Monday, 27 April 2009

Course preperation

Well we are in the final weeks rundown to our next PMG course so time to get nervous!
We spent last week concentrating on two things really - trying to improve the angle of our right shoulder in and my timing in presenting the movement and refining the downward transition from canter. I found that by engaging my core muscles ( the one you use when you cough) Danni did a brilliant halt from canter. Today i experimented with this in his transitions and change of leg but I feel lost too much forward movement so a little more refinement is needed of this idea!

Today in an effort to realign and strengthen my Dressage position, I visited Elizabeth Connolly, an advanced yoga instructor, at her delightful converted barn, just above the ancient village of Chysauster for a session with her hyper vibration machine. A friend has been taking regular sessions and she looks amazing and as Elizabeth said "It wont take Long" wasn't until part way through the session that she mentioned that it was the equivalent to an hour and a half in the gym! Static pose, high energy vibrating training may sound fairly relaxing but this was seriously hard work.

"Although Neuromuscular Re-Education has no universally accepted definition, it generally refers to a treatment technique or exercise performed by an individual with the purpose of improving, via the nervous system, the level of communication between the body and the brain.
Because of the fact that vibration training and vibration therapy exercises rely on the involuntary stretch reflex, there is a significant amount of communication occurring between the brain and the contracting muscles with each individual exercise.
This serves to “jump start” the muscle through the severely high frequency of muscle contractions thereby enhancing the patient’s ability to efficiently recruit the muscle fibers, coordinate movement being performed by the joint, and muscle tissue, and reduce the typical post-injury mechanical dysfunction in a much more rapid fashion than traditional exercise; exercise that relies on voluntary movement. "

I must admit to copying the technical bit from the makers web site but at fifty if I can improve the body/brain function and co ordination with the added benefit of improving bone density has got to be a good thing and it might just be the jump start that my riding needs at the moment. Each exercise was only performed for one minute and boy did my legs feel the strain for the last thirty seconds. My arms gave out completely but I thought my core muscles that I have been trying to improve this winter held out fairly well. As for clearing the sinuses! Luckily Elizabeth kept very near to keep correcting my position essential as well to gain full benefit so another session is booked for Thursday (if i can still move tomorrow) and the school is booked again for Wednesday for Danni, then it's just a tail wash for him a clean tack!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

turned out nice again!

Lizzie very near to her foaling date now she like to spend her days near our garden

Diva whose waistline is catching Lizzie up fast

Belle enjoying her new paddock

Belle taking her morning constitutional trot

Diva and Belle now firm friends

Diva and Belle

Sorry but Diva and Belle again

April - Lizzie's friend

Definitely Diva and Belle........again!

Diva - but that's Dolly's bottom

Dolly at last, she was so excited by her new field that she couldn't stop for a photo

Well Diva, Belle and Dolly "volunteered" to graze a new little paddock that we have had made ready for the newly foaled mares -namely the very plump Lizzie. As Lizzie is a Holstein she doesn't need as much grass as the Thoroughbred mares so the girls moved in to top the paddock that will be nice and close to the stables for Lizzie's first outing if all goes well. Meanwhile Lizzie and April have cropped their field to a fine sward and they spend most of their day just below our garden keeping and eye on us as they "work" Poor Lizzie step is growing heavier by the day and for a horse usually so light on her feet, you could almost describe her as ponderous - perhaps it is her expanding udder, she's definitely stocking up for a big event.
Little Dolly is now very independent in her very own stable and she was so excited by the new fields that all we saw was her flashing past us on laps of honour, black feet drumming the ground as Diva and Belle looked fondly on - well perhaps Belles doesn't look too fondly she likes to show Dolly her long yellow teeth is she come too close and Dolly is remarkable obedient to her, so the first lesson of horse society has been learnt by the young filly!
So all in all to coin a pun it turned out nice again - I just couldn't resist it and that was our week at Ednovean Farm. Another PMG course coming up in two weeks for Danni - just about the same time as Lizzie is due to foal.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

This week

My husband Charles riding Danni

Well Sootty certainly new how to pull my leg on Thursday and i was poised between exasperation at his antics and pleasure that the old fool could still jink and fuss for the entire ride. Always a gassy horse in his youth age has not mellowed him but with a chest infection I was hoping for a few quiet outings. So on Friday the balance of energy or should I say reserves, just wasn't there for me and so Charles schooled Danni. Working through his regular regime of shoulder in at trot and then on to canter, counter counter and simple changes and finishing with those wretched half passes. Look at the photo carefully and you will see "one of the wives of Danilon" - April, happily grazing in her field below our house. Actually I think both Lizzie and April would like a word with Danilon about the state of their waist lines.

Dolly, Diva and Belle have now moved out of the main stable block beside the house to make room for April and Lizzie to come in to foal. At least Lizzie gets the big foaling box and poor April gets the box room next door to keep her company but there is a chatter box in. They'll probably not think it's not as good as their big roomy field shelter with just a rail to converse over.

Laid back Diva settled into her nice new stable without any fuss and started to eat straight away, although the back of the box bowed alarmingly, when she discovered the perfect shelf to scratch her not inconsiderable derriere. Belle on the other hand could see rather too far across a new field and stood mesmerised for sometime and of course Dolly was mortified to loose her mum evan if she was weaned. We'd splurged on big chatterboxes between each box but that just wasn't close enough for Dolly - strange really as she ranges far apart from the two older mares through the day to graze. The paddy that followed saw the rubber mats fly in the air, followed by the bedding, as Diva looked serene in her very own private stable, next door "Sorry dear time to be independent and have your own stable" you could almost hear her say.

The second night proved much quieter and so I'm hoping in a few days to be able to open Dolly's top door without Dolly sailing past me through the air!

Belle this week

Diva a great boat of a mare due to faol to Danilon in June

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Belle's News

Belles thirty three day scan - just click to enlarge.

Good news today!! Belle has held her pregnancy to thirty three days and the foetus now has a heartbeat. Please all cross your fingers and toes but our vet says it is a very large foal for its age at the moment. Will fate give us a colt - such a long way to go.

The doctor kindly gave me some anti biotic for a chest infection after my last breathless performance on Danni and today was a bit better, although I lacked energy to inspire him. He loves cantering and whisks around doing his thing. Charles tells me his halts from canter are looking better and his departs are definitely more precise and filled with impulsion but i had an eye on improving the angle of the right shoulder in today and as we had splurged with an hours school hire, was also able to spend time plodding relentlessly sideways trying to improve his right to left half pass. Once I had managed to lighten his left shoulder he came much lighter from my leg and celebrated with a few Polo's before going home. The light rain that had dogged the morning turned from sporadic drizzle into a heavy downpour in the afternoon so we brought in Diva, Belle and Dolly earlier than usual and they were very happy to settle with their tea and hearty haynets. Diva has been practicing "natural weaning" for the last couple of weeks that left Dolly quite miserable and I'm not sure wasn't instigated by Belle. Usually i move the foal into the next box at night a with a chatterbox when the time comes but at the moment we lack enough boxes so Diva made her own arrangements. Now Dolly has accepted Diva's space she is now allowed to feed at the maternal haynet once more but as Charles said "food was definitely the tool she used to disciplining her" The new boxes are waiting, bedded down now though, so in the next couple of days Dolly will have her own space at last and Lizzie and April will come back to the main yard to wait fro their foals - well it saves Charles sleeping in the field! Lizzie and April are no bodies fools though and had already installed themselves in their field shelter out of the weather tonight to wait for their super - they are just going to hate changing stables, still they can always go in the field shelter in the daytime!

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Happy Easter from Danni and Sootty

Danni and Sootty today

The two old friends celebrated Easter with a long hack through the country lanes and bridlepaths today. The countryside has never looked lovelier as Sootty strode along, his twenty three years, forgotten. The elderly Holstein and the young Spanish Stallion look forward to their outings together, and stride along in perfect harmony, with a strange bond that has grown up between the two polar opposites, the original odd couple.

I think they were thinking about their lunch rather than pricking their ears for a photo but they were happily mud spattered as they settled to snooze for the afternoon with just enough time to wait for tea together.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Danni at Easter

Myth and illusion

I deliberately included this photo because it expresses for me the that intangible gaol with dressage, that always seems just within reach.............if only.

Probably not quite the right moment in the stride but our digital camera likes to think about things too sometimes.

Well this weeks "if only" saw us do two sessions in the school as I wimped out of the torrential rain on Monday and Charles and Danni went for a "boys" outing together and I took Sootty for a discreet hack, quietly around the shelter of the village. Sootty and I were both agreed that this was the best option and Danni and Charles certainly looked very wet when they returned two hours later.

Our next booked day for the menage was Wednesday so Charles schooled Danni around the lanes on Tuesdays hack swapping from shoulder in to Traver and back, concentrating on keeping Dani's left shoulder up and on over all straightness. Sootty assisted my quest to re deepen my seat by uncomplainingly allowing me to sit to the trot for mile after mile, for an old horse he's got quite soft and swingy these days.

So Danni and I worked together on Wednesday and Friday, still staying with transitions, transitions, transitions that have strengthened his quarters no end.

Today he worked nicely but after a brief contretemp about his left shoulder - he worked much better though, after expressing his displeasure at my ideas with a couple of bucks........"I like going to the right with my shoulder to the left........why can't i.....! "

We could then canter an easy almost six metre circle and so I finished with his favourite power trot - actually after twenty five minutes work at canter I was running out of breath and going rapidly puce........and Danni - well he hardly bothered to sweat.

Danni at the end of his session

Monday, 6 April 2009

Lifes little pleasures

As I struggled across the stable yard this evening with Sootty's bale of shavings the softest nicker came from Danni, as i passed his door. Now Danni just loves a clean bale of shavings and spends an ecstatic few minutes squirming on his back in a cloud of pine scented shavings whenever he gets a new bed. True he didn't really need more shavings tonight but who could resist such a polite request? Of course Danni got his shavings bath and enjoyed every minute of it and the resulting fussing from Charles as he painstakingly removed most of the bed that was wedged in his tail! Sootty was quite content to stand quietly on his but at his age the floor is a long way away.

The horses haylage is being delivered in giant round bales now and we've found the easiest way to fill the haynets is to position them on end. It was a shame that the bale lay determinedly on its Charles and I pushed like two industrious ants, rocking and heaving the heavy bale inching a bale of shavings underneath to choc the weight until we reached the point of no return (for the bale that is!) We were so engrossed in our task when we finally upended the bale that we didn't notice the approach of a neighbouring farmer who'd been walking along the public footpath past the gate, but was not firmly striding towards us "You're too late" we joked "Ah" he said "People often ask me how I moved the heavy granite for my barn restoration and i always reply my friend David Brown helped me but I see you prefer to use the wife." and he departed still chuckling to himself on along the footpath.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Lizzie and april

Lizzzie and April this evening were waiting for their tea as usual in their stables - in fact they don't stray too far form their boxes these days. Lizzie and April are carrying Danilons first foals and Lizzie in particular, who is due in May, is HUGE! Fingers and toes crossed for her all who read this as I'd hate anything to happen to the old baggage! And Danilons first foal - what a moment that is going to be

Friday, 3 April 2009


oops! my falt

so where is my polo mint?

Danilon enjoying the sunshine on Wednesday.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Danni on Wednesday

We've had a hectic few days in our B&B but I promise a proper update tomorrow - in the meantime Danilon as to coin a pun the schooling must go on!
Back soon