Friday, 27 November 2009

Lancelot - first solo hack and first schooling session

Yesterday Mike took Lancelot out for a hack on his own. It was his first time and when he got back Mike said he had been very strong and really wanted to canter as fast as possible.

Today I took Lancelot to the yard for a proper schooling session with Damien. He was a bit silly at first because the carriere was full of jumps from their concours a few weeks ago and he kept looking hard at the fillers and things but Damien has a fab seat and wasn't at all bothered. Lancelot decided at first that he really didn't want to trot and would rather canter round but after a couple of minutes they settled down and Damien really did work him beautifully. He kept a nice forward speed and made him accept the contact. Within a few minutes L-lot was dripping saliva from his mouth. This was something I had been worrying about as he always seems to have such a dry mouth and never mouths the bit but today all was as it should be.

They trotted on both reins and as time went on L-lot lowered his head and started to really work properly. Damien did some cantering on both reins and he settled to a nice loping stride. they did a few 20 metre circles and although you could see his greenness he coped really well and was lovely and light on his feet. The reason I wanted him to go there is that I feel I have no brakes but Damien introduced some downward transitions and also some halts and made him stand for a minute before moving off and he was fine. I think the problem has been not being able to do anything other than walk for so long and Lot was impatient.

At the end Damien popped him over a couple of very low jumps ie about 8" high and although he jumped them as though they were a metre high he was happy to do it.

They schooled all in all for about 40 minutes but I didn't want to push him and I was over the moon with how he performed.

I have booked him in for once a week with Damien and then after Christmas I will start to have a group flat lesson with him.

I love my neddy and he is such a good boy. When you look at the pics you will see that he has no muscle tone at all and looks quite weak in his neck and quarters but he has had 6 weeks box rest and then only walking for 10 - 15 mins a day in the sand school since so he now needs some serious work to build him back up.

Saturday, 21 November 2009


After giving Lancelot a bath yesterday I decided to clip him today. These things always take much longer than you imagined they were going to and also are never as straightforward either.

I took a before pic and he does look decidedly unimpressed but we had been practicing getting the clippers on him and I think he was sulking.

My plan was to do a bib clip and see how he got on with that so I marked it with some white chalks I bought yesterday and off I went. The neck got higher and higher and then I went way past the girth line and so ended up doing an Irish clip. It isn't brilliant but it will do for now. I may do it a bit more and make it into a trace clip if he starts doing a bit more work.

He was very well behaved considering it was his first time. He wasn't very keen on having his underarms done or around his tummy or near his sheath. He got a bit kicky at one point but I just shouted at him.

I turned him out after and he had a roll and then a buck and fart and I managed to get a picture of him.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Back into work

I had Lancelot shod on Tuesday by Pete. We only had fronts put on as for some reason Pete didn't want to put hinds on him. I don't know why that was but I will leave it for now. I am thinking of trying him in hoof boots as that would save me a fortune if I could use them. Mike is not keen though.

On Tuesday 17th after he had been shod I decided to ride him. I got Mike to lead him on a lunge rein and I rode but I didn't feel safe as Mike was kind of meandering along and not really taking any notice of what was going on with me and Lancelot and it felt like there were some huge open spaces out there and I am not sure that if he did anything daft that I could stop him. I really do need to work on my confidence!

In the end we came back after only going along the track a short way.

The next day I took him out in hand again and he was very pushy and bargy and I got quite cross with him.

On Thursday I wanted to ride him but I was just so scared of hurting myself and falling again and I had the appointment with my consultant in the evening and so I just couldn't bring myself to ride so in the end Mike said he would ride him. We went up into the sand school and Mike got on and just walked and a little bit of trot on him and Lancelot was a very good boy. His legs seem fine and although there does seem to be a bit of heat in them there is no swelling.

Today (Friday) I decided to ride him myself so I took him up in the sand school and we just walked around and did lots of walk halt transitions and also some half halts to try and stop him from leaning on the bit. His head was getting lower and lower towards the ground but I was really pleased because he was listening to my seat and was responding really quickly when I gave him the signal to halt with my seat.

It has given me a lot of confidence and I am going to ride him again tomorrow and do more of the same.

I bathed him this afternoon as I want to clip him tomorrow as well. I was planning to do an Irish clip (to the stifle) but I think I might do a low trace clip.
It depends on how he behaves when I try and clip him!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Difficult week with good and bad news

It has been a terrible week for us as on Wednesday 11th we had to have Jed put to sleep after a massive colic. We are both walking around as if in a dream still and just can't seem to take in what has happened.

On the 12th we had to take Lancelot to the vets at Menesplet because of this recurring swelling of his near fore. It was a long day and when the vet looked at him he immediately saw that Lancelot was lame on his off fore and not the near fore which came as a bit of a surprise. He did nerve blocks and x-rays of the foot and found nothing untoward and so thinks it is just soft tissue damage ie bruising. He then did ultra sound of both tendons and found them perfect which was a great relief.
I was so afraid when we got there as I was sure he was going to find navicular or terrible tendon damage but thank god it was all good.

The plan is now that we have him shod on the front and then start work with just walking initially and then after 2 weeks we can start some trot work.

I walked him out in hand yesterday and he was perfectly behaved and today took him out to graze in hand.

The sad thing is that now I am back to being able to ride and I have to ride out alone.

They say that time heals and I know that it does but at the moment the pain is so acute. None of us knows what is around the corner and we should make the most of every day like it is our last or maybe that special person in our life whether horse or human.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

One step forward and three steps back

As you will know L-lot has been suffering with a thickened tendon for about 5 or 6 weeks after doing some free schooling in the Manege (I think it was from that although can't be sure as I found the swelling a day or so after the session). We had the vet out and he had nearly 4 weeks box rest and cortisone gel applied twice daily for 10 days. He had a course of bute and of course lots of hosing. The vet said that it was inflammation of the tendon sheath and not the tendon damaged. Dunno how he knew that though because he never scanned it. I couldn't get my usual vet out and so had to have the crap vet but he was very efficient and seemed to know what he was doing.
He has only ever been very slightly lame on it.

It has got progressively better although on the odd days it does seem a bit thicker but I am so paranoid about it I am out there with a micrometer measuring it. Mostly there was very little heat in it just swelling.

I have been turning him out now in the daytime and he does have a buck and a fart but it still seemed to be doing well. I always bandage that leg when I turn him out.

Yesterday he came in from his turnout and I took the bandage off and his leg was absolutely brilliant. In fact it was the best I have seen it. Not a trace of thickness or heat.
I went out and hour later and I was just devastated. The leg was huge and really swollen all down the back of the cannon bone and really hot. He is not at all lame although I only trotted him up the lane about 30 metres and back.

I put a bag of frozen peas on it for 20 minutes and hosed it. This morning it is still the same.

I have phoned the good vet and he can't get up to me this week and so I have to take L-lot to him which is a 1 1/2 hour trip. Our appointment is Thursday at 4.30pm.

I am not sure how much good it will do him to do a 3 hour round trip but we don't have much choice really.

I am so depressed and worried about him. I couldn't sleep last night with worrying and when I did sleep had horrible nightmares about his prognosis. I can't put it into words but you can imagine how it ended.

I have phoned my farrier Pete and am hoping he can come today or tomorrow to see what he thinks.

Friday, 6 November 2009

The long walk!

Today I decided it was time to go outside our comfort zone and take Lancelot for a good long walk in hand. I planned it with Mike as I wanted to go for a flat-ish walk so that I wasn't putting too much strain on his leg. We planned to walk up to Jouillac along the chemin and then across the field to Maunac and then home.

I was very nervous about it because I had no idea how he would behave and if he did go nuts how I would cope. Having seen him go bananas in the field I know how well he can kick and buck. Mike agreed to come with me to give me some support which made me feel better.

I got him suited and booted and myself as well with hat and gloves and off we went. Well we had only gone about 300 metres along the track and sods law... Bloody Le Valois cattle were out with the bull and so we did a rapid about turn and came back. I was really pee'd off because I had planned our route. L-lot didn't bat an eyelid though.

We got back to the house and then decided to carry on down the lane. We turned left along the road and a couple of cars came past and he never even looked at them. Rosie and Bella came with us (our dogs) which was nice although we had to get off the road because they really have no car sense.
I had in my pocket a couple of carrots which I had chopped up small and every now and then I would give him a little piece which would just keep his attention on me. It really did work a treat and he did keep one ear on me most of the time.

We decided not to push our luck on the road for this first time so we did the circular route along the right hand track which comes back to La Forest. It is a bit more hilly than I would have liked but he coped wonderfully.

We had several brushes with deer as Bella chased them across the track but he wasn't at all bothered. Not once did he try and trot or spook or do anything really other than have a good look at the countryside and watch what was going on around him. Bella galloped up behind us a couple of times and he never even looked at her! Rosie walked across in front of him right under his feet as well and he was just mildly interested. As we went along I collected some chestnuts off the floor and shared them with him which he loved.

As we got back home and we approached the front gate one of Rose (next door) ducks decided to flap its wings and it made him jump but I wouldn't call it a spook more of a start and then on he went.

When we got back I turned him out in the field and he did his usual buck and fart and gallop around as far as he could. I love it that he keeps it for the field... I hope!

The more I play with him and the more time I spend with him the more I love him. It scares me to death to get so enamoured with him because I need to ride him and to trust him and he may not turn out to be as perfect as I feel he is at the moment. The only thing I will say about him is that he is perfect so far. He has never put a foot wrong, never scared me, never been naughty, never been anything other than well mannered and respectful and I cannot ask for more than that.

He is making me very happy right now and our relationship is building slowly which is exactly what I wanted. This tendon thing might be a god send really.

I liken my relationship with Lancelot as being like starting a new human relationship. We have started off slowly and got to know each other. We have become friends before we have moved on to the next level. I really think that it is paying off and I am building my trust in him and I hope that he is learning to trust me.
Please God let it long continue!

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Not a disaster

The leg was a bit puffy this morning but no heat which is good. I tacked him up with the roller and side reins again and we went for our walk first thing and he was such a good boy. I took my thick handle end of the lunge whip with me and used that to keep him out of my space and after a few minutes he was fine and stayed away from me.

The blinkin' bandage came down and came loose which it seems to do if you put it under the fetlock but when we got back the swelling had gone right down and it was quite normal.

I turned him out after in the larger paddock and he was fine. When I got him in the leg was normal.

I would like to try and take him out at least once and possibly twice a day in hand if I have time. I am also going to do the side reins on the higher ring on the roller too so that it is in the position that a riders hands would be and not so low down.

I feel a bit more optimistic this evening about him. I was going to bath him this week with the intention of clipping him ready for more work but today I have decided to give it a couple of weeks until I see if he stays fit. I thoguht that if he was lame and had to have a long time off then I don't want to be trying to keep a clipped out horse warm through the winter if it isn't in work.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Ups and downs.......!

Yesterday I used the sedatives on Lancelot and was able to turn him out for a couple of hours in a very small area next to the sand school. I turned Jed out in a bigger one next to him and they settled down fine. L-lot had one big buck/fart session and then he just grazed. I went out at about 2.30pm and he was mega hot and really dripping with sweat so I brought him in for the rest of the afternoon.

He was quite dopey for the rest of the day but seemed none the worse for it.

This morning I got up and fed them and then about 10.30am got him ready to take out in hand. I used a roller and side reins on very loose and a bridle with a lunge rein. We walked up the lane and then down towards Monat. About halfway along I turned round and came back. He was obviously more keen to come back and was a bit pushy. He was also wanting to walk far too close to me. I was worried that if he spooked he would knock me straight over. All in all I was really pleased that he was so good.

When we got back I decided to turn him out in the bigger paddock and put Jed out in the smaller one. Unfortunately Jed wasn't very happy about this and wouldn't settle at all.

In the end I made a silly decision to turn them both out in the separate paddocks in the big fields. As soon as I turned L-lot out he went absolutely ballistic. He just galloped, bucked, farted, jumped, twisted, leapt, and did about anything he could to bugger his leg up again.

I was mortified but couldn't get anywhere near him to bring him back in. In the end I just left him there to get on with it.
I went out an hour later and checked his legs and they seemed fine with no heat or swelling.

I got the in about 4pm and he seemed fine.

I have just been out to give them their last haynets and he seems quite hot and a little bit sweaty and the leg does feel a bit thick but not badly so.

I have made a decision to leave him for tonight and see how it is in the morning. I will hose it then and bandage it.

Please god don't let me have caused him to do more damage to it. This is turning into a bit of a nightmare... in fact a lot of a nightmare.

Sometimes I think I should have stuck with Fizz. At least I never had to worry about her apart from the sweet itch. Having a horse like L-lot is not easy.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Clipper practice

Today after I mucked out I wanted to spend some more time with Lancelot and do some bonding stuff with him. I decided to further his education by trying to get him used to the clippers. I started off with the dogs clippers which are smaller and quieter and to be honest he didn't bat an eyelid at them. In no time I trimmed all the wispy hairs from under his chin and was able to put it up by his ears and around his face. He was a bit apprehensive but quite still and calm.

I then got the big clippers and it was a bit of a different story. After a few minutes of holding them outside the stable and then inside and then touching him with one hand with the clippers in the other, he was fine. Within a few minutes I was able to hold the clippers against his skin and up his neck although I couldn't quite get to his ears. I have noticed that when he is stressed he nods his head up and down. He did this for a while but gradually got over it.

The strange thing is that when I went round to his off side he was really different and was not at all impressed with the clippers and I couldn't really get them near him.

I plan to try to do this at least once a day until he is really relaxed about them wherever they touch him.

He is such a gentle soul and is very kind and calm.

I have this real fear still about saying nice things about him or getting too fond of him in case it all goes wrong again. I am fond of him, very fond... but I am also wary about it too. I think that I might feel better once I am riding him and know him better. At least I know that he is a real pleasure to be around in the stable. I am never afraid of him even when he turns his bum towards me I am not afraid he is going to kick me like I am with Jed.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Three weeks box rest later!

Well that was a bit of a disaster wasn't it? After the free schooling session last time, Lancelot obviously twisted something or pulled something because a couple of days later I noticed that his tendon on the near fore was thick. It wasn't hot, just thick. I bandaged it and hosed it for a couple of days but it seemed to get worse and then I could see that the tendon was bowed out about 2" down from the back of the knee. I was worried because I was off to the UK for a week and didn't want to leave not knowing what was wrong.

In the end I called Boudry out and he was very good. Although L-lot wasn't nodding lame he was a bit sore and so he gave me some cortisone gel to put on it twice a day.

Considering that he has been in the box for 3 weeks without coming out he is so calm and chilled out. He really is a bit of a superstar. I did take him out once to graze on the lawn but he got a bit silly and I had to put him back. I am glad this happened though because it has made me realise that I am going to have to be careful about turning him out. I have decided to get some sedatives from the vet for the first couple of times I put him out in the field. I will also make a very small paddock initially so that he can't hooley round. It is a worry now that he has had this injury. I am almost frightened to bring him back into work.

Today I have started a program of desensitisation with him. I bandaged him first and then led him out to go up and down the drive and then out onto the road. We only went to the entrance to Rose's field and back but I wanted to just let him have a look round and to behave nicely.

He was very good and I do feel quite positive about bringing him out more and further without him doing anything silly. I am not frightened of him being a loony because he is not in any way frightening at all but I am frightened of him re-injuring himself.

We shall see how it goes and I will update here about it. I am really hoping to be riding him soon though and then we can really start to get to know each other.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Bad to worse

Last night Lancelot fell outside his stable. His foot slipped on the concrete and he went down on his knees really hard. He just stayed there for about 20 seconds looking at me and it seemed that he couldn't get the strength to get back up. Eventually he got to his feet and seemed a bit shocked. I put him back in his stable and he later ate his tea ok.

This morning I hosed his leg and I could see that the tendon was bowed about 2" down from the back of his knee. We went to Bourg Des Maisons to see Patrice as he is having the vet out. We are just waiting to see when he can come. Anyway when we got home I realised that I had forgotten to put the bandage back on and his leg was a right mess. The swelling was much worse at the back of the tendon and also there is a lump now on the side of his cannon bone.

I am so pissed off and feel quite frantic about it all. His legs were absolutely spotless and beautiful and now they are a mess. I am such a fool. I should never have free schooled him or jumped him.

I feel like crying.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

A little walk

Tonight I felt a bit sorry for Lancelot and so I took him up the lane for a walk and a pick at the grass. Considering that he has been in for 3 days solid he was so laid back about it all. I only had him on the headcollar and he was quite happy to mooch along beside me looking at the view.

I just can't get over how good he has been since I had him. I know that he has this tendon problem and that is a pain but behaviour wise he has not put a foot wrong. He is such a sweety. I really do like him a lot. A daft thing to say but I do.

Lancelot has a sore tendon

I really don't know how to describe what he has done to himself. I could say he has pulled a tendon or strained a tendon but to be honest I don't know. All I do know is that the tendon running down the back of his cannon bone is thick and the fetlock is slightly puffy on his near fore.

I have been hosing it and he is on bute since Friday. It doesn't seem to be getting any better. Susan watched him in the school just walking and trotting free on Wednesday and thought that he was slightly lame though I am crap at recognising that unless they are nodding lame.

He is on box rest now and I am keeping it bandaged and hosed and we will see how it goes. If it is no better tomorrow then we will have to either take him to Duhard or B des M.

I am really gutted about it and Susan has been talking about months of box rest and other terrifying stories. It is all my fault as I shouldn't have free jumped him I suppose. It is hard to know what exactly he should be doing work wise as I know they were working him several times a week at Hartpury when I bought him.

Anyway fingers crossed that it is nothing serious and that we can get back to doing a little bit of work soon.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Free schooling and jumping

I haven't been able to do anything with Lancelot this week because I fell over last Tuesday and did some real damage to my already badly damaged arm. I am now back to square on with no movement at the shoulder and a lot of pain.

Lancelot seems to have less injuries and bite marks on him now because we have separated Jed who was definitely bullying him. We have also stopped all the feed he was having and he now only has hay. This has definitely calmed down his lumpy bumpy skin. I am going to have to find a feed for him though because he does need something as well as hay when he starts working.

I decided this morning that I should try to do something with him because he needs to keep interacting with me.

I took him out in the manege and started free schooling him which he seemed to be really enjoying but he is so forward that it is easy to keep him trotting and even cantering but it is impossible to make him walk. It is really something I need to work on. I will do it on the lunge rein and not free though as I have more control them.

He does have such a lovely trot and is very floaty though today he looked a bit stiff.

We have the new jumps up permanently in the manege and I had moved the poles out of the way so that he could do complete circuits. I decided to put a pole on the ground to see what he thought of that and to be honest he hardly even looked at it and took it all in his stride.

I then made it into a small cross pole and again he jumped this without a second thought.

He seemed to be enjoying himself and from time to time got very excited and was bucking and farting his way round and then at the last moment just popping over the jump.

At the end I just put a straight pole with a ground line up at 60cm and he jumped this beautifully too. No effort at all and at one point was doing a pooh so stopped about 5 strides from it, did his pooh then just trotted forward and jumped it.

I know that if this had been Jed he would never have been so obliging.

I am pleased because it never crossed his mind to run out or turn away from the jumps. He just sees them and pricks his ears and over he goes.

The other thing which I love about him is that when I had finished I turned my back on him and went to stack the lunge whip where I keep it and to pick up my sweater. When I turned around Lancelot was there right behind me and then proceeded to follow me around like he was on a lead. He is very attached and I said to Mike he is definitely a Monty Roberts Joined up horse.

My plans now are to start long reining properly. I would like to have a go tomorrow if I can in the manege and then do it every day after so that I can walk him out.

I have long reined him once before but the reins were on the cavesson and not the bit.

I don't think I will be riding Lancelot for quite some time so I need him to be working on his mouth even though he is not ridden.

He is such a kind and gentle boy and I don't think that he has ever had a nasty thought in his life. I do like him very much.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Riding in the school for the first time

Tonight I wanted to tick another box for a first with Lancelot and ride in the sand school at home.

I tacked him up and took him out and lunged him first. I worked on just going up and down from halt to walk, walk to trot and back down again. He is very forward and so it is hard to get him to slow down or stop but we are working on that and I think I have cracked it on the lunge. I lift the rein hand forward and step sideways so that I am stepping slightly in front of him. At the same time I say 'Walk' or 'Whoa' or whatever I want. We are getting there slowly and he is definately more responsive now.

I hoped Mike would be out there with me to just watch and make sure I was ok but he went off somewhere to do something and in the end I decided to just get on with it.

We had to have a few goes with the stool that I use for mounting as I want him to learn that he must stand next to it and not just walk off. Today I didn't want to make it the lesson for the day but I still had to do some work to make him stand because I was on my own.

Eventually I was able to get on and he was so good and just stood while I adjusted my stirrups etc. Then we spent about 10 minutes just walking. I have a new saddle and although it is the same make as my old one it really has altered my position and my legs are way too far back and my shoulders are forward. In the end I shortened my stirrups so that I could keep my legs forward and my heels down, this encourages my shoulders back. It is not brilliant but I am working on it.

He is very responsive in walk and nice and forward but halting is another matter. He just leans on the bit and yaws his jaw. Each time he did that I gave the reins and tried just to use my seat and voice to halt but mostly we were doing half halts. If I want to stop I have to take a firm hold and then give and then repeat this about 4 times before he eventually stops. As time progressed he seemed to listen to my seat change but we never quite perfected a halt. I don't want him to lean on the bit so I am very conscious of giving when he does it.

Then we had a couple of trots. I was very apprehensive as I had no idea what he would do or in fact if we would be able to stop at all but he was very good and once I had my balance sorted he became very relaxed and although forward he was in a nice rhythm. I kept the rein nice and loose and with really no contact and he was happy with that. As time went on I took a little bit of a contact but really let him go as he pleased. We did a few rein changes and he seemed to be really enjoying himself and once I had got used to his stride and I relaxed myself I have to say I enjoyed it too. If he wasn't so young I could have stayed out there a lot longer and done a lot more. We did a few trot, walk transitions which were done with only seat and voice and he was very good.

We walked then on a long rein and I called it a day as I was so pleased with him.

I need to find out why he just holds the bit in his mouth and doesn't chew or play with it at all. His mouth is very dry when he is working although I am using a French link Fulmer. I wonder if I changed it for the sweet iron if that would make a difference?

I need to work on the downwards transitions. I want to stop him leaning and yawing on the bit.
I need to work on making him stand at the mounting block.

All in all a brilliant session and I can't wait to ride him again.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

28th August 2009

So he is on his way and I have just had a phone call from the transporters to say he will be arriving at about midnight tonight.

He is still very immature in his body and he is quite gangly still and so the plan is to do loads of ground work with him whilst my arm is mending and to allow him to grow into himself. He is expected to make 17 - 17.2hh so he has a way to go still. When I first saw him led out of the box I couldn't believe he was 4 as he is so foal like. They usually back them at 3 but left him until he was 4 to allow him to grow.

I am excited but apprehensive. Hopefully it will be third horse lucky.

I asked all the lads at the yard where he is what the worst thing about him was and none of them could think of anything and they all said with total conviction that they had never, ever seen him with his ears back.

29th August 2009

He's here!!! They arrived at 5am and he is now in his stable tucking into a big haynet. He is very wobbly after his trip and every time he puts his head down to drink he sort of overshoots the bucket! There will be pics in the morning as we took loads. He is so lovely and very sweet and cuddly. I am sooooo excited!

The lorry has gone on now to Portugal with the rest of it's cargo. Two very nice ladies brought him and we are both very impressed with the service.

Will update it all in a couple of hours when I get up to do a double gite changeover!

Night night

Gail xx

I've just been out to check him and he is fine and is eating and drinking well.

He has quite a few bumps and rubs. I think the head collar has rubbed him quite badly. The rest of him is fine though and there are not hot spots or swellings.

I am just off out to see him again and sit and have my tea and toast with him... I can't believe how friendly he is. He just wants to be stroked and be with you.

Jed and Lancelot are twins!
Their heads are very similar but their bodies are very different. Lancelot is much lighter built and lacks the muscle that Jed has. When you see them together you can see the ID in Jed.
Lancelot is a definite finer built TB. He has a lot of work to do to build his neck, top-line, shoulder and quarters up. He was only backed in May and then turned out for about 6 weeks I think and then came back in only a couple of weeks ago. There is no doubt he is a real slow grower, but I have time to let him grow.

Lancelot is sound asleep out there now. He must be absolutely knackered... bless him.

Mike has decided he is going to change Jed's name......... He wants a knight too ... so he's going to call him ....................Jedi.......

30th August 2009

I have spent today going in and out of the stable with Lancelot and I am pleased with him. He really is such a sweet boy. He is very kind and gentle and just likes to 'be' with you.

I was trying to figure out what was different about him from Jed because they are both big horses but it is not easy to be in Jed's space.

I realised that Jed likes to move you around by crowding you. He makes you move by swinging his head to look around you or over you or at something behind you. It is not comfortable to be in Jed's stable as he is definitely in charge of his space.

Lancelot just stays where he is and lets you rub him or massage him and then he moves over if he is asked but he never once made me move out of his space. His energy is totally different to Jeds.

It peculiar how safe I feel in his stable but I still dont feel safe in Jeds.

I am so reluctant to enthuse about him as I have made the mistakes before and got so excited about other horses. I felt so foolish when it all went wrong.

So ... I like this horse, I feel comfortable in his company and I want to spend time with him.
Early days but it feels good

31at August 2009

We were out all day yesterday at a horse weekend organised by our horse group. Mike took Jed and rode him in the parade and so Lancelot was left at home alone.

When we got back although it was late I wanted to get him out and let him stretch his legs so I took him up into the sand school so that he could have a roll and a buck and fart if he wanted.

When we got in there and I just led him around at first he was lovely. He followed me with no barging or pushing. I then took the headcollar off so that he could go off but he just stayed close and followed me around.

Eventually he went of and rolled and then trotted and cantered around and I started to play with him, sending him away and turning him by using my body and he was sooo responsive.

He had great fun and displayed his breathtaking trot which just floats over the ground.

When I had enough and wanted to catch him again I was a bit worried because he had stayed well away from me but I changed my body language and looked at the ground and turned slightly away from him and he stopped and turned in towards me. He took a couple of steps towards me and then stopped but he was still about 20 metres away. I walked towards him then and when I was about 5 metres from him I stopped and looked at the ground and he then walked straight up to me and waited for me to put the rope back on him. It was all text book stuff and felt fantastic.

He is a lovely boy and when leading him if I stop he stops. The only thing I need to sort is that when he is stop he does this thing of sharply nudging me with his nose. He did it on my bad arm yesterday and lifted my arm with his nose and I can't tell you how painful it was. I thought I was going to cry.

11 september

I lunged Lancelot this morning because I really want to crack on now with his training. He is so easy to work with and if he doesn't understand what you are asking for you can see him thinking it over.

This was just a simple exercise just to see how he moves and how he responds. I was so pleased with him.

11th September 2009

Mike had his one to one lesson today with Damien and so we took L-lot too.

Mike had his lesson first and was riding without stirrups and fell off... not a good omen. He was fine by the way.

I had to take L-lot up to the main yard because he kept calling to Jed and I tied him up in the entrance where he promptly went to sleep.. I thought this was a good sign because here he was in a new yard with loads of different people and different horses and he was very calm.

I tacked him up with his brand new Wintec 2000 saddle (a bloomin bargain at £299) and his new bridle both colour co-ordinated in brown and he was ready!

Damien lunged Lancelot first and he was very flighty and fast. I think he didn't understand what Damien was asking him to do but they sorted it in the end.

Damien then rode him walking, trotting and cantering and then came back to report to me.

He has no mouth to speak of and doesn't understand the rein aids at all. He said he was nice though and then said to me to get on.

I was absolutely quaking in my boots (that's putting it very politely) when I got on and to be honest I had a job to get on as he is so blooming tall. He isn't as big as Jed but still tall and I am still one armed.

I was very frightened and walked gently first and Damien kept telling me to trot and I kept saying 'In a minute'

Eventually I trotted him with one hand on the neck strap and Damien talked me through every move and made me lengthen and lengthen the reins and once my seat got stronger and I relaxed and then Lancelot relaxed things started to flow.

We have a long, long way to go but I am happy about that. I knew that by buying a young horse I would have all the work to do but I have superb teachers and Damien has given me lots of advice. He says that L-lot is literally just backed and has no understanding and that I must be so careful of his mouth. He goes well off the leg which is great because Jed is the opposite and ao now I have what I wanted.

This is the beginning of a long road but this is a path I want to follow. L-lot seems so calm in his head and when we got home I was able to shower him off with no fuss or drama and then take him for a pick of grass on the lawn.

I will post some pics later which are mostly of Damien riding him but there is one or two of me. When I looked at them I realised that I must lose some more weight!!

Gail xx

12 september

Today I have ticked another box. We went for a hack! We went out with Jed and Mike and it was a bit breezy but because he had the lesson yesterday I knew he was a bit tired today. I thought it was the ideal time to hack for the first time.

We went off up the lane and Jed is very lazy and it takes him a while to get going and so L-lot was in front. Jed just never really went in front after that. L-lot was more than happy to lead the way, I couldn't believe it! Once he spooked at a log... I think it was a horse eating log.... All he did was stop and look... no leaping... no jumping..... no swinging round... just staring at it.

We only walked and weren't out for long because I didn't want to tire him too much but he really enjoyed himself.

We met some men working in the woods with dogs and chain saws and that never bothered him either.

He is being a very good boy!

Yes Endy is home and he and L-lot are in lurve... Mike says they are a couple! L-lot just follows Endy around the field worshipping him.

Jed is a bully and I think tomorrow we are going to separate them and put Jed in a field by himself because L-lot is covered in bites, some of them are quite nasty too. Jed will be next to them so he wont be lonely but they will be separated by electric fencing.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Welcome to Hartpury Lancelot

On 20th August 2009 whilst I was in the UK visiting my family I went to look at a horse......... and I bought him.

It's a long story and so if you are not interested then leap forwards a couple of paragraphs and miss this bit.

About 3 months ago, just after my accident and being once again horseless someone posted a thread on here because she ran a site which advertised horses for sale and someone had been naughty and was stealing commision on the horses. A few mins after she posted the thread the Mods pulled the link to her advertising site but not before I had clicked on it and saw and ad for a horse that I really loved the look of. He is a 16.2-17hh 4 yr old 7/8 tb Sports Horse. His sire is on the shortlist for 2012 so he is well bred.

I am a great believer in fate and how horses (or dogs) find us, not us looking for them. Anyway I saw the pic of him and thought I should go and see him.

He was being sold by Hartpury College Stud where they breed the stock for the students to train with and so they are sensitively handled and then backed. Once the students leave at the end of May then the backed horses are sold on. Hartpury Lancelot is one of these.
I asked Susan (Follyfoot) to come to the UK with me to view him but because of commitments she was unable to come.
I phoned a horsey friend of mine and asked her to go and look at him. She said 'I can do better than that, my friend is the chief instructor at the college so I'll ask her about him'

Phone calls were made and it turns out that Bekki was the instructor who actually supervised the students who backed Lancelot and his initial work training. She said he was a rock steady, unflappable, loving and all round lovely boy. She said he had a few confirmation faults which would mean he would never win at Badminton but for medium level eventing then he would be fine.

Having put my Badminton dream on hold I made a decision to go try and see him. I made a few enquiries at the stud and got some video and pics of him sent ot me and then one day found that the ads had been cancelled and thought then that Lancelot was obviously sold.

I was so disappointed but then thought things happen for a reason.

I then booked flights to go to the UK to my sisters 25th wedding anniversary and after they were booked and a few days before I was due to fly I was trawling the net and found another ad for Lancelot on the Hartpury college site.

I went and saw him the day after I arrived and just loved him. He is very cuddly and sweet and he has the most gorgeous floaty trot.. It was a very windy cold day when I went to see him and because of that I actually did not ride him myself. He was absolutely impeccably behaved and never took any notice of the wind but I didn't want to push it with my arm. On the ground he is perfectly well mannered and just loves to be fussed and loved. I saw him ridden, lunged and led and he was fine. The vet came that same day and vetted him and apart from some minor confirmation stuff ie he dishes slightly on his off fore he passed with flying colours.

I took my Dad who is 76 years old and an ex jockey to see him the next day and he fell in love with him immediately. He trotted him up and loved and fussed him and was in his element. They have a very strict rule at the stud that food is food and treats are rubs and strokes so consequently he never looks for treats or nibbles etc. So we paid the cheque over and Hartpury Lancelot was mine.