Things are hotting up polocrosse..

..wise at the stables with the season well underway, the world cup starting in South Africa and we are starting to get ready for the quad nations pony club challenge.  All the Scottish team are getting their player profiles and headshots in for the programme and katie and I have been finding action shots of our players for the programme.   We found some photos from 2011 when our big bold riders were little more than minis.

Saturday was fairly busy, although i didnt really see much of it as I was.in the seamab field with a group of helpers ridding it of ragwort.  We had sprayed the docs and now we have pulled the ragwort and then we let the horses in to eat the rich grass that has been growing. Sunday was a very quiet day on the yard with no lessons until polocrosse at 3.30 and 5pm.  The minis trained in the arena whilst the second group went out into the field and we practiced some new defensive moves and then practiced passing over the line and wheels to the goal.  Ru rode Barry as well and after 40 minutes had Barry happy with the raquet and the ball and was doing pick ups in trot and bounces..

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Look, brave barry

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And that's the ball picked up

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The ponies moved fields..

..yesterday.  After spraying the docs a few weeks ago most of them have died back and the grass has come through underneath.  The river field is needing a rest from being grazed and so we swapped fields.  We are going to get the pony field topped to remove the remains of the dead docs and the live ones that I missed when spraying but we thought that the ponies might like a chance to eat some of the grass first.  This will also give the river field some time to recover before we have to pop the ponies back in there when senior camp and polocrosse camp are on. Both of which are filling up. Senior camp only has one space left.

The yard was quite busy yesterday with plenty of lessons going on and Mollie and I doubled up at 4.30 with two lessons on at the same time. Polocrosse training was very busy with 11 riders. We practiced some ball skills and passing distances. I rode Milo, Hamishs project horse, so he could get used to horses running around him and balls thrown past him. We only had one difficult moment mostly caused by me.

And this morning Mollie and Robyn rode Troy and Remy and I gave them a jumping lesson. We decided that because the last jumping lesson they had was grids we would just try our horses hands at height this time. Both ended up jumping 1m…

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Remy

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Troy

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The summer holidays..

..are almost here and the weather appears to be picking up.  Mollie and Robyn were teaching at the weekend and Beki was running the yard whilst the rest of us went to Rugby to play polocrosse.

It was also the Highland Show and so we had a much reduced number of teaching assistants and yard grooms on Saturday (I think it was 8 in total) but they all worked really hard and ran a really tight ship.  Mollie said it was one of the best weekends for efficency.  Well done to everyone that was on the yard on Saturday.

We had a few riders from the stables at the Highland show and congratulations to them wherever they came. David started lessons specifically so he could get his canter in time for the Highland Show as he was entered on his Auntie’s Welshy. And he did really well.

Tonight was team games at Pony Club and we had some good races..

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..and we even had Whitty trying his hand at it..

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But moving away from the horses for a minute…

Our chickens are lovely but are trying to take over the world. At first they moved into the yard and then we kept finding them in our house and once we found a stow away in the lorry (before we left thabkfully). But now they are trying to work out how to use the car to drive off site..

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"Where do we put the key"

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Summer schedule..

..fo 2015 is out and we have a fun packed summer holidays.  Obviously there is the usual week long camps.for pony club members.  We have both  a junior one which isn’t residential and then senior camp which is fully residential and fully camping in tents in the fields. These camps are great for improving riding and also for learning about horse care and stable management with us covering Pony Club badges on loads of subjects.

We are also running a shorter mini camp which is non residential for anybody that either  can’t make a full week or isn’t a member of Pony Club.  It will be run on the same lines as the mini camps we run during other holidays with two days of riding tuition and a gymkhana on the final day.

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Of course we are running a Polocrosse camp open to ukpa members Pony Club members and anyone else with groups for beginners right up to the very experienced players.  This is residential for older players and any riders from further afield.

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On top of all of that we are also running a week of individual day activities.  A one day event,  a mounted games day.  The list goes on and in fact if you want to see the full list and all details you can download it from our website by clicking here – summer activities.

So this weekend Mollie and Robyn and Beki and Cara are running lessons and we are heading down to play polocrosse at Rugby.  Today has been spent trying to get the lorry loaded and everything ready for us to head off early so we can get down to rugby and our tent up in plenty of time for the under 16 team quiz. Fingers crossed.

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Waterloo at Pony Club..

..tonight was a big success.  We have had some really dry days so we cleared out all the jumps and played Waterloo across the whole arena.  For those of you that haven’t ever played Waterloo it’s a bit like capture the flag on horseback and involves galloping really fast in teams of three and often charging at your opposition team playing a form of horseback chicken.  I am thinking of creating a Facebook page for the sport.

Waterloo is always very popular and tonight was no exception with 4 junior teams and 6 senior teams.

Hamish borrowed a pair if clippers tonight and hogged my horses mane so Whitty now looks truly scary.  It also means that Whits does now know that the polocrosse season has started properly…

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..and I’m not too sure he is happy about that. But he loved playing Waterloo. All I kept seeing him do was suddenly.spot a horse near him and “bang” he rode them off and the poor rider on the other horse didn’t really know what had hit them. Not too bad a ploy when you are defending and having to tig people but not great when you are attacking and needing to avoid being tug.

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A successful weekend in..

..England for me and Ru.  We set off on Friday morning with Indie and Fly in the lorry and Hamish with us but very quickly got a call from Chris at Arden to say the training Hamish was joining was postponed because of the forecast for torrential rain.

So we detoured and dropped Hamish back at home.  Ru was attending the selection weekend for the UK under 16 polocrosse team and that selection was still happening despite the weather.

Anyway we didn’t know that a tanker had caught fire on the M74 and the motorway was closed.  Obviously we found out about 30 miles from home when we got stuck in a massive traffic tailback.  It took us about 3 hours to get to Gretna.

We eventually arrived at our destination  at about 8pm and set up the pens for the ponies and set up the back of the lorry for our living.  The grass was massive and the horses loved it. And we went to bed without it raining but I was woken up at about 3am with thunder and lightning.

Anyway by Saturday morning the sun was out and the horses enjoying each others company..

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..training progressed and Ru was selected to play under 16s polocrosse for Britain against Zambia in August.

Meanwhile back on the yard Mollie and Katie and Robyn were keeping the ship going and making sure everyone had a fun time and no one was hurt.

Sunday came around and we had a nice clear journey home arriving back at the yard at midnight and turned Fly and Indie out before hitting the sack.

And today was a quiet day recovering from the travelling repairing a fence that Remy broke and getting to grips with selecting the Scottish polocrosse pony club team.

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More hot weather means..

..we must have moved to the south of France.  Actually we don’t need to when the weather is like this because it’s beautiful here in the sun.

The horses got let around the arena and had a great time eating loads of grass and we made a half a polocrosse pitch in the cradle field and marked it out with our new line marker.  We then trained on Wednesday evening in it and yesterday afternoon because it was a lovely day and quiet we just all got ponies and went and played some more.  Garry came over and we had Lesley visiting us again.

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Action shot of a much disputed goal...

I.even got to ride and join in and Whitty got very excited..

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Hi Ho Whitty away.

So we woke to another lovely day and we have spent the morning loading the lorry to head down south.  It’s still our old lorry and not the new blue one we are looking to get so hamish me and ru will be sleeping in the back and hoping it doesn’t rain.

Famous last words of course. We drove down to find the motorway was shut causing massive tailbacks and delaying us about 3 hours. We had been told that by 6pm at Arden there would be torrential rain and the delay meant we could be driving into a field and unloading in that rain. Argh. Fortune smiled on us though and as we got closer to our final destination there was no more sign of rain and we arrived to a very fine drizzle. We got pens set up and the horses rugged and fed and watered in the light and then set up our camp in the back of the lorry. It’s quite homely really.

And then at about 3am I was woken by the torrential rain on the roof of the lorry and lightening and thunder. Fortunately the rain didn’t come into the lorry as it was vertical rain. The horses were happy in their massive pen with loafs of grass and their rugs and this morning it’s back to a light drizzle but the ground has coped with the water really well so training for Ru should be great.

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With the sun out..

..and the temperature at 18°C today was another weedkilling day.  Hamish took the strimmer and trimmed the roadside verges from the top road down so they are looking really neat and tidy.  I took the backpack sprayer and went to kill more docs.  As the docs died back in the pony field it became clear that there were a few patches that I had missed so I re-sprayed those and then went to start spraying the seamab field.

I didn’t get it all done by lesson time so it will be up early on Wednesday to get it finished in time for lessons starting at 10am.

Pony club on Tuesday night was individual showjumping.   It’s near the end of term and so many schools have trips at this time and we had a few people missing so both the open junior and senior classes only had one competitor in them.  The other classes were full though so we got through plenty of rounds of jumping.

And sure enough I got up early Wednesday and finished off spraying the seamab field so that by my first lesson this morning I had completed spraying the pony field and the seamab field.

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..and already by this evening it was dying back.

The plan for polocrosse today was to get into the field and so we let all the horses around the arena.  The grass is long and lush and they have had a happy time watching lessons and eating.

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..so much so that they are still around the arena.

Hamish and I then set up a set of goals and using our new linear we marked up a D and a 30 yard line.  Hamish then took the strimmer and cleared that grass arena of docs.

We had an international polocrosse player visiting from Canada. Lesley played in the Canadian world cup team 8 years ago. She was over on holiday in St Andrews and found us on Facebook. Mollie and Rebecca took her out for a hack to see the brass horse and then she rode Sploge at training.

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After torrential rain..

..The weather has brightened and got a bit warmer.  The docks in the pony field are dying back quite effectively but you can now see the patches that I missed so it will be back to the knapsack sprayer tomorrow if it’s dry and go back to the field.  After that it’s seamab field and the cradle field that needs sorting out.

Thursday lessons went well with the 4.30 lesson really getting to grips with cantering.  We are now working on consolidating control whilst cantering by working on quick transitions into different leading legs.  This means that the riders need to control the canter so they can quickly get back down to trot and then back up to canter again whilst changing rein.  Diamond of course insisted on putting flying changes in which kind of defeated the object of the exercise.

I only had two riders in my 5.30 lesson because of last minute cancellations.  So we worked on alot of sitting stirrupless trot to improve balance and it really did improve the riders canter.

And for my third lesson of the night we went for a hack which was great fun and of course involved cantering up the canter hill.

And we have had Reba shod and Kara is back riding her again and so I took a quick photo of her…
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And on the first day of summer…

..It rained and rained and rained.

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Rainbow flying high

On the plus side we had a beautiful rainbow landing in the horse field and the ducks had a great time and the pond filled up.  The ponies that were ridden in the 5.30 lesson didn’t complain either because we kept them in for the night in the pens and winning and benjie came in to a stable for the night.

But the arena is somewhat waterlogged at the top end and I’m not sure if it will be dry for pony club tomorrow night.  We will have to see.

So other news today. The farrier came and put shoes on the polocrosse ponies as they had pulled them off at Alnwick last weekend. We also had shoes put on Milo and Barry as they were both feeling the road. Mountain is still unshod because his feet are pretty good as his last owner worked on keeping him shoeless. He may of course need shoes if his work rate goes up. Ru was back at school today and so didn’t get a chance to ride him. I am still waiting for Barry’s back to be less scabby before I ride him again but I did take Whitty into the pony field and practiced pickups on grass.

The evening lessons were great with a new improved and bigger 4.30 lesson as two of the Friday 4.30 class have joined it which puts the class up to 5. The 5.30 lesson were.working more on canter but it struck me how.much they have come along. I can remember not.long ago how difficult they found the walk trot transition and now they are just flying into trot. It won’t be long before we see the same change in their trot canter transition too I’m sure

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