I have had a really good day. A good friend of mine helped me to move the alpacas into their winter accommodation and to get ready to get the cattle and sheep in tomorrow before the snow arrives. I've also got a pen nearly ready for the two young Fells if the weather gets really bad, although they look like huge, woolly teddy bears at the moment and very well insulated.
She is coming back tomorrow to help me get them in and it's so much nicer having someone to work with than doing it all by yourself. I am very grateful to her.
I found a blog last night which reminded me what my hopes and dreams were for Bella and I. She says she has "piaffe dreams" and so do I, although passage was my foremost dream (for my friend Colin in Rothesay on the Isle of Bute, piaffe is basically trotting on the spot and passage is an exaggerated, very pingy, slow motion trot!).
This is the blog that inspired me to get back on track:
I especially liked her last post but one where she tells how taking part in other activities requiring balance and core strength help to improve your riding, and visa versa.
Ever since I watched Jane Bartle-Wilson and Pinocchio passage their way into view on 'The Art of Dressage' tapes I've longed to feel what that feels like to sit on, and imagined doing it. Clicker training has made incredible improvements to the rhythm and cadence of Bella's trot and I believe we can get there together but my dreams have expanded further than that now, to include canter pirouettes and one time tempi changes (Colin - whizzing around in a canter on the spot, more or less, and changing the leading leg every stride at canter, a bit like skipping, sort of!!).
This is what I always had planned and I've been distracted from my plans for too long already - time to get on with it!! I've begun a new blog to chart our progress:
I also printed off an advert to sell Kate then, after riding Bella this afternoon, I had a little play at working Kate in hand. I feel as though I've spent almost no time on her and done nothing to speak of with her since I bought her and yet she has somehow learned what the click means, learned to love to work, to concentrate and give me her full attention almost all of the time, improved her balance and learned to accept the bit and give graciously to it.
She reminds me of Bella so much in the way her slightly stroppy attitude has turned to earnest endeavour and a bold and sensible outlook on new challenges. I decided that, rather than try to sell her cheaply to a good home to avoid keeping her over the winter, I've done all the hardest parts already, winning her attention and co-operation, so I'll keep on doing a bit with her whenever I can and sell her in the Spring for hopefully a good price.
I must NOT get too attached to her though. She may be like Bella but I already have the original and I don't have time for another. Bella is my pony of a lifetime and Kate will definitely be someone else's pony of a lifetime but not mine. One Bella is more than I could ever have hoped for - anymore would be downright greedy!!!
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