Sunday, November 27, 2011


I'm so sorry. I meant to take lots of photos this weekend. I've had a lovely horsey weekend, plus I got loose in the garden. My roses are beautiful. Miss Dog had her friend Molly over to visit, while we had coffee with her parents. Molly yapped like a lunatic and the two of them darted all around the living rooms until I sent them outside to play. Miss Dog loves her, even though Molly is about 1/20th of her size.

Yesterday I had my riding lesson. I rode My Lovely Sam, the bay fellow. Navarro had been shod on Friday and was a bit sensitive around his hooves, so I couldn't ride him. I gave him a big massage, which he thoroughly enjoyed. MLSam was a fun ride. I practised my cantering. He has quite a bouncy canter, but was easy to get into canter, so that made my job easier than when riding grey Sam. I felt a bit unbalanced, but managed to get a few canters in around the circle. I also did trot poles, working on getting into the correct jumping position. I missed the fabric topped saddle I usually ride in, because leather saddles are much more slippery!

Today we went to do a little bit of shopping, then this afternoon I got to visit Zanny. I couldn't ride her as she hasn't been shod, but I helped to bring her into the yard then groomed her. She was pleased. Zanny got good news today- she is pregnant! All that tarty behaviour around her stallion husband has paid off. She doesn't look like a brazen hussy, but the mare she went over with has come back foal-less because Zanny did her best to keep the stallion away from her.

I ransacked part of the vegetable garden today. The ground is getting very dry already. Weeds seem to have superpowers to overcome terrible conditions. I should start eating them. Vegetables are feeble in comparison. I got Johnny to put the grass clippings into one of the raised beds and topped it off with horse poo and spare soil. The two garden beds with nothing but bought-in compost are now hopelessly lacking in nutrients, so I'm working on building them up again. One of the glasshouse tomatoes is nearly as tall as me now. I'm impressed!

We've only got three weeks to go at school. I'm feeling a bit panicked about Christmas. Time is rushing by.

Sorry for the dull blog post. I'll do better next time.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Summer is coming

We had a hot day today. So hot, in fact, that I couldn't spend any time outside during the middle part of the day. My skin is exceedingly displeased by heat. My weird red cheeks are super red today.

This morning I decided that it is now time to work towards my first one day event, so Miss Dog and I got out for a brisk walk. Naturally, there was something very tempting at the other end- foals and their plump mummies at the Standardbred farm down the road. I had another spooky horse whispering experience - they are adding up, so I'm starting to think there might be something going on. There were two mares in a paddock close to the fence. When they saw us coming they tore around their paddock. I stopped and talked very quietly to them from a distance. They came over towards the fence. Miss Dog and I wandered on past them and admired the babies for a while. Then we went back to the other mares, who made a very determined effort to get close to me. I stood as close to them as I could and they were fixated on me, totally ignoring Miss Dog. I felt sad to leave them behind without being able to touch them. There was an electric fence and I didn't want to entice them too close to it.
The roses are magnificent.

I want some more bearded irises. Mine are rather common types. I want spectacular!
I love foxgloves. They are a mainstay of the cottage garden, in my opinion.
Lettuces are a large part of my one-day-event fitness regime.
I've never grown yams before, so these are keeping me entertained.
And look at this exquisite artichoke. Too pretty to eat.
The Three Sisters Garden is growing well (apart from the poor corn I squashed when I fell over backwards pulling out a huge parsley plant that had gone to seed). Can you spot the pumpkin, corn and bean plants?
In the glasshouse the tomatoes are getting very busy flowering and starting to fruit.
I do have one worry at home. Mr Jasper doesn't seem 100%. I think he will need to visit our friendly vet.
Here's my body protector vest. Miss Dog thinks it is rather interesting. I guess it smells horsey already.
Johnny says it looks like an anti-stab vest. I'm thinking that your average horse doesn't have the intent to stab me, although I guess one could kick the crap out of me, to put it crudely. It says the vest will not protect against "severe torsion or crush injuries." Not very encouraging.
Here's my larger collage. Not finished. It needs a binding.

Must go. We are popping in on the neighbours for a beer. Well, it wont be a beer for me.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Meet my new boyfriend!

Oh my goodness, I'm in love! Meet Navarro, my newest horse friend. This photo is of my riding instructor, Celine, riding him at Scarlett Oak Equestrian Centre.

He is an appaloosa quarter horse cross, and has the classic tail and mane of an appy- very thin. Appaloosas were bred by American Indians to be easy care, apparently, and a nice thin mane and tail causes less tangles and requires little grooming. In fact his mane is like a hogged mane but soft and wispy. His tail looks much thicker in this photo than in real life. It is his "blanket" that made me so excited - he has a spotty bottom. His spots are mostly brown, but some are black, and he is roan everywhere else. I have a passion for spotty horses. So when I saw Navarro it was love at first sight.

This story gets even better. I got to ride Navarro for my lesson today, and by the time I finished I was even more in love. He was fun to get ready. He just drifted off to sleep when I groomed him, although was a bit tense when I did his hooves. I forgot to say I got my new body protector vest this morning, so, feeling a little like I was wearing a stiff life jacket, I mounted up. Navarro was an absolute pleasure to ride. He was super laid back and lazy. Fantastic. We worked on circling in and out (using the leg yield technique) which was a bit dodgy because Navarro's steering is a bit of a challenge. We trotted and trotted and I got mad with myself because I kept rolling my hands inwards. I think we used to ride like that all the time- palms down - as my hands naturally return to that position every time I think of another body part. The vest made it tricky too. I'll get used to it. Then we cantered and cantered. It was so easy because he was sooooo smooth, both at trot and canter. My bottom didn't leave the seat at canter. I also did some trot poles, which I loved with my new vest on. It really made a huge difference to my confidence, and so did Navarro. I hope I get to ride him lots and lots. Celine even said now we've got the horse for me to do pre-pre-pre baby eventing on. Now there's a goal!

Zanny arrives back from visiting her randy lothario tomorrow, so I hope to have my first ride on her very soon. I hope she likes me!

Garden and crafty news tomorrow.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Popping in

Just a quick visit to let you know I'm still alive and kicking. Well, sort of. I had such a busy weekend that I'm about ready for bed, and its only 7.30pm. On Friday we had a holiday as it was Show Weekend. We were planning to go to the A and P show, but it was so windy and horrible that we decided to stay home. I wrote reports. We had a party to go to in the evening. Then on Saturday it was wet. Apparently Celine still took lessons, but Sam was in a foul mood as a rider came for the first time and was all rough and kicky on him, which he did NOT LIKE at all, and tried to throw him. So then he tried out one of the other horses and got bucked off. Serves him right. I can't stand rough people around horses. Celine said to come on Sunday so I was pleased not to have to get wet.

We had Indian food for tea with the Crafty Neighbour and family. Mr Crafty Neighbour gave Miss Dog a horrible leg to munch on (wallaby, if you must know). Miss Dog loved it, but we weren't so keen when she piddled and vomited heaps in the garage overnight. Johnny was a treasure and cleaned it up, thank goodness, as I was making hideous gagging noises when I smelled the aftermath. He was trying to keep me sweet because he wanted me to go with him to a pot luck dinner with strangers (to me, not to him). I zipped off to my riding lesson. Poor Celine was ill in bed, but Erika did a wonderful job with my lesson. I started out quite anxiously, as I'm still working on rebuilding my relationship with Sam. After a fair bit of coaching, I realised that I needed to really get bolshy with him, so I pretended he was my most frustrating student, and got very growly. The nerves slipped away and I did some amazing serpentines. Well done Sam!

After my lesson Johnny turned up too late to take some photos of me in action as he had been cycling and it took longer than expected due to the company he was keeping. No problem because he then came with me out to the Butcher residence to visit Ben, who had been colicky during the week. He was exceedingly grateful to receive lots and lots of scratches and brushes. He moves himself around so that you can get to his favourite scratchy spots. He shoves his ample bottom in your face, which is hilarious. Oscar came over to have a look. He only ever allows Emily and Viv near him in the paddock. I put my hand out and he snuffled it and let me stroke him. I slipped under the electric fence and he let me give him a good stroke and brush on one side. Fantastic. I also gave Johnny (horse) a good scratch on the neck - it is his last week of box rest and he is desperate for love- and he poked his head way up high and poked his flobbly lips out with enjoyment. Frazer is looking even more grown up. It won't be long before the vet will be paying him a visit and he will be a colt no longer. Zanny is coming home soon as she has been a real tart and the stallion is tired. Hopefully she has been knocked up, and if not, it won't be for lack of trying, apparently. I'll be having my first ride on her soon, I think. Viv seems to think so. Exciting. Plus Celine almost has two new horses, one of which is quiet and free moving, and the other who is quiet and super lazy. Sounds excellent. Also, the Twilight Eventing starts this Wednesday, and we are helping again.

This post has been longer than I expected. I didn't even get onto the pot luck dinner. James May is blowing things up on Man Lab, which is a brilliant programme, and has Johnny gripped. Bye for now.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

More horses

It wasn't quite like this:
But I had my first jump lesson yesterday! I couldn't ride Sam because he had lost a shoe, so I rode Celine's other Sam (aka My Lovely Sam). He is a homely looking bay fellow with a (usually) quiet nature. He has one quirk- he spooks and shoots forward when he gets a fright. He did a tiny one while we were having our lesson. I spent time during my lesson just getting used to him as he felt quite different than Sam. He has a bouncier trot, and carries his head high. I didn't canter this week, but instead did trot poles. We went bounce bounce bounce over three poles. He just steps a little higher, but it took a bit of getting used to. I can't do that on Sam because he takes poles like they are a flaming pit from the bowels of Hell.

Back to the professionals. Emily probably did her first trot poles before she was out of nappies. She has come a long ways since then. I went and groomed for her at the one day event at McLean's Island today. She had a happy day with all of her horses doing a good job. She got some placings. Lewis looked very happy and powerful on the cross country course.
Introducing Evie. She is being schooled by Emily at the moment. Em doesn't usually speak highly of mares as they can be moody creatures, but she thinks Evie is something special.
She is a stunning lady.
This was her first big outing and she took everything in her stride.
She was a pleasure to work with today, and I'm looking forward to following her in the future.

Another new friend- Molly came for a visit yesterday. She reminds me of a bumblebee.
She looked so funny zipping along the windowsill.

We had to move Jasper's bed as on her last visit she ran across it and he was so offended that he wouldn't sleep on it until it had been thoroughly washed. He was rather septic for a few days too. I'd hate to see what would happen if they met face to face. Jasper would probably take her down.

It is bearded iris time. Divine.