Monday, November 27, 2017

Oh Humble Pie (Warning has a picture of my ass)

How nice to meet you again. It's funny how even at my great age I make stupid mistakes that end in accidents. Firstly, China doesn't really buck so you never really expect that. So thunder started rumbling and I was in a rush to get him worked because I have a clinic tomorrow. So I was like I'll rush over and get it done. So 1. I was rushing him. 2. Giant storm brewing. 3. I went to jump of him off the mounting block and he walked off which is pretty normal, but I duffed my vault and landed at the back of the saddle with no reins and no stirrups and gave him a fright. So I really was asking for it.

He took off I couldn't get my reins and then he did two big bucks and buried me on the gravel. I flew through the air like a very flightless bird. It was like extra strong gravity or something. Anyway, grazed arm, skinned knees and a big old haematoma on my thigh, sticks out a few inches even. Its a doozey. And it was all my fault. Got back on after he ran around for 10 minutes and finally let me catch him. Better this time but such a tense horse and then went and did some very tense flatwork for 15 minutes before it started to rain just huge drops and then there was a giant thunder rumble and I was like yea we can go home now. I actually led him back to the stable and as we went it just unleashed a torrential downpour. Gear off cover on and back in the paddock, though I'm planning to go back out and ride him tonight. Sigh I feel a bit chicken now.

Mums dog hiding from the storm

And that is my second ever fall off of China. Hes just a bit of douche.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Still here and still kicking

I think its been a year since I last blogged?? Which is long. And what a year? Oh man. What a year. I don't think I've ever learned as much about myself as I have this year. And to celebrate my finding of all this strength I designed and got a large phoenix tattoo on my leg, as I reminder that I have unbelievable resilience. So lets ignore the negatives, and lets focus on the positives.

I got into vet school!!!

Which is totally epic and amazing but honestly like you work so hard just to get in and then you get in and its honestly quite hard. But so so amazing. It's a nice feeling to be exactly where you are meant to be in life.

I still have Chinaman, formerly shown as Fried Rice, but now Shanghai. Which is better. He continues to be one of the most complicated horses I have ever worked with but is really starting to operate over a fence. Hes difficult in the mouth and just recently we tried maybe twenty bits and the one he strongly disliked on the flat he actually jumped well in. You have to bit him really softly and accept you have less control for him to then allow you some control. A shadow roll and no flash helps. Hes jumping 1m again and I'm looking to move him up in the next month or so if I get brave enough.

Hes rocking a sweet roached mane now and I honestly love him even if he very much suits the moniker of wanker. He is however a terrible traveller and getting worse now he is having to travel by himself. It turns out he had an accident once so it makes sense he doesn't travel well but it certainly makes life hard ans anxious. I'm going to try him without the partition to see if the extra freedom makes him happier. I just want a solution for the dude so we can go further afield. 

I'm on my summer holidays at the moment. and I'm hoping to get lets of riding in and have a long hot summer like when I was a kid with lots of adventures and recover from year one of five in vet school.
Hope everyone is well xxx

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Didn't Wanna

I've been having a pig of a time to be honest. Very slowly getting depressed again and just generally struggling with life. Massive shout out to the significant other who has been a rock and a safe place and everything I could have needed. So what's been happening? A lot of stuff. I had a really cool job working at the vets for three months as a large animal technician


That's a very cute sedated highland calf I had just debudded so it wouldn't grow horns. It's been amazing and a huge and exciting learning curve, working with an absolutely incredible group of people and as a result I'm heading to vet school at the end of feb. Whether this means I sell China I'm not sure yet.

China has been an absolute donkey at times. He's been rushing his fences something wicked and I would have used probably twenty different bits and five different bridle set ups, trying all sorts of things. The problem isn't in the bridle though it's in his head and not much was holding him when he decided to go. It was frustrating that for months I just couldn't get through to him. I've never felt so stuck with a horse before. 


Sweaty dripping mess cross country schooling.  I took him to feilding show and he was an absolute nightmare. Leaping and reeding and just basically unrideable. I was definitely that girl at the show that probably shouldn't be there. The whole thing was pretty heart breaking. And completely demoralising. The very next day he jumped at a local event and did a beautiful double clear in The eighty cm class and just two cheap rails in the 90cm class. I didn't warm him up over fences at all though because that' starts the wind up.

 Then I went to have a lessons and he was mad again. Thank goodness my trainer whose been injured has been feeling good again because she was like give him to me to ride. And in literally two rides reset him into the horse I thought he was. He relaxed and dropped the rushing and started to jump in some shape again. And basically all it came down to was that I needed to keep more contact and more connection to help him feel secure and not give him the room to start winding up. I'm
Softening too much at the base and panicking him by unbalancing him instead of keeping the contact and a smooth following hand. 

In the mean time I've been having lots of adventures with him to make him a more versatile little guy and to get him travelling. I'm hoping this helps when we go back to a show because maybe it will all unravel there again.



Still he's
Worth persevering with, he's super nice. When he's nice, though when he's horrible he's super awful. Lesson tomorrow I'll try get some video 


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

just all the things

It's been a hell of a month to be honest, this is gonna be a long post. I have plugged away at the plan and have had some really interesting outcomes. Firstly the treatment for ulcers led to a much more relaxed horse. Still a goon to ride but heaps happier in the yards and paddock. Less flinchy and angry. So that was positive.

Under saddle the disputes are on going. He's lovely to flat school, but as soon as jumps come out he's a monster. You know how as you go through life you sort of develop rules you live by that suit yourself. And you're happy with those guidelines and ethically they work for you? Well China man has managed to destroy all of them. We have been on a reboot strategy and it started with one of my super solid never to be broken rules. Don't jump in draw reins. 

It works. That's the pig of it. My trainer was like just try it because you're at a point of having nothing to lose. They are run up inside his martingale to prevent hooking a front leg and they are long. Just an outside boundary to help explain to him there's another way. He throws his head up and runs and as soon as he does that, mentally he's gone. And it's the same trick he pulled on the track. So basically he hits the draw reins when he throws his head and it's easier for him to just soften and not rush. I honestly both hated it and was terrified but it made a huge change in his ride ability and the. His jump improved because he was keeping his relaxation. It's nothing over two foot and it's only at home under trainer supervision (very strict!) and honestly if it works to create a new dialogue and makes it easier for him to get that there's an easier way then we will keep at it. I know it's probably a bit of a shortcut but it really made a huge difference. Instead of fighting me he's fighting himself more. 

That monstrous looking contraption is a mikmar combination bit. It goes against my other rules of using simple bits (preferably snaffles) until competing at higher levels that require more finesse. This is his current show bridle and he can't work it out. It spreads the contact to different parts of his face and to be honest the second rein which is on the rope is mostly very very lose. I jumped him in the 90cm at foxton in it and he was like a very different very rideable horse. Though I literally can't use any leg on him in front of a fence and just sit there quiet as a little mouse. But he stayed soft and rideable and that in itself was an absolute miracle on the back of the rounds we have been having. It's not forever, it's just for now to help reset him.

But then because all of the blog horses get injured he managed to get tangled in his rope the morning of a show and threw himself not once but twice. So now he's a very sore hip and stifle China missing all the lovely local shows. Oh horse. Mentally he takes a huge toll out of me. Though someone told me all the Chinese Dragon offspring should just be shot so at least he's better than that. He's coming  right with rest. It's just we were finally making great progress and then splut here we are. If I really pushed he probably would have been ok for this weekend but it's not worth it. I have time he's only six. It was definitely huge to have him so rideable at a show and have him turn up and play the game. Horses. 

It's still paradise on a warm Spring evening. 





Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Scrap the plan, the plan sucks.

Actually maybe the plan doesn't suck. But this weekend I've learnt a lot about my horse. I think. Parts of the plan are good. I have in my car ulcer treatments to start tomorrow, though horse is currently sans two shoes, which should be sorted tomorrow. I spoke to my vet and while he's missing the classic signs of ulcers ( which is picky eating, though China would need his head removed to stop him eating) we discussed the ramped up cribbing, the girthiness and the just unhappy angriness I'm getting from him. It could be another source of pain also so if a week of treatment doesn't help well try a few days on bute. 

My trainer was saying a lot of the horses coming to the arena are pretty Spring mad, and I know from the trouble with magnesium staggers at work that the grass is very low on mag. But he is getting plenty of this. I might try a toxin binder but there's already one in his feed and I don't like to throw on too much in the way of additives.

The riding part of the plan sucks. I have a new riding plan. China was a shambles at the XC open day. Luckily, I was late and my group went out without me which left me free to play on my own. He wouldn't have coped with the hurry up and wait of group work. He started running really hard at fences so we went back to the trot.

This helped him to settle and the Dutch gag have me a little control but not too much. My sister was there which was good and she was like huh this is terrible ( this is a massive oversimplification) and she could see that the trust was gone between as. We were all out of sync. She was just like I think you just need to jump until he settles and get to the bottom of him. Which was a great plan. We started trotting in. We could then canter I'm as long as we were heading away from the gate and would still charge the fence down in that direction. So we went round and round over various up to two foot fences. He was cute at the tiny bank because he couldn't figure out how to get down. 

Defensive grabby elbows! Yuk! And we jumped and jumped and jumped. He was certainly super brave and looked at nothing including the little trakhener. Eventually we got to the point where he had settled enough to drop to the trot of his own accord in front of the fences he was so relaxed. I made no effort to place him, just let him bumble over if the distance was bad. I even walked over some fences at the start when he was so diabolical. 

Yep that's how sweaty he got. And that foamy sweat on the neck and shoulder is normally stress. I would have cantered and jumped nearly solidly for more than twenty minutes and it worked. We started to feel less disconnected and more in sync. I started to trust more and he started to soften and not run and sort of break the cycle. I'm not super sure what's led to all this but I can see some very small jumping classes that I trot in our future until we are a team again. I just hope I can get him back to where we were. It's pretty humiliating to spend the whole day jumping tiny fences on a clearly unhappy horse while everyone else is cruising around over bigger stuff. Until I get these basics right this is my life. He's got to learn that there is a soft easy way and I have to show him that with out trying to be forceful and overly bossy because it gives him something to argue against and he likes that. I need to work around the problem. Had a good jump school on Monday. Starting to see a little glimmer of hope.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Post pity party: progress plan

Right so I've had a little time now to process things and calm down. Definitely ordered the thoughts a little and backed away from the failure cliff edge. I know in every horse/rider relationship the honeymoon period ends and the real work on forming a partnerships starts. I still believe it takes more than a year to form a true partnership.

It's spring and the grass is bolting from the ground, full of sugar and protein and virtually no magnesium which makes for savagely hot spooky horses that are slightly unreasonable. Thus the first prong of the attack is to axe his calories. I've cut the oil, the muscle and shine and halved his low GI. I'd put him on a sugar free beer pulp as well but I have a whole drum of the sugared version and I'm poor. He's also getting double the magnesium and salt.

Prong two is try different things until you find something that works better in terms of the bitting situation. If I have more control I will be more relaxed and then he will be more relaxed. He is definitely feeding off of my tension. Creating a fun fun fun tension spiral. I get tight, he runs, I fight, he runs more.

I used draw reins for my pole work tonight. I know they tend to polarise horse people but to me they are just a tool I use to set the outer limits. It really helped too.


I have a neat video of the improvement too but of course blogger and my phone remain at media logger heads. 

I wouldn't usually use a martingale with draw reins but I had a little jump afterwards minus the draws of course. Which was a horribly mixed bag. At one point he went to run out and we ended up hitting a wing stand. Which was good because he's not sure how I made the wing get him but he wasn't interested in running out after that. He did settle eventually and do some lovely jumps. I'll get there.

The plan going forward is to have a play at the XC open day this weekend and just jump what I'm comfortable with and can do relaxed and then hack for the early part of the week before maybe having a jumping lesson. 

Exciting stuff. So tomorrow I finish work late so I'll just have a play with some bits and make sure I have something that will work XC.

Prong three is to treat for ulcers seeing as he has been quite obsessive about wind sucking lately, and quite sensitive through his girth. Worth a try anyway. So between these three things I think we can get it sorted.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Just shoot me now

I'm not sure where I've fucked up here but I really have. Though to be fair we can now canter through the poles and then go back and then trot them. I'm nt sure how I've got from jumping 3 ft courses easily back to trotting poles. And the more poles I trot the more scared j am to jump. Bollocksy bollocksy bollocks. I give up. Until tomorrow anyway.