B Update and Another Jumping Lesson for Neon

B is 1 1/2 weeks into box rest and it seems to be a never ending round of skipping out, feeding etc!

On Friday he was fitted with a pair of Imprint glue on shoes. They are basically really thick plastic heart bar shoes which are very light, flex with the hoof and provide lots of support. The farrier trims the hoof, roughens it a bit and drills a few shallow holes in the wall to help the glue adhere. The shoe gets soaked in near boiling water for 2 minutes to soften it so it moulds to the hoof, then applied with glue and sprayed with liquid nitrogen to make it harden. It stretches part way up the hoof. The glue needs warm temperatures to cure so we had to use a hairdryer to set it.
Next Friday he is having a joint injection of Arthramid Vet – an unlicensed, fairly new treatment of  polyacrylamide hydrogel (PAAG) injection. PAAG was first used in breast implants apparently! It doesn’t break down and seems to work for 2 years or more.
There is some info on its use for arthritis here, if anyone is interested. http://universitetshospitalet.ku.dk/…/2…/hydrogel-injection/

I also splashed out on an Arc Equine which arrived on Friday and he’s had on twice. It’s all costing a fortune so I’m frantically hoping it’ll work!

I was quite depressed that he came out of his stable very stiff today, he seemed stiff behind too 😦  I understand the need for rest for his laminitis, but I’m hoping that once the joint is injected and now he has the special shoes on he can start to get a little bit of exercise.

I took Neon to a RC polework and gymnastic jumping clinic today. We were in the first group, at  9:30 am, which meant getting up at 6 am, when it was still -7 degrees to get the mucking out etc done and leaving at 8 am. The trailer was frozen. Top doors didn’t want to open, wheel clamp was stuck on the tyre…

Neon jumped well but was a bit tense. Whether because it was indoors and a new place, because there was a mare in our group, (he kept trying to introduce himself ,) or whether it was too early and cold, I don’t know, it just came out as grinding his teeth and holding himself a little rigidly.

We did a grid consisting of 3 trotting poles, 2 cross poles on a bounce, then 2 uprights on one stride each. Plus a separate 1 stride double with a pole on the floor between the jumps and a couple of separate uprights on angles. After we’d done some gridwork, they all got put together to make a course. We jumped it at 60cm as one lady didn’t want to go higher. Then the mare and Neon did it again with most of it up at 80cm and a decent spread on the second part of the double. 80cm looks much bigger in a small indoor than it does outside! Funny the last spread looked as big as the 1m jump we did last weekend! There was a canter pole on the floor in the middle of the double, which I found very distracting to the point of making Neon look down at it 🙄 although he still jumped beautifully. 💞 The trainer said Neon was a bit lazy, although he did praise him for being honest, so alas he wasn’t Teacher’s Pet today as he normally is. I’d rather have him than the speedy, flying mare, or the little pretty skewbald that carried his head very high above the bit and was very green though. They were all lovely, but I’ll stick to my steady Spaniard thanks!


The Big 2016 Catchup

I’m restarting this blog as I haven’t updated it since Sept 2015. Much has happened so here is a brief catch up

In late 2015 Stewart and his ex-racehorse Ed came into our lives. Ed is a beautiful bay TB, the same age as Neon, who lives just under White Horse Hill in Uffington. Once a fairly successful racehorse, he still thinks going fast is what proper horses do!

In November 2015 Neon had a mysterious very swollen right hock. He wasn’t lame but it was massive. X-rays showed no damage to the joint, his hocks are his excellent for age, with just the tiniest start of arthritic changes in the right one, but vet said they would be good hocks in a 7 or 8 year old! He had a steroid plus HA injection, some box rest and then returned slowly to work and made a full recovery 🙂

2016 started really well. In February I started teaching B to jump. We did an RC clinic and then had a few lessons with a local freelance lady. I also had some more flatwork lessons with Tom and he started to go well.

Ed came to stay. Neon decided to bully him in the field, but B got on well with him, so Neon ended up on his own. We took Neon and Ed to a really good jumping clinic, where Neon was almost perfect. I also started taking Neon to Stewart’s yard for jumping lessons with Joe MacDonald. Neon’s jumping was fab and we were improving on the flat through lessons with Tom 🙂

Neon started on a course of the Oncept vaccine for his melanomas.

I rode Neon up White Horse Hill with S & Ed. Poor Neon failed to gallop all the way up the hill, let alone keep up with Ed!

In April Neon and I took part in the Liaison Trophy for the RC. Neon jumped a lovely double clear, so I was really pleased, but we didn’t come anywhere as a team.

In May things started to go pear-shaped. First of all was the Uffington Gate of Doom. Bordador went for a ride on White Horse Hill with Ed. Onto the hill is through a hunting gate that won’t stay open. B (not very good with gates) somehow managed to catch his bridle on the gate and lift it clean off its hinges and shot backwards carrying the gate! 😦 Gate finally detached but B span on his hindlegs and we parted company, with me hanging on to his reins for grim death as he towed me on my back across the road. Ouch. Fortunately only grazed and bruised. S rehung the damn gate, we remounted and decided to continue. Ed always gallops up the hill. When he set off B shot off to the left and I nearly fell off again, but we straightened up and galloped 3/4 of the way up before he ran out of steam  – out first intentional gallop.

On May 6th I rode Neon across the bridleways to our polling station- voting in style!

We did a dressage to music clinic, coming away with an Elementary floorplan and all geared up to take the dressage world by storm.

At the end of May we took B & Ed clear round jumping. B’s first (and maybe only) jumping competition. He was green but good jumping clear round cross poles and then a 50cm course.

Then on June 4th Stewart and I went for an evening hack, B rushed through the first (hunting) gate, caught the saddle flap & my leg on it then panic bolted. I don’t remember anything from tacking up to being in hospital much later. (I’m quite glad about this as I expect it was damned scary!) Poor Stewart says post falling off I was repeating questions in a loop and telling him I didn’t need an ambulance. I fractured my pelvis in 3 places and tore muscles. 😦

I was supposed to be taking Neon to a riding camp with Alison & B, but obviously I couldn’t ride so the horses went and Neon was borrowed by other people.

Tom put me in contact with Laura, a former member of the Devil’s Horsemen and a wonderful rider who started exercising the boys for me. B’s flatwork went from strength to strength! Laura took them both to a few dressage competitions and qualified B for championships at Prelim and Elementary and Neon at Medium.

We took Neon to the breed show. Julie jumped in in the SJ class and Stewart rode him in horse & hound. I limped round with Sennen and we came 2nd. The first time we haven’t won and purely down to my lack of mobility.

By August I was starting to ride again. My muscles were tight and sore despite physio, but in October I discovered Feldencrais, which has really helped. Also in October I started jumping Neon again. I slowly regained confidence on B.

Some of Neon’s melanomas have shrunk 🙂

In early November I registered them both with BD. The Range Rover used for towing promptly failed it’s MOT and needed it’s head gasket changing, proving to be a long, tedious job for S only many weekends. In mid November B went lame on his left fore. Initially it was treated as an abscess or bruise. He didn’t come sound but it became intermittent and he was also showing lameness on his right fore. He was reluctant to lift the left leg and sat on his hocks if he had to. Due to Christmas it dragged on. Eventually I took him to the vets for a work up and x-rays. His left knee has bad arthritic changes which may well be dressage career ending 😥 His right fore has laminitis as a result of overloading it. So he is currently on box rest, newly shod with Imprint glue on shoes and about to have a PAAG injection into the joint next week.

Meanwhile I jumped 1m on Neon last week and have started doing a few strides of half-pass in dressage lessons 🙂




The Two Lesson Day

A and I had lessons booked for today, but A’s mum ended up having surgery this week, so A is off looking after her. Rather than cancel one I asked the YO up the road if I could borrow a stable and take both myself.

So I booked pm off work and planned to work from home AM. Huh! Get called into a morning workshop in Swindon, finishing at 12 pm. Lessons at 2 pm 1hr 15 on average to drive home. Tight!

Workshop finished early 🙂 The sun was out and I started to feel smug.  Horses tacked up ahead of schedule, I get on Neon, towing B and head for yard gate. Neon’s having none of it. Ears back he’s bunny hopping and threatening to kick B, who goes sharply into reverse and then tries to regroup on my right hand side when I shout at him. I try and sort them out and in the process drop B’s rope. Go to reposition Neon and B suddenly decides to take off, straight for the wide open road gate. I have no chance! Neon stands on his hindlegs and bounces twice, leaps in the air and sets off flat out in pursuit. Hooves hit road and he skids, goes down and unceremoniously loses me out the side door, but fortunately not from much height, before trotting off up the road.

B is easily recaptured. He wants a polo and is standing on his rope 😏 Neon however trots around evasively until I’ve had to stop a car (it’s fortunately a quiet road) before accepting the proffered polo. I inspect him, trot him up and all is ok except a couple of scrapes on his off hind fetlock. I opt to lead them. A short way up the road B hobbles and I notice he’s minus a shoe 😞 Put him on the verge where he’s sound and happy and continue. Notice I’ve skinned my knuckles 😒Get to yard. The mares all canter over and flirt. B nickers at the nearest coloured mare, looks anxiously at me and does it again. 😄He’s so unlike a stallion!

Phone farrier who promises to call back.

Put Neon in spare stable where he starts creating, stamping, rattling the door and neighing. B and I go to the arena where I loose school him briefly and ascertain he is sound on the surface. :phew:

Tom turns up so I get on B and start warming him up. Good corners, get him accepting the outside rein, do some leg yields. Direct trot/halt/trot transitions. “Give him a canter” says Tom “Then we’ll do some more canter to walk transitions”
“That was the other horse!” I tell him and he shrugs and says “it’ll improve his canter”. So same exercises as Neon, canter, counter flexion, sit back and halt. Canter and repeat. Bordador copes. His transitions get better and better and we almost get a direct canter to walk and walk to canter by the end. (1 stride of trot) Bear in mind this is the horse I couldn’t canter right in the first lesson in early July! His canter became softer and more engaged. We then do some canter leg yields in from the track that he struggles with, but we get there. The trot afterwards felt amazing. 💕

Swapped to Neon. Whilst getting on I recapped his greater experience to Tom. So after a quick warm up. (Keep him in outside rein and push outside shoulder round with knee!) We work on transitions on a circle. Halt, soft, trot. Halt, soft, rein back. If not soft in rein back, keep going back until he gives. Canter! Halt, rein back, canter, halt, trot, halt rein back. Bloody amazing horse I have! 💕Then go large and shoulder in, fixing outside hand so I keep the contact. Tom wants a shoulder in that would score a good mark in a Medium test 😄and eventually when I get him soft and forwards and the angle right, he’s content. So back to canter and now medium canter shoulder in. First few Neon does a flying change, or half a flying change, but then we get the shoulder in first, keep the outside rein and shoulder and then up the gear we get it. A few more simple changes, then finish with soft trot/canter transitions on a circle. God I love that horse I could ride him forever, 💕 even though we were both shattered by the end.

Tom told me he can see muscular improvements in both, but especially “the stallion”. He said he thought B was Neon because he’s changed and improved so much 😃

Slow walk back. Baths for Neon & B who then went out and applied mud packs. Endless sweaty tack cleaning. Fed the boys and tucked them in. Fed dogs, poo picked and finally sank into a bath myself. Shattered!!

Really hoping now that farrier will materialise tomorrow and fix Cinderella’s shoe so he can go to dressage Sunday!

Simple Changes

Lesson on Neon today in the rain.

Told Tom I wanted to get Neon out at Elementary. Told Tom I can’t get simple changes and that it is mostly, I think, due to having tight hip flexors and so struggling to sit deep.

So I warmed up. Tom said trot and leg yield are pretty good 😄
Into canter. Need to ask for some counter flexion and push his shoulder round with outside knee (not lower leg!) When I have shoulder, straighten neck and invite him to take rein forward. Then turn him onto a 10m circle with a little counter flexion, keep shoulder, sit back and halt. Back to canter. Rinse and repeat. When he is sitting and reacting nicely 1/2 10m circle onto centre line, walk and simple change.Then 3 loop serpentine with simple changes. Remember to control outside shoulder and sit back like riding a drop fence. Get the feeling he’s almost cantering backwards before asking.

After doing changes do some trot canter trot transitions and some collected to working or medium canter transitions, with just a few steps of each.

Tom finished by saying we need to do about 100 more simple changes to have them sorted. Neon needs to be fitter, but this work and the transitions within trot and canter will get that. Then we will be ready to go out and do an Elementary. :))

Neon worked hard and was shattered, but gave me a lot of insight into the horse he can be💞 Tom made me feel I could ride that horse  -I love them both! 😊

Sennen wins again

Mum and I plus 4 dogs (Mine , Mum’s and a little Jack Russell who is staying with her) to Merrist Wood for the Iberian Performance Show today. I didn’t take a horse, but offered Sennen for the Horse and Hound and she was employed within seconds of posting on FB 🙂

We partnered a lovely girl on a young Lusitano mare, who jumped fast sand clear. Sennen went round with her usual nonchalant enthusiasm to win easily. Afterwards she greeted, kissed and was stroked by loads of new fans. It’s funny how whilst usually nervy of strangers, after jumping she is all friendly 🙂

prizegiving IPS 2015Also saw a Spanish horse doing a GP music test with Amy Stovald; A John Lassetter clinic which was amazing, if I could only remember all the exercises, things like counter-shoulder in and leg yield, change bend, baby half pass; In hand and long reining demo from a Portuguese judge who was from the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art; A Garrocha display; A show jumping display; Parade class.. all great to watch.

Mostly saddles

Having been told by one saddler that she wouldn’t touch either of my saddles and I’d need new ones and another saddler who couldn’t come out for a while and said B’s saddle could be re-flocked but not otherwise altered I was resigned to buying a new one. Meanwhile I tried Neon’s custom-made El Caballo De España saddle on B and found it nearly fitted him and he went nicely in it. So I bit the bullet and contacted Peter, to have one made for B.

Peter came on Wednesday to template B. He was very impressed with B’s laid back temperament and that he goes out with Neon. Pretty complimentary about him in general really. He also took Neon’s saddle away to be adjusted to re-fit him.

In the afternoon, I had a lesson on B. Tom had as start on the right rein and after some trot warm up including shoulder-in, (the horse that could fell on his shoulder, banana’d and couldn’t canter is now doing medium level schooling exercises!) we went straight to canter transitions – keep him between knees/straight, sit back, one aid with inside leg – canter. Keep him straight, sit up, push into outside rein, trot, repeat. Finally right at the end we repeated on the left rein, which was comparably easy peasy! 🙂 We were both drenched in sweat but happy. Tom promising that after about 2 weeks of practise, B will canter on the first aid, wherever I want. And also said he ever did a bad transition in a test, he Tom would be seriously cross.

Friday they both were lunged over raised trotting poles. Neon was an idiot in canter on the lunge but fab over the poles. B didn’t like the poles but when he couldn’t wriggle out either side trotted, picking his legs up nicely but frequently jumping 2 of the 5 poles  I don’t think he wants to be a jumper. I then mowed the arena until it got dark. The ride-on’s headlights are pretty useless.

Yesterday  I schooled B, getting the first aid right rein canter transitions  and some generally lovely soft work after the canters.  Then, after a rest whilst I poo-picked, put up some small jumps and got Sennen and Bay jumping them, I tacked up Neon. Jumping saddle being the only option I thought jumping was in order. Neon thought this was great fun and jumped enthusiastically, but I cannot see a stride in canter anymore and think I really need a lesson or 2 to get back into it

Today it rained. I went off to a small craft fair in a wonderful 15th century building, Chichele College in Higham Ferrers, where I met the saddler to get Neon’s saddle back. Wonderful lovely proper old master craftsman, he spent ages explaining to me how he’d taken out all the artificial flocking that had been added at some point and totally re done it with proper pure sheeps’ wool. He talked me though the fitting issues he’d addressed, showed me a tree and separate panels to illustrate how things worked, explained the different types of leather on the saddle and their care and how he’d replaced both D rings, not just the missing one. He told me to build up riding in it, like breaking in shoes, whilst the flocking settles. Finally he carried the saddleFinally he carried the saddle to my car. Talk about service!

Alison didn’t come and ride as she didn’t feel good. So when it finally stopped raining I tried the saddle on Neon and it now doesn’t lift or move at all We had a short schooling session, saddle feels great to me. Neon went well, but he does generally :-). Talk about service! 🙂

Alison also didn’t come and ride as she didn’t feel good. So when it finally stopped raining I tried the saddle on Neon and it now doesn’t lift or move at all We had a short schooling session, saddle feels great to me. Neon went well, but he does generally.

Stubble Fields – The Spanish Way

One of our nearest bridleways goes through crop fields that are now stubble, but as they are ploughing within days of getting the straw off, I thought I’d best seize the day if I wanted to make use of it.

So I took Neon out this afternoon, down the road and back along the bridleway. He was polite and good, even when a pheasant flew up under his nose, he just did one jump and a snort.

First field we trotted as it’s only a short bit, then we cantered two long fields. The ground is lovely after the recent heavy rain, soft and bouncy but not deep.

I would have been up for a gallop, but, although Neon was very keen to canter, sprang off the second I suggested it and clearly loved it, he seems to have totally forgotten that the gallop gear exists! Kicking on just got a medium canter. 🙂 I think I last went out for a real proper deliberate gallop before moving to Scotland. May have even been in 2011!!  Our part of Scotland was just too wet to find any decent ground locally even in the middle of summer, although Julie’s daughter did gallop him round a newly cut hay field when my shoulder was knackered in May/June 2014.

Anyway today we both had a fab time, he exuded enjoyment as we pinged along in the sunshine and he was a very proud and happy Spanish boy as we walked back through the woods and along the road home.

I really love that horse!