Saturday, 31 December 2011

A good end to the year

As soon as she put my travel boots on I knew we would be going to another of those things where I have to trot about and then there are carrots at the end.  I was right.  We went to yet another place but this time I felt more confident because I had a good idea what to expect.  I put my best foot forward and received much praise for being more forward going at last.  Apparently I should have been carrying my head in a nice outline for more of the time and it didn't help that She asked me to canter when I was busy trying to see what was going on in the canteen or listening to the neighing next door.  Perhaps next time She will prepare better.  Nonethless, I got extra carrot for winning and getting 70%.  The video below is an unexpurgated version including the dreaded trot/canter transitions.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Slow Motion Trotting

She has now received the files from Centaur Biomechanics of me trotting up and down the yard.  Here is a clip of my trotting with my old shoes on:

She says that it is no wonder that I have sprouted a windgall on my near hind fetlock since it is twisting and crashing to the ground.  I gather that my new, radical shoes have improved the situation and here is the evidence:

Here is a still of me trotting with my old shoes on and my near hind seems to be at an angle:
and here is a still of me with my new shoes on:

I gather my hind leg is lined up much better with my foreleg.  She says that I won't morph into TwinkleToes, but when I get the hang of these new shoes I will stay sound much longer.  I think She means work even harder.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Dressaging again

Back into the motorised cabin for another outing, and I have to say that I find it all very worrying.  By the time we got there, I was trembling with the anxiety of it all.  She said that it would be a very nice party but actually there was all sorts of terror with Quad bikes, barking dogs and running horses in surrounding fields.  By contrast, the indoor school felt almost safe.  I admit that I spent most of the time in there scanning the horizon, but did manage to go a bit round very now and again.  I found it all a bit easier with the new shoes on and won praise for being a bit more willing to go forward.  For the record, here are a few video 'highlights'.

Although the whole process is mystifying, there is a pattern emerging, whereby you trot about with other horses and then go into an arena by yourself and trot about some more.  At the end of it you get some carrots.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Tilly Trotting Poles Fail

Her efforts to produce a trim Tilly are not going well.  She thought that trotting over poles would help but that didn't work too well either, as you can see below.  Note that at the end, I demonstrate what can be achieved when you take the slow and steady approach to tasks, even when handicapped by shoes like dinner plates.

Tilly has had shoes put on and is now going to have to pound the roads to get rid of that flab.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

New shoes

Here are photos of the new shoes I had put on yesterday.

Now all I have to do is learn to walk in them!

Monday, 28 November 2011

How many farriers does it take to change a set of shoes?

In my case, the answer is three plus one to operate the computer.

She tells me that my legs are not properly straight and that this is why I have sprouted a curb on one hind leg and a windgall on the other.  Her idea of a cure is to assemble a posse of farriers and an analyst guy with a super slow motion camera and a computer.  They all wore 'Team GBR' jackets with 'World Class' written on the back; She was so impressed She brought out the expensive biscuits.
I had to go up and down the yard while my legs were photographed, then they all went into a huddle. 
Russell of Centaur Biomechanics at his computer
Then they fixed on some radical shoes and I had to go up and down the yard again.  Then they were all congratulating themselves and She seemed very pleased with it all.  

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Music practice

As threatened, She did make me trot round to the tractor song, then She thought it would be fun to have me going round to 'I'm so heavy'.  After that I had to canter round to the autobiographical 'I need a dollar'.  The session finished with a nice relaxing trot round to the strains of Melody Gardot, but She said that is too girlie for me.

She still dreams that we will prance round to music one day and that everyone will watch and applaud.  I think it is improbable and am fervently hoping that Posy will be doing it instead.

Monday, 21 November 2011

I've got rhythm!

She is trying to start Posy off on the Scales of Training and thought it would be fun to use music to help establish Rhythm.  Her video was cut short when, unbeknown to Her, the camera fell off its perch.  When She realised, She made me go round instead.  You will see how carefully I concentrate and show my more advanced training by moving exactly in time.

She has discovered that Posy's musical tastes are very catholic, with a liking for old time music and ballads.  Posy shied and ran away when She played Tinie Tempah. 
Impressed by my own performance, She is now planning a routine for me with music for driving tractors to by Wretch 32.  It's very noisy and would certainly drown out the sound of any engine.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Combined Training again

I had to trek to Duchy College again to take part in the babies' combined training competition.  This time, when I went into the arena, I recognised the jumps immediately!  I knew what I had to do and cantered off confidently and jumped all of them, bar one.  I got a bit distracted at fence 3 and forgot to take off and went more through it than over it.  She was jolly pleased with me.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Hanuman update and dressage

She has heard from the Anglo European Studbook who say that Hanuman's DNA test was in order. What exactly happened to the dressage genes is unclear since the little fellow is clearly determined to be an eventer. Tilly denies any responsibility.

Tilly denies any wrongdoing in respect of jumping genes
 Meanwhile, I went to another dressage competition and jolly hard work it was too since I had to walk all the way there.  It was all very worrying, with horses neighing and running around.  The rider of one hyper-anxious horse was only willing to get on once it was safely coralled in the warm up arena with a large man hanging on to it.
I didn't feel able to go forward again but didn't misbehave.  She said it wasn't great but at least She didn't feel suicidal like last time we went. 

Monday, 31 October 2011

Hanuman's Antics

The man has not been to fix my hedgebank excavations, which hasn't been a problem since we just stand on top of the bank to attract Jester's attention as there is a four foot drop the other side.  Young Hanuman, however, dreams of being an eventer and climbed on the bank and leapt down the other side, where he pranced round, hotly pursued by Jester.  
Hanuman refused to come to Tilly's calls, so she braved the descent and went in the field to rescue him.  By this time, She had arrived with two headcollars, although what use She thought two headcollars would be when there were three horses charging around is a mystery.  Hanuman showed no interest in returning home with his mother and Jester was reluctant to give up his new playmate.  Since everyone seemed to be charging round Jester's field, I decided to drop in and join the party.  With four horses galloping around, Her two headcollars proved woefully inadequate. 
Meanwhile, Posy demonstrated that she really is a dressage diva because she just stood on the bank with her knees knocking for fear of jumping down.
Order was finally restored and we were all given to understand that we were Very Naughty Horses, even though Hanuman started it all.  Posy got an apple for being a little goody two shoes and staying put.

We have now been put into a different field, which was yet another excuse for Hanuman to run about.  To show that his dreams of eventing stardom are undiminished, he jumped up a little bank between the trees (see 1:16 in the video clip below).

I don't know where he gets the energy from.

Friday, 21 October 2011

My Personal Masseuse

My personal masseuse arrived today.  She bends bits of my body and it feels quite strange and then, after various contortions, I feel quite relaxed. 
Beats working any day.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Trail Ride

Today I went on a SCADRA Hash Horse Harriers ride.  This is where you follow a trail of flour, go for miles, leap a few obstacles and then, eventually, find a 'Treat Stop' when you finally get to eat some carrots.  I was keenly following the trail as the flour on my nose in this photo shows...

Finally, I found the sign I was looking for - a 'T' for treat stop

I had to hunt around, but then found the carrot stash in a tree stump


Saturday, 8 October 2011

Lengthened Strides

She has invented a new way to create work for me, by using trotting poles, 1.6m apart, to teach me to lengthen my strides.  I did get in a muddle a couple of times, but ended well.  I should like to point out that once more it was raining.

She says that the poles will make sure that any lengthening in front is matched behind, unlike these horses.

I don't think that there is any danger of my looking like these horses, but She says it is important that I am never featured in a dressage book hall of shame with red lines drawn along my forearm and hind cannon.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Yet another outing

Here I am, in the motorised cabin again.  Although I find the travelling very worrying and spend the journey trying to kick off my travel boots, I am keen to get in there straight away because I always get a carrot. 

 We went to Cholwell (I was only there last week!) but this time, the arena was strewn with objects, the like of which I have never seen before, honest.  I really wasn't sure what to do with them at first.  After a while, it dawned on me that these were jumps again.  She had made them very small but it was hard work going over them on such a hot day when you have a winter coat coming and raging conjunctivitis in one eye.  There was meant to be a photo of me popping effortlessly over some little jumps, and here it is...

On the far left you can see my tail.  You will have to take my word for it that I did do some jumping.

On the basis of today's performance, she has decided against taking me to my first show jumping competition.  What a relief.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Great Excavations

I discovered that by pawing at the hedge bank between me and Jester, I could significantly reduce it in height, making socializing much easier.  I found it also made a handy hummock for me to stand on top of when I wished to attract Jester's attention. 

When She discovered my excavation, She seemed most displeased and muttered about the hedgebank being centuries old and designed to stop my field subsiding into Jester's.

Today a man with a truck came and went to look at it while She waved her arms and pointed at me.  I don't think they were admiring my handiwork.

Monday, 26 September 2011

DNA Test

She has now received the sibling test results and is no wiser as to whether Hanuman has the right dad or not.  There are 4 anomolous markers, but when She quizzed the lab, it seems that the probability of Hanuman and Posy being half siblings is about 50/50.  It isn't a definitive result, but then what She didn't seem to think through is that if he is by the show jumper, then Posy and Hanuman share a little under 20% of their genes anyway, because Posy's mum has show jumping lines. 

She has now decided to register him and will wait to see if the registration is accepted or not.  She says She doesn't want an eventer and might sell him, but I've seen her brushing his hair and hugging him so I know for a fact that he's going nowhere.
So, who is my daddy?

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Weekend of Dressage

Well, I've had a busy weekend.  On Saturday I went back into the motorised cabin to be carted off to another strange place.  It had a sand arena outside, and actually I recognised one of the horses from the Horsemanship Contest.  No sooner had I checked out the surroundings than I had to go into a big indoors place. I entered and went to introduce myself .  Someone should have told the judge not to leave her sandwiches within nose reach of competitors. 
I rather forgot about the going forward part as I was distracted first by the gallery at one side and then I thought I could see horses trotting about outside through the slatted walls.  Bizarre.  I had to go in there twice.  Apparently I wasn't very good but did try and got 6th place (out of 12) in both classes.  She was happy because She enjoyed her cheeseburger and tea and came away with some ribbons.
The video operator complained that the gallery was too close to the arena to get a good picture.  It transpired that she had the zoom on and all you can see is my eyeballs as I flash past.

Today I went to Lidwell with my chum Freddie for the SCADRA dressage.  The arena there looked quite familiar and I gather I showed a good rhythm, but still not forward enough to produce a good outline.  She was happy though because She enjoyed her tea and walnut cake and came away with another ribbon.  A pattern seems to be emerging in which I have to do all the work and She eats food and collects rosettes.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Crossing the Tamar

It is difficult to get to Devon from here because the River Tamar is in the way.  You can go over Horsebridge - a bridge especially designed for horses, obviously.  She has found that there is another way to cross the river - wading through it!  This is clearly a job only for the most courageous of horses, like me.  Here is a clip of me bravely wading across the River Tamar, with my chum Jester.  While I had my eyes fixed firmly on the opposite bank, Jester seemed to set out towards Plymouth.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Riding Miss Posy

She has been sitting on and off Posy and strapping her into a saddle and bridle for weeks now, and decided that today would be the big day when Posy would take her very first trot steps under a rider.  It doesn't make for scintillating viewing, but She says that it is a historic moment and worth recording.  Posy says that it is very difficult to trot with someone wobbling about on your back, and thought that she had performed very well.

Little does Posy know that a it's a few minutes of trotting today but it will lead to hours of toil later on.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Trotting over poles

She has decided that I should learn to shorten and lengthen my strides and set out trotting poles in a fan shape.  I quickly realised that it was a lot less effort if I went through the centre,  but She insisted that I go close to the inside to shorten my strides and on the outside to lengthen them.  This made it much more work, but I bravely got through it - in the rain I might add.  You can almost see how I get on in this video clip, although it actually shows how much it was raining.  Nothing seems to put Her off.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Tearing out hair

She has decided that She must know whether young Hanuman has been fathered by the dressage horse, or not.  Posy has been tested and is by the dressage stallion in question, so She has hit upon the idea of doing a sibling test using DNA from hair samples.

Posy was pretty sanguine about having her hair pulled out, but young Hanuman took great exception to having his hair torn out by the roots.  She foolishly tried to yank out a few tail hairs as he whizzed past and he gave Her a good kicking. 

I hid in my stable and tried to look invisible as She went past me, limping and cussing, stuffing wisps of hair into a plastic bag.  Luckily, She didn't seem to want to pull out any of my hair.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Hanuman does more jumping

Little Hanuman is behaving like a foal bred to jump.  He popped over a couple of fences in the arena, although he did hesitate at the triple because I think he realised that he was jumping it the wrong way round, but he tucked up his hindlegs very neatly.  A couple of days ago he decided to take a short cut over the post and rail fencing.  She has become very suspicious that there has been a mix up at the Stud, since he looks nothing like the Grand Prix dressage stallion She wanted, but looks uncannily like the jumping stallion also standing there...

Actually, I think it is only a matter of time before Hanuman is banned from the arena, since in between jumps he makes a nuisance of himself - either climbing on Tilly, gnawing the paint off the show jumps or vandalizing the dressage letters.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Yet Another Outing

Back to St Leonards for more dressage.  After being terriified by the judges last time, I got my own back by going to introduce myself while they were busy with the sheets.  They only became aware of me as my great bulk blocked out all the light and they shrieked and nearly fell off their chairs as I gazed at them through the glass.  

Apparently, my first effort was a bit mixed but got a sprinkling of 8s which made Her happy.  Just before the second test I saw what looked like horses in ghostly outfits in an adjoining field.  I was so distracted that all I could remember was that I was meant to be going forward.  She said afterwards that I shouldn't have been charging round with my nose sticking out like that, and was surprised that we came second.  I think the other horses were also startled by the lilac apparition nearby.

There was meant to be a video record of our competitive progress, but the video operator forgot to take off the lens cap until near the end.  She decided that what little there was would be too embarrassing to be shared with the world. 

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Natural Horsemanship Contest

Today, largely thanks to Her Parelli-mad friend, I went to a local Natural Horsemanship Contest with my chum Jester.  Because there were no times as the 'day would just flow', we had to wait an hour and a half before we were able to have a go.  I thought there was plenty to look at, but She said that watching horses shuffle round while their owners waved ropes at them was very boring.  The other horses standing around seemed to agree because they all looked a bit vacant and didn't take much interest in anything.

Me and Jester at the Natural Horsemanship Contest in Luckett

Finally, it was our turn and She decided that She is not about to start waving ropes at me now and we would do our turn at liberty.  She took my bridle off, so I immediately got down and had a jolly good roll in the sand, most of which stuck to me. 
I trotted round obligingly with Her, but because She thinks Parelli is a lot of twaddle and hadn't read the rules, we had to improvise some of the moves.  We still managed a lovely wiggly leaf pattern towards the end.  For the grand finale, I thought instead of tamely trotting up the centre line, I would impress by going straight from walk to canter and throw in some prancing and bucking.  I gave Her the tiniest of playful nudges with my hindleg, so imagine my surprise when I saw her flying through the air and landing splat on the sand.  She picked Herself up off the floor quickly though, and I stood like a rock at the end while She waved a whip about.  I'm sure it looked impressive, even if we were both coated in sand.

Jester's liberty performance was short lived.  Once freed from his halter he was off running round, ignoring his owner and then refusing to be caught.  In the end I had to stand at the gate as a lure before he could be recaptured.  However, when safely on the end of a rope, Jester dutifully went through his moves. 

In true Natural Horsemanship style, we all got rosettes with 'Winner' blocked in gold letters across the middle.  When I got home I got a hug and an apple for getting more points than Jester.  Clever me!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Tilly has to trot in circles

She tells me that Tilly was purchased as a reschooling project which didn't really get going.  This was initially because Tilly was discovered to be expecting me, much to everyone's shock and surprise.  Then Tilly was found to have dodgy ligaments; she went to hospital for an operation on her hind limbs only to find that one of the fore limbs was a bit dodgy as well.  Thus, Tilly is only allowed to do light work, although she is still having to trot round in circles to improve her waistline.

She says that this video clip is a good example of the wisdom of Udo Burger who says "If the horse is moving actively and purposefully forwards, it stretches of its own accord and seeks the rein contact".

She thinks it will be fun to do another video of Tilly in six months' time, ligaments permitting, and see if her way of going has improved.  I think it would be more fun to measure the circumference of Tilly's tummy and see if that has improved.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Step Test

She decided for a bit of fun to test our courage and athleticism by getting us to negotiate a step down to our field.  I was definitely the bravest of all.  Hanuman was voted the most athletic in the end, but it took him ages to get it.  At the end he pranced about to show that he really wasn't afraid of anything.

This video clip also clearly shows that Tilly's tummy reduction programme is not working as She'd hoped.

Friday, 12 August 2011

A more successful outing

I was carted off in the motorised cabin to go to St Leonards again, to do some dressage.  It was a very worrying time.  As I went through to the warm up I saw a horse in the arena that looked as alarmed as I felt.  He was too bewildered to canter and his exasperated rider was slapping him with a stick but it didn't help.

When it was my turn I went to present myself to the judge and something leapt out to bite me and I fled in terror.  I recovered my composure and bravely went through my tests, trying to do my very best, whilst simultaneously scanning the area for potential assailants.  Luckily, I survived unscathed and was praised for my fortitude and for Trying Really Hard.  It wasn't great dressage apparently, but it was good enough for a number of carrots and first place in Intro B and fourth in Prelim 10 (although She did point out that there were only half a dozen other competitors in each class).  Here I am being really brave. 

Went back home in the motorised cabin to a hero's welcome from the others, who had clearly missed me.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Hanuman tries out show jumping

She thought it would be good for Tilly to step over poles as part of her tummy reduction programme.  Young Hanuman was allowed in and started whizzing over the jumps.

She was dismayed because She had wanted to breed a dressage horse.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Tilly Tubby

Since having Hanuman (and prior to that time off for dodgy ligaments), it has to be said that Tilly has let her figure go.

She is appalled at Tilly's tummy and lack of abdominal tone and has vowed that Something Has to be Done.
Tilly was duly tacked up and marched into the arena.  Posy and I were craning our necks to see if She would be bucked off after such a long lay off, but were disappointed to see that Tilly was happy to waddle quietly round.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Light bulb moment

She took me to Carla's jumping field at Lidwell today.  There I was presented with a lilac and white cross pole about six inches high.  I had no idea what I was meant to do with it.  In the end I stepped over it a few times, then hopped over it and then did a little jump.  I did the same thing with a blue cross pole - then, I suddenly realised that these things were jumps - just like the ones we have at home.  A light bulb went off in my head!  Then I set off at a brisk canter and soared over all the other jumps, to much praise.

She has been reading 'Equitation Science' by Paul McGreevy and Andrew McLean, and said that I am living proof of the part that says in the beginning phase of learning a new task, reaction is context specific.  Apparently I now have to learn to generalise - in other words, recognise show jumps wherever they are.  That was a lot of learning for one day.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Exercise Video

As I feared, we all had to do exercises from her free DVD.  She said that it contained nothing new and since the running time was only about 15 minutes, She was glad that She hadn't had to pay for it.  
The exercise was just the usual trotting poles only raised higher specifically to trip up the unwary.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

A Great Disappointment

That was me at the Cornish Dressage Festival apparently.  She took me up to Duchy College where there was a party going on with lots of horses running around in a small arena and some of them going sideways.  I also went into another arena with flower baskets everywhere.  She was flapping about on my back but I didn't really hear what She was saying for all the noise in my head.  I gather I was meant to be going forward.  I was relaxing afterwards when a hornet stung me and I produced several impressive, energetic caprioles, but She said it was too little too late.

She cheered up when we got home as She found a DVD in the post, that She had won in a Horse Hero competition.  Her winning application stated that She was trying to turn a plodding Shire X into an elegant dressage horse and She needed the DVD.  Don't know what that was supposed to mean, but I do know that a DVD showing Exercises for Horses is bound to be bad news for me.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Another party

I met up with my friend Freddie and we were joined by Carrot, who I understand is Not Very Well Behaved.  We all went to Lidwell where a party had been arranged especially for me.  I spent time hanging out with admiring humans and met some new friends. In the middle of all this I had to trot round a scary arena and I had no idea where I was going - there was so much to look at. 

That was over quickly though and then I hung out with some friends and ate some very nice walnut cake.  The cake made me a bit hyperactive and I wanted to joust with Freddie on the way back.  We think Carrot got back alright since we didn't see his rider walking home.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Five Years Old Today!

To celebrate my birthday, I invited the others to a little come-as-you-are party in the yard. Hanuman arrived early wearing a headcollar.

He is such a baby - he has no idea how to put a headcollar on.

To save him from making a fool of himself at the party, I took it off, just before the others arrived.  I was the centre of attention of course and the nibbles went down well. She gave me a large carrot.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Jumping at home

She insisted that I put up this video of me jumping at home, although I don't know why since there is no similarity between the jumps at home and the alien obstacles in Sunday's ordeal.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Another Outing

Today I went in a horsebox for the first time and travelled by myself to 'St Leonards'.  It was a very hot day and I was sweaty and puffing after 15 minutes of warm up.  I had to do a dressage test, but it was in a strange place with lots of things to look at and I thought it best to go very slowly and carefully and ignore her urgings. 

After that I had to go into a field bordered by cows and horses and full of brightly coloured obstacles, the like of which I have never seen before.  She cantered me up to one so I stopped and looked at it, still didn't recognise it.  I looked at several but then I gather I was Eliminated.  In the end, I had to go round and jump over each one, pursued by a man shouting instructions.  I think he should have jumped the obstacles himself instead of shouting at others.

Eventually it was all over and I finally got the carrots that I so richly deserved after running round in the heat.  After a little sponge down I went straight back into the horsebox, which made me a Good Boy at last.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Callington Show

Freddie and I were taken to Callington Show because it would be Good For Us to experience a show atmosphere, apparently.  Well, it was bedlam, with horses and ponies running hither and thither.  Here is a photo of me looking for an escape route.

Terrifying noises came out of loud speakers, but my plans to run away were scotched on several occasions.  After a while, I began to make out that the speakers were saying things like "silver car parked with headlights on" or "burger van now open for business".  I was just beginning to relax and take it all in when it was time to go home.  Ominously, She said She wanted me to conserve my energy for tomorrow.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Posy copies me

When I went back to the stable for a well earned rest, it seems that Posy wanted to practise dancing to music as well.  The video had nearly run out, so the video of Posy's efforts is mercifully brief:

She says that Posy has a natural aptitude.  I say that it is easy to look light footed if you aren't carrying nine stones deadweight on your back.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Freestyle Frustration

She has decided that it would be fun to enter an unaffiliated dressage to music class; fun for Her that is.  It is very exhausting if you are the one expected to prance round in time to the music.
Furthermore, putting together a freestyle is not as easy as She thought.  Her first music choices were too fast and had me puffing round the arena at high speed.  She slowed them down on a computer but then had some trouble with her choreography as the music played on for ages after our final halt.  Several revisions later, was it my fault that the final halt occurred with me facing 'A'?
I don't think so!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

We are finally allowed to meet Hanuman

Posy and I have been complaining for a couple of weeks now because we have been shut in a field and not allowed to wander up to the yard as is our wont.  This is all because little Hanuman is deemed too fragile to be allowed near us.  Finally, Tilly relented and let us meet him.

He is a weedy little fellow and you can see Tilly watching in the background to make sure I don't push him or anything.  Posy got over excited at having a baby brother and started running about.

Since then, if we go too close to the little chap, Tilly bites us.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Baby Brother!

Posy and I were locked out of the yard all day today while She flapped about and vets came and went.  When we were finally allowed back in, the reason for Tilly's recent odd behaviour became very clear.  She has produced a baby brother for Posy and I!  We craned our necks over the stable door to get a good look, but Tilly bit us.  I managed to see this much -
This is Hanuman.  He has wobbly legs and tried to buck but fell over on his head instead - ha ha!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Posy gets rosette!

Given her performance yesterday, I was surprised to see Posy prancing around today showing off a rosette.
Closer inspection showed that the rosette had the word 'Special' written on it.

That explains it.  These are given out by riding clubs to horses who come last, to stop their owners from crying. 
When you enter a proper TREC Indoor competition, you can get a rosette with COMPLETED written on it in gold letters.  I won one and it means that I did Really Well.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Posy attempts Horse Agility

Posy has been full of herself today.  She was entered for the SCADRA horse agility class.  It must have been for beginners, obviously, otherwise I would have been chosen.  Ever the drama queen, Posy claimed that there were fierce bears at the far end of the arena, making it far too dangerous to go there.  I know for a fact that there were no bears at all, and it was just a ruse to make herself look brave and collect extra carrots.  I can't believe that Posy got a carrot just for standing still while She opened an umbrella!

Posy got her legs in a knot in the bending section and She herself tripped over the poles in the S Bend and they made a dog's breakfast of the corridor.  Below is a video clip of their efforts.  They aren't very good really.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Not the Royal Wedding

Today, I would have liked to have been standing in The Mall being fed Polo Mints by well wishers.  Her plan was to decorate me with a necklace of Union Jacks and then go to gate crash the street party in Stoke Climsland.  Alas, She ordered bunting which had huge flags.
This is not a good look.  To Her credit, She did conclude that my being festooned in 10 feet of large plastic flags was likely to be a hazard at a street party. 
Plan B was to go for a hack with my chum Freddie, and take advantage of the lack of traffic by exploring the other side of the A388.  Had a very pleasant ride, even though the roads were actually swarming with Royal Wedding refuseniks driving aimlessly about.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Playing at Eventers

She has been inspired by watching Badminton Horse Trials on TV, so I was taken to the woods to play at eventers.  I did try to point out that eventers are generally svelte and have been fathered by horses bred to win races, whereas I have ample proportions and have been fathered by a horse bred to plough fields.  But Her imagination knows no bounds, so I thought it best to go along with it. 

This video clip shows me bravely tackling the Water Complex, soaring over the Open Ditch and gamely cantering on until I am finally defeated by The Incline.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011


In line with her strategy to get me used to indoor schools, she took me to the SCADRA gymkhana.  Here is a photo of me and Miss Blobby there.
I was amazed to find a very handsome horse on the other side of the mirror.  I tried to get to know him but he hit me on the head - twice.  I struck out with my foreleg to teach him a lesson, but apparently this is Not Allowed.  I amused myself trying to dismantle the mounting block, but that isn't allowed either.  Then I tried to make friends with some small ponies but they squealed at me.  In the end She decided to take me home.

On the way home I reflected on a very creditable performance in the Flag Race, marred only by the poor hand to eye coordination of my rider.  The highlight, though, was the Bending Race.  I weaved in and out of the cones in a most elegant canter, followed by a fine volte at the end.  I could hear murmours of appreciation from the onlookers, so I decided that a bit of showboating was in order for the return leg.  I weaved my way back executing flying changes at each change of direction to great applause!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Oh Dear

Things have not gone well lately.  I was allergic to the delicious new haylage and was very poorly for a while.  She is now buying haylage in smart white bags but goes round muttering about money, although this isn't an entirely new phenomenon. 

Following a bit of a crash course in fitness, I was taken to a couple of dressage competitions.  I gather that we are not to speak of them again.   She says I must go on lots of outings to the indoor school until I lose the urge to escape from the arena.

After reading a book on equine nutrition, She has purchased a big bag of micronised linseed and put some in my food.  Phah!  It smells of old fish, I don't know why she thought I would want to eat the stuff, and it spoiled the rest of my breakfast so I threw all my food out of the bucket onto the floor and refused to eat any of it.  She is now giving it to Tilly who seems to like it, but then Tilly has been acting very oddly lately.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Hard Day's Work

Although it was pouring with rain, I had to go all the way to Duchy College,  She had hired the small indoor school and very interesting it was too.  After wearing myself out trotting and cantering in there, I had to go all the way back home again, still in the rain.  Once home, it became apparent that I had been volunteered to entertain two small children.  It seems that I was meant to stand there while they tickled my knees with a dandy brush, then I had to be saddled up again and walk round the arena while they took it in turns to sit on me.

My reward was to be the first to enjoy some of the newly arrived and delicious haylage (She has given up trying to find good hay).  Posy was furious and kept trying to climb into my stable to help herself.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Music Practice

Went to Duchy College for a riding club dressage to music practice.  She seemed to want me to do a lot of transitions with loud music playing, but I thought it best just to trot through everything proudly carrying my nose in the air to impress the onlookers.  Later, I noticed that the others seemed to be doing walk, trot and canter and back again, all with music playing.  The second time round, I did the same and this earned me some Polo mints.  I also made some new friends so it wasn't a bad day.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

New Year' Resolutions

She has decided that my New Year Resolution is to get fit and has taken this photo to illustrate that point that I have become a lardy boy.
Actually, I think this photo shows that I am the innocent victim of a very bad haircut - and I have to go out in public looking like this!
Apparently I am to embark on an exercise programme to make me trim and fit.  As I puffed up the hill, it struck me that either She is wearing lead pants or She has been over indulging at Christmas Herself.