, asking her back to the block and putting my weight back on her until at the end she did two nice standstill’s for me when I did it. Her reward for standing still was to be taken away from the block, head collar off and a nice big herbal treat.
I will work on this often from now on to get her ready for saddling and being ridden later on.
Thurs 5th Sept
We’ve had a bit of rain this week so today was the first day in a while that we could play with Bella and Stormy so we decided to do a bit of agility first (check Bella’s Agility Video’s category for her video) and then take them both out onto the long grass part of the field. Bella is becoming more used to this area and settles quickly even when Stormy trots around away from her, so she’s trusting me more which is great.
Fri 6th Sept
Out for some more agility fun with Bella and Stormy, today we had the flapping curtain up too, a first for Bella 😉
< Bella waiting until she feels safe to be able to go through the archway >
< We’re getting such a lovely connection now, trotting together with ease and working with techniques with obstacles is fun now >
< Really lovely transitions together from walk through the narrow lane to learning to pick up the energy for a small jump >
< Working on her right side is constantly getting easier for her.
Waiting for her to feel confident about the curtain >
< Pulling one side of the curtain back for her…then asking Stormy to show Bella how to do it >
< Storm at liberty showing Bella how the curtain is done…then Bella confident to do the curtain too >
Great agility fun with B&S today…loving our light cues and connection, really enjoying helping Bella figure things out with me, our partnership is growing beautifully 😉
Sun 8th Sept
Today we did some more agility and this time we did some different tasks on some of the obstacles which will help Bella learn it’s about our connection and trust and we can do any game with any obstacle SO she will start to look to me more for direction as we progress to riding.
We started off working with reins loose over her back as I wanted to make sure the Familiarisation of flapping reins wasn’t going to freak her out…all went really well 🙂
We then played with some obstacles and did transitions through the narrow scary gap, weave and fig 8’s around the cones, in and out of the jump wings/poles, rope around spins, nice jump, three feet on the pedestal (I helped her put one back foot on it but it helps her understand what I’m asking for), and nicely under the curtain.
Also Stormy by himself decided to show Bella how the curtain can be done easily…..Stormy has become the teacher 😉 🙂
Tue 9th Sept
Well today Bella and Stormy were on their toes, heads up and running around a bit but once I haltered Bella and started to groom she settled and we had a lovely play around the agility obstacles and when Mark rode Storm out in the long grass field we accompanied him in-hand and played with some S2M, weave, fig 8’s and sidepass.
I then put a bareback pad on Bella and whilst in-hand with me at her head Mark sat on her for the FIRST TIME 🙂 SO happy she has been good about having someone on her back, we saw previous owner trotting down the road with her but have never been sure if she’s had any proper training or been backed/started at all. Hopefully now with the ground work Mark and I will continue her bitless ridden journey too.
Before Mark sat on her I lay on her with the bareback pad on, she moved but I managed to stay on and the rein turned her in a small arc around my legs, when she stopped I jumped off rewarding her for standing still. What a good girl she has been for me and Mark.
ALSO we did some lovely play with the obstacles, on the long grass area and she was really good with our connection which was lovely.
We even upped the energy with the flag….yeehaa 🙂
Weds 11th Sept
Today we managed a small play session after dinner in the new round pen. She is quite good orientated/motivated so the long grass helped to give her rewards. Here’s what we did:
S2M around half the arena. Half circles in and out of the pen. Circles in walk x 2 to the left, COD, 2 x circles to the right, COD, repeat in trot. Fig 8s in calm walk. Tossing rope over her head and doing a ‘rope around spin’. Sidpass using feel/touch and then focus/intent. Backing out of the arena. S2M around other half of arena. Half circle in calm walk back onto grazing track.
Fab play with a calm, willing Bella and a very happy me 🙂
Thurs 12th Sept
Great afternoon of play with Bella, lots of games played with obstacles and then some fab ‘ground tying’ practise while I held Stormy as Mark trimmed his hooves.
< We started off playing familiarisation with an umbrella as it started to rain.
But then played and got 3 feet on the pedestal today. Bella really thinking to her feet >
< I also did some more Lateral Flexion, from the ground and then from the mounting block.
Standing still by the mounting block, making that a sweet spot to stand is a great exercise to teach her halt and not be afraid of the block >
< mounting block wait
Tried on her new light weight rug…fits great >
< AND…..sat on her today for the FIRST TIME…felt great. Mark walked me in a circle in-hand and she was super cool >
Fri 13th Sept
Did a short play session after their dinner in the afternoon today.
< Trot half circles with pole.
Sidepass along fence >
< Sidepass to the right is awesome.
first time for Fig 8’s with a pole >
< Fig 8’s with pole >
< Fig 8’s
Hanging out with a new mounting block in a different place…no problem with it 🙂 >
< Nice calmness between games >
< Rope around spins going well including tossing the rope over her head 😉
< Halter off and the beginnings of Liberty play with some S2M and a big head hug and kiss for being such a good girl >
We also tried on her new lightweight rug today, it fits really well, nice length and tail section and a lovely deep neck line so she’s comfortable and able to still graze 😉
Sat 14th Sept
Today we managed to get out and make a new Agility course for us to play around with AND also put up a round pen in the Agility area too so that I can start working on the beginnings of Bitless Riding after a few more times sitting and walking in-hand. Exciting times coming up 🙂
Bunting lane >
< Tarp trot
3 feet on ped >
front feet in hoop >
It was a lovely session, lots of thinking, calmness and connection through the agility course. We ended at the mounting block with some rest, leaning on her back and helping her find her ‘stand still and rest’ sweet spot at the block 😉
Mon 16th Sept
Weather was a bit in the way today but managed to find a dry patch at evening feeding time today so took advantage of it. She was willing and relaxed, had a bit of a hoolie going into circles to the right (her hard side) but I kept my energy neutral and invited her mentally to join me in that and she soon asked to come to me and relax which is a huge difference from last week, she is starting to look to me for direction. Here’s some of the things we did…
< S2M on the right with loose rope
S2M halt and back up with pole and loose rope >
< Circles to the left, nice and calm and Bella looking to me for direction.
Circle to the right, slowly getting straighter in her barrel >
< Soft, calm fig 8’s >
< Really nice sidepassing both ways today
And sit on her again >
< Bella doing a great job taking my weight and standing perfectly still for me
Bella & Stormy >
Tues 17th Sept
Today was a big milestone in our journey together….I sat on her and asked for walk. She had quite sticky feet and we got backup and moving her hindquarters and then I asked Mark to sit on her and be a passenger with some directions whilst I helped move her into walk using the cues I use for circling. It worked really well and we now need to do this in small bouts to help her figure out her balance with a rider and also we need to start playing with the ground work with her wearing her saddle so that we can start using the saddle to start her ridden work more. Really enjoying backing her, she reminds me so much of when we did Stormy 12 years ago 😉
Here is a short video of my first time asking her to move with me on her back:
And some pics of Mark doing a good job directing her while I got her walking out more:
Fri 20th Sept
It was way too hot to do much with Bella or Stormy today SO the best thing I could think of to do in the hot weather is to wash Stormy and give Bella a wee clean up.
Managed to give Stormy a full wash, his mane and tail are now back to being white 😉
Bella after a small clean up next to a very white Stormy.
I did manage also to do a small play with them together, some S2M with me in the middle and weave together, both online…it was fun 😉
At least he was mostly dry before he decided to roll and at least he’s cleaner than he was this morning 😉
Sat 21st Sept
Today I video’d Bella’s 3rd & 4th lessons. Lesson 3 is online and Lesson 4 is our first Backing/Starting Riding video…both are on the category ‘Bella’s Lesson Video’s’ which you can find on the right of the blog >>>>>
We’re going to start playing most sessions with her saddle on and soon with the stirrups down, huge familiarisation with the energy/motion/noise of those around her body and once we’ve done that for quite a while I’ll know I’ll be able to use the saddle to continue her backing/starting riding sessions.
Here’s a few pics from today:
AND some from the ridden session….
She did well, took some time to figure out how to move forward with the new weight of me on her back but she was super sweet and tried her heart out 🙂
Mon 23rd Sept
Today I played with Bella and then rode her again, she did so much better today moving forward, still a way to go but much more movement some LF, DHQ and FH moves with backup too 🙂
Tues 24th Sept
Today I decided to do something a bit different, it’s been drizzing most of the day so for me riding was out as the ground is wet and so is Bella’s back SO I went and started in the round pen with the thought of some Liberty…here’s some pics of what happened….
Sun 29th Sept
Had a lovely play with Bella today and a better sit on/ride too. Her ridden walk was very slightly faster, more steps and started quicker so I was very pleased with our progress.
< Play with saddle on and getting her used to stirrups and weight in the too . Once she’s okay with it all I’ll be able to ride her in the saddle >
< Standing at the mounting block nice and calmly and still is really good now and moving off isn’t too bad either. Today Bella offered to go to the right >
< And she offered Lateral Flexion to the right too today, this is great progress. She’s managing to take quite a few steps before stopping >
< Very happy with our ridden connection and I feel I’ll be sitting in a saddle soon too which will really be good and give me more confidence with my own balance if she decides to offer trot and then we can start working in a bigger area too 🙂
Mon 30th Sept
Today I had a very short play session with Bella, my brother and nephew are up on holiday and they always come and see the herd when they’re here. Lovely to see my family with our horses, they’ve met and ridden a lot of the members of our herd over the years so it was lovely to see them with Bella for the first time today 🙂
< Brother Paul and Bella getting to know each other 🙂
Bella, Mark, Paul, Storm and nephew Alex >
- Shelley – HorseSavvy