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 all..so 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˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Shelley-

 

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

 

 

 

 

trot

 

trot

 

trot

 

trot

 

trot

 

waiting patiently for her reward

 

reward time πŸ˜‰ <3 πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

Sat 15th Aug

“Practise makes Progress”…..today 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˜‰

 

 

 

CL

 

 

 

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˜‰

 

 

 

 

…AND CANTER….

 

  • 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…..no 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

 

 

 

Jump

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

COD >

 

 

 

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 – 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 >

 

 

 

 

…AND RIDING….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

Bella – April 2020

Thu 2nd April

Bit windy to do any much today but we practised for our 2nd obstacle challenge which we have a week to practise, this week the obstacle is one POLE πŸ™‚

For a bit of fun after practising pole work I took Bella to the pedestal. She has a very solid front feet up on it now and today I asked her back right up with a rope and when she left that there for a while I went over the other side, she shifted her weight forward and picked up her last hoof up onto the ped…I was over the moon….AND she kept it there while I rewarded her big time for this effort πŸ˜‰

Here’s the video of her doing her FIRST 4 feet on pedestal….

 

Sat 4th April

Today we had another FIRST for Bella today….a short ‘walk out’ with Stormy. Hopefully this will help her familiarise to things outside her field and get her ready for hacking out later on. For our first walk out we went out of the lower gate, down a small hillock, over the wooden bridge and into the big field called ‘the haugh’. The field is quite big so we just walked straight across it to the edge of the river….we all rested a bit, Mark found a stone wall to climb onto to mount Stormy and we walk back to the bridge. Then I give Bella’s lead rope to Mark and he ponied her back to the field while I took my time walking.

Me and our beauties

 

 

< getting Storm’s bareback pad and bridle on..all ready to go

 

Bella led for the first half, Stormy wanted to graze, Bella doesn’t know that’s allowed πŸ˜‰ >

 

 

 

 

 

< B watching S go across the wooden bridge

 

Me and B crossing the bridge nice and calmly >

 

 

 

 

 

< all the way to the river πŸ˜‰

 

On the way back we walk calmly and Mark walks Stormy in circles around us >

 

 

 

 

 

< Bella really connected to me even though Stormy circling us

Stormy showing that a piece of silage plastic is nothing to be worried about, Bella says ‘I’m not worried but I don’t want to touch a piece of old plastic thank you’ >

 

 

 

 

 

< Big hill coming up, I can walk it slowly and Mark can lead Bella off Storm πŸ˜‰

Easy over the bridge together >

 

 

 

< Storm like to canter up this hill…Bella keeps up with her huge trot

waiting for me to catch up..both calm and happy >

 

 

 

 

< last trot to the gate for home >

 

 

 

This is the route we took, there and back πŸ™‚

 

 

Sun 5th April

Today we went out and I played with Bella already saddled up and then rode her for a bit. It was a bit windy and she was good but had sticky feet a bit to start with but then got going ok. I’m thinking of making a rectangular or square arena to ride in, it might be a bit more interesting for her….we’ll see πŸ˜‰

 

We are working on more movement in the games now so half circles and circles I don’t stay static in one place but walk about a bit so she gets different obstacles or space to walk or trot in.

 

Her leg yields on a circle with ‘feel’ game (hadn on her side to represent my heel when riding) are coming along nicely and we even had some leg yields with ‘focus’ game too (this is where I use my ‘focus and intent’ to move her over at a distance)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Circles on the move where we came up to the scattered poles…she was fab over them, really looking and knowing where her feet and energy was πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting ready to ride and a bit treat after her play session.

 

 

 

I then had a nice ride in the round pen with a FIRST of getting on her from the right side πŸ˜‰ She didn’t bat an eyelid about it and that’s one thing about her, she has no previous training so doesn’t have any hangups about doing things that the rest of the horsey world find strange πŸ˜‰ It was a nice ride, some sticky feet to start with but let her have her stops, her rests and time to think then asked again and continued for a bit longer today. Her Lateral Flexion to left and right are really nice and getting light and soft, she needs some more work on her DHQ’s left and right as she thinks about bracing every time I ask SO I have to find a way to ask even nicer for her so she doesn’t think about that and does some nice hindquarter moves. All going in the right direction.

 

 

 

 

Tues 7th April

Started off with a really nice play session online with the start of ‘touch it’ with her nose to a cone, circles, fig 8’s and rope around spins.

We also did a first by putting the half circle by a fence together with sidepass which she did really really well, was blown away by her flexibility and ease doing these two together πŸ™‚

 

 

< Touch itΒ 

Circles, fig 8’s >

 

 

< Rope around spins

Half circle….>

 

 

 

< …to sidepass >

 

 

 

 

I then play walk/trot circles with saddle on and my noisy, flappy, tassled half chaps. Not wanting to wear them without testing in case the noise upsets her but she took it all in her stride πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

Today I decided to try to ride in the larger agility area with Stormy to help bring some movement, confidence and maybe a stride or two of trot. What I found out was (1) she likes consistency so changing arena was strange for her (2) she listened to me more than wanting to be with Stormy so that tells me we’re well connected (3) think she needs a PURPOSE to why she goes forward (4) think straight lines are better than curves/corners especially if wanting forward…SO….with that in mind I will change the set up for next time we ride and see if P2P’s (Point 2 Points) work for her like it did for my Tara in the past. I gave her a rest after this and watched Mark riding Storm about the field and then I re-mounted and rode her in the round pen which was better with forward motion but I pressed her for more and eventually got it.

 

 

Riding around the cones and Stormy who stood still for a while in the centre

 

 

 

Seeing if Bella wanted to follow Stormy but she wasn’t overly keen

 

 

 

So asked Mark to stand still again and we circled then fig 8 around him and the cones.

 

 

 

Thurs 9th April

Today we went out for another lovely walk with Me & Bella, Mark & Stormy. Down to the field below our one and along the river for a bit. Bella was calm, attentive, didn’t worry about where Stormy was and decided that taking aΒ  bit of grazing was okay which says she was relaxed πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I then rode Bella in the agility arena. I was looking for more forward motion, less stops and after last few rides I realised she needed the 3 main things that horses need when being ridden and they are…’A DIRECTION, A SPEED and A DESTINATION’. Working in a round pen helps get momentum sometimes but for some horses it’s going nowhere SO to help Bella I placed a few ‘obstacles’ around the arena and started working on P2P’s (Point 2 Points) which will give her exactly those 3 pointers mentioned earlier. I think she needs to know what/where/why….this is helping πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

Fri 10th April

Another dry day outside so Mark and I go for another walk out with Bella and Stormy. This is our 3rd walk out and each time it’s slightly different. Today we went down into the field by the river but walked along the back edge and then out, up a track to a gateway and then up another muddy track back to the field right next to the horses one, so a lovely circular walk. Bella was calm and connected to me, she didn’t worry about where Stormy was (she knew where he was) and whether he was in front, behind or trotted past us πŸ˜‰ She stayed connected to me and it was a lovely pleasant walk together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just a lovely walk, not too far but expanding our horizons each time we venture out πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

After the walk I rode Bella with our 2nd attempt at P2P’s…now that she’s got her direction, speed and destination she seems quite happy to go where I ask her, I’m trying to give her a loose rein as much as possible without her feeling lost so that we start to get our riding cues of focus, energy, seat weight and leg aid better. Here’s today’s short video of how it went πŸ˜‰

 

She is also coming along nicely with her head down for bridling…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sat 11h April

Our 4th walk out….going so well and enjoying it enormously. Today Mark and I shared riding Stormy and leading Bella which meant I didn’t have to walk the whole ‘walk out’.

 

 

After this lovely walk I saddled and played with Bella before riding…

 

< Working on P2P’s from the ground

Point 2 Points using S2M >

 

 

 

AND then I went to ridden P2P’s. These are really working well, she loves having a purpose and giving her a ‘DIRECTION, SPEED & DESTINATION’ makes sense πŸ™‚

< Much better forward walk with P2P’s

 

AND…we had a few strides of TROT today >

 

 

 

 

Sun 12th April

Today I managed to film a lot of the new HS FB GROUP CHALLENGE – 4 CONES πŸ™‚ It’s really stretched my imagination and also Bella’s learning while enjoying it a lot. After playing I saddle Bella up and mount on the right again, she has no problem with me mounting on either side which is great and the P2P’s go very well, we even went over poles and through the bunting narrow lane which I’ve used for agility. So proud of this lovely girl πŸ™‚

 

 

Tues 14th April

After a lazy day yesterday I went out with two things in mind to do….another cone challenge video for later and to see if I can teach her to sidle to the mounting block. She learned the cone challenge well, got that filmed, just two more to do AND she was a total star with sidling to the block…..here’ s a video of it…

 

I then wondered if she’d stand on the pedestal…she has been putting 2 feet on easily so I wanted to see her do this at liberty after our session. She was so good with 2 feet I helped her with her backs…what a star…blow away with her understanding, patience and willingness, here’s the video of it…

 

Wed 15th April

And today I had some play/riding fun first with Stormy and then with Bella and our FIRST today was Bella offered some lovely, soft, slow TROT STEPS…our proper first ones and it was lovely. Here is the P2P vid from today where she did fabulously well with her walk and then trot at the end.

 

 

Sat 18th April

Lovely sunny weather today after two days of really cold windy weather SO out to the horses at lunchtime and what a nice time I had. I rode both Stormy and Bella again and both did very well. Really enjoyed it and think they did too.

Lovely ride with Stormy today, up and down hillocks, nice trot and canter and suppled me up ready to ride Bella.

 

We had some noise when I was just about to get on Bella. The estate owner and friends came up to check on the land behind and to the side of our horses field to check their new trees, they were talking loudly and kids giggling etc and although Bella was slightly distracted she did really well to listen to me as well as keep an eye on what was going on nearby.

 

I changed our routine today because she had slightly sticky feet so we did P2P’s which started and ended at the mounting block and then weaving and serpentines inbetween and that turned out very nicely and helped us get into doing more turns instead of just straight lines πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sun 19th April

Today I decided to try playing in a different area. I wasn’t sure what would happen but knew that a new environment would be a challenge for her. I have a big arena area that I put 6 jump wings into so we could hopefully ride P2P’s in but I always like to check out the ground work connection before doing something like that just to make sure it’s okay and even though this is an area she grazes in it doesn’t mean she’s ready to play there. So I groom her and halter her up with a 22′ line on and went to play.

Consistent things were: Circles, touch it with her nose, changes of direction, walk, trot, halt on breath out.
New things were: Area and moving circles.

What happened: Well, at first she was sceptical, then she got quite emotional and had bursts of canter but as I played very consistently and keeping my energy down, my focus on each part of the games that she already knows and treating for relaxation at a halt/touch it with her nose to the jump wings she started to ‘get’ what the game was. She started thinking and before I knew it she was doing moving circles in trot or walk, whichever I asked for, and spotting the jump wing we were going to and doing LEG YIELDS to get to the destination. I was SO proud of her and it was lovely to see her relax and become confident in the game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tues 21st April

Well it’s really sunny with blue skies here but with a wind whistling down the glen like a banshee ;( But out for some horse play as it’s always lovely to be out with them especially in sunshine. I played with Bella exactly as before with the jump wings doing w/t/c moving circle P2P touch it’s and she totally just GOT IT big time. Her gaits were calm, she searched for the jump wing to stop at and did it brilliantly. Here’s a video of her doing it…

AND then I got to ride her for a wee bit. I am still doing P2P’s but added 4 jump wings in the centre for a place called X. With these obstacles I can now try to give her another new pattern which is X box. This is where X in the centre of the 4 jump wings becomes the ‘place of change’. At first I do a circle and always stop at X, then I can ask for more and each time we come back to X that is where something can change…so it gives us a more unpredictable pattern. The changes at X can be, change of gait, change of size circle, change of how many circles so we could do small, medium or large circles on way only, then get the other way, make fig 8’s and then onto a clover leaf pattern so we can have many consistencies and many changes all in that one X pattern. Here is some pics from our first try…

 

 

Lots of turns

Lots of straight lines

 

 

 

More forward motion

More fluid arcs

 

 

 

Great focus

Great through scary corridors

 

 

Pattern slowly making sense

X becoming a place to halt

 

 

 

P2P’s becomingΒ  better

Barrels a place for treating πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

Thurs 23rd April

Lovely sunny day again and the wind has died down a wee bit making it even nicer to be out with the horses.

 

When I was getting ready it was fun to see Bella go through the bunting lane and stand by the barrel warming up for her P2P’s completely on her own πŸ™‚ lol

 

 

 

We started off with some basic moves including sidepass which she does fabulously well…so supple.

 

 

 

We then did some P2P’s together online showing her what we’ll be doing today.

 

 

 

She did really well in walk and trot, stopping each time at the obstacle with my breath out.

 

 

 

 

I then introduced the big ball…..I wasn’t sure how she would take to it but apart from wondering what it was she wasn’t really phased.

 

 

She was okay with me picking it up and putting it near her, she wasn’t sure she wanted to touch it but we worked on that until she wasn’t thinking about it so much.

 

 

 

Me moving it away and her following it really helped bring out her curiosity and at one point Stormy came over and helped her become more confident with it which was super cool of him πŸ˜‰

 

 

Didn’t bother when I pushed it underneath her belly or put it on her back.

 

 

 

And also she wasn’t really bothered with it being bounced near her. We have a Ball Challenge coming up at the beginning of May so this will be something we can work on well I think πŸ˜‰

After our play session I got on and rode some P2Ps. She was great heading to each obstacle in turn, moving forward with a nice walk and stopping on my breath out.

 

She went over the poles well, very focused on her goal

 

 

 

AND because I put some treats on the two barrels which have a fab long straight line between them she decided that that was a good motivation for giving me some TROT today. She managed 4 wee bits of trot and on the 4th one I dismounted and gave her a huge treat and finished the session πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fri 24th April

Another stunningly beautiful day and no wind so out with horses again today. I’m loving the consistency I can get when the weather is good πŸ™‚

Today we filmed most of our ‘Ball Challenge’ footage, she was really good with it all and the video will be up on here on May 4th which is the closing day of the challenge on my FB group.

Other than that practise we did some lovely leg yields online and then I rode her. Today we did more trot steps AND we went out of the agility arena onto the grass which has my two round pens and two circles made up of cones and tyres. I use this area a lot to train as it has straight lines and circles, we can do any gait, change direction, do fig 8’s, weave, clover leaf, X box and many other fascinating things SO today was out first day doing P2P’s to the tyres and on to my other nicely placed barrel which I put treat on πŸ™‚ All went according to plan and it felt good to be riding her in a different place. Here’s a short video of some of it….

 

 

Sat 25th April

Day off today, for me and the horses. I like to let Bella process lessons thoroughly so at least once a week or more we have a day off. If the weather is bad I stay in but if the weather is good then I can still go and hang out with them, groom, take them for a leisurely grazing walk and this is what we did today…a lovely leisurely grazing walk with Mark and Stormy. I still get to teach some ‘grazing game’ and ‘leading game’ so that she doesn’t learn to pull me or grab for grass and it isΒ  lovely bonding time for us as a herd πŸ™‚

I also trimmed her jawline of the long thick hair. It’s the only hair I trim usually as I hate it getting caught in the halter/bridle and pulling. It makes her look so pretty, what a lovely face she has. Stormy looses his winter jaw hair now but I used to do his too πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sun 26th April

Not a bad day weather wise so out and about with horses again. Today I decided that by riding Storm and leading Bella it would be a good way to get her familiar with being ridden in different area’s SO today’s area’s were the round pens and my tyre and cones circles πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

 

I then tacked Bella up and rode her in the area’s we’d already been over with Stormy…it worked very well πŸ˜‰

 

 

Started off in the agility, going around the outside of the agility and over some obstacles.

 

 

 

 

Then we went out and about in the field going to tyre towers, cones and the barrel out there working on the P2P principles still.

 

 

 

And we had quite a few longer TROTTING sessions today too πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

And in the end we had a lovely wee Liberty session where she put feet up on the pedestal and did S2M backups/walk/halt AND trot πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

 

Tues 28th April

Had a grey rainy day yesterday so a day off for us all but today is grey but not rainy so got out to continue me and Bella’s journey. Firstly we did more leading off Stormy to get thatΒ  better and to make sure she has tried to go off both sides which she hasn’t done before…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vid of Storm & Bella trotting together…

 

 

I saddled Bella and had a quick play and then again mounted from the right today and then rode her in the agility area and outside in the main field. She is getting the hang of her transitions of halt/backup/walk/trot and we had more trot today than last time AND we pushed the amount of treat times further apart so we got some nice circling around the cone and tyre obstacles before being treated today which was a huge bit of progress πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short video of Bella trotting…

 

 

Thurs 39th April

Last day of April, it’s been on/off rainy and cold here but managed to get out for a little bit before rain started again. We also managed TWO FIRSTS….’

1) Sidepass ‘together’. She got this pretty quickly
2) Sidle to the mounting block on the RIGHT. This was hard but she got there and when I went to get on her to ride she offered her right side πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then I rode a bit with Mark and Stormy and then on our own to get out and work in the big field slowly getting more confident about riding further and putting in more ‘patterns’, today we did some circles, weave and fig 8’s. A lovely end to April, bring on May πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy

 

 

Bella – March 2020

Mon 2nd March

After a week of rain/snow/sleet/wind we have some nice quite, calm, chilly, bright days this week so I’m going to take advantage and play a bit with Bella at Liberty in the roundpen to reinforce the cues I’ve been teaching her online since we got her. The last session in February went quite well but she was reacting to the stick/string and energy more than was necessary so I’ve just got to play as often as possible to give her some consistent persistence.

Today was a very good session, she walked away a couple of times, got sticky feet a few times with no draw but eventually started to realise what I was asking her and was putting quite an effort in to draw to me which was lovely. I did the whole session at liberty, not a rope in sight as I just wanted to try to be a good teacher and figure out some communication between us without resorting to putting her back online (unless I really needed to).

Here’s a few bits of video I did of our session showing me working on DHQ’s to Drawing her Forehand to me and doing it as often as it takes until it starts to become workable cues.

 

And after our session I opened up the round pen gateways and then asked her to draw to me from quite a distance…..she did and I was over the moon πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And after I gave Bella and Stormy lovely grooms I gave them some treats for being such good babies πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tue 3rd March

Another beautiful sunny day (bit chilly but ok) so OUT with horses for some F.U.N.

Here’s some pics of my session with Bella, starting at Liberty, she had a bit of a yeehaa which she needed. went online for some balance, she had another yeehaa with some fab canter circling and then back to a lovely Liberty session with a lovely calm connection.

 

Sun 8th March

Got out with horses again today, on/off showers but we managed to miss most of them for a change. Firstly I played with both horses together, then a wee bit individually which all went well. I then did some S2M with Bella who was saddled and Mark sitting/riding her. I asked him to use his voice (walk on) and left then right heels to ask her to walk on with me using the words ‘walk on’ too and while we were walking it was up to Mark to move her with left and right reins to keep her to my side and to change direction. It went really really well and I was very happy with her walking on and also a wee bit of trot too. Here’s some pics from today…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bella walked with me at Liberty while I was following Mark riding Stormy…..great feeling of connection with her today πŸ˜‰

 

Mon 9th March

Dodging rain clouds again today but managed to get out for a good grooming session with the horses…they are both moulting their winter coats so they loved it. I had a sore back today but Mark wanted to play with Stormy for a bit SO I gritted my teeth and did some Agility play with Bella too and I’m SO glad I did as she was at her best today…calm, attentive, responsive and happy to play, I think she’s starting to enjoy our play sessions and using herΒ  brain to interact and connect. We did lovely Agility tasks and then a lovely Liberty walk about together which melted my heart <3 πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIBERTY BIT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fri 13th March

Today we did a first with Bella….trying to groom her from the mounting block. To do this I have to have basic moves of FH & HQ’s, moving forward one slow step at a time and familiarisation with me above her. She did really well and it gave me the opportunity to figure out what else she needs to know to be able to do this as well as Stormy…video shows them both at the block πŸ™‚

Mounting Block Grooming w/Bella – Session 1

 

I also had a nice play session with her with me sitting down (bad back) and she was FaBuLoUs…here’s some pics…

 

 

Backing Bella up and Drawing her back for a kiss

 

 

 

 

 

Circling…both ways were rhythmic, calm and flexed and the COD was smooth and non-reactive πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

 

Sitting down and tossing rope over her head for a rope around spin, just had to stand for a bit to get it over her hq’s…..

 

 

 

 

…and she did a really nice spin.

I also asked for a sideways around me and after the mounting block grooming realised we need a hq’s towards working to a sideways towards.

 

 

 

To start her with hq’s and sideways towards I go to a fence (hard to see) so that she didn’t just spin around or circle. Taking my time she managed one wee step towards…..

 

 

…and I gave her a big reward/treat for trying something new with me.

I then went back to sitting down and asking Bella to trot circles which went very well….she has lots of rhythm, balance, relaxation and flexion on BOTH sides πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

Her right/hard side is slowly becoming asymmetric with her left side….so pleased she is finding her symmetry πŸ˜‰

She did a lovely dhq’s and draw towards too, even though I was sitting down…our connection is getting really nice πŸ˜‰

 

 

So lovely to have her friendship and love <3

I take her halter off while still sitting down and invite her to follow me…..

 

 

 

…and she followed me at Liberty beautifully….when I got back to ‘base’ I gave her a big herbal treat reward given on the ground and session over. Really lovely session πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚

 

 

 

Tues 17th March

Weather still on/off rain at moment but I did managed to get this slightly 2nd hand Transcend Bitless Sidecue from ebay for a great price and it fits Bella beautifully πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also over the moon that the familiarisation is going really well, here they are at liberty eating thier breakfast with the rugs drying off on a big gate and being blown about, they didn’t bat an eyelid πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

Weds 18th March

Some fun play today with Bella…managed to get her Stage 1 assessment/ground work filmed and passed.Β  Her video is up on her ‘Lesson Vids’. She did really well and considering she has only been with us 8 months and not overly handled or ever played with…I’m SO proud of her <3

Here’s some pics of her and Stormy….him showing her how to put 2 hooves on the pedestal while being ridden….

Stormy had Spring in his step, Bella followed me around at Liberty and we had a lovely play day with them both πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a short video of Bella giving it some wellie going back to where Stormy is….

Β  Β  YEEEEEEHAAAAA….

 

Thurs 19th March

Today I managed to get my riding boots back on and do Bella’s Stage 1 ridden video. I haven’t ridden her for 4 months since my heel operation and yes my heel is sore from riding today but it was so worth it. She did very well with the assessment tasks and the video of it will be with her ground work one from yesterday in the folder ‘Bella’s Lesson vids’ πŸ™‚

Pics: Stormy having fun at Liberty with Mark and an Agility course and Bella all saddled up for me to ride today…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some pics from the video of Bella passing her Stage 1 riding assessment….

 

 

Fri 20th March

Today we played with yesterday’s agility obstacles but challenged ourselves to doing something completely different with each one πŸ˜‰ lots of fun and was joyous to see how relaxed Bella was with all the changes and also how well she coped with it all πŸ™‚

 

< Sideways through wide gap

Fig 8’s with two cones on opposite sides of my weave circle >

 

 

 

< Step over tall pipe, front legs only and halt

Rest a light weight jump pole on side >

 

 

 

< Individual feet over pole…she did all 4 then backed up

First time putting one foot on the smaller tyre pedestal >

 

 

< Trot circles with me standing on pedestal

Sidepassing over pole length wise >

 

 

 

< Fig 8’s around 3 obstacles, changing obstacle each time

Half circles in trot through gap >

 

 

THEN….we did some more riding after yesterdays good start. She had slightly sticky feet today but she is just learning stuff so I just took my time and made sure we worked with relaxation and consistency. In the end she did a nice circle around the inside of the round pen in walk both ways, nice backup, LF and DHQ both ways and turns. I also dismounted on the right side today.Β  We left it on a very good forward motion note and left it at that. Good, short sessions will give her the confidence to repeat and progress each time πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sun 22nd March

What a beautiful sunny day today, bit chilly with the breeze but I’ll take sun any day, really cheers you up doesn’t it. Today Ms Bella did some fab play, we took fig 8’s and did them ‘on the move’, she did a nice jump, followed a tarp that Mark was dragging behind Stormy whilst riding AND she let me put three feet on the ped and didn’t take it off for ages. Here’s some pics of our play….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We then had a very nice ridden session (3rd one in a row) with her doing 1 lap to the left and right around the inside of the round pen, backups, LF and DHQ’s and it is great to be able to use a looser rein now with her, think it’s helping her forward motion as it’s the same slackness I use when doing S2M on the ground. I dismounted on the right again too. I’m doing short sessions but trying to be consistent and stopping on a good note. I will slowly increase the time we walk the arena and take it up to trot when it feels right to do so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wed 25th March

Have had two days off play/riding as had to do other things but today we were out playing and riding again. The weather is mild and enjoyable and I first put up our next Agility course (#7) and we had our first practise session with it. The course runs like this: trot over pole square, one foot on medium pedestal, sidepass both ways around large pedestal with me standing on it, four feet in two hulahoops, under the curtain, moving fig 8’s in trot x 3, under archway, w/h/w through bunting lane, over pole with ff and halt, walk off then trot to pole square again and halt in centre πŸ™‚

Bella did pretty well, fab with fig 8’s, under the arch, putting one foot on ped, through bunting lane and transitions, pretty good try at hulahoop task but really not happy putting her ears through the curtain, once her ears were under it then she didn’t worry about it at all SO we need to work on a couple of things so that when we film it next time it’s smooth and flowing πŸ˜‰

After a good play session we rode in the round pen again. Today we managed backup, DHQ-LF both sides, DHQ-fh forward motion twice around the roundpen on both sides and also a nice right turn to COD and dismount on right again. Really pleased with our progress, think she’s really getting it now.

 

< My heel is slowly getting better and I’m able to use it in the stirrups ok now.

She’s very good at standing still once I’ve mounted and doing up the girth >

 

 

< backup from the mounting block…really nice back up.

Loose rein riding more now, focus, energy and leaving her alone when all ok >

 

 

< Loose rein, moving about in the saddle, moving my arms about, she’s great.

Right hand turn…eyes focus, inside shoulder back, belly button focus, outside leg on and open right rein >

 

< Right turn >

 

 

 

< Enjoying ourselves, Bella’s walk getting more forward each time we practise πŸ˜‰

Dismouting on the right side >

 

 

< Lots of treats for such a good girl

 

Ground tying going really well and today I put my rope on the saddle for her to carry it for me…no problem πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy

 

 

 

 

Sun 29th March

The weather is totally on/off rain/hail/sun/wind this month so we’ve had a few days off but managed to sneak out before it got rainy again this afternoon.Β  We started by giving them both a good ‘de-moulting’ groom and then I played with Bella on the 22′ line. Today I decided to just play around my ‘tyre’ round pen as the 8 tyre barrels are good for quite a few games in trot.

 

 

< Leading the two beauties

Back up and draw on the 22′ line >

 

 

 

< Circling in walk and trot both ways with me sitting down >

 

 

 

 

< Rope spins

And a FIRST for Bella, today we started doing some leg yields on a circle….me on the left easier than me on the right (for her) >

 

 

< leg yielding >

 

 

 

 

< Weaving in trot and at a distance

Fig 8’s on the whole 22′ line πŸ˜‰ >

 

 

 

After a lovely play session I rode her in the round pen again. All getting better, easier mounting for me, she stands still beautifully, backup great, LF getting softer and DHQ getting better. We managed 2 laps both ways which was good then it started getting windy again so I called it a day as getting quite cold.

 

Tues 31st March

Last day of March, beginning of Spring and am enjoying playing and riding Ms Bella. Today we did a video ‘Training Tip’ for the start of asking Bella to lower her head for bridling AND with another video of a fab TARP CHALLENGE that friend Kat gave us (and put on my HS FB group for some fun). After that playing about I filmed Mark doing his Tarp Challenge with Stormy at Liberty and when I looked around this is what sweet Bella did….

 

All on her own she investigated the pedestal

Then she gently stepped up on it

 

 

 

And THEN she turned her head to look at me as if to say..’is this right mom?’…

what a sweetheart, she stayed there for ages and I went over and gave her a treat for a fabulous effort and imagination πŸ˜‰

 

 

She did the Tarp Challenge amazingly. Up until now she’s only just got used to walking and trotting over it but our relationship has come along in leaps and bounds recently so doing other things with the tarp was fun, she did all that I asked and I was over the moon with her effort, understanding and relaxation πŸ˜‰

 

After all that fun we had a nice wee ride around the round pen….

 

< Ground tying is going really well

Standing still at the mounting block fab >

 

 

 

 

< Walking out going really well, she sometimes stops but is easy to get going again. LF, DHQ all working well, working on more lightness but that comes with time and patience >

 

 

 

< Turns going well, still using reins at moment but building it to where she will understand my focus/weight/leg cues as we go

Dismounting from the right fabulous >

 

 

< Ground tying whilst I put stirrups back up and loosen her girth

Love when my babies follow me after a session at liberty >

 

 

 

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy

 

 

 

 

 

Bella – February 2020

Sun 2nd Feb

Can’t believe it’s February already and today we start Winter it seems. We had a very very very cold night last night and woke up to snow warnings SO we went down and brought the horses back home by which time it just started snowing…well timed home coming πŸ˜‰

 

Wed 5th Feb

Kept horses up at house whilst the snow was on the ground and while it was so very cold but for now the snow has gone and it’s much milder…horses even going 24/7 without rugs some days. Today Mark took them back to the field, again riding and leading. Mark is certainly getting his hacking hours up this year πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mon 10th Feb

Warnings of snow coming today so we went and collected the horses back from the big field to the home paddocks. It was too slippery to ride really so Mark walked them half way back and I walked them the other half. Now all safety tucked up in their rugs with the weather coming in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mon 17th Feb

Well we’ve had quite a few days of really bad weather here from snow, heavy snow, to heavy rain and wind with some serious storms. The horses have been up at the house since the thick snow fell as we couldn’t get down to the big field with that laying down BUT today, after 2 days of serious rain the snow has all gone and the home paddocks are muddy and need cleaning up a bit SO horses were walked, by me, back to the big field, which is about a mile. I think they really enjoyed being taken back today, rugs off and free to run around if they want.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sun 23rd Feb

WOW, we had a day of blue skies and sunshine today, albeit it was bitterly cold still SO it was a choice of poo picking old paddock OR go play with a horse or two…guess which one won πŸ˜‰ lol

Started with some Liberty with Stormy, then tried a bit of Liberty with Bella….she was a bit sceptical and rusty on cues SO back online for a bit and then a nicer Liberty session afterwards. Lovely to be out if only for an hour and to feel good about how far Bella has already come but also to see how far we have to go.

Some pics from today….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tue 26th Feb

Today I went out early to their dinner time and gave myself and Bella an hour to do some ‘Undemanding Time’ and ‘Mirroring’ at Liberty. She didn’t really get it but I persisted in just sitting there waiting for her to come over to me if she wanted to….eventually she did and investigated my hand/arm, head, jacket etc. It was really nice to see her curiosity coming out.

I then did some ‘relaxation’ techniques where I stood at her shoulder facing her tail with my hand on her withers. I stand there thinking relaxation, breathing deeply and when she finds relaxation (head lower and/or tipped towards me) then I calmly walk away for a bit to tell her she’s a clever girl. I did this a few times on each side and then did it further down her back (behind where the saddle sits), she took longer to relax there but worth waiting for.

 

After this and a bit of a break I stood next to her on her left, hand on her withers and waited to walk with her…’mirroring’. She is so used to either being left alone or following someone that is leading her in a halter that she really didn’t understand what I was doing….it might make a difference in Spring when I can do this when she’s casually grazing. Today she just walked step by step backwards trying to put me further in front of her drive line. SO, I did this for a bit and then started to ask for forward movement with my energy/focus and outside hand pointing forward and lots of praise when she eventually started walking forward and me following her. I will endeavour to do more of these UT & M sessions and in between I will gently play online with her so that she starts to associate those cues with what I’m asking at liberty.

Another short break and I put her online and did a very short, calm, relaxed play where she did some walk circles both ways with relaxation, sidepass with the minimum energy cue and tossing the rope for a rope around spin πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚ she was really good so I took the halter off and she ‘followed’ me at liberty for a short session. Ended it on a really good note, set her free with some treats and then took her and Storm over for dinner and hay πŸ™‚

The video of us doing this session is on ‘Bella’s Lesson Videos’ page…..

 

She even goes on the pedestal at liberty for her apple now πŸ˜‰

 

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy

 

 

Bella – January 2020

Fri 3rd Jan

Made some apple sauce to get Bella ready for worming soon, she was hesitant to touch or take the syringe, which is how I thought she’d be, but hopefully a few days of apple saucing she’ll be okay with the wormer. Video of this first attempt is on ‘Bella’s Lesson Video’s’.

After the syringing Familiarisation I played with Storm & Bella together for a bit of fun. We did these few things:

  1. Draw & Drive together
  2. Half circling together, one in front of the other
  3. S2M with a horse on either side of me

 

Enjoyed it a lot even though it was only a short play

 

 

 

 

 

Sat 4th Jan

Played with both horses today, it seems this is what my new ‘thing’ will be, playing and riding with two horses. They are so connected it’s easier and a lot of fun to do. We played with the pedestal, circles, half circles and Bella did a little bit of liberty play for her dinner apple slices πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sun 5th Jan

Managed to get out today with some good weather so we had a lovely play session first trying on some packs for Bella, making sure she was okay with them. Then playing with Bella & Storm together as it’s quicker to play with both of them than individually…it’s also good as Stormy gives Bella confidence. Here’s some pics from the fun session…

 

 

 

Wed 7th Jan

Weather has been a bit wild today. we’ve had mild to heavy wind, drizzle to heavy rain and mild temperatures. to help keep the hay from blowing into the next field full of sheep we put our hay into large buiilders bags, tie the loop handles over it all and the horses put their heads in and eat without loosing too much of it. Bella has been good at accepting this way of eating her hay πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

Fri 10th Jan

Well tonight has a full moon and that is great for worming as it’s the moon of movement and cleansing SO we wormed Storm and Bella this afternoon with Equest for Encysted Red Worms (which can’t be picked up on worm counts so needs doing in Winter regularly).

Since working on the apple sauce syringing I was over the moon when they both took the wormer, then some apple sauce, another wormer portion and a last apple saucing in their strides. They were calm, heads down, no dropping it out of their mouths, no tantrums with next syringe and finished with relaxation and an apple sauce taste in their mouths. I am SO proud of them and SO happy I took the time to apple sauce them for a few days beforehand. I will continue with the apple sauce I have left, no point in wasting it, and will do the apple saucing again maybe a couple of times during the year so it’s not always about worming πŸ™‚

 

Stormy getting his wormer
(no pics of Bella unfortunately)

 

 

 

 

Mon 13th Jan

Bad weather forecast from Storm Brendan so we decide to bring the horses back to the house just in case. Here are pics of Mark doing a fab job bareback, bitless riding Storm home leading Bella who was easy, calm and happy to be led (might be a way of getting her and me riding more by using this method!! watch this space πŸ˜‰ )

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday 17th Jan

Today the rain and wind has stopped so we decide to take the horses back to their big field so that they can move about more, and stretch their legs. Mark rode Stormy bareback and bitless as normal and Bella’s leading is becoming SO good…I think this is their 8th journey to and from our home now πŸ™‚

 

Large stone mounting block….fabulous when you have a big horse to get onto

 

 

 

 

On their way home, nice and steady together

 

 

 

 

Nearly there

 

Bella stretches her legs and straight to the hay

 

 

Stormy enjoys a long roll/scratch up and then they both eat hay together πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

Lovely vid showing last trot to big field. Love Mark’s loose reins on Stormy and a lovely loose rope to Bella and how synchronised are these three…watch their trot to walk transition πŸ˜‰ FAB, SMOOTH, CALM, CONNECTED πŸ™‚

 

Sun 19th Jan

Yesterday I put together a new Agility course and today we just did it to see how we got on and to check what Bella has remembered since our last Agility play session, which was in October last year. Here are some pics of the 13 obstacles we did and the video of us doing it is on ‘Bella’s Agility Videos’ which you can find on the Category section in the right hand border of the blog >>

1. half circle through gateway

2. back over pole between barrels

 

3. weave through cones with poles

4. 2 feet on pedestal

 

 

5. walk on/halt/walk off tarp

6. trot poles

 

7. small jump

 

8. 2 feet in hulahoop

 

9. sidepass to the right

 

10. draw/drive between narrow lane

 

11. S2MΒ  transitions (w/t/w/h/bk)

 

12. under arch

 

13. sidepass to the left

 

14. Familiarisation with flag

 

 

 

Mon 20th Jan

Today Mark did a bit with Stormy then lead Bella from him. She was really good and they started becoming so synchronised.

And then I sat on Bella for a wee bit, we moved backwards and we did some lateral flexion and walk forwards for a few steps. I didn’t want to do more as my balance isn’t great at the moment bareback and she’s been off for Winter so will take it slowly getting back into things with her πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Was a good day and not too cold….will try to get out as much as we can while this lovely weather lasts πŸ™‚

 

Thurs 23rd Jan

Today I went out with the idea of saddling Bella and seeing if she was up for a wee sit on…I’m SO glad we always take each day as it comes as she had Spring fever in her feet and it wasn’t a day to get on her but she did a lovely leading from Stormy session with me (my first as Mark normally does it) and then played some half circles from Stormy to change sides with her. Really enjoyed the day even though I didn’t do what I thought I was going to do….really good to have a Plan A, B & C to make the most of whatever the horse brings to the session and to not feel we didn’t do something good even though my first plan didn’t happen. This are her ‘yeehaa’ moments….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I didn’t let her yeehaa’s get to me, just calmly waited for her to find her own calmness out of them to start with and then when she offered some sidepass I took it and asked her for more. After that I put her exuberance into something that used to worry her….a small jump or two, which she had no bother doing well today πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

I then enjoyed leading Bella whilst riding Stormy, this was my first time with Bella doing this as Mark has been doing it. I’ve done other horses but this was my first time with her πŸ˜‰ It went really well and I also did some nice half circling game with her whilst sitting on Stormy, Stormy was super good standing so still while I threw the rope over his head while she moved around πŸ˜‰

 

Fri 24th Jan

Today I decided to go out and stick to the similar plan from yesterday, play, play with saddle then lead Bella from Stormy and I’m going to continue this plan until I start to see more relaxation with the saddled games (or if the bareback pad works but saddle doesn’t to figure out why….it might be the noise of everything with the saddle!). I’m also finding that after her initial yeehaa that she is quite balanced and confident so I’m allowing her behaviour but then asking for more thereby taking her idea and making it mine. I did a lot of this with Stormy (and others) as a youngster and although Bella is now 11yrs old we are doing stuff that is normally done with a 3-5yr old so I’ll take that as her ‘riding age’ πŸ™‚

Some pics from today…first play with yeehaa, 2nd play with saddle and very balanced yeehaa and then Mark leading her off Stormy which she did brilliantly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sat 25th Jan

Today was the 3rd day of play/circling with Bella. First we do some basic online play and then with a saddle pad on. The first day with saddle had some big yeehaa/spring fever in her feet, yesterday she still had some yeehaa in her feet but today she was much calmer and slightly more attentive. Next play session i will try the saddle again.Here’s a video from today…

 

Sun 27th Jan

AND today we have had warnings of snow and ice for tomorrow SO Mark rode Stormy and led Bella back to the house paddocks again. Lovely bit of exercise and they were both stars. They are now tucked up in rugs ready for the weather (if it comes).

 

Fri 30th Jan

And today the horses went back to the big field again, the snow came and went and it’s now drizzly and windy so going to the big field helps to save the small home paddock from getting extremely muddy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy

 

Bella – December 2019

Fri 6th Dec

Today Mark took the horses back to the big field, hopefully they will have 2-3 weeks more there before returning to the house paddocks for the rest of Winter. Mark rode Stormy bareback and lead Bella from him. They both were fabulous, calm, well behaved and happy to be returning to the space of the big field where they can stretch their legs, get exercise going up/down the hill for water and have more old grazing before it’s hay and snow for a while.

 

Mark riding down the track with our beauties

 

 

 

 

I got down there on the quad today and managed to walk Bella to her dinner bowl πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

Bella’s off…come on Stormy
what are you waiting for πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

 

Sun 15th Dec

Well it’s been over a week again since seeing the geegee’s but today I got out and had a great wee session with Bella. She was very happy to see me and I took her into one of my main round pens, we connected by doing some S2M together and a bit of other games too but only to get her mind/energy and our breathing connected and not to go fast or anything. She was fab and after a very short time I decided to take her headcollar off and put the rope over her neck and work like that with S2M. She was SO connected that I quickly decided to just see how we could walk at Liberty together….I was surprised and very happy that she stayed connected to me with only one run off but with a great draw back. She seemed very happy to play with me and I think she’s missing me as much as I’m missing her.

On a good note I am not using my ‘moonboot or crutches’ anymore and although my heel operation has been 6 weeks now it is still quite sore and my achilles and calf muscles aren’t working fully still yet, that will take quite a long time with some serious physio over the next few months…BUT I’m happy to potter about more than before and to make sure I don’t over do things.

 

With rope over her neck

 

 

 

 

 

At liberty, S2M and close circling

 

 

 

LOVE that DRAW πŸ™‚

 

Here is a short video of us working for the first time on ‘liberty close circles’ πŸ˜‰

 

 

Mon 23rd Dec

Today got out with the horses to take their rugs off and managed to have a small play session first at Liberty with Story in a roundpen and then online with Bella.

 

So LOVELY to see both beauties today…even the sun came out for us.

 

 

 

Happy to see me as I’m happy to be with them πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

I also managed to start working on some familiarisation, approach and retreat and treat training to help Bella start to tolerate and then accept the noise of Velcro. She really over reacts to it and it’s everywhere nowadays, on rugs, gloves, jackets etc SO I really need her to get used to it. We did a short video showing our first session…

 

 

Weds 24th Dec

Well it’s Xmas Eve and although we normally only bring the horses to the house when bad/snowy weather is forecast we decided that we normally have bad weather at this time of year and the horses have always been with us at the house by Xmas Eve so why change that habit. We really enjoy them being at the house and it makes it more Xmasy with them here with us SO we went and fetched them home this afternoon. Happy Xmas everyone….

 

 

Sun 29th Dec

Today Mark, Storm, Bell and I went for a wee walk in the grass opposite our house. We’ve often taken herd members across here for some walking in-hand exercise, some agility fun and to graze but this was Bella’s FIRST time over there andΒ  first time really ‘going out’ for a walk with us. She was a big sceptical at first but then her curiosity got the better of her SO I spent time walking when she wanted to walk and then halting and waiting when she needed to stop and look about.

She was happy and calm with me, didn’t worry where Stormy went and we managed to ‘play’ our normal games as we went about (which is how they’re supposed to used). We did S2M transitions, me being on either side of her, backing up, half circles through gaps, grooming (familiarisation), moving her hq’s when changing directions and moving her forehand when walking together for turns away. She was lovely and calm and it was lovely to take her out for an hour or so.

She didn’t realise that she could graze in-hand either and wasn’t really interested in the grass but when she spotted/smelled the heather sprigs she and Stormy tucked in big time πŸ™‚

 

πŸ˜‰ And Mark had a good time with big Stormy too πŸ™‚

 

Tues 31st Dec

For the last day of the year and decade we take the horses back to their big field. They get more exercise searching for grazing there and there has been no rain or snow to keep them at the house now…we will bring them back when that happens…but for now they can enjoy the bigger freedom of the 10 acres with hill stream to keep them happy πŸ™‚

Mark riding Storm back to the field and leading Bella. They worked together very well, calm and easy. The whole field is open for them now including the steep hill, they will find some grass there.

 

 

Down on the flat part of the field in the glorious winter sunshine…and then eating hay together at dinner time πŸ™‚

 

 

The end of 2019, missing all our horses that have passed, Fortune, Holly, Solly & Tara but looking forward to some new adventures in 2020 with Stormy & BellaΒ  πŸ™‚

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy