Bella – March 2021

Mon 1st March

Out to see horses this afternoon and tried out a bit of Online then Liberty play with Bella in the round pens.












Tues 2nd March

Another fine day for a play session with Bella and also Stormy. Mark came down too and took some fab pictures πŸ˜‰


First did some xtreme familiarisation….
going under Bella’s tummy. She was a supastar




We started off working with a neck rope and she did so well, backing through the roundpen gate, going under the arch…





…over the trot poles and tarp too…





…and not bad through the curtain.

Enjoyed some scratches, treats and lots of stops to help her think about it all.



Then we tried some liberty but she mostly had a spring-time yeehaa so just let her do that before anything else….












Then I gave Bella a rest and played at liberty with big Stormy who really enjoyed it and did a great job πŸ˜‰









THEN….I played with Bella at liberty a bit and also ended online to finish on a solid good note πŸ˜‰


< Waiting to be haltered

Draw through the curtain >




< Nice jump

Canter circle >




< Trot poles

Trot over tarp >




< Circle with nice bend in body

Canter over tarp >




< Through curtain again for good measure

Sidepass over drainpipe >




< Sidepass other way

Back up through narrow gateway >





Weds 3rd March

Today I had a game plan….to work through agility again online and then at ‘half-liberty’…which meant that our liberty session would be without the lead rope but leaving the halter on.

I tried this as I know Bella works really well in-hand/online but has never done liberty work and when I set her free she often has a lot of yeehaa time, which I don’t mind, but we loose our ‘focus-connetion’. SO the idea that she can be free to move away if she wants to but still haltered where she understands to ‘stay with me’ is a compromise I think we can work on until we keep that important ‘focus-connection’ for longer. It is a bit of a ‘learned behaviour’ to do as asked haltered but it’s better to work one step at a time for her confidence and not blow yeehaa’s everytime her halter is off or that learned behaviour will stay.

Here’s some pics I took while she went around the agility at ‘half-liberty’….she did really well πŸ˜‰


< Nice draw over trot poles

Easily under the arch >





< Walked onto/over the tarp

Nice trot/jump >





< Asked her to draw through the curtain…

after she thought about it for a while she did so beautifully at a trot >





Thurs 4th March

Chilly day but managed to ride Stormy and play with Bella at liberty again (with halter….which is working really well) here’s some pics…


Groomed and saddled, ready to rock and roll

Ride the rain circles using ‘cowboy’ reins…meaning I used one hand and worked with neck reining and loose reins.



Nice Lateral Flex and then onto some clover leaf…taking it all in walk to start with.




Enjoying Big Storm..he’s always a nice ride


Onto some trot P2P’s between cones scattered around the field πŸ˜‰






Bella working so well at liberty with halter on, our connection stays better and so does her concentration…through arch, over tarp…





Finding curiosity with the curtain and going through it very well and multiple times…






…and again πŸ™‚ clever girl

Jump was good too, had distant communication which is a first and she turned and drew back to me immediatley after the jump today πŸ™‚




Here is a short video of her with the curtain today:


Sat 6th March


Today was hoof trimming day. Mark trimmed Stormy and I did Bella’s front feet (back one’s tomorrow…saves my bad back from being sore) and then I had a very short, sweet, bareback plod around on Bella just for a bit of fun together πŸ˜‰



Tues 9th March

Mark/Stormy and Me/Bella managed our 1st ride together in the big field this year. Lovely to get a ride in, both horses were a bit ‘fresh’ so we just worked independently on softening of necks in our bends/turns and relaxation in low transitions (walk/halt/backup) and then some loose rein/one hand riding for focus/connection πŸ˜‰



Sat 13th March

Good day weather wise so out with Mark and horses. Bella was a bit ‘fresh’ again, just Spring and probably her seasons kicking in again for the year SO we take it slowly and just potter around the roundpens in walk and then follow Stormy around which she enjoys. We then get into working on being able to walk side-by-side. This isn’t hard but Stormy thinks HE should always be in front and often when Bella comes close whilst being ridden he’ll trot or canter forward to be in front SO the aim of the game is to help him relax and listen to Mark to stay by Bella’s side. With this in mind we just go in straight lines up and down an arena sized area side-by-side, each time getting slightly closer until they both relax and we’re within hand touching distance. It is a great exercise and hopefully we can build on this until the walking is good and we can try trot and later on canter…always in mind what we want to achieve in the future πŸ˜‰



















OH…almost forgot that Bella had a lovely LIBERTY session beforehand too πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚














Tues 15th March

Another nice weather day for riding today SO Mark and I go and ride B&S with the emphasis on doing what we did last ride which was relaxation riding side-by-side. It went really well and Stormy is learning to just walk next to Bella when being ridden.


Worked on relaxed circles (2 x walk left, COD, 2 x walk right, COD, then into trot for same). Then went up into a bit of a circle in canter and rewarded with a halt when she did a few relaxed strides πŸ˜‰




She also did some nice trot fig 8’s too.






Start the riding by following Stormy then trotting around the round pens in trot with relaxation.





Looking for softer bending on the circles which is getting there.

Side-by-side went well with some halt with one horse and walking closely by with the other πŸ˜‰





Wed 16th March

FIRST HACK OUT this year πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ SO pleased. Both horses calm, happy to be out, had walk, trot and a wee canter on way back πŸ™‚ Really happy day



































Thurs 18th March

A day off yesterday but today has such fabulous weather we decide to go out for another hack out and to go a wee bit further along the track…SO…this our walk out today….


Off on own up the field hill πŸ˜‰

Packs on and ready to go






Happy to lead

Happy to follow





Such a great track to ride on

Towards where we went last time…the wooden bridge πŸ˜‰




Past the bridge and on towards the village

This is the furthest we’ve been, on the edge of the village (did once last year) and it’s far enough for today and it’s quite hot SO…back home we go



Bella happy to follow on the way home AND a nice bit in a field too





Across the bridge no problems and then we do a bit of side-by-side work which we’ve been practising in the field SO very glad that is working out so well now πŸ˜‰





Home…our field on the left where Bella is looking AND a nice drink in the home stream πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚





Fri 19th March

A restful day today with a bit of Liberty fun before dinnertime for Bella & Storm. They were both so good, Bella is really getting the hang of Liberty more now, she tries so hard and the curtain now is no problem, in fact she realises that the curtain produces nice treats so goes there often. I’ve started asking her to do the curtain and one other obstacle before her treat now, extending the game time and she’s slowly understanding that but will continue progressing that πŸ˜‰

































Sat 20th March

Well another fine weather day and out for a bit of a lesson ride with Bella. Today was our FIRST try and CANTER P2P’s. We started off with some nice walk and then trot circles and then P2P’s and to make things easier for the canter we did it going up the small hillock at the end of the field, this way Bella can get her haunches underneath her and take some energy out before going onto the flat towards our destinational cone πŸ˜‰

We had to work on some softening of her neck/back before trotting and then we worked on more focus and flexibility around the roundpens. When we did the canter she was a bit hesitant to go down the hillock so we did it 4 times, each time a bit easier, each time the canter was stronger, more balanced and focused than before, it felt like it went really well. Here’s some pics πŸ˜‰


Start with walk

Found our nice trot πŸ˜‰




A moment with Stormy

A treat for getting down the hillock and relaxing before cantering




Her canter is BIG and feels really nice to ride




onto the flat and still cantering…will get better as we get fitter πŸ˜‰




Heading for our cone destination and then into trot but what a fab floaty trot it is πŸ˜‰




Tues 23rd March

Today was busy elsewhere but managed to get down to horses, groom them both, play with them together and then ride them individually, first big Storm and then Bella. I worked on RtR (riding the rail) in walk and trot both ways. Stormy was a bit tired/lazy so just worked on getting to the corners for a rest/treat. With Bella it was more about straightness going around both ways πŸ˜‰




















Weds 24th March

Today Mark came to the field with me and we did two horse riding again. More riding together in walk and then some Leap Frog πŸ˜‰

Afterwards I did a bit of Cloverleaf in trot with Bella. She was reluctant to bend left, bracing a bit so I just had to take the time to help her with that and then she did very well πŸ™‚
































Sat 27th March

Such a nice breezy cool day, perfect for riding SO out we go AND we make it for the FIRST time for Bella to the Village. So pleased with her. I did walk her from the point we’d ridden before, so all the new bits, to give her confidence and it worked well as she regularly touched my hand with her nose for reassurance πŸ˜‰


And we’re off…great first half with a lovely forward walk.

Did a couple of trots but I think she knew she needed to conserve her energy so until we’re all fitter I didn’t do more than she wanted to do herself πŸ˜‰




Walked her past the houses into the village, this was a narrow lane and then the bridge which is very high above the fast moving, noisy river. She stopped going over first time but trusted me and followed nicely.

Both B & S got nice juicy apples at the shop so now they know it’s fun going into the village. We walked them both out and then Mark got on Stormy first at a nice gate…




….and I got on at the gateway where we’d been before and going home was easy-peasy for us all.




We did pass a lot of strange things which she’s really getting used to….black silage bales, broken flappy barn, moving swings in a garden etc.



Going back over the wooden bridge was fine, following Stormy makes everything easy.




Mark holding Bella while I close the gates πŸ˜‰






Sun 28th March

As we had a hack out yesterday we decide to have a quieter Challenge playday πŸ˜‰ This involves me with Bella and Mark with Stormy challenging each other with some obstacles…the one that sets the challenge has to show it first πŸ˜‰ Here’s some pics….

How they were when we arrived πŸ˜‰

Storm and Mark




Trot fig 8’s

Sidepass over small ped





Sidepass (well almost) over large ped

4 feet on ped




Sidle and halt over log

Sidepass over upright barrel πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚




Trot fig 8’s went really well…calm and focused πŸ˜‰




Sidepass over small pedestal both ways πŸ˜‰





Sidepass over large pedestal and then sidle onto log πŸ˜‰




FIRST time sidepassing over a barrel on it’s side. So pleased with this, she was calm and focused πŸ˜‰



Familiarisation on the move…working on small flags to start with with the idea of riding with a flag one day πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚




Mon 29th March

Today I go and ride both horses to slowly build up some fitness…for them AND me πŸ˜‰ Stormy did well and I was just looking for some enthusiasm ‘Riding the Rail’ (RtR) in walk and then trot and he did that nicely. I always take him slowly to start with as he’s a bit older then Bella and takes time to warm up. With Bella I was at first looking for a nice calm, loose rein, walk to the corners and the same with trot before changing directions. It all went pretty well but need to really do this more regularly so that we get consistent trotting, consistent halts when asked and straight lines SO a few things to work on πŸ˜‰ Slowly, slowly with my own consistency and persistence we’ll get there but I won’t do it every day or she will get bored so I’ll mix it up with some online, liberty and pole work πŸ˜‰


Stormy doing very well with his loose rein P2P’s/RtR






Bella getting the pattern as we go nicely.







Tues 30th March

No pics today as on own and wanted to just concentrate on the 2nd day of w/t RtR with Storm and then Bella and it really says how much consistency works as today Stormy was more flexible with more impulsion (tick) and Bella was more relaxed and focused (tick).
With Stormy I will put some more patterns in and work in different area’s to help him not get bored and with Bella my aim is to work consistently on her w/t RtR for 7 days and if it goes well then we’ll take a rest and then think about adding some canter transitions soon but Bella’s trot will have to be very solid so that we don’t break all the good work we’re doing now πŸ˜‰
* Shelley – HorseSavvy