Monday, 23 January 2017

Are you sitting comfortably? Great let's start spooking

Mum took me out today to practice her sideways riding. It's the first time this year that she actually felt balanced and comfortable so I think the practice is working. We headed off down the road and soon bumped into one of Mum's friends so we stopped for a chat. I like stopping for chatting it conserves my energy. Eventually we headed back down the road.  We tried some trotting and Mum was definitely feeling more comfortable so I needed to up the ante.

We cantered some verges and then went into the big field at the end of the road for some more cantering. WHOA, monster alert. I applied emergency brakes, turned into full snorting dragon, while Mum sat on top of me laughing - seriously did she not know what danger we were in. Across the field a monster tractor truck had arrived spitting stuff all over the field. I decided standing still was the best course of action so I could keep both eyes on the monster. But oh no Mum wanted to turn around and go home, which meant the monster would be behind us. Seriously Mum you have no idea it might come and eat us and then spit us out too.

Eventually I had no choice but to listen to Mum because I was getting a sore bum. So we turned around to go back along the bridle path that runs along the top of the field. I had no choice but to employ emergency trot procedure - which means trotting like stink.  Mum wanted me to canter but I wanted to keep that pace in reserve in case we really needed to run. Mum likes my stonking trot, because she then knows I can do extended work, not so sure she liked it while sitting sideways, but she stayed on.

Eventually we made it safely to the road so I felt it safe to slow the pace down. I kept snorting just so the monster knew I knew where he was and that I wasn't afraid. We did a few more canters down the verges which I was happy to partake in as it put more distance between us and the monster.

Once fully calm we trundled down the rest of the lane and Mum stopped to talk for ages with more friends. Phew I just got to stand a chill and I was even given a carrot so this was all OK. However by now we had stayed out a lot later than Mum had planned, so we got the bonus of a lovely sunset.

I've been working so hard that Mum has upgraded my food from hifi to Alfa Oil. The diet Mum has put me on has been working and my balance strap is now too loose and she needs to get it shortened so I'm not too sure whether we will go out sideways until its fixed. Though I'm sure she will still be riding me six days a week - I think I'm going to need the extra energy.  I've noticed a very big bag of carrots and lots of them ended up in my tea bowl so life is looking good at the moment.

Friday, 20 January 2017

To ride or to lead

Cyril thinks himself so clever, my big brother. But I had a great trick up my sleeve. I was still a bit tired from the excitement of my first ever Trec competition and I had overheard Mum talking about taking me for a ride/lead. I know from what Benji's dog has told me that Cyril has to be ridden and Benji's is led. I was a bit worried though that Mum might think after my Stella performance I should be ridden and Cyril led. So I decided I had better take out some insurance to make sure I got the easy option. 

Mud, it's great isn't it. I knew Mum would be short for time if she was threatening Cyril and I with a ride/lead outing, so I made sure I secured the easy option! No flies on me. Cyril said it was not fair as I cheated as he has to wear a rug all the time because Mum took all his hair away.  I thought it was a cunning plan. 

That was yesterday. I wasn't laughing today though. Last night Mum gave me a big brush, which I really enjoyed. The boys get very jealous when Mum spends time with me. To be fair we all compete for her attention but I was lucky enough to get it last night. 

This morning though I got turned out in a RUG! Oh no.  Needless to say I wasn't surprised when Mum came down to the field to collect me for a ride. She had already ridden Cyril sideways. It was a beautiful day so I didn't mind too much. 

So what was today's plan. It turned out it was cantering. While it is really hard work it's also really good fun. I have never been on the farm fields, so it was quite exciting to go on my own with Mum to all this grassy wide open space. I jogged with excitement for a bit but soon decided I had better save my energy, which turned out to be a very good plan. 

I have only tried cantering with a human in a school. It's so much easier out in the open. I very quickly understood what Mum wanted so everytime we got to the corner of the field we trotted and then Mum asked for canter.  I found out I could do this a lot easier than in the school and by the end we were having a good old run and I was even jumping over the water ditches.  I was cantering as soon as Mum asked, none of this silly running trot I did in the school the first time. 

While it was really good fun it was really hard work so I came back quite hot and sweaty. I needed a good roll. You just can't itch and roll the same in a rug as you can without.  Mum is such a spoil sport, as I got turned back out in a rug. She must have read my mind as soon as she let me go, I collapsed in the mud and rolled. My rug is nice and dirty, but I'm clean, so I guess we are going out again tomorrow. Hope we can do some more cantering. 

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

My first ever competition

Well after a couple of training sessions in the back garden, all the hard work paid off and I was allowed to go to my first ever competition. I've only been backed five weeks and I had never been out to play with a lot of other ponies before.

Cyril briefed me before I went and said that if I behaved and listened to Mum then I would be allowed on a lot more adventures.  As he goes on adventures all the time I decided to take his advice. I was loaded up into the box on wheels and spent an hour watching the lorries on the motorway out the back. We eventually arrived at Tumpney Green and Mum unloaded me. Human Grandpa had come to video and my brother Brian's Mum came to say hello too. Shame he wasn't there to say hello to, but the humans said he could come play with me at our house soon, which will be great fun.

Anyway onto the serious business, Mum got on and walked me to the competition area.  We went in the warm up ring and we had a little walk and trot. Mum tested the canter but I'm still not very good at that so she decided to not worry me and we would only walk or trot. I had a practice over the jump which I still find easiest just to walk over. Mum had a last minute panic as they had changed the gate (which we had practiced) to neck reining (which we had not). So Mum quickly taught me how to do that in the warm up ring, it was easy, I just had to listen to Mum and follow her weight and where she was looking - thank goodness I'm a quick learner!

Before we knew it, it was time to go in. Mum didn't want to get me flustered at the start so we only trotted the slow canter, so we didn't get any points but I stayed nice and relaxed  and concentrated on listening to Mum. We the had to walk back fast, I had a little spook at the poster I hadn't seen when I trotted past and a couple of little joys, but Mum says I have great potential and walk much faster than Cyril.

Then it was onto the fun bit the obstacles. I like this. Because I was nice and relaxed Mum let me trot the corridor so we got the maximum 7 points - I have to canter to get 10.

Then the tricky S Bend, Mum was so thrilled I didn't touch any of the poles, she just needs to trust me know so we can do it more smoothly to get 10 out of 10.

Then onto the jump which we just walked but I got my legs in a muddle and knocked it down but Mum was still pleased because I didn't refuse it and kept going. She thinks the judge was a bit harsh to say I stopped. Then we had to do bending. This is something we had practiced a lot at home and I managed it in trot to get another maximum 7 points. I have no idea how Cyril manages it in canter.

Then the bridge, which we couldn't practice at home very well as the second day it was too icy to play on. I had one little hesitation but then remembered what Cyril said about being good and listening to Mum, so I trusted her and walked straight over, she was thrilled - humans can be silly can't they.

Then the neck reining, we aced that too, though the judge was a bit harsh again saying I refused and was hesitant, lady I have only just learnt this like a minute ago.  Mum said I was brilliant so that's all that counts.

Next immobility which Mum thought I might struggle with because like my brothers I'm not very good at standing still and we so much going on Mum thought I would become distracted. Mum I'm an amazing Dales pony, I'll stand when it matters. So I stood stock still for 10 whole seconds with Mum not holding the reins, we totally aced that and got a maximum 10 points.

Then Mum had to get off and lead me back through the S Bend, I only tapped one pole and then back through the corridor, notice how nice and relaxed I am.

The final task was for Mum to get back on. We are still practicing mounting blocks and I normally walk around a couple of times before I find the perfect position to stand in.  So Mum was super impressed when I just walked up to the mourning block and stood there while she got on. Unfortunately I didn't realise I needed to stand stock still until both feet were in the stirrups, but Mum didn't seem to mind she said I did way better than what she expected.

I like this Trec stuff I hope I can go out on an adventure again soon.  I have put my movie making making skills to the test so if you go to YouTube you can see my whole movie there. Must tell Cyril I can see in the dark, I have had so many carrots. Let's play again soon Mum.

My movie can be found at or you can watch below.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Practice and hours at the hairdressers

Before I was allowed to go compete I did have to do some practicing. Mum had set up most of the Trec obstacles we were going to encounter in the back garden. So with Benji's help I started practicing. He's our chief trainer whenever any of us are doing something in the back garden. He will woof encouragement, well when he is not chasing cars up and down the hedge or talking to other dogs.

On the first training session Mum was a bit bold and decided not to wear her back protector. I didn't think this was a good idea so started being silly and bouncing around, Mum quickly got the hint, dismounted sensibly put on her back protector and told human Grandpa to keep an eye on us out the window, which he did.

Here's some of the obstacles below. We started with the bending at walk, which was ok, my steering was going somewhat wonky at points because I wasn't always concentrating on what Mum was saying. We also practiced the S Bend, which is trickier than it looks when you are still working out where to put your feet which is a lot harder when you are carrying a human. The grey box is our mounting block, I tend to walk around it a couple of times before I stand still, Mum doesn't seem to mind, she's very patient but does insist I stand still while she gets on, which I try very hard to do.

By day two (and my last day of practicing) I could trot the Bend poles and walk through the S Bend without touching it. mum was super impressed. 

We also had to do a jump, we have been walking over it, but as Mum got more confident and I had had a couple of goes we even tried trotting. I even jumped it properly on day two of training - but that's quite hard with a human on, I think I prefer to walk it. Mum says as long as I don't stop she doesn't mind what I do. 

After all the training I then had to go to the hairdressers. Mum said there was no way she was taking me out in public looking like a mobile mud pony, with my tail dragging on the floor. This was me before my 2 hour session with Mum as hairdresser. 

It's a work of art my muddy tail. 

This was me after, it was dark by the time Mum finished, so she took pictures the morning of the competition. We were all starving hungry by the time she had finished combing out my mane and tail, and brushing the mud of my tummy - which tickled. 

I think I scrubbed up ok, I hope I enjoy this competition stuff as much as Cyril and Woody do, it's all quite scary when you have only been carrying a human for 5 weeks. 

Thursday, 12 January 2017

My first canter movie

Well I have had three whole days off to recover from my recent exploits, which has given me plenty of time to put my new movie director skills to the test. I have put together my own movie of my first canters with my human. I now need to go practice some more cantering, hope I get a chance to have a go soon.

Here's the link to my movie

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Anyone got a torch?

You know your Mum is serious about getting you fit when you need headlights to be able to see. I'm not joking it was pitch black when she turned up on the yard. She whisked Mel and Woody out into the field WITH HAY and left me in my stable. It was still dark even after she had mucked all three of our bedrooms out. 

Thank goodness she does have the sense to put my glow in the dark outfit on.  And Mum does wear her yellow glow in the dark rug too. So we are very visible but I still think I could do with a torch or even better A LOT MORE CARROTS - well they are supposed to help you see in the dark. 

So at silly o clock in the morning off we set for a 40 minute side saddle walking training session. I'm getting a bit bored of going up and down the road but when the other main option is going to play with the traffic I think I prefer to be bored walking up and down our lane. Benji was not allowed to come because he's black too and with Mum's bad shoulder and me carrying her sideways and it being dark it was just one risk too many. Still he gets to play in the field with a thousand tennis balls once I'm untacked and turned out with the others. So he doesn't mind really. 

I think if Mum wants me to go out again tomorrow morning I might have to go on strike until I get my carrot rations increased, so I can see better. Mel got lots of carrots yesterday for being good so I'm going to ask her what she did and see if I can get more carrots too. Mel?

Monday, 9 January 2017

I can canter

Mum took Cyril and Benji out again first thing this morning. So Woody and I go to eat the hay first, yummy. I thought I wouldn't be going out but Mum arrived at lunchtime to bring me in and wash my legs off. I was loaded into the box on wheels for a new adventure.

Today I arrived at East Solely Equestrian Centre and I got to have a go in the nice warm indoor dressage arena. There was another pony in their who copied everything I did, which I found a little distracting. I had a go at doing proper dressage, Mum had put me in Cyril's dressage bridle, so I looked very grown up.

I did walk and trot around the arena and then I did 20m circles and 10m half circles. Mum was pleased because it meant the steering was working even in my new bit. Mum then decided to ask me to go very fast, so I did my fastest trot ever, but she still seemed to want me to go even faster. I have never cantered with a human on my back before, it was quite difficult but I did just about managed it. Mum seemed to enjoy this and I got lots of pats. We had several goes at it, I couldn't do it straight away as I needed a run up but I did manage it every time eventually though Mum did need to give me a tap to encourage me to go that fast.

It was REALLY hard work and I got very hot and sweaty so the lovely lady at East Solely, Emma, walked me around while Mum put all my stuff away. She even did some video of my cantering, so now I'm a movie editor, I'm going to spend this evening making it into a proper movie before I show everyone.

This dressage stuff is hard work, all respect to my brother because he's very good at it. Might need to see if he will give me some tips.

I obviously did well as I have been allowed into the back garden for grass AND I've been given loads of apples and carrots.  Maybe this dressage stuff is ok if I'm going to keep getting this many pony sweets. Right I must go and concentrate on my cantering movie now.

Night night pony friends.