Bella – June 2022

Thurs 2nd

Well dear Bella seems to have hurt one of her legs, she’s slightly off sound and I think she may have either twisted her leg or hit one leg with another leg when she reacted/spooked big time on Tues with the mini Shetland on our hack out SO, I’ve giving her as much time off until she’s sound again.

With that in mind I had a lovely ride on big Stormy today. He did really well and benefitted from the slow stretch of his legs in walk first, then some nice bits of slow sit-able trot with a couple of blasts of canter for fun πŸ˜‰


Nice walk out with some bits of trot





Fun canter





Bella waiting in the shelter















Fri 3rd

Mark trimmed Storm’s hooves today so I put together a new agility course ready to be played with and then did some very small bits of play with Bella to give her mind something to think about πŸ˜‰









She did SO well…think she’s missed our play sessions and hopefully next week we can do the agility course I set up. She loves thinking and working things out πŸ˜‰




What a very clever girl she is.

So brave with the large flapping tarp on the fence πŸ˜‰












Not worried about putting foot in tyre either πŸ˜‰






Sat 4th


Arrived with us at 11months old and the last 18yrs have been magnificent <3Β 














Sun 5th

Still giving Bella time off riding but decided to stretch her legs a wee bit with some agility now that I’ve put a new course up πŸ˜‰


< Under curtain

Through bunting lane >





< Trot over tarp

Trotting poles >





< Halt on water tray

Under arch >




< Sidepass over drainpipe

Halt front feet over pole >






< Back front feet off pole

Trot weave >





Trot/halt in flag square πŸ˜‰

She did really well and each day is a bit more sound. She will have tomorrow off too as I’m working but I’ll sit on her on Tuesday to see how she’s ‘feeling’ πŸ˜‰




Mark also rode Stormy today…with a saddle!!! nice to give it a go for a change and they had a nice wee ride with some agility thrown in too πŸ™‚










































Tues 7th


Lovely day for a ride today, nice breeze but warm and without any flies πŸ˜‰ I’ve not ridden Bella for a week as she was coming up unsound and we think she twisted her ankle or hit herself when she spooked at the mini Shetland on our ride our last week SO…..

I gave her time out and checked her soundness every day. She was less unsound every day and today I decided to maybe do a short, quiet ride on her so I could ‘feel’ if she was better as it was getting harder to ‘see’ if she was unsound.

Started off in walk, quietly and with her not feeling on top form BUT she soon offered trot and was pretty rhythmic and stepping out with that. She also offered a lovely canter up a small hill which is where we ended the session πŸ™‚

Hopefully she will continue to improve and I’ll get out to test ride her every other day so that she can rest between stretching being ridden.


Thurs 9th


Just a lovely day for a hack out

Decided on a different route, through nearby fields that farmer has no stock on at moment πŸ˜‰




Using a large stone to remount after a wee bit of walking


Bella making sure the track is safe πŸ˜‰



Lovely bit of trot and canter up this wee field


Following Mark and Stormy we rode as much on the grassy verges as possible



Really enjoying the track and views


Bella doing really well on uneven ground




Over a very large dry muddy part where forestry machines have churned up the field…both horses did exceptionally well over it πŸ˜‰




Love this bit of field, it’s where I see a lot of fallow deer hanging out when walking our dog Beau.


Mark and Storm did a lovely canter up this hill, Bella and I waited for him to come back down…well Bella took the opportunity to graze πŸ˜‰


Other side of the big hill we ventured through some lovely silver birch trees


Above the trees we had a wee trot/canter on this lovely piece of grass


Through last bit of field covered in small thistles then onto the track back to the field






Bella spies some overhanging silver birch branches…her favourite to snack on πŸ˜‰


Last stretch of track above our field…home. Great fun ride out today πŸ˜‰


Fri 10th


Another fab day…another fab ride out.


Same ride as yesterday but riddenthe other way around. Love a circular routed hack out πŸ˜‰




Bella following Stormy nicely…she also did some leading so it was a good swap of the leader regularly




Storm following and Bella leading. She stopped for a good look at the fab views





Slowly going downhill…what a great field to ride in





Had lovely walk, nice trot and a fab canter or two






Last leg of the ride, it’s not a long ride but nicely varied πŸ˜‰




One small look before going through the gateway





But then….the last track and field home πŸ˜‰ yeehaa






Sun 12th


Nice ride today with Bella….offered a lot of trot





And also offered some canter on straight lines





Nice bit of exercise for us both, slowly get back into things making sure she’s not stiff or unsound still!





Fri 17th

Still working on helping Bella get fit but her wee bit of hq unbalance is not helping SO getting out Emily our Equine Therapist next week to go over her and see if anything untoward. Think it’s her hq’s as she doesn’t want to engage in canter although her trot has been steadily getting better and not ‘bobbing’ now! ;*(



Follow the leader with Mark and Stormy

Nice trot




Just a very short session with some stretching of her forelimbs in walk and trot





Love how they both walk with me on loose reins and I don’t have to hold the ropes πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚





Weds 22nd

Bella has had some more time off whilst I was working away with some Horse Agility students in Aberdeenshire. Today I went down to the field, put up our own agility obstacles out in the field for us to play with and then played with Bella to check out her ‘soundness’ and to see if she’s feeling better.


Well Bella’s trot was on form today


Volunteered trot quite a lot which was fab



Her canter to the left wasn’t bad, she went into it nicely and was balanced and she seemed at ease




Going to the right though she was cross-firing (which means her front legs were correct for right canter but her back legs were moving as if in left canter…disunited canter). This can be caused by being unbalanced, soreness, pain or un-fit.


She has an equine therapist coming soon so we’ll know if the ‘mini Shetland’ incident caused some discomfort in her hq’s or sacral-iliac and hopefully put that right BUT I am also going to be going back in her fitness and start walking her out for a few weeks with nothing but walk.


I will then slowly bring trot back in with plenty of walk still, going up hills etc to build up her muscle again. I won’t be trying canter again for at least 2 months so hope this will help her regain her balance πŸ˜‰



She did very well today and it sure was lovely to do have some fun play with her and connect back to her fabulousness <3





Thurs 23rd (Day 1 of fitness/balance training – walk only)

Just wanting to start helping Bella find her fitness and balance again I start a slow program of walking out for a bit today. The program will consist of lots of walking straight lines, around the field and around/through/over/under the agility obstacles I put out yesterday. Walking will continue for a few weeks building up to where we can start doing some trot on straight lines, walking the corners still. Then after a few weeks we’ll be working on walk/trot around the field. I will try my best to not canter for at least 2 months (unless she actually offers to canter) thereby working only on her fitness, muscling up and balance/coordination again.


Today we did just 15 mins of nice walk, not too fast but not a plod




We had fun with the obstacles…here we’re doing the curtain and there’s a blue tarp we’re walking on here…




Walking slowly through a weave pattern and again under the curtain





Slowly around the round pens and onto a slow weave around 4 flags




Very nice through the scary bunting land and took me flapping a flag about well too πŸ˜‰




Love this pic….she’s such a beautiful horse πŸ˜‰

Last was under the arch…just made it πŸ˜‰





Fri 24th – (Day 2 of fitness/balance training – walk only)

So carrying on from yesterday Bella and I did a nice 20 mins walking but today we did 2 things differently…

  1. Passenger lesson in walk – she can walk, go anywhere she wants and all I can do is ask her to continue walking if she stops and keep her from grazing her way around the field πŸ˜‰
  2. Took stirrups away – so we both started to lengthen our legs, I put my stirrups down a hole after this πŸ˜‰

Bella’s walk was fabulous…strong, long, even and balanced and she was great in doing her own left AND right turns and moving about the field nicely without me doing a thing πŸ˜‰ Passenger lessons are fabulous for letting go of ‘control’ and allowing the horse to have the freedom to choose where to go. With micro-managed horses (most regular trained ones) they often won’t walk on and/or only do left turns by a gateway as they find themselves a bit ‘lost’ without someone telling them what to do as it’s become habitual to surrender their wishes ;( I’m glad Bella wasn’t like that at all πŸ˜‰


Couldn’t do full loose rein as the grass was just too tempting to stop and eat for Bella πŸ˜‰

She went all over the field



Stirrups off, lovely to just plod about with Bella


Bella’s walk was really big and balanced



Finished with a lovely big walk around the round pens and then I put feet back into stirrups and put them down a hole…will see how that feels next time I get on! πŸ˜‰



  • Shelley – HorseSavvy


Bella – May 2022

Sun 1st


Bella got a 3rd place rosette and Stormy got a 5th place rosette in a recent wee Equine Agility UK Easter course that we entered for fun πŸ˜‰ Lovely rosettes πŸ˜‰

SO…today Bella and I did our 3rd session of Cloverleaf freestyle riding (loose reins)…



She did really well….remembered the pattern and we did one round to the right in walk followed by a nice round in trot





And then we did exactly the same to the left and she was amazing…brought her BIG TROT and I held my nerve by keeping on ‘the buckle’ of the reins allowing us to connect through our focus, breathing, seat weight and leg cues πŸ˜‰




Fabulous to get more freestyle now….going to do a few more rounds before changing the pattern to RtR fig 8’s πŸ˜‰





Sat 7th

A nice bit of riding together with Mark and Stormy and also some ridden agility tasks. Fun day with neddies πŸ˜‰









































Sun 8th

And today Bella and I started our Canter P2P’s…hope the weather stays with us so that we can get consistent with this πŸ˜‰





































Thurs 12th

Today I trimmed Bella’s hooves and then had a short ride, it started to rain and get windy so stopped before we all got too wet πŸ˜‰












Fri 13th

Today there has been a nice breeze, mild with the odd drizzly shower and we managed to get out for a lovely hack to the house and back. It’s not far, roughly 2 miles round trip, but it’s a gorgeous track with hills, trees and great views and it was perfect for the day before I go away for a weekend Horse Agility Clinic in Aberdeenshire πŸ˜‰



< Great that our horses will sidle up to anything to help us mount πŸ˜‰







Huge log piles from the trees that fell in Storm Arwen >





< Home πŸ˜‰





< Back past the log piles..last time we came this way there were huge logging lorries here, think Bella was looking for them today.





< Love the views going back to the field >





< Back in the field >






< Just LOVE these two beauties >





< Start of the way home

Back in the fieldΒ  >





Thurs 19th


2nd day riding after being away. Yesterday was a bit sticky, our connection not quite back but today was much better and we got to where we were sort of back to where we were before I went away teaching πŸ™‚



Nice loose rein connection around obstacles, started with the regular routine weave and then moved onto being a bit more individual to (1) see how Bella would cope and (2) to keep the lesson fun and focused πŸ˜‰



Checking our light lateral flexion…a nice herbal treat for such a good girl.




Started on nice walk/trot transitions whilst Riding the Rail (RtR). We had a fabulously slow sittable trot AND her lovely BIG trot which I rise to.




Great big trot will help us both get fitter πŸ˜‰





And to finish on we did a couple of short canters to bring us back to where we were before I went away πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚




Fri 20th

Another fab RtR w/Fig 8’s day today πŸ˜‰ Bella was fab with a lovely forward walk, slow and big trots and some more canter work. Really moving on with her training through progressive consistency πŸ˜‰


< Groomed, fly sprayed up and ready to rock’n’roll πŸ™‚






Sat 21st

Today we had mild weather with a cool breeze…perfect for a nice wee hack out with Bella, Stormy, Mark and me πŸ˜‰


Haltered but ropes over necks they follow me to get groomed.

Off on the track for a hack




Horses love munching along the way, some silver birch, rowan and raspberry leaves today.





Stormy taking some grazing along the way


Bella out in front for a while




Waiting for Mark and Stormy to catch up, they followed grazing along the way.





I get off to take Bella over the bridge first, Stormy followed closely behind. Been a while since doing this ride so always allow them time to be confident.

Down a tight hill to a gate and Bella sidled up perfectly for me to remount πŸ˜‰



Back on and ready to go again

Trotted back over the wooden bridge πŸ˜‰




Really lovely to be able to ride this track


Bella and I stop to talk to a local along the way




Trotted back to Mark who had waited for me then slowly trek up the last hill to home





Bella at the field gate surveying her kingdom


Mark followed closely behind, closed the gate and took Storm’s bridle and pad off to wander down at his leisure πŸ˜‰



Tues 24th

Today we’ve been trying to dodge rain today and managed to get to the field and groom B&S before the heaven’s opened up with HAIL!!! BUT after that stopped I had two very nice sessions with them and the agility obstacles.




  1. Curtain
  2. Sidepass fig 8




3. Into and back out of ‘T’ shape

4. Push ball





5. Trot over water tray

6. Trot over corner poles



7. Trot over tarp

8. Trot and halt in bunting/flag lane




9. Drag tarp

10. Walk with tarp over




AND All the same with Stormy but he did it at LIBERTY πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
























Storm gives the BESTEST big hugs πŸ˜‰

Then I played around with the ball a bit…around Stormy bouncing it…




Then the ball over him and bounced off him





Finally both me and the ball under him πŸ™‚ <3





Wed 25th






A lot of unsettled rainy days here at the moment SO trying to beat the weather I managed a nice half an hour session with Bella this morning after doing the poo picking πŸ˜‰ SO

glad I did as just as I was untacking her the skies opened up AGAIN!






Fri 27th

Another lovely session with Bella, Storm and Mark πŸ˜‰














Sun 29th

Oh my gosh….Mark, Storm, Bella and I went out for a wee hack today. Intended to just go to the wooden bridge again and back BUT when we got to the bridge we decided to take a route across a couple of fields that we’ve seen locals walking. I got off Bella first to keep both our confidence in a strange place but got back on again after finding our way back to one of the village roads we know…but this was Bella’s first time on this road. We got so far and she and Storm decided they didn’t want to go any further SO I got off, Mark stayed riding.

We got a hundred yards further and past the village graveyard and past a tall hedge when a lovely wee black cob cantered over to his field fence and whinney’d. Stormy strutted over and sniffed noses with it and Bella waited patiently BUT before I knew it another mini Shetland pony galloped over to the fence, I was taken by surprise and Bella reacted very scared and spun around and sidepassed away from it. I don’t think she’s ever seen such a small fully grown horse and I’ve known other horses to find mini Shetlands worrying. I took her away from the field, hidden luckily by the big hedge and calmed her down…me too.

I didn’t want to have to walk by the field with Bella so scared and not wanting to upset our nice ride we decided to walk around the field opposite the pony one to give us a field away from them and then behind some houses to the village shop…phew! it worked nicely and we had a nice walk along a lane they could nibble on some tree leaves and cow parsley. Although Bella was now and then looking in the pony field direction she was calm and as this was a new track for her to negotiate I stayed walking beside her.

We got to the village shop and the lady there gave us two apples for Bella and Stormy. It was a nice reward and quenched their mouths on what turned out to be quite a long 4 MILE hack out. This is the furthest Bella has been and the longest they’ve been out on a hack. They were a bit tired and we walked them a bit of the way home but got back on and plodded the rest of the way home. Wow, what a nice ride, eventful but nice to take a slightly different route…but I’ll beware of that mini Shetland from now on! LOL

















































<3 Lovely ride out <3






Tues 31st

Well it’s the end of May already and what have we achieved so far this year? Bella has started to be consistent in her 3 main gaits (walk, trot, canter), we’ve hacked out more and further and done some amazing agility courses in-hand and ridden. June will hopefully be a continuation of getting more stamina for good rides out with more canter work being progressively brought into the mix πŸ˜‰

Today I trimmed her hooves and then had a nice short ride in the field. We’re both still a bit tired from our big ride out the other day so slowly doing more will keep things fresh and not overdo things for either of us πŸ˜‰


Trot then a few bits of short canter work πŸ™‚










See you in June…yeehaa πŸ™‚

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy


Bella – April 2022

Fri 1st

Well it’s a chilly start weather wise to April…brrrrrr. BUT sorted out a new Agility course, I like to set up and practise a course that I’m going to use for my students at my Agility Clinic’s…so that’s up and ready to test. Also went back down around 1pm to have a short, walk and wee trot ride on Bella…just getting familiar with the ‘dressage’ test I put together for us πŸ˜‰


















I actually changed a couple of bits on this course as thought it was a bit too ambitious for beginners SO, number 2 is now a fig 8 with just two blue jump wings and number 9 is a few jump wings making a narrow gap to back through πŸ˜‰


Fri 8th

Gosh, it’s been a wild, windy and rain/snowy week that’s for sure…brrrrrr…big coats, hats and thermal jods back on. BUT today, although still windy and chilly, we go out to hopefully do SOMETHING with the neddies πŸ˜‰ Well, it was windy and colder in the horses field than at home but we managed to give them both a good groom (much needed as Stormy is really really shedding his winter coat) and then I play with Bella then Stormy around the agility course that I set up (see above pic) πŸ™‚ Here’s some pics from today:















































Sun 10th

Finally the wind, drizzle and snow has stopped today and it was quite pleasant being out and about. Managed to put bum to saddle too with a short ‘mosey’ about with Mark and Stormy after I trimmed Ms Bella’s hooves πŸ˜‰



Nice, slow mosey to start off

Lovely sidepass when Mark and I played ‘follow the leader’ πŸ˜‰




Great to get a more consistent trot now even after a week off.

Mark and big Stormy doing well on ‘walking up hills’ and not rushing them




Following Stormy for a bit and then doing our own thing for a bit. It was just lovely being out with the horses enjoying some nice weather πŸ˜‰





Thurs 14th

Absolutely FAB to get out for a wee hack to the house and back. Had to get off and walk a bit as the HUGE timber logging machine was up on the hill near house and I wasn’t sure how Bella would take it SO better safe than sorry πŸ˜‰ She was high headed and a bit snorty but they both Stormy and Bella did very well going past it.















Looking at the machine

Nice cool puddle drink for them both πŸ˜‰






Big machine near the track, we wait for a bit and it moves off after a while πŸ˜‰


At the house πŸ˜‰





Waiting for machine to move off away from the track

Last leg of hack out





Fri 16th

Repeat of yesterday but I didn’t get off and walk today πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Big timber machine on way out on the hill and on way back near track but off πŸ˜‰ Bella calm and confident <3






























Tues 19th

Agility day today πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ STORM and MARK go first….


Mark rides/leads to the agility arena

Storm and Mark bareback and bitless….
1) The S’bend




2) Fig 8’s

3) Over water tray





4) Sidepass

5) Over pedestal





6) Under/halt with curtain

7) Trot poles




8) into box/halt

9) Back through narrow gap





10) Scary corner

and finishing happy πŸ™‚






1)Β  S’bend

2) Trot fig 8’s




3) Water tray

4) Sidepass




5) Halt on pedestal

6) Under/halt curtain




7) Trot poles

8) Halt in ‘box’ while I walk around both ways




9a) Back through narrow gap

9b) Draw back at trot




10) Through scary corner

Such a good girl, she doesn’t forget anything <3




AND…Bella did it ridden too….


Weds 20th

Today was nice and warm with a lovely breeze so we rode around the field for a bit of muscle stretching together with Mark and Stormy πŸ˜‰


































Thurs 21st


Another lovely day with the horses…started off with leading Stormy from Bella. We’ve not done this much but today it was the best we’ve ever done it πŸ˜‰



I then got Bella into position to take Stormy’s halter off and set him free so we could do a bit more solo riding.




Really good walk and trot today. They were burning heather on the opposite hill to the field and we kept getting swathes of smoke over the field SO didn’t do much as it was horrible to breathe in.



Ended on a good note with asking for more trot between two cones…this will be our canter line later on so a good place to finish.

oh…and standing on the pedestal is always fun <3



Tues 26th

I love going to the horses at different times than they’re used to. This morning I walked Beau, our dog, to the horses about half an hour earlier and they were grazing on the big hill, which we don’t see often AND this afternoon I went down to play/ride Bella half an hour early too and this is what I found….


…awe sleepy heads <3


…and flat out together πŸ˜‰




So, I didn’t want to disturb them so I sneaked down into the field and put together a new agility course by which time B&S were up and came over to see what I was doing.

I took Bella around the course online for a bit of fun, she did pretty well and showed up some things we need to work on which I always enjoy πŸ˜‰

Then I took her over to where I saddle her up by leading her off the quad bike which was fab and then I rode her. Today we did freestyle cloverleaf patterns.


Freestyle riding is:
Where I have a totally loose rein (on the buckle) and we work on consistently looking for lightness by going through the same focus and body cues until the horse starts to ‘feel’ the lightest/first one and doesn’t need the others so much. SO, my cues are to look in the direction I want (eyes), to turn my shoulders then belly button that way, to open up my ribs on the outside of a turn (the same way I want my horse to do it), to then put a small bit of extra weight into my but cheek that’s outside of the turn, then put my outside leg/heel on, hold with the inside leg or open a bit for early clarity and finally to pickup the reins in one hand and use a gently bump cue with the inside rein to direct the horses head.

Bella started to get this after the 2nd circle on each direction which was good.

Cloverleaf pattern is:
4 large circles put two next to two, so they’d fit into a square and the riding pattern is that we start in the centre and pick a direction, say left. Then we’d do the first left circle, go straight through the centre and do the 2nd left circle and do that until all 4 are ridden and halt in the middle. With some horses I’d continue that left way until I see/feel a change that the horse is getting the pattern and I’m doing less cues with my reins. With Bella to keep her from being bored I do one set of the pattern left and then I change to the right. I do this twice SO left one set, right one set, left 2nd set, right 2nd set. She really started to get lighter and I hardly used my reins towards the end.

This pattern really helps to get freestyle riding going well, it helps the human to trust the horse and allow them to find the pattern and become lighter and stops the rider continuing to micromanage their horse, it also helps to bring lightness into the connected rein work as you progress πŸ˜‰


Thu 28th


Lovely to see B&S dozing in the field together <3





They came over after waking up and Mark took Stormy to trim his feet whilst I took Bella to be groomed and tacked up.




I then rode the 2nd session of Freestyle riding the Cloverleaf pattern. A bit all over the place and then disturbed by shouting from local farmer at his sheepdogs and sheep BUT I just sat there, waited and reconnected to her and she calmed ok. I then resumed the pattern and went to doing a bit of a loose rein to help her connect.


She finds having rein support easier but I want her to respond to my focus/seat/leg aids and not rely on the reins so much if possible…I think it will really help her to have self-carriage and become straighter πŸ˜‰

Afterwards we spent some ‘undemanding time’ together watching the cows and calves in the field next door πŸ˜‰



  • Shelley – HorseSavvy