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˜‰
































Tues 22nd Sept

Lovely day for a hack out onto the ‘haugh’ near the river. Bella was a super star leading quite a lot of the way. Really enjoying riding her out and about πŸ™‚























Weds 23rd Sept

Another fun session with the agility obstacles today, we did this ‘almost at liberty’ with a neck rope πŸ™‚ Always good to change what we do to keep things fresh and fun. Bella did very well today, much calmer with the obstacles being in a different place this 2nd time around and she was definitely watching Stormy when he went around at liberty, watching and learning πŸ˜‰


< Feet in hula hoop

Follow me through a zigzag >




< hula hoop familiarisation around face and then over face onto neck >





< fig 8’s around the cone weave so we moved up the line each time doing multiple fig 8’s

Fab draw to me >




< Sidepass over green jump wing

Sidepass over purple jump wing >





< really nice couple of jumps today >





< Nicely under the arch way today, she was calm and followed me first then did it on her own >





< Over the noisy bottle bank

Backed up over bottle bank too >





< Follow me through the curtain

Managed to go through the curtain on her own too >




< familiarisation: Walked around with a tarp flapping around on her back….Stormy came to see what was going on too which was a help >





< Walk and halt on the water tray

Sidepass over the water tray >





Thurs 24th Sept

Another lovely day for a repeat hack on the ‘haugh’ and by the river. This was great, both horses even calmer and just plodding around the three fields we can ride there at the moment. Lovely ride πŸ™‚




















Sat 26th Sept

Today we went for a lovely hack, back towards the house, around a field we usually just plod along the track of, nearly at house and then up the hill behind the house and then back again. SO, some usual bits, some new bits but all in all a lot of FUN πŸ™‚



Sun 27th Sept

A lovely session of Liberty Agility today. This is not the first liberty session but it was certainly the FIRST CONNECTED SESSION of LIBERTY with Bella and it felt SO GOOD πŸ™‚



Mon 28th Sept

Another lovely hack out today, first bit was down onto the ‘haugh’ by the river (done before) then up a track into the cattle field, luckily no cattle around, and up this field (not done before) and onto the top track and then around the top field which we did the other day. Nice to put old bits of riding with new bits, she was a bit sceptical of the ‘cattle field’…it did smell a bit of cattle poop etc but she did very well and followed Stormy nicely. Wasn’t a long hack but introducing new bits regularly so we get a lot of hacking options as we go 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