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 😉 🙂 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 🙂 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 😉


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.  Pic of them eyeing up the Highland cows opposite their field.



Storm and Bella being trimmed 😉







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 🙂



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 😉





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 🙂






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 🙂




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 😉



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 🙂

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 😉



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 🙂






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 🙂

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 😉




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 😉 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 🙂
































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 😉































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 😉

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 😉




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 🙂






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 🙂



< 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 🙂 >



< X Box >




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



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



Sun 24th May

We’ve had two days of rain and windy weather but today it’s started to  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 😉






























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 😉

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 😉 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 😉 So happy with her progress….going really well 🙂

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 😉




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 😉



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 😉




































  • Shelley – HorseSavvy