Thursday, 10 December 2009


Well, after two weeks of not riding I was so looking forward to riding on Saturday. Jas was riding a young Section D so we took him out of the yard to a safe place to mount. No problems there - a couple of circuits round the circle and he was settled. Back to the yard to get on Santana who had been patiently waiting, already saddled. Up we get and ... suddenly I'm sitting on an exploding horse. Equally as suddenly I'm sitting on the concrete of the yard. Not the best start to a nice quiet hack.

He's never done that before - even when we were breaking him in in the Summer of 2008 he's not given the slightest inclination that he might buck. We checked his tack and there was nothing wrong there. We took him out of the yard to lunge him before I had another attempt (with someone holding him this time). He was a little tense at first but soon relaxed and we were back to 'normal'.

I have no idea what caused him to explode like that, but it has certainly made me wary. I didn't ride on Sunday because my old bones were aching from landing on the concrete and Santana was drenched from the rain. Not a good combination in the circumstances.

I shall definitely be lunging before I get on him this weekend and I'll try not to make excuses not to ride.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

One Month On

Over a month since my last post and nothing of much interest to report. I'm not able to ride at all during the week now - its too dark by the time I get home and I'd never be able to find him in the field!

Rode him last Sunday after not riding since the previous Sunday and you could definitely tell. Even though he's turned out 24/7, he was really on his toes. Jas was riding Enzo who was really fresh and Santana picked up his mood completely. We were riding round Livery field as it was empty and Enzo spooked at the hedge and went charging off in the wrong direction then started bucking when Jas pulled him up. She held him well though and stayed on top. Santana thought that all seemed like a good idea and started pulling like a train. We were trying to trot sedately but he wasn't interested.

We split up and rode on opposite sides of the field and Santana calmed down but then Enzo sparked off again and Jas came off this time. Enzo charged for the gate and disappeared over the horizon. Santana was like "Yeah, lets follow him!", but I convinced him to stay put. Jas fine, having landed on her feet and set off to find him. I found out later that Tom had put her back up and did some serious lunging to work off Enzo's excess energy.

Meanwhile we carried on trying to concentrate on trotting like a proper horse. We managed it eventually, had a canter up the hill and called it a day.

I'm just glad I didn't attempt to ride him on Saturday because it was blowing a gale.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009


We have been working hard on the right rein this last couple of weeks, mostly trotting, and Santana seems to be getting the idea that he needs to bend into it.  He's started to become much lighter in my hands and I've been so pleased with his progress.   We've even managed to canter on the right leg without too much persuasion.  Result !

Of course, on the day we take the camera to the farm, he has other ideas.  He's forgotten everything and goes back to the beginning.  Grrrrr... !

I still love him though :D

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Rain rain go away

From summer to winter in one easy step.  I can't believe only last week I was at the farm in just a tee shirt and now its tipping down with rain and freezing cold.  No riding today because of the rain so I thought I would post a pic of my gorgeous dog instead.

She's a standard poodle and she's called Sybil.  This was about six years ago when she was young and beautiful.  

This is more recent and she's still beautiful but as you can see we've changed her clip because now that she's ten years old its more comfortable for her not to have so much fur to deal with.

Talking of other pets, we had a mini funeral on Monday for Jasmine's hamster, Rupert, who died in his sleep.  Its really sad because Rupert was a sweet little creature with a lot of character.

RIP Rupert.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Getting Back to Normal

I see I haven't blogged for ages again. Now that summer is just about over things are now getting back to their normal routine. I was only able to ride once or twice a week after our holiday, but the last couple of weeks I've managed to ride more often.

I've dispensed with the Pelham now. Santana was starting to get used to it and was beginning to resist, especially on the right rein, so i've gone back to my Wilson snaffle but using a Market Harborough with it. Some days he's been great, other days he pulls my arms out, particularly my right arm. Doing right handed circles at canter I have to brace against his neck with my left hand in order to get him round the circle. Not good!!! Left handed he's perfect - he canters really collected.

So, new plan of action - right handed circles only. Trotting only. Zig zagging across the track with small right handed circles or figures of eight mixed in. I've got the Market Harborough tighter on the right hand side than the left.

I've been doing this for a couple of days now and he actually seems to be responding and bending into the turns which makes a nice change! We'll keep doing this for a while until I think he's really caught on.

Hoping to get Jasmine to take some new video for me soon.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Disaster Struck

About eight weeks ago I broke my wrist - what a disaster! It was horse related of course. It was a Sunday morning so instead of spending a pleasant Sunday morning riding, I ended up in A&E being x-rayed and plastered. I chose a purple cast which I discovered later was a mistake because I don't have enough clothes that go with purple to last until the cast was removed!

No riding for a minimum of six weeks.

Jasmine managed to ride Santana for me a couple of times during the six weeks and in the meantime he's been getting fat!

At last I have had the cast taken off but I wasn't prepared for how painful it was still going to be. I have to have physio to improve the amount of movement in my wrist.

I have ridden a few times using a wrist support with a splint, but have not done anything too energetic yet. Santana has behaved himself very well although I have used a Pelham in order not to have him weighing too heavily on my hands.

Anyway, I'm off to Cornwall tomorrow for two weeks, so hopefully by the time I return I will be able to get back to riding properly. I'll need to get both him and me back to fitness again.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

First Show Ever

Oh my God, I haven't blogged for AGES! I didn't realise it had been so long.

Well since last time, I've been doing a mixture of schooling and hacking and a bit of jumping now and then just to keep his interest. We've been working on cantering on the right leg - he favours the left leg so a lot of work is needed here, but he's getting better.

On Sunday 10 May I took him to his first ever show. Its just a little show in Tingrith - perfect for his first time. We did the 2 foot class first and he clearly found it all a bit scary but he was really brave and didn't refuse anything. He had second and third thoughts about going over a really bright white jump but after a bit of encouragement he jumped it, but knocked it down.

As he'd done so well I decided to take him in the next class - 2'3" -2'6". Having already seen the jumps the first time around he was a little braver this time and cantered on a bit better. He had another one down but that was fine, I was just pleased he had done so well and we got round pretty uneventfully.

Jasmine took Scoobydoo (aka Crazy!) and he got crazier with each jump, but Jas managed him really well. She also took Hazel, a lovely chestnut tb who she's been jump training over the last couple of weeks. She's done so well with her Tom said she could take her to the show. She did the 2'3" - 2'6" class and the 2'9" class as well. She got fifth in the 2'3" and had a pole down in the next class, but Hazel jumped really well.

It was a gorgeous day too. The sun shone but it wasn't too hot. A fandabydozy day was had by all!

When I get time I'll upload the photos and videos to Youtube.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Proper Jumping

Been doing lots of jumping practise recently - every couple of days, a few jumps here and there. The improvement is amazing. He is generally really careful with his front legs and really picks them up and then pushes off his back legs, but at the same time it feels as though he doesn't need to use any effort to get over the jumps.

I am soooo pleased with him :D:D I love my horsey!!!

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Lots of Work

Haven't blogged for a few weeks now, but me and Santana have been working very hard. I've managed to ride him pretty much every day for the last few weeks, even if its only for 20 minutes.

He's cantering really nicely on the left rein, much more balanced than he was before. We're still struggling on the right rein but, I think we are getting there slowly. Sometimes he leads on the right leg in front but not behind and he's all disjointed, Sometimes he manages to change and get it right. He's not nearly as balanced on the right leg though.

His jumping has come on really well. He's usually very careful when he jumps and he really stretches out over a jump. I think he's enjoying jumping.

Everyone is saying how much he has grown. I can't really see it as I see him every day, but I can see how much he has started to fill out. He actually has some muscles now!

I can't wait to see him in his summer coat this year, he's going to look gorgeous! Got some pics and videos to upload when I've got more time.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Draw Reins

Okay, time to address the control issue. I have been advised to give draw reins a try as it will help to pull him together and force him to listen. I don't think he is deliberately fighting against me, I think he genuinely doesn't understand that when I tighten a rein he must give to it and not just pull back. I never feel that he's going to misbehave or take off, he's not that sort, but even so he needs to be responsive to me.

First go with draw reins on him Sunday 22 February. Wow, what a difference! I was trotting him around a small circle and he was bending, yes, bending! He wasn't falling in or trying to go sideways, he was bending around the circle. Fantastic!

I will do some training with these for a week or so, and then try him again without them and see what difference it has made. Fingers crossed.

Oh yes, we did a little bit of jumping too. He did a little spread which I was very pleased with although, as ever, he didn't expend any more energy than he absolutely needed to!


Last weekend was my birthday so me Jasmine and Angie all went out for a nice Sunday morning hack over the meadow which we haven't done for ages. It's the first time Santana has been to the meadow so it was a whole new experience for him. There was still some snow lying on the ground. There are several places for a canter around the meadow, so first we went down the path to the bottom and took the looong track which goes the whole way from one end to the other. It must be at least a quarter mile if not more. That was fab, it really blew the cobwebs away.

Then, as there were people walking their dogs further along that track, we walked back halfway along the path we had just cantered along to the track up the hill in the middle of the meadow. Jasmine went up first on Penny, the Angie's horse Mysti was getting quite agitated, wanting to go so I told Angie to go up and I would follow. My intention was to keep to a nice controlled canter. It wasn't to be. Just as Angie let Mysti go the bird scarer went off, acting like a starting pistol and off we shot! Oh yes, Santana can gallop! What's more, Mysti gallops like a racehorse, but Santana was holding his own and just about keeping up with her. It didn't feel that fast (not like my old horse, ex-racer Wolfie) but he has such a long loping stride that he covers the ground without any effort.

This was all fine and good, but halfway up I thought I'd take a pull to see what reaction I got ....and there was no reaction whatsoever. I leaned back and heaved on the reins to no effect ...oops! I knew he would stop at the top because the others were there but it was a tad worrying to know that I had so little control.

I really need to do something about that, he really needs to have a better mouth, but I don't want to use a stronger bit.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Riding - At Last !

Yay! Today, I rode for the first time in a week and a half. (Not counting the time I rode Jasmine's pony inside the barn bareback!). At last there was enough of a thaw to get the horses further than a couple of yards beyond their field gate. All the tracks on the farm have been like an ice rink so I haven't even been able to take him up to the yard to feed him. Fortunately there's a hay barn just by his field gate so I've been feeding in there this week.

They've used so much hay that there's a large empty space in the middle of the barn so on Sunday Jasmine and I rode Catrin around bareback because we were getting withdrawal symptoms from not riding!

Today we tacked up and went out into the front field which was still covered in pristine snow. It was very wet underneath and I was very wary about Santana slipping. Jasmine, meanwhile, doesn't have a care in the world and was off cantering down the straight side. We did follow and had a sedate canter too though. Then we went splashing through the 'lake' on the other side. We only rode for about 15 minutes but it was bliss!

Had enough of snow now, roll on spring.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

No Pressure

How lovely it is now I've decided, no schooling, no pressure. My lovely horsie is so obliging and eager to please now I'm not asking him all sorts of questions he doesn't understand. We managed to ride on Friday, Saturday (after riding club), Sunday and Monday. Wow, four days in a row!

On Sunday, me and my daughter, Jasmine and our friend Angie all went in the xc field to pop over some of the xc jumps. I followed Angie on Mysti as Santana needed a lead and although on one or two of them he seemed to run out of steam halfway over the jump (not a good feeling!), mostly he was very good, picking up his feet nicely.

Jasmine was riding a pony she's been training for a while, Penny, a New Forest cross, who has got a lovely jump but is as inexperienced as Santana. She got a bit excited and put in a few big bucks after each jump. Jasmine fell off once but she wasn't hurt and got back on and did it all again. Penny did settle down a bit after a while and jumped really well. All in all a good fun ride. We even got some video footage which Jas has made into a film and uploaded to Youtube. Haha!

Still waiting for the ground to dry up a bit, but it seems to be getting wetter and wetter. Jas is hoping to get some video of cantering through the lake in the front field next weekend!

Friday, 23 January 2009

A new field and a new plan of action

John, the bull, in the middle of his harem. He's huge.
The horse on the right is a shire x.

Ah yes, at last we are out of the field with the cows and John. the bull! Cows sure know how to decimate a field, there's hardly a blade of grass left in that field and they get loads of hay twice a day ...greedy lot!

Anyway, Santana and his mates are now in a different field which makes it much easier to get him in.

I managed to ride him three times during the week, but on Tuesday I'm afraid I got a bit cross with him for being so rigid in his neck when I was trying to turn him on a right handed circle. He has more strength in his neck than I've got in my whole body! So, it wasn't a good day; he wouldn;t turn right handed, he wouldn't canter on the right leg. I got cross and he got thoroughly confused.

We both had Wednesday and Thursday off and today I decided we would just do really basic stuff. His canter is getting nice now so we'll do walk, trot, canter transitions on the straight and only circle in walk. When the ground dries out a bit we'll try some figure eights and bending, etc. all in walk and gradually build from there. So that's the new plan - fingers crossed.

He was lovely today. Aren't animals forgiving? I was mean to him on Tuesday but he still loves me. What a sweetie.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

The Big Freeze

Not much has been happening recently due to the freezing weather and the ground being like concrete. I had a couple of days off work the week before last as well, thinking I could go and do some serious work with Santana. But no, it wasn't to be.

In fact I didn't ride from Sunday right through to Friday when I rode Strawberry, a youngster I've been bringing on. I usually ride her every day so I get worried if she has to stay in for too long as she gets very mischievous and full of herself. I probably shouldn't have ridden as the ground was still very hard. I couldn't get on in the yard, I had to lead her down the track and under the railway tunnel to the front field and get on there, on the grass and then do it all in reverse on the way back.

Of course she was well up for a gallop and buck all round the field, but I managed to stop her doing that, although only just.

Saturday riding club was cancelled as the farm was still in the grip of the freezing temperatures. Santana had to wait until last Sunday before I could ride him. At last the ground had thawed in the Pit, enough to ride on anyway. Trouble is Santana is so unbalanced he was slipping everywhere again as now the ground is wet. Doh!

Tried him out in the field at the front . This was better as he had more grip on the grass. Rode again on Monday and did our circles in the front field. He is still heavy and difficult to turn but I think we started to make some progress. I have also started doing some lateral work with him - turn on the forehand and leg yielding. He's getting the hang of it and hopefully that will help him with his balance.

As he's turned out 24/7 I'm getting him in every day now for a hard feed. He seems to have struck up a friendship with John, the bull, in his field, which means I have to drive into his field to get him and then lead him out of the car window back to the yard. I must take a photo of John one day - he's enormous!

Anyway, its Thursday today so weekend soon, yay!!

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Dental Therapy

Santana has had some dental therapy. Poor thing, I know how he feels! On investigating his mouth it was discovered that he had wolf teeth which were giving him some pain, particularly when the bit was in his mouth. I feel bad now, considering I contributed to his pain. Anyway the offending articles have now been removed with very little difficulty and Santana is now feeling very much better. We did a few jumps yesterday and even popped a coloured pole at about two foot! Hooray!

Hopefully, now he is without pain in his mouth he can concentrate on enjoying himself. Yesterday and today he already feel lighter in my hands, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we've solved the problem. Unfortunately it was below zero all day today so the ground didn't defrost enough to do any schooling. Instead we went on a ride around the roads which was lovely because there were seven of us who all rode out together. Santana was both the youngest and probably the most sensible of all the horses of the ride. What a star!