Tuesday, 29 April 2014

New blog

I am changing from having on public rehab blog for Remi, to a joint Remi and Mac blog, that is unlisted. To cover the trials / tribulations / schooling / day to day of both horses.

I am going to have it unlisted to enable me to put more personal details in my blog.

If anyone is interested in continuing to read about Remi- feel free to message me your email address and I will add you as a reader.

philippa [dot] paul {at} google mail (dot) com

Timeline pictures - before and after Rockley

Remi October 2012 (after 4 months turned away)

Remi 18th November 2012 (after 5 months turned away)

Remi goes to Rockley mid December and returns end of March

Remi 2 days after returning from Rockley - 28th March 2013

Remi 2 days after returning from Rockley - 28th March 2013

Remi June 2013

Remi July 2013

 Remi April 2014

Friday, 25 April 2014

Rolling rolling . . .

Boys rolling. Bonus points if you can spot which pictures are Remi and which are Mac?

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Reigate Hill ride :-)

Taking Remi up Reigate Hill was another milestone for me. It is quite a bit fitness and strength challenge. And whilst we had planned to, weather and events meant Remi hadn’t been up Reigate hill since his shoes went back on in October.

He was probably fit enough in December, but then the weather wasn’t right for a steep slope down. And then he lost fitness and strength in January, and we finally organised taking him on the Bank Holiday Monday.

He made it up the hill and down without too much effort. Some work to go before Remi is fit enough to canter round the Downs at the top as well. There is a great, horse friendly pub at the top. But unfortunately we arrived 50 minutes before it opened, so no drinks for us!


I was intending to lead him down the first time, as the rubber Eponas he wears in front have less grip than normal shoes. But decided to push on and ride him down the steep bit and he was fine. I don’t like the steep bit – it is a sideways and downward slope, with lots of loose stones and gravel, and is on a bend. I have nightmares about them falling over. However we made it in one piece.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Dressage outing for Remi

I took Mac to Oldencraig on Good Friday. Clever pony won his Elem music class with 67% so that is us qualified for next year's Winter Regionals. Maybe I will remember the leg yield next time :biglaughA:

Saturday was Remi's turn for an outing. Been over 2 years since I last took him to do dressage. K did one outing with him last summer. Went to
Oldencraig to do Elem 43 unaffiliated. He was a star and so happy to be out :wub:

Unfortunately some confusion and running late meant rather too much warm up. Into the outdoor and he was very suspicious of the plant pots. I explained to him that we hadnt waited two years, and come all this way for one test to ruin it spooking at plant pots - and to trust me -and luckily got two circuits of the arena - and he decided to trust me :wub:

I thought it was a fab test - there were things to improve - but he was accurate, listening, focused, and I kept the bend through his ribs, and he didnt lean on me, or try and speed up, and I was really pleased. I also thought it would score well. Scores for class were generally low. Winner was on 62. something, and we had 61.55% - I had thought it was a 65% unaffiliated test. Remi thought he was fabulous which is the main thing. :wub: Was so lovely to be out on him, and him enjoying showing off!

Maddeningly I then lost lorry keys and it took me over an hour to find them at the bottom of my bridle bag.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Good stuff :-)

We have been busy hacking and schooling Remi. And getting some regular lessons in. Remi is getting fitter.

He is enjoying the spring grass coming through, and is looking well rounded and shiny. Both boys are eating less haylage and enjoying dragging it out and not eating it!

His Fairfax girth has finally arrived, so I am looking forwards to seeing what he thinks of that.

I am enjoying being able to hack after work. My matching bay ponies ready to hack :-)

Best of friends (most of the time) :-)

Friday, 4 April 2014

Misty hacking and bravery

On Tuesday, I worked from home. I hacked Remi out in the mist first thing. It was misty at 6.15am, I waited until 7.15am and was still misty, but could see far enough to be safe (IMO).

In mean time sprayed both horses head to toe with Deosect, and sprayed feet with sole cleanse (and clayed Mac's smelly hind frogs).

Remi slightly unconvinced by misty hacking. It was eerily quiet and still. It was v misty through LMEQ estate – rugs looming on the field fences!
Was slightly surreal. Met a noisy hired generator on the road. Remi thought about it, looked at it, and decided he was brave enough to pass it. Bless him.

Was quite a big ask to pass so close, to something white and shiny, with trailing cables, making lots of noise.  Such a change from his old default of spot something, spin and run away, and then tantrum when asked to look at it. Very proud of him. Lovely hack.

At home I sprayed my riding tops, jacket, and 2 pairs of breeches with insecticide to try and limit how much I get bitten. As have 20 midge bites from Sunday night – and I react to them :-((

Monday, 31 March 2014

Early morning lesson

Had a lesson on Remi, last Thursday before work. It was a glorious morning for riding. Misty with sun burning through. School was freshly harrowed after rain, and was looking and riding beautifully.

Working on making Remi more adjustable, and encouraging him to gently move outside his brace zone. Remi is not unsurprisingly fairly protective over his body. He has several default modes.

Initially he doesn’t go forwards freely until he is warmed up. This is stiffness. We coax him along, accept a half trot. Gradually eek out to asking more. Once trot looser, canter work, and then he is fairly warmed up.

He likes to pose with his neck looking pretty, and contact fairly light, but fairly stiff through his body, and not truly connected. This is how he has largely been over the years. Looks pretty, obedient, but not truly active behind or through his whole body.

Or he likes to lean on my hands, go on his shoulders and rush off - this is also a comfort zone - where he is supported by my hands and pulls me off my seat.

We are working on changing things to remove the brace. So higher shorter neck, longer lower neck, slowing or speeding the tempo, flexions to the inside and outside. All trying to gently remove the brace, and increase the connection from head to toe. Mixing it up.

Is really interesting, as can feel if ask for more power say in canter - he can’t hold it at the moment - he can only balance / hold himself together with so much power. I can feel him saying, yes I hear your legs - but I can’t do more. Or sometimes he finds a way to do more.

It is really interesting, and seems to be working with him. It is all incremental it will take time as he is an older horse, with a long rehabilitation history. And we are learning together. He is so expressive, I can tell when he releases through his body and improves, when he tires, and when he has a different opinion.

I need to try and get out of old habits - and stop going to reins first in transitions, and allowing him to fix and lean on my hands, and to pull me forwards off my seat. Remi needs to stop rolling his eyes at me when I behave differently to how he thinks I normally behave! Poor Remi - if he runs and leans - and I push reins forwards or flex his neck - he is most confused - can see him saying - that is changing the status quo.

I think his current main issue is weak SI and pelvis - and the side to side swing and dip his pelvis does, and his rehab is about making his SI and back muscle stronger to act as more effective stabilisers and to reduce the swinging.

He is making progress each week, and I am happy seem to have a long and short term work plan with him, and to be progressively improving him. Just want him as strong and well muscled and well moving as possible.

Remi seems to enjoy the work. Once warmed up, he seems very pleased with himself. He is lovely in that he wants to please, and genuinely seems to think he is clever doing school work. He does make me smile :-)

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Remi 14th bodywork session post Rockley


Email: elainemarianiesmt@btinternet.com                                                                       Mob:07815 310568

Remi notes 15th March ‘14

Lunge session

Remi looked fabulous in himself. Really blooming!

He is straighter and better balanced on lunge – a little strung out but much improved overall.

Palpation and massage: (see diagram)

Areas of tightness include right wither, right lumbar region adjacent to lumbar spine where the rubbed area is, left shoulder and left gluteals.

He freed off very easily and felt the best I can remember him being – muscles had good tone and bounce.

Looking straighter through his back -

Second Lunge Session

He looked a little more connected post massage – less strung out.


Continue as you have been – it is clearly working for Remi.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Remi's outing :-)

Remi looking huge - and impatient to follow Alice off the lorry

Took Remi and friend's pony to a third friend's yard to hack on Hankley Common. Glorious day for it. Remi was pleased to be out and about. He was a bit keen to not lose sight on Alice in the lorry!

Lovely to catch up and chat, and lovely hack the three of us. C has such lovely hacking. Lots of lovely open sandy tracks :-) Remi feeling stronger and fitter to canter, and was able to stay up and not not leaning on my hand for longer. Braved some down hill cantering behind without falling over. Not sure C notices the downhill. :biglaughA:

Remi still looking big :-)

Remi was brave to canter in front, on new ground, past lots of things to look at. He is a lot more balanced and easier to keep uphill in front. He was also good to wander off and play in a puddle by himself whilst the others had a gallop. I can feel he isn't fit enough yet, as the cantering had tired him. And I am not sure about really galloping him yet. He wasn't that tired after a break, and had another couple of canters. He does get tired of carrying himself if canter too far and it isn't uphill. He gets down on his shoulders / leans on my contact, and I struggle to get him up. And I don't trust him to drop the contact and kick - not to fall over. But it is improving - and I think is a strength issue. He feels fitter already than a week ago. :biggrin:

Was such a lovely day for a road trip, and the first time Remi has been off the yard for quite a while. Came home and hand grazed the verges for a bit, with Remi still pleased with himself!

Hmmm maybe he is a big horse? 

Will see how he schools monday, as to whether benefits from doing more aerobic work or whether the traveling and the work takes it out of him. Hopefully he will feel fab, like he did the day after cantering on gallops. Fingers crossed.

Am starting to think about doing EGB pleasure rides with him this summer. :biggrin: :biggrin: He has taken a long while to get his oomph back out hacking, and to not feel like brain is willing but body isn't. But I think he will soon be fit enough for short rides.

I need to be careful as he isn't as balanced as he should be especially when tired - there is a bit of brain / feet disconnect. I think this will improve in next few months. I can feel the balance in canter is improving every time I hack.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Updates and MOTs


Farrier - pleased with Remi's feet and landings getting straighter - which fits with his shoulders being looser. Remi is still liking his EPONAs.

 (not Remi's foot)


A very busy day!!!

Remi had a good lesson with sharer - and instructor pleased with progress :-)

E treated Remi (report to follow) but much improved, and less tight and less to work on (fits with him feeling so much better). Some soreness at back of saddle area.

Saddler - saddle sitting too high in front. I have moved him to a wider gullet since saddler in October, but needs be wider again. Saddler reduced front shims from 8mm to 4mm. So sitting more level (and will correct the additional pressure was putting on back of saddle). Felt good post correction.

I also tried (and have ordered on trial) a Fairfax girth for Remi :-) :-) A birthday present from my mum :-)

Finally we went for a quiet hack for Mac to practise remembering his manners at cantering behind Remi. Both ponies were golden, Mac denied ever having forgotten his manners (chortle!). 

A good day :-)

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