Saturday, 17 April 2010


I've been mentioning for a while that there are big changes on the horizon, but haven't got round to explaining what they are. This week I am heading into my last term at the school I teach at, and in fact, my last term of teaching altogether...for a while at least! In September, I am going back to university to do a Masters degree in journalism. It's something I've wanted to do for a long time, but I wanted to feel like I'd given teaching a good go first; that way, I know I can come back to it later if I want to.

I looked into various options - should I stay where I am and do a distance learning course? Should I do a course at all or just try to find a job? But the more I thought about the Masters, the more I really wanted to do it - to get back into studying. I haven't yet decided what area of journalism I want to get into, so hopefully the course will enable me to make lots of contacts and get lots of experience so that I can find a job that I love.

For Echo, this will mean another move of area. I am going to study where my parents live, and it just so happens that they have a big paddock that already has two horses on and they are thinking of building a couple of stables. It needs work before I would put Echo on it (nasty barb wire fencing etc) but it all seems like it will be rather perfect. It was funny - as I thought more about the options, this plan just seemed to slot into place.

The best bit (other than the exciting change of career of course!) is that there is a small DIY livery yard across the road and if the weather gets as bad as it did last winter, I could keep her there for a while instead of her living out; but also, it has an arena with a lovely rubber surface and the owner said that I can pay a small amount each month and use it whenever I like!! It is absolutely perfect, and literally only 100 yards from my house.

I will post a bit more about changes that I'll be making to the paddock, as I don't know a great deal about managing grazing, and would really value some advice from those of you experienced at it. Initial plans are to split the 3 and a half acres in half with electric fencing so that we can rotate it. It needs some sort of treatment as there are buttercups on it at the moment, and I will need to change the top two layers of barbed wire all the way round the outside, which will be pricey, but vital. I will also have to consider muck heap options, as there is a ditch that runs into a stream in the field which I know I must keep away from.

There's a bit of work to do, but I'm just so glad that I don't have to sell Echo or put her out on loan - the fact that I can do the course I want to AND take my horse with me is amazing. Just got to get through this last term now!

Friday, 9 April 2010

Look what we've been doing!!

We had such a fun morning! We went with a friend who rides her horse western style and just wanted to take him out somewhere. Echo was a star - she jumped everything I asked her to and didn't put a foot wrong - except for a strange little hoppy thing she did after a couple of jumps. She really enjoyed herself, as you can see in the videos. She was absolutely exhausted though!

Really happy with her - she travelled well and was very calm the whole time - what a superstar!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

A Short Catch Up...

I must again apologise for my poor commitment to blogging regularly. It has been such a busy few weeks since I wrote about Wiola's visit. I have been working very hard on my position in the saddle, although probably not doing the 'off the horse' exercises enough. I think I'm much straighter now, and when I recently rode in my old saddle so that I could jump, it didn't slip at all, which would suggest that I'm not leaning to one side nearly as much as I was.

So - the last few weeks have been busy - lots of riding and lots of other things too - more about that to come! Echo and I have been doing lots of schooling, but also some jumping, which was brilliant and lots of hacking. The countryside is not quite as good as at my old yard; I can't complain, as it's all off-road, but it is round farmland and there is a lot of machinery! It's very good for her to learn about tractors and irrigation and spinny spraying things and huge white sheets covering wide expanses of space... but it can be a little hairy when we're out on our own! Luckily, most of the farmers are really nice and if they see you're in trouble they stop and turn off their engines. Some don't. Some even start their particularly loud spinny spraying things just as you ride past. I love those ones.

This week I am hoping to do a little more jumping, then am hopefully going with a friend back to the old yard to use their cross country course. I feel like having a bit of a play over some of the little logs and through the water - I think it'll be good for both of us.

This is a very short post, by my standards, and I have SO much to say, but it'll have to wait for a couple of days so that I have time to tell you ALL my news!

I shall leave you with a few photos of the hacking delights that we go past!

I'm particularly fond of these big sheets when it's really windy - they ripple and then bits of them come loose and flap like a sail!

Daily adventures while training my young horse.