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Lambs, Reindeer, and a beach holiday.

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2015 getting feet wet on the beachMarch finished well, with Jay jumping. The first jump session was exciting for us all I think, but by the second he had found his rhythm, and all was going well. We also continued to hire a few venues, for flat work and jumping, including taking music to a nearby indoor arena for a dressage to music spectacular.

Then... A rip to a local country park, where we had a "Lamb Attack" incident on the training gallops...

I love the gallops; when Jay is coming out in spring, a field is a bit too much at this stage to go galloping, but the gallops are sand, so like a surface; contained, so they are slightly less exciting; and private so he can think and find his rhythm.

He was very interested to see the sheep with baby lambs, the lambs seemed very interested in Jay too, but were contained behind the sheep fencing. We walked a circuit, and then had a trot round, I noticed two of the lambs apparently thinking Jay was a long lost relative, and giving chase. The ewes called them back, and all was well, so Jay and I went for a canter.

Fair to say Jay is not fit, it was a very relaxed canter. As we passed the top of the gallops I saw one of the lambs again giving chase, but Jay was faster, and all was well.

We finished with a cool off lap, walk and trot, stretching and catching breath (mine more than his), when I noticed the pesky lamb had squeezed through the fence and was coming at us.

What to do? Hmm, the gallops were pretty wide, so I thought we would go wide, trot past and away. Oh no, the lamb was loose, he wanted the Jay-Mum and set off after us.

Jay was concerned, his trot became a bit too lively and hollow with worry. I had to laugh at him, Jay Man, scared of a ball of fluffy wool. The lamb was determined to reach the Jay-Mum, it galloped at us, and started to leap at his tail.

OK, maybe not so funny. I did not want to teach Jay to run from any danger (or hurt the lamb), so we pulled up, sideways. The lamb was beside itself with joy, bleating and leaping towards Jay's head. Jay was undecided, so I loosed off the reins and he dropped his head.

The lamb reared on his hind legs and their noses touched. Poor lamb, with a disgusted final bleat he realised that Jay Mum was in fact Jay Man and not his mum at all.

He turned and called with all his little lungs could manage, and mother, realising she was missing a ball of white wool, called back. It ran off, bleating all the way. Jay, happy that the lamb was indeed as innocuous as it looked, strolled back to the box.

Love days out and adventures with Jay man.

 

I still  really wanted a visit to the beach, but he really needed another public outing before a busy beach visit... tried to book XC, but that too was very busy, a bit early in the season for his first XC to be with other horses flying about.. so...... we hired an outdoor arena locally, just for the trip out.

In my now normal Dr Doolitle way we found some...Reindeer! Jay looked at them next to the arena, looked at himself in the mirror, then got on with his work. A nice time, doing nothing in particular, chilled out. Then home, and even though the field is still far too wet Jay got half an hour out in his field. I spent most of it treading divots. I agree, it was still far too soft, oops.

 

Jay went back on arena turnout for a couple of days, and therefore joined us for a BBQ on the terrace.

Lazy, sunny, retired days. I did try him in the field again afterwards. Afterwards it was difficult to convince David that it was a step forwards that the divots were only 7" deep rather than 9" as two days before....

 

Next up...  barefoot on the beach! 2015 beach 4

I know it was theoretically a "bad" idea to take a horse to the beach on the last day of the Easter Holidays, but I work at a school now, so I decided that heck- I wanted to take Jay to the beach, so to the beach we would go. We packed up, braved the crowds and went.

I was like a kid at the beach. When we got there my back had stiffened up, but could not resist running to the cliff edge (only a 12ft high cliff) to see the sea. I had to laugh at myself as I found I was doing a silly "bad back" run, and then I was thankful that I may be stiff, but heck, I can still be a kid running to see the sea, lost in delight.

This was Jay's first time barefoot anywhere out and about except in an arena, so I used his boots to get onto the actual beach. It was BUSY! I am talking a busy car park, busy beach with wind breaks, kids, buckets and spades, and... sail boards.

This was Jay's third time to the beach, he does find it a bit overwhelming, so I took him out in hand first, as I feel in a better position like that. I need not have worried, Jay was a pro.

We squeezed through the wind breaks and picnickers, had a paddle, a lunge in the water and, just as I was about to mount up, a man brought a parachute onto the beach, and proceeded to throw it aloft and be dragged down the beach on it. Jay "managed", but it may not have been the best time to mount, especially with the sail boards the other side of us in the water, so we went further down, mounted and had a play round.

I had a great time, but actually enjoy paddling with him in the sea as much as riding him there. 2015 in the sea

Thank you David for being there, for packing a picnic, for carrying spare boots, lunge line and taking photos, then driving me home afterwards. Thank you most though for dealing with the rather large poo Jay deposited on the busiest part of the beach, in front of everyone. For scooping it up into several carrier bags. We had approval from so many families!

Happy days.

 

Next...  Evening Dressage...

Took Jay to his first competition since October, a dressage.
Jay did his part, was "interested" in the warm up but responded to being asked to focus, he went in the ring and did everything I asked of him. In fact he was scoring all 7s and 8ts... right up to the part of the test where I *could* have used my glasses to learn the test.
Yep, I missed two movements altogether.
Still a success, we were just there for a jolly, no pressure, but I am happy that the weakest link was lack of glasses in my prep, as that is easy to put right. 

 

Finally the ground dried up enough to actually ride on grass, so Jay and I visited out canter field. Lovely stolen time in the evening sun, and photos to mark the occasion. Jay was fine barefoot, no slipping, happy evening.

2015 field play 2 2015 field play

 

Into May, and an evening ride with a twist...

Jay - What a comic!

We set out for a ride with a mission, the postman had accidently delivered a parcel to us that was for someone a mile or so away, so I tucked it inside a (fortunately water proof) gilet and off we went.

We started off on our route in lovely sunshine, which lasted until we were past the church. Suddenly, and surprisingly it rained monsoon rain. I mean, it was cold, it was heavy, so bad I could hardly see.

Jay man used Jay-Logic, and stopped. Initially I did not know why, surely he would prefer to go home? Nope, he would prefer to turn round. Strange, we were about half way round.

The rain - you know that rain where you can't see, where if you tilt your head a river runs off your hat...

Soaking wet, I was not in the mood to discuss this, so I kicked on into trot. Standing still was a silly idea, and I preferred to trot on. Jay kept trying to stop and turn round.

It reminded me of someone else (who will probably read this!) whose horse would fall behind on a hack, and when the other horse went out of sight would slow down and stop, even reverse up. No-one understood, after all you would expect if he was anxious to have the companion in sight he would jog to catch up, not stop and go into reverse! The horse did this even if nearly home.

Mum, who does not profess to be a horse expert, worked it out and explained what I believe to be the real reason. When the horse was back up the road he was not alone, he was with his companion. Therefore he wished to back up to be in the portion of road where he was not alone.

It clicked. Jay thought he would prefer to be back at the church, as when he was there it was not raining!

I kicked on still, the water was so bad that as I was doing rising trot a waterfall of cold water was gushing down my jacket and landing in my lap. Nasty. But every time I stopped rising to trot Jay tried to stop and go back to the church, after all it was sunny there (!!!). Even when we were clearly on the homeward path he still would rather have gone back to the sunny church.

I wonder if it were the way the rain started so completely suddenly that made him believe it was locationally specific?

We got to the house, I dismounted to deliver the parcel, and as suddenly as it had started, the rain stopped. I squelched home, accompanied by a horse, who thinks in a Jay logic way.

 

More Feeling Good!

Took Jay to Sykehouse Arena to jump a few fences, lovely sunshine and David to help me.....

Warmed up and Jay was happy and nicely keen. So obedient and trying to anticipate my every wish.

Popped a few X poles, 4 uprights then a bit of a course. WOW.

Did a second course with bigger fences.....WOWSER!

It was so good I had to stop. I had smile overload.

Jay-Man is the most fantastic horse. Cantered to a 3'6 upright and made mincemeat of it in perfect style.

Why so happy (when I know we *can* jump bigger)?

Because.... because it was just so TOGETHER. No pulling or kicking. 2 of us in the ring with some fences to play with. 2 souls just kicking ass because it is fun!

Neither of us was even blowing. Just sharing a secret (well, not so secret now!) moment.

Stolen fun is always the most delicious. Stolen out of the fabric of the day.

Thank you Di, and David.

 

This brought us to Jay's 6 month anniversary of being barefoot. He is doing fine, feet look FAB, but if I want to event I need to shoe. Decisions, decisions. I swing from one choice to the other. I think the most likely outcome is that he will wear shoes for 4/5 months then have them off again. But them tomorrow is another day and maybe not!

 

I was persuaded to do Dressage Judging at Sykehouse for a morning, what a pleasure to see so many fantastic horses, correctly schooled for their experience.

It was just two Intro tests, but I have to say the standard was so high that if I had taken Jay, who has won at Elementary, I don't think he would have won!

It is lovely to see horses and riders progressing along the right lines. So many horses performing, but remaining relaxed.

In fact I was so buzzed up I entered Jay Man for the afternoon, he did well, I even rode the right test, but then a caller does help!

 

Jay and I also went away for the weekend, for a training course, with a Western trainer. Not sure what happened really, I expected to get so much out of it, but maybe it was the right trainer at the wrong time, or the wrong trainer for us at this time, or maybe just the wrong trainer for us, but really it was not what I expected. I liked some stuff, did not like other stuff, and came home with lots to think about. Good points were the travelling 3 1/2 hours with no fuss. Jay liked and settled straight into tented stabling, even with a wind whipping the roof, and was flat out asleep when I went to give him breakfast. As ever Jay looked after me. I learned some things I would do when taking a clinic, and some things I would not. I guess I did not learn what I thought I would, but I did learn some other stuff.

 

On our return changeable weather made horse keeping more difficult. It looked like rain one morning, so I fitted Jay up with his rug that is half waterproof and half fly sheet. Sadly it then went sunny...

Jay is not behind the door, and if he is too hot he wriggles out of his rug. No panic, he grabs it by the shoulder and pulls it up and over his head. The rug ends up off, and still done up.

2015 field disaster

Sadly today the rug did not escape totally unscathed, and the fly material part ripped. Thank you mum for volunteering to sew it back together again.

 

Woo Hoo, middle of May, sun back out, and one evening I remembered just what FUN horses are!

We did a bit of schooling, and for some reason we were very energetic, and he offered to flip changes left, right, and centre. I mean good changes, he could even do a change on a curve, then change back again to re-join the track. I think it helped that I had the I-ears (or whatever the Apple device is called to play music in your ears) and had a bizarre choice of 2 songs that were repeating, Tim McGraw Live Like you are Dying, and If I were a Rich Man...... Yeah, the one from "Fiddler on the Roof!"

I was having so much fun that we only did 4 songs worth and I was very naughty, and with "I ears" in place, no fluorescent on, and no phone, Jay and I set off to walk off down the road and then go play in the field.

The field- Ye-Ha, Woo Hoo, and ride like you are Dying never mind live like it! I have never gone so fast barefoot (Jay not me!). And, the music made me sing, the song had Woo Hoos on it, and I got caught in the moment, and Jay caught my mood.

We flew!

What a horse, he can GO, lower and flatten, and have legs go so fast they are no longer distinguishable from each beat.

Then, he pulls up as soon as I sit upright.

I walked a lap, then hopped off and walked beside him to go home. Me and my boy. The second track was on, and even though I may not be one, with my boy beside me I felt like a VERY Rich Man!!!!!

I wonder if anyone heard my unbridled singing?

 

More lazy rides out, and It's official - Jay was being a COW!

At the moment the Cow Parsley is growing all along the paths we ride on, and it is taller than Jay's mouth. His vice? Oh yes, the man has worked out he is not allowed to stop and snack, but there seems little mum can do about him snacking as the flowers brush through his mouth. I mean, it is just THERE.

So Jay is going around his rides looking like Ermintrude the cow. I have tried to remonstrate, but it is classic that I ride out holding nothing but the buckle end, and he can reach, so I guess fair is fair.

 

We have done two more dressage tests, he has done well. We were ready to start SJ competitons, but I have had the osteopath, and have spent this week resting. Good news though, I have self studied and passes the level 3 Teaching Assistant qualification. That is good anyway for future jobs, but more importantly I have learned a lot about children, how they develop and learn, and how I can help. In fact I enjoyed studying so much I have also enrolled on a level 2 Mental Health Awareness course, as so many people have difficulties that I would be more helpful for if I understood better.

This week I also took time to go as a student trainer on the current NLP Practitioner's course. It was good to revise techniques, including rapport building, eye patterns to decypher strategies that people use, interventions to remove unhelpful beliefs and also an intervention to help people like chocolate or cake less, as a diet aid. A very varied training experience.

 

Today's thought is to shoe up next month and start eventing. Maybe by tomorrow we will be back on the barefoot trail. I suspect it will depend on how strong my back feels after treatment! Jay? He seems happy to do whatever. 

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