It’s safe to say the horses’ are feeling their teeth are back to normal as all are eating happily (phew as I always worry and did spend a good few days and nights going greyer), so good in fact Aria decided to try her knashers out on me! I stupidly decided to give each horse a treat in the field- Autumn took it gently as always, Bob gobbled his, then came Aria – she took it very gently then in an instant before I could move my hand, chomped down and got the side of my hand in a hard bite – cue instant swelling, blood blisters and a bloody rash under the skin – the ungrateful moo (other words were also inserted here as I winced from the pain). It is very safe to say she is not in my good books after that antic! To top it off I had just gone out and bought her a 100g turnout alongside a new (purple) rug for Autumn too, they really know how to thank us sometimes ay!
Well at least I can say Bob has been good, we have been practising the 4 leaf clover exercise with poles on the floor, and I have also tried a few scatter pole exercises too to get him switching on. He is becoming much more responsive, and even when he has his moments of getting distracted or a bit hyper, he now comes back a lot easier! It can still take about 5 mins to get him to focus on another exercise, or lots of circles/figures of eight, but when I do get him back he completely settles and refocuses on what we were doing. I’m really pleased with his progress and my instructor said she can see the difference in him and that I’m keeping up the hard work (always nice getting a bit of praise)! In this weeks exercise we did one that I had previously tried with him as poles on the floor, but this time it went from poles to cross poles then straight bars. It was a Z design with some markers at opposite ends of the arena to also circle round, we would pop one of the end fences then circle towards the outside of the arena, pop the middle fence, then circle again and over the other fence. It was all about him not knowing where he was going to next so he had to listen and concentrate. It is one of the first times since restarting jumping him, that I approached the first fence with no fear or worried thoughts at all, as odd as it sounds. Even when the fences increased in height, and I watched them go up (not always a good idea) – I just thought oh the fence has gone up, then round we went to it and over we popped!
We are starting to build a few fences into one exercise so we can gradually build him up to a course, and although he gets a bit excited he does now come back between fences – I even had him go from a big stride canter to a calm trot up to one of the straight bars! May seem minimal but what a change in him it is! I have also managed to sit all jumps, even when he clears the wings unintentionally so in a way I’m glad as I know even as the height progresses I should be able to sit his huge jumps! My instructor even said about how well I sat them and a lot of people would have been jumped off – guess I’m just used to his catapulting and regaining my nickname from when I was a child of superglue!
We have had news about the stable planning and I’m pleased to say its all been approved and we have the company to build it booked in for a couple of weeks! This is such a relief as I really wanted the stable built before the worst of the weather set in! Now we just need to clear the area of the old fencing and a cattle grid which is where the stable is being situated. I know the other half is looking forward to playing with his angle grinder! Luckily we have 2 spare weekends to work on the new stable area as we did the fencing in the winter paddock before my lesson on Sunday so we can move the horses over and the weekend before did the harrowing, muck spreading and seeding in one of the summer paddocks. It’s a bit of a learning curve for us as at the previous yard aside from pulling up weeds we didn’t have to do much pasture management, so I’ve dug out my old degree folder and started researching the best ways of helping the field to recover and grow a good yield of grass! We eventually got the rain we needed a few days after sowing the seeds, only problem is it hasn’t stopped since! I have also spotted the moorhens having a party with some friends and scoffing the seeds in the evenings so have a feeling we may have to over-seed again in spring! One good thing from the rain though is I can see the tracks from the wildlife that come into the fields overnight – one morning I found fox and badger tracks which was quite cool; Ive also noticed the birds of prey taking more interest as I accidentally scared a kestrel that was nearby in the long grass and came close to a barn owl sitting on our fence which was very unexpected as in the light of my head torch the eyes looked like a deer!
Will be interesting to see what more wildlife pops up as the evenings draw in!