Wednesday, February 11, 2015

11th February, 2015 Pressing on

Another visit to Bluebell today who is now being ridden three times a week. She's always been really good about traffic and these days she's forward going too. When asked to relax her mouth or to halt or back up she can be inclined to lean. Today we thought we'd try another bit, this time a Myler Combination with a low port snaffle mouthpiece which is made of sweet iron, to see if we could give her greater clarity about what we wanted from her. In the long run we'd hope to switch her back into her normal bit - a Low Port Comfort snaffle on a hanging cheek - but it may be that she is not that keen on a Stainless Steel mouthpiece. The alternatives would be a Neue Schule which has a lozenge in the middle and is made of Salox, or a Rocking S which has fixed cheekpieces and a French Link made of sweet iron. With all of these bits it's important to try them for a good few rides before putting them in the bit drawer. Most people seem to gave a bit drawer!!

Here I am helping Bluebell to understand what she is being asked to do. Later Anne practised on her own. As well as closing her hands (not pulling) she can help Bluebell by imagining her lifting up through the withers and backing up softly.

A nice trot in the calm surroundings of the inclosure.

At this time of year the New Forest ponies are having to be much more imaginative in their choice of menu. Without the grass to keep them going they have to be able to cope with fairly prickly food. They are helped by some of human and mechanical management that takes place at this time of year. Here the holly has been pollarded...

...and the gorse has been caramelised by controlled burning...

...but you can still eat it raw.

This afternoon we managed to get a quick ride out with Theoden and Petra, Bella in tow. A quick ride always seems to take at least an hour and a half even if we don't seem to go very far.