Bella – June 2020

Mon 1st June

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















Wed 3rd June

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


































Sun 7th June

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


< Back up through narrow gap

Draw trot >



< Trot poles

Circling with obstacles >




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










< Halt in a box

My gorgeous Bella >



< Is Bella posing at the camera? lol

Canter circles >




< Draw to me after circling

Nice walk fig 8’s >




< Nice trot fig 8’s.

Slowly getting the hang of ridden trot curves and circles >



< Clover leaf with bits of trot

Riding the Rail >




< Corners game still good

Riding the Rail >





Mon 8th June

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
































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














Tues 9th June

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


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




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





< Sidepass a few steps >





< DHQ and then repeat on other side πŸ˜‰



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



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




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





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


Thurs 11th June

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



Half circles on the move





Canter fun




Tossing rope over head, COD and long reining




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






























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


Sidepass to the right






Sidepass to the left..yeehaa πŸ˜‰




Fri 12th June

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

Some pics from today…


< Trot draw and a lovely connect >




< Liberty S2M trot


Liberty backup >



< Rewards


Connecting nicely >




< Long rein canter

Long reining around the arena >




Sat 13th June

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


Agility 1. Straddle a log

Agility 2. Sidepass




Agility 3. Walk/halt in box

Agility 4. Jump




Agility 5. Weave

Agility 6. Fig 8’s in trot




Agility 7. Trot poles

Agility 8. Scary corner




Agility 9. Trot over tarp

Agility 10. 2 feet on ped and turn on forehand



Mid session YEEHAAA….





Two horse S2M

Bella online

Stormy at Liberty













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




Over tarp

Over trot poles





Single foot on pedestal





Sun 14th June

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









































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





Mon 15th June

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














Tues 16th June

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







































Mark and Stormy had fun too….




















Weds 17th June

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


< Doing a forehand towards then away for a COD >





< Last bit of COD

Swinging the rope for Familiarisation on the move >




< More familiarisation >






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





< She was forward but not fast today






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



Lovely trot at the end

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


Thurs 18th June

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


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











Fri 19th June

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


Sat 20th June

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
































Sun 21st June

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
















































































Tues 23rd June

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



























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






Weds 24th June

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




























Fri 26th June

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

















Sat 27th June

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












































Mon 29th June

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


< Canter circles





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



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



Tues 30th June

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


< pole circles

Sidepass over cone and pole >



< Trot through narrow gap with relaxation

Out of gap and DHQ for halt >



< 2 feet on ped

Sidle over log >





< Back up off log

Trotting up with just neck rope >



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




< Treats

Bestest horsey hug >




< Good hug from Bella too

My babies >




  • Shelley – HorseSavvy




Bella – May 2020

Fri 1st May

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

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







































First time ridden pedestal










Sat 2nd May

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






















































Sun 3rd May

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


< Weave

Feet in hulahoops>




< Under the Curtain

Jump >




< Trot over the tarp

Trot poles >




< Raised Labyrinth

Trying the curtain again >




< Ridden weave

Halt on the jump pole >




< Back off jump pole

Walk/halt/backup/walk off tarp >




< Walk over poles

Through the labyrinth >




< Over the water tray

Stand in water tray>




< Circling round pen walk

Circling with some trot >





< Nice curve coming on her right side

Focused on the centre of the cloverleaf >




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





Weds 6th May

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































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


Thurs 7th May

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



Storm and Bella being trimmed πŸ˜‰







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



Fri 8th May

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



Circling and a sweet moment with Bella




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





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






Sidepass over a jump wing both ways




and then 2 feet on pedestal




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





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





Sat 9th May


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






Sun 10th May

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














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







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






Mon 11th May


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




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



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



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



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




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




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



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

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






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



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



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



Tue 12th May



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





Wed 13th May

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

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

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

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

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

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






Thurs 14th May

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

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


Great mounting and walking slowly up the hill





Following Stormy is great





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



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




Fri 15th May

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
































Sat 16th May

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

Here’s some pics from the ride πŸ˜‰































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

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




Tues 19th May

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


Jumping fig 8’s

Sidepassing between cones




Trotting over poles and a tarp




Placing feet and then playing with Stormy while Bella watched




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




Wed 20th May

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

















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

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

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






Thurs 21st May

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

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



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



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



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



< X Box >




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



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



Sun 24th May

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

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

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






























Mon 25th May

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

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

Here’s some pics from today…Ground work first


< Backing up

Sidepass together >




< Sidepass together

Sidepass towards >




< Sidepass towards

Moving circles and fig 8’s >




<Moving fig 8’s >





< touch it – feet

Distance stand on ped >




< and nice jump >






















Tues 26th May

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

Pics I took….


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

Down track hill.


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

Lovely broom out along the track today.



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

Mark and Stormy waiting for us to catch up.



Pics Mark took…


Bella found a nice tree to munch on.

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

Up the last hill for home.

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




Weds 27th May

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



Nice circles with obstacles






Light back ups and sidepassing over a pole length wise





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

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



Thurs 28th May

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




































  • Shelley – HorseSavvy



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…’ 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˜‰











































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….



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


Bella – November 2019

Sun 3rd Nov


I’m out of action for a while after having heel surgery on Halloween but the horses needed to be taken back to their big field until Winter SO Mark took them back down there…Riding Storm bareback and leading Bella from him. He said they were very well behaved and really enjoyed a wee yeehaa when let off back into the big field. He also opened up the hill grass for Autumn, I’m sure they’ll really enjoy that πŸ™‚
















Stretching their legs in the big field feels GOOD…also having a lovely roll….mucky girl




Oh and a very muddy boy Stormy >







Weds 6th Nov

Am missing the horses a lot whiles not able to do anything at all for a while with foot out of action, even once I start to ‘walk’ again it will take quite a while to get my heel/leg back to normal SO Mark took me down to the big field to have some equine cuddles…..just what the doctor ordered πŸ˜‰


They didn’t have any worries about my crutches, my wobbling walk or the plastic bag on my moonboot





Stormy wanted to check out the plastic bag on my foot….Bella was fine with it too but not so interested in it, well there was no food in it for her. lol.





Bella was fine with me ‘hand grooming’ her, getting the dried mud off her neck, side and bum. I held onto her withers for stability and she was a very good girl standing still for me to hobble around her.




Such a good girl AND Stormy didn’t bat an eyelid when I asked for a theraputic Storm-Hug with my crutches flailing over his back πŸ™‚





And…last but not least Bella and I had some connection kisses <3 SO lovely to spend some time hanging out with them, it’s going to be some time before I can ride again but hopefully once I start to get a bit better I can do some ground work play whilst sitting down πŸ™‚



Thurs 14th Nov

While still not being able to walk without crutches I’m not able to see the horses everyday but Mark took me down to them today for a wee visit. They seemed genuinely happy to see me and think Bella has missed me and her play sessions quite a lot. It was lovely to have lots of hairy hugs and kisses and it was also fab to see Bella hasn’t forgotten any of our training…she, and Stormy, were STARS.

First of all I groomed Bella and her ‘Ground Tying’ is coming along in leaps and bounds and made it possible for me to ‘hobble’ around her without her moving and without me having to hold her rope…


We then had a very very good play session with me sitting down on the mounting block and for the first time Bella had a 22′ rope on her, very proud of all she remembered and tried for me and how well our communication and connection was.


< Bella circling really nicely

She was good on moving out on the circle to go around a jump wing before coming back to me >


<FIRST ever backup on the 22′ line and she did it with smooth enthusiasm

Backup over a pole too went pretty well >



< Fabulous Fig 8’s and I stayed sitting down the whole time >

Bella went up on the pedestal with front feet no problem today (pic below)



Bella was also extra special in helping me to ‘hop’ back to the mounting block…..I held onto her neck/withers and mane and she wasn’t worried or spooked by my hanging onto her, the plastic bag on my ‘boot’ or my crutch…super star girlie πŸ™‚







We also had some lovely ‘moments’ of connection and friendship today….with sweet Bella hanging out while I played with Stormy too…


< Storm backing over pole…Bella watching intently from both sides >




< Bella hanging out with me while I play with Storm

Bella being super sweet with me >



< Both horses were precious today, hanging out, playing and being so gentle around me

A very special ‘moment’ with sweet Bella >





Sun 17th Nov

Bella has only just been with us for over 4 months and I love that Bella and Stormy are now so bonded. When Bella first came she was very hungry, slightly underweightΒ  and orientated on feeding herself as if she had another baby inside to feed. We don’t think she’s ever had a bucket feed and we feed twice a day to give them something other than grass in their bellies so it’s taken a while for her to understand we won’t let her down on feeding and she can relax and not try to pinch Stormy’s food too. So it’s especially brilliant to see that our two beauties can eat together without fussing each other off the hay πŸ™‚



Wed 20th Nov

Slowly our track system has been expanded to allow the horses all of the hill grazing. Tonight, at their dinner time, Mark opened up the whole acreage to the horses, the new bit not having been grazed on all year so what we call ‘standing hay’ really and they’re enjoying stretching their legs and eating the grass they’ve been looking at all year.







Thurs 28th Nov

Well today, after 2 weeks of not seeing horses due to recovery of heel operation and terrible wet weather I finally got down to see the dynamic duo for an hour or so and it was true therapy for my heart and soul. I found my SMILE again πŸ˜‰ and I think they were pleased to see me too πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

As it had been quite a while since seeing/playing with Bella she was at first tentative but soon remembered all the good stuff she’s learned but often times with some excitement involved so we spent some time on each request finding relaxation for her and TBH she remembered and found it pretty quickly today. Was fabulous to be with her again, she definitely missed me as much as I’ve missed her <3

Some pics from today, first playing with Bella, then some hug time and finally a naughty bareback ‘sit’ on big Stormy….I could not resist and as my back, hips, leg leg etc are all sore from not walking properly due to wearing moonboot he really helped work those parts of my body to restore some semblance of harmony for me…thanks Big Storm πŸ™‚

Draw & Drive and then some circling

Circles to right had some issues, she has got a bit sensitive on that side again and after some yeehaa moments she started to get over it quickly






Some fab sidepass circles with me pivoting today, she’s not done much of this but she did it with softness and a light cue


Fig 8’s remembered very well and in trot too



Ask for a draw towards off Fig 8’s and you can see she was ready to repeat left part of Fig 8 here but came back to me quickly once she realised it was a draw. With not being able to move much due to foot in moonboot/bag my signals/cues were more subtle….great way to progress πŸ˜‰ lol

Storm wanted to do a bit at liberty with us so I asked for them both to back up together πŸ˜‰

Sidepass along a pole, a first for her today >

Such flexible limbs/body she has πŸ™‚

Sidepass other way great too


Circle and half circle over raised pole. She was okay going to the right but going to the left (with me on hard right side) was difficult, she got over sensitive and had a yeehaa but we stuck with it until she found relaxation and balance with that energy before we halted.

Trying to find relaxation and balance again.


Feet over the pole, sometimes 1,2,3 or all 4 forward and then back again πŸ™‚





And sidepass off a pole a first today too







< Connecting nicely through play and relaxation >





< Teaching Bella to ‘hug’ me πŸ™‚

Coming for treats >




< My two beauties

Stormy giving me a really BIG HUG here, he knows how to squeeze so nicely >



So a great afternoon for me, my heart and soul renewedΒ  with my beautiful big girl Bella but one thing remained… have a wee sit/plod on big Stormy. I am SO glad we’ve done tons of Familiarisation with plastic as my moonboot is in one at moment when out and about to save it getting dirty, he was fine with it. Am also really glad he’s used to moving/stopping/turning from my breath/focus/weight cues as I wasn’t going to use my legs as left one still very sore. He did brilliantly and as soon as I got on I realised how squint and sore I was on my left side due to hobbling about in moonboot for last month. My back, hip, leg was all very tense and achy but after just a few mins of just being a passenger on him I felt the benefits as I allowed hisΒ  movement to move me and soften up my whole body. Thanks Stormy, you and Bella are the BESTEST therapy a girl could have πŸ™‚ <3 xxx



Sat 30th Nov

Well Mark bought the horses home this morning not because of bad weather, although it was about -9 to -10 last night, but because both our quad bike AND our 4×4 car wouldn’t start (batteries we think)….totally gobsmacked but he walked the mile to their field and rode/walked them back home…at least I get to see them every day now which is a huge bonus as I’m just starting to walk about a bit now. SO for the last day of November Bella did exceptionally well walking back home with Storm and Mark and it definitely worked bringing them back earlier in the year as she was calm, quiet, happy to be in the paddocks and calmly using the bridge too πŸ™‚

Here’s some pics of them coming home and in the paddocks….


Lovely to see them using the bridge calmly and happily





Breakfast at home, Bella ate hers then went and pinched some of Stormy’s too





And it was fabulous for me to potter about in the garden and see our two beauties watching me πŸ™‚

Not sure if they’ll stay at the house for the whole of December but it’s nice to have them here for now πŸ˜‰


  • Shelley – HorseSavvy










Bella – October 2019

Fri 4thΒ 

It’s been 3 days since I last played with Bella so today I went down at breakfast to be with her and see if she wanted to play. At first she was sceptical and this made me realise that she needs some play or interaction every day with me….this is totally normal and once she has been here for longer and this routine is a good routine then skipping a day or two won’t make that much difference BUT this initial 6 months to a year is vital for our successful connection.


< Firstly we did some ‘mirroring’…this is where I walk the way she’s walking, at her speed, step for step and also then with the same energy and even breathing if we connect well. It really helps our connection and shows her I can ‘be’ with her in her world, we don’t always have to play or do something.




We then did some circles on a hill in w/t, moving circles w/t, circles over a pole w/t, draw & drive from a distance and sidepassing without a fence using Focus L&R πŸ™‚ She did very well and our connection is back in tact ready for our next session.






































Tues 8th Oct

After not doing much last week I now need to find my Connection back to Bella. It will just take some regular play and weather so won’t take long but made me realise how short a time Bella has been with us and how fragile the bond is. Today I managed to get half an hour between rain showers and we did some nice S2M including TROT πŸ™‚














Weds 9th Oct

Today was on/off drizzle again BUT I managed to get out an hour before giving them their dinner and I’m so glad I did. We managed some nice play in the Agility area adding poles to the cone circle/weave which went well. Then I put her saddle on and we played around with circles in walk and trot with the stirrups down and she didn’t bat and eyelid. I then did some DHQ into LF on the ground both sides which went well and then stood on the mounting block and asked her to come over to it, relax and stand still. I then put my foot in the stirrup and put my weight on/off it to make sure she was okay with that sensation and then as it was okay I mounted and sat quietly in the saddle. She stood quietly and then turned her head to the left with a nice LF to smell my foot and then I got off. One small step but a big step. Hopefully next time we will do some walking and the saddle will help keep my balance if she decides to go up to trot.


< Cone circle/weave with poles


Ground tying >




Trotting with saddle on and stirrups down >






Sitting on Bella w/Saddle and Stirrups

We have made wonderful progress together. Now we need to work on our basic riding skills/techniques with the saddle on firstly in the round pen, then in a larger arena and then in a bigger area.






Sat 12th Oct

Today was the FIRST time riding Bella with the saddle/stirrups on. She did amazingly well and I’m so proud of her. I think I will make a bigger rectangular arena for us to work in now so that will encourage forward motion more for her. I have this session on video in the ‘Bella’s training video’ section and we also did a fab 4th Agility session also on video in the ‘Bella’s Agility video’ section >>>>



Sun 13th Oct

Today we took the smaller round pen down and made a rectangular arena for Bella to work in, the longer straight lines will help her walk out more in our riding sessions and we can also use this for her to follow Stormy to give her confidence following another horse. Today we just allowed both horses to work/ride in it for a short time. Here’s some pics from today including some of the fun ground work we did together:


< A ‘moment’ together

Managed one foot on the smaller pedestal >




< Sidepassing without a fence πŸ™‚


Getting a nice ride on big Stormy today >



< Storm is now a ‘teacher’ for Bella


Nice ride on Stormy >



< And such a nice trot with Storm today working on the Corners Game


Bella’s Lateral Flexion on BOTH sides today was soft, light and easy >


< Managed to get more walk steps working in new bigger area today

Also walked out of the arena back to where I take the tack off, through the agility area >





Mon 14th Oct

Today I decided to try a new thing to help Bella’s confidence in being ridden…..asking Mark to ride Stormy with us in the arena. This really helped Bella, she followed what Stormy was doing and we managed a lot of just nice walk next to each other. It will take time for Bella to gain new muscles for being ridden and taking weight on her back but she’s doing really well.


Riding together is a lot of fun and I can see she and Storm will make happy hacking pals once we’ve done more training and then walked her out locally (probably next year now)


We walked companionably on both sides of Stormy, love that these two get on so well, no niggling, no kicking out or trying to bite each other.




Tues 15th Oct

Had a lovely play with Bella today and it turned out to be a play with her AND Stormy together a bit too. Stormy at liberty, Bella on line…some pics….


Playing the games with Stormy helped Bella feel more confident, allow her to see Stormy doing the same things and to make Stormy feel included more πŸ˜‰




Draw and Drive over a pole went incredibly well with the two of them πŸ™‚




Some treats for both for a good job done.

4 feet on the pedestal at last….well 2 of Storm’s and 2 of Bella’s…great to see how well they get on that they can be this close πŸ™‚



Pedestal fun and then some solo circling with poles for Bella. She really engages her core when there are poles around so we will continue to build with the pole work to help her muscle up for being ridden πŸ˜‰



After some play I went to do a bit of riding, Bella was good but very very distracted by something (farmer moving cattle probably, very noisy business) SO I decided that it would be easier and better for Bella if Mark rode her and I stayed on the ground with Stormy so she could follow me and be near Stormy. It went very well and Mark had a couple of really nice TROT’s on her which was great to see.


Good start and her basic bitless techniques are going well (LF. DHQ. FH and Walking on). She is still more confident with Stormy around when being ridden but that’s to be expected πŸ˜‰


You can see she is thinking about something in the middle distance here.

Mark did a great relaxing job riding Bella today. Her trot ridden is as nice as her trot when she’s working online which is lovely to see.



Here she’s trotting well following Storm and me. We still need to work on left and right but am very pleased she’s got walk and now trot under her belt, we can progress slowly now.


I then spent some quiet time with Bella which was really bonding. She is really cuddly and I love being around her.



Tue 22nd Oct

Just back from a clinic in the Borders so have missed 5 days training with Bella this week BUT hopefully that has given her a small break to think and rest which is often a good thing for any horse. Went out to give them their dinner today around 5pm and take this opportunity to get ‘re-connected’ to her and Stormy.

Bella remembered everything we’ve done and we had some nice circling in both directions, realised we need to start working on a 22′ line now to help her trot circles be easier for her. Draw & Drive was light and polite and she did two very nice, light Lateral Flexion both directions. Lastly, after I took her halter off, it was lovely to have her follow me for a bit at Liberty πŸ˜‰


Sat 26th Oct

Bella has had a slight swelling in her right udder so we decided to be able to keep an eye on her more to bring her and Stormy to the home paddocks.Β  (at the time of writing this her udder is 50% smaller so looks like it is probably hormonal). It will also allow her to get used to the Winter turnout before they have to come up for Winter so it’s good in two ways. She was a bit sceptical coming out of the field she’s been in for 3 months since coming to us but not too worried that she couldn’t move and follow Stormy. Stormy is a great confidence giver as he’s been doing this run every Winter for 10yrs although this is the first time with Bella. Here’s some pics of our wee adventure.










Bella was quite unsettled to start with , quite sweaty too but I went and rubbed her down with some dry grass and that helped her, she also had to listen to Stormy with how to not worry about the wee bridge we have in the middle of the paddocks over the wee stream. She relaxed enough to watch and think about it and figure it out so that hopefully tonight she’ll know where things are and relax into a quiet night.



Wee video of Bella figuring out the bridge πŸ™‚



Sun 27th Oct

We left the horses to just mosey about today, allowing Stormy to show Bella around the field more and all the nice tasty spots of grazing, find their resting spots and for Bella to get used to her new surroundings. She is on lookout a bit but nothing worrying, just her getting used to where all the normal sounds are now coming from as she is nearer the farm and road noises.


When I go and walk doggie Beau, Bella walks the fence line with me, she likes watching everything that is going on.





Bella also likes to follow us whilst poo picking, she like to make sure we do it properly. She is also mirroring Stormy often, he knows the field well so is a great help to give her confidence and calmness.



Resting together is lovely to see and also how calm they are coming and eating their 2 meals a day πŸ™‚






Mon 27th Oct

Bella is really relaxing more each day she’s here in the home paddocks, this is going to help her so much when they come back for a few months over Winter, usually end Dec through to March. It makes it easier for us to feed and take care of them as often we can get snowed in here. She isn’t fully relaxed yet but it’s only been 2 full days so far and I’m impressed with how Stormy is helping her and being a good partner for her.

Today she followed me around while poo picking and that was even over the bridge but it was also lovely to see them both coming over for their breakfast nice and calmly and Stormy even allowing Bella to share the end of his bowlful…she is a cheeky minx, lol















Tues 29th Oct

Today I decided to ask Bella to have a wee play session and walk up the road by the paddock. This gives her the comfort of having Stormy int he field next to her but also allows me to see how she can respond and connect to me. Having her able to play will allow us to develop a deeper connection in a new place and for me to gauge her emotional and mental fitness. Here’s some lovely pics Mark took of us today….



Weds 30th Oct

This morning it was interesting to see the Storm and Bella following each other around. There was a bit of noise and movement around the estate with the farmer moving cattle around. Our two are so sensitive to changes at the moment but happy to be relaxed and calm around us.































Today was also ‘trimming hooves’ day, Bella’s hooves are so much better than when she first came to us 3 months ago, still some way to go with her back hooves but getting there. They were both pretty well behaved even though this was a new place to stand and hang out for Bella πŸ™‚

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy





Bella – September 2019

Sun 1st Sept

Been doing daily play sessions with Bella but decided to give her a wee break today so just checked her feet (familiarisation with the foot stand) and took her for a short walk into the long grass part of the field for some hanging out together while Mark rode Stormy.

After a nice walk around the field I did a short session of familiarisation with the mounting block and having my weight on her back. She moved away from the block a few times when my weight went on her back but I think this was more about her not having the saddle pad on and me being balanced on that on her back so my weight was more on the inside so she moved away from that pressure. Anyway, because she was moving about a bit I took more time than I thought we’d need to just keep getting off, asking her back to the block and putting my weight back on her until at the end she did two nice standstill’s for me when I did it. Her reward for standing still was to be taken away from the block, head collar off and a nice big herbal treat.

I will work on this often from now on to get her ready for saddling and being ridden later on.





















Thurs 5th Sept

We’ve had a bit of rain this week so today was the first day in a while that we could play with Bella and Stormy so we decided to do a bit of agility first (check Bella’s Agility Video’s category for her video) and then take them both out onto the long grass part of the field. Bella is becoming more used to this area and settles quickly even when Stormy trots around away from her, so she’s trusting me more which is great.






Fri 6th Sept

Out for some more agility fun with Bella and Stormy, today we had the flapping curtain up too, a first for Bella πŸ˜‰


< Bella waiting until she feels safe toΒ  be able to go through the archway >



< We’re getting such a lovely connection now, trotting together with ease and working with techniques with obstacles is fun now >


< Really lovely transitions together from walk through the narrow lane to learning to pick up the energy for a small jump >



< Working on her right side is constantly getting easier for her.
Waiting for her to feel confident about the curtain >



< Pulling one side of the curtain back for her…then asking Stormy to show Bella how to do it >



< Storm at liberty showing Bella how the curtain is done…then Bella confident to do the curtain too >




Great agility fun with B&S today…loving our light cues and connection, really enjoying helping Bella figure things out with me, our partnership is growing beautifully πŸ˜‰


Sun 8th Sept

Today we did some more agility and this time we did some different tasks on some of the obstacles which will help Bella learn it’s about our connection and trust and we can do any game with any obstacle SO she will start to look to me more for direction as we progress to riding.

We started off working with reins loose over her back as I wanted to make sure the Familiarisation of flapping reins wasn’t going to freak her out…all went really well πŸ™‚

We then played with some obstacles and did transitions through the narrow scary gap, weave and fig 8’s around the cones, in and out of the jump wings/poles, rope around spins, nice jump, three feet on the pedestal (I helped her put one back foot on it but it helps her understand what I’m asking for), and nicely under the curtain.



Also Stormy by himself decided to show Bella how the curtain can be done easily…..Stormy has become the teacher πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚


Tue 9th Sept


Well today Bella andΒ Stormy were on their toes, heads up and running around a bit but once I haltered Bella and started to groom she settled and we had a lovely play around the agility obstacles and when Mark rode Storm out in the long grass field we accompanied him in-hand and played with some S2M, weave, fig 8’s and sidepass.

I then put a bareback pad on Bella and whilst in-hand with me at her head Mark sat on her for the FIRST TIME πŸ™‚ SO happy she has been good about having someone on her back, we saw previous owner trotting down the road with her but have never been sure if she’s had any proper training or been backed/started at all. Hopefully now with the ground work Mark and I will continue her bitless ridden journey too.



Before Mark sat on her I lay on her with the bareback pad on, she moved but I managed to stay on and the rein turned her in a small arc around my legs, when she stopped I jumped off rewarding her for standing still. What a good girl she has been for me and Mark.

ALSO we did some lovely play with the obstacles, on the long grass area and she was really good with our connection which was lovely.





We even upped the energy with the flag….yeehaa πŸ™‚


Weds 11th Sept

Today we managed a small play session after dinner in the new round pen. She is quite good orientated/motivated so the long grass helped to give her rewards. Here’s what we did:

S2M around half the arena. Half circles in and out of the pen. Circles in walk x 2 to the left, COD, 2 x circles to the right, COD, repeat in trot. Fig 8s in calm walk. Tossing rope over her head and doing a ‘rope around spin’. Sidpass using feel/touch and then focus/intent. Backing out of the arena. S2M around other half of arena. Half circle in calm walk back onto grazing track.

Fab play with a calm, willing Bella and a very happy me πŸ™‚



Thurs 12th Sept

Great afternoon of play with Bella, lots of games played with obstacles and then some fab ‘ground tying’ practise while I held Stormy as Mark trimmed his hooves.

< We started off playing familiarisation with an umbrella as it started to rain.

But then played and got 3 feet on the pedestal today. Bella really thinking to her feet >



< I also did some more Lateral Flexion, from the ground and then from the mounting block.

Standing still by the mounting block, making that a sweet spot to stand is a great exercise to teach her halt and not be afraid of the block >




< mounting block wait

Tried on her new light weight rug…fits great >




< AND…..sat on her today for the FIRST TIME…felt great. Mark walked me in a circle in-hand and she was super cool >




Fri 13th Sept

Did a short play session after their dinner in the afternoon today.


< Trot half circles with pole.

Sidepass along fence >




< Sidepass to the right is awesome.

first time for Fig 8’s with a pole >




< Fig 8’s with pole >





< Fig 8’s

Hanging out with a new mounting block in a different place…no problem with it πŸ™‚ >



< Nice calmness between games >





< Rope around spins going well including tossing the rope over her head πŸ˜‰




< Halter off and the beginnings of Liberty play with some S2M and a big head hug and kiss for being such a good girl >



We also tried on her new lightweight rug today, it fits really well, nice length and tail section and a lovely deep neck line so she’s comfortable and able to still graze πŸ˜‰





Sat 14th Sept

Today we managed to get out and make a new Agility course for us to play around with AND also put up a round pen in the Agility area too so that I can start working on the beginnings of Bitless Riding after a few more times sitting and walking in-hand. Exciting times coming up πŸ™‚


< Flag


Bunting lane >



< Arch


Curtain >



< Sidepass


Sidepass >



< Tarp trot


3 feet on ped >



< Jump


front feet in hoop >



< Sidepass


Sidepass >


It was a lovely session, lots of thinking, calmness and connection through the agility course. We ended at the mounting block with some rest, leaning on her back and helping her find her ‘stand still and rest’ sweet spot at the block πŸ˜‰




Mon 16th Sept

Weather was a bit in the way today but managed to find a dry patch at evening feeding time today so took advantage of it. She was willing and relaxed, had a bit of a hoolie going into circles to the right (her hard side) but I kept my energy neutral and invited her mentally to join me in that and she soon asked to come to me and relax which is a huge difference from last week, she is starting to look to me for direction. Here’s some of the things we did…


< S2M on the right with loose rope

S2M halt and back up with pole and loose rope >



< Circles to the left, nice and calm and Bella looking to me for direction.

Circle to the right, slowly getting straighter in her barrel >




< Soft, calm fig 8’s >




< Really nice sidepassing both ways today

And sit on her again >




< Bella doing a great job taking my weight and standing perfectly still for me


Bella & Stormy >


Tues 17th Sept

Today was a big milestone in our journey together….I sat on her and asked for walk. She had quite sticky feet and we got backup and moving her hindquarters and then I asked Mark to sit on her and be a passenger with some directions whilst I helped move her into walk using the cues I use for circling. It worked really well andΒ  we now need to do this in small bouts to help her figure out her balance with a rider and also we need to start playing with the ground work with her wearing her saddle so that we can start using the saddle to start her ridden work more. Really enjoying backing her, she reminds me so much of when we did Stormy 12 years ago πŸ˜‰

Here is a short video of my first time asking her to move with me on her back:

And some pics of Mark doing a good job directing her while I got her walking out more:





















Fri 20th Sept

It was way too hot to do much with Bella or Stormy today SO the best thing I could think of to do in the hot weather is to wash Stormy and give Bella a wee clean up.



Managed to give Stormy a full wash, his mane and tail are now back to being white πŸ˜‰





Bella after a small clean up next to a very white Stormy.

I did manage also to do a small play with them together, some S2M with me in the middle and weave together, both online…it was fun πŸ˜‰


At least he was mostly dry before he decided to roll and at least he’s cleaner than he was this morning πŸ˜‰







Β Sat 21st Sept

Today I video’d Bella’s 3rd & 4th lessons. Lesson 3 is online and Lesson 4 is our first Backing/Starting Riding video…both are on the category ‘Bella’s Lesson Video’s’ which you can find on the right of the blog >>>>>

We’re going to start playing most sessions with her saddle on and soon with the stirrups down, huge familiarisation with the energy/motion/noise of those around her body and once we’ve done that for quite a while I’ll know I’ll be able to use the saddle to continue her backing/starting riding sessions.

Here’s a few pics from today:




































AND some from the ridden session….

She did well, took some time to figure out how to move forward with the new weight of me on her back but she was super sweet and tried her heart out πŸ™‚











Mon 23rd Sept

Today I played with Bella and then rode her again, she did so much better today moving forward, still a way to go but much more movement some LF, DHQ and FH moves with backup too πŸ™‚


Tues 24th Sept

Today I decided to do something a bit different, it’s been drizzing most of the day so for me riding was out as the ground is wet and so is Bella’s back SO I went and started in the round pen with the thought of some Liberty…here’s some pics of what happened….

























































Sun 29th Sept

Had a lovely play with Bella today and aΒ  better sit on/ride too. Her ridden walk was very slightly faster, more steps and started quicker so I was very pleased with our progress.

< Play with saddle on and getting her used to stirrups and weight in the too . Once she’s okay with it all I’ll be able to ride her in the saddle >



< Standing at the mounting block nice and calmly and still is really good now and moving off isn’t too bad either. Today Bella offered to go to the right >


< And she offered Lateral Flexion to the right too today, this is great progress. She’s managing to take quite a few steps before stopping >



< Very happy with our ridden connection and I feel I’ll be sitting in a saddle soon too which will really be good and give me more confidence with my own balance if she decides to offer trot and then we can start working in a bigger area too πŸ™‚





Mon 30th Sept

Today I had a very short play session with Bella, my brother and nephew are up on holiday and they always come and see the herd when they’re here. Lovely to see my family with our horses, they’ve met and ridden a lot of the members of our herd over the years so it was lovely to see them with Bella for the first time today πŸ™‚



< Brother Paul and Bella getting to know each other πŸ™‚

Bella, Mark, Paul, Storm and nephew Alex >






  • Shelley – HorseSavvy