Friday, 19 March 2010


I had my riding lesson on Monday morning as usual. Max was impeccably behaved, but quite lazy, then Rosie started getting the fence poles out, and Max said, "Oh, jumping - why didn't you say?" and rocketed over every single one of them. I was thrilled with him, but even more so that my confidence has really come back. I was my old self again.
If you have a BHS (British Horse Society) instructor, they want you to approach the fence in 'the jumping position' which I absolutely refuse to do. It means you've leaned forward over the horse's neck, which is only really needed at the moment of suspension, not several strides before, and certainly not when you take off, otherwise you have thrown yourself forward just when the horse needs you out of the way, so he can lift his front end off the floor to perform the jump. You don't see John Whittaker doing it, do you? When he does, then I will, too.
I tried to explain to Rosie that's it's daft to fold so much over such a small fence. Then I lost the ability to speak english. I wanted to say, "If the fence had more height, it would be worth it," but could I think of the word 'height'? No. So I said, "If the fence had more 'uption'." Uption?! Where on earth did that come from? So that is my word for the day. I teach english as a foreign language, you know, so I am allowed to invent new words! Have you ever done that?
Missis and I hacked out together on Tuesday. Missis was on Lindy. He and Max are quite good buddies. Lindy led all the way round and spooked rather a lot, especially at one crucial stage where we went into canter on the verge, which made Max swing off the verge and trot up the road instead (on the right hand side of the road). Max was very good, actually and didn't spook at anything, but he was put off by Lindy's spooking.
We did a big ride together on Wednesday. The horses had obviously discussed it, and Max led all the way round. I am so proud of him. We trotted up the mega steep hill out of the village, and neither of them made it very far without huffing and puffing. I do think Max could have gone further. He is fitter than Lindy at the moment. It was a lovely ride though. I love it when Max leads or I ride him on my own, as he has time to look about him, which he really needs to do. When I follow Mr O we don't get much time to stop and enjoy the view!
I didn't ride on Thursday, as I was extremely tired (explanations to follow) but today I got up, put jods on and decided to ride... Barnaby.
He was unusually well behaved when I groomed him and tacked him up. I think he was enjoying the attention. He wanted to text Mr O and say, "Dad, the bally groom's going to ride me! When was this agreed to?" I am just 'the little woman' to him.
I took him down to Jolly Farmer's, but Lucy Goosie came out to say hello to him. He stood perfectly still soaking up the blatant adoration, (and me basking in the reflected glory) and even allowed her to kiss him on the muzzle, virtually unheard of. Normally if I do that he says, "Mum! Not in front of the other chaps."
We rode up Jolly Farmer's driveway, where his geese decided to attack us. They charged in formation, honking and flapping, beaks in the air, looking quite aggressive. Barnaby just stuck his chest out and said, "Bring it on!" They got very close then suddenly changed their minds and realised they had more important things to do and waddled off, muttering. I must be prepared for that next time, as Max will probably turn and run.
Barnaby isn't very supple at the moment, and there was some huffing and puffing, but he did some quite nice 20m circles in the end. We ride them in both directions on various sized circles as it helps to supple them, and make them bring the inside back leg underneath themselves, which makes them work the muscles along their neck and backs. He has a long way to go. He's not ready to do a 15m or 10m circle at all.
Then came the glorious bit where we decided to have a canter on the way home. He extended into a gallop and away we went. The sensation of galloping that horse is like nothing else. I am usually Joan of Arc going into battle. Charrrrrrge! I slaughter a few of ze engleesh, and then we pull up. Time to go home, with me grinning like an imbecile. I am auditioning for the role of The Village Idiot.
I have been busy on the crafting front, too. I have finished my last little cross stitch card, which is quite cute, and now I'm doing three little cottages. Houses generally fascinate me, so doing some cross stitch houses feels like just the right thing t do. I've made a card for someone special (but I can't say who at the moment!)

and this one for my lovely aunt:

And yes, I have finished the scarf for Hallington Fox. He is very proud of it.

I found the casting off very easy. Now I'm just going to knit some squares to practise knit and purl stitch. If I have enough I'll sew them together to make a blanket for Tessa. I'm not baking much at the moment as Mr O has given up all sweet things for Lent. It seems a bit mean to tuck into a giant sponge cake in front of him. I have bought some icing nozzles and bags which I'm dying to play with. I've given up chocolate, as you know. So far, Missis has brought us some back from America, I've had a box in my anniversary present, a box for Mother's Day and a box for my birthday. They've gone into storage (sob!) I don't think we'll be getting each other an Easter egg this year. And I was so looking forward to tucking into a chocolate bunny!

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