I did it again…
Yes, that’s a Britney Spears reference. No, I’m not going to apologise for it!
What I am referring to here, of course, is the fact that I promised to write more and then left it two months before I actually wrote anything. I am rubbish. I am also very busy but I know you won’t accept excuses like that.
In the time since I made promises I couldn’t keep (yeah, I’m that girl) I have settled into my new flat with Daisy and made headway with my new job. Laura and I have finally got things sorted to resemble some kind of routine/organisation. The horses are all happy and settled in their stables and on the whole everything is running smoothly.
We’ve had a couple of blips of course. Going to a show and ending up stuck on the slip road to the A417 for 3 hours because Laura put petrol in her diesel lorry; Donald jumping out of the field and runnning amok because his friend was being ridden; a tree splitting in the stormy weather the other day and half coming down across the path. Little things like that. But generally speaking, we’re doing okay here at Laura Wollen Dressage.
I’ve been home to see my parents a couple of times (much to Ruby and Tilly’s delight when Daisy came wriggling through the door) which was nice. They had a new kitchen fitted recently so the last time I was home it was a little chaotic as things were still being finished off. Like painting the walls, skirting boards, unloading boxes etc. But there was wine. So that was nice. They came to visit me as well a few weeks back, with the girls. Daisy enjoyed showing them where all the best places to sniff are and eventually we managed to even settle them down in the flat despite Ruby nose whistling pretty much 100% of the time. Daisy was so excited when my dad walked up the stairs it was really quite funny. I thought she was going to fall down them, she wiggled around so much!
I’ve also seen Kelly, although not as much as I should have given how close by she lives. I popped up to her place for a glass of wine and some garlic bread. Sky was extremely tolerant of Daisy invading her space, stealing her toys and basically waltzing into the limelight. Bless. I keep meaning to arrange to see her again, but then I forget! I’m a terrible friend sometimes.
I’ve been doing a lot more riding again since being here. I’ve had Donald and Ben to tick over with (although hopefully both will be moving on soon) which has been good for getting my fitness back on track. I’d forgotten how much work goes into riding a horse properly, and doing it more than once seemed impossible! I’m feeling stronger again now though, like I can actually get off one horse and on another without needing to sit down for an hour!
Hacking days are great, as Laura seems to think it’s funny to give me all the slightly tense horses to take out. I think (hopefully?) it’s because she knows I’ll just stay relaxed and quiet and encourage the horse to chill out too. Generally I end up laughing on reflex, which as we all know causes your body to relax anyway. So I’ve had some interesting hacks recently. And I’ve been lucky enough to be allowed to stretch horses for Laura occasionally. Which is really quite nice as it’s a rare opportunity for me to ride extremely nice dressage horses in a constructive environment. Laura even gives me some tuition at the same time to help me get the feel of the horse and improve my general riding. Last time I really enjoyed doing canter/trot/canter transitions and allowing myself to work out the exact moment that the horse was going to come back to trot to allow me to rise with it straight away in a controlled and collected manner rather than being thrown into it. It also helped coming back to a more balanced and rhythmical trot from the first stride rather than having to work really hard to regain it later.
Riding horses like that and learning how things can feel when the horse is working properly is quite amazing. Getting the tuition from Laura is awesome, and although my legs felt pretty achey the day after it’s pretty great to have the sense that I’m starting to improve as a rider again.
I am lucky, as these horses are all nice and genuine characters. They are sweet natured and gentle, but they are still competition horses and have a certain level of high maintenance about them. The fact that they have such pleasant demeanours is what makes them good to work with. There is a fairly nice balance between the highly strung moments and the chilled out snuggle time. It means I don’t worry too much about getting injured on a regular basis (apart from the clumsiness inflicted stuff) and I know that nothing Laura asks me to do with them is going to be overly scary or unfeasible. They might have their YeeHaa moments, but they’re not malicious or deliberately threatening with it. Such a relief for me!
And Daisy is still my joy. Even when she’s in trouble (which she was the other night, big time) I still adore her. She’s almost 9 months old now, and apart from the odd moment is an extremely good girl. We’ve started going to a dog class on a Tuesday evening. We did our first one last week and although she was a bit exciteable she did pretty well. She did the recall perfectly first time, which I was absolutely not expecting. I thought we’d have a ping pong moment as she bounced from dog to dog across the hall. But she turned and ran straight to me, ears streaming behind her. Such a good girl! Hopefully she’ll be a little more settled next time (yeah right) and we’ll achieve even more. I think it’s great for her though as it’s quite an intense environment and she has to focus really hard. Which must be really difficult for such a young dog surrounded by other young dogs and lots of very exciting people and such. I’m proud of her, she’s such a sweetheart and she’s having to adapt to so much all at once. Considering the way I’ve basically plunged her in with no warning to all this stuff, she’s coming on brilliantly. And she’s so beautiful.
Anyway, that’s all for today I think. Not much else to report. Oh, I have a new phone! It’s shiny and I like it because it’s new. Now I really have told you everything.