Diary of an Equine Mum

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!

Monday, 3 October 2011

Can I Have Your ID Please?

This is my "baby" Miles...he is only just 14 and in Year 10. Why oh why do the bus drivers keep asking him for ID in the mornings when he is getting on the bus with a large group of kids, all in the same uniform? He had it a few times in the summer holidays in his normal clothes and ended up paying adult bus fares, so I said yep we must sort out some ID.....I still haven't got round to doing it, so must get on to it!
This morning again, he was asked for ID. His reply to the bus driver...my ID is my school uniform. The bus driver snarled at him and let him on reluctantly. We did have a laugh tonight when Miles said what he really wanted to say to the bus driver was "Do you think that I am some adult weirdo that dresses up in a school uniform to save a couple of quid on the bus fare!"
We did laugh!