Diary of an Equine Mum

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Just doing a quick blog post to celebrate the last year and welcome 2012. I have looked back over the last 12 months and have come to the conclusion that 2011 was a good year. 2009/10 were just awful so it was time to have a year  that was on the up!

Writing this blog also has made me look back over the last six months when I started Equine Mum. It is such a good record to look back on and I seem to forget what I did yesterday, let alone what I was doing six months ago. I would never have believed that starting Equine Mum would lead me to starting my own Equine Blogging Network - Haynet and the quick success it has been so far!

So I look forward to 2012 with a lot of optimism and sometimes I believe you make your own luck with positive thinking. I definitely spent 2009/2010 in a gloom with losing my dear dad and it's taken a lot to rise out of that never ending sadness. I entered 2011 in January thinking that it is now onwards and upwards and it has been. I definitely think by being more positive in your outlook, then the more positive things happen in your life. Your life is what YOU make it.

So there is my pearl of wisdom for 2012. I am going to celebrate New Years Eve tonight with good friends at the Blackboys. I wish all my lovely friends and family a Happy and Healthy 2012 - may it be a good one!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Billy's Birthday & Xmas Noodles For Tea

Well it's Christmas Eve but I've been doing the birthday thang! Yes Billy is sweet sixteen today! Stephen got in from his 10 day hard stint of working at the butchers about 2pm and then after Jacs and Adi came round to collect their turkey we hot footed it up to Tunbridge Wells.

We wanted to take Billy out for something that was far removed from Christmas so we headed off to Wagamamas for a bowl of noodles. It was so nice to have a light, fresh full of vegetables bowl of noodles. The stuffing of the rich food this week and then the huge turkey dinner looming tomorrow, it made a such a nice change. We wondered up to the town to have a quick look round, the shops had marked everything down and the sale signs that were already up were having even larger percentages being knocked off.

So we are now sitting here chilling out, Stephen desperately trying to stay awake and looking forward to tomorrow. I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and I will be raising a glass (or two) to the loved ones that are missing from the Christmas dinner table tomorrow. I know a certain someone will be looking down though - love and miss you dad xxxxx

Friday, 23 December 2011

The Usual 3am Alarm Call on Xmas Eve Eve!

It happens every year, I am up at the very early hours on the 23rd December.... Why I here you ask?! It's because I am married to a butcher, that's why!
Stephen always takes time off from his Meat Inspectors job to help his good friend in our local butchers. Its a week of extreme hard work and long hours in the run up to Christmas. Today though is THE day in the butchers trade as everyone comes in and collects their turkeys, hams, beef joints etc etc This is no joke, customers start queuing at 5am to collect their orders. Its all a bit mad really...

So Stephen got up at just before 3am to go off to work. I heard him get up and for some reason I cannot get back to sleep and as I said it happens every year.
So spare a thought for everyone working hard this year to make your Christmas, shop owners/staff, supermarket staff and many many others...but especially for those BUTCHERS out there!

Monday, 19 December 2011

A Trip To Olympia

Well after a busy few days, I have finally got a little time to blog about my fab trip up to Olympia on Friday. I woke to bitter, icy conditions in the South East yesterday and catching the train at Haywards Heath watching the snow come down. I suppose it all adds to the Christmas atmosphere but didn't really fancy being stuck in London due to ice on the rails! Isnt it funny how you can tell just by sitting on the train up to London, those sitting with their Toggi bodywarmers and their Dublin boots that they were off to the London International Horse Show!!
Well the atmosphere certainly lifted after walking through the doors of the show! It was packed with people. We hit the shopping village first and I had a good look round all the stands. They all seemed busy and money exchanging hands so the recession didnt look to be stopping people buying their horses anything! I obviously made a small purchase for  my horse (well me actually). I bought a lovely sheepskin seat saver. Well getting on in years now, we do feel the cold so I cannot wait to put my backside on that sheepskin cover when I next  ride out! 
We went into the hall to take a look at the carriage drivers warm up their horses. Such wonderful animals working in a team, a joy to watch! After a quick bite to eat we went back in to the arena to watch the Extreme Carriage Driving.
It was just brilliant! Not a sphere of horse riding that I am familiar with, but a total skill that is just fantastic to watch! Hats off to these carriage drivers!
After the carriage driving has finished it was the dog display team, so we thought we would nip out back to the shopping as my friends had some things to get. I'm afraid we got so side tracked in the shopping that we then missed the Lusitano Horses, Shetland Grand National and Lorenzo the Flying Frenchman......How bad are we!

We did however see the Christmas Cracker Showjumping Competition (which I loved). Such fantastic showjumpers dealing with a tricky course and massive jumps! Well done to Manual Anon who won the competition after an exciting jump off.
The Christmas finale was as usual a great Christmas tradition at Olympia with Father Christmas coming out in his sleigh which the crowd loved. It certainly put everyone in the Christmas spirit! All in all Olympia is a fab day out. I did what I believe is called a bit of "networking" and spoke to a few interesting people about Haynet. So let's see what 2012 will bring!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Perhaps Flippers Will Be On My Shopping List This Week

Well what a day I had yesterday! After my teenage sons driving me insane by not finding anything this morning and then missing the bus to school, I arrived at the yard looking like a tsunami had swept through it.
The wind and rain last night was pretty relentless. Our fields are steep with the stables situated at the bottom of them. The drainage is normally fairly good but I think the rain was so bad, the fields were still firm it just swept down the hill into the stables!
The yard itself was covered in a brown silt everywhere and water. Shamus and Zeb whose stables sit adjacent to the fields were swamped with water. Shamus stable was worse, full of water and he had been standing in it all night. Zeb's stable too was pretty grim and my main grumble was that I had used 3 new bales at the weekend to give him a nice fluffy bed. This was all now ruined.
The feed room was full of water with new bales of shavings sitting in the dirty water...... The hay barn also had some damage with some newley delivered hay was wet which had to be thrown out. Luckily we had some of the bales on palletts so that was ok.
So deep joy all in all! Took us 3 and half hours to clear the boxes of the wet shavings, clean all the drains out and then sweep up muddy silt. Their stables need to dry out so they are going to have to cope out in the field with the next bout of wind and rain forecast for tonight....
I can't tell you what I must of smelt like - Eau De Drain. When I got in and looked in the mirror it was an alarming sight, mud splattered face with wild hair. This time last year we were coping with a frozen iceland and minus 7 deg - this Christmas its storms and flooding! Poor Zeb and Shamus - perhaps flipper and a snorkle could be on the Olympia shopping list on Friday! Ooh I love having horses in the winter!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

A Christmas Trip To Borough Market

Stephen had a final Saturday off before the big Christmas push that he has working at a butchers over the holiday period to help out. He will start this Thursday and I won't really see him until Christmas Eve....

So as it was such a super weather wise day yesterday, we decided to catch an early train and go up to London. (The boys said no to trip with their mum and dad and lunch out...they look at me like I had two horns growing out of my head when I asked them...) It was bitterly cold yesterday only about 1 deg but there wasn't a cloud in the sky just bright winter sunshine. Borough Market is only a short walk from London Bridge Station and it was heaving with people! It was so Christmassy though - lots of Christmas trees for sale, mistletoe everywhere. Lots of stalls had chestnuts roasting, mulled wine and whiskey bubbling away. You couldnt smell a more Christmassy aroma and have an atmosphere like this market was yesterday!

We bought some lovely goodies to take home but the most interesting thing we bought was some wild buffalo and ostrich burgers. We are going to cook them today for dinner so very intrigued to see what they taste like. We stayed about an hour and half at the market and then did the long walk along the Thames up to Covent Garden. That again was so busy but what fantastic Christmas atmosphere!
What a great day we had, we ended up have a glass of wine and a pizza then decided to catch the afternoon train home. This has been one of the best Christmas days out that I have had in many years. You can bring Christmas on now as I am officially looking forward to it!!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Well It's December - Where Did That Year Go??

Well 24 days to Christmas! I cannot believe that we are in the final month of 2011. Where has this year gone! I have still bought the boys advent calenders and will still give them stockings. I think as long as they are under our roof I will continue with the kiddies Christmas traditions. Is there an age when you should stop?

Billy is 16 on Christmas Eve, so Christmas always brings me special memories as that was when I was in hospital having my first baby. I was the only one in there, two weeks overdue. Pushing and shoving while the midwives had their Christmas party complete with wine and twiglets. I won't go into too much details but my memory of giving birth is seeing baubles and tinsel wrapped round the midwives head! They wouldn't get away with it now, health and safety and all!

So I am off Christmas shopping tomorrow to Ashford. I have whittled the Christmas present list down as it was getting all a bit too much. The boys are now older and the purse has fewer coins in it..... I still have to finalise whats happening over Christmas with family but I will cook a big old bird none the less!

I have posted my boys (when they were little) favourite Christmas video by Raymond Briggs - Father Christmas - watching this brings back lovely memories, so watch and enjoy!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Haynet Is Going From Strength to Strength!

I am having some exciting times with Haynet at the moment. For those of you that don't know I am the owner and founder of Haynet UK's No1 Equine Social Blogging Network (hay-net.co.uk). Since setting the network up at the end of August this year, the site has gone from strength to strength and I am thrilled with the response to it.

Social Go who I use to platform hay-net.co.uk have redesigned Haynet for me and now use my webpage as their customer example as they have been so pleased with the way Haynet has grown over the last few months. I am in Equi-Ad this week and Ireland Horse and Pony are running an article in January about Social Equine Blogging which I am so looking forward to seeing.

Even more mind blowing is that I have been put forward to be nominated for the Equestrian Social Media Awards later this month. Voting starts on the 15th December for potentially three categories: Best Newcomer,  Best Blog and Best Social Network!!! I cannot believe it! The voting is 30% public and 60% board so I am just happy to be nominated which is good for me!

I will keep you posted, my blog has been a bit neglected as Haynet takes us a lot of my time at the moment. What a way to be ending 2011 and I have real ambitious hopes for hay-net.co.uk for 2012!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Cricket Dinner - My Those Boys Have Grown!

We had the annual cricket dinner on Saturday night where I had to endure long speeches on match statistics for the last season and hear who has won what and why and when! It was however a rare occasion that we went out as a family and eat out. We don't seem to do this much these days as the boys seem to have their own social lives and also we seem to kiss goodbye to about £100 if we go out to eat with them!
Miles won a couple of awards (sorry I forgot what something to do with bowling I think) and as I watched him walk up to collect his trophies I couldn't believe how grown up all of a sudden my baby boys have got!
Billy (above on the left) was award less this year but all the same had a good cricket season this year and had a good night. He has grown up too, they are both now taller than Stephen which obviously makes me feel a midget! Where has those 16 years gone.... Times are a changing....

Friday, 18 November 2011

Zeb Was Mr Grumpy Today!

I think horses have grumpy days, don't you? He is all fine, it's nothing underlying or anything wrong with him - he is was just having a grumpy morning!

He has been left out in the field for a few days with lots of hay and water with his mates, but he hasn't had his snooze in the stables for a couple of days. All of us have been busy with work at the yard so we have turned them out for 48 hours and I don't think this has gone down with the Belgium one.... He was standing at the gate with a complete face on!

Grooming him and tacking him up didn't please him too much either. Face pulling was on top form today. Once out on the hack, he changed back to his normal self and was much happier. Zeb is bit of a stickler for routine and he hasn't had his chill out time in the stable which I think he misses. It's hard work entertaining your friends in the field for hours on end!

Anyway I left him this morning after the ride in his bed, a bit of breakfast and now a happy chappy. Little does he know that it is lesson time tomorrow....perhaps I will have a "face on" instead!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

A Little Tribute To A Childhood Favourite - Thelwell!!

I have been round my mum's today and we were talking about childhood toys and what were our favourites. Thelwell ponies immediately was voted my favourite cartoon books and toys. I had Thelwell Curtains, Bed Spread, Books, Money Boxes etc - you name it if I could get a Thelwell pony on it I would have it! I just loved the comedic images of the children and their ponies. I don't think they have dated over the years either. Norman Thelwell had his first cartoon for Punch published in 1952 and led to a relationship which lasted for 25 years and over 1,500 cartoons, including 60 front covers. His first pony cartoon was published in 1953 and, by accident, led to a lifetime of association with the image of the little girl and the fat hairy pony.

stately homes, children and country pursuits have all been given the treatment. He was a master of sharp social comment and sheer zany humour, and the foibles of the British at work or at play were his favourite themes. He was also a serious landscape artist, painting in watercolour and oils. His 32 books have sold over 2 million copies in the UK and been translated into languages as diverse as Finnish and Japanese and his drawings have been used on many different kinds of merchandise including stationery, jigsaws, table mats, china, glass, door mats, socks and bedlinen.
Anyway my mum (who is bit of a hoader) went upstairs and came back down with the Thewell Curtains! She had unpicked it all so it was just the Thelwell fabric. It must be 30 years old. So I now have some fab Thelwell fabric to make use of. Thelwell cushion anyone?!

Monday, 14 November 2011

Lunging The Belgium Idiot

Having had a lunging lesson about 10 days ago, Zeb behaved perfectly in this lesson , no bucking, bronching nothing. It would have probably looked to my instructor that I was making up the problems that I had been having!
This morning with the grey and murky weather, decided against hacking out so thought would put my new lunging techniques to the test. I decided (probably in hindsight the wrong this to do) to just lunge him in his bridle, no roller or saddle. Anyway it all started so well. It was all quite calm to begin with, forwarded going walk, lovely energetic trot. I then asked him to go wide around the whole school and again all fine. After about 10 minutes of this perfect lunging, we then changed the rein. Again all calm and working well. I then asked him to go wide around the school and walking up to the top corner of the school, he grew from 17.2hh to 24hh and then decided to take off, bronching and bucking....
Deep joy! I'm hanging on the end of all these idiotic shannagans!  Anway I put him straight into a circle and he started bronching again, eventually calming down as I bought him away from the top end of the school.N ow our top end of the school is flush against some woods full of deer - it is known as the spooky end. He works brilliantly on both reins at the other end of the school!! Anyway calmness resumed working down the other end of the school. So I thought he has got to go back up the school again and do some calm lunging to finish on. I cannot let him get away with his idiotic behaviour. So we walked wide again, my friend Sue came up the path to come in with her horse once I finished and started to watch. Well started to watch more idiotic behaviour - he started again acting like a complete idiot! Once away from that spooky end, then he calmed down. I managed to get a circle out of him 3/4 up the school and I ended it not long after that....
So next time I am going to put on his kit and kaboodle on and hopefully perhaps he may respect that having all that on is work. My thoughts are that he see's it as a mickey take without his saddle on. 
Who knows what goes on in his Flemish little mind!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

My Autumn iPod Plays!

I wrote back in the summer that the album that I was playing endlessly was Friendly Fires, Pala! Still love it and now those songs remind me of the summer! I had a great summer with lots of parties as many of my friends turned 40 so Pala gives me those great memories!
Now the leaves are falling and the weather is now very grey, my iPod is now playing three albums that I cannot get enough of: the brilliant Coldplay- Myloxyloto, the fantastic Kasabian Velocirapator (gutted as wanted to see them in Brighton at the end of the month and it is sold out!)
and finally the super Noel Gallaghers album High Flying Birds which all remind me of the autumn months - enjoy!

Friday, 4 November 2011

I Dedicate This Post To Our Hay Man - Andrew!

I just wanted to write about our friendly reliable farmer Andrew who delivers our hay for us. We were looking a bit low on hay this morning and also the horses are coming in starving - grass is no more..... So we decide to have three large round bales delivered, two in the barn and one in the field.
We decide this at 8.45am and within the hour, his green tractor is chugging up the lane with three bales for us! He pops one in the hay feeder in the field and then with our help , pushes two into our hay store. He even unwraps it and forks it all in for us! It would be such a struggle without him and he never lets our yard down. He fixes fences, unblocks drains, cut hedges, and generally runs about after us! He has even been known to turn up with cakes for us providing a cup of tea is made to go with it!
So "three cheers"  to these great unsung hero's the farmers who work so hard, all year round to look after and provide for their animals on his farm and ours. Andrew is our unsung hero!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Mud Monster - Yes Autumn/Winter Has Arrived!

Well yes autumn has truly arrived in the South of England now....mud yuk I hate it! Zeb came in a crusty beige colour, head and legs absolutely covered in mud. Took me an age to try and brush it off and I was only hacking round the small block with Sue.
I was then covered in it - fine muddy dust all over me....great! Anway this is just the start of it so I will just have to put up with it! It was fab however to ride through the lane with the trees losing their golden leaves - such lovely colours.
Zeb and Flick were on the look out for the deer again....They are convinced, especially Zeb that they are out to get him. Anyway the deer gang left the big wooseys alone today - didn't see any of them! Just noticed some more mud on Zeb's mane in the picture - you try cleaning a huge 17.2, I'll have to get the step ladder out next time!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Everybody Is Moving!

With all this talk of the housing market slumping to new depths - I'm beginning to wonder if this is all a bit of media hype! Some of my friends and family are all on the move! I went and saw my dear friend Gail today and she was amongst packing boxes as moving 7 miles away with her family. She put her 5 bed house on the market in August and sold it straight away and now moving on Tuesday. She said today that there are 5 houses that have sold quickly in the last few months..... She has been there 9 years and we stood looking out on the garden today thinking of the last 9 years and the lovely memories of all our children who played out there, climbed the trees....all grown up now. Jasmin, Gail's eldest daughter passed her driving test yesterday...I still remember her in her Silver Cross pram!

My other dear friend of over 30 years or more now, Rhonda is moving this weekend too! She is moving back to the country as she has found a cheaper place to run. It needs alot doing to it so she has spent her 42nd birthday this week, painting, painting and painting to get the place up to scratch before they move in. I went and saw her last Friday and she was surrounded by packing boxes too. Both Gail and Rhonda have reminded me what a nightmare and work it is to physically move house. We all have so much stuff these days! I'm going to see Rhonda tomorrow at the new cottage to have a nose!

My sister is currently in the process of moving too. She sold up in Lamberhurst about 6 months ago and has temporarily moved in with mum. It did take her about a year to sell the house so thought it would be easier to move in with mum to find the right house in Eastbourne. I don't think it has been a particularly easy search, as price and location does dictate! Anyway she has found a lovely 4 bed turn of the century town house, which needs a bit of doing up in the centre of town. She is just going through the boring motions of getting the mortgage offer etc etc and hopes to definitely be in by Christmas.

Now Mum has decided when Josephine moves out - she is going to move! The house will start getting too much for her now she is on her own, so she needs to down size. She wants to move down to the coast, Pevensey being a favourite. So more house hunting and packing will be going on next year.

So what about me and my family - are we going to move? Well not for now. We want to see the boys into further education and see what their future plans will be....so give it another 3-5 years and I reckon we will be on the move too!

So don't be too fooled by the housing market gloom and doom...I think there are rumblings that its getting off the ground...at last!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Spooky Horses Today! It's Only An Umbrella!

Been out on a hack out this morning with Zeb and Sue on Shamus. It's much milder today with a bit of wind, but it was a lovely ride out with the fab autumn trees and their changing colours but....
...we had spooky horses today. Funny how some days you ride out and see things in your eyes that you think they are going to have a turn at, and they don't! Shamus was on the look out for anything today that was going to leap out and get him. We went up this quite shady bridleway which comes out on a busy main road. A house on this bridleway has had a lot of work being done to it and they have ripped out all the hedgerow so it's totally open...for the horses to see everything! Now our boys were not impressed with this house owners new purchase of a yellow patio umbrella!. Shamus started going backwards, sideways - he was having none of it. Then with the wind blowing the umbrella....they were sure it was coming to get them! I pushed Zeb forward to go past, he grew from 17.2 to 22.2 and snorting.
I wouldn't be too worried about it normally it was just that we were about 25 yards from a busy main road. They have only got to take off and we would of had it.... In my head I'm thinking don't take off, I don't fancy joining the traffic at 50 mph....but I'm having to "act" calmness to Zeb and pussy foot round him with my calm "good boy" voice and it's only an umbrella! Anyway we got past it, 22 hands  tall but we got past it.
We got to the road and crossed it fine. (Thank the lord!) Next spook was Zeb picking his way (as he does) down a steep hill and then somebody came out and threw a bag into their bin and slammed the lid down behind the hedge! Great - thanks for that! Legs everywhere and now he is running down the hill......
We came across rattly trailers and mattresses dumped again by the side of the lane - and that was all fine in Zeb and Shamus's eyes, no problems at all. I have said this before on here - hazardous hacking....I think the most dangerous in the many spheres of riding that there is!

Friday, 21 October 2011

Let's Talk About My Other Babies Now!

We found some pictures of the boys the other day in their pre-school days. These photo's were taken around 1999/2000 and my "baby" Miles is the one with tractor jumper on. (It does look like a stain on his jumper, probably Petit Filous as they were brought up on the stuff!) Where have those years gone? My babies are now talking about what party they are going to next, they are surgically attached to their Blackberries - but they have reverted back to having a hourly feed...at great cost to this household!
This is Billy in the blue jumper at milk time at pre-school, probably around 1998 too. Those were the days when the mums used to help out. I used to go and help, I remember it being a few hours of being run ragged by the little tikes but I have fond memories of it now, looking back.I now know that times have really changed and the pre-schools now are run far more rigidly than they were when my boys were at school. I sometimes wonder whether this is a good thing or not. There was no real targets in those days and the children did just what they should be doing...playing. Good times!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

I Thought I Would Blog About My New Baby!

Well I thought it was about time I blogged about my new baby...not a real baby silly! My new baby which is my new project hay-net.co.uk. It's all due to writing this blog that I started back in the summer that I struggled to find other equine blogs. There didn't seem to be a central place/site/network where you could find other blogs in the equine world. There is mumsnet (brilliant site which I wish I had that 16 years ago) for the mums, veg gardeners UK etc amongst many others in the hobby world but none for people that blog about their life with horses!
There are many equine forums out there but none where you can blog, promote your blog in the UK. There are thousands of equine blogs together with some networks in the USA. So I decided to set up my own. This has not been an easy road as I have never delved into the technology side of things especially to do with a social network, in my life!
Well I have been totally consumed with this over the last 6 weeks. I have been overwhelmed with the members who have joined and are using the network. There is such a variety of riders and horse owners out there doing such marvellous things with their horses. What I like about Hay-Net and I can be biased is that we are all every day people running our working and family lives to then fit in looking after and enjoying our horses. I have read many "celebrity horse riders" blogs which are interesting but they do get an immense amount of help, physical and financial. These two things are something that the every day rider has to battle with.
Anyway it's early days with the network and it is evolving all the time. I have some exciting things in the pipeline and my head is constantly buzzing with new ideas for the site. So please if you have taken the time to read this post (which I am very grateful for) please come along and take a look at http://hay-net.co.uk/ and even better come and join in!

Friday, 14 October 2011

It's Been Two Years......

It was two years yesterday that dad left us. I find dealing with the day of 13th October quite tricky really. It just brings back all those horrible memories of the day he died, as he died so suddenly.
I still think two years on I am still dealing with his death and I don't think this is a very quick process grieving. I have really good days and I have bad ones. Yesterday I was actually ok, but the night before I was very tearful. Grief is such a weird process to go through. I can talk about him here, and be absolutely fine. Then I can see the most ridiculous thing and that's it, I'm now on the sad road again. I got a Welsh Cottage holiday brochure sent through the other day. This made me very tearful opening it and seeing the holiday cottage in Marloes that we stayed with mum and dad in 2008....
Anyway I went to his grave with mum and we put some lovely flowers down there and it was a beautiful day, blue sky and sunshine. I remember so vividly driving down  to the hospital that horrible night and I just knew it was going to be bad, but never dreamt he would die. Dad died on the operating table trying to save him from an aortic aneurysm. There was the most stunning sunset that night, a sunset he would of loved. Little did I know that he had already left us by then....

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Which 6th Form That Is The Question??

We are now over the next few weeks looking at 6th Forms for Billy to go to next September. He still wants to be an architect so we know we are looking ahead of years of studying and to decide where. The obvious choice is for Billy to go on to the 6th Form that his current school offers. His school is brilliant for up to Year 11 but I have my reservations for him to stay on there.

The majority of his friends are planning to go to College and study vocational courses and not many of them are staying on. I have had friends children in the past few years that have stayed on at the current school and have really struggled with it from a studying and social aspect. 6th Form is totally different to school. I have had reports that the tuition is quite erratic and are told to study on their own accord, which I know Billy will struggle to get motivated especially as its only a 15 minute walk home. I can see him "studying" at home on his XBox....

Now my choice is for him to attend a 6th Form College which is 17 miles away. It has a wide range of courses and I think they treat the students in a more adult manner and the way of life is totally geared towards A Levels with structured study etc. We are taking him to look at the College next Monday so we will see whether he likes it.

Very "Catch 22" situation... Does he goes for the safe option and stay on at his current school which does not offer the different subject choice and a structured adult way of learning...or does he go to the College where he will probably know no one (to begin with) but offers the better education. I think I will have to grit my teeth and let him make the decision himself...I just hope it's the choice that I want for him!

Friday, 7 October 2011

More Like Hazardous Hacking!

Happy Hacking! More like Hazardous Hacking! Why do we sometimes feel a bit unaccepted in the horse world when you are "just" a Happy Hacker? When someone asks me what do you do with your horse, well I'm just a happy hacker actually, its like its something to be ashamed of!! Well it shouldnt be - hacking is dangerous and hazardous but I think one of the most enjoyable aspects of horse riding.
We should all be given rosettes and awards for the daily hazards we have to encounter hacking on the lanes, roads, fields and bridleways. This morning hack out with Sue and Flick was probably a usual one. Just left the yard and came across two deer sitting up in a woodland bank staring at us. Now Zeb has had a major adversion to deer in the past, but with age and stupidity he has learnt not to do a runner every time he sees them. Lucky for us the deer didn't decide to spring in front of us, and were happy for us to pass.
Apart from dealing with speedy cars, short cutting through the lanes which is the norm, the next mini drama was a new friend we aquired while riding past a large livery yard. A lovely collie X whippet puppy decided to come and join us for the ride. We tried to shoo her back, she wasnt having any of it, so we turned back to get her home. We told by one of the liveries that she would be fine and would go up the drive of the house below....yeah right, she was having none of it and followed us, running under the horse legs all the way down the hill. Decided to trot away from her up the hill, she ran with us. So at the top of the hill, Sue got off, found the telephone number on her dog tag and rang the owner. She promptyly appeared collected her new puppy Tilly, and said she did the same thing yesterday.......
So we continued on our usual route to then across yet another hazard in a horses eyes....a dumped cooker in a field entrance. Well  I did some bomb proofing training with Zeb and made him go straight up to it. He was absolutely fine, and I thought he would be walking around it like a banana! I was waiting for a crisp packet to blow past in the wind and then he would go to pieces!
So all in all just another normal hack out today. It just made me realise that "Hats Off" to all Happy Hackers - where can I collect my Happy Hackers rosette!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Schooling?! I'd Rather Go To Sleep Thanks!

Schooling - I'd Rather Go To Sleep Thanks!
Well this picture is of my "energetic" warmblood sums up the struggles that I have schooling this bladdy horse of mine! I was in a very positive schooling mood this morning. New things to try and motivate him, lots of serpentines,  changing transitions to wake him up and some pole work. Well, it was like trying to do dressage on a giant snail! I mean I was up early this morning so perhaps he had a busy night. Now there is nothing wrong with this horse and I can imagine some of you are thinking there is an underlying problem here.
Believe you me this horse can crank round a field flat out, and turn on a sixpence! Also the motivation leaps to gold star when he is on the homeward trot on a hack out. When schooling he does get going in the end..... by this time I am flaked out and on the point of collapse! Oh well lesson on Saturday, can't wait!