Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Very Horsey Day

Something weird is going on with Blogger, but I'll battle on. Sorry if this post ends up looking disorganised.

I had a super day today. I went out to the Butcher horse paradise and today was farrier day. There were three farriers working for several hours trimming hooves and hot shoeing. Johnny has decided that horses have stinky feet. I'm not so sure about that! I guess they do walk in some pretty nasty stuff, including their own poo, and the hot shoeing does involve lots of singed hoof and smoke. I know most people wouldn't think much of ferrying horses back and forward, and filling troughs, but it was my idea of heaven. I was sent off to use my horse whispering skills on Dolly, who belongs to the neighbour, and is apparently a real "bitch" of a mare and hates being caught. Armed with a bucket of food and a halter I was sent forth by Emily. I used my usual strategy, which always seems to work, and had her caught within about a minute. I think it was mostly the bucket of food, but she was so good for me and even snickered at me later on when I appeared. Dolly had her hooves trimmed and was then taken to the diet paddock because she is obese. She never gets ridden and was bought as a pet, but her nature is apparently not pet-like at all. I thought she was quite sweet once I got her settled. I guess she needs lots of cuddles and handling. Unfortunately she runs away from her owner.

The most exciting part of my day was my first Zanny ride. Viv took her for a spin first because she hadn't been ridden for ages. She does have a head flapping habit that is a bit disconcerting for someone who was thrown off by Sam (who was doing the same thing first). But we got along just fine. Viv took me on the lead rein first, then the lunge, and then, once I'd got trotting, on my own. It was great fun, even though it was a bit scary because of the head. She is very responsive, requiring the softest aids (instructions given with the body)and very gentle hands. I loved her trot which was very smooth, although I had to watch her speed and slow my rising to slow her. Viv didn't have any advice about my position, and said I looked great. Emily was pleased too. Yay! A bit of sad news though. Zanny was thought to be pregnant, but we took her over for a scan after my ride, and she unfortunately isn't now. Maybe she was and reabsorbed the foal. We'll never know. Anyway, she is being raced over to the West Coast for another date with her husband because apparently her follicles indicate that tomorrow is the day for action. Hopefully I'll get lots of rides in over the holidays. Viv says a few more rides and I can come and ride her independently.
The vegetable garden is busy growing well, although my lettuces look positively puny compared to the huge iceberg lettuces growing in pure rotted horse poo that I saw today. I seem to grow great onions here. These are my biggest yet.

The Three Sisters (plus weeds and single spud) garden is racing skyward, and there's already a pumpkin forming. I have to remind some of the beans where they should be going.

The tomatoes in the greenhouse are merrily forming fruit. They should be ripe soon.

Raspberries! It is worth having a jungle of raspberry bushes in the corner to be able to pick bowls like this.

Miss Dog! Stop eating my raspberries!

My dear Monty, I miss you so much. Gertrude Jekyll is planted on your grave. She is utterly beautiful and a fitting tribute to the sweetest boy ever.

I've only got one delphinium and it looks gorgeous at the moment. New Year's resolution- get more delphiniums.

And finally, Johnny found these very cool snowflake cutouts. Starwars snowflakes!

Poor Johnny just fell of his bike and has a grazed knee. He is having a great time with his bike and now he has the wound to prove it. I think I'll be getting a new bike soon so that we can go on adventures together. Shame it isn't a horse, but Zanny seems to like me, and lucky for me Viv and Emily are very happy to share her with me.

Very frustrating blogging today, but I think this post is ok. I hope the changes to the blog post writing template are not permanent because I will not be pleased.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Two wheels to Hell

Today we biked 14km. Yes, 14km. All the way to Lincoln, then a wee explore, then home again. I thought about horses all the way. I need to be fit to keep progressing with my riding. I actually didn't find it too hard, but had a bit of trouble afterwards because I had a massive mood swing down, which reminded me of the bad old times before my new medication. It took a long time, and rather a lot of tea and a decent feed to recover. In fact it took several hours before I was back to normal. Weird, so I guess I overdid it for the first bike ride of the holidays. Luckily I'm bright eyed and bushy tailed now. Usually I feel all alive and joyous after exercise. Not half dead.

Johnny extended the desk in my workroom today. I'm very pleased indeed because I've got a bigger surface to do my sewing on. I must take a photo to show you. I'm going to get some pretty oilcloth to go on the top. I'd love some Cath Kidston oilcloth! Floral or spots, of course. I'm working on a project that I can't show you. Jasper is helping. Well, supervising in between snacks.

We've still got presents to buy. Sigh. I feel like I've been working on Christmas for months. Maybe everyone will get a voucher next year.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Made it!

School broke up yesterday. It has been a long, long school year. We've been through so much. Earthquakes, snow, a very sick principal, exhaustion etc etc. My class has come so far. I'm so proud of them, particularly those that have learned so much about managing their own behaviour. Today, apart from my date with the gorgeous Navarro, I basically blobbed.
As you can see, Navarro was in a good mood. Me too.

I was a bit nervous because I hadn't ridden in two weeks. Navarro is a youngster and has a few tricks up his sleeve. He has been trying it on with the beginners by taking them where he wants to go, including rubbing them up against the fence. We had a bit of a steering negotiation initially, and once he realised that I was in fact in control, he settled into his work. I still had to stay vigilant and really ride him well. These holidays are going to be a time for me to work on my fitness, because I really need to have much more stamina when riding. It is not particularly helpful getting all floppy and weak once cantering work begins. Today he shied a little at canter and I tipped forward, which was a bit mad at speed. It made me laugh, actually. Thank goodness for the body protector.

Tomorrow I've got plenty of work to do in my craft room, plus we plan to bike to Lincoln for our exercise. My arse is challenging Navarro's in size - thank goodness it isn't spotty like his!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Nearly there

We are so close to the end of the school year. As you can probably tell by my lack of posts, I've been very tired, so thank you for bearing with me. We finish at lunchtime on Friday, then have a yummy lunch and Secret Santa etc. Looking forward to driving out of the school gate for the last time this year after that.

I rode last weekend, and had a brilliant time on Mr Spotty Bum, Navarro. I worked on getting him to flex correctly, and did lots of steering practise, because he hasn't done much arena schooling or dressage work, and is rather stiff. Most of our work was at a trot, but we did one brilliant big canter circle, which Celine was very pleased with because I got him to go on the correct leg on the first try, which is tricky for him. I couldn't ride this week because the Christmas Cracker Showjumping Competition was on, and the Scarlett Oak team was competing. No trot pole event, so I was excluded.

Actually it was probably for the best that I didn't ride because it has been horribly windy. Yesterday I managed a good ransack in the garden. It has got a bit out of control, partly due to busyness and partly because of my back. No excuse now, as my back is better. Today I had to triple-peg the washing. We had brunch at Thyme Cafe and in the afternoon I worked on a Christmas present in my workroom. It was lovely to get back in there, and now I'm even more excited about the holidays.

Wish me luck for the last week of term. I hope our Christmas concert item goes to plan, and we don't have a shamefully embarrassing display in front of the parents. Anything is possible.