Friday, 30 December 2011

What Is It About Horses?

Santana and Sonny
What is it that makes us all so passionate about, not only our own horses, but everyone else's horses?  What is it that brings such a wide diversity of people together with this common theme?  Diverse in age and ability, people from all walks of life.  People with money and those with none.  We all have this burning passion for our horses.  We each have a different reason for having horses - to compete in various spheres, either for fun or in serious competition,  to train and move them on up the ladder, to train others to do likewise, or simply to ride for pleasure.  We all still share the same love and desire to care for our animals.  We will give up endless hours to spend time with them, clean up after them and pander to their every need.  We will spend more time and money on their wardrobe and appearance than on our own.  We would rather spend our last penny on our horse and go without ourselves than deprive our him or her of something we believe they "need".

I was just thinking, as I was reading the posts on Haynet, that we are all so different and so widely dispersed across the globe, and yet we all think pretty much alike.  It never ceases to amaze me how the world of horses can bring people together in this way.   

So, what is it about horses that brings out the passion in you?

Friday, 16 December 2011


Can you imagine - several weeks of preparation for about 3 minutes of walking and trotting around an arena?!

It was about a month ago that my friend persuaded me to enter a dressage test "because Santana would be fabulous".  So I let myself be persuaded and the preparations began.  Intro B test was purchased and I attempted to commit it to memory.  That was never going to work because I have a memory like a sieve.  I managed to remember about a third of it so Santana and I practised this bit - enter at A in working trot and proceed down the centre line, turn right at C ... etc. etc.  Trotting was fine, we're not bad at trotting.  When it came to transition to medium walk we dropped all the anchors and plummeted into plod.  So, downwards transition needs work.  We spent the next couple of weeks practising transitions and keeping some momentum going and we made some progress.

The date of the test was looming nearer and nearer.  My only chance to ride is at weekends now the dark nights have set in so I took to walking around the menage with test in hand, talking to myself.  My yard mates must have thought I'd gone loopy! I think I ran through the whole test about 4 times in total with Santana before the test day.

The day before The Test Jasmine and I arrived at the yard armed with buckets, sponges and shampoo.  It was a cold day but Jasmine insisted that Santana must have a "proper" bath if we were going to impress the judges

Poor boy!  Fortunately the sun was shining which brought a little warmth with it.  My goodness, he was gleaming by the time we'd finished - you needed sunglasses to stop the glare from his white socks.   I don't think he's ever been so clean!  We wrapped him up in cotton wool (almost literally!) and left him tucked up in his stable for the night.

We were back at the yard bright and early the next day and there he was - looking like a show horse with the light reflecting off his black coat.  He loaded on the lorry like he'd been doing it every day of his life and off we went.  We arrived at our destination half an hour later and were pleased to find it not very busy.  I discovered that we were one of only three entries in the Intro B test.  This means of course that I am guaranteed a rosette - result! We tacked up Santana and marvelled at how beautiful he looked.  I climbed on board and off we went to warm up. 

All this time Santana has been behaving like an absolute angel, as if this was all just in a days work for him.  How odd!  Surely something is bound to go wrong soon.

We entered the arena - bearing in mind this is the first time Santana has ever been inside an indoor arena he just walked in without hesitation.  He had a snorty huffing look at the jump wings stood around the walls but soon decided they weren't the enemy and even managed to say hello to the judge.  After one leapy spook for good measure we got on with the test.

For first timers I don't think we did at all bad, we got 59% and some really  nice comments from the judge, along with some things we need to work on.  Also, I'm still using my Pelham at the moment so we would have been marked down for that.  We came third (of course!) but I was well happy with my boy, I wouldn't have cared if I'd come thirty third.  My friend was right - Santana was fabulous!

Feel free to take a minute to look at my video...

Sunday, 4 December 2011

So Exciting!

1997 Renault Master
This is mine! I can't quite believe it! (and I'm slightly worried about the amount of money I've just spent and the ongoing financial commitment, but we won't dwell on that). I had to travel 100 miles for it and 100 back again but I think it was worth it. I now have no excuse not to do the dressage test next Sunday :/

But what a lovely van! The horses are rear facing and the ramp is side loading and very shallow. Hopefully Sonny, Jasmine's horse, will take to this better than a trailer. It is all easy to operate on your own as the ramp is very light and almost opens and closes by itself.  Santana has already shown his approval by walking straight on, shuffling his back end round and looking at me as if to say "Do I stand here mummy?"  Bless him!

Roll on next summer!