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™‚

 

 

 

AND BELLA….

 

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

 

Bella – March 2022

Tues 1st

A lovely start to the month with some mild-ish weather and some sunny spells. Went and groomed Bella then decided to take a wee ride as well πŸ˜‰

 

Nice walk then into trot

 

 

 

 

Getting straighter with sidepassing

 

 

 

Sunshine & Snow

Praising all the time

 

 

 

Loose rein trot to cones and turning around cones using DHQ

 

 

 

Stop over log
Sidepass over log

 

 

 

 

New task is to ask for sidepassing over the log lengthwise. Okay with front legs, little unsure with backs at the moment. Always fun to have something to work on πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

Weds 2nd

Lovely spending the morning with the gang, they followed me around while I did the poo-picking which is always lovely πŸ˜‰

 

What lovely skies this morning

 

 

 

 

Sat 5th

 

Trimmed Bella’s hooves today and Stormy hung out with Mark πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

Then had a nice short bareback ride on Bella…always helps relax my back after trimming her πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

Sun 6th

 

Started off todays fun with Storm and Mark playing around with agility obstacles πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then we did a ride around together. taking it slowly at this start of the year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then I do a bit of solo work with Bella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tues 8th

 

Managed to ride both Storm and Bella today πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

Stormy: Rode to get back our focus after winter and also cooperation as Storm has a strong personality and wants to just do his thing so I tweak where he goes with a bit of where I want to go and then use cone and tyre obstacles to keep him interested by doing random fig 8’s and then P2P’s with sidepass over obstacle we ride to. He really got focused and ended up having a lovely ride together.
Bella: Rode to get back focus, straightness and flexibility. Worked on relaxation P2P’s first working on obstacles in corners of big field and then tweaked where/how I was sitting to find our straightness. Once that was in place I used my weight cues and alternate feel in the stirrups to create bends and flexibility. Great session and so focussing πŸ˜‰
Thurs 10th
A bit windy today but had a nice session of in-hand agility with Bella and liberty with Stormy πŸ™‚ Bella did a bit of liberty work but when she gets a wee bit further away from a good S2M she gets a wee bit worried and can’t figure out how to come back to me SO…am going to stick to helping her learn more online to keep her confidence and slowly we’ll do more with S2M close liberty work πŸ˜‰
Fri 11th
Getting quite windy here so went down to the field to put the big straps onto the shelter and I also tidied up the agility area to make sure nothing is likely to blow away. Whilst doing this I had some fun with the tarp and the horses….’you’re never doing nothing with your horses’…so true πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weds 16th

Had a lovely play session with Bella followed by a really nice ride. Calm, focussed and felt like we’ve actually started our training year now πŸ˜‰

Before, in the morning, I called them up the big hill and they decided to race to me πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ It was fab to see them cantering together and although Bella tried her hardest to catch Stormy she didn’t quite manage it.
Fri 18thΒ 
Today was our FIRST wee hack out this year and it was really lovely to be out and about. Walked Bella first, got on at a gate, didn’t do too much, just stretched our hacking legs and got used to being somewhere ‘new/strange’ again. Fab

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tues 22nd

Today we hacked out a bit further in the lower fields near their main field. Got on at the start of ride this time, off to go through narrow gap by river but she sidled up perfectly for me to get on again from a broken dyke wall. Did quite a bit of walk/trot in next big field and rode through narrow gap on the way back. She even gave me a really lovely, calm, controlled canter right at the end…perfect end to a perfect hack out πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wed 23rd

Today I played with Bella (in-hand) and then Stormy (at liberty) through a new Agility course. It’s the same course I’m doing in my March Agility teaching clinic’s and it went down very well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thurs 24th

Managed to film Bella doing the Agility course today…

 

And then I rode Bella in our make-shift arena with a ‘dressage test’ I put together myself for her. It was our first attempt and it was mainly to get the pattern in our minds and body but she did really well. Nice walk, energetic trot and she did her first canter along a long side too which is hard as not a lot of room but her canter was controlled and easy to sit to πŸ˜‰ So proud of my big girlie, over the last few days we’ve done in-hand agility, started the year’s hacking out AND did some dressage πŸ˜‰ How fab is she <3

 

Start in walk, get into trot nicely through most of it.

 

 

 

Big trot and then into some nice self-carriage moments πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

 

Just a fab canter…a first for us in the arena πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

Will keep a smile on my face for a LONG time xxx

 

 

 

 

Sat 26th

Today is pretty hot around midday so we decide to have a short, fun session AND do the agility course ridden. It was fun and enough for today πŸ˜‰

Here’s Stormy’s round…

 

< Gaits: Fast walk/halt/Slow walk/halt/trot/halt >

 

 

 

 

Curtain

 

 

 

 

Front feet in hula hoop…took two attempts but did it perfectly in the end, such a clever boy πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

Weave walk and then onto tarp and halt

 

 

 

 

Jump then push the ball

 

 

 

 

Halt over a pole and for fun he sidepasses off it πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

 

Into narrow gap, halt, backup then through and onto the pedestal with front feet and familiarise with flag πŸ˜‰

 

 

Bella did it really well too, here’s her video…

 

Tues 29th

Today I set up an ‘Equine Agility UKs’ Easter Challenge course and went around it with Bella and then Stormy. It was a quick play for a bit of fun, here are the vid’s:

Bella:

 

& Stormy:

 

Thurs 31st

Went out today an hour before dinnertime, it was a bit windy and it’s got quite cold again here. The horses were okay but I could see Bella was a bit on edge so I groomed and rode Stormy bareback around the round pens first. Then I haltered and played with Bella in the round pen. She was super soft and light and did some lovely moves. I let her off and we went to the place where they have their meal and I put their hay in their shelter ready for the cold night ahead. All went okay but Bella decided she could not take anything from my hand and I could not catch her so I had to just follow her about and when she looked at me I walked backwards. Strange but it could be that she got the smell of the ‘wormer’ I gave Stormy and decided she didn’t like it OR she could be in season and a bit hormonal. Whatever the reason I hope she is catch-able tomorrow! πŸ™