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 Bonjour's Blog

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bonjour

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PostSubject: Bonjour's Blog   Sun Feb 26, 2012 1:03 pm

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Welcome to my blog, which could be better titled "What I didn't do with the horses this week" Rolling Eyes



Following Maycloud's fine example, I'll give a quick intro to our little herd.


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Bluey, or True Blue to give her posh name, has been with us for 3 1/2 years and is now 23 years old. She's a Shire x Cob who's a white grey now but was blue and white as a baby, hence her name. She stands about 16.1hh. She's the kindest, sweetest old girl in the world and is the first horse I ever owned. She's semi-retired but still likes to get out for the odd hack but gets a bit stiff afterwards due to a bone spavin in her near hind hock.





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Rhubarb, or Roo for short has the passport name Utopie de Jobourg. She's a BIG dark bay Cob Normande, a shade under 17hh and rising 4 years old on the 17th March this year. She's part-broken, having been backed in January. As you'd expect with a youngster, she has her boisterous, even bolshy moments but when you get her attention she is a real tryer and a good learner. We've had her about 18 months and have taken things slowly with her to allow her to grow up a bit and give time for a good bond to form.


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Buster, or Midnight Warrior, is the third and final member of the gang. He's been with us about 6 months. He's a TB x Cob, 16 years old, dark brown though his passport says chocolate dun confused He stands at 16hh. We weren't looking for a third horse but we heard his owner was looking to sell him and because we had bought Bluey from her she would let us have him at a LOT less than the asking price because he'd be going to a good home. He's a lot lighter and sportier than our two "Draughty" girls but is well-built enough to be described as a "gentleman's hunter" (though I'm no gentleman Laughing ) We figured he'd be good for me to learn jumping on but it turns out he is a bit of a handful in the jumping ring and wants to run at the jumps with his head up affraid We'll be getting a more experienced friend to do some jumping work with him before I risk it. However, Buster is a real gentleman out on the road and a great, forward-going hack.



As I mentioned a few hundred words ago, "What I didn't do with the horses this week".



Buster has been out of action with a shoe off and the farrier, who comes over every 6-8 weeks from Jersey is out of action with a smashed knee from being kicked by one of his Jersey customers' horses. Tom, the farrier was hoping to come over at the end of March, once his plaster was off, but the doctor has put him off for another month.



The thought of waiting till the end of April and all the Alderney horses limping around in "Alladin Shoes" didn't bear thinking about, so a fair bit of my time this week has been taken up with phoning ALL the island's horse and pony owners, finding out which ones were highest priority, making up two lists of neddies and their requirements and phoning a Guernsey farrier to organise two visits in March, no easy task when he already had a full diary. He's coming on the 7th and the 28th and I've told him to bring the vest with the big S on the front and wear his underpants on the outside. He'll need to be "SuperFarrier" to get through 44 neddies (mostly trims) in two and a bit days.



With one thing and another I haven't had a great deal of time to do much, other than the twice daily feeds and poo-picking. To add to the workload, I'm currently looking after a Feisian stallion whose owner is having a difficult time. He was a bit underweight when I took him on 4 weeks ago but 3 feeds a day, plenty of hay, a move to some fresh grazing plus a thorough worming has sorted him out and he's back to a more respectable weight now. His owner has him for sale, so I hope it all works out. I don't mind helping out in the short term but I could do with spending some time with my own horses.



I'm hoping to fit in some work with Roo this week. Now the weather's improving and the days are lengthening I'd like to get her ridden work a bit more established so he can get out and see the world and the world can see her. Also, I've been given a set of harness that might fit her, so I'd like to try it on her and, if it fits and if she accepts it, try long-reining her in it as a precursor to eventually breaking her to drive. [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]





I'll blog some more when there is more to blog about. Watch this space.





Bill.


Last edited by bonjour on Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Bonjour's Blog   Sun Feb 26, 2012 1:17 pm

Hi Bonjour

I have a lot of weeks of doing not a lot then a nice busy one then back to nothing :18-):I lookforwad to seeing Roo in harness
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PostSubject: Re: Bonjour's Blog   Sun Feb 26, 2012 1:25 pm

So many horses, so little time lol!



I'll have to see if the harness fits. It fitted a much smaller Cob Normand who sadly died, but she was more like 15.3hh than 17hh, though she was quite stocky.





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PostSubject: Re: Bonjour's Blog   Sun Feb 26, 2012 2:10 pm

It'll be great to read your blog bill, things like the farrier Shocked I just can't imagine how restricted life on an island must be, as well of course keeping up to date with what you're doing with your ponies. [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] Are you keeing the stallion at your place or having to travel back and forth?

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PostSubject: Re: Bonjour's Blog   Sun Feb 26, 2012 2:21 pm

Keep a stallion with my two floozies! affraid affraid affraid Not a chance! He's about half a mile or so away. No big deal to drive that far, it's the time spent feeding and looking after him that I could do with.



Luckily, he's a nice lad and has only challenged me once, when his (female) owner helped me move his field. I think he was just showing off in front of his "mare". I stood up to him and after a bit of a stand-off, he backed off. He's been fine otherwise.





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PostSubject: Re: Bonjour's Blog   Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:24 pm

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After too many weeks of doing nothing, I finally managed an hour with Rhubarb this afternoon. I didn't want to overload her brain when she's not even been led anywhere, let alone worked, so I kept it nice and simple so she could feel she'd done something and done it well.



I led her down from her paddock to the stable, with a few halts and backups along the way, just to remind her that I dictate the direction and the pace. Then she had a nice relaxing grooming and some standing still practice before I did some handling of her tail and dock area to check that she was comfortable with being handled there.



Then it was time to try on the harness that I've been given for her. It belonged to a Cob Normand mare who used to do carriage rides but who tragically died as a result of birthing complications. She was a smaller type than Roo, only about 15.3hh but stocky, so I was hopeful the harness might fit Roo. I'm really hoping that Roo will take to harness work because, by the time she reaches retirement age I'll be getting on a bit too and my old bones might not be up to riding any more. Also, carriage driving allows you to share your horsey passion with non-horse-riding family and friends. [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]



First on was the saddle, which to Roo was no different to wearing a roller or her riding saddle, so she didn't bat an eyelid. The saddle was a reasonable fit and there was enough slack left that I can pad it out with a blanket or saddle pad.



I then tried the crupper without it being attached to the saddle because its not the opening type and I did't want to take any riks of not being able to get it off in a hurry if she violently objected. I needn't have worried because even my ham-fisted handling of her tail was patiently tolerated and she didn't seem bothered by the strange object tucked under her tail.



I didn't try the breeching on this occasion because I want to try the crupper on again and buckle it to the saddle next time. Without that in place i figured it would be tricky to check the fit of the breeching.



Last thing to try today was the breast collar, which was acceptable in length around her chest but sits too high on its longest setting and would interfere with her windpipe if it was used like that. I'm going to try and find some short straps with buckles to extend the four little straps at the ends of the neck strap. They look to be the same width and thickness as bridle cheekpieces so I might get 4 of those, cut the bit buckle ends off and punch some holes in them to make extenders.



I didn't try the blinkered bridle today because I thought that might be a bit too much for her in one go. There's no rush and it's better to do less than she's capable of than try and do too much and put her off wanting to learn.



After that we did a bit of free-lunging in the round pen. Not brilliant in terms of staying on the circle, or even going in the right direction, but she walked, trotted and halted when asked. We finished off with a little standing still unheld exercise where I made her stand and slowly walked right round her about ten feet away, returning to her head to praise her and give her a scratch. After which she walked nicely back to the paddock where I turned her loose and, after a bout of exuberant galloping, bucking and skid-stops, we had a little game of chase-me-along-the-fenceline. [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] Rhubarb was clearly pleased with herself and happy o have got out and done some stuff [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] and although it was not the most intensive of sessions, it was deeply satisfying to have done a little and ended on a high note.



Weather and commitments permitting I'm hoping to do a bit more with her tomorrow.
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PostSubject: Re: Bonjour's Blog   Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:57 pm

cheers Well done both. I love it when they "ping" after work, it's as if they know they've been good.

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PostSubject: Re: Bonjour's Blog   Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:07 pm

Yep sounds great, well done Roo Very Happy

Any photos in her new wear?
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PostSubject: Re: Bonjour's Blog   Tue Mar 06, 2012 6:33 pm

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On Saturday morning I got to do a bit more work with Roo. After the customary relaxing grooming session I got the saddle and bridle on her and did about 15 minutes of long-reining in the round pen with her. She was very chilled out, almost to the point of being reluctant to do anything Sleep so I thought I'd try something she's not done before in long reins, just to keep her attention up.



I brought her to a halt in the middle of the pen, made he stand for a short while, then asked her, with a clear, firm voice command and some light pressure on the reins, to back up.



Well, you could have knocked me don with a feather! she stepped backwards 4 good steps in a straight line! cheers She's only ever backed up on the leadrope before, with someone in front of her "pushing" her back with their gestures/voice/energy. Clever Girl! I gave her lots of praise and ended the long rein session there.



Sadly no-one was taking pictures or video of the star pupil that day:(



I gave her a few minutes break then got my hat and boots on and we had a few minutes of ridden work at walk around the pen. I decided to try backing her up under saddle and again gave her the same clear commands I'd given her on the long reins, coupled with a bit of leg. She was a bit hesitant but managed a couple of tiny steps back. I ended the lesson there with a really big fuss. [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]





The weather was utter cack on Sunday and I was busy on Monday but today we had a lovely bright afternoon and we had some time so, armed with the camera this time Rolling Eyes I fetched Roo from her paddock into the round pen and we set to with the brushes and tacked her up.



I decided that this time we'd skip the long-reining or lunging and that I'd get straight on. No problems there, Roo stood nicely while I climbed on the hop-up and leapt aboard. A few circuits of the pen later it was clear that this was going to be like Saturday's session. Roo was bored! Sleep So, I tried backing up again! Here's the clip



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I tried to get her to trot but couldn't get her to keep it up for more than a few paces Sleep Sleep Sleep Radical action was called for to wake madam up a bit, so I got Mel to open the pen and rode Roo out into the big field.



The change was instant. Her walk extended and her ears came up. "Wahey! we're going somewhere" she thought. I had no trouble getting trot from her, in fact there were times when it was harder STOPPING her from trotting! [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] Mostly she was very good but we did have a little argument when she wanted to go out into the next field and I wouldn't let her. Nothing too bad, just some stroppy head tossing



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We also had a rather exciting moment when Roo thought she'd tank off and see her pals, forgetting that he-who-must-be-obeyed was on board affraid [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] affraid [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] After about 4 or 5 paces of canter and a Whoooooaaaa from me, she remembered her manners [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] Shame we didn't catch it on video!



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I have to admit, it was good fun to ride her when she was in lively mode. I think she might make quite a forward-going hack for a horse of her size.



She was brilliant today especially as this was only her second time ridden outside the round pen and she's only been ridden a handful of times in total. I can't wait to get on her again.



Farrier visit tomorrow and loads to do so no rideys for me Sad At least Buster will be back in action cheers





Watch this space!





Bill


Last edited by bonjour on Tue Mar 06, 2012 6:47 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : loads and loads of typos)
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PostSubject: Re: Bonjour's Blog   Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:45 pm

Great Vids Bonjour, my but Roo's a big girl you look quite small up there.

She is very good though, and a nice little back up.

Glad to hear thta you finally have a farrier coming over, so Buster's hoilday will be over Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Bonjour's Blog   Wed Mar 07, 2012 5:44 am

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] with everything maycloud says. Good to see you both in action bill.

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PostSubject: Re: Bonjour's Blog   Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:02 pm

I've just read your blog from the beginning, the video clips are great and yes you can certainly see the difference in her when she's outside the round pen, she looks like she is going to be a fun ride. Very Happy Bet you can't wait to get her on the beach!














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PostSubject: Re: Bonjour's Blog   Wed Mar 07, 2012 2:25 pm

Yes Georgie, I'm well looking forward to some beach riding with her. I can't wait to see what she makes of the sea Very Happy I'm hoping, if all goes well, to progress from riding in the field to going out on farm tracks in the next couple of weeks or so. Then, maybe next month, onto hacking out on the roads at quiet times, which will allow us to get down to the beaches cheers Beaches are closed to horses from 1st June to 15th September so I've got a target to aim for if I want to beach ride this side of summer.





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PostSubject: Re: Bonjour's Blog   Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:36 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] Look forward to hearing what you've been doing with the "ponies" when you're not so busy bonjour.

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PostSubject: Re: Bonjour's Blog   Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:47 pm

I'm back! Did you miss me? Very Happy



It's been a hectic and difficult couple of months with one thing and another. No time for riding or much else other than feeding and poo-picking.



However, hopefully things are settling down a bit now and I was supposed to be going on a day trip to France this Saturday and was going to fit in a visit to Roo's breeder and some other horsey stuff as well as meeting some old friends. Disappointingly, the weather put paid to that and the boat was cancelled. I might get another chance next month, fingers crossed.



Today we managed our first long-reining session for absolute ages with Roo. I knew it would be "challenging" because she gets so excited she can't contain herself if she's not worked regularly.



I got her tacked up with saddle and bridle and Mel held her while I put on the long reins nd got myself organised. I prefer to use the saddle with the stirrups short and tied underneath her with baler string, rather than a roller because the reins stay lower down and aren't so prone to going over her bum or, worse still, riding up under her tail.



I took her round the small enclosure she was in a few times, mostly at walk. True to form, she wanted to charge round lke a maniac and we had some stroppy bucking and bolting in circles, which were fairly easily dealt with by loosening the outer rein some and making her circle me.



After 5 minutes I thought she was calm enough to go out into the big open field. Mel opened the fence up and I walked her out. So far so good and she was fine, if a lttle trotty, for a minute or so. Then I must have had a momentary lapse of attention just as her bum dropped and she took off at full canter. I was too slow in slacking the outside rein and stepping to the inside and before I knew it both reins came tight and I was running flat out behind her with the coils of one rein about to lasso my hand. just as she pulled me clean off my feet, I chucked the reins away and went sprawling Embarassed Evil or Very Mad Shame there was no camcorder about or I could have claimed my £250 quid from "You've Been Framed", Laughing



Roo thoroughly enjoyed her 5 minutes of freedom and charged around the field like a loony. I caught up with her three fields away, chatting to an old retired mare who was not best pleased with the young intruder.



Havng burnt off her excess energy, she was good as gold when i long-reined her back home, butter wouldn't melt Razz . We had a dodgy moment where she decided a roll would be nice after all that exercise. I had visions of her destroying her saddle as she went to her knees. affraid NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! I yelled at her and whopped her on the bum with the reins. Fortunately that did the trick and she jumped to her feet. I quickly dropped the energy and quietly told her to walk on. We did another 10 minutes of nice calm walky work, stops, turns and back-ups then called it a day.



All things considered it was a successful lesson, dispite the near disaster. She learnt that throwing a wobbly doesn't get her her own way in the end and that rolling while tacked up is not allowed. I learnt never to take your eye off the ball with an excitable youngster. Result! [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]



Just got to keep it up now and make sure we get 3 or 4 sessions a week in. The aim is to get back on her by next weekend and to have her hacking out by end of July. Wish us luck!





Bill
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PostSubject: Re: Bonjour's Blog   Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:28 am

Welcome back Bonjour

Roo sounds just like Moss if he's been in a small field and not been out, on my blog is a vid that looks I think a bit like your sessioned sounded Laughing

Hope the weather starts to get better so we can all do stuff
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PostSubject: Re: Bonjour's Blog   Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:25 am

Hi bill, YES, you were missed, and it's great to have you (all) back
Pheww!! I'm exausted reading your blog, don't you just love the "little b****r's", wish mel had been recording your antics Twisted Evil I definately think roo needs a few "sessions" before you get back onboard. I shall be watching this space with interest Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Bonjour's Blog   Tue Jun 12, 2012 6:25 am

We had another go at long reining yesterday. Much better than the previous one but still a few issues, worst one was caused by being unreasonably scared of next door's lawnmower. affraid Rolling Eyes Ended up with the reins around her legs but, bless her, she was pretty good and stood held by Mel while I untangled her. The rest of the session went without incident and included some trotting, changing rein at trot and trot/walk/trot transitions.



Sorry, still no video, I forgot to take the camera Rolling Eyes
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PostSubject: Re: Bonjour's Blog   Tue Jun 12, 2012 7:22 am

All sounds jolly good fun Very Happy and it's great to have you back !
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PostSubject: Re: Bonjour's Blog   Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:37 pm

Yes we definately missed you [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] , I had a similar time with an attempt to long rein our new pony , same as you it all went well around the house but feeling over confident took a turn onto the small paddock suddenly meant i had to throw the reins , just need arms long enough like Mr Tickle to lead her from the front aswell Rolling Eyes

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PostSubject: Re: Bonjour's Blog   Sun Jun 17, 2012 3:04 pm

What a great day! Cool Fathers Day cards and prezzies from the kids this morning. Only a few beds to make and re-cycling to do, then the rest of the day with the horses cheers





We got Roo tacked up and I did 10-15 minutes long-reining with her out in the open field. i expected a bit of exuberence because she's had a couple of days off but she was very good if slightly over-enthusiastic. Once shed settled nicely into her work I took her across to the temporary round pen, took off the long reins, put on the riding reins and lengthened the stirrups. Then, after a bit of hopping up and down, I climbed aboard for the first time in 3 months! affraid [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]



Roo was as good as gold but a bit keen and set off at a trot when asked for walk. Steering was a bit uncertain too but once she settled down it was like there had been no break in her training Very Happy She walked and trotted when asked and managed to sustain a trot for two circuits of the pen without slowing to a walk. Previously I've had difficulty getting her to trot and stay trotting in a confined space. no bother out in the field but not in the round pen, so that was a real bonus today. At that I decided to end on a high spot and rode her quietly back to her paddock from the round pen, untacked her and made a big fuss I love you . Unbeknownst to me, a friend had been taking some pictures. I'll post them up when I have them.



Buster was next for some much-needed attention and exercise. I lunged him for a few minutes on each rein at all paces before taking him out for a nice long, steady hack. He was very tense at first because he's been festering in the field for weeks and weeks. His eyes and ears were all over he place and he shied several times in the first twenty minutes. Every gateway was hiding a monster! affraid However, after he'd warmed up and we'd had a good fast trot , he got some of his old confidence back and we both enjoyed the rest of the ride. I only let him have one short canter because he is pretty unfit just now. When we got home I sponged him own and put his "string vest" on and turned him out once hed cooled down.



Then it was time to take Bluey for some in-hand exercise. Shes been getting quite stiff through inactivity and her hooves had got very long the last time she was trimmed, so a bit of walking out on the roads to wear her hooves and get her creaky old joints gently moving seems like just the ticket.



She seemed to enjoy the outing, especially when we stopped by the house and she got some apple slices for a treat pig We got back just as it started to spit with rain, so it was rugs on and home for tea.



Been back up to do evening feeds and poo pick, now I'm relaxing with a glass of red (one of my F.D. prezzies!)



If only all Sundays could be like that!





Bill
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PostSubject: Re: Bonjour's Blog   Sun Jun 17, 2012 3:27 pm

Sounds a fab way to spend a Sunday,
A great report and really looking forward to the pics Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Bonjour's Blog   Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:53 pm

Here's some pictures.



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PostSubject: Re: Bonjour's Blog   Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:12 pm

Great photos, Roo is looking fab but she really makes you look short Laughing Laughing
I'm going to look a dot on Moss lol!
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PostSubject: Re: Bonjour's Blog   Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:15 pm

Very Happy If only every day could be as good. px

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