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.