Bella – September 2020

Mon 1st Sept

Well can’t believe it’s September already…where HAS the year gone? But looking back over this last year I can see how much I’ve done with beautiful Bella and that on the 12th of this month, last year, was when I first sat on her and she didn’t know how to move forward…how far Bella and I have come together in just a year of riding πŸ˜‰

Today I was quite tired and wasn’t sure I was going to play or ride her so just went down with the intention of giving her a lovely groom and some loving πŸ˜‰ Once down there she really enjoyed her groom and I decided to put a bareback pad and bridle on her and see if she wanted to play….and maybe a wee ride? πŸ™‚ Here’s what we did….


Lovely light trot work over the poles and some nice jumping…calm and knowing where her steps are and how much energy needed to jump without over doing it πŸ˜‰



This is two drainage pipes next to each other which makes it the ‘widest’ jump she’s done so far. Again she tackled it calmly and with the knowledge of where to push off, how wide it is and how to land nicely….a nice canter depart the second time.



She had fun with the pedestals too today πŸ˜‰





And then I jumped on bareback, she came over to the mounting block beautifully and stood so still for me to get on. Then we did some really niceΒ  walk around the agility arena with just a bit of emphasis on turns from my focus/energy/weight/leg aids which I was over joyed to find she really responded well to…clever girl…here’s some pics….


Familiarisation taking my jacket off was no problem….she’s so good.

Learning to turn from my seat/leg/focus cues went so well and it was nice to be bareback with a loose rein, she enjoyed it too.



Nice soft turns, we managed to circle and fig 8 around a lot of obstacles in the agility area.





Focused turns….






More focused turns πŸ˜‰ felt very connected to Bella today





So lovely to be this connected…we have to do this more and also in trot more





Sidepass to the right was really nice today….





…and managed to figure out how to help her go to the left which she was having trouble with…gently tapping her right shoulder with my hand….she did it really well so will continue doing this for both ways continuing with my voice cue of ‘over’, which is the same with ground work.



Such a clever girl.

One foot on the small pedestal ridden too πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚





Bella thinking about the pedestal…..she also did a lovely sidepass AROUND the pedestal which was the first time doing this πŸ˜‰





At the end we did some lovely soft, slow, easy to sit to trot work πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚ and then on the pedestal for a big treat πŸ˜‰





Thurs 3rd Sept

Today was a day of familiarisation…I’ve sewn clips onto a pommel bag that was for a treeless saddle so that I can use it on my Wintec and it fits nicely now. Bella wasn’t concerned at all about the bags or the one on the back of the saddle but I played with her as normal just to make sure.



Pommel bags and back bag on and working well





jumping not a problem and then I attached my jacket to the top of the pommel back and that wasn’t a problem either πŸ˜‰




Then I rode with the bags on too and she wasn’t bothered by the noise or that they were on her wither.




Nice trot with the bags bouncing around but no bother for Bella πŸ˜‰





Fri 4th Sept

Today we had a nice ride in the big field with Mark and Stormy. We started off with a really nice RtR in walk on a loose rein and then we went into trot. We played with the concept of a slow, sittable, trot and then a faster, rising trot, trot. She did quite well and I will continue working on getting two speeds in trot with her πŸ˜‰



Loose rein walk warm up then into a nice steady trot.






Lovely trot with two speeds now





…AND CANTER….nice easy transition on the flat and we managed to canter almost the length of the field πŸ˜‰ kool πŸ˜‰




Sat 5th Sept

A really lovely day for a hack out towards the village….taking it a bit at a time for confidence and to build up strength and stamina….we go half way to the village, to the ‘wooden bridge’ and then back home. Bella did really well and apart from the first hill going down, where I walked with her, I rode the whole way and had some lovely calm walk, trot and out first hack canter on the last hill up to home πŸ˜‰ So much fun πŸ™‚


Mark and Stormy first started out riding,Β  I walked with Bella first and we led for a while and then Mark walked with Stormy for a while and I rode Bella.


Nice calm walk along the track, walked with her down the hill and re-mounted from a gate, all that mounting work we’ve done paying off well now πŸ˜‰



Following Stormy to the wooden bridge…they went over first and we rode over after without any problems πŸ˜‰





Nicely over the bridge, had some nice grazing after and then back home again…we ride the first big hill no problem πŸ˜‰



Following Mark and Stormy all the way home andΒ  a lovely calm canter on the last stretch πŸ˜‰




Tues 8th Sept

A bit tired today so go down without thinking of doing much apart from grooming but ended up exercising Bella in the big field which was a lot of fun.


Lovely sidepass and we did a lot of moving circles where I walk around and she circles around me…she decided that canter would be fun….

































Weds 9th Sept


Bella and me, Storm and Mark rode together in the big field today.


Lots of walk/trot ‘leap frog’, some nice weaving around flapping flag poles and big canters up the small hill.



Then Bella did a great job of staying in trot the whole way around the round pens in a figure 8 pattern.


Lovely BIG trot, no stopping or slowing down just a nice consistent trot πŸ˜‰




Mark then did it with Stormy too and he went really well too. I think the cooler, breezy weather suits them both well.




Played about with familiarisation with my noisy, flappy rain ponchoΒ  too…not a bother πŸ˜‰




Lastly big hugs to both of them from me <3 <3






Thurs 10th Sept

Just out again for a quick walk/trot/ride with Bella, Mark and Stormy. Lovely leap frog game and a really long lovely canter up the hillock. We’re not doing too much at the moment as the weather is rather changeable but we’re getting some nice exercise and keeping fit πŸ˜‰










































































Sat 12th Sept

We had a day off yesterday but today is pretty special as it’s a YEAR since I BACKED her. She started off having no ‘go’, no balance and no understanding of what was being asked but with patience and persistence we now have nice balanced walk, trot AND canter, she can pop a jump, do trot poles, go down hills and back up again, go out for short hacks (longer as we get fitter) and most importantly we have a fabulous ‘breath out’ halt. She is more flexible now and starting doing some basic sidepasses and leg yields. She rides with a loose rein or connected rein and is relaxed and willing. She is such a sweet, lovely girl and I am happy to ride her bareback or with a saddle πŸ˜‰


















Sun 13th Sept

As we’ve been moving along with Bella’s training I’ve been ticking off some Stage 2 Assessment tasks. She has done a lot of them already and today we did our fig 8’s in trot on a loose rein task…here is the video of her passing this task…


Mon 14th Sept

Today is quite humid and stuffy so no riding today but a short play session with Bella and then Stormy too πŸ™‚


Some nice cone circle fun….circles in w/t..





Big circles w/t….




Weaving…she decided moving over meant front feet first, then back feet in a kinda hop over…




Nice relax between games…..then some weaving on the other side…




Some nice leg yielding….will use these cones to ride it soon……THEN….some fun fig 8’s using the bunting lanes and around the jump….



THEN a couple of jumps with energy πŸ˜‰




Storm did a great job too, he doesn’t like humid weather so just did ‘brain teasing’ stuff rather than fast….Sidepassing over cone from a distance…he’s looking GOOD at the moment, what a stunningly beautiful big boy he is….


A wee bit of trot weave…another break and treat πŸ˜‰




Sidepassing away then we did towards too…what a fun session πŸ™‚




Wed 16th Sept

Today the weather is cooler and both Mark and I thought…’hack out today maybe’…SO we went down, got them ready and went out. I walked the first hill down then rode the rest of the track we’ve already done (to the wooden bridge) and then I got off again and walked her a whole length of new track we’ve not done yet. I could feel she went through a threshold of concern as she was bumping my elbow with her nose as we walked, her head was up and it was when we were going into a place with more houses and noises such as a strimmer and kids on lunch break at the school.

SO…..instead of losing confidence we turned around and I walked her back to the wooden bridge then rode all the way home. I would normally walk with a horse on a new patch of ground the first time so this was normal and it felt good to get further than last time we went out. Walking with Bella not only gives her a break from being ridden but it helps keep her confidence when doing new things, it worked out well and the whole riding bit was calm, relaxed, happy and willing. We did some really nice walk but also a lovely relaxed trot too and she led a lot of the way there and back which was fab πŸ™‚










































Thurs 17th Sept

A little bit tired today but went down and gave Bella a really good groom and then did some very small, slow bits for her Stage 2 assessment.

  1. Lead by the leg…












2. Nose to tail….







3. Bridle while sitting down….(tried it from the side but worked nicely from the front with cheek and noseband undone πŸ˜‰ )













4. Familiarisation with rope throwing over Bella’s back then walking about with it over her back (preparation for me throwing and bringing back a lasso and for Bella pulling a tyre from the saddle) πŸ™‚




























Fri 18th Sept

Another hot day up here so thought about taking yesterdays ‘rope throwing’ to the next step which would be slow and easy and not make Bella sweaty. She did really well, we started with pulling a tyre on the ground, then ridden rope throwing at a standstill, then pulling the rope walking around the arena. Final piece of the puzzle is to actually pull the tyre whilst riding πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚


























































Sat 18th Sept

Well what a lovely day today was…..great weather, great company and a great hack out through three very large fields along a local river. Bella lead a lot of the way, was happy to go away from Stormy or let him trot/canter off in front πŸ˜‰ She was a super star and am hoping to do this hack again soon πŸ˜‰

























































Sun 20th Sept

Set up an Agility course today in our large rectangular arena area….some fun things, all regular but in a different area which can always make a difference. I had fun with Stormy at liberty first, he showed Bella what to do and I think he really enjoyed it. Then I did the same course with Bella online πŸ˜‰































And then Mark rode Stormy around the course πŸ˜‰































  • Shelley – HorseSavvy



Bella – August 2020

Sat 1st August

Well what a fab way to welcome in the new month with a hack to the house and back. First time hack in 6 weeks and Bella did it like she has done it every day….so proud of her. Our FIRST today was to walk up the big main hill in their field πŸ˜‰ Yeehaa






























































Sun 2nd Aug

YEEHAA….what a GOOD day today was. Didn’t go out for long and didn’t intend to ride as been a busy morning at home BUT got on Bella and just wanted to go around some of the obstacles near the shelter for some fun….she had some nice energy and trotted nicely over the poles and tarp but then these two things came together…..







She stood with her front feet on the pedestal for a while, I could feel her shifting her weight, putting her front feet further forward and then without me asking she just put her back feet up…you can see by my face that I wasn’t expecting it…so proud of her, she’s so clever. ThenΒ  we did the small jump a few times with her doing her very big trot over it nicely and then I decided to go the other way, towards her stopping point for motivation, and put my legs on gently just before the jump and she did her first ridden jump for me πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚Β  SO proud of her, she’s amazing and she’s really thinking about what we’re doing together more <3


Thurs 6th Aug

SOOOOO very very hot today SO just did grooming, fly spray and then seeing if Bella could put all 4 feet on the pedestal online….well, yes she did….we now have a solid ‘up’ cue word for going on the pedestal πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ yeehaa πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚

<Bella on pedestal first with Stormy watching and then Stormy on it at liberty with Bella watching > πŸ™‚





Fri 7th Aug

Another hot day today but with a small breeze and a chance for a short ride with Bella. She did a lovely canter up the hill again and a raised jump which she flew over πŸ˜‰


Love that they love their shelter.


Lovely springy trot today




Lovely strong canter up the hill and a big bold jump afterwards πŸ˜‰






Sun 9th Aug

Today, although warm, has a fabulous breeze which makes it a nice day for a ride. Mark/Stormy and me/Bella rode the perimeter of the field fence very nicely. We started off with a lovely loose rein walk then a nice energetic trot around the large fig 8 and finished off with a huge striding canter up the hillock. Last, but by no means least, I asked her to step onto the pedestal and again she amazed me by putting all 4 feet up on it πŸ™‚ WOW πŸ™‚



Tue 11th Aug


Very hot here at the moment so short sweet play sessions…revisited the curtain today, she was sceptical of it last time we played with it but over time I’ve been working on our connection and partnership and this time around she trusted me and didn’t baulk at it at proud of her and how far she’s come in just over a year πŸ˜‰




She backed up through it nicely and very straight AND also went through it, hard side first, on her own πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚








Then we played with some fig 8’s in the meadow area and she decided that trying it at canter would be fun πŸ˜‰




Very attentive and happy to play…LOVE this pic of us two >



Sidepassing over the tyres and then fig 8’s with two obstacles really close together.



It was a fun filled session but really not that long so it didn’t sweat her up or tire her out πŸ˜‰


Stormy showing how it’s done at Liberty πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚








Thurs 13th Aug




Another stonkingly HOT day today….went out to just be with the horses and to connect. Took Bella into the round pen for some grazing and she LOVED all the long grass in there so it became a game of S2M and then she’d walk off, graze and then Draw back to me πŸ™‚









Some really lovely draw moments





And some lovely wait with me moments too πŸ™‚









She also decided it was time for PLAY…which was lovely to see <3




And her draw back was still great, energetic but great πŸ˜‰




Then we did a wee bit of ‘pedestal’ play to end a lovely short session and she put all 4 feet up again on it




waited on it while I walked around her too πŸ™‚





Fri 14th Aug

Not quite so sunny/hot today but it started to get ‘clammy’ so we got out into the meadow and did some fabulous RtR and Cloverleaf patterns on both reins and mostly in trot before it got unbearable. So proud of her, she has become fitter and lost a bit of weight in the process (bit like me) and she gave a lovely energetic trot for most of the ride. She also did some fab warm up play with this great jump where she decided going into canter before it was the best option πŸ˜‰ clever girlie πŸ˜‰














She’s lost weight and is much fitter πŸ˜‰















waiting patiently for her reward


reward time πŸ˜‰ <3 πŸ™‚





Sat 15th Aug

“Practise makes Progress”… Bella and I practised our RtR w/Cloverleaf patterns in trot in the big meadow. It’s the 1st repeat from yesterday and we are practising it with progress for the next few days we ride together. This will give us the Consistency of Learning so that the pattern comes easier and easier as we do it and Bella gets more confident with the pattern, my cues and our connection.Β  I will then change the pattern slightly (probably RtR with Fig 8’s) so that we have variety and we start to find more of the partnership I’m looking for when riding…where I can think something, my body adjusts and she adjusts beneath me. To get there this practise creates a solid foundation to work from for later exercises πŸ™‚


Riding the Rail in trot is good, her trot is becoming much more consistent





Cloverleaf pattern is a series of 4 circles one after the other joined by 4 straight lines through the centre of the pattern. Her trot on circles is really solid now




Clover leaf around my two big round pens and then my two made up circles of 8 batches of tyres and 8 cones πŸ˜‰








RtR trot

Resting after quite a quick set of patterns >



<3 Me and the kids <3




Tues 18th Aug

Today was fab…great for riding with a nice breeze and Bella and I cantered up the hillock very well and then cantered for the first time on the flat….boy has she some powerful energy but she listened well to my calm vibe πŸ˜‰












Thurs 20th Aug

Today was another early morning hack to the house for the farrier visit and then a lovely hack back to the field. Bella was FABuLOUS…lovely soft walk all the way there and back, sometimes following Stormy, sometimes leading but always calm and happy. I really love this big girlie a huge amount, she is just perfect and I’m LOVING being with her, playing with her, grooming her, hanging out with her, riding her and training her but most of all having FUN with HER <3


Ridden quiet and calmly up the fields big hill and then walking with me to our mounting block (gateway)





Following Stormy nicely and Storm taking a water break





Such a lovely morning for a hack out πŸ˜‰

Waiting patiently for the farrier





Happy to wait calmly for Mark to mount Stormy πŸ™‚

Lovely to see Bella’s confidence growing when she takes the lead a few times on the way home today πŸ™‚



Waiting for Stormy to catch up and then taking the lead again





In the lead and then fine with Stormy re-taking the lead





Almost side by side on the narrow track above their field and then she took the lead again when Stormy decided it might be his last chance to snatch at some long grass πŸ˜‰




Last leg and nearly there


Lovely view from the track




Field gate in sight and she figured out how to sidle to the gate for me to get off easily…what a great girlie she is <3




Mark and Stormy



Fri 21st Aug

Raining today but we’ve been asking the horses to come up the big hill in their field for breakfast and dinner SO they’ve been getting regular exercise up and down this. It’s great to have this as it not only keeps them fit, their stream is up here too, but it gives them some fab familiarisation so that it’s easier to ride it, as I did yesterday. Here’s pics from today’s breakfast, calling them up the hill for food and them following me down as I go to poo pick πŸ˜‰


Bella first up for her breakfast today….with Stormy a very close second





Breakfast with a fab view…took my own breakfast down and ate it too so it was a lovely picnic with the herd this morning πŸ˜‰





Following me down the hill so some really good exercise this morning πŸ˜‰






Sat 22nd Aug

Decided today was a day I thought would be good to start putting more effort in to Bella and my Liberty play. She did very well for the first bit of the session which was lovely. She got a bit confused, or bored, after this so we ended on a good note with 4 feet on the pedestal with the aid of a savvy string over her neck πŸ˜‰





Great job with the pedestal today







Sun 23rd Aug

Went down to the horses around 1pm but they were both snoozing in the shelter, neither Mark or I had the heart to ask them to play/ride today. Instead we gently groomed them to make them feel good, hung out for a bit and then left them to it.


Sleepy horses today







Mon 24th Aug

Out today hoping to have some play and maybe a ride around the field BUT we got there and groomed them and it was starting to drizzle…then heavy drizzle…then rain πŸ™ πŸ™ SO, when it slackened off a bit we played with them in the drizzle a bit but no riding today. Mark and Stormy played beautifully at Liberty and Bella and I played in and around the shelter online first and then around the agility arena with just a neck-rope. She did marvellously well, the rope 99% of the time very loose and our connection soft and tangible πŸ˜‰



After our play, Bella and I watched Mark and Stormy at Liberty. Horses can learn a lot by watching others so it’s always good to hang together to see what Mark and Storm get up to.





Storm was definitely on form today πŸ™‚







Drizzle outside…fun playing in and around their shelter…


…AND…going back to basic’s working towards better, longer, liberty sessions….going from online play to neck-rope play…



Sat 29th Aug

Well it’s been 9 days since I last rode Bella although we managed a couple of small play sessions. Today the weather is good riding weather so out to play and ride and what a good play and ride it was πŸ˜‰ Pics….

PLAY…Spirit with control. Attention with fun. Try with heart…

Sidepass over obstacle

Cantering with balance and relaxation




4 feet on pedestal

Attentive sidepass




Trot and canter through narrow gaps

Knows where her feet and obstacles are




Cantering to a jump, her own idea πŸ˜‰

Relaxing quicker after energetic exercises now πŸ˜‰




RIDING….Balanced energy. Controlled power. Relaxed games


Weaving through the flag poles






Bella wasn’t fazed by the flapping flags at all






Trot fig 8’s around the large round pens






Trotted the whole way around today without stopping πŸ˜‰






She’s got a lovely trot now, free and powerful and her left and right bends are much softer now πŸ˜‰




AND CANTER…..yeehaa

























What a wonderfully balanced, powerful canter we had today and we did it up the hillock and then further onto the flat….enormous fun πŸ˜‰ <3






Mon 31st Aug

Last day of August already and we’ve already noticed a very Autumnal air for about a week or so up here but out we go to catch up on some play and riding with the horses while it’s not too cold or raining. Lovely catch up on some lovely play with Bella and then a really nice, easy ride around the track system with obstacles along the way.


Lovely soft sidepass today, her diagonal legs working beautifully together.





Leg yields coming along very nicely too, it’s time to start trying these ridden I think.





Great circle transitions with the start of drawing at canter now πŸ˜‰





Fig 8’s with walk, trot and a bit of canter in them….we tried fig 8’s in a few ‘different’ ways, always up for variety on a theme as it shows the connection and communication between us.

Lovely togetherness


And some nice riding today too…we went around the whole of the track where all many agility obstacles are laid out now…up and down hillocks, weave around cones, scary narrow gaps with bunting on and some low and high trotting poles.



Nicely over raised trot poles and between narrow gaps now, she is learning about spaces and how much effort is needed now.




Raised trot poles or small ‘jumps’, she knows the distances and how to tackle them without worry or over excursion πŸ˜‰






Getting better with sidepassing but much better going to the right than left still






Focused on the pole box and trotted over it cleanly no problems. Then we managed to turn in the pole box whilst turning around.




Very clever girl moving so tightly. Then to get a nice canter we went out into the main field and did a fabulous trot fig 8 around the large round pens and a canter back to the track πŸ˜‰







  • Shelley – HorseSavvy





Bella Lesson 9 Video

Bella’s training is going really well, we’ve had her just over a year now and her confidence about what we’re asking her is just lovely to watch. This video shows how the games we started with a year ago are progressing and shows just how far she’s come with understanding it all now. Hope you enjoy watching as much as I enjoy playing πŸ˜‰



  • Shelley – HorseSavvy


Bella – July 2020

Sat 4th July

Not a bad day after some very wet and windy ones so decided to just go out for a bit of a walk out with Mark and Stormy. Was a lovely walk out and Bella was very well behaved.

































I then rode Bella for a bit in the agility area to work on my own balance and lightness and her flexibility and softness πŸ˜‰












Sun 5th July

Tried to get out for a bit but it was really only a bit as the rain started up again once we’d groomed and had a wee bit of play….so much for the Summer this year so far πŸ™









Did some really nice circle pole work and then she did some really lovely weaving on the same circle around the cones….I didn’t really ask it but she decided it would be fun so I went with the flow. She then did a fantabulously energetic trot draw to me at the end of the game πŸ˜‰ FAB














Mon 6th July

Sunshine today…but quite windy in the field so decided to get acquainted with riding out in the field again before venturing anywhere else. She was quite energetic and gave me a lot of her BIG trot which was hard to sit to and my balance was just off a bit rising but we managed to do some nice togetherness between those. The end session on the track found some nice lightness, softness and partnering up so we’re getting there slowly πŸ˜‰

























Tues 7th July

Well we had nice weather and we went out for a ride on the lower field (the Haugh), it was the first time I’d ridden in there with Bella and a big step forward and we managed some nice stuff BUT the clegs (horseflies) were SO bad I’m amazed wee Bella didn’t have a gallop home, she was twitching and swishing, her head all over the place and she had huge trouble trying to stand still let alone concentrate on what I was asking her. I went with letting her walk or stop when or if she wanted and all I did was direct her in long lazy serpentines and circles thereby trying to find some relaxation. In the end there were so many horseflies on her I abandoned doing the hack out and jumped off, slapped the flies off her and walked her home to her field where the flies are less due to the track having short grass. It was a brave attempt but she is too sensitive to try to go out when the flies are that bad so will keep that in mind next time. I was so proud of both of us, her for being so good to not blow her top, and me, for staying on and figuring out some exercises to find relaxation. After that the next time will be easier πŸ˜‰


Weds 8th July

Got out to ride Bella and the weather was cool and with a lovely breeze…hardly a fly in sight..yeehaa πŸ˜‰ We both enjoyed doing some patterns in the arena, RtR w/t, Fig 8’s w/t and Clover leaf w/t .Nice to have a day of concentrated, relaxed riding. No pics as Mark had to be at home for a delivery so got these few pics off the video I did.



Sat 11th July – BELLA HAS BEEN WITH US ONE YEAR TODAY. Just love her to bits <3Β 

The horseflies are awful this year and poor Bella is really sensitive to them and it’s very hard for her to concentrate on anything too much SO today I decided to just have a wee play with some ‘speed’ as this will keep the flies away πŸ˜‰ Bella decided that canter circles would be fun and pretending the poles were jumps was a bonus! LOL πŸ™‚

My Gorgeous Girl


Sun 12th July

Because of the ‘Covid-19’ lockdown there have been no horse competitions but this has worked in our favour as the ‘Shire Horse Society’ is doing an online competition with showing and ridden horse classes which we are going to enter. We’d not be able to enter normally so this is a fun thing for us to do with our beautiful horses. Here are the pictures we are entering πŸ˜‰




< Bella and me in ‘Mare Class’






< Bella and me in ‘Ridden Class’






< Mark and Storm in ‘Gelding Class’






< Mark and Bella in ‘Ridden Class’





Weds 15th July

Nice breeze up today but horseflies bad too BUT I used some new flyspray on Bella and we managed to get about an hour of play/riding done without too much worry which was fabulous.



Thurs 16th July

Well finally today our field shelter arrives and is made. We ordered it just before the lockdown on the Covid pandemic so we’ve had to wait for supplies from Europe to come in and the company, Vale Stables, have been very busy so we waited patiently and it was SO worth the wait. Here’s some pics of it being made and how our horses take to it πŸ™‚
























All finished in around 4 1/2 hours…very impressed and hope the horses like it πŸ˜‰



This is them watching their ‘home’ being made…then it started to rain a bit so we did some play with the umbrella πŸ˜‰





Fri 17th July

Well we were quite worried about whether the horses would like or even use the shelter… need to worry at all πŸ˜‰ We think Bella has been used to a shelter in a field as she strode straight up to it and went in followed quickly by Stormy. They find in there coolness, no flies and away from rain when it rains. They went in and Mark found them in there last night at dinner time and this morning…….THIS….


Looks like we’ve stabled them and they are always this way around, wonder if Bella changes to the right side sometime?? how interesting πŸ˜‰ They LOVE IT πŸ™‚



The pics above came from when we went down in the afternoon for a groom, play, riding session πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚ SO pleased they are using it well, I think they’ll be in here most of the day and out grazing and moving about during the night πŸ˜‰ fab πŸ˜‰

SO…play and riding this afternoon was good, horseflies were a pain again but we got a pretty nice session after Bella calmed down and started concentrating on what I was asking of her.

Nice jump and then half circles through a narrow gap where she was finding the gap and going through herself, would have been easy to go around it so was impressed πŸ˜‰



She had less treat stops which is good, slowly transitioning to more doing and less treating πŸ˜‰



Nice circles once she started concentrating πŸ˜‰

Went out into the big field for some riding, clegs were a bit of a problem so she decided moving was the best option…she was trotting everywhere πŸ˜‰ lol


She had trouble listening for a while, going into trot all the time, which wasn’t a problem, but I kept asking for circles until we got some communication working.


Eventually she was able to focus and there were some lovely high energy trotting circles and connection and on that note we finished the session πŸ˜‰




Sat 18th July

Well today went really well…good play session, nice RtR around the main field and then Bella OFFERED CANTER and did a couple of strides going around a round pen so we went and did a longer canter bit up the small hillock in the field, she watched Stormy do it first and then just did it and it was as smooth as silk πŸ™‚ YEEHAA…we now have 3 gaits πŸ˜‰



Nice trot and canter play




Lovely sidepass and then pedestal fun





Tried a bit of ponying Stormy…she wasn’t sure about that but a nice first try πŸ˜‰



THEN…CANTER…So happy she offered and then tried again for me πŸ˜‰ yeehaa πŸ˜‰





What a star she is πŸ™‚






Sun 19th July

Went to maybe hang out with Bella & Storm this afternoon but Bella was laying down being watched by Stormy, then Stormy lays down too so we take the hint and do some ragworting instead. Sometimes, no every time, the horses always have a say in what we do. I try to listen to what they’re trying to say to me and if they’re tired and don’t come to interact with me then I check to make sure they’re not ill but then allow them to take a day off if they want…they always come to interact better the next time I go down so this interaction is invaluable πŸ˜‰









Mon 20th July

Having the weather to be consistent in training has really paid off. TodayΒ  Bella was relaxed and very balanced and gave me our 2nd ridden canter up the small hillock in our field. It was such a lovely, easy to ride canter and we rode the rail twice around the whole field in walk and trot with Stormy and Mark coming alongside between him cantering off and keeping busy.



























We finished on a really lovely trot over poles…she is SO good with her feet πŸ˜‰


Tues 21st July

Giving Bella a rest from being ridden today and because the horseflies are out in force I decide to do a short video lesson, today we did Lesson 9 and it is on the ‘Bella’s Lesson’ page πŸ˜‰


Sun 26th July

I’ve not been able to get out and about to see/play/ride horses due to a very sore back and up until yesterday I’ve had to stay inside and mostly stay in bed and sleep or sit very still to try to get better. Today I am able to at least walk a bit so got down to the field and walked Bella in the big field, played a wee bit and thoroughly enjoyed just being in the field with them πŸ™‚





Mon 28th July

Well my back is feeling a lot better so time to go out and see Ms Bella and maybe have a wee play together πŸ˜‰


< Nice to see a low jump done well, could ride that now πŸ˜‰

She’s my perfect horse >


< Nice balanced, light trot


Hiding in the shelter when rain starts >


< Fab sidle to mounting block…perfectly done to help me

Soft, easy walk that is easy to just sit to >



< She loves the pedestal and is getting much better at walking over it now >




< Gathering her energy up and our first try on riding leg yields >




< Leg yield to left, harder

Nice and easy into trot, just thought about it and she was soft and easy on my back >



< Lovely and light over the trot poles >




< Trot through bunting lane and then through narrow lane and fab on a DHQ to finish πŸ˜‰ >





Thurs 30th July

Today, between rainfall, I managed to get out and rearrange some of the Agility obstacles. Now instead of being in one smallish area I have spread them around the whole flat track area that the horses graze in all day. NOW we’ll be able to have more transitions through walk, trot and canter and build up moving over larger areas. Today was a lot of fun following Mark and Stormy around the course. Here’s some pics of me and Bella riding around some of the obstacles before the rain came down again and we called off play πŸ™‚










































Fri 31st July

Well the last day of July is here already…..we were going to do a short hack to the house but the heat today was almost intollerable and the horseflies were making Bella find it hard to concentrate so we did a lovely short session around the Field Agility course again and called it quits. August tomorrow and it’s been 10 months since I backed and started this gorgeous girl…how far she’s come πŸ˜‰ Fab <3


< Trot weave going really well.

Trot through bunting lane >




< Long weave through narrow lanes and then nettle patches the other side >




< We did a LOT of lovely easy to sit to trot today…around more nettle patches >




< Halt on the tarpaulin and then backing up off it before setting off again >





< Lovely big trot heading to the trot poles which she does so well now >




< Set up a very small jump and ask her to go over it with a high stepping trot >



< She has lovely high steps on her back legs too and it stays up well…more trot in a circle to give it another go >

< Very big trot coming into the pole/jump again and this time although still trotted over it you can see she has thought about taking her weight back onto her hindquarters…..thinking about jumping it next time. I didn’t do it again, just praised her and got off as a reward for trying hard this time, next time she’ll be thinking about more effort and when she’s ready she’ll do a wee jump I’m sure πŸ˜‰


Be interesting to see what August brings, hopefully some cooler weather, a nice breeze and some nice short hacks out on the track.

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy



Bella – June 2020

Mon 1st June

Been really hot scorching days up here so haven’t done anything with the horses for a few days but today was hot but with a lovely breeze down in the field so we decided to reconnect to them with a wee bit of bareback riding πŸ˜‰















Wed 3rd June

Very windy up here today but at least it’s dry. We decide to go out for a walk/ride in the fields next to ours and I think about riding around the lower field BUT there has recently been put into a nearby field a booming bird scarer to scare off deer in local silage fields. We never know when it’s going to go off or where exactly it is as they move it regularly…I hate it and today, with the wind, wasn’t a day for me to be overly brave or stoopid SO we walked a bit, I got on from a gate then off again and walked more and then got on at the gate again to ride up the hill to home and then do more riding in our Agility area. All went well and no unnecessary accidents as with the wind both horses had some wind in their tails. I really enjoy walked my beauty Bella out and it’s good for my ankle to get more exercise so that helps my post surgery too πŸ˜‰


































Sun 7th June

The weather, again, has made it a few days since i’ve been able to have a play or ride session with Bella. Today it is still a bit windy but dry and not too cold SO out to reconnect with my beautiful Bella.


< Back up through narrow gap

Draw trot >



< Trot poles

Circling with obstacles >




Walk, Trot and Canter circles in both direction with obstacles to watch out for πŸ™‚










< Halt in a box

My gorgeous Bella >



< Is Bella posing at the camera? lol

Canter circles >




< Draw to me after circling

Nice walk fig 8’s >




< Nice trot fig 8’s.

Slowly getting the hang of ridden trot curves and circles >



< Clover leaf with bits of trot

Riding the Rail >




< Corners game still good

Riding the Rail >





Mon 8th June

Lovely to have some consistency with Bella’s play/riding today. It was easier and quicker to connect and she was relaxed and very light off the cues πŸ™‚
































And they had a lovely race to the top of the hill at dinner time too…














Tues 9th June

And today was another FAB consistent day of play/riding for us. Easy connection, light cues, quick play then ride with Mark and Stormy again πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚


< New game: Half circles on the move went really well today >




< Another new game today: Rolling Rock…backup, move forehand….





< Sidepass a few steps >





< DHQ and then repeat on other side πŸ˜‰



< After fun ride with Mark we tried some sidepass again, going to the right not bad but to the left is still a struggle but getting there…



Last trot before getting off…I asked for a bit more energy and she did really well πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚




LOVE this girl so much, this trot was fabulous <3





Video of Mark & Storm, Me and Bella riding together πŸ˜‰ …


Thurs 11th June

Another fun day playing with Bella. Am adding more games and patterns so that they become more fluid together and adding some canter work now too. I have also started using the 2 x lighter, thinner lines instead of the heavy 22′ with the big brass snap as I feel she is light enough for me to be light with her now and also using the 2 thin lines allows me to put in more familiarisation with tossing one rope over her head for long reining and also to COD outwith the circle her direction.



Half circles on the move





Canter fun




Tossing rope over head, COD and long reining




Then we rode with Mark and Stormy again which was a lot of fun, after we did that I asked Bella to work just a little longer than Stormy so that we don’t make a habit of stopping together.






























And before dismounting I try out some left and right sidepass again. She has been ‘getting’ going to the right pretty well as this is her naturally bent way of going (her body arc’d around my left leg and head to the left so movement goes to the right) but she has been quite sticky trying to figure out going to the left (her head and body bent to the right) as this is her naturally unbent/flexible side. SO, I’ve been trying it out gently and making sure she is relaxed enough to physically and mentally bend to the right so that we can then move to the left. She does it fabulously well on the ground but she did have quite a hard time figuring it out at the onset so it’s the same being ridden. Today though she has had time to figure it out and I’ve had time to figure out how to help her more. It’s not about pressure, it’s about energy movement by her shoulder which she has learned to move away from (ie. in our ground work) so I took my orange savvy string and gently swivelled it by her shoulder and she ‘got it’ πŸ™‚


Sidepass to the right






Sidepass to the left..yeehaa πŸ˜‰




Fri 12th June

Today we had a lovely session and a wee bit of Liberty and some long reining but then she got a shock from touching one electric fence that I forgot to turn off, remembered the other 3, and I think now I’m going to have to take the time out to reconnect with her as she is tossing her head up again….at least now I know it’s the electric fencing that has caused this and not something else…SO, we’ve turned all the electric fencing off so that she starts to become more confident about being near it and near it with me and Mark. Accidents happen but am really annoyed it’s put our progress back a bit BUT it is never a bad thing to redo stuff from earlier lessons SO I just have to help her get over her worry and I’m sure it’ll be fine again soon.

Some pics from today…


< Trot draw and a lovely connect >




< Liberty S2M trot


Liberty backup >



< Rewards


Connecting nicely >




< Long rein canter

Long reining around the arena >




Sat 13th June

Today I knew I needed to try to re-connect back to where we were a couple of days ago. She followed us on the quad bike to the agility arena and not too bad haltering so we played for a bit on a new Agility course I’d build last night. I then set her free to rest and graze with Stormy so that I could test whether she would halter up again as only playing once a day makes a habit of only being haltered once a day. She didn’t want to be caught the 2nd time for more play but seemed to be playing with me so we played a bit and then she caught me when I decided to play and treat Stormy. Once re-haltered I played with her and Stormy joined in at liberty and left things on a good note πŸ˜‰


Agility 1. Straddle a log

Agility 2. Sidepass




Agility 3. Walk/halt in box

Agility 4. Jump




Agility 5. Weave

Agility 6. Fig 8’s in trot




Agility 7. Trot poles

Agility 8. Scary corner




Agility 9. Trot over tarp

Agility 10. 2 feet on ped and turn on forehand



Mid session YEEHAAA….





Two horse S2M

Bella online

Stormy at Liberty













Bella scary corner…looking for more relaxation through this today, 2nd time was much better.




Over tarp

Over trot poles





Single foot on pedestal





Sun 14th June

Wanting to get my Connection back with Bella I decided go back to where we started 11 months ago with some liberty roundpen work. She can move away if she wants, she can come to me if she wants and I will follow or draw depending on what her body language is telling me is okay to do. With this ‘dance’ we can start off our communication again and she’ll soon realise we can get back to where we were last week and the ‘accident’ that spooked her will be in the past. Sometimes you just have to go back and repeat a lesson as often as the horse needs it and then gradually get back to where you were so that it all fits into place stronger and thereby the connection is stronger. Here’s some pics from our roundpen dance…









































Mark then ponied Bella from Stormy around the field too and she was very good πŸ˜‰





Mon 15th June

Today I decided to just go and ‘hang out’ in the field with Bella, do some mirroring, following her footsteps and seeing if she is okay with me being close, touching her etc. She was pretty good, I stayed with her for about an hour, moving with her, moving away to give her a break and coming back. Towards the end I also gently threw a savvy string over her neck to ‘catch’ her and she was fine, also stood in front of her and lowered her head with the string to ask her to let me take it off with relaxation and I did that over 10 times in the last 15 mins which was fab. She was very good, only moved away twice but didn’t go far and stood waiting for me after the turn too so much better than yesterday. Her spookiness is lessening and I want her to not be ‘worried’ if I want to catch/halter her more than once a day SO this was a good start and I will keep repeating haltering/leaving/haltering when I it feels right to so that multiple catching during a day isn’t thought of as bad πŸ™‚














Tues 16th June

A very hot, muggy day today so definitely no riding for us but another Agility session for us which was a lot of fun and felt much more connected through it all πŸ˜‰







































Mark and Stormy had fun too….




















Weds 17th June

Played and rode Bella for a bit, she is still a wee bit sensitive to touch but worked on a lot of familiarisation of patting her shoulders, back, chest and neck afterwards to help her. She is getting easier to catch again which is nice and following the quad bike again too πŸ˜‰ Here’s some pics from today…didn’t do a lot but it’s been 6 days since I rode her and 5 since the accidental touch of the electric fencing (which has now been totally turned off) πŸ™‚


< Doing a forehand towards then away for a COD >





< Last bit of COD

Swinging the rope for Familiarisation on the move >




< More familiarisation >






< Loose rein riding, she was quite good at turning from my focus/energy/weight/leg cues >





< She was forward but not fast today






< Nice halt over pole and then I take the reins up and do some nice serpentines πŸ™‚



Lovely trot at the end

She had sticky feet at the end so Mark jumped on Stormy and we followed him around for some more confidence πŸ˜‰


Thurs 18th June

Went and had a quick play and ride with Bella just before dinner time. I wanted to try a regular saddle pad with a small front memory foam riser as I got the feeling the saddle set up I have at the moment isn’t as good for her as I want it SO tried it, played with new set up and then rode in it and it felt SO much deeper and better with some rise at the front which is exactly what I wanted. Will try it again next time to confirm if she’s happier in it and can move better πŸ˜‰


Saddle seems to sit better, thinner, lighter pad and front riser in place. I also did it up on the first and third girth straps (Wintec Wide’s have 4 and was using first and forth but changed that today).











Fri 19th June

Today, like yesterday, it has been pretty wet, drizzle to full on heavy rain SO only manage to get out just before the horses dinner time. Not the best time to try to play/ride, try new saddle arrangement again BUT needs must πŸ˜‰ She was okay, saddle defo feels better and off her shoulders, deeper for me to sit to and am happy to keep using this arrangement for her.


Sat 20th June

Today we decided to get out onto the main part of the field for some riding with Mark and Stormy. They don’t get to graze this part until late Autumn and Winter so it has some lovely long grass. They did well, not snatching for grass and some nice ‘leap frog’ and ‘walk/trot side by side’ πŸ˜‰
































Sun 21st June

Another day for a change…Mark and I, Stormy and Bella, go out for a walk/ride along the Cateran Trail. Nice weather and they did brilliantly, they went further than they’ve done before and Bella went over the wooden bridge on her own without worrying…she is SO cool. I walked most of the way but before the big hill at the end I mounted and rode her home. She was so good sidling up to the stone wall for me to get on her πŸ˜‰ Love it when all the play and training works when you need it to πŸ˜‰
















































































Tues 23rd June

Today the farrier is due at around 10am so we decide to go down to the field and ride them home, get their feet done and then ride them back to the field πŸ˜‰ Great idea, bit drizzly so we got a bit wet and with the drizzle and muggy weather we had a few midges at home BUT they were fab. Snatched at some grass and trees along the way but fab to sidle to gate and also big stone for mounting so again the training is working brilliantly and I got to ride her twice today which is not only the longest I’ve probably ridden her but also the earliest I’ve ridden her πŸ˜‰ Really enjoyed it πŸ˜‰



























Was just lovely to hack out with Mark and Stormy today. She was perfect in every way and with nice feet now too πŸ™‚






Weds 24th June

Today was very hot and both Mark and I were tired SO we decided to just go down and ‘be’ with the horses today as expected they were too hot too….yup, they were…




























Fri 26th June

So hot and humid today, too hot to do much with the horses apart from groom and put more fly spray on but I manage a very short bareback ride on Bella for fun.

















Sat 27th June

Managed to get out with the horses just before it started to pour with rain. The horse flies were quite bad and she was quite distracted so had a few stops and not wanting to go forward but when she did go she was lovely and she started getting that lovely big trot that covers the ground really quickly πŸ˜‰












































Mon 29th June

Today we managed to get out between rain showers here and I wanted to test my new Prolite front riser gel pad which goes the length of the saddle with extra padding at the front over the withers.Β  Last time (previous post) she was reluctant to move forward much and I wasn’t sure if it was the weather, being away from Stormy or just stubbornness SO today would be a test. First we did some ground games and then I had the first ride with the new pad and then I had a ride with the old system of just a normal pad and a pad just at the front of the saddle…


< Canter circles





New Prolite saddle pad….reluctance to go forward with flow



Old pad just at the front and she was eager to move nicely πŸ˜‰ Just goes to show that changing things about is necessary to find what’s right but listening closely to the horses feedback is the key πŸ˜‰



Tues 30th June

Well the last day of June already…where has the first half of the year gone? and another muggy day with a LOT of horseflies (we call them clegs up here) so it was very hard for Bella to concentrate on what I was asking but we had a wee play anyway and despite the darned flies we had a good session. Here’s some pics…


< pole circles

Sidepass over cone and pole >



< Trot through narrow gap with relaxation

Out of gap and DHQ for halt >



< 2 feet on ped

Sidle over log >





< Back up off log

Trotting up with just neck rope >



< 2 horse draw and then connect to walk forward together >




< Treats

Bestest horsey hug >




< Good hug from Bella too

My babies >




  • Shelley – HorseSavvy




Bella Lesson 8 Video

Update on our Riding skills. These patterns used with my focus/energy/weight/leg cues will encourage Bella to turn with those cues and I’ll be using my reins less and less.

  1. Corners. This is the updated version of P2Ps, now without the obstacle we focus on the corners and use them for a breath halt and trying not to use the reins unless needed.
  2. X-Box. Using the centre as X where things change….direction, gait, pattern.
  3. Clover Leaf. Straight lines and curves again using X as the centre to halt after the rotations of the leaf pattern thereby building more walk and trot and less halt.


  • Shelley – HorseSavvy


Training Tip – Sidle to mounting block left and right

Training your horse to come to the mounting block for me is an essential technique. To train them to come on either side is not only a good technique but also fun and helps them, and us, to be more symmetrical. I taught Bella to sidle on the left when we started to back her last September. Coming over on the right I started a couple of weeks ago I think and now it’s fun to try either…or both…



  • Shelley – HorseSavvy


Bella Agility Video – 8

No video this time around.

This time with our Agility I decided to try it first at Liberty…just for fun and to see what would happen. I wanted to see what our connection was like, would she follow me, would she ask questions and try things out or would she be needing to be with Stormy or run off?? Here is what happened in pictures….

  1. Weave
  2. Feet in hulahoop
  3. Curtain
  4. Jump
  5. Tarpaulin
  6. Trot poles
  7. Cone fig 8
  8. Labyrinth
  9. Water tray
  10. Distance touch nose to barrel





Afterwards I decided it was a good time to try riding some of the obstacles and again she was brilliant πŸ˜‰


  • Shelley – HorseSavvy



Training Tip – Head Down (and bridle whilst sitting)

This is putting the ‘head down’ task to the purpose of bridling whilst sitting down. Bella has been learning to put her nose into the noseband with a bit of head down but her head has to be much lower when I sit down to do it SO this is the next stage of training for this with the goal to be a refined, good version…it is a work in progress πŸ˜‰


  • Shelley – HorseSavvy



Bella – May 2020

Fri 1st May

What a great start to the month. Today we had quite a few FIRSTS….
1) First ride in different area
2) First proper ride with Mark and Stormy
3) First ride in main field with Mark and Stormy
4) First ride around big round pens and all the way back to the agility arena with Mark and Stormy
5) First time putting 2 feet onto pedestal while ridden

I was SO happy to ride in a different area and with Mark and Stormy. Using all the patterns we’ve built up over the weeks we managed to use transitions (backup/halt/walk/trot), P2P’s to many obstacles including jump wings, barrels, tyres and cones, Circles, straight lines, LF & DHQ. I really enjoyed riding with Mark and Stormy and we need to build that up more and more over the next few weeks so that it doesn’t concern us and we can start using some new games to play with them. Here’s some pics from today…







































First time ridden pedestal










Sat 2nd May

And what a fabulous 2nd day to May we had today. Weather a bit cooler but a great day for a LONG walk out with the horses. Mark rode Stormy and we followed in a huge semi-circle of field around their field. Went along two tracks, 4 huge fields, along the river, had some grazing, played with a fence post on the ground and generally had a lovely time. Storm and Mark had a good ride out with plenty of walk, trot and canter and Bella and I got really connected and had a really nice time out and about exploring. Bella was so calm, attentive and happy to walk out carrying our ‘stuff’ in the bags on her back.






















































Sun 3rd May

Today I had some FIRSTS with bella. First try at a Liberty session. First doing Liberty Agility. First Ridden Agility and First full Cloverleaf pattern ridden around my 2 big roundpens and tyre/cone circles πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚ That’s 4 FIRSTS and I’m smiling from ear to ear. She coped with the agility without a problem and with the help of treats she stayed with me the whole way around the agility course and did a fab job with all the obstacles….so proud of her and really showed me how far we’ve come in the 10 months she’s been with us πŸ™‚ Here are some pics of the Liberty agility, ridden agility and then riding the cloverleaf in the big field area….


< Weave

Feet in hulahoops>




< Under the Curtain

Jump >




< Trot over the tarp

Trot poles >




< Raised Labyrinth

Trying the curtain again >




< Ridden weave

Halt on the jump pole >




< Back off jump pole

Walk/halt/backup/walk off tarp >




< Walk over poles

Through the labyrinth >




< Over the water tray

Stand in water tray>




< Circling round pen walk

Circling with some trot >





< Nice curve coming on her right side

Focused on the centre of the cloverleaf >




< Relaxed and understanding the pattern more and more as we do the 4 circles >





Weds 6th May

Today Mark brought the horses back to the house for an early farrier visit tomorrow…































A lovely ride back for Mark and horses calm, happy and knowing their destination πŸ˜‰


Thurs 7th May

Today the farrier came early to trim Storm & Bella’s hooves. They did it so quickly and really helped us out as neither of us do the job fast or easily anymore.Β  Pic of them eyeing up the Highland cows opposite their field.



Storm and Bella being trimmed πŸ˜‰







And after all that I got to ride Stormy and lead Bella back home today. This was my first ‘hack out’ for a long long time and it felt good. Storm was a calm, safe boy and Bella moseyed along beside and behind him perfectly. I know soon this route to the house and back will be Bella and my first ‘hack out’ together and I’m really looking forward to it πŸ™‚



Fri 8th May

Went down to have some play with Bella and Stormy today. Didn’t do too much as quite tired today and ankle/achilles is sore but we did some nice bits and connected well.



Circling and a sweet moment with Bella




Halt with feet over pole and then putting that to a sidepass to the jump wing





Labyrinth used as trot poles where she looked where she was going and kept a lovely trot






Sidepass over a jump wing both ways




and then 2 feet on pedestal




Then Stormy showed Bella how to do 4 feet on the ped again





Sidling to the mounting block to the right and left πŸ˜‰





Sat 9th May


Didn’t do anything today as very tired myself but went and fed them their dinner and hung out with them for a little while. Always lovely just being with them doing nothing, it’s when you often see the sweetest things πŸ™‚






Sun 10th May

Had a rest day yesterday so today we went out and I was going to play then ride Bella BUT when we got down to the field it was blowing a really cold wind from the north and it was hard to think. Looking up the weather forecast we could see the weather deteriorate from the north with predicted -3 tonight SO as there are trees before and after our house we bought the horses home for some respite from the constant wind.














Bella and Stormy did a good job again coming back to the house







We’re SO glad we brought them home as we put their medium winter rugs on around 8pm as it was freezing out there…bruggghhh






Mon 11th May


This morning after breakfast time and I’d poo picked the paddocks I saw them sleeping in the sunshine together. This is what we miss when they’re down in their main field down the road and I LOVE seeing it when they’re here…..just lovely to see them happy and relaxed together πŸ™‚




Around mid afternoon we decided that just because they’re here at home we can still do something with them for fun. Normally they are only here in Winter so everywhere is covered in snow but as it’s Springtime we have a whole area to explore now….the moor behind our house. So today this was our challenge…for Mark to ride Storm and me walk Bella in-hand up on the moor for as far as we can walk. We did a lovely trip with two hills climbed and I think the horses enjoyed themselves as much as Mark and I did πŸ˜‰



Going up the first hill from horse paddock and home. Both horses calm and Storm leads the way well. He’s been up this bit before.



Bella is connected to me while still watching where Storm goes but she’s not worried when he goes further away.



Lovely on the flat bit of moor, Bella and I stroll companionably along




Storm ahead and we’re okay with that. Start going up the 2nd hill that winds it’s way through the heather




Mark and Storm wait for us to catch up on top of the hill and then I get to take a pic of them both with Mark before we turn and head back for home.



Well…after a few snatches of heather as both horses can’t resist it πŸ™‚

Bella watching Storm head for home still lovely and calm and probably wondering what the walk was all about.






Bella taking in the view, orienting herself and making notes for our next walk out. Storm and Mark going over one water ‘obstacle’ well.



Love these gorse bushes all in bloom at the moment and where we do the other water ‘feature’ which both horses take in their stride πŸ˜‰



Gorgeous Bella did the walk out beautifully and I feel us getting closer and closer to when I’ll ride her out on these wee hacks.



Tue 12th May



A bit of a windy, cold day so we all took a rest day but we did get out and give Bella and Stormy a touch of grazing while we gave them a good groom.





Wed 13th May

Today I decide that it’s a good opportunity to ride here from home…maybe the start of ‘hacking’ out if she’s okay to ride here.

< I first walk her up and down the place we’re going to ride to get her used to it and to help me know that she’s okay with it all.

I then mount her at the end of the paddock where there’s a big stone we use as a mounting block and ride her back down to where Mark and Stormy are and stop at the paddock gate.

She was absolutely fine, we walked along the grass verge as it’s more comfortable for her barefoot feet.

I then took her back up with a bit of trot and back down again twice more before going a little bit further past Stormy, back to the mounting block to dismount and then walked her back home nice and calmly.

It was a lovely introduction to hacking out which we will hopefully do more of soon πŸ™‚






Thurs 14th May

Today I decide to ride Bella again, this time a wee bit further and with Mark and Storm accompanying us which makes it a lovely FIRST HACK OUT for us all πŸ™‚

I really enjoyed it, past fears of worry from Solly my previous horse, are fading and it’s so lovely to be able to ride out again.


Great mounting and walking slowly up the hill





Following Stormy is great





I walk back down the hill to rest her and make sure she’s okay



Back down the hill I remount at the stone and ride the short distance home πŸ˜‰




Fri 15th May

Today we did further and longer on our 2nd hack out with Mark and Storm..yeehaa. We went onto the moor beyond the hill gateway, we went a wee bit without Stormy and we had a few more trotting sessions πŸ˜‰ Really enjoyed it and I love that we can do this from home, little and often and build Bella’s world confidence and re-build my confidence hacking out too πŸ™‚
































Sat 16th May

3rd Hack today when we took the Bella & Stormy back to their big field a mile down the road. They have done this route quite a few times now with Mark or Me riding Storm and leading Bella from him…so I knew she was happy about the route. Riding from the field to home and back again may be this years main ride as with Covid-19 about we don’t want to ride into the village this year.

Here’s some pics from the ride πŸ˜‰































I used a slightly different halter/bridle set up today. Rope halter same as normally use but it has rings on the sides. I have added a chin strap that also has rings on the ends which loop through the halter loops. This way I can use it as a regular rope halter on the bottom loops, a sidecue from the regular halter rings but also I could put the clip on reins onto the chin strap loops which when used will very slightly tighten the chin strap but won’t over tighten due to the material and width of where you hold the reins πŸ˜‰

I am going to be using this for a while and also her lovely Transcend Sidecue leather bridle to get more softness on her face and more refinement in our riding.




Tues 19th May

Today we went to play with the horses but I’ve not done anything with them for over 2 days now so decided to play with Bella to re-connect to her and then play/ride Stormy to get me back in the saddle and working my stiff muscles. Pics from the day….


Jumping fig 8’s

Sidepassing between cones




Trotting over poles and a tarp




Placing feet and then playing with Stormy while Bella watched




I did a lot of ridden P2P Corners game and then some X box games with Stormy all loose rein, tomorrow hopefully do it all on Bella πŸ˜‰




Wed 20th May

Lovely day for horse play and I had a new ‘toy’ to play with….a Unicorn SpaceHopper that friend Kat bought for me. It was a lot of fun and Bella didn’t mind it at all…thought I was a bit crazy when I sat and bounced on it though! LOL

















< Long reining with Transcend bitless sidecue bridle on. I want to ride in this but needed to know if we had riding cues on board first….left and right ok but halt and backup a bit sticky.

< Tried out a rope combo bridle too which can be used as a sidecue or with an active chinstrap…sidecue was good SO decided to ride in this too as it takes us from riding with reins under the chin to reins on the sides which is the progression I want.

< I rode with both reins, keeping the under chin ones loose and using the new side ones most of the time. She responded nicely to it and now my task is to ride this way all the time working towards loose rein riding too so plenty to keep us occupied πŸ™‚






Thurs 21st May

Today after morning rain showers it turned out to be a nice day so out again to ride Ms Bella. We played and walked the field tacked up and I mounted her in the far large area with the jump wings for corner P2Ps which we did very nice with loose reins and the we did some X box which we did with slight contact to help her figure out the circle pattern.

I didn’t want to bore her so just got the basic games down and then rode with Mark and Stormy to the round pens where we did a bit of following them around a bit which was nice. On the way back to the mounting block in the agility arena to get off we did left and right sidepass along the fence line, it wasn’t perfect but it was our FIRST time trying ridden sidepass so was well pleased with her try for me πŸ™‚



< P2Ps with loose rein for her to learn straightness without me on her face >



< P2Ps in trot too….picked up a bit of rein to help with accuracy as she lost the pattern a bit in trot >



< X box…the two ‘obstacles’ is were X is and X means change….halt, transition, change circle size, change direction. Using partial contact so that she didn’t get lost on the pattern I hope to be doing this loose rein soon once she understands what my focus, seat weight and leg cues mean πŸ™‚ >



< X Box >




< Doing some circles and fig 8’s around the big round pens with Stormy and Mark watching >



< our FIRST RIDDEN SIDEPASS πŸ˜‰ Not bad going to the right and a bit sticky going to the left, which is what I expected πŸ˜‰ >



Sun 24th May

We’ve had two days of rain and windy weather but today it’s started toΒ  brighten up so off out to see the horses for an hour or two. Today I wanted to experiment with using a ‘normal’ headcollar for play and Bella’s Transcend Bitless Sidecue bridle as she has been developing a ‘head tossing tick’ which I think is to do with learning stress and the rope halters I use (I’ve dismissed allergies as it only happens when I think about training her and the rope halter goes on).

It all actually went quite well, we have some good comunication cues going on for both ground work and riding SO it wasn’t perfect but definitely workable and I will continue to test the halter and bridle out over the next week or so in the safety of the field.

We did have TWO FIRSTS today….(1) trotting over trot poles & (2) trotting a corner πŸ˜‰






























Mon 25th May

Another lovely day here today so keeping up the consistency of testing Bella working in halter and riding in bitless sidecue. Today I really didn’t even think about what was on her head, our connection and communication is really good and we had a lovely play session working on draw/drive, moving circles, moving fig 8’s, on the pedestal and jumps and then I saddled her up, put her Transcend Sidecue bitless bridle on and off we went. I do think that teaching the techniques has been really helped by using the rope halter but we don’t necessarily need to keep it on all the time, or ever, now πŸ˜‰

We did much more than yesterday with this too working on turns in trot, riding the length of the field, riding some P2Ps and X-box in the top arena area in walk and trot and some lovely work following Stormy and Mark and also some ridden ‘leap frog’ game in trot with them first in the arena and then all the way coming back to the agility area πŸ˜‰ Lovely day, she went well in the bridle and also was easy to DHQ-LF when she and Stormy scooted forward when a ‘bird scarer’ went off πŸ˜‰ So happy with her progress….going really well πŸ™‚

Here’s some pics from today…Ground work first


< Backing up

Sidepass together >




< Sidepass together

Sidepass towards >




< Sidepass towards

Moving circles and fig 8’s >




<Moving fig 8’s >





< touch it – feet

Distance stand on ped >




< and nice jump >






















Tues 26th May

A day off from riding today for me and Bella. I wanted to take her for a walk, have a change in training and exercise our legs along the main track past our field. It was a beautiful day for it and we had fun with Mark and Stormy along with us.

Pics I took….


Mark leading Bella up the field hill while I walked slowly.

Down track hill.


Along lovely long straight stretch where Mark and Stormy did a lovely trot and we plodded along quietly behind.

Lovely broom out along the track today.



Mark trotted and cantered in front of us and Bella was calmy connected to me which was fab.

Mark and Stormy waiting for us to catch up.



Pics Mark took…


Bella found a nice tree to munch on.

We did some nice walk/trot/walk transitions down the track here.

Up the last hill for home.

Took her straight to the water when we got back into the field….leadership bonding πŸ˜‰




Weds 27th May

Did a nice bit of play again today and then saddled up and rode. We videoed our Lesson 8 which was about starting some patterns. Corners game, X-Box and Clover Leaf. So pleased with her progress, she is riding so nicely and her trot is coming along very well.



Nice circles with obstacles






Light back ups and sidepassing over a pole length wise





Lovely riding for our Lesson 8 video (on the Lesson video page >>>>)

Love that she’s happy to walk with me after I take her tack off πŸ˜‰



Thurs 28th May

Something different today again so out for a small walk down on the field next to ours and Mark and Stormy walked around the perimeter while Bella and I walked across the field and back but then I got on her at the gateway and rode up the hill back to the field. This is our first time with me getting on at a gate and riding in a big field πŸ˜‰




































  • Shelley – HorseSavvy