glenatron: (Iris)
Yesterday evening we needed to get things done at the yard and I wasn't in a riding mood, so Iris' evening work was to come in and do a bit of groundwork. A few weeks ago I had done a short groundwork session that ended up with a bit of liberty stuff and she did really great while she stayed with me, so as I had a [ profile] herecirm and a camera I asked her to do a bit of video of that:

Last time, after we had done a bit of liberty, Iris had realised there was some grass around and went off to eat it, and when I went over to catch her she ran off to the other end of the arena at top speed to eat there. I figured she might opt to do the same thing again, so we adjusted the camera and filmed some beautiful dappled mare running in slow motion, that just needed a sweeping soundtrack to add to the sentimental effect:

She really is a very special horse.
glenatron: (Emo Zorro)
Those of you who pay close attention to Civil Engineering news ( and I know that is probably most of you ) will be well aware that the Hindhead Tunnel, the longest road tunnel in Britain, has recently opened.

I live in Hindhead, very close to the old route of the A3 so this has a big effect on me. The tunnel works were in progress when we moved to the house I'm living in now, so there have always been roadworks on the way home from the ponies. The Devils Punchbowl, the large National Trust owned valley I live beside, has alway been permeated by the sound of cars passing up and down the road. I remember the long sweep of the A3 there going back to a very early age - indeed it was there that the family car caught fire once when I was about five - and the valley will be very different without it.

I won't miss it - the views as you drove down the hillside were pretty but you barely noticed them after a while but the traffic lights and the drop from dual to single carriageway at the hilltop made it routinely slow - especially as people tended to break down on the hill, the noise from the road was inescapable on the punchbowl and for as long as I can remember it has been too busy to safely cross on horseback, meaning that there was no way to use the bridleways that crossed it and the forests and commons on the far side of the road were quite closed to us.

That is no longer the case. The road itself is being partially returned to nature- the tarmac will be broken up and sand from the tunnel used to return the landscape to something like it's pre-road shape. With that in mind last weekend was one of the only chances to walk on the old road and a lot of people decided to do just that.

Of course, some idiot always has to bring a horse...

Zorro was a total star - with loads of families out on the old road there was a real party atmosphere there and lots of children excited to see the horsey. Zorro was amazingly patient with them, considering that he is Zorro, and didn't bite or trample anybody. All in all he made himself a tremendous ambassador for whatever breed of horse he is.

On the way home, beyond the part I filmed, there is a broad sandy track. As we reached that Zorro and I hit an unspoken accord with regard to our speed and he broke into the fastest canter he's ever offered me, really free and forwardgoing in the evening sun. He really is a truly magnificent cob.
glenatron: (Emo Zorro)
Yesterday morning we were up early and Zorro and I went out for a couple of hours ride around the common. Zorro was pretty good - a little bit keen on taking turns to make a shorter loop rather than a longer one, but so much better than he used to be even still. Or I'm better than I used to be. Either way.

It was a brilliant bright morning and there were many birds and few people, particularly at first. There were Martins darting around, presumably preparing for their long flight south by grabbing at the tiny fine crane flies that seemed to be hatching out everywhere in the bright cool air.

Some of you may recall the problems I have run in the past with handling other horses going past, either in the distance or nearby. The way that Zorro would cue himself up to other horses over my requests made hacking out a little anxious, especially if there was another horse trotting or cantering in the other direction- Zorro typically seemed to assume they were running from certain death and that he needed to go with them immediately.

During our ride yesterday we met about forty horses from the local hunt going the other way. Zorro got a bit up, he was watching them and filled the saddle a little, but after they had past he just kept on going. They passed us a second time a little later on and Zorro didn't even get more anxious. I am so proud of that horse.

A bit of video from the morning ride ( no large groups of horses involved, I kind of thought I might need both hands on the reins at those parts... ) so you can enjoy the light and the bright heath and forest trails a little too:
glenatron: (Emo Zorro)
It seems as though sometimes I create the impression that rides on the common near us are all bluebells, wide sandy trails and golden sunlight filtered through oak leaves. So to clarify that, a bit of video from today's ride:

As you will notice, some of those are birch leaves.
glenatron: (Emo Zorro)
With Small Pony still not being well enough for the extended adventures that he loves doing, we've been trying hard to think up interesting things to keep him entertained. On Sunday we brought a gym ball from home ( my old office chair ) to see what he thought of it.

He wasn't tremendously impressed- he went over and explored it, nudged it around a little and then looked at us in a "that's fine, now what?" kind of way.

Later on when I brought Zorro in ( mostly in the interests of using [ profile] life_of_tom as a test subject for Zorro as a beginner's lunge horse ) we still had the ball around so we thought it would be fun to see what Zorro thought of it.

Apparently football is the kind of sport that cobs, especially cobs who really like stomping on stuff, are quite good at. It was one of those moments you really wish you have a video camera.

Fortunately, we had a video camera:
glenatron: (Emo Zorro)
I keep coming out with phrases like "only six weeks left in this decade!" For some reason it rarely cheers people up.

Yesterday we had really stormy weather- gales, torrential rain, the whole lot. Not too many trees down, considering, but it was exceptionally blustery. So much so that when we went to bring the ponies in, Donk appeared to have been picked up by the wind, blown clear over Zorro's section of the field and into the end area which is currently being rested. The wind hadn't seemed strong enough to pick up a 16.2 warmblood even with a camp rainsheet.
This morning Donk solved the mystery )

Most of the rest of the morning I dedicated to the fine art of going out for a ride on my pony while the weather stayed pleasant. It was bright and sunny and generally kind of alright.
So anyways, you guys coming or not? )
glenatron: (Default)
So a year ago I posted a video of Zorro and I ( which has no lost it's music in an argument between Google and Warner ) was a kind of marker for where we were at the time. I figured the way to make that kind of marker useful is to give it points of comparison so on Saturday I got [ profile] sleepsy_mouse to take some more of our session.

Last year [ profile] penella22 told me off for doing myself down when posting about video, but this wasn't a great session - it had rained all morning and someone was a bit grumpy and we didn't feel like we were doing as well as we sometimes do. But then for me horsemanship, like singing in the car, always seems to go best when there is no-one around to witness it. Either way it's probably an honest representation of where we're at right now, if not a showcase for a whole lot of excellence. If I can get everything up to the standards of the best bits here by this time next year, though, I think I'll feel like I'm doing alright.

glenatron: (Emo Zorro)
During our ride on Saturday ( "us" being Zorro and I, Small is still feeling a bit ill ) I took a few video clips, which I have now edited together so those of you in far off places can get a feel of riding out on Thursley Common, which is one of the main places we get to ride.

glenatron: (Default)
The weekend before last we borrowed a video camera and took a bit of film of one another with our horses in the school. This is a brief edit from mine- it was kind of an average session, not amazing but not terrible either, so it's actually quite representative of where we are right now - starting to get some good vertical flexion, starting to get a bit of canter, me starting to get a better position but still forgetting about it from time to time. Lots of starts there. Hopefully it will be a good marker to compare with in future.

One thing I'm really conscious of after watching it is that my hands are way forward- I may as well just hang onto his ears for steering. Also in the little bit of groundwork at the start there, it's clear how lame I still am.

Double highscore to the first person to recognise both tunes.

July 2017

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