January

I hadn’t blogged in well over a month.  Was anyone still interested in my ramblings?

I hit ‘publish’ on (Belated) Hello 2016 and was humbled to see the the ‘views’ counter soar skyward within minutes.  I am constantly surprised (and flattered) at the people who follow this blog – it’s great incentive to keep on writing when total ‘randommers’ tell me that they enjoy reading about my life over here.  It’s even more rewarding when non-horsey friends complain that I haven’t posted for AGES (hi Alison! Is this better?)  So to all of you – thanks for reading, thanks for following and thanks for keeping me connected with the world outside of the Luberon valley.

Today’s post is a summary on what I’ve been doing for the month of January.  January seemed like a very short month, but I guess that’s because it was truncated at both ends. First there was our visit to Les Houches, then there was my trip to Ireland at the end of the month.

In between the two, I’ve been dog walking, riding, doing in-hand work with the horses, yoga-ing, translating some Parelli stuff from English to French with the help of MC and Alexandrine, knitting (a lot), house-hunting (more on this as events unfold) and playing far too much Farm Heroes (I keep saying I’ll give it up…)

Below are just some of my knitting projects… there were also more socks, more hats, another headband and a really cute cardigan/gilet/bolero – still waiting for a photo of that from Tansy (hint!).

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The trip to Ireland… well it’s always good to see old friends. I went along to a South Munster Dressage show and worked on the scoring team for the morning – a great way to meet up with lots of people!  But I was shocked at how there seems to be a completely new set of competitors – I knew very few names in the lower grade classes.  Any of the names I recognised were little kids last time I was at a show; now they’re all lanky teenagers.  It’s amazing how quickly things have changed!

Horse-wise, things have just been ticking over.  To be honest, my nerve has been shot.  The only explanation I can come up with is the fall I had while walking the dogs back in November (Some days, you shouldn’t even bother getting out of bed).  I really hurt myself, almost badly enough to need a visit to Urgences, and I think it shook me more than I realised, making me feel fearful and vulnerable.  My state of mind was not helped by the fact that Flurry has been a complete asshole rather full of himself recently, which I’ve put down to the fact that he’s getting very good quality hay and not enough work.

The first hack of 2016 was a very tense affair, with me on a turbo-charged Flurry who had to be kept in check the whole ride and Alexandrine on a very hyper Arabian gelding called Odji, who was only marginally better behaved than Flurry.  Bringing up the rear were Sam and Zingara – Zingara is a young, very opinionated black mare, but on this particular day she was the best behaved horse in the group!

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Zingara the model!

A couple of days later, I rode Aero out on the second hack of 2016.  I dithered before we set off – would I use a bridle to pander to my nervous disposition, or a halter because I know that he prefers it?  Well, I’m a sucker for Aero.  The halter won, and the second hack of 2016 was a brisk, but relaxed, hour long ride in the company of Alexandrine and Shadiyah, a pretty little Arabian mare who is owned by the same people as Odji (Mr and Mrs Paris), with Sam and Zingara once again bringing up the rear.

And I officially declared afterwards that Aero is my favourite horse.  I can’t believe that he now feels safer than Flurry, but it’s true.  Flurry will always have a mischievous streak; Aero is always serious and attentive and he will always do his best, no matter what’s being asked.  If Aero is wound up about something, sure, he is more difficult to ride, just because he is less comfortable than Flurry, but I know that his misbehaviour stems from either anxiety or pain.  Flurry can be wound up about something just because he’s being a jerk and testing his boundaries.  He has recently been testing boundaries with Aero (the Boss) as well.

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Flurry being a prat. Aero doing his best to ignore him.

The weekend after my return from Ireland, there was a two-day clinic with Pauline Beulze at The Farm.  Which horse would I take?  Aero, with whom I knew I would enjoy the clinic, or Flurry, who would undoubtedly be a prat, but who needed some discipline in his life?  All will be revealed in the next post.

Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with a promise of Spring. It’s on the way!

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