Sunday, 9 January 2011

What a Hack Today!

Had a good schooling session today! Hattie wasn't as "go, Go, GO!" in the school as she was yesterday but was working more in a calm fashion and in a nice outline. Her "proceed down the center line" was straighter so that was good but we still need to work on our "half 20 metre circles" as they were a bit wonky.

My son is going to his friend's house after school so I will be able to get some more schooling in tomorrow afternoon but then that is it till Saturday when I get to ride again! Better make tomorrow count then.

Although Hattie was calm for schooling, she was saving up her energy for our hack afterwards! LOL, that was fun!!!

Using Robin's advice about tightening your buttock to ask for the canter, Hattie and I had a nice canter on both reins without her speeding up and rushing into a canter or doing the opposite, a shuffle canter.

I do think as well that with the saddle being rebalanced yesterday, it's made for a happier horse today since she was working in a nice outline and our easy canter transitions. I'm going to keep my eye on the saddle and first signs it needs re-flocking, the saddler said he will come back.

There is a small river which runs at the back of our field and runs the length of the lane that turns into a ford that you can drive through if you have the key to the gate (which I do) and a 4x4 (which I don't!). You can ride through it as well although it was nearing 3' today due to all the rain we have had over the past week.

Here is my comical attempts to cross it. I ended up chickening out as we neared the middle when my paddock boots toe got wet and my head nearly clonked the side of the bridge. Excuse the quality of the video as it was filmed on a phone and you may want to turn down your volume as there is lots of screaming by a woman-old-enough-to-know-better and 13 year old Josie filming!

Coming back, Hattie was psyched up from being in the water (and probably from the sugar beet and all the laughing and screaming!) that she was on her toes. It didn't help that Josie on Hattie's stablemate, Chance, cantered on by and Hattie decided to remember that she was a Thoroughbred. She tried to do a buck and was prancing/cantering on the spot trying to take off after Chance so I had to keep my leg off of her and persuade her to get onto the narrow grass verge so that she wouldn't slip on the concrete whilst faffing about.

When she gets herself worked up like this, you HAVE to keep your leg OFF of her, point your toe RIGHT down, keep your right shoulder BACK and her head UP as any movement from you or touch from your leg, will send her flying forward. If you don't keep her head right up, she can and WILL buck you off even with a side saddle. You also have to speak firmly in a very low man's voice to "aaaand ho", "aaaand walk", "steeeeeady on", over and over again until her feet are planted on the floor and she's not trying to spin around. Only then can you start to very gently nudge her walking forward while repeating the phrases over and over again until she's calmed down. When she starts walking forward, you have to MAKE her go in an outline to make her concentrate on you and not what others are doing as then if you don't, she will start all over again. It took me all of the walk back home to do this!

It's hard enough doing this astride but with a side saddle it's harder as she keeps wanting to spin so if you forget to keep your right shoulder back, you come off. I was very pleased with my new side saddle though as it stood up to the job of keeping me put and did not slide forward onto her shoulders during her "episode" like my old one used to when she used to get in this state (and making things worse).

When we got back, Hattie promptly fell asleep while being untacked. I had a good look at my saddle to see if it sunk anywhere during our eventful hack and I was pleased to see that the new flocking is holding up well so far.

It has stayed level from front to back and still supports my left thigh.

You can see daylight through the gullet too as it's staying off her withers.

I tell you what though, NO MORE sugar beet for Hattie after I finish the bag this week!


  1. Hi Leila - your girly sounds like mine - lots of "leg OFF" work!

    I've got another patterns question (can you tell I'm broke & trying to do it all myself??!) Do you have ANY idea where I might find a pattern for either false points for a waistcoat to button under a habit, or a false front for a waistcoat (that has elastic at the back to hold it in place)?
    The only front patterns I can find are for men, and I'm a bit more ample than that!!

    Looking forward to your next installment.

  2. I bought a pattern for a ladies vest awhile ago and you can modify it to only be a "false front" by sewing the front two pieces together, adding elastic accordingly and adding buttons so it looks as if it's buttoned up.

  3. Mummy Mellie, I used to have one of those side false waistcoat thingies but I sold it on Ebay last year as I prefer a full waistcoat, didn't get much for it either and it was nice. I would have given it to you as it cost me more in ebay fees that what I sold it for, LOL!

  4. Oh Bless you! I have borrowed one to copy so am now trawling ebay for a set of nice vintage buttons to go on it, intresting but very time consuming!