Saturday horse stuff

I slept as if I’d been doped last night; instantly unconscious and waking through a cloying foggy gunge of sleep.

The new cunning plan of not drinking tea or coffee after 1pm seems to be working. And, as a result, my intake of fizzy water has gone through the roof. And that has to be good, too, right?

It’s 8am; I’m going to leave here to ride Vin soon. I’ll go up on the Bandit with a clean numnah and my riding hat stuffed in a rucksack.

I’ll go up the long-but-pretty way, to avoid the waterlogged lanes; A40 from Witney to Burford, down the hill through the village and up to the yard via the Chipping Norton road.

I’m taking Vin for a hack (read: scare every motorist to death).

Thoughts of the Grand Plan of moving house later this year make me nervous about being able to find Vin the quality home that he deserves to have.

I explained to a friend, the other day, that it’s a bit like taking the time and care to find the right Day Nursery for a child. Yes, it’s a bit like that. But more so.

Good thoughts about moving. It won’t be happening for six-eight months. But it’s still daunting. And exciting.

Ponies and stuff

Accompanying five attractive young ladies to the London International Horse Show at Olympia is just one of those, you know, ‘it’s a dirty job but someone’s got to do it’, kind of things.

So yesterday I took my bravery pills, drove to Oxford, jumped on a train and headed in to that London, to do that thing.

We had a giggle.

There was the inevitable amount of piss-taking (Clare and Tor taking the piss out of me, obv), and laughs and oohs and aahs and gossip (so much gossip!) and champagne.

We also got to watch some very talented ponies (horses) jump staggering heights (said someone who starts to get nervy above 1.25m).

And it was fun to meet up with a bunch of fiends friends and have a chuckle.

The time is now rapidly approaching 2am and I should be asleep but my head is still winding down.

So I’ll pootle about on the internet for a while.

And then fall asle……

Video documentary

The reason:
Because of Sammi’s illness, I am looking for a new subject (or possibly two, but we’ll see) for a short documentary film I want to make.

The topic:
Eventing; I want to paint the sport in a more ‘every day person’ light, make it more accessible. Ideally, the subject will be winding up to his/her first Intermediate or * (One Star) level.

How will it work?
The film will run to around 18-20 minutes. It will be structured in such a way as to follow, over a period of time, the passage of time. Day-to-day routine scenes, from schooling to tack-cleaning (and everything else involved), will build a picture of what goes in to getting a partnership to an Event.

The film will close with scenes of the competition day, from loading, arriving, unloading, grooming, tacking up, working in, dressage, show-jumping, cross-country, untacking, wash-down and relaxing afterwards.

In my head, the film will not have any narration. It will will feature a subdued musical backing track, I intend the film to speak for itself and should not need a narrator (though there will be titles on-screen to introduce scene changes).

Is that it?
Well, not quite. Ideally the subject should live within fairly reasonable reach of the OX28 area. And, obviously, I’m not a professional film-maker, so it will be a learning experience, but I have lots of video editing skills, years of audio editing experience and I’m confident I can do it.

So…

I think that’s probably enough lists, for now.

While all the lists were written some time ago, and published on a ‘scheduled update’, things – in other areas of my life – have been, as you might imagine, happening.

I have been to so many gigs in the last two months that, frankly, I can’t remember them all. I need to find a quiet half-hour (or hour!) to sit down and go through my notes.

And, erm.

I’ve started writing for a media offshoot of The Guardian.

Yes, that Guardian.

And, in another area of my life, as the personnel have, obviously, changed, I’ve put some serious thought (and effort) in to remodelling the show – This Reality Podcast.

The changes that I’ve come up with; updating the format, increasing the musical content to six tracks, and tightening the duration downwards to around 30 minutes per show, all seem to have been well-received in the greater world. The listener figures have seen some significant uplifts, now that the show is more focussed.

It was helpful, obviously, that I was able to do some significant networking at the Media Centre in Manchester.

And also down at NME.

And, most beneficially of all, I’ve slutted and whored the show all over the Guardian (who have been wonderful about allowing me to trawl the show’s name and website details through their print and online properties).

I’ve also made a couple of minor updates to the show’s website. The most significant change is that the the revolving header photograph now updates, whenever a new show is released.

It always seemed odd, to me, that I’d put out a new show each week, but the main eye-grabbing feature of the website didn’t reflect this.

But not odd enough to do anything about it.

Until now, obv.

In other news, we had the yard Christmas ‘do’, the week before last. And that’s all I’m giving away.

I’ve sold my beautiful horsebox.

Even though Vin is on the point of being passed as ‘fully fit’, I’ve decided that my seriously competitive days are over.

If I need to take a horse somewhere, I’ll borrow a lorry.

Vin is due to see the chiro in the next week.

If he gets a double thumbs-up, we should be able to start bringing him in to work just after Christmas.

And, erm, speaking of Christmas.

I am off to Morocco in a week’s time.

And going to the Event Riders Association ball in January.

Umm…

My phone is due for an upgrade this week.

I want the new Nexus, obv.

But I’m also thinking of dumping Vodafone.

This is radical, I’ve been with Vodafone for about eight years. But, you know, one always wonders if the grass could be greener on the other side of the telecoms fence.

And there have been lots of other things going on.

Yes, lots.

*nods*

And?

Despite last night’s cider and almost-frozen vodka chasers, I feel remarkably excellent today.

Finding myself partially-dressed, when I got out of bed, confused me slightly, but we’ll just gloss over that for now.

My Twitter stream, from last night, seemed terribly amusing at the time.

Slightly less so, in the cold light of morning.

Oh well.

Heike went to bed complaining about the food baby she was carrying.

Yes, I’ll admit I got the quantities of last night’s Chinese sweet and sour stir-fry a little wrong.

But she hardly eats enough to keep a sparrow alive, so it’s not really my fault, is it?

Today I’m going to be madly busy.

And we’re going to a gig this evening to see, amongst others, Black Hats (a fine trio of energetic talent, who purvey musical thuggery for their own enjoyment, as much as for anyone else’s).

The chaps have promised to ply me with alcohol.

Pints of crème de menthe and crème de cacao have been mentioned.

*shudder*

Heike leaves tomorrow.

This makes me sad; her company (not to mention her arse-kicking) has helped put me on the right track, and helped do it much quicker than I should reasonably expect.

I’m spending tomorrow (Saturday) night in Peterborough.

On Sunday I have an afternoon meeting in Lapworth.

And in between these things I have the usual domestic and equine duties to crack on with.

Sadly, on the equine front, the Vin-related news is not good.

The vet has said that the entire left-half of his head is paralysed, due to nerve damage.

We’re giving him a week before the vet comes back for another look.

But if there is no improvement, the prognosis is terminal.

I want to say something really profound here, but the bottom line is that we wait and see.

Wait and see.

Them’s the breaks, kiddo. Them’s the breaks

I called my GP today to ask how the X-Ray results looked. The conversation went a little like this:

Me: So how do the pictures look?

Him: Good. Your lungs are absolutely clear.

Me: Great.

Him: Yes. And those four broken ribs have healed very nicely.

Me: Erm.

Him: The broken ribs. Two on the left and two on the right.

Me: Ah. Erm.

Him: They were broken quite some time ago, but at different times. The left two are much older.

Me: Erm.

I’m obviously so hard that I break ribs and don’t even know it.

And now, over to the big orange dog

another horse-related post, sorry about that!

Firstly, and totally unsurprisingly, Soldier has been sold.

Secondly, Vin – the 16.2hh sicknote pony who thinks he’s just a big orange dog – wants to go out for a walk.

Here’s how he communicates:

  1. Nuzzle the headcollar and leadrein
  2. Nuzzle the empty stable next door
  3. Prick up ears and look as if going for a walk would be a good thing
  4. Nod enthusiastically
  5. Try to say the words ‘I want to go out now’
  6. If all else fails, try and throw the headcollar and leadrein at me.

Stunning, talented, fantastic horse for sale

Update: Enjoying a new home, almost instantly.

 

 

I haven’t been paid for this. I’m just putting this information in to the market/google for a close friend. I’m also wording this advert myself, but the wording is, of course, 100% verifiable and accurate.

Very, very sadly for sale owing to a relationship breakdown, one of the most-loved, best-mannered, most capable horses on our yard.

Soldier is a total star in every discipline.

In British Dressage he has amassed 45 Dressage points, in Show Jumping he has BSJA cash winnings and in British Eventing, has successfully competed up to and including Novice.

Soldier has also won in all Pony Club and Riding Club events including individuals, teams and National Championships.

Soldier has been in the same home for 9 years, during which he has helped take his current owner/rider from BE Intro to Novice – though she is now competing at Advanced level.

This is a serious, competitive horse, a quality dressage schoolmaster, who is excellently mannered in all respects. He needs to have a competent rider as he is capable of of sussing out a novice rider. Good to Box, Clip, Shoe etc.

Unfortunately, Soldier stands at 15.3hh, and if it wasn’t for his lack of height, I’d have him for myself in a flash.

He’s 15 years old and is bred as a TBxID, Sire: Miley.

Here’s how he looks when he’s working:

Goring Heath BE

 

 

Collecting things as I walk about

We three Kings of orient are
One in a bus and one in a car
One on a scooter beeping his hooter
Following Ringo Starr….

I don’t know. It just somehow fits my slightly idiosyncratic mood.

Perhaps because Home Alone 2 is on the TV.

I’m not listening to it though.

I’ve got my studio headphones on; I’m currently listening to Ray Charles’ ‘Heartbreaker’ on Barnsley Sime’s internet radio station

I am new to what Barnsley Sime does; it ain’t half bad, mum.

Anyway.

I have spent the day doing pony-related things.

I was shut in a car with a very nice lady.

Judging dressage.

I seem to have accidentally become the new owner of a lovely Dun-coloured pony who was in our section.

I sneaked him in to the back of the car later, when his owner wasn’t looking.

Right now he’s grazing in the garden.

I’m going to have to find somewhere more appropriate to keep him.

Anyway.

Vinnie says ‘hello’.

In that whickery kind of ‘Huhuhuhuh’ way he does.

We seem to have bought a new suite.

And I haven’t bought one of these:

Kawasaki ZX9R

 

But it was close there for a couple of minutes.

As well as the pony (who is at this moment quietly grazing on my neighbour’s rhododendrons), I almost came home with a puppy.

I know I can’t have one because of my stupid hours and daftly enormous travelling and stupid job but, and this is totally true, a small stray puppy, about 3 months old, was handed in to the Secretary’s tent.

It was gorgeous.

And nearly mine.

But a sense of the common variety came upon me and I left him there.

Though I do wonder if he was claimed by his rightful owners.

And finally.

I don’t understand why sitting in a car judging a day-full of dressage is tiring, but it flipping is!

So it is only fitting that I make myself a mug of chocolate and vanish in the direction of my lovely bed, for half an hour in the company of David Niven’s first autobiographical work.

And then lots of Zs will fall out of my mouth.

Love you!

x

 

It feels like teen spirit

That ‘end of weekend’ feeling sits heavily on my shoulders. Do you remember it? The ‘back to school’ thing that used to happen early Sunday evening?

Not, if I’m honest, a dark feeling of dread. More of a sense of impending doom.

It’s been a fantastic weekend; the weather has been outstanding, but I’m not sure where the last two days have gone.

We don’t seem to have got done half of the things we had on our list of things to do. And when I say ‘we’ and ‘our’ I mean ‘I’ and ‘my’, obv.

We ‘interviewed’ a gardener this morning. I think that, you know, taking all things in to consideration.

I’m out.

The search continues, sadly.

I say ‘sadly’ because having this morning’s guy around didn’t only underline how he wasn’t up to the job, his visit also reinforced the scale of what we want done.

Arse.

I went up to see lovely Vin this morning. Poor Vinnie has a sore foot, but other than that he’s looking very happy.

you can just see the bandaged off-fore hoof if you click - twice - through to the big picture

He seems to be much more supple in his hind quarters.

I think, another couple of months rest, and it might be worth seeing whether this 18 months off has had the desired effect.

I’m under no illusions about this; even if his health has improved to the point where he might be able to be brought back in to ridden work, Vin will never be more than a light hack.

His head-shaking means that he’s now coming in during the day, but he’s spending the night out, which he enjoys.

Anyway, wait and see. Wait and see.

H was working at the stables today; she took the piss out of me muchly, in the way that she does.

She needs a man.

Letching over eventers and jockeys who she’s never going to get in to bed? That’s not what she should be doing. She should be out there getting laid often, like all other grooms.

*cough*

Allegedly.

In other news.

I don’t know what’s going on, maybe it’s something to do with my age or time of life, but I’m turning in to an emotional wreck.

My feelings are just out of control, I find myself crying at the most stupid, idiotic, mundane things.

Just this morning, for example, I cried at the yard.

It really bloody hurts when you shut your hand in the stable door.

Doesn’t it?*

Before I go to bed tonight I really should have a good stab at finishing the edit to the audio interview with The Empty Vessels.

Hmm…

In other news, I revealed to Soph the idea behind the cross-media website I’ve been planning for the last couple of months.

The problem with talking about a pre-production concept, is that you have to give the backstory.

I don’t like doing that. I pefer people to look at something and play with it, even if it is only a prototype; I like people to build their own opinions, form their own views without being led by the backstory.

Soph could see the gap in the market that the idea is aiming to fill.

And I have a design template planned.

Turning the concept in to a living, breathing website would be straightforward; probably take three days to turn the plans in to reality.

The problem, though, is the one of regularly producing content.

I can’t do it all.

Writing a sufficient number of articles to keep a website turning over is not the job for one person.

So if you know anyone who might be interested in contributing to a cross-media website, could you let me know?

Thanks.

*Hope you liked that joke. I wrote it just for you.