A new year brings lots of new plans. I promise I will let you know what they are soon, but I don't want to jinx anything so am holding my tongue for now! In the mean time - I thought you might like to know about our progress at the new yard - or really lack of it, due to irritating white stuff that we in England are not very used to dealing with.
The end of term was really busy, so not much time for riding. I put the wider gullet into my saddle and Echo has seemed much happier with that, so I'll ride in it like that for a while and see how we get on. We broke up for the Christmas holidays and it snowed that night. Now, I'm not talking about the little sprinkle that we often get that settles for a few minutes...this was bucket loads of the stuff - I got snowed in!! Couldn't get the car out for days; so much for my plan to do loads of riding - I couldn't even get to the yard! When I did manage to get there, the school was out of use due to the snow and the horses were all hobbling round on stilts as it was balling into ice in their feet.
My boyfriend and I went on a mammoth road trip over Christmas, seeing all the families and doing the Christmas thing, which was really lovely, but meant that that was another week off riding. I got back on Tuesday and was desperate to ride - so after a day's lunging (always a good idea - increased food means increased bucking!) I rode her a couple of times this week. However...on new year's eve it decided to snow again - nowhere near as much as last time, but enough to freeze everything and make the school unrideable again. I had a hack planned for this morning - the first one since we arrived at the new yard - and I was a little concerned. I didn't get to ride yesterday so she was nice and fresh, then I couldn't go and take the edge off in the school first; I couldn't even get on her in the yard as it was so icy - we had to go and get on out on the sand track.
I went out with a lady who owns a creollo pony that she rides western style and a girl who was walking her dressage horse out in hand as he is super clumsy apparently and would fall over in the snow and ice. We went out of the gate and I got on - you go straight out onto a farm track that runs parallel to the yard and parallel to an enormous turf field - big wide spaces that must shell shock the horses. Echo was blowing and snorting as I got on, and proceeded to passage down the track - I had trouble doing my girth up, but after about 5 minutes she really settled - we tucked in behind the dressage horse's bum and Echo must have thought he was rather lovely, as she was on best behaviour after that. She must have been in a bit of shock as she didn't even look at some enormous farm machinery - huge rolls of irrigation pipes that would normally have hidden horse-eating monsters. She may also have been concentrating on the footing as it was quite slippery in places.
It was a really beautiful sunny morning, and with the fields covered in snow too it was beautiful. I was very proud of her as she didn't put a foot wrong. More of that to come - hopefully. The dressage horse is a good match for her in terms of pace in the walk and is very very calm - I think we're going to have fun hacking with them. It was nice to be out with the creollo pony too - he's very sure-footed as he came over from South America and used to be a trail horse.
Things are all going well at the new yard - Echo is very happy there, and is now out with my friends' horse that we moved here with. They aren't too fussed about each other, but it's nice that they have each other for company if they want it. There is also a lovely big chestnut horse in the field next door, which Echo was very taken with; indeed, she came into season within a few days of being there and was flirting outrageously - as you can see in the photo below. The only downside to the yard (and it isn't really a downside...) is that as she's being fed so much more and more regularly, her feet have grown at double rate! She was shod about 4 and a half weeks ago and her feet look long and need trimming. She normally gets done every 6 weeks, and even then barely needs anything to be taken off! I hope it slows down a little, as she'll cost me a fortune!
Here are some pictures from the last few weeks. I still have a post about my lesson with Andrew Day to come and some photos and a video of that.
All ready to go:
In her brand new pyjamas: