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Bella & Stormy – April 2024

Mon 1st April

 

 

After a few days up at the house for S&B today we rode them back to their big field

 

Nice breezy weather but not chilly so made for a lovely ride

 

 

 

 

S&B both happy to be going back to the big field, they love it there with lots of space to roam

 

Went through the field with Highland cows and their calves, luckily none on the track

 

 

 

Bella did an outstanding job going next to gates to allow me off to open them and then to get back on too ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

Gate open to the field so we were able to just ride in and down the big hill to the shelter

 

 

 

 

 

Thurs 4th

 

 

Lovely day for some exercise. First worked Stormy, mostly walk, just getting his legs to move faster than when he spends all day grazing ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

He did very well and thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

 

 

 

I then did similar patterns but more trot work with Ms Bella. She slowly got into it and understood the patterns of small circls off big circles but looking at the ‘map’ I can see that we need to work on the word ‘circle’, hahaha.

 

Enjoyed just being out and riding my beautiful girlie. She brings a huge smile on my face, they both do ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stretching before being ridden….2 feet on the pedestal and then 4 feet on the pedestal ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Bella ‘parked’ at the mounting block waiting patiently for me to jump on board ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

Mon 8th

Yeehaa…between the days of rain and wind we have some blue skies and puffy clouds today. Not wanting to miss an opportunity I scoot out and ride Storm then Bella ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Stormy:

Mostly walk with a bit of trot and a short canter at the end this was mainly to help Stormy stretch his legs. He’s 21yrs young now so I try not to tax him with anything fast or intricate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bella:

Started big fig 8’s around the field in walk, 2nd set was in trot and after a wee rest we did a 3rd set in trot with nice amounts of canter ๐Ÿ˜‰

So pleased we have started to do some canter AND I am pretty pleased that from the ‘map’ I can see we kept to the same path most of the time ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

Thurs 11th

Early morning ride to the house today with Storm, Bella and Mark ๐Ÿ˜‰ What a glorious day it is too, lovely to see our shadow as we ride.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Managed to clamber onto a dyke wall today to remount Bella…she is such a supa-star and sidled to it like we’d done it a thousand times ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy at home for the day nowย  ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

Sun 14thย 

S&B stayed at the house for a couple of days but went home to their big field today. It’s not often we ride when it’s raining but it’s just been one of those months. The track is getting very muddy, not mostly from the rain but from the Highland cattle that have been in the field since December through all the bad weather. S&B did very well not slipping. There is one gateway that is always open and recently I have tied the ‘horsey’ sprung gateway back SO today we went through that gap which is mud free compared to the main gateway. S&B did very well going through it and took care not to bang our feet on the gate posts ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tues 16th

 

Today Mark and I had a few things to do about the field (renew palettes under sheds which hold some bits of agility in and then clearing old hay from their shelter). I noticed Bella laying down near Stormy, who was lovingly watching over her, so I didn’t have the heart to get her up for a ride SO, I took the opportunity to put together our first 2024 agility course ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

Agility course 2024/1

(the flags and curtain only get put into place when we are playing in the area as it’s still open to S&B and with Stormy being overly curious he is liable to break them or hurt himself on them)

This is the course:

  1. 2 front feet in hula hoopย  2. weave in walk/trotย  3. walk/trot/backup through bunting laneย  4. trotting polesย  5. flag fig 8’sย  6. jumpย  7. walk/trot/halt/backup tarpย  8. curtainย  9. stand in boxย  10. flag familiarisation.

I hope to start working on this online tomorrow, then try some bits at liberty and then riding it ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Fri 19th

After spending some time out and about teaching agility to students it was about time I tried my own agility course today. It was pretty windy and we had absolutely no practise around the course but it just felt good to give it a go….here are Bella and Storm’s first Agility play for 2024 ๐Ÿ˜‰

Bella…Score 87%

 

Stormy…..91%

 

Sat 20th

Lovely day for a ride today so went and had a nice time with Bella. It feels like we’ve started our riding year again as she has lost muscle since Feb (when we did quite a bit of riding) but the grass has started coming up so hoping this continues to build our fitness up again.

 

We did more walk than trot, hopefully that will change soon to more trot. She was such a good girl and we started riding with the flag again. Walk with the flag fully out and moving around her and then in trot with the flag half open so we can build up familiarisation with the noise of it in the wind ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

I also trimmed her extensively long jaw line hair as it was getting caught in her bridle (not the whiskers which are very necessary when grazing etc), She looks super sleek now <3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tues 23rd

Managed to get S&B’s worm count done this morning, took the samples to the postbox then came back to ride S&B.

I rode Stormy first, he was a bit stiff in his legs to start with but with a gentle start in walk and then moved into a faster walk he started to loosen up a bit. He did some nice trot after that and he sprung into canter to finish off ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I then tacked Bella up and started her off the same as Storm, some nice gentle walk moving into a faster walk. I then asked her for some trot but she was quite reluctant, this is not like Bella at all, so we went back into walk and I asked a couple of times more for trot. She was reluctant, stiff and felt very ‘off-ish’, she even tried to offer canter as an alternative but I could feel she wasn’t ‘right’ so dismounted and untacked her.

 

When leaving I asked S&B to follow e and the quad bike for some treats…Bella walked and again very reluctant to go up into trot and when she managed a couple of steps she seemed lame on her front right foot/leg.

I’m going to give her a week off and then try again, if she is still ‘off’ and feeling lame then I’ll get the vet in to have a look at her ;(

 

 

 

 

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy

 

 

Bella & Stormy – March 2024

Sun 3rd

So, this morning there was an incident in our field…a young fallow deer was injured, probably got stuck on a wire fence jumping it and hurt it’s back leg getting off it. It’s really sad when this sort of thing happens to wildlife and it was hard to see it struggling in the field, it lay exhausted while I saw to S&B. We do have good gamekeepers on the estate here so I contacted one of them and they said they’d look and see what needed to be done. I sort of knew it was suffering and needed to be put out of its misery but it didn’t make it any easier. On that note I told them that I’d take S&B out of the field and bring them back to the house paddock so that they weren’t in the way nor upset by anything they had to do and that’s what I did…..

 

Bella and Stormy doing a great job walking past the Highland cows today.

I walked them back rather than riding as they’d just had their breakfast.

 

 

 

 

Stormy following behind Bella, they like to follow each other but also it puts them on the nice bit of grass verge they like to walk on ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

S&B in home paddock ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

Tues 5th

 

SO it’s been a few days since the horses came home and I asked the estate gamekeeper to help the injured fallow deer. They went to sort it immediately and I’ve known the field is okay to go back to but I wanted to do a ‘smudging’ before the horses went back.

Smudging is where you burn sage (or other things) to help cleanse an area of negative energy and I’ve done it before in the field when one of our horse hasย  passed.

I took some time and walked the field where I’d seen the deer and played some lovely Native American music too. It felt good to take the time to do this ceremony and if nothing else I feel better going back into the field after the memory of the young deer in such sad circumstances.

 

 

Thurs 7th

 

A day later than planned but today we took S&B back to their big field this afternoon.

Called S&B with my ‘horsey whistle’ and they both came over to get haltered for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I decided to walk them home rather than ride as I LOVE getting back our relaxed connection through walking step to step together.

Both S&B were so calm and happy to be walking back home. Once back in the field they had a lovely yeehaa run about and Stormy did his usual rolling to get a his normal muddy self ๐Ÿ™‚ lol

 

 

 

 

Muddy boy ๐Ÿ˜‰ lol

 

 

 

 

 

Sat 9th

The weather has been wet and windy today with pretty low temperatures ;( But I needed my horsey fix today so went out and had a lovely short fun session ๐Ÿ˜‰

First we did some distance pedestal work. Bella stood on big ped with 2 feet and then all 4 feet while Stormy showed off doing 4 feet at liberty.

Then she did some lovely sidepassing around the pole square, both left and right.

3rd task was some weave on a circle left and right then going straight into doing some fig 8’s using different cones with each turn ๐Ÿ˜‰

The last task on-line was some trot through the narrow gap which was really good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THEN…I took Bella’s halter off and we did a really lovely session at liberty.

We’ve been practising our liberty at breakfast time since last year and it’s paying off now as she used to move off after her halter came off.

First liberty bit was sidepass over the drainpipe (L&R)

Then she did a great job with fig 8’s around cones…..going through the narrow gap and also a fab jump ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tues 12th

I did S&B’s breakfast and field clearing today and as usual I put in some time to do some Liberty play with Bella…Stormy joined in too which was fun and helped Bella ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

Asking S&B to draw towards me and then backup together

Then asked them to follow me and place themselves either side of the big pipe

 

 

 

 

 

Bella took a rest and watched Stormy come into the narrow gap, halt for 5 seconds and then draw towards me

 

Bella got close for a good look

 

 

 

 

 

 

Storm then came and played with the tarp, stood on it with a lovely halt and then I asked him to sidepass off the pole he was standing over

 

Bella then decided she wanted to go for the hulahoop challenge and walked to it from a distance…..

 

 

 

….she’s so clever and loves to put her feet into/onto something ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

I went down a hillock to empty the wheelbarrow while S&B walked along the ridge….

 

 

 

 

 

…then sweet Bella came away from Stormy to be with me <3 what a sweetheart she is <3

Finished the morning with Bella showing off her bestest task…standing on the pedestal ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

 

Sat 16th

 

Bella trying to catch my attention to play and get treats this morning after I gave her and Storm their breakfast and was cleaning the field ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

She’s just too smart ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

Went out with Mark in afternoon, weather nice enough to try a wee ride….

It’s been 17 days since last ride, always seems too long when the weather has been so bad.

I moved all the agility obstacles, put them around the round pens to make it more interesting…

 

 

 

….kept it mostly to walk to just stretch their legs and minds and then Bella and I did some trot work over random poles in my ‘arena’ to help get her mind more focused and pick her feet up a bit better.

 

 

 

 

 

Tues 19th

Another nice Spring like day today. Mark and I go to ride S&B and slowly work on our fitness together ๐Ÿ˜‰ I start off by working on checking my body position when riding walk/trot circles/arcs. I sometimes don’t put my inside shoulder back in this move so I work one handed leaving my inside hand loose which helps me really notice what my shoulder is doing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also popped a couple of jumps as it’s fun ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

Then Bella & I stood while Stormy and Mark had a yeehaa canter along a field track. It’s a good test as over Winter S&B get a very close and it’s hard for them to not just follow each other in direction and gait. I held her from cantering off too and she quieted as soon as I asked ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All clean before riding…..rolled in mud after riding ๐Ÿ™‚ LOL

To be fair they were both a tiny bit sweaty so knew they would roll to dry themselves out.

Am SO glad I have a brown horse, the dirt needs cleaning but doesn’t look so bad when she does it ๐Ÿ˜‰ lol

 

 

 

Sat 23rd

So I’ve not managed to get out and do much with S&B recently due to the awful on/off rain, wind and cold temps we’ve been having BUT I did manage to video a couple of things when out recently to poo pick the field and Bella came over to play…here is one of the vid’s for you now ๐Ÿ˜‰

Sun 24th

Managed to get S&B’s hooves trimmed today, not much energy for anything else so here’s the 2nd video of Bella doing something fab.U.lous last week ๐Ÿ˜‰ Enjoy

Taught her to sidle to anything for mounting when I want to ride, we practise this at liberty in the morning’s when I go to give them their breakfast and clean the field ๐Ÿ˜‰ She’s pretty good at it now ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Tue 26th

At last we have a window of decent weather between all the wind, rain and snow we’ve had recently. So I manage to take full advantage of it and go and ride S&B.

 

 

 

 

First I rode Stormy in a big fig 8 around the field. He was very happy to move his feet and I asked him to stretch his legs by asking for trot on the short sections. He finished by giving me a lovely canter to the finish. We 2 laps which was 12 mins long ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

I then asked Bella to do the same big fig 8’s, mostly on a loose rein to allow me to correct her when she went off the pattern. This way she learns rather than me micro-managing her.

She did very well and we did 3 laps….about 17 mins of nice exercise ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

Sat 30th

 

Today we have our Equine Body worker therapist visiting S&B. She does a nice body work and massage to release any ‘tight’ spots in their bodies after last year and the winter off. It helps them and also gives us a good place to start riding them more during the year.

Bella was more stiff in her lower back and sacral illiac and Stormy was stiffer with his front legs so it was great to be able to get that for them. We usually do it once a year for them and if they needed more we’d do it

 

 

While waiting for our therapist it started raining so we practised playing putting them in our garage in case we needed to do that. Stormy was a star, backing in to it nicely. Bella went in twice but was a bit more sceptical about staying in.

Thank goodness the rain stopped and we had blue skies for the therapy sessions ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

Sun 31st

The end of March already but I’m glad as the signs of Spring are just coming through and April is the beginning of my work year too so exciting times coming up ๐Ÿ˜‰

After S&B’s body work therapy sessions yesterday we didn’t want to ride them back to the field today, good to give them 24hrs to rest up. We decided, instead, to take them for a short walk with grazing benefits near the house. I also did some fun play with Bella too ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy

 

Bella & Stormy – February 2024

Thurs 1st

 

Well, February is here and like last year we’ve got some dry weather (so far anyway). Taking advantage of this mildness I pop on Bella and have a cheeky wee ride. This time in the ‘arena’ where the tyres are in corners and centre. She was a bit ‘fresh’ but by keeping it to curves/circling around the tyres when she was ‘up’ and doing the straight lines when she was calm worked very nicely ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sat 3rd

Managed a lovely play session with Bella, Storm and Mark. Just went through some challenges (where I do a task then challenge Mark/Storm to copy or improve what I did) ๐Ÿ™‚ It was a lot of fun and it was fabulous to see both Storm and Bella happy to play, calm and motivated ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wed 7th

Really really cold again here. S&B had rugs on overnight but take them off during the day as the sun is shining beautifully for us ๐Ÿ˜‰ Yesterday Mark and I trimmed S&B’s front feet, we could not do the backs as both horses spooked and we didn’t want to risk being under them doing feet if they spooked again. Could not see what they spooked at but it was very very windy and that always affects them SO…I trimmed Bella’s back feet this morning after poo picking the field and Mark did Stormy this afternoon while I groomed and rode Bella ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Did some nice ONE HANDED RIDING: in and back out of narrow gap

Again one handed riding: sidepassing around the jump ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

One Handed Riding: Weave

Back to regular riding where we did some lovely leg yield weaving ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

Just a very short trot as ground hard…..trot poles on a curve, encouraging more stretching of the outside legs ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

Sun 11th

 

Mild weather andย some sunshine today so great chance to give both S&B good grooming sessions (Stormy is moulting big time already) and get some time in the saddle too ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

 

First off I rode Stormy. From his session I was aiming for some motivation and straight lines SO I used P2Ps (Point 2 Points) and as soon as he realised he got to stop, and get a treat often, when we got to our destination he started to go faster each time…fab ๐Ÿ˜‰ He did a lot of trot and a few bits of canter which I didn’t ask for, but his motivation was easy to get when I use the right game ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THEN….Bella’s turn for a ride. Today I was looking to help her find her curve on a bend so we did part of circles and circles…around obstacles to help her get more balanced in the bends ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mon 12th

Again we have mild, sunny weather so time for some more saddle time. Bella only today and working on those curves, bends and circles for that all important body flex around my inside leg ๐Ÿ˜‰ These shapes will help us become straighter and is important after not doing much during Winter ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

Had a nice little play session first and Bella knew just how clever she was when she sidled over the log ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nice walking around the field, getting there on the shapes of the circles and a wee bit of trot too. Don’t want to do too much or she’ll become sweaty (thick coat at the moment) so it’s a balance of getting some movement without overdoing it ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

Stormy did a great job of following us about a bit today…he knew I had treats in my pockets ๐Ÿ˜‰

Fri 16th

 

Today we have really nice weather so Mark and I get out with Storm and Bella for a nice fun ridden play session.
We started off with ‘follow the leader’ with Bella leading and Storm following. We did weave/circles, sidepass, backup on/over tarp, feet in hulahoop etc….basically a nice ridden agility play.

 

Doing some fig 8’s around the round pens we start off with her stretching out and down a bit and me stroking her from the withers up her mane crest which helps her relax into the stretch.

Then we go into some trotting around the pens.

 

 

Getting some nice bends in our circling

 

We then went and did some trot fig 8’s in the field with the narrow gap making up the centre….it required focus and accuracy but was a lot of fun and our circle ‘arc’ got much nicer.

 

 

 

 

Popped a wee jump just for fun…Bella is getting really good at her canter departs from the jump ๐Ÿ™‚
Thurs 22nd
I always use Consistency & Variety in my training. Consistency helps horses learn as it gives them a solid understanding of a task while variety helps to keep things progressive and stops them becoming bored.
Today we played with S&B with the same agility obstacles in the area I’d already set them up BUT I changed where the obstacles were to keep it interesting. The jump, narrow gap and hulahoop moved. The cones went into a weave on a circle (instead of a straight line), the tarp had the poles holding it down moved about and the trot poles went from a curve shape to being made into a square ๐Ÿ˜‰ It wasn’t a major move but it definitely kept the course fresh ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Through high narrow gap (she did walk/halt/walk/halt through it)
Then sidepassed towards me ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Weaving around cones on a circle
Having a yeehaa moment

Tarp and then poles

Bella was a star, she jumped first with pole at a low height, then with pole at medium height and lastly with the pole at the top of the jump wing, this is about 30″ (76com) high…not bad for a heavy horse ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  I wouldn’t want her to jump higher but it’s lovely to see she can handle a height that might be a log when out on a hack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark and Storm worked at Liberty as they always do…he was making up his own games with the black tube ๐Ÿ˜‰ lol

 

 

 

 

 

Fri 23rd

 

 

Sunshine and blue skies today…although pretty chilly it’s still a good day to be out and about with S&B.

Didn’t want to do too much or work too fast as ground still a bit hard-ish.

Stormy did a great job working with straight lines and some curves and he decided trotting would be fun so I took his idea and just went with it ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

Sunshine and Shadows

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bella was a bit distracted after my ride with Stormy due to a telephone engineer van sitting on the road with a flashing light for a while.

But as soon as it went I saddled up and had a lovely ride. Just walk but trying to concentrate on curves, leg yields into bigger curves then changing the curve ๐Ÿ˜‰

She did really well, then the van came back, her head went up and it was a good time to stop, take her tack off and praise her for being such a good girl for me ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

Mon 26th

 

 

It’s gone very chilly up here again although a beautiful blue sky with sunshine always gets us out with S&B ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

 

Mark/Stormy enjoying some riding time.

We started off with some ‘leap frog’ where we walk in line and the back horse/rider then trots past the front horse/rider, gets back in line and transitions back to walk. Then the back horse does the same and so on…it’s a great game for holding each horse in walk whilst the other one trots past and for each horse to listen to it’s rider more.

 

 

 

We then did some individual agility bits which was fun.

Bella sidepassing over big tube and then watching Stormy doing cone weaving.

 

 

 

 

Storm doing transitions on the tarp and then walking over the ‘trot poles’…..he didn’t want to trot over them ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

A moment where Bella/Me sidled up to Storm/Mark ๐Ÿ˜‰

Then a few bits of Bella on her own while Mark took pics of us….

 

 

 

 

Bella in the pole square: first a turn on the forehand to the right and then to the left
(Turn on the forehand = holding the front legs still while the back legs move to the right and/or left making a circle with the back legs). You can also do a turn on the hindquarters which involves keeping back legs still and moving front legs in to right and left….this will be a move we do more of later in the year as it’s harder to do.

 

 

 

Here Bella is circling around the weave cones in trot, she was ok going to the left but when we went to the right she just didn’t ‘feel right’ so we stopped the session as if she’s just a bit sore I don’t want to make anything worse.

Once unsaddled etc I checked her feet, shoulders and leg stretches where she was a bit more reluctant to stretch her front left leg. I’ll give her a few days off and see how she goes after a rest up.

 

 

 

Thurs 29th

 

 

Yeehaa…..rode Bella today and she’s back to her normal happy riding horse self after being a bit ‘off’ last time

So glad she was happy to be ridden and not feeling odd

 

 

 

 

 

Rode Stormy too which was fun…just walk around the round pens and then trotting the straight lines around the big field

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy