Sunday, 27 June 2010


Got some poor sod to video me in return for a drink down the awful hey!!! hahaha! The video-er needs training with the zoom lol! but heck, im very grateful for him doing it full stop!

I can see im still collapsing a bit esp in downward trans......
Also, when im trying too hard (lateral work / no stirrups) my arse gets tight and Im far too tense and it ruins my seat and therefore blocks Antsje. Things to think about....... ;o)

Walk to canter

Walk pirouette attmepts

Lateral Work (although not very clear angle)

Trot and right canter trans

Left Canter


As always - grateful for any comments / observations :o)

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

snakes and ladders..........

Hmmmm, well what goes up...must come down lol!! And after a few really good sessions of climbing the ladder, ive come slithering down the snake! especially with the canter. Not sure if it was her, or me, or both of us! But I know I wasnt so effective in my seat - not sure if im stiff, or if she is stiff, or if we both are due to the last sessions - but I couldnt really get 'into her' like I have been. She was just a little too forward and on the forehand with everything today and in all honesty I should not have cantered - or at least persevered with it - but I did **sigh**

The left canter wasnt bad actually, and the departs are coming on lovely. But the right!! ACK! she wanted to 'run' into the trans, So I tried to stop that by only doing walk to canter and really concentrating on a quick snappy leap into canter and then only cantering for a few strides before trot. Anymore than that, esp if we kept straight, she would get flat and strong, and when I did get a slower speed she would just break. So a little despondant today after the highs of the last weeks work, but it wasnt all bad............and I think for some reason we were both feeling a bit jaded.

Tomorrow Im going to do something different! lol!

Friday, 18 June 2010



So THRILLED with the last couple of sessions with Antsje :o) Thurs I rode in the evening as due to time restraints in the morning I dont always get to work on a lot of canter by the time she is settled! As my friend Trudi said a while back, if you dont have her in walk, then dont go any further (or words to that effect!!) and it is sooo sooo true! Its more of a mental attitude thing with her I think, but if she is rushing through my seat in walk, no matter how subtle, then it is pointless moving up into trot. Otherwise the rushing is just magnified and it takes even longer to get any decent work! So we did nice SLOW funeral walk and lots of halt transitions and reinback to walk until I was satisfied she was 'on my seat' and engaging her HQ's. Once we have this the trot is just **there** in terms of quality and balance and therefore I can start using exercises to improve straightness / suppleness straight away rather than having to spend time balancing the trot!

I again worked a lot on reinback, halt then straight up into trot. And also the downward trans of trot straight into halt. A definate improvement on yesterday already! Having a clever willing horse and using clicker doesnt half get quick results - and YES, I do appreciate how LUCKY I am ;o) In the trot we did the halt-trot-halt trans, serpentines focussing on smooth changes of bend coming from the seat and 10m circles, again focussing on correct flexion and increased engagement.

I am reading Erik Herbermann right now and was well reminded of the importance of accuracy when riding. Choose your gait, choose your exercise and ride it!!

Then we moved onto some canter work. I am using walk to canter trans right now as 1) it improves engagement and 2) it helps balance.
In trot, she can still loose enagement / balance and therefore get on the forehand very quickly and rush. I dont think the walk - canter trans are a 100% direct yet (esp on right), but its enough to help the above issues :o) Im also aiming for a nice downwards trans into a balanced trot out of the canter which is coming on nicely. Canter to walk is too much as of yet.......
The canter today was a LOT better on a circle, so I did a bit of work up the long side. She is still struggling to keep the balance when straight and gets a bit flat and 'rushing' - esp on the right rein. BUT, its a work in progress so we have to keep trying. For the first time since i came back off hols, I asked her to pick up canter from the long side - not too bad on the left rein, but she warps quite a bit on the right, panics and rushes off!! But again, its worth persevering with for a few steps.
We had a few lovely balanced strides of canter on the straight on the right rein so I clicked and treated and got off and made much of her. PLEASED! :o)

This morning was the first morning since I have come back that Antsje was pretty much on my seat right from the word go!! YAY! So I didnt have to do so much work in walk this morning and got on with some trot-halt-trot trans. These were bloody EXCELLENT today!!! Particularly the downward trans. I have to add I am doing a lot more work around the arena now rather than just on a large circle as it highlights straightness issues better now as she is quite well balanced on a circle (or so it would appear lol!) We did lots of changes of rein, a little SI and upwards downwards trans with great results, so I tried a bit more canter!

This time straight off the corner and onto the long side rather than working on a circle and again walk to canter trans. And I have to say the quality of balance was hugely improved even from yesterday!!! I didnt let her canter on for long, we didnt loose the nice slower lifted canter but we did quite a few repitions on both reins. I was really impressed - as much with her attitude as with anything! she was really trying hard!! So I clicked, got off and HUGGED her loads lol!!!

She gets a rest tomorrow and hacking on Sunday.

I just LOVE LOVE LOVE my horse! She teaches me so much :o)

Oh, and before I forget, note to self - try not to ride like a spaz in canter lol!!!
When she goes well, I know I get really tight in an attempt to to bugger it all up hahahaha!!! FAIL!! Need to get back on that lunge again soon and focus on me RELAXING!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010


Very sad news for Friesian lovers.
On June 15th the famous approved stallion Nanning 374 was humanely euthanized after suffering a ruptured stomach today, June 15th. Nanning was one of the most beautiful and well know Friesian stallions. He will be missed.

Nanning's web site.

Video of Nanning 374"

Im BACK!!!

Well!! Im back to it! And thankfully dont seem to have lost much fitness! Just a bit of thigh ache last week!

Antjse on the other hand had turned into Miss Bolshy pants in my abscence And my sister said the last day she tried to barge out of her stable and then wouldnt stand still on the yard! I forget this is how she was when I first had her and its nice to know that I do at least have a positive influence over her ;o)

So, the first few days were all about re-establishing boundaries!! Oh yes my dear DO have them! hahaha!

We did quite a bit of 'head down' work especially when I am letting her out into the field as she basically snatched her head out of the headcollar to rush off! So I recaught her and insisted she put her head down and let me take the headcollar off properly - it took several attempts (with clicking ) before she realised the good life was over, mummy was BACK and she had to toe the line :p

The first ride wasnt much better either lol! I got on, she promtly power walked towards the gate as SHE thought we were off hacking!! grrrrrrrr!!! Then it took me nearly the whole session to get her to SLOW DOWN! as she had reverted to the old power walk, not listening to my seat and ploughing through my hand! But at least my seat is much better now that she couldnt knock me out of position quite as well as she used to! So eventually we had some 'slow funeral walk' so I decided to do a bit of trot - and went back to square one lol! She felt very 'on the shoulders' on the right rein too, which is her natural crookedness coming through.
So for the last week all I have been doing is SLOW walk, SLOW trot, and suppling exercises.

**I** have also been riding one handed for parts of our session so I can ensure I have a genuine bend from the inside leg and NOT hanging on the inside rein which I am good at! Gradually we are regaining the suppleness and balance we had before I went away.

Another thing I have noticed is that when I ride one handed, primarily to help me on the right rein, I have noticed that although I am using outside rein to turn, I am actually bringing right over the crest of the neck! So although techinically I am not using the inside rein to turn, this isnt correct either - so yet again, I am tricking myself! Grrrrrr!!! So, in walk, I concentrated on keep my outside rein in a 'normal' position while still trying to maintain the inside bend. I figured out that she is falling out and I was using the outside rein to stop this without really being consciously aware of it! So, instead I used my outside LEG to stop the falling out and now im able to drop the inside rein, keep my outside rein 'normal' and keep the bend to the right! RESULT! :o)

Canter is a bit crap again but I suppose it will come back.....

We did some work on the lunge yesterdayover poles in trot and in canter. I was really pleased! plus I did lots of halt to trot trans and walk to canter trans - it was good to SEE how much this made her 'sit' so I am incorporating this into the ridden work

Oh yes - Reinback! we are doing a fair bit of this - while concentrating on the straightness. I use it particularly when she is 'tramming' to get her off her shoulders and sitting more.

So, onwards and upwards! For my birthday my sister said she would take me to a dressage test! But want to re-establish the canter a bit first....ever the perfectionist lol!!!

Oh! and Ive entered into a Marathon!! All in aid of Macmillan Cancer - so if you'd like to support this wonderful cause you could sponsor me......