Thursday, 22 June 2017

Ronald fitness plan

So guys, I don't know if you're aware, but Ron is fat.
Le gasp!
I know, I see you recoiling in horror, but it's true, pony is not just a little bit fat he's ever so very roundly fat. He's fat.
But I have a plan ok?! We're currently in the process of connecting the electric fencing in the field up to mains rather than battery so I'll have stronger fencing to keep him in meaning I will be more able to restrict his grazing, he's wearing a grazing muzzle (insert sad pony face here) and we're upping the ante with his work.
He's recently had quite a drastic change in the state of his feet (TLDR: They looked shitty, I've changed farrier and started supplements accordingly and they're on the road to looking like nice strong feet again) which means I'm feeling more comfortable with asking him to walk over footing that would have been very on the ouchy side before so can explore a little more on our hacks! We've had a heat wave here recently meaning it's been super hot right into the evenings to the point that it wasn't fair to expect him to work (I know most of my readers are American's and it gets much hotter there but for us Brits it was super hot and he's just not accustomed to that) but although I'm working more hours than usual over the next couple of weeks there is no reason (weather permitting) that I shouldn't be able to work him at least 4 times a week and I'm going to make it count! Lots more trotting and hill work, we're going to work off that poundage!

Last week Beth came up and we had a schooling session on the ponies together which, I'm not going to lie, was less about serious dressage schooling and more about just fitness work and having fun, because it's been actual years since we've schooled together. We did put most of the focus on transitions and most of the ride was in trot with a fair bit of canter work so although no big schooling breakthroughs happened it was good cardio work for the boys!

The day after (I don't remember specifics this is all I can give you) Ron had a hack which again involved a couple of good canters, he was super good and is starting to pick up the pace slightly (and I do mean ever so slightly) whilst out and about.
This picture isn't from that hack and I can't remember if I've used it already but meh, media!

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Double lesson day

I did a potentially awkward thing when I not only booked a lesson at the riding school and a lesson with Sam not only on the same day, but with only 45 minutes between the end of one and the start of the next. Alas, that was how the scheduling worked so the only option was to make it work. So make it work I did!
I started out at the riding school and this time I was assigned Samuel (not Sam ok? His name is Samuel, got it? Also, anyone with a super good memory may recall my Pa riding Samuel in our fathers day lesson last year!) who I was informed was trained up to medium dressage before he came to the riding school which was super exciting but also lol don't expect me to do that bc can't. Instructor started the lesson by reminding us of the dressage scales of training, pointing out that to successfully move up the levels you need to have solidified the one below. Then we were sent off to warm up our mounts (Beth was on Jack who was suuupper pretty) and assess where their current way of going. After that, basically the idea was to ride in a way that got us further up the scale to where the horses were capable of being. It was a super lesson, one of the main focusses for me was KEEP YOUR SHOULDERS BACK AND SIT UP. Isn't it always? One day maybe I'll give it a shot. Probs not tho.

Then we scootled on home and Beth helped me get Sunny all groomed and tacked up just in time for Sam's arrival. The focus of Sunny's lesson was our old nemesis; left bend. We can now achieve incredible suppleness in walk, walk is really not an issue at all he will bend both ways as soon as you ask him super softly. Trot on the other hand. We still prefer to bend right. Even if we're going left, not a problem, we are perfectly capable of dropping the inside shoulder and looking out don't worry! We did make some headway in the end but it's definitely something we need to keep working on, I'll be the first to admit his schooling has taken a hit in recent months. I've not ridden him as much as I would have been last spring and when I have I've generally had the opportunity to hack which obviously I am unlikely to pass up because I love hacking, but I will do my best to crack back on with it, I'd forgotten just how much fun he is when he's being super fancy and pretty.


Saturday, 10 June 2017

Up and coming rider

t's always amazing to see a new rider just getting into the sport and being able to see straight off the bat that they have a level of natural talent and ability that we rarely see in such a raw form. I was able to experience this feeling this week...
Ha! Seriously tho, how cute is Beth's puppy?! He came up with her on Wednesday afternoon and we managed to work both boys. First I hacked Sunny while Beth and Yugi (the puppy) came along with us. When we got up to the top farm L was tacking up her pony so we waited and had a chat with her mum then she joined us on our little hack. We hacked around one of the fields and then back home. One we got back to mine L and Ted waited while I put Sunny back out and Beth got Ron tacked up, then Ron and L hacked back up to L's house and through the field, going for a couple of fun little canters in the field. Beth then had a little scoot around in the menage because L's mum was walking the dogs and the calf on the lane and the calf kept running at Ron. Once the calf was back in line we tootled back on home.

I'm just so attractive...

Saturday, 3 June 2017

More firsts for Ronald

Always fun when you sit down to write a blog and realise it's been almost a week since you rode your horse. Oopsie! In all fairness, I've been busy this week and when I have time to ride I'm generally giving more time to Ron since he's v overweight and needs more training. Sunny is pretty chill if I get on after 2 days or 2 weeks so he's enjoying life with the occasional ride.
Friday afternoon I decided to take Mr Ron out for another hack. At the minute I think he needs the kind of fitness that I'm more easily able to do on a hack than schooling so he is mostly hacking. Beth has schooled him recently though so he's not just a hacking pony, however he is a very good hacking pony.
His version of spooking is basically to stand still while he takes stock of the situation, which is very much a manageable spook. I just let him stand a minute, ask him to move on then reward any steps forward, rinse and repeat as many times as required. We were out for about an hour and had a very enjoyable time. We had a couple of canters in the big field behind the woods, including one where he side stepped to avoid a little pothole and I decided not to go with him and slipped off the side. He was super good and just stood looking at me as if questioning why I would stop in the middle of fun canteringness. Falling off on a hack has always been one of my biggest fears so the fact that I not only survived it but also laughed as it happened feels very good! I got back on after and had another canter to prove to him that I won't always ditch him mid canter and then we tootled on slowly home.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Musical ponies

Like musical chairs, but with ponies. Lots of laugh have occurred today but also everyone has done some work! This morning I made the ponies a smaller paddock so they could move out of the one they were in which had no grass without going into the huge field again. They were very happy and started munching immediately.
Then after lunch it was work time for the boys. Ron came in first and after he was all fancied up he had a little schooling session and I had my first canter with him! He's sooo so comfy and super willing about it.

Then, because the whole thing only lasted 15 minutes max, we got Sunny in and groomed up at which point V arrived home and off we went for a hack, me on Sunny, her on Ron.
When we got up to the top farm L was just finishing up a schooling session on her pony Tommy and decided to come hack with us to cool him down. We headed into the field and because Tommy has little legs they got quite left behind (a friend 'G' came with us and walked with her because she is also little lol). We got to a point where Tommy couldn't see the horses then took Ron and Sunny for another short canter down the side of the field (out of view because we didn't want Tommy to get all het up) then headed back to meet them for the walk back. L asked if she could have a go on Sunny so she jumped off Tommy, G jumped on him and I led Sunny with L on him back to her house (just back out of the field).
Got back to L's house and dropped her and Tommy off, then G popped up onto Sunny for the journey home. He was brilliant for her, spooked once at a pheasant that jumped up from the grass but then just went back to walking home like a donkey. They both got lots of snuggles when they got home, Ron was hosed off then they went back to their new paddock.
Wonald's new friend!

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Much Hacking

Early last week Ronald and I went on a solo hack and I realise I did not post about that so I am going to talk about it and another hack in this post because it was brill. We went out for about half an hour and met the manatoo 3 times, 1 tractor, 3 cars (one of which was someone I know who stopped for a chat so he practiced standing and waiting) a herd of very curious cows and a pheasant that flew at us. He had very little reaction to any of it, a slight jump to the side at the pheasant before carrying on walking and side eyes for the cows but other than that he was 100% chill with everything.

Then Wednesday this week Beth and I took both of the boys for a hack on which Ron promptly took the lead and soldiered on, showing Sunny how to be a good hacking pony boy! He showed a small moment of apprehension at a couple of things but was easily soothed and moved on. We went through the top farm into one of the bigger fields and decided, while we had a lead pony (Sunny had realised we were heading towards home so was happy to go in front) and a nice space without corners, that we would try out his first canter. I popped Sunny up into a canter and Ron, after doing a massive extended trot for a few strides, popped into a beautiful balanced canter that was super cute! He'll be getting some more work tomorrow, he's moved into a smaller paddock to start his diet so plenty of exercise should help get him in proper working shape!

Friday, 19 May 2017

Introduction to grown up ponydom

We're going to ignore the fact that I haven't posted for almost 2 weeks k? K. Lets move on!
It was lesson day today! Even up until last night I hadn't decided who I was going to ride, but the lesson was at half 8 today so when I woke up at 10 past it promptly became Ron's turn! (Sunny takes a long time to get ready ;) )
That's the story of how Ronpony was prepared for his first lesson under saddle!
He. Was. So. Good! Sam was so impressed with him and kept saying what a cool pony he is. We did lots and lots of trot work that got little man puffing! The other main focus of the lesson was transitions, making sure I rode them properly with my seat rather than my hands and he responded super well (so well in fact that I was almost halted out of the saddle at one point lol!). I honestly can't get over how much fun this pony is, he's awesome!