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Thank god we’re finally out of the winter, and happily enjoying some sunshine. It has been a horrible time for the world, but people have been pulling together in a beautiful way. The horse world has been devastated to face losing a large amount of the show season, but on the bright side it gives us all a chance to breathe, and just enjoy our horses, with no pressure.
Rosie continued to enjoy her hacking and be a good influence on the other horses. She worked really hard at her pole work and on the flat. We started to put more emphasis on the canter once the basics were a little bit stronger, and she did really well. She continued to do the Little Bentley challenges, they were not always ideal for her, but gave her something interesting to concentrate on! She started to work harder on the flat, and understand her job. We sent her home with a lot of exercises that we had been doing to improve her bend through her ribcage, and her rhythm. Her little jockey has a lot of isolation homework!
Cash continued to hack like a dream (except on Mondays when he’s always rather fresh). He enjoyed a few more canter hacks and more exciting rides! He also relished his pole work and jump exercises, finding nearly everything we chucked at him easy. He put a massive smile on our faces every time we jumped him, he is so talented and flew every time. He also worked so hard on his flatwork, doing lots of lateral work, including canter leg yields which he started to get rather good at! We finally found an exercise to challenge him which was a fan of trot poles, he found staying on a relatively small circle pretty tricky, but he worked so hard. His last day saw another Little Bentley challenge which he obviously absolutely nailed, as well as a play over some bigger fences. It was so hard to wave him off, but he’s going to have an amazing summer in Spain with his mum!
Boston carried on having lots of fun out hacking, feeling a lot more chilled. He started to enjoy some faster paced hacks once he was a bit fitter! He started becoming a bit more complacent and relaxed about poles during his pole work sessions. We also started to hack him alone a bit more as he can be a bit of a wuss and needs to be able to hack alone before he goes back to his owner. We started some filler work with him, and it’s a testament to how far this horse has come that he jumped them first time, and managed some tricky jumping exercises in addition. He really started to ping his jumps and we are really looking forward to getting him out once the current situation has eased. He did then go through a bit of a gobby stage, he was feeling well and started to get a bit strong in the hand. We did a lot of transition work with him to get him to concentrate and stay engaged throughout his body rather than leaning on the forehand. It definitely worked, he has improved massively on the flat since his little blip! He has finally achieved self-carriage – a massive achievement for such a big horse whose early training allowed him to become very heavy in the hand, something we have worked hard to counteract. We started working on his mediums and collection. He went home, and has had some amazing hacking with his mum, who has grown in confidence so much!
Kahula (Lula) arrived for restarting. We immediately started with some work in hand on listening to body language and not invading personal space. The second day she had a walk out in her bridle and worked on not racing us! We also practiced picking her feet using positive reinforcement when she relaxed enough to allow her legs to be stroked. Lula was a fast learner, the following day she allowed all her feet to be picked out, and had her saddle on to be long reined from. It was soon time to have a rider on; although she was a little worried, she was really good and walked home almost entirely on rider cues. We also picked up her feet and ran a rasp over them; she was so chilled after just five days of working on this! The next step was having a saddle on with a rider, and she was again really well behaved. She started having Cavallo Hoof Boots on to protect her feet, which was amazing considering a week before you couldn’t pick her feet up. The next day she had a big girl hack with another horse and had her first trot too. We worked on give and take as she was a little strong and mouthy on the way home. The next day we attempted to lunge her in order to improve her bend; she was very worried having clearly had bad experiences in the past, so we didn’t push it and did some liberty work with her instead. She kept improving in the contact and relaxing more and more each day. Lula started some work in the arena, which really helped her with her bend and becoming softer in the mouth. Her first canter hack was brilliant, she was developing into the kind of pony who always makes you smile. She had some canter work and a small jump in the arena and was a sweetheart. She is finally starting to learn that she is now surrounded by people who want to look after her. Lula’s owners came to see her and gave her a hack out, they were very happy and ready to take her home!
Cally came back from Redbrook in mid may as things were settling down with COVID and we thought we would now be able to sell him. He was fabulous as normal, nannying ponies out hacking, and working nicely in the arena. He had some amazing jumping sessions, picking up nicely from where we left off. The highlight was him jumping foot perfect clears when we set up a course, finishing with a course of 85, and a single fence at 95! Shortly after this he had a wonderful girl come to try him, who was a perfect match from the off. She spent plenty of time doing transitions and having a chat with him, and Cally knew she was the one. Cue an anxious wait for his vetting, which he passed, and then the sad day we had to say goodbye, made so much less sad by his awesome new family! Cally has settled in well and we are following his progress avidly!
We welcomed schooling and sales livery Kevin. He had been having some problems with rudeness on the ground, but didn’t put a foot wrong from the day he arrived here. The first day he had a groundwork session and some loading practice and was foot perfect. The second day he had a hack out and was good as gold for this also. His first time in the arena was brilliant, he had a nice walk, trot, canter and jump; then did it all bareback too! Within no time at all, he was also nannying out on hacks. He hacked bareback, would go in front or behind and was genuinely a little unicorn! Kevin had a viewing and a vetting and was an absolute star. He left for his new home and we get lots of updates about how he is doing!
Sales livery Charlie also arrived. He had been missold to a previous client of ours, who had had a couple of nasty falls from him. He certainly arrived rather anxious, when he hacked he wanted to look at everything, so we kept his mind on the job by doing lots of leg yielding and asking for an outline.
He got a little bit of confidence every day, until it no longer felt like he was constantly tense, and eventually he graduated to a nanny horse! We started to school him, and found that although he took a while to warm up, he could work quite nicely. He got better and better in the arena and was soon working on Novice dressage tests. He worked on shoulder in, counter canter, collected trot and medium trot. Charlie started his jumping very green, but once he’d jumped everything he was quite happy to jump a bit bigger, and he had so much scope. Charlie went for a trial hack with Tom at what we hoped would be his new home. He was so anxious about life when he arrived at ours, but left so happy and relaxed! He has settled brilliantly and been happy to hack around the woods at his new home.
We also greeted Star for backing livery; he was a bit shell-shocked when he first arrived but Kevin and Cally looked after him. He is a three-year-old NF. He quickly settled in and started walking out. He wasn’t sure about the bridle at first but he didn’t mind at all about the saddle. He was equally unbothered about starting long-reining.
We were ready to start leaning over, and the first session went so well he had most of the session with a rider on board, and some of it off the leadrein! The next day we had some nasty weather and he was a little more worried, but after some leaning over, he had a rider on again. After this, we introduced the saddle with the rider and he was a little legend! We did find he really really hated flies however! He grew up very quickly and soon had no intervention from the ground, going on ‘grown up’ rides with Flicker, including trots. He did struggle to concentrate with the flies, he found it hard to maintain a rhythm and would regularly stop to try and scrape them off! We waited for a slightly cooler day for his first canter and he was an absolute star. Read a bit more about Star’s progress in our next blog!
We welcomed Travis for some problem-solving livery. He had been stopping and showing various behaviours, such as stamping his feet and spinning around. The chiro was booked for him, but we had a little hack just to see what we were dealing with. He was actually pretty good, because we thought it likely he was sore somewhere, so didn’t push him when he said no. Looking at him, we were sure his pelvis looked lower on the left, so we commenced ground work including poles raised on the left. We decided not to ride until he’d been looked at, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t a lot of strengthening work we could do. Read more about his progress in our next blog.
We also welcomed Libby for schooling. We last had her here in 2016 for backing and she hasn’t done very much since. We were very pleasantly surprised by how well behaved she was for her first hack given this information. She has a lot of weight to lose so that will be one of our goals, along with introducing her to the arena, and hopefully a bit of jumping. She was happy to walk and trot out, even when being bothered by flies. When we changed the horse she was riding out with she was a bit stroppy, but soon got going nicely. Read more about Libby’s progress in our next blog.
Jack also arrived to be sold, he’s absolutely gorgeous and had an amazing first day, with a brilliant canter hack followed by a tidy up. It took two hours to clip Jack’s feathers, pull his mane and give him a bath, and he stood like an angel the whole time! The second day he had a schooling session and jumped a small fence. He was equally as brilliant as the day before, and displayed a wonderful character and eagerness to please. Read more about Jack in our next blog.
Dreamer has continued to improve day by day. She has had fun jumping drainage ditches out hacking, and doing some pole work in the arena. She has had a few faster hacks which she has really enjoyed, and also had her first bareback hack. She started to do a little bit of trot work in the arena, as she became calmer and steadier in the contact. After this we progressed to canter work, which was quite exciting at first, but she settled brilliantly! She started running through some Prelim dressage tests and having some incredible schooling sessions. She even schooled in a thunderstorm, with Meg squealing at the louder bangs, but Dreamer completely oblivious! She also popped her first log on a hack and was so scopey. We then started to jump her in the arena for the first time and she was incredible. Her first exercise was jumping on a serpentine, and although she had a few ‘woohoo’ moments she soon started to learn she wasn’t allowed to rush. Her second exercise involved placing poles and related distances and she took it all in her stride, already having learned not to rush. Dreamer jumped her first course, with all the fillers in, and ended on a round of 65cm. Dreamer found her new human, who is young and going to grow up with Dreamer. The best thing is they will be coming for regular lessons and live locally, so we don’t have to say goodbye properly to our baby! To make it even more perfect, her owners have also bought Tom from us, so they get to stay together!
Sienna has had a lovely time hacking, she continues to melt us on a daily basis! She is consistently the go to nanny pony as she is so unflappable. She has also tackled all the pole work and jumping exercises like a star! Sienna had a viewing which was just perfection. Two best friends bought her for their kids to learn on. Sienna didn’t put a foot wrong and settled very quickly in her new home. The best thing is we get lots of updates!
Cassie has also continued to be a little sweetheart out hacking. She has settled beautifully to her pole work in the arena, and finding it less hard. She does occasionally get a little hot-headed about jumping, but generally just takes a small reminder to stay relaxed. She has had some stunning flatwork lately, with some amazing medium trot strides and some great shoulder in and leg yielding, in addition to some smooth canter transitions. She has been working through some Prelim tests and has been brilliant. She has also done some course work, but we’ve tried to keep it all low key for her.
Lucy has been great out hacking too, becoming more and more comfortable and enjoyable as she gets stronger. She has also been brilliant on the flat and over poles, she finds her work, including her canter, easier every day. She started some filler work thrown in with the Little Bentley challenge for her, and didn’t look at anything we threw at her. We also put up some of our own jump exercises, including some jumps on a serpentine which ended up at 95cm! She passed a five-stage vetting and went off to her new home, but she wasn’t happy there as she was kept in a field on her own. We now have her back, but it’s a very worried horse who has come home, so there is lots for us to do before trying to find her another home.
Tom has continued to be a good boy, hacking out so nicely he always puts a smile on our faces. He has been working really hard at his pole work, which he continues to find complicated. He has also worked hard on his jump exercises and is keeping his head more often now. He is becoming much more rideable and maintaining a better rhythm whilst jumping. He is so talented when he does stay rideable it’s a lot of fun! He has jumped some courses, finishing on 85cm. He has started work on some canter leg yields, medium trot and counter canter, and has been working through Novice dressage tests! He stepped up to be a nanny horse for the first time, and was so very good at it! He even took Charlie for his trial at his new home and didn’t put a foot wrong, he was so calm and relaxed he even waited to canter happily at the back. Tom was ready for his new home, and found the same new home as Dreamer, where he will mainly hack, but may do a bit of schooling and jumping with the kids! We are over the moon about where he is, we couldn’t have hoped for more for him!
We brought Solo back from the retirement field to do a bit of work with her. She started with a walk out in hand, and was a good girl. She was a little worried but hadn’t done anything in a while so that was only to be expected. The next day she walked out in the bridle with Lula. She was introduced to the sandpit (the arena) and was very happy doing some pole work in hand. She has started doing some work in the roller, as she doesn’t like the girth so we want to get her used to it very gradually. She has done some lunge work, as well as playing with poles and working on backing up.
Rose has enjoyed herself hacking, and doing more pole work exercises and Little Bentley challenges. Her canter has really started to elevate, and she’s jumping better than ever! She’s jumped a couple of courses and done so completely effortlessly; so excited to get her out once we are able to.
Kerry has continued to hack, and had a few more fast-paced hacks which he’s really enjoyed. He’s also joined in on pole work and a few small jumps. We’re being very careful with him, but trying to keep his body as strong as possible whilst not being too demanding. He has been feeling fabulous though, so fingers crossed we can continue to enjoy him for a while yet!
We hope you’re all coping ok in these terrible times, we are always the other end of social media if you need a friendly ear. Sending love!