Sunday, 22 March 2009

Spring for the horses

Well, Thursday or Friday of this week will have sealed Belles fate - has a little fertilised egg descended to implant itself in her womb? She certainly looks plump and happy but we will just have to wait for next week to know if we are condemned to another round of scans, injections and tail bandages - our fingers are firmly crossed though!

Sooty and Danni's daily hacks have been made a great deal livelier of late, by the advent of of a cabbage field with white plastic bags mounted on canes as far as the eye can see, at the cross roads out of our village. Whilst Danni is a laid back, pragmatic, individual, Sooty is convinced that the fact there is no recorded cases of a horse killed by rattling white polythene that is no reason to drop his guard...............and he hasn't for over a m0nth now of rocking horse canters, a strange lateral walk or the piece de resistance trotting with the front legs and cantering with the back ones. Luckily Dani turns a blind eye to these antics as he has a much more pressing problem of his own "The Diet"

Danni usually waits in the corner where his food is placed at the first rattle of a corn bin lid and waits patiently for the delivery of his feed but today when I took his hay net out he stood beside the empty tie ring waiting for it to come back. Now that is an organised horse. I'll say in our defense the the corn merchant has delivered second cut silage/horsehage and it is very rich with a certain "effect" on Dani's digestion shall we say so we thought it wise to feed some extra chaff and less horshage ah hum..........

In the school I've worked Danni, mainly in canter, using the long diagonal with a change of leg upon reaching the track, gradually reducing the number of trot strides to a bob or if you shut your eyes the vestiges of a flying change without too much suspension. But it's a start - I've used the same route around the school to add anticipation to the recipe and kept counter counter away from the corners keeping the centre loop of a three loop serpentine for that to avoid confusion. At the moment I spend a lot of time in forward planning "inside seat bone forward outside heel slightly raised, use the collection of the approaching arena wall, new inside shoulder back..........." I had the most success after Canter halt Canter at C to collect and then inclining across the diagonal and over the last couple of sessions his first few strides of canter from halt have been more forward as apposed to shuffling on the spot.

It's Purely conjecture on my part of course but I do feel that the lateral exercise of leg yielding to and from the track has helped Danni to assimilate the idea of a flying change by engaging the information from the two sides of his brain more quickly. As a teenager i had lessons with Baron Blixon Fineche and one morning he said "The horse conceived himself as two halves, One ear one eye one leg and he doesn't send the message so easily to the other side of his body as we do." He said a great deal more but of course it was a long time ago but I quickly learnt that although your horse has grasped an idea on one rein you have to start again on the other. And for me the first work I did with the Baron is very different but in fact the same to the more classical approach that I am attempting to learn in my fifties.

But to move on Sooty was young again today just for a while. We hacked out across a mining down and passed a livery yard this morning and there the local MFH had gathered a group of children on various sizes of ponies at the start of their cross country course. Ulp Sooty doesn't do EVENTS. As the first pony plodded obediently over the obstacles the guy was alerted by Sooty's very loud snorts of his presence. Amiable chap that he is he kindly stopped the children to allow Sootty to passage deftly passed feeling fabulous, accompanied by the long suffering Dani ridden by my husband Charles. The volume of Sooty's snorts have to be heard to be believed and I hate to think what effect he had on the well organised gathering as we sailed majestically off down the road. And that brings me to my second Christineism of the day can Sootty passage quite well because he is capable of the collection of a little Piaffe? But only if motivated by a plastic bag or Pony club camp I'm afraid or the little imp on his shoulder............One day Danni One day!