Chapter 2 - My Early Riding Career
2nd April - I haven't done a great deal this week, as Easter has got in the way. My friend Roy came to see me today, all the way from Birmingham - he told me that he found me this new home which I am happy about. I think he wants to ride me soon - Cathy may let him sit on me next week if I am good! I like Roy, and we hang out together quietly - he is a kind gentle man.
I've had an ok week and have done some horse agility in the agility paddock, with the little ponies in the field next door - it was a bit scary to start with as I had never been into this little paddock before and after my roll and a quick charge around, a bit of shorting and buckarooning, I cantered to the gate and went back to my stable. But today I quite enjoyed going around a few obstacles, and the little ponies no longer scared me. I think I will be doing some more tomorrow.
Major Tom and I are getting along just fine these days, and we graze together in the field each day for a while - it is good to have a friend, and he is about the same size as me. I think we will be good buddies. He says he still has a lot to learn too as he is only five years old, so hopefully we can learn together. I think I will be sharing his big field when the grass grows, as he and Juta do not get along very well and she will be moving to another field - I guess she is just a bit too aloof for Tom - a pity as I LOVE that little mare!
3rd April - I enjoyed my session out in the arena today and there was lots going on. The horses across the road were talking to me, the sheep and lambs were noisy, and there was lots to stop and look at. I then went into the Agility area with Cathy, and we went around a few obstacles, I played in the muddy puddle, walked across the bridge, weaved in and out of the poles, and I even trotted - that was a little worrying, as I wanted to get excited and pull but tried to be good. I was seeking my bit to pull on but it wasn't there - it was so strange not to pull through the bit - and I said hello to the pigs, which were a bit scary even though I see them every day in the yard. Life looks so different and confusing out in the paddocks.
7th April - A great day today! Roy came to visit again and gave me a good groom. He then helped Cathy to put a bridle and saddle on me, and he sat on me! Roy is my friend, as he rescued me and found me my new home here on Exmoor, and he wants to ride me soon when I am ready. I still have a lot of healing to do, but now that I have had him sitting on me in the yard, I think it will be just fine!
8th April - I went to work with Tom today. We walked around the arena a little, then down the driveway to the lane. I was just fine until we got to the gate, and out onto the road, and then I just got too stressed and started prancing around. I tried to be good, but I just couldn't help myself. We then gently walked back into the yard, where I felt safe and I quietened down again. Every new space is so worrying for me. Perhaps it will feel better next time.
10th April - Well, I soon got over THAT problem! The next time I walked out to the field with Tom he was the one who was dragging behind now! I was good as gold, and we got all the way to the field, where we played and rolled, and frolicked around, then after a little while we were brought back into the yard again for our tea. Easy peasy! We passed the dustcart, and a bicycle, and several cars. I don't know why anybody should make such a fuss about it. I like Tom's field, but I'm not so sure Tom is that impressed sharing it with me though. He doesn't really talk to me - perhaps I'm a bit bossy for him but sometimes he does need putting in his place - he is such a child!
12th April - Another day in my stable. I love my stable. Everyone else is busy and riding, and schooling, and I can just laze around and sunbathe! It's tea time already. Great. Oh. Here come Hayley and Cathy, tack in hand. I quietly agree to be tacked up and taken into the yard. That's ok. Hayley quietly and gently gets on my back. Easy. What's the fuss. Now I can just stand here. I don't have to do anything else. I'll just hang around for a while………. and a while longer …………and a bit longer. OK, alright then, I'll move my feet. There. Is that enough? Oh no, "walk on" ………. I suppose so if I have to. I walked around the yard, and both the girls were happy with me, so when I got into the top yard I just stood there. Is that what I'm supposed to do? …………….. Bend to right and left. That was easy. I don't want to move my feet so I'll just stand here………. forever!
After about 10 minutes I acquiesced and agreed to walk around again. Happy days. Big praise, and back to my stable for some food. Perhaps I'll do it a bit quicker next time. ????!!!!
I did have a bit of fun in the arena earlier on. Lovely roll, and grazing, then Hayley decided to dress me up. That was fun. I like not being able to see around me - nothing to scare me. Wish I could wear clothes more often! Here - I'll pose for the camera. There. That's ok. I'm used to not being able to see very much and it makes me feel safe and comfortable.
19th April - Hi Guys. The time has flown by this week, and SO much has happened. Looking back over the week, I feel like a different horse now. I started walking out quietly down the road, and into the field, where Cathy and Hayley left me and Tom together. Not much fun at the beginning, but then we both started playing, and we play there every night now! We're best buddies and we're left out all night together too.
And, Tom and I have been for several walks together, first through Bossington Village and back again, and then round the lanes, past the livery yard, past lorries, vans, scaffolding and all kinds of obstacles, and I was really good. (So was Tom, of course. He's told me that he used to pull a lot too, but you would never believe it watching him now!)
Then yesterday Cathy took me for a walk by myself - and she told me that I was the perfect gentleman. I like being called a gentleman.
Today, we went into the arena and Hayley got on my back, and I decided to follow Cathy around the arena. I stand when she tells me, and I walk on when she tells me. I then had a mint and went back to my stable. I haven't bitten anyone for over a week now, and I feel really chilled out and much more at home. I feel like a new horse!
25th April - Another good week, and lots of progress. Hayley has ridden me out of the farm and along the lane for a couple of times, and Cathy has taken me for a walk nearly every day around Bossington village. At last I have plucked up enough courage to trot inhand, and I calmly enjoyed it! First I trotted with Sirrus, and today it was with Pebbles. I enjoy our walks around the village, and I have been to the river, splashed in the water, talked to the other horses in the fields, tried to work out what cows are, and walked past all kinds of large and noisy vehicles, which I took all in my stride. Cathy says that Hayley will be riding me more this coming week along the lanes, so that should be fun.
24th May! - Wow - I cannot believe it is a month since I wrote in my diary. A lot has happened in that time, so this is a little synopsis of how I am getting along now. Roy came to see me again today, and so reminded me that I need to update my personal horse blog! The photos below will show some of the exciting things that I have been up to - walks through the woods with Tom, a long walk up the road to the top of the hill, first on my own which was a bit scary, and then with Tom which was much better. I have been riding along the lane with Hayley and out in the yard as well, and I respond well to the rein aids, and don't mind a little kicking either. My back feels rather tight when anyone is sitting on me and I try to duck away from the weight, but I am getting used to it each day.
I have lost most of my winter coat, and my feet are no longer sore. I feel quite at home here now, and love playing with Tom, or going out with Tom - he is my hero, but Cathy keeps telling me that he is the baby, so I should look after him!
I am getting used to having a rider on my back, but I still get a bit tense and hold my head way too high.
25th May - Fireman Roy Lovey came to see me again today, and we went for my first proper ride together. Tom was leading and we walked through the village of Bossington, then around the fields and back home. I had to stop for a picnic a few times when I got a bit stressed, but it was ok otherwise.
27th May - Claire rode me out today with Tom. I'm getting used to this now, and we did the same route as yesterday. Cathy was leading me, and Hayley was riding Tom, then on the way home Cathy let go of me altogether so that Claire was in charge - my head was relaxed and we had a chilled out walk, even when the horses in the next door field started charging around. I think I'm going to like this riding thing after all - it's just taking a little getting used to, that's all!
16th June - I can't bellieve how the time has flown by now that summer is here. It is such fun and Tom and I have great fun together. I have been for a walk through the big woods with Tom - it got a bit scary as we got further from home, but then Tom told me it was all ok so we crossed the river, and then I even trotted inhand along the road properly! That was the first time I have done a proper trot and it was fun!
Today I went for a ride again, and there was no-one leading me. Cathy took lots of photos to record the event, and I behaved myself really well. We went around the lanes, and then we crossed the river at Bossington, and I walked along the track, and then back again. It was good fun and I was told that I was such a good boy!
5th July 2016 - It's been awhile since I have written in my diary blog. Apologies to all my followers. I have tried lots of new things recently - I have been riding out with Tom Cathy and Hayley around the village, once was really fun, but the second time I felt very grumpy and nervous, so Cathy got off and gently walked me home. I really did feel out of sorts that day. I have also been in the arena, but rather like to plant my feet there. I am really not too sure about the arena - perhaps it brings back too many memories for me?
The other day Hayley and Cathy long-reined me in the arena, which was ok, but I had had enough after about 15 minutes, so I started getting grumpy again.
But generally life is good enough - Tom and I have changed our field and that was fine, and I have been having lots of herbs from the hedgerows to try to stop my grumpy feeling.
23rd July 2016 - So much has happened these last few weeks! I have had a lovely lady come to talk to me called Alex. She is from Storywell, and is hoping to be a good animal communicator. She has been asking me lots of questions, and I have been happy to give her some answers. Alex knows nothing about horses, and nothing about me at all, but she is a kind lady, and I like her sitting in my stable with me whilst I am eating my hay - I find her very reassuring. She also gives me some Reiki healing, and I like that too. Here is an account of our time together.
Roy has been to visit me again too, and he has ridden me out a few times. On occasions recently I have played very stubborn, as I am still not sure what I like doing as everything is so strange, but this week Roy, Cathy and Hayley have played strong leadership roles, and I have been out in Bossington learning new things. I have now trotted ridden quite a number of times and it was OK. It felt very odd at first, but I am getting used to it now, trying to adjust to the new balance with Roy on my back - I rather like having the security of the lead rope in my mouth as this is my comfort zone, so Cathy says she will get a very soft bit for me to hold which she says she will attach to the head piece of my bridle. That will be interesting. I have also been through the river with Roy - I was very stubborn here but eventually gave in - there were lots of people standing around watching us and everyone clapped when I went through the water! It was actually quite fun playing with it with my front feet, and going back home again was easy!
25th July 2016 - Alex came to visit me again. I am getting very used to her now and quite like her quiet and calm manner. She gave me some Reiki healing which helped a lot.
In the afternoon the three young helpers in the yard took me and Tom out for a walk, up the hill and into the woods. I was ok on the road, but once off-road I started to get stubborn again, and planted my feet. We went on a little further and then turned around again to come back home - that bit was very good, and I came straight down the hill with Tom, and Raya was riding me. I think I will have to do the same again shortly as I really am not too keen on the whole idea, but then I mustn't forget that when I arrived I wouldn't even go out the front gate! Cathy says I have come a long way in four months, and she tells me she is very proud of me. Cathy says I am expressing myself by being so stubborn. She says I will get through this silly 'phase' and no doubt she is right - she has been right with most things so far.
2nd August 2016 - I am going out everyday at the moment, as John is taking charge of me now that Cathy and Hayley are busier. I have been ridden and taken out in-hand, and I' thoroughly enjoying trotting all the way along the road - it is great fun! I didn't reallise what fun it would be just to trot and I can even go faster than Tom now!
3rd August 2016 - I had another walk out with Megan and John today. Yesterday I didn't want to go into the orchard at Bossington, but today I walked in there and the grass was sooo tasty! I think orchards are good places to go, and very shortly the apples will be ready to steal as well! But I've decided that trotting is a silly idea. It was quite funny watching John get so hot trying to ask me to trot. Trotting is for baby horses like Tom - I just like walking today!
17th August 2016 - August is SO busy around here - the other horses are out every morning and I am left to look after the yard. They tell me they are getting quite tired, but we are all getting some really nice haylage now which smells like apples and tastes really sweet, so I think they are happy. It's been really dry too, so all the grass is dying and yellow, and some of us have had a bit of a cough with too much dust and pollen around. Cathy says it is not an easy time, and she is looking forward to some rain!
John is taking me for walks and rides every day - well sometimes someone is riding me, and I am going out with Tom or Archie each day when he is here. I have had some great adventures exploring the countryside, and I have been to Allerford, and to Hurlstone Point too where I can look down across the Vale and see where I live now. The view was ok, but I loved the grass. It is very beautiful around here!
This was a big day for me and everyone was really pleased how I behaved, and it was good to have Jill on my back. I got sticky feet sometimes as the track was very strange for me, but Cathy used a little tap tap on my backside and so I walked on. I'm getting used to a little tap with a stick now, and it doesn't make me scared and angry any more. Just look at me crossing the river with Archie!
On another day John and I found a grassy track and I even had a little canter with him next to me. Megan, who was leading Tom, could not keep up but she laughed a lot when John got puffed out. I can do several transitions from walk to trot to canter and back to trot now, too. John is very pleased with me.
If you are one of Mizse's followers (and I know he already has many followers) and would like to help contribute towards his re-training, health and welfare here at Exmoor Riding please send an email to Cathy on email@example.com. Mizse has a long road to travel before he becomes the calm and gentle horse we know he can be. This will take time, many ups and downs, and a huge amount of patience. We would love to know all of Mizse's followers so please do write.