Yard Christmas dinner at The Station pub


The yard Christmas dinner is at The Station pub, a good food pub, or so I understand. I’ve been there once before for lunch, but can’t actually remember the lunch, which means it was neither outstanding nor dismal.

I arrive at the pub, park my car and notice the notice that says, ‘absoulutely no parking for pub customers’, so I move my car and park on the main road. This is not a good start.

I look at my watch. I’ll just about be in time. I dash to the pub door and push it. It doesn’t open. I pull it. It doesn’t open. I push it again. It still doesn’t open. People inside the pub look at the door This is embarrassing. I walk round the front of the pub to see if there’s another door. There’s not. I walk round the back of the pub to see if there’s another door there. There’s not. I walk back to the door, where I started. The inside people at the bar look at me as if I have escaped from somewhere. I push the door again. I pull it. I stand and wait…

I rattle the door again and sigh and this door still does not push. Neither does it pull. I now feel as if I have been outside the pub for a lifetime. As my eyes get used to the gloaming I realize the door to the Station pub is not locked to keep the diners warm, it has a latch.

Finally, I manage to open the door to the pub. The people on bar stools at the bar look at me as if to say the person who has escaped from somewhere has managed to get in the pub.

I think, thank God we are going to be seated in the snug.

I walk through the door and close it quietly behind me. A hundred eyes are on me.

To my left is a table with an older couple seated at it, “Behind you, you’ve not shut the door,” squawks the woman.

Stunned, I push the door until it clicks behind me.

The squawking older couple woman carries on eating her turkey pie.

I am still reeling with incredulity and as I pass the couple’s table and I say “Thank you might be nice.”

I don’t wait for her reply but spirit myself to the snug. I sink down on a chair and think, this evening can only get better.

“Happy Christmas!” I pin my sparkly pony name badge/place setting on my jumper.

I think I need a drink but unfortunately I am driving.





Dressage lesson


At last I have found a fantastic place to learn dressage, a Lusitano stud, where the horses are designed for dressage and are incredibly well schooled, where the instructors are dressage and where watching them schooling is a delight.

The horses know all the dressage movements so that you can feel how it should feel to ride a particular movement and so can recreate it on a horse that hasn’t done it before.

This is a breath of fresh air as many yards offer riding lessons where you will never progress beyond a certain level as the horses are green, unschooled or are simply not conformationally capable of doing anything that resembles any dressage movement in the book.

You can’t teach a horse how to ride a particular dressage movement if you have never felt how it feels to ride that particular movement yourself. It is like the blind leading the blind!

Yet, too many places are happy to give lessons using instructors that can’t teach to any significant level, using horses that can’t do very much, and no matter how often you go or how much you spend, you will never make significant progress.

Such riding schools are great for having a go or teaching your kids how to sit on a pony, but not great if you really want to progress your riding.

Don’t plateau, find a great trainer! Also find a school master (horse that can do) who can teach you too and the sky is the limit.

If you want to do more than walk, trot and canter every week, find someone who can teach with horses that can do.

When you find yourself plateauing, it’s time to make a break and take the next step. Find a great trainer. They’re out there. It is just a question of finding one or more than one.

There will be no more plateauing. Plateauing has been replaced with progress and a diet of jacket potatoes due to the price of aforementioned progress!

Don’t plateau. There is nothing wrong with jacket potatoes.




Two Socks


I squidge through thick mud, the colour of chocolate mousse with the consistency of custard. It must be nearly lunchtime as even the mud is making me hungry! My next thought is, there must be something you can put down to make field entrances less boggy, and there is, rubber matting especially for field entrances, but there isn’t any here, or if there is, it has been submerged under the mud.

I look up at Socks, a giant of a horse, whose head and neck obscure my view to the right completely, We are heading back to the main yard, just the field entrance to negotiate and the road.

However, this proves to not be so straightforward as we wade through the mud. Socks doesn’t like the mud any more than I do.

It would appear that I am sinking, and sinking! Socks keeps walking and I would like to keep walking with him but as I take another step forward my foot leaves my wellie behind, almost forgetfully, so now I am hopping. With a horse giant in one hand, my wellie stuck in the mud about three feet away, I struggle to keep my socked foot in the air.

If I can stop briefly on the wooden boards at the field entrance, I may be able to hop to my wellie. Yes, I can hop to my wellie! This idea might have gone according to plan, had Socks not decided that he was not going to walk on the aforementioned pieces of wood that Becky had put down especially for him earlier in the day in the field entrance. Not only will he not walk on them, but he won’t go anywhere near them.

So I hop, trying desperately to reach the boards before I put my socked foot down in the mud. Meanwhile, Socks avoids the boards with the same determination as me, but where I want to reach the boards, Socks is trying desperately to avoid them.

Socks strides on. Meanwhile my socked foot hovers in the air and…misses the boards and splidges into the mud custard.

Socks stops and turns, giving me an odd look as I hop, wellieless with a dripping, muddy sock.

I heave my wellie out of the mud and put my muddy socked foot inside my wellington boot. It squelches.

This is not a good feeling!






Farewell Ted


There is a God. Ted the Teeth and Back Legs Bella have moved yards.

We heard it rumoured and no one knew if it were true… but it is.

Laura has actually moved them to a livery yard down the road, which has more grazing.

Well, I say down the road, it was still a reasonable distance for her to walk them down there in headcollars.

This rendered me speechless on two counts, firstly that they had gone with only a  week’s notice and secondly that they had gone on foot in headcollars.

Thankfully and incredibly they made it in one piece. I imagine that Laura has a few bruises as Ted had allegedly bitten her before they’d left the yard.

Ted and Bella are in a field together, which on the one hand is good as they love each other madly, but on the other hand isn’t so good as now they’ll be even more inseparable.

That said, the last time they shared a field, one of them kicked the other, leaving a horse shoe shaped swelling, which bled. Strangely, it was Ted, who kicked Back Legs Bella, if I remember rightly.

I arrived as Laura was saying goodbye, having packed the last of her possessions in her car.

Laura will be missed, but she will be remembered her by the remains of Back Legs Bella’s stable, a tower of moulding straw near the hay trailer and the space where her cabinet has gone from the covered rug area.

I have to say it’s not quite the same without the meanest pony in the paddock, but at least I’ll live to see Christmas!