Ready for Spring

Dear blogosphere, we’re all still alive, my sinuses have ceased trickling out of my nostrils and my horses are apparently melting. Every time they’re groomed more of them comes off. I can’t wait for those winter coats to go away, but I can scarcely believe that it’s already shedding time.

A bout of flu left me in bed, unable to ride or groom and barely able to sniffle my way to the paddocks and make sure everybody ate and was sneezed upon, for ever and ever (five days). Magic and Arwen had only one workout each in a whole week and thought it was a wonderful holiday, Thunder ran up to me in delight every time he saw me only to be horribly disappointed, and Skye got fat(ter) and glowered. I edited, read blogs, scrolled through Facebook, watched Frozen and drowned my sorrows in hot chocolate.

Despite the sorrow-drowning, I lost a kilo. Go figure!

… please get it.


Late last week I kind of flopped back into the saddle and sat there coughing and not riding properly, and was all depro because I can’t stand being sick, and went to a party on Saturday night (which was such a homeschooler party; we made the worst jokes ever, failed to light the bonfire, played loud music [no, like actually played it on instruments], were mostly asleep by nine, and had the time of our lives) and then I was like okay so life is fun after all.

I think my internal editor just committed suicide.

Craziness aside, I did accomplish a tiny bit (mwahahahaha another pun!). Because of how much Magic hates the snaffle and fears the Pelham, I bought him a Kimberwick. (Tack shopping is therapy).

The Kimberwick
The Kimberwick

The Kimberwick has a very similar action to the Pelham with the reins on the top ring, but this one has a few differences: 1) it has slightly less of a lever action, which places a little less pressure on the poll; 2) it has a lower port, so a softer action on the bars of the mouth and less likelihood of touching the palate; 3) the mouthpiece is thicker than the Pelham’s, so the pressure is spread across a larger area, 4) it is competition legal whereas in most competitions you have to use a Pelham with connectors or double reins, which would be way too harsh for Magic.

Kimberwick fitted; I'll be removing the grackle noseband next time
Kimberwick fitted; I’ll be removing the grackle noseband next time and swapping it for a plain cavesson

It is a little gentler on his mouth than the Pelham and he goes forward into the contact more confidently with this bit, but without leaning on my hands, throwing his head up or opening his mouth the way he does with the single-joint snaffle. He doesn’t pull on me when approaching jumps, and jumps calmly without being afraid of his mouth. He’s also okay in downward transitions, which are a major weakness of him, provided they’re simple (walk-halt, trot-walk, or canter-trot). Complex downward transitions (trot-halt, canter-walk) are the weak spot, though. He does them, but he throws his face in the air, completely loses his rhythm and does a dreadful jarring flailing trot for a few steps before obeying. While I know he’s always hated them, this and a slight curling behind the bit in walk make me think the Kimberwick is still a touch on the harsh side.

Mom these pictures are boooooring
Mom these pictures are boooooring

The quest is on for the right bit for Magic. I’m going to try a French link and if that’s too soft, I’ll have to get complicated and find a Dr. Bristol, Portuguese snaffle, or Myler. Going bitless will be my absolute last resort. I don’t have the guts to ride across country without a bit and eventing is too darn fun not to do.

Arwen just had a (really nice) schooling session, a bit of hillwork (she was an idiot so I made her run up hills until she was too tired to be an idiot) and a short lesson last week, and then I free lunged her today. She spends most of our rides being pushed into a frame, so I like to free lunge her now and then so that I can see how she uses her body normally.

It seems that my attempts to avoid a false frame, mostly by riding leg to hand and encouraging her to lift her back which automatically drops the head into the right position, are paying off. Without any gadgets or even a lunge line on her, she tucked up her tummy, lifted her back, tracked up nicely and even used her neck properly much of the time.

Long and low and ENGAGED
Long and low and ENGAGED

We did a spot of free jumping as well, something I think I’m going to incorporate bi-monthly into her routine. She didn’t refuse a thing and was very sensible about it, but she does struggle a lot with landing on the correct lead when she goes to the right. It’s weird because normally she picks up the right lead quite easily. She managed it once or twice but it definitely needs work, both on free jumping and under saddle.

We had the worst free jumping fail ever. I had two sets of cups on the jumps, one very high and one at around 90cm; I used the very high one to make a cross-rail about 70cm high in the middle, and the 90cm one for a vertical. She took the rail jumping the vertical once and I, on a completely different planet, accidentally put the pole back up to the top cups. As she cantered around to the jump, I noticed that it was enormous and yelled “Whoa!!” but Arwen was all “Challenge accepted!” and cleared it effortlessly.


It’s at least 1.30m. Crazy beautiful lunatic.

More interesting pony adventures to follow as soon as I have them!

4 thoughts on “Ready for Spring

  1. I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been ill, Firn. The flu is no fun. I think it’s lovely than Thun was so excited to see you, only to be disappointed because Mommy wouldn’t take him riding 🙂 The hot chocolate sounds just the right sort of medicine to me.
    I’m just getting over a nasty head cold given to me by my extremely generous grandchildren – 2 year old Sophie and 3 1/2 year old Henry. I’ve been babysitting and, of course, they shared their apple spittle and used my shirt sleeve or trouser leg to wipe their snotty noses on. Kisses were plenty and that meant more spit and snot (sorry, very graphic I know). Stay safe and well my friend.

    1. Hahaha shaaaame Lyn!! This flu has been doing the rounds amongst everyone at home and the stables for ages, so it was only a matter of time. Spitty, snotty kisses weren’t even necessary 😉

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