Thu 2nd April
Bit windy to do any much today but we practised for our 2nd obstacle challenge which we have a week to practise, this week the obstacle is one POLE 🙂
For a bit of fun after practising pole work I took Bella to the pedestal. She has a very solid front feet up on it now and today I asked her back right up with a rope and when she left that there for a while I went over the other side, she shifted her weight forward and picked up her last hoof up onto the ped…I was over the moon….AND she kept it there while I rewarded her big time for this effort 😉
Here’s the video of her doing her FIRST 4 feet on pedestal….
Sat 4th April
Today we had another FIRST for Bella today….a short ‘walk out’ with Stormy. Hopefully this will help her familiarise to things outside her field and get her ready for hacking out later on. For our first walk out we went out of the lower gate, down a small hillock, over the wooden bridge and into the big field called ‘the haugh’. The field is quite big so we just walked straight across it to the edge of the river….we all rested a bit, Mark found a stone wall to climb onto to mount Stormy and we walk back to the bridge. Then I give Bella’s lead rope to Mark and he ponied her back to the field while I took my time walking.
Me and our beauties
< getting Storm’s bareback pad and bridle on..all ready to go
Bella led for the first half, Stormy wanted to graze, Bella doesn’t know that’s allowed 😉 >
< B watching S go across the wooden bridge
Me and B crossing the bridge nice and calmly >
< all the way to the river 😉
On the way back we walk calmly and Mark walks Stormy in circles around us >
< Bella really connected to me even though Stormy circling us
Stormy showing that a piece of silage plastic is nothing to be worried about, Bella says ‘I’m not worried but I don’t want to touch a piece of old plastic thank you’ >
< Big hill coming up, I can walk it slowly and Mark can lead Bella off Storm 😉
Easy over the bridge together >
< Storm like to canter up this hill…Bella keeps up with her huge trot
waiting for me to catch up..both calm and happy >
< last trot to the gate for home >
This is the route we took, there and back 🙂
Sun 5th April
Today we went out and I played with Bella already saddled up and then rode her for a bit. It was a bit windy and she was good but had sticky feet a bit to start with but then got going ok. I’m thinking of making a rectangular or square arena to ride in, it might be a bit more interesting for her….we’ll see 😉
We are working on more movement in the games now so half circles and circles I don’t stay static in one place but walk about a bit so she gets different obstacles or space to walk or trot in.
Her leg yields on a circle with ‘feel’ game (hadn on her side to represent my heel when riding) are coming along nicely and we even had some leg yields with ‘focus’ game too (this is where I use my ‘focus and intent’ to move her over at a distance)
Circles on the move where we came up to the scattered poles…she was fab over them, really looking and knowing where her feet and energy was 🙂
Getting ready to ride and a bit treat after her play session.
I then had a nice ride in the round pen with a FIRST of getting on her from the right side 😉 She didn’t bat an eyelid about it and that’s one thing about her, she has no previous training so doesn’t have any hangups about doing things that the rest of the horsey world find strange 😉 It was a nice ride, some sticky feet to start with but let her have her stops, her rests and time to think then asked again and continued for a bit longer today. Her Lateral Flexion to left and right are really nice and getting light and soft, she needs some more work on her DHQ’s left and right as she thinks about bracing every time I ask SO I have to find a way to ask even nicer for her so she doesn’t think about that and does some nice hindquarter moves. All going in the right direction.
Tues 7th April
Started off with a really nice play session online with the start of ‘touch it’ with her nose to a cone, circles, fig 8’s and rope around spins.
We also did a first by putting the half circle by a fence together with sidepass which she did really really well, was blown away by her flexibility and ease doing these two together 🙂
< Touch it
Circles, fig 8’s >
< Rope around spins
< …to sidepass >
I then play walk/trot circles with saddle on and my noisy, flappy, tassled half chaps. Not wanting to wear them without testing in case the noise upsets her but she took it all in her stride 😉
Today I decided to try to ride in the larger agility area with Stormy to help bring some movement, confidence and maybe a stride or two of trot. What I found out was (1) she likes consistency so changing arena was strange for her (2) she listened to me more than wanting to be with Stormy so that tells me we’re well connected (3) think she needs a PURPOSE to why she goes forward (4) think straight lines are better than curves/corners especially if wanting forward…SO….with that in mind I will change the set up for next time we ride and see if P2P’s (Point 2 Points) work for her like it did for my Tara in the past. I gave her a rest after this and watched Mark riding Storm about the field and then I re-mounted and rode her in the round pen which was better with forward motion but I pressed her for more and eventually got it.
Riding around the cones and Stormy who stood still for a while in the centre
Seeing if Bella wanted to follow Stormy but she wasn’t overly keen
So asked Mark to stand still again and we circled then fig 8 around him and the cones.
Thurs 9th April
Today we went out for another lovely walk with Me & Bella, Mark & Stormy. Down to the field below our one and along the river for a bit. Bella was calm, attentive, didn’t worry about where Stormy was and decided that taking a bit of grazing was okay which says she was relaxed 😉
I then rode Bella in the agility arena. I was looking for more forward motion, less stops and after last few rides I realised she needed the 3 main things that horses need when being ridden and they are…’A DIRECTION, A SPEED and A DESTINATION’. Working in a round pen helps get momentum sometimes but for some horses it’s going nowhere SO to help Bella I placed a few ‘obstacles’ around the arena and started working on P2P’s (Point 2 Points) which will give her exactly those 3 pointers mentioned earlier. I think she needs to know what/where/why….this is helping 😉
Fri 10th April
Another dry day outside so Mark and I go for another walk out with Bella and Stormy. This is our 3rd walk out and each time it’s slightly different. Today we went down into the field by the river but walked along the back edge and then out, up a track to a gateway and then up another muddy track back to the field right next to the horses one, so a lovely circular walk. Bella was calm and connected to me, she didn’t worry about where Stormy was (she knew where he was) and whether he was in front, behind or trotted past us 😉 She stayed connected to me and it was a lovely pleasant walk together.
Just a lovely walk, not too far but expanding our horizons each time we venture out 😉
After the walk I rode Bella with our 2nd attempt at P2P’s…now that she’s got her direction, speed and destination she seems quite happy to go where I ask her, I’m trying to give her a loose rein as much as possible without her feeling lost so that we start to get our riding cues of focus, energy, seat weight and leg aid better. Here’s today’s short video of how it went 😉
She is also coming along nicely with her head down for bridling…
Sat 11h April
Our 4th walk out….going so well and enjoying it enormously. Today Mark and I shared riding Stormy and leading Bella which meant I didn’t have to walk the whole ‘walk out’.
After this lovely walk I saddled and played with Bella before riding…
< Working on P2P’s from the ground
Point 2 Points using S2M >
AND then I went to ridden P2P’s. These are really working well, she loves having a purpose and giving her a ‘DIRECTION, SPEED & DESTINATION’ makes sense 🙂
< Much better forward walk with P2P’s
AND…we had a few strides of TROT today >
Sun 12th April
Today I managed to film a lot of the new HS FB GROUP CHALLENGE – 4 CONES 🙂 It’s really stretched my imagination and also Bella’s learning while enjoying it a lot. After playing I saddle Bella up and mount on the right again, she has no problem with me mounting on either side which is great and the P2P’s go very well, we even went over poles and through the bunting narrow lane which I’ve used for agility. So proud of this lovely girl 🙂
Tues 14th April
After a lazy day yesterday I went out with two things in mind to do….another cone challenge video for later and to see if I can teach her to sidle to the mounting block. She learned the cone challenge well, got that filmed, just two more to do AND she was a total star with sidling to the block…..here’ s a video of it…
I then wondered if she’d stand on the pedestal…she has been putting 2 feet on easily so I wanted to see her do this at liberty after our session. She was so good with 2 feet I helped her with her backs…what a star…blow away with her understanding, patience and willingness, here’s the video of it…
Wed 15th April
And today I had some play/riding fun first with Stormy and then with Bella and our FIRST today was Bella offered some lovely, soft, slow TROT STEPS…our proper first ones and it was lovely. Here is the P2P vid from today where she did fabulously well with her walk and then trot at the end.
Sat 18th April
Lovely sunny weather today after two days of really cold windy weather SO out to the horses at lunchtime and what a nice time I had. I rode both Stormy and Bella again and both did very well. Really enjoyed it and think they did too.
Lovely ride with Stormy today, up and down hillocks, nice trot and canter and suppled me up ready to ride Bella.
We had some noise when I was just about to get on Bella. The estate owner and friends came up to check on the land behind and to the side of our horses field to check their new trees, they were talking loudly and kids giggling etc and although Bella was slightly distracted she did really well to listen to me as well as keep an eye on what was going on nearby.
I changed our routine today because she had slightly sticky feet so we did P2P’s which started and ended at the mounting block and then weaving and serpentines inbetween and that turned out very nicely and helped us get into doing more turns instead of just straight lines 🙂
Sun 19th April
Today I decided to try playing in a different area. I wasn’t sure what would happen but knew that a new environment would be a challenge for her. I have a big arena area that I put 6 jump wings into so we could hopefully ride P2P’s in but I always like to check out the ground work connection before doing something like that just to make sure it’s okay and even though this is an area she grazes in it doesn’t mean she’s ready to play there. So I groom her and halter her up with a 22′ line on and went to play.
Consistent things were: Circles, touch it with her nose, changes of direction, walk, trot, halt on breath out.
New things were: Area and moving circles.
What happened: Well, at first she was sceptical, then she got quite emotional and had bursts of canter but as I played very consistently and keeping my energy down, my focus on each part of the games that she already knows and treating for relaxation at a halt/touch it with her nose to the jump wings she started to ‘get’ what the game was. She started thinking and before I knew it she was doing moving circles in trot or walk, whichever I asked for, and spotting the jump wing we were going to and doing LEG YIELDS to get to the destination. I was SO proud of her and it was lovely to see her relax and become confident in the game.
Tues 21st April
Well it’s really sunny with blue skies here but with a wind whistling down the glen like a banshee ;( But out for some horse play as it’s always lovely to be out with them especially in sunshine. I played with Bella exactly as before with the jump wings doing w/t/c moving circle P2P touch it’s and she totally just GOT IT big time. Her gaits were calm, she searched for the jump wing to stop at and did it brilliantly. Here’s a video of her doing it…
AND then I got to ride her for a wee bit. I am still doing P2P’s but added 4 jump wings in the centre for a place called X. With these obstacles I can now try to give her another new pattern which is X box. This is where X in the centre of the 4 jump wings becomes the ‘place of change’. At first I do a circle and always stop at X, then I can ask for more and each time we come back to X that is where something can change…so it gives us a more unpredictable pattern. The changes at X can be, change of gait, change of size circle, change of how many circles so we could do small, medium or large circles on way only, then get the other way, make fig 8’s and then onto a clover leaf pattern so we can have many consistencies and many changes all in that one X pattern. Here is some pics from our first try…
Lots of turns
Lots of straight lines
More forward motion
More fluid arcs
Great through scary corridors
Pattern slowly making sense
X becoming a place to halt
P2P’s becoming better
Barrels a place for treating 🙂
Thurs 23rd April
Lovely sunny day again and the wind has died down a wee bit making it even nicer to be out with the horses.
When I was getting ready it was fun to see Bella go through the bunting lane and stand by the barrel warming up for her P2P’s completely on her own 🙂 lol
We started off with some basic moves including sidepass which she does fabulously well…so supple.
We then did some P2P’s together online showing her what we’ll be doing today.
She did really well in walk and trot, stopping each time at the obstacle with my breath out.
I then introduced the big ball…..I wasn’t sure how she would take to it but apart from wondering what it was she wasn’t really phased.
She was okay with me picking it up and putting it near her, she wasn’t sure she wanted to touch it but we worked on that until she wasn’t thinking about it so much.
Me moving it away and her following it really helped bring out her curiosity and at one point Stormy came over and helped her become more confident with it which was super cool of him 😉
Didn’t bother when I pushed it underneath her belly or put it on her back.
And also she wasn’t really bothered with it being bounced near her. We have a Ball Challenge coming up at the beginning of May so this will be something we can work on well I think 😉
After our play session I got on and rode some P2Ps. She was great heading to each obstacle in turn, moving forward with a nice walk and stopping on my breath out.
She went over the poles well, very focused on her goal
AND because I put some treats on the two barrels which have a fab long straight line between them she decided that that was a good motivation for giving me some TROT today. She managed 4 wee bits of trot and on the 4th one I dismounted and gave her a huge treat and finished the session 🙂
Fri 24th April
Another stunningly beautiful day and no wind so out with horses again today. I’m loving the consistency I can get when the weather is good 🙂
Today we filmed most of our ‘Ball Challenge’ footage, she was really good with it all and the video will be up on here on May 4th which is the closing day of the challenge on my FB group.
Other than that practise we did some lovely leg yields online and then I rode her. Today we did more trot steps AND we went out of the agility arena onto the grass which has my two round pens and two circles made up of cones and tyres. I use this area a lot to train as it has straight lines and circles, we can do any gait, change direction, do fig 8’s, weave, clover leaf, X box and many other fascinating things SO today was out first day doing P2P’s to the tyres and on to my other nicely placed barrel which I put treat on 🙂 All went according to plan and it felt good to be riding her in a different place. Here’s a short video of some of it….
Sat 25th April
Day off today, for me and the horses. I like to let Bella process lessons thoroughly so at least once a week or more we have a day off. If the weather is bad I stay in but if the weather is good then I can still go and hang out with them, groom, take them for a leisurely grazing walk and this is what we did today…a lovely leisurely grazing walk with Mark and Stormy. I still get to teach some ‘grazing game’ and ‘leading game’ so that she doesn’t learn to pull me or grab for grass and it is lovely bonding time for us as a herd 🙂
I also trimmed her jawline of the long thick hair. It’s the only hair I trim usually as I hate it getting caught in the halter/bridle and pulling. It makes her look so pretty, what a lovely face she has. Stormy looses his winter jaw hair now but I used to do his too 😉
Sun 26th April
Not a bad day weather wise so out and about with horses again. Today I decided that by riding Storm and leading Bella it would be a good way to get her familiar with being ridden in different area’s SO today’s area’s were the round pens and my tyre and cones circles 😉
I then tacked Bella up and rode her in the area’s we’d already been over with Stormy…it worked very well 😉
Started off in the agility, going around the outside of the agility and over some obstacles.
Then we went out and about in the field going to tyre towers, cones and the barrel out there working on the P2P principles still.
And we had quite a few longer TROTTING sessions today too 😉 🙂 🙂 🙂
And in the end we had a lovely wee Liberty session where she put feet up on the pedestal and did S2M backups/walk/halt AND trot 😉
Tues 28th April
Had a grey rainy day yesterday so a day off for us all but today is grey but not rainy so got out to continue me and Bella’s journey. Firstly we did more leading off Stormy to get that better and to make sure she has tried to go off both sides which she hasn’t done before…
Vid of Storm & Bella trotting together…
I saddled Bella and had a quick play and then again mounted from the right today and then rode her in the agility area and outside in the main field. She is getting the hang of her transitions of halt/backup/walk/trot and we had more trot today than last time AND we pushed the amount of treat times further apart so we got some nice circling around the cone and tyre obstacles before being treated today which was a huge bit of progress 😉
Short video of Bella trotting…
Thurs 39th April
Last day of April, it’s been on/off rainy and cold here but managed to get out for a little bit before rain started again. We also managed TWO FIRSTS….’
1) Sidepass ‘together’. She got this pretty quickly
2) Sidle to the mounting block on the RIGHT. This was hard but she got there and when I went to get on her to ride she offered her right side 🙂
And then I rode a bit with Mark and Stormy and then on our own to get out and work in the big field slowly getting more confident about riding further and putting in more ‘patterns’, today we did some circles, weave and fig 8’s. A lovely end to April, bring on May 🙂
- Shelley – HorseSavvy