Monday 24 April 2023

All of The Updates


It’s been a bit since I updated with how I’m doing. Walking is probably the thing that’s helping the most, both from a mental standpoint as well as a physical one. I can’t wait to see the elevation change stats this month for my walks/hikes. There have been a lot of hills climbed in an effort to keep getting stronger and fitter. I feel really lucky that something so simple and that I already enjoy doing is also proving beneficial. It seems to be such an individual journey and I’m just grateful mine has been best case scenario, outcome wise. I have regained almost all my mobility in a relatively short time. I still get tired really easily and some days are tougher than others, but I’m feeling very optimistic life will go on as normal and this will be a manageable injury in the long term.

This little guy is the cutest


Both girls had a bit of a tough week, for different reasons.

Remains unimpressed with my agenda

B has been feeling GREAT. Maybe too great! She’s been working a little harder than I would have liked, simply because she’s too wild to do slow and easy suppling and stretchy rides on a regular schedule. Her day off was supposed to be an easy leg stretch around the neighbourhood, but there were airs above the ground and much ridiculousness. Once B commits to her own agenda, good luck to you. We’re continuing with all the recommended physio exercises but I’ve upped the trot poles, transitions, changes of direction and other diversions to keep her thinking and on task without needing to argue about things - I’m totally using the let-the-exercises-do-the-work-for-you prescription. Honestly, she’s been a little menace and I should be embarrassed about how horribly she is currently behaving, but I can’t help but absolutely love that she’s feeling this good and excited to work. She’s still got all the moves and training hiding in there so it’s a real treat to ride her on a good day. It motivates me to put the same effort into Sophie. 

Is ready to party

Sophie has been struggling a little with spring hormones. It’s also been way colder than normal and she’s not been loving the big temperature swings. Her hind legs have been more active than is polite, and she’s been alternating between wanting all the attention and snuggles, and then taking great offence that I touched her “wrong”. I have a cat who she’s been compared to a few times this week. So, we’ve had reminders that waving your feet and teeth around isn’t what nice ponies do, even if the curry comb is suddenly not to your liking. In true Sophie fashion she says that’s fine, but when I leave the paddock or stall she lets loose on the air around her to let us all know the feelings were still being felt. If this persists I’ll explore options with the vet, but in previous years she’s been OK once we get the first bad cycle out of the way. I’m not super worried, but also I am slightly relieved that my next pony is a boy, lol.

Riding wise, she’s been sharp but has been an angel compared to B. Who would have ever thought that day would ever come?!

Is still cute

Baby Trademark needs a barn name, but otherwise he’s halfway across the country and busy growing and being cute.  Not much to update you on there. I get more excited to meet him every week. 


Every day has felt like an inside day this week

It’s been super cold and really wet, so the grass turnout situation isn’t where I’d hoped. The girls get about an hour morning and night, otherwise they’re in their paddock, which needs resurfacing. So, that’s not been helping the above energy levels. They really don’t have access to non slippy ground to run around on at the moment. My improvement projects were put on hold when I wasn’t feeling good, but I’m gradually getting back to it and am hopeful we’ll get some of the final bits of fencing and landscaping finished soon. Maybe we’ll even finally move in to the house. I am so far behind in everything.

House with a backyard pony fulfilling 10 year old me’s dream

I’ve recognized my limitations slightly and am getting a contractor in to build the second run in shed. It was already in the works, but with new pony needing a bachelor pad when he arrives I’ve moved it up the priority list again. 


Is happening at home. I’ve had a couple of really fun late spring travel and show opportunities floated past me, but I’m feeling like it’s too soon to commit. I have some fuzzy mid summer plans but for now we’re going to stay local and just focus on getting myself and the ponies back in shape and feeling good. My at home ring is getting the sand added when we redo the paddock footing and at that point beyond trailering out for the odd clinic or lesson I’ll probably be pretty happy to appreciate what I’ve got at home. 

Current “footing” is actually the gravel base…pony feet allow this to be a thing.

One of my hiking routes passes the pit the sand is coming from. Tempted to ask if I can trailer B in for a test run first ;)


Monday 17 April 2023

Strength Building

 Thanks for all the love on the last post. It's been a week now since I signed the contract and I might even be more excited than before. This seems like it's going to be one of my very few life decisions that feels completely right. Given my tendency towards worrying and second guessing literally everything I do plus all the uncertainty of the past few months years, it feels really good to have 100% certainty that this is how I want to move forward.

Going to be bribing you with foal pictures for the next few months while I ramble on about Sophie and Bridget. He's getting bigger!

But, for riding goals? Said decision means I'm a few years out from actually having a new pony to ride, which actually is OK. If I had found the perfect riding age pony, logistics would have said Sophie would be looking for a new job/home and I'm not quite there yet. I've come to terms with the fact that looking for years for a new riding pony produced nothing because a) I really just wanted a Welsh D and b) I wasn't ready to make any decisions regarding Sophie.

Just some generic cell phone pics this week, but look at how much she filled out over winter! She finally has a chest and pecs and not just a place where both legs come out of. 

As for Bridget, she continued to feel not great the last couple of weeks but in a nice case of good luck, there was an equine bodyworker traveling here. She is looking to set up a regular schedule of clients to visit.  Seeing as I've been finding physio visits and appropriate exercise so useful for myself, I figured B might benefit too.

Because we all know how much B loves exercise. Here's an inspirational one for her (non existent) fitness account on Insta. The poles and the tack and the late afternoon sun imply she worked very hard this day, right?

We gave it a go, and the feedback validated much of what I've been struggling with. I was left with some homework, and once I read into the exercises, a fuzzy memory of a book I once bought for another horse came back into my mind. I pulled said book out and yes, it is exactly what I was hoping it would be and includes my homework, plus some.

A lot of the book is the more commonly advised things I already do practice: hacking, up and down hills, raised poles, transitions, etc. I love that there are suggested programs for different scenarios that incorporate a variety of exercises. The exercises that I want to add are some of the patterns over poles, and honestly quite a bit of the groundwork ones (I raise my hand as the person who only does groundwork if I'm addressing a specific problem, not as a regular check in or exercise). 

This week I placed out various poles and patterns and gave a couple of the ones suggested for strength building and proprioception a go, and oh my...things that are seemingly simple on paper are difficult for B right now. Also, a huge wake up call for how imprecise I've allowed my riding and spatial awareness to get...nothing like a pattern that doesn't involve just cantering or trotting over the center of the pole to show you all the places you're falling in or out or just generally not in control of.

So, my 'warm up' turned into the focus of my ride on Day 1 because it wasn't at all the 15 minute easy strength and agility building experience I thought it would be. Bridget's tendency to lean into everything came to light, both with her pushing through my leg and hand and also with her just smashing through poles rather than moving her body in the way the pattern asks. (Don't worry, I know Bridget is finding it hard because it IS physically hard for her right now so I'm not out there drilling, just trying to pick an appropriate exercise for the day, get a few good steps to build on and then move on to easier for her things). 

Bridget is equally excited about the groundwork parts. Why do I even with this pony? lol

Out of curiosity, I tried the same with Sophie and again, some interesting things came to light. While she physically finds it all easy, her attention span and energy levels make her struggle with me asking for more precision, particularly in walk. 

Do I even have horses at home if I don't let them graze the front yard now and then?

All in all, an experiment I'm going to keep up with...I think a few minutes before or after each ride would benefit both girls immensely.

One more foal pic for tax <3


Wednesday 12 April 2023

In which horse shopping takes a not so surprising turn and I buy a foal

I know, I know, buying something already going makes so much more sense. I said this time I was going to buy the unicorn that already does all the things, but nope, I am no good at taking my own advice. I wrote out an entire long saga of a post justifying this decision, but meh, you know what...if you've been here any amount of time me buying a Welsh Cob foal is probably about a 1/10 on the scale of Big Surprises :) 

What you really need to know: I like ponies. I like baby ponies. I like bay Welsh Ds with chrome. So I got one. He's cute. There are photos.

Is already a unicorn, can learn to do all the things later

He's named Trademark. I probably won't decide on a barn name until I meet him. He's currently just over a week old. His pedigree is like so:

Castleberrys Aeres! We all remember her lovely self from Jen at CobJockey. Little guy should have lovely movement for my future dressage goals

I had been on a waiting list for a while and exercised all the self control by passing in 2021 and 2022, but when I ended up with an option for this guy it felt right.

The logistics of him living halfway across the country mean that I'll be waiting a while yet to meet him in person. Luckily his breeder has provided tons of pictures to share.

Ready to event, such a huge ditch and brave pony :)

I told Bridget she's adopting a mini me this fall. I have a feeling she'll approve.


Monday 3 April 2023

Doing Some Things

 Despite yesterday's snow, it's started to feel like spring around here. In pony owning world, the main sign of spring is the massive drifts of shedded hair floating around the place for a month on end. Remind me to clip them next year - they both outfit themselves for the Arctic despite living on the rain coast.

My blogging and social media updates have been slow to materialize. I have a good day and want to tell you all about it, then I have a bad day and want to hide again. However, the general trend remains positive and upward.

In 'good day' news, I spoke to a saddle fitter about what I need and bought a new (to me) saddle and I love it. Mechanically speaking, B is round, and I have short legs and a funky back and there is just no comfortable way for me to ride with my legs and butt under me in proper dressage rider style right now. My hips just aren't that wide by nature and my back/hips are way too tight at the moment to forgive it. So, I've moved to a jump saddle and am much happier.

B modelling new tack. It's an Ideal on a hoop tree and I would really recommend as something to try, especially for people with cobby, round ponies. As a brand in general they are british made and beautiful quality if you're into wool flocking and not french leather ;) They're also much more reasonably priced than similarly constructed saddles with bigger name recognition here in North America *cough County cough*.

Like me, B has been having good and bad days. I'm interested to see what the vet thinks when she comes back. The bad days are not "OMG don't ride the lame pony!" bad, but I'm definitely feeling some off and on asymmetry behind the saddle again. It's hard with her as one of her default evasions when she's tired or bored or even spooky is to kind of waffle around rather than moving truly forward, so perhaps it's just that combined with being out of shape, or perhaps she's sore somewhere and thus not wanting to move out confidently, it's a chicken and egg thing, maybe. Long time readers will know that's been a constant struggle as she gives the illusion of forward and connected from the ground, but as a rider it has always been a lot of work to keep her together and straight and not just pretzeling her body and legs wherever. Anyway, neither of us is in any way fit so that's where we start. It's currently 15-20 minute rides, mostly in walk, a lot of quiet hacks around the neighborhood.  This week we added in ground poles under saddle. I've been reading a lot about how great stepping over poles is as a low impact way to aid topline development and spatial awareness, both of which B could currently use some assistance with, so I've added that in when I longe her and once a week under saddle.

B not a fan of longeing over raised poles. But I think a good idea to help her get fitter without needing to pack me around every time

Sophie has been...Sophie. She's a lot of pony some days, since everything she does is 110%, but that also means she's the most fun, the most cuddly, the most involved.  I've been consistent about getting her out and she's been for a few tours accompanying me as I ride B. She's also been longeing and walking over poles and doing different groundwork exercises at home, mainly to keep her focused and interested. She naturally finds it easy to figure out her feet and body - kind of the opposite to B. I actually have been hopping on Sophie on the quieter days or to cool out. She's much more comfortable for me to sit on and far less complicated to ride,  but also I'm aware she's not the portable couch B is and I have work and healing to do before I can ride her regularly again. (Soon though!)

We trailered to the club grounds last week and she explored some obstacles in hand while I rode B (and got zero other media)

With B not getting in foal, and me experiencing some setbacks, I've been keeping feelers out for that perfect pony who is able to do all the things and look after their rider as well, but that's the same pony everyone else wants so I'm not holding out any hope of a new arrival appearing soon. I'm also ridiculously attached to the pony dynamic I have so although one-pony-to-rule-them-all is a logical wish, three ponies in my back yard would likely be the net result of said pony purchase, so I tread carefully. Most days I just try to stay positive that I will get to a place physically where sticking to Plan A of doing all the things with Sophie while Bridget stays semi retired will be a reasonable outcome.

Glamour Shots of fluffy ponies