Bella – November 2020

Weds 4th Nov

At last we have a dry pretty mild day….out with horses for some fun but not too much as don’t want to get them sweaty as not a lot of daylight at the moment and I don’t want them getting cold going into a cold night.


Lovely to get on Bella after so many rainy days.

We did some nice one hand riding around the cones in fig 8 and weave patterns.





She was lovely through the trot poles in a tight serpentine using forward, dhq, forward πŸ˜‰






And a lovely sideways over a pole one way then back again….she really understands this move now πŸ˜‰





Stormy being his normal fabulousness πŸ˜‰

Bella and I using the obstacles in the circle weave for fig 8’s….






We don’t do two obstacles next to each other and we change the cone we go around to make the fig 8’s more interesting and spontaneous πŸ˜‰




Treat for such a good girl.

Last task is to check out some familiarisation with the new gateway. We’ve done it online with our ground work so she knows how it moves and sounds so big test now is to see how it goes ridden….



…this task really makes me see how well our connection and communication are now. We needed forward, back, sideways left and right and all with small steps one after the other. She did really well as had to push the gate open far to start with, put my feet/legs up on her shoulders to get through the gateway to start with.


We did a quick trot around the inside of the round pen for a rest and then back to the gate where she sidled up to to our right to put the string back on it, this helps open/close a gate with such a big horse as I can’t get to hold it open/close from the saddle easily. Then out of the gateway nice and calmly ready to close it.



Forward to shut the gate then backup quickly to latch it up again. She was a star, more practise needed but a really really great first try πŸ˜‰





Fri 6th Nov

Quite sunny today but knew it wasn’t going to be there for long where we live amongst the hills SO out for a wee plod again and try not to make Bella or Stormy sweaty as their thick winter coats are coming in well now. SO, for the time coming over Winter I think we will try to do small, slow things WELL and today we started on some of them.

Walk and trot over random poles, almost like checking out a jump course but trying to be particular with our gait, focus and preciseness.

Did a very nice sideways along a raised pole.



Stormy watching Bella.

Once Bella understood the ‘game’ with the poles she went very well over them.


Focus, focus, focus πŸ™‚





Nice pedestal game before riding πŸ˜‰

Then we went to Loose Rein riding with P2P’s. She went a bit crooked for a while and I did small, quick corrections then back to loose reins…



…and she started to get the game well and I hardly had to touch the reins. These small focus games are fun and very connecting πŸ™‚




She did very well and I will continue to do more stuff in walk so as to not sweat her up.





Watching Stormy and Mark having a yeehaa…loving the horsey shadows πŸ˜‰

Bella watching Mark and Storm while having a rest πŸ˜‰




Sat 7th Nov

A really beautifully sunny day today, blue skies, not warm but nice enough to take my fleece off πŸ˜‰ yeehaa…out with Bella again for DAY 2 of the pole/p2p workouts. First with the poles we tried our FIRST attempt with CORDEO which actually really well, backups were fab and turns were working much more on my focus/energy/weight cues/outside leg πŸ˜‰

Then we did some lovely P2P’s around the whole field and she put in some really lovely trot P2P’s too πŸ˜‰


Start with some connecting S2M ground work with the poles. A nice treat before getting on to ride .




FIRST attempt with the CORDEO (neck rein) and she did so well. Backups were great and started really ‘feeling’ our turns working well.




Out into the main field for some loose rein P2P’s. I put lots of cones around the field to focus our focus on πŸ˜‰Β  She did really well once she realised the cones were there.




Bella put in some fabulous trot and felt really freeing to not pick up the reins and to just focus on our destination.



Lovely connection by the end of the session πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚






Sun 8th Nov

Today I saw the forecast from 12 noon onwards was rain, rain, rain SO decided to do the morning horse breakfast/poo picking session and to chance trying a ride in the morning…a FIRST for us and yes this is what I did. Bella didn’t worry about the time of day and we had a lovely 3rd consistent session of pole and P2P work πŸ˜‰



Great P2P’s today, lovely consistent loose rein we felt in harmony and focusing together more.








Put a light weight rug on her afterwards, not really sweaty today but felt she was quite warm and the day was quite chilly so didn’t want her getting cold. The rug came off an hour later and she was fine with that too πŸ™‚



End of yesterday’s P2P session:

and end of today’s P2P session….didn’t use the reins once on this point:


Thurs 12th Nov

At last, some dry weather after 4 days of fog and then torrential rain SO…out with Bella for some gentle bareback connecting….


Sideways around me then some circles in walk and trot with smooth cod’s





oop….that trot looks like a canter! LOL

some rope around spins on both sides




again she was smooth and knew exactly what to do even though we’ve not done this for ages πŸ™‚





Some really lovely sideways together to the right….




and to the left





Then some really lovely connected Bareback riding….firstly some Passenger lesson where I control the gait (walk) but she can go anywhere she wants and I just sit and follow πŸ˜‰




Then some lovely RtR in walk, some light sideways left and right…




and some RtR in trot πŸ˜‰ Big hugs for such a good girl looking after me.


Big Stormy caught up with us once we’d finished to check for treats <3


Fri 13th Nov

More drizzly rain today and they look a wee bit tired from the weather over night as it rained heavily again (not forecast!)..SO, no play today but spent some nice time with them this morning when poo picking which was nice πŸ˜‰


Nice and calm for breakfast


Bella doing some water familiarisation




Stormy following Bella with the water familiarisation


Stormy tired after breakfast, probably a bit of a restless night




Thurs 19th Nov

Been a horrible week of wind, rain and cold but managed to get out today for some ‘undemanding time’ with B&S.



They really enjoyed their first hay of the year in their shelter πŸ˜‰





It was really lovely to just to sit and hang out with the neddies, I put one of my triangle jump wings in the corner of the shelter and sat down on it. Much warmer sitting in the shelter and I love listening to the sound of them munching hay….joyous and meditational πŸ˜‰







Managed to snatch two lovely selfies with Stormy and Bella πŸ™‚








Sat 21st Nov

Yeehaa…another DRY day so out to have a bit of fun in the afternoon….


Decided to ride Stormy bareback and to lead Bella from him so they both got a bit of fun riding today πŸ™‚





They did so well, keeping a nice walking pace together, she stayed mostly at my foot and I worked her from the right and left sides πŸ˜‰




THEN we did a FIRST for them…..I got them sidled up together beautifully and went from sitting on Stormy to sitting on Bella without getting off πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Yeehaa




Such Good horsesΒ 



Thurs 26th Nov

Started off today with riding Stormy bareback and leading Bella. They were both really good, calm, attentive and listening to my requests. She lead on the left and right and did some nice turns with us going in circles where she moved slowly on the inside and faster on the outside. We also did some turns towards so both horses turned towards each other and changed sides πŸ˜‰

















Then I decided to try my ‘move from one horse to another’ move again πŸ™‚


Sidled Bella up to Stormy well

Got my position ready…both legs on Storm’s right



Got my right leg up on Bella’s back, she didn’t move an inch

And then pushed myself off from Storm’s back onto Bella’s back…this was the point that I could have fallen off if they’d moved away from each other



Up on Bella’s back and we try a bit of leading Stormy from her, she wasn’t sure about that so something we can work on πŸ˜‰




And then I rode Bella with a saddle on πŸ˜‰


Loose rein focus over poles, turns to the left and right nicely done without hardly using the reins today



Lovely focus and connection

Also really light sideways over a pole



She really gets sidepassing now πŸ™‚

And to finish we did a nice gate open/close task



Gate open….through gate

This task uses a lot of manoeuvres: forward/back/left/right/sideways left and right πŸ˜‰




She still moves slightly quickly through the gate but I have to keep my feet tight as it’s not very wide so this could be causing her to shoot through…managed to close the gate nicely too.



Fri 27th Nov

A bit damp so decided to do some ‘lasso’ familiarisation. She’s done this with a long long rope but the lasso has a different feel and a slight noise to it because it has a metal ‘hondo’ at the end of it. She did marvellously well, so proud of her.


Me and Bella πŸ˜‰

Worked on familiarisation over her body with the whole rope, also used the lasso coils to move her hq’s with some feel game



Then I started on throwing the coils and recoiling them back up in front and to the side of her




and also made sure I did it on both sides with both of my hands πŸ˜‰





Then I got up on a ‘mounting block’ (jump wing) and did the same from there




Both sides and moved her around without getting off the mounting block, we’ve got such a good partnership, love working with her <3




Stormy wanted in on the act so I did some coiling and familiarisation with him too






Such a good boy




I did actually manage to lasso the jump wing on just the 2nd try…so pleased with myself πŸ˜‰ LOL



I then did a short bareback session again working on the things we did yesterday….lightness on the reins, pole focus and sideways πŸ˜‰


Halt and backup beautifully light and our loose rein riding focus over poles is really coming along so well





<<< Sideways over pole, light and focused with both over a pole short and long ways >>>





Such lightness off my seat weight/leg/focus cues

Familiarisation with my body on her back, rump, withers and neck πŸ™‚


Love this beautiful girl



Sat 28th Nov

And today we tried to lasso from the saddle (not actually riding, just in standstill) those cowgirls and cowboys make this look easy…it’s not!!


Practising normal things with the lasso on the saddle πŸ˜‰

Another ground practise of throwing and coiling the lasso next to her



Actually in the saddle and throwing/recoiling the lasso πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚




NOW….to make the lasso loop and try to throw it. This is an extreme familiarisation for Bella, hearing/seeing the lasso flailing around in the air above her back…she was fab and stood still for me



AND…a lasso throw…actually got pretty close quite a few times but no actual lasso’ing of the jump wing today ;*(





Did manage to stand near it, drop the lasso loop over the jump wing and drag it a bit πŸ˜‰ SO, that’s the end section done, now I just need to learn to lasso from the saddle and allow Bella to get used to the whole idea more πŸ˜‰


Sun 29th Nov

2nd try at some lasso work…great on the ground but she moved a bit when trying it ridden from a distance and I realised when I played the video back that I was very very slightly touching her rump when doing it so no wonder she was moving. More familiarisation for her and more lasso practise for me…next year now though πŸ˜‰

Video from today when we did a nice drop ‘lasso’ again and drag….


And some familiarisation afterwards…looking for relaxation πŸ˜‰


Mon 30th Nov

Tomorrow we have the farrier coming early SO as the grass has stopped growing and it’s almost winter we decide to have a nice ride/hack to the house so that they can be there nice and early to get their feet trimmed πŸ™‚

It was a lovely walk/ride with Bella, Mark and Stormy. I got off a couple of times because (1) there were places that were really muddy/slippery and (2) because we had to go through a field that had Highland cows in. Luckily Highland cows are pretty sceptical so they moved away but I wanted to make sure Bella was okay going through the field…which she was πŸ˜‰










































  • Shelley – HorseSavvy


Spirit – Training Video 1

Training Video 1 – Basic Familiarisation & Feel games

Familiarisation = getting Spirit used to things, energy, motion, noise using approach and retreat and not over facing him with stimuli. I want him to be able to become familiar with things and not be frightened or shut down. I’m looking for relaxation when doing this so I will go as gently as he needs but progress when he’s okay about it. This game is the most important one and as relaxation is the goal I will be able can return to it often to reassure Spirit to find that sweet spot regularly when he needs it.

Feel = This is where I ask for specific moves by touching the horse. I work on these to help him understand my riding aids and I want to make sure those are good before I ride him, more so because he will be going bitless so working on a feel from the halter/lead rope is paramount to a good bitless start. These moves are done by pulsing cues between halter/rope and hand on body and I’m looking to move all 4 feet in all 4 directions with equal understanding, lightness and purity as we go along…for now, just one step is good but I will make sure that one step is done well before releasing/rewarding so that Spirit understands.

Process = Play for 7 days in a row to ensure lessons are understood well. Just one step and reward after by a big breath out, release hands on lead rope and horses body to cause a stop, some scratches at his withers which he loves or even just resting next to him. I will give him a BIG reward at the end of each session with some of his favourite pony nuts on the ground just before I rub him and walk off showing the end of the session clearly.

Progress = After working on asking for one step for 7 days I will start to introduce more steps slowly, making sure I use my ‘pulsing cues’, this makes sure I end up with smooth moves and no brace in the horseΒ  (physically, mentally or emotionally / neck,head, body, legs, mind). I will show this progress as we go πŸ™‚

For more on my training you can buy my instructional dvd’s here:Β


Lesson 1 video UPDATE & PROGRESS after working on the basic ABC’s of horsemanship communication.


Hope you can see how much Spirit has progressed on the first steps of his journey. Lesson 2 is coming shortly πŸ˜‰

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy



Training Tip Video: “Bridling”

Bridling can be difficult with a big horse so asking for the horse to lower his head is a prerequisite to relaxation whether it’s bitless or bitted. Here are some tips to help you and your horse with happy bridling.

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy