Sunday, 28 February 2016

Zippy R.I.P.

Cyril here. I'm very heart broken to say that my very best friend and mentor, Zippy, passed away this week. She had been battling with pedal bone disease over the past few weeks, we thought she had beaten it, but sadly it got the better of her. I'll miss her greatly she has taught me so much. She was an amazing Riding Club horse in her day. Below this was her winning dressage at the prestigious Henley Horse Show, maybe that's where my dressage talents come from?

She also competed at Hickstead, show jumping for the Riding Club. Woody has ambitions to follow her lead and we both hope that one day we might be able to emulate her cross country skills because I know that was when her and Mum were at their happiest. 

Not only did she teach Mum lots but she also galloped into Sarah Terry's life and enjoyed loads of pony club fun. 

It's hard to remember all the human lives she touched, Mum's next door neighbour, Sue; her previous owner Michelle; Mum's friends - Sally Lincoln, Michelle Cole, Gemma & Jess Phillips among many others and Mum's niece Ellie, for whom she loved to stand and have her hair plaited. 

That doesn't mean Mum stopped loving her when she couldn't compete anymore. Zippy was an amazing pony and has touched so many horse and human lives. Her first love was a huge Hanovarian, called Nipper who she fell in love with on first sight, I'm not too sure that this is demonstrated in the picture below. 

After that she discovered us Dales and never looked back.  I've been told she could be hard to get on with but we hit it off straight away, and she accepted Woody as soon as he arrived too. Then when Brian turned up she couldn't believe her luck, and I got a bit jealous as she really took a fancy to him and he became very protective over her. That's not to say we all didn't get on, because we did. 

I know Mum misses her and Woody has a huge responsibility as he has been given her stable. He's taken his role very seriously ensuring he has a cheeky happy smile for Mum each morning as he pops his head over the door. He's also determined to replicate her bolshy, pushy, head strong attitude, though I'm not too sure Mum really appreciates it, though it does seem to make her laugh. 

Mum last rode her on 22nd December 2015, when she was being her head strong self and had been soooo keen to get down the road to visit me and Woody, that Mum had to ride her in a Pelham - she was a real devil unto the end, even at 28 years of age!  Mum even caught her last ride on Zippy on camera, the absolute classic between the ears shot!

We will miss her so much, Woody because he was her baby sitter when I went away, me because I was her favourite and we had a very special bond until the end and Brian because he just loved her. We all have been very lucky to have her in our lives. I know she taught Mum a lot and for that I'm thankful as I have benefitted from all that teaching. 

Zippy we love and miss you. I'm pleased you are not suffering anymore and that you are reunited with your first love Nipper and your much loved doggy friend, Sammie. Woody, Brian and I will strive to make you proud and we will try to master the art of cross country and in our efforts make you and Mum smile. 

Sweet dreams my best pony friend.

Cyril, Woody and Brian xxxx

Brothers Trec

Woody here, I finally got to out and do something exciting, sadly I had to take my big brother Brian with me too. We both loaded perfectly into the box on wheels with no squealing, kicking or biting - much to Mum's amazement. Well we knew we needed to behave if we wanted to go out. 

We arrived at Wickstead to have a go at a proper Trec competition, being run by Wessex Trec. Both Brian and I were entered into the In Hand Clear round class. Brian got to go first, so I was left tied to the back of the trailer with my own personal helper, Val. She was visiting from Wales, but I didn't need any help as I was happy eating my hay and watching all the other ponies and traffic. 

just want to say it's not fair because Brian go to swot up on the course plan before the day. I never got the chance!

Brian got to take the easy route, as Mum said that way he was pretty much guaranteed a rosette.  All he had to do was walk through the bending poles (easy peasey); walk along the corridor (twice - also easy); then squeeze between some barrels before walking over the tarpaulin ditch. I don't think Brian saw the scary tarpaulin because he walked over it like it wasn't there. He was very pleased to win his first ever rosette. This is his clear round

It was then my go.  I had lots of fun running around in the warm up arena. There was so much to look at. My favourite was the big horses in the arena practicing their jumping, I so wanted to go play with them, but Mum said I have to wait until I can carry a human before I can go play. I also had a good look at the scary signs which actually when you hide behind Mum and creep up on them slowly, really aren't that scary. Before long it was my turn to go in. We have to do five obstacles of our choice. So we started with the easy bending poles and then walked the corridor. Then suddenly out of nowhere Mum started running, whoa, where are we going?  I couldn't see where we were going until suddenly we were at a jump, whoa where did that come from?  Mum sometimes forgets I'm only a baby and I know I like my jumping but I do need some warning that we are going to be jumping and a chance to see the jump first!  Once Mum had repositioned herself and me so I could actually see what in was jumping that was fine and I just popped over like a pro. 

Next was the squeeze between the barrels that was fine and then the scary tarpaulins ditch. Now I know the rules and as long as you go between the white and red cones it has to count, it wasn't my fault I clocked that the humans hadn't filled the ditch to the end and I could squeeze between the tarpaulin and the white cones. Mum however made me do it again properly - spoil sport! Due to Mum's incompetence at rushing me towards the jump I couldn't see I didn't get a clear round. I would have done if she had let me do Brian's course but she wanted me to do the harder option. Humph.  Hopefully I can go out and have another try soon. Here's my video

Before we were allowed to go home Brian was entered in a ridden Newcomers class. He did really well, it was his first ever ridden Trec class. He hasn't really started cantering much but he did manage to canter all the way around the arena without breaking, which was very clever. He then trotted both the bending poles and the narrow corridor before he reached the 'jump'. He had been practising walking over jumps so Mum asked him to do that but he decided it was too big to walk over it and so tried to jump it from a standstill which made Mum squeal, which surprised Brian so he ended up knocking down the jump with is back feet. Think we need to give Mum some jumping practice!  He trotted through the squeeze really easily and then Mum let him down again. She walked into the standing circle and he stood their perfectly not moving at all for 10 seconds but Mum didn't realise he still had a back foot outside of the circle so he got zero for that - very unfair, hope you have learnt from that Mum!  He was foot perfect on the s bend which is very tricky and walked the ditch like it was not there. He also did the led corridor perfectly too.  His final test was the mounting block, which he stood perfectly while Mum got on, but then stepped backwards opps. I think for his first Trec and second ever competition he did really well, the video of his efforts can be seen here I hope I do so well when I can be ridden, next year - so exciting can't wait. 

I really enjoyed my outing with my brother, I hope we can go out again together soon. Signing off now the Trec Brothers xxx

Saturday, 6 February 2016

My first ever dressage competition

Last Sunday was a BIG day. My first ever competition. As this was only going to be the 10th time I had ever carried a human, I knew it was going to be a very important day. I was loaded up into the box on wheels. I'm so used to this now I have started to load myself. 

We arrived at Rein & Shine nice and early. Which gave Lynette and my film crew Nondus plenty of time to tack me up. We first went into the huge arena to warm up. Much to my embarrassment I had to wear a red ribbon in my tail, not because I was a Dales pony but because I have been known to kick. Evidently this is not good but it did mean I got a lot of space to myself. 

Soon we had to go into the competition arena and I warmed up next to a very smart coloured pony. I stepped up into the arena and happily walked over the white planks, which lots of horses spook at. We walked up and down and I had a few looks at the advertising boards but then the bell rung and it was time to start. 

I concentrated very hard on what Lynette was asking me, I did have a few wobbles but Lynette and I are still practicing our steering. I did a good shoulder in across one of the diagonals, but evidently that's not needed just yet. I think it was worth showing off my future potential, even if it did cost me a mark or two!

You can see my whole test at , thank you Nondus for recoding my efforts. I finished off with a very smart halt. 

I think I did the Dales breed proud, I got 62.6% and qualified for Rein & Shines Championship on 28th February, not bad for my first ever outing!!!!

It's my turn to walk Benji

As Cyril is on holiday and I have been passing my riding tests with flying colours, Lynette decided I was good enough to see if I could pass the Benji test. So last Saturday my human friend Nondus came for a walk around the farm with Benji dog. He was allowed off the lead while Lynette rode me around the farm. 

I passed the Benji test, I didn't mind if he stopped to sniff and then hurtle past me at a hundred miles an hour. Or if he disappeared into a hedge and popped out somewhere else. 

This is Benji yawning because he was bored of standing still for his photo, so I pulled a face too!

I was so well behaved last Saturday walking Benji, I was allowed to take him out on my own without a human helper. The only time I did a tiny weeny jump was when Benji launched himself into a stream and the splash surprised me. 

Below is me on the top of the canal bridge, I think it's quite a handsome pose. 

I like this solo hacking and it's fun having Benji with me, now I need to learn to be safe in the road so I can take Benji on a lead down the road and then we can go on some real amazing adventures. Ok Lynette when I can I start taking Benji on the lead down the road?

Walk, trot and rodeo

Last Friday I had a human visitor from Wales, my friend Nondus. She helps out at the stud I came from. Lynette decided to take me to a new venue, Little Park, in Wootton Bassett. She had never ridden in the school either, so it was new for both of us. 

I was a bit nervous at a new place with people watching, so adrenaline was running high. Lynette contemplated lungeing me first but decided in the end she would just get on. 

I was a bit tense with my head high. Lynette just kept me walking around until I settled a little. It's a lovely indoor school, very big, with a beautiful soft sandy surface. Eventually I was allowed to trot and we practiced a bit of dressage. My transitions are ok but I'm not too sure about circles and straight lines I get them a bit confused. 

Finally Lynette decided shed try to get rid of some of my excess tension by having a canter. I couldn't it was too much for me so I just put my head down and tried my very best rodeo impression. That didn't work I got growled at and a kick which was making doing rodeo very hard so after a couple of lengths of rodeo I gave up and did a little canter instead. At which point I got a pat, phew!

We had one more try at a little dressage and Lynette gave me time to look at some show jumps which I had been spooking at, ok maybe they are not so scarey. I was just worried she was going to get me to jump them, they were tucked away in a corner. 

I was tired by now, so I was allowed to go back into the box on wheels and travelled back to tell Zippy all about my adventure.