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

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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 :-)

Monday, 17 March 2014

Good stuff :-)

Remi's sharer schooled Remi on Monday, and had a fab session, sounded like they both really enjoyed themselves. They were doing canter to halt / halt to canter / rein back to canter. And getting easy strike off's on both reins (left canter not an issue). I could see the grins from here :-)

I had a great schooling session with Remi Tuesday night. He was like a giant bouncy ball. Canter / walk / halt / rein back canter. All just there, and easy for him. We ran through Elem 59 for fun, and he loved it. Eyes shining – thinking that doing a proper dressage test was v clever. He is so funny - trying to hard to get it right :-) Going to have to take him to a party soon if he stays feeling this good :-)

He is feeling really good at the moment. He is crooked, but he is rideable, and straightenable, and he is much more forward, and connected and together. And his eyes are sparkling! Some of the canter work was like a giant bouncy ball. He didnt always stay together, but when I asked him to connect and straighten, he was so physically able to do so, it was fantastic.

I did try some not very good canter half pass and some failed attempts at changes (my daft idea)! More work needed! (As we got some accidental ones when flexing left on right rein in last lesson, I thought they'd just happen - instead we stayed very balanced in counter canter!) Giggle. His canter just felt so good. He hasnt felt like this, since i cant remember when, several years ago.

He is beyond superlative to ride when he is on form mentally and physically. He has such a finely tuned go and stop button, and he loves to please. Like a giant bouncy rubber ball.

Thursday - I took as a last minute sunny day off to enjoy horses and sun

Great 6.30am lesson on Remi. Highlights being some really forwards trot / canter trot transitions that were fluid and balanced. He is feeling good, and was v pleased with himself. I am v wonky at the moment, and lots
of work on get sitting over to left, and right side down and back. And makes a big difference.

Then went for a late afternoon hack with Remi. He was v sensible when an escaped dog jumped at us, and was jumping up and down and barking at us, and trying to chase us.  He has turned into such a lovely hack. I then hugely annoyed him by pulling his mane, and trimmed tail and feathers.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Spring fever :-)

Remi is loving the warm dry sunny weather. He has been out naked during the day enjoying the sun on his back.

He has had some good schooling sessions and lessons.


It is glorious in their field, at the top of the hill, looking over Reigate Hill :-)

Remi has wintered well :-) :-) :-)

On Sunday I took him for on the gallops with a friend and he had lots of fun cantering and showing off his BIG trot. He felt joyful.

Today he had a great schooling session with his sharer J. :-) :-)

Loving how happy he is :-)


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