Well wow it’s been

A week since the last blog post.  It’s Saturday evening and we have had a busy and snowy saturday.

Since last week we have had a little revamp of our pony club room.  Last Saturday part of the ceiling fell down.  Fortunately nobody was there and nobody got hurt.  We think the steam from the urn had softened the plasterboard.   I couldn’t guarantee more bits wouldn’t fall down so we pulled it all down.  This meant that the light sockets had to get changed so I replaced them with small strip lights.  The room is really well lit now.  At the same time I fixed the light above the stairs so we have more light there and I am going to get the lights in the room in front of the pony club room fixed.  This will mean we will have a second space to use.  Ideas on a postcard.

So today’s lessons followed on from last weeks with a couple of exceptions. Last Sunday we had a heap of assessment lessons for new riders and we managed to create a whole new lesson for them. This meant moving the riders from the 1.45 lesson into the 10am space. So at 1.45 we had a brand new lesson. It was great fun introducing a new.group of young riders to our Saturday helpers and our ponies.

When we woke up this morning we found we had snow all over. Worried that it might make it hard for people to get down to the yard or home again we were out early with the salt clearing the snow. It wasn’t very cold and the snow starting melting very quickly and by 9am the road had cleared completely.

And the week after next half term starts for Clackmannanshire and so we have prepared our half term activity list…

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The flyer with all the details is available on the yard and we will be putting the whole thing on the website shortly so I’d you are looking for something to do in the half term holidays there might be something here.

During the day we had one of the older girls jinx herself. She got on her horse at the start of the lesson and we were talking about falling off so she told us all that she couldn’t remember the last time she had fallen off…
..and yes you’ve guessed it, 20 minutes into the lesson her horse put a little excited buck in and she fell forward.and slid down her horses neck eventually gently hitting the ground. She got a falling off chocolate bar but it was more an unauthorised dismount really.

posted by shaun

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Well wow it’s been

We keep on telling you..

..how cold it is so we decided we had better do something about it.  And now we have 14 new extra thick full neck rugs..

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Winnie and Benjie have new rugs as well as Jess and Snoop and most of the polocrosse ponies.

They are all now snug as a bug in a rug. And the rugs all match.

And so Saturday has come around again and we have had a full teaching day. The horses and ponies are clearly getting plenty of winter feeding as they are buzzing with energy. We didn’t use Turbo in the 9am lesson because of the experience last week, instead both sally and Heidi behaved in a similar way wanting to race around the arena as fast as they could. It was almost like they were full of the joys of spring.

Mind you it was 10°C today and so with the days lengthening they probably thought it was springtime. I will have to walk up the road and see if we have any daffodils peeking through under the hedgerow.

The other lessons on saturday were great fun and of course continued with lesson plans following on from last week. The 10am lesson had the teenage girls working on their contact in canter focusing on maintaining a light but constant hold on the bit through the full cycle of the canter stride. The 10.45 didn’t have anyone fall off this week and we were building more control of our rising trot. Katie took the warm up for this lesson as I had to try to catch a stray dog. Because this lesson got quite cold last week she had them doing lots of exercises like “heads shoulders knees and toes” and “the grand old Duke of York” the little riders loved it and the lead reiners loved singing and it got everyone warm. It was so successful I borrowed the idea for the 5pm lesson.

The mucking out was made harder on saturday because on Friday the handle of our wheelbarrow broke. Harry took the Barrow away to weld it but he couldn’t get it back for Saturday and so Luca was seen running the small wheel Barrow backwards and forwards to the muck heap in order to keep up with the girls scooping out the stables. Luckily for us it came back this morning as we don’t have the huge number of helpers today.

We did however have 4 assessment lessons this morning which was great fun.

And thus afternoon we are going to bring Majik in and get Rob and Freya to ride him and help school him before the unmounted polox at 4pm.

posted by shaun

We keep on telling you..

Let it snow let it snow..

..let it snow seemed to be the moto for this Saturdays lessons with the snow starting to fall at lunchtime and lasting all afternoon.  We have been left with about 3cm of snow on the ground.  Enough for Ru to go sledging in the dark and for Freya to be planning a sledging session tomorrow.  It was also enough for our road to become a bit tricky to get up in rear wheel drive cars.  However we will be out there with our tonne of salt getting the road cleared early in the morning.

Mollie had the day off on Saturday because we are so kind to her and that meant that while Katie ran the yard I taught all the lessons. It was great fun and I had some really great lessons. In the first lesson at 9am we used TurboPig and Rhona obviously has electric heels as Turbo just wanted to canter. Rhona rose to the challenge and had the best riding position I have ever seen her have. In the 10am lesson we had Milo being ridden by Rebecca in his first ever group Riding Lesson and he was angelic. Hamish thought he would make a polocrosse pony but we think he is much happier helping us teach people to ride.

So at 10.45 I had my beginners class of children and they aren’t so beginners any more. We had them trotting around off lead rein. Harry even cantered McLennon. It was great until mac stopped and Harry kept on going. He did get the biggest bar of falling off chocolate though so left very happy. The 11.45 lesson did jumping and we worked on their position and especially the “fold”. There was a great improvement over the lesson and instead of just leaning forward we got real balance over the jump.

At 12.45 we were cantering and created a really good exercise to get the riders to sit deep and keep their seats in the saddle. This lesson also had a new rider in it now that Ella has moved to Australia.

The 1.45 lesson worked on their downward transitions from trot to walk. We made it as hard as possible for the riders and we were working on maintaining balance and impulsion through the transition. By the end we had the horses and ponies moving well and Snoop had some fab changes of gait.

2.45 was another lesson working on cantering and keeping a deep seat very similar to the 12.45 and we successfully got all the riders to sit and not swing their legs.

The 4pm lesson consists of teenagers and we were trying to manage a direct downward transition from canter to walk. We worked on it but it still needs more practice as I would expect as it is very difficult to do well.

And the final lesson at 5pm was our newest starts and we are still developing an independent seat. But we are managing to ride a rising trot really well without balancing on the reins and the ponies mouths which all our riding school ponies and horses really appreciate.

During the afternoon it started snowing and kept on going and as the temperature dropped the road got a bit slippy and by the end of the last lesson some of the cars were struggling to get up our road. Fortunately Garry came to the rescue and used his landy to tow any cars out that were struggling.

It didn’t snow overnight and with a judicious application if some of the tonne of salt we had delivered on Friday we have cleared our road of snow and ice..

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..so there hasn’t been a problem getting anyone either down or up today. The birthday lesson this morning was a great success and this afternoon we have two little half hour assessments for ne riders.

And in case you haven’t read our Facebook page we can now take payment by debit or credit card using our iZettle card reader and on saturday we were very excited to have two people take advantage of this method of payment. Here’s one of them..

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posted by shaun

Let it snow let it snow..

The weather is getting a bit chillier..

..now and the duck pond has been frozen a few mornings. 

But the horses and ponies don’t seem to be noticing it particularly. In fact until recently the temperature has been so warm we have had to remove rugs from horses as they were sweating under them. It has rained alot though.

We are really glad that we put the extra surface in the indoor school before the holidays as the indoor school has been well and truly used. We have never been so grateful of a roof over our head when teaching – in the indoor school.

The new stables are working well and speed up breakfast time and make feeding in the evening a bit more efficient.

And next on the agenda is making a new road into the pony field so we don’t need to stand on the actual road..

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..the engineers are coming down shortly to get the hardcore down and pop a gate at the end. They are also going to put harfstanding down at the horse field entrance.

Now we are back into the swing of lessons we are starting up a programme of riding for mollie and me. We have Milo and Barry to get fit and schooled so we can involve them in the riding school and then Reba needs to be schooled. We are going to affiliate Remy and Troy and take them out showjumping. All in all plenty to be getting on with. Fittening our horses will be much easier once our gallops are ready for use (sometime in spring we hope).

We are also very excited about our new card payment system. We can now take payments by credit and debit card on the yard. We haven’t yet had anyone want to, but it’s still quite fun knowing we can.

posted by shaun

The weather is getting a bit chillier..

New Year resolutions time..

..again and whilst we aren’t going to get everyone who rides with us to start writing down their riding intentions for 2016 it is a great time to have a think about what goals we have for the year ahead.  Whether it’s mastering a canter half pass or just managing to jump a 50cm course it’s great to try to identify where you want your riding to take you each year.

So lessons are all back to normal now and Pony Club is on again. We are also starting up on foot polocrosse training on Sunday afternoons again. Our new stables are looking great and working really well and making feeding time in the mornings much easier with no risk that hungry horses are going to kick each other at feeding time.

And because it was Christmas time we treated the dogs to a new bed. They all love to lie in front of the Aga and so we got a massive bed they could share.

At first there was one two the bed…
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..and then the little one said “push over”..

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.. and then we got 3 and a bit on the bed..

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..and finally all 4 squeezed on together..

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posted by shaun

New Year resolutions time..

The wheel of terror was..

..wheely wheely scary and the last showjumping we did in 2015.  The final fling gymkhana on Hogmanay was great fun with 15 riders including Mollie and Robyn.

So we started the gymkhana with 8games and tried as many as possible including a sack race. Here’s Mollie and Robyn demonstrating how you do it..

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..and they were clearly very scary as once the race started the ponies wouldn’t let the sacks anywhere near them.  The horses were, surprisingly, much more sensible and we’re quite happy to have the scary white bags eat everyone’s legs and then bounce up and down.

So in the afternoon we made the wheel of terror to jump around..

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..a 9 jump course based around a cross of jumps and including a skinny.  It was after all the last showjumping of 2015.and if you can’t make a really hard showjumping course on the last day of the year when can you.

Freya was over the moon, not because she came first in her class but because she was in the same class as her big sister and beat her.  She is still laughing about it.

And of course we did a chocolate pairs and had lots of chocolate for the winners.

And so that was the end of 2015..

HAPPY NEW YEAR.

posted by shaun

The wheel of terror was..