Hmmm… When Did I Last Blog?? Tuesday, Jan 22 2008 

Ok, so I confess, it’s been a while since Ive updated the blog. There have been a couple of reasons for this. One being the fact Im still battling with the more serious content on this site and the second being that I’ve had a sick bunny to contend with yet again.

So firstly, to the Avril fans. Avril has been very happy and hyperactive after his miraculous recovery from the myxomatosis at Christmas. That was, until yesterday, when I returned from riding to see him behaving rather strangely. My best description, which at least the horsey readers out there will understand, is that he looked like he was weaving. I watched him for a while until he seemed to snap out of it. During the rest of the evening, he was very very quiet and wasn’t eating nor drinking. This is unlike Avril as he’s somewhat large for a bunny and has the appetite to match. Avril should be an American rocker bunny; everything has to be super sized. I decided to have a closer inspection in the evening and let him out of his cage. Rather than his usual bunny antics (discussed indepth in my previous blog), he just sat and seemed to wobble slightly. Whats more, his head was titled onto one side. To be blunt, he looked drunk.

I spent most of the evening wondering if he’d suffered some sort of minor stroke and today saw little improvement. This afternoon we took him back to the vets. I must admit, I was terrified initially as there was talk of brain problems and all sorts. The vet wandered off to do a little investigation about a bunny parasite problem and returned having spoken to the nice guy who made the myxomatosis diagnosis. Their new diagnosis is a deep ear bacterial infection which is affecting the area of his brain that controls his balance. Generally, he has a wicked headache and is dizzy… my rocker bunny is evidently one with some kind of drug or alcohol infection. The choices we were given were to put him to sleep, or accept that the infection he has is most likely one that will return periodically through out his life and he’ll need drug therapy for it. We naturally went with the latter.

Now at this point Im going to rave slightly about this country. The vets here are amazing. Seeing the bunny, all the discussions (we were in for an hour easily) and three weeks of anti biotics came to around twenty pounds. Whats more, they’ve given us a long term repeast prescription so that whenever we think he’s starting with it again (and they’re predicting every few months-ish), we can just go in and buy the anti biotics. And now I shall slate my home country’s veterinary system, where, after a change in law regarding to the prices they can charge for the actual drugs, they decided to make up for it by placing crazy examination fees on everything. I remember when I could buy and keep small amounts of bute or anti-bi’s for my horses as a “just in case” – long gone are those days in the UK.

Hopefully, Avril will be feeling much improved over the next few days. I am aware that I promised people photographs of him. Unfortunatly, he’s still trying to physically prop himself up against the side of his cage, so I don’t think he’s feeling upto posing for his fans just yet.

Today was fun in general. I got to go shopping with my fiance who gave into my recent whining and took a day off to take me out. First stop; the hair dressers. I was there just a couple of weeks ago attempting to convince the world of my natural blondeness. My fiance was also late collecting me which left me stood out in the snow and wind feeling rather grumpy. The result? I told him Id forgive him if I could have my hair extensions done. By some miracle, he agree’d. (That just shows the sheer quality and impressiveness of my whining. Contact me for lessons by arrangement). A date was settled (February the 2nd) and a time (8am for god sake. I dont generally have a pulse at this time, but apparently, its a lengthy progress and seriously, there was no pun intended!) The colour? Not the lightest blonde they did, but one shade below, with a few pink sections put in. The longest I can get is 44 cm’s, which is not quite as long as I wanted but hey! Throughout this, the tone in my voice was getting higher and higher as the excitement kicked. Upon turning to my poor fiance and asking what he thought, all I got in reply was “Oh yea… really looking forward to this bill”. As we left, I happen to mention how much I loved my hairdressers and how nice they were to me. His theory is that we’re single handedly paying for an extension to their business.

Next port of call was the horsey shop! Jack needed a new saddle cloth and I needed to look at hats as Im told the extensions will probably require a larger hat size. Horsey people understand the intricate nature of choosing a colour for your horse. Not only do you need to consider his or her own coat colour, but of course there is your tack, your bandages or boots and your own clothes. Yes, Im a self proclaimed Dressage Diva. Indeed, the fact this is seemingly used as quite a derrogatory term amuses me greatly. I co-ordinate and Im proud. Im not ashamed that my horse looks amazing.. is there any reason I really should be? (In essence, this comes back to the fact that all horse enthusiasts dislike each other… see a previous blog for my explanations on this.) We finally agree’d on a saddle cloth for him and grabbed the final bits I needed, ASIDE from the gold glitter which he outright refused to buy me (i’ll sneak it in next time).

From here we headed to the lingerie store. In fairness, while I was trying on bras (the sizing is slightly different), I wasnt aware that some girl next door was having a fitting and the rather witchy looking assistant kept yanking back the curtain of the changing room asking her if the items were ok. Seemingly my other half got quite the eye full… Im not sure if he or the poor girl next door was more embarassed (any girl of slightly older years will tell you that this is why you never ever ask for a fitting in these damn places as it seems to be an excuse for aged women who’s breasts have now reached beyond their knees to handle younger girls and fondly discuss their perkier days with fellow workers)

Since Im home bunny-sitting tomorrow, I may have slightly more time to make a longer post about something which makes me grumpy during the course of the day… its not hard to find things 😉 For any readers out there however, please send vibes and cross fingers for my lovely rocker bunny. Hes only a year old and hes far from graced with good health :*(

Avril and the Dead Bunny Flop Friday, Jan 11 2008 

We have another member of the family who I have yet to mention on this blog; Avril my year old bunny.

Avril arrived as a Valentine’s present from my fiance last year. Trips to pet stores were a regular occurance for us and, like many animal crazed individuals, I always liked to have a wander round and look at the small fluffy pets. It was just before Valentines day last year that I first saw Avril. There was, what could only be described as a small black furball bolting round the rabbit enclosure like something posessed. On closer inspection, he had one white foot and a white nose. Best of all, he had a wicked mohican hair-do made of of black fluff. Now, crazy animals always appeal to me. THIS was both crazy and fluffy. While all the other bunnies were chilling, this one was leaping in the air, skidding around the enclosure and jumping ontop of unsuspecting bunnies.

“Ohhhhhhhhhhh my god! Hon! Look at the rocker-bunny!”

Rocker-bunny was the best way I could describe him. If this rabbit was human, he would have been the lead singer of a metal band.

“No'”
“But loooooooooooooooooooooooook”
“No!”
“But?”
“No”

So that was that. I got dragged out of the store being told that we didn’t want more animals. Clearly after spending an evening with me whining and protesting about rocker-bunny, my other half changed his mind and went to buy the rabbit. At this point, Id decided he would be called Coby (after Jacoby Shaddix).

While waiting for my boyfriend to arrive how with the bunny next day I was, quite literally, like a kid before Christmas. A few weeks prior to this, Id adopted a pheasant that myself and the dog had found out on a walk; clearly she’d been hit by a car. As it was snowing, I decided I absolutly had to take the pheasant home to stop her freezing. The pheasant, soon to be calle Filly, soon took over the whole of our lounge. Indeed, we lost complete use of it because she clearly didn’t like human company and would hiss and get upset if anyone went in. Sadly, Filly eventually (and predictably) died. I need something new to look after

On his arrival with a small cardboard box and a rather huge cage, my other half told me it wasn’t quite what I wanted. I immediatly paniced thinking my rocker-buns had been sold but upon opening the box, it was very much him! Cue massive amounts of cooing and huggling. The “problem” he was referring to was that the bunny was a girl. There went his name. Shortly after, bunny became known as Avril.

Now, when we decided to make the move back to Denmark, a few conditions were put forward from my side. ALL the animals were going with us. That accumulated to two dogs, one horse and Avril the Rocker-Buns. We ended up driving across Europe with the dogs and the bunny and Jack travelled seperatly with a transporter.

Fast forwarding somewhat, just before Christmas, it became obvious that Avril wasn’t well. Avril had been suffering with runny eyes and I assumed this was a dust allergy. When we were both woken early one morning by a strange rasping sound and realised it as coming from the bunny, we rushed to the vets. The one thing I’d been telling myself was that at least we had a house bunny; we couldn’t be looking at myxomatosis. Imagine my devastation then, when the vet said that’s exactly what he suspected. In addition to that was another slight surprise. While examining buns, the vet decided to take a look at the tummy area, and I saw something which initially paniced me. Two lumps and immediatly I was thinking cancer.

“Well, shes a he”
“A what?!”
“She’s a he”
“Thats not what the pet store said!”

We came out of the vets with some strong drugs to try and sort the myxomatosis, information suggesting the likelyhood was that bunny would die and the news that she was now a he.

Once again, we’ll fast forward a few weeks and my darling bunny is now well again. Indeed he’s back to his normal and slightly hyper active self. Since he’s been sick, Ive naturally been more observant about him and I was frequently commenting to my fiance that he often made me think he was dead. He’d lay in the strangest positions, eyes closed and completly out of it. Yet everytime I’d wander over or call his name, he’d jump up and act normally.

This lunch time was one of those times but to an extreme! I was making lunch and glanced over at the bunny’s cage. We’d changed his bedding yesterday so he now has a nice fluffy straw bed. I could see his white foot stuck in the air… He was layed flat out on his side, slightly closer to being on his back, legs in the air, head resting flat out and eyes closed. I could, however, see him breathing. At this point I called my other half over to take a look. He wandered over to check and sure enough, once the bunny could hear you, he jumped up and was fine.

Five minutes or so later…

“Its the dead bunny flop”
“Excuse me?”
“Thats what they call what he’s doing! It’s the dead bunny flop and a sign of contentment”

I decided I needed to investigate this further and did some googling. Sure enough, there were pages popping up all over with the titles of “Oh My God! My Bunny is Dying!!!” followed by answers detailing this bizarre bunny behaviour. Still somewhat disbelieving that there was actually a known behaviour called the Dead Bunny Flop, I carried on reading sites about bunny behaviour.

So here I present the a-z of bunny behaviour

The Binky:-

This is a display of happiness! When the bunny can no longer contain his or her delight, it may leap in the air, kicking it’s heels together.

Bunny 500s:-

Here the bunny leaps into the air and does a 180 degree turn.

Chinning:-

This is a terrotorial type behaviour where the rabbit will rub his or her chin over objects or people to say “mine!” Mine does this rather frequently when out of his cage… and over pretty much anything he comes across. While hes certainly layed claim to me, he hasn’t yet attempted this with our Siberian Husky.

The Dead Bunny Flop:-

As mentioned above. This can occur quite suddenly and unexpectandly and often, bunnies will make a rather large banging noise as they flop over. Quite literally, it looks like they just flopped over dead. Fear not however! This is another sign of contentment and relaxation from a bunny comfortable in his or her surroundings

Thumping:-

Either a demand for attention or a scolding of something he doesnt like. Bunnies may do this when wanting food or attention from their owners. Alternatively, they may resort to this when you have done something they dislike such as clipping their nails.

Tooth Purring:-

In this instance, a bunny will gently grinding their teeth creating a slight nibbling sound. This is a sign of happiness and contentment.

So there we have it. The first animal I have come across that literally does a death scene through happiness. I’m pretty happy that horses can’t do this thats for sure. My bunny is on the large side by bunny standards and creates a pretty lound noise when he flops, imagine the minor earthquake a horse would create. Avril should certainly get an oscar nomination for the number of times Ive been caught screaming “Avril?!!?!!?!? Are you dead?!”

In other news, I have repetitive strain injury from using the laptop too much. Ive suffered with this before, mainly due to my refusal to sit in anything vaguely resembling a good posture when using the PC… and I use the PC a LOT. I seem to have a real aversion to sitting correctly. I like sitting with my knees up or tucked underneath me. Since the arrival of the new laptop I’ve emigrated from the computer tables to the coffee table allowing me to sit in the arm chair and watch TV at the same time. The result is RSI! Ive got to say, its the strangest pain Ive had though. My shoulders and arms feel somewhat like they’ve been burned, then had a million needles stuck into them… they’re actually quite numb until I try to move and then I get a bizarrre prickly sensation. Ive been told to rest… So naturally, Im blogging about it 😉

Denmark In a Good Light and The Evilness of Felines. Wednesday, Jan 9 2008 

Ok, frankly, today has been rather quiet so I don’t have anything specific to blog about. Sooooo, Im just going to start randomly writing and see where it goes and whether any rants spew forth.

I’ve been blogging a lot recently about what I don’t like about Denmark. My fiance who happens to read this blog mentioned to me that perhaps it was worth considering what I did like about Denmark.

First up and most importantly for me has to be the people. The Danish people are amazing. They seem to be friendlier and generally more sociable than the Brits. An example would have to be the livery yard I’m on. Horsey people are famously bitchy. There’s just no getting around this; we will be bitchy about everything. Dressage riders don’t like showjumpers because they can’t ride properly. Showjumpers hate dressage riders because they over ride everything and have a tendency of becoming snobby. Eventers think they’re superior to both because they have to tackle all three discipline… everyone else calls them jack of all trades, masters of none. Endurance riders are the ones who daren’t do anything aside from hacking at speed. Hunters are cliquey. It goes further than this though… full livery clients hate DIYers (a.k.a The Green Welly Brigade) who, in their opinion, mess up the yard, mess up the routines and have a strange fascination of making things out of bailer twine. DIYers hate full livery’s as they don’t have the commitment to horse ownership and use money to make up for a deficit of care. Part liveries… no one likes them because they can’t decide which side of the debate to join. Horse people will argue over EVERYTHING and depending on which side of the fence you sit on over certain issues; you can frequently expect to be accused of being cruel. Add to this that most horse owners at amateur level are female and livery yards become a cess pit of bitchyness. Not only can they be catty over how their fellow liveries horses are cared for and ridden, but they can also be bitchy about how their fellow liveries look, dress, how their hair is and so on.

As such, when I agree’d to move back to Denmark, a major concern of mine was Jack and where we’d keep him. The plan was to move so we could look at buying a property with land and stables, but that was more long term. The fact was, I had to go on livery. I’d be the proverbial new girl. To make it worse, I don’t speak the language. I was expecting the worse to say the least.

My horse, for example, feels the cold something terrible. When Jack and I met, it became clear to me that our relationship was fate. He was, without doubt, the equine version of me. Jack shivers at the first sign of a summer breeze. I had him on loan for a month before the sale was agreed and I remember retrieving him from the field in a heavyweight winter carpet; a wug to be precise. I asked the yard owner if there had been a mistake with his rug… it was only the middle of September. No mistake, I was told, Jack feels the cold. Fate! I have the circulation of a corpse. When everyone else is enjoying temperature of mid twenties in the summer months, I can be found with a blanket round my shoulders. My blood cells are fat and lethargic and rather than whizzing round my body keeping things warm, they’re sat yawning and watching eastenders. There was no doubt, Jack and I were meant to be. However, let me be frank; Im an over protective owner. He’s booted up to do anything more strenuous than being stood outside for a brush. His legs are wrapped for most of the year to stop him banging them in the stable. He has an air bag filled saddle because Im precious over his back. I won’t use gadgets of any kind and his bridle is a simple snaffle with a cavesson noseband (to prevent my trainer from over titening those awful cranks that are all the fashion)

Right from Jack and I arriving, people were lovely to us. They humoured my “British ways” and tried to help me understand why they did things differently. Some people were clearly reluctant to speak English but most gave it their best shot and introduced themselves and, over time, the more reluctant became more confident. While the Danes generally have excellent English, the equine terminology isn’t something that they would have come across. While their English education starts at an early age, there is no doubt that it continues and is vastly expanded through movies and television. Lets face it, there aren’t many of those around that would be discussing the finer points of dressage training or veterinary care of our four legged friends. An excellent example of this was when I was told my horse had rot on his legs….

“My horse has WHAT?!”‘
“Rot! His legs are rotting”
“Jack’s legs are rotting…?”

This resulted in a pretty furious drive to the stables to find he had the tiniest bit of mud fever on his legs.

“Rot!”
“That’s mud fever”
“Ohhhhh, we call it muck. Translated to rot best”

A similar panic occured when I was sent a text message saying he had foot sour. This turned out to be a touch of thrush.

When he first arrived, I was told, quite enthusiastically by the stable master that it was recommended that all working horses went on the machine. THE MACHINE. This worried me immensly. I had visions of some kind of electric shock therapy used as a training method or such like. THE MACHINE turned out to be the horse walker.

Throughout all these language difficulties, the staff have remained enthusiastic of trying to learn the lingo and making sure I know what’s going on with Jack. I have to give massive kudos to them for that.

Next up, Im going to mention my hair dresser. Yes, I know we have hair dressers in the UK. Perhaps I’ve been unlucky with mine but they were forever trying to talk me out of things. I’ll admit that I tend to go to extremes with my hair and once I have an idea in my head, it needs to be done immediatly. This has caused me no end of problems with hairdressers who, after listening to me excitedly explain my new idea, tells me that maybe we’ll go with a toned down version first to see if I like it. I usually walk out with my hair a couple of shades different and generally feel disappointed. I must admit, going to the hair dresser for the first time here was daunting. Trying to explain what it is you want can be hard enough in your own language but when the hair dresser isnt a native speaker?! Never the less, I wanted a drastic change to my hair so I had to bite the bullet and go. My hair dresser rocks. He’s called Kim, he was very honest with me from word go and he tries his best to do what I want. Not just that, but he throws out new ideas that I might like and he’s really taken his time to get a feel for my style. So, when an English girl turned up on his door with almost black hair and declared “I want to be blonde… I want to be platinum blonde with pink stripes. It needs to look punkish! I wanna look like Avril Lavigne” his only answer was that it might take a few months to get it that blonde. He ordered in pink colour especially for me; hes since ordered in reds, blues and purples and his last idea was hair extensions putting my hair to my waist. No more two shades change. No more hair dresser who seems semi-terrified of me throwing a hissy fit because I don’t like what they do; Hello a hair dresser that gets me.

Incidently, referring back to my rather spoilt horse, I logged on Facebook earlier to find he had 7 requests for friendship. Evidently, Jack’s friendship is more in demand than mine! Im now starting to consider how I will feel when the day arrives that Jack can proudly display more friends than I do. On that note, I’ve still been pondering the psychological consequenes of maintaining virtual relationships on behalf of my four legged beastie. Could it be some kind of displacement? Perhaps I’m portraying subconscious areas of my own psyche onto Jack! Perhaps his virtual popularity is what I secretly yearn for? This is definitly something I will be pondering more, perhaps while I’m in the hairdressers at the weekend getting blonded up and having my pink stripes put back in.

Finally, while this is completly off topic, I wanted to mention the house cats here. When I first lived in Denmark, 5 years ago now, we bought me a kitten; called Fluffy. When we moved back to the UK, we took our newly acquired husky with us, but left the cat behind as we thought they’d be less likely to settle. My cat turned out to be the local whore and pumped out a couple of litters of kittens before she finally got “fixed”. Incidently, in personal objection to this, she ran away shortly after. She was spotted by the neighbours running round the forest close by. This does add up since her first litter (of which theres actually only one resulting cat), showed that she has a certain fondness for “roughing it.” To put it another way, theres quite clearly some feral cat in the resulting off spring. My darling fluffy clearly liked a bit of the rough. That kitten is now a couple of years old and has to be the strangest looking kitty in existance. She’s long furred, short tailed and just generally strange. She can be found sleeping in the strangest places outside. Just last night my fiance dragged her in after finding her bedded down in a pile of leaves on the window ledge to the basement windows. (The windows are technically below ground level, so they have a sort of dug out area infront of them that allows some light to get in.

Im not generally a cat person. To be blunt, they don’t like me. I actually really like cats, but I take personal offence to the fact that, as a species, they just don’t like me. My fiance says I’m too huggly and bouncy for them. For me, anything small and fluffy is place on the earth to be hugged and cuddled. Frequently what happens is that I’ll see said kitty lazing around. I have an urge to huggle said kitty. Due to the fact that by nature, they’re sneaky little balls of evilness, Im fully prepared to sneak up and pounce on them unsuspectingly. For me, its a case of playing them at their own game. Consequently, I frequently get scratched by a cat trying to wriggle it’s way out of my arms. Hissing Im used to. This has become a personal vendetta against the cat species. The more they hate me, the more I want to hug them. I’m going to hug them into loving me. Despite all this, Im quite taken with Fluffy’s bizarre looking result of her flirtation with the rougher side of cat society. I have respect for them both. Perhaps because I have a soft spot for tattoo emblazened rock stars.. I can fully appreciate Fluffy’s desire for one night with a feral cat. Now, Im not even sure what said illigitimate child cat is called, but for me, she’s Lil-fluff. Much to her disgust, I stuck a camera in her face earlier and here are the (not so great) results.

Lil Fluff

Aaaaaaaaw

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaw!!!!

Sleep Kitty

These pictures sadly don’t do her fluffyness justice. I’ll try and take some more when it’s light but she was laid on a dark duvet in a darkened room. If it had been any other cat, I would have dragged it off the bed and made it stand in the light to be photographed (again, I’m stressing that cats and I don’t get along), but this is Lil Fluff and I didn’t want to disturb her 😀

Gizmo

Lastly, the remaining cat from Fluffy’s second litter; Gizmo. If this picture doesn’t show the evilness of felines I don’t know what does.

So, enough random blogging for one day! I bid you a good evening dear readers!

Jack Has Friends; Both Virtual and Real! Tuesday, Jan 8 2008 

Today saw the snow subside and the rain return. On the good side, at least I dared venture out. I embarked on my usual route to the stables (it’s actually a rather new route for me due to the appearance of a roundabout that appeared, quite literally, overnight and was indeed my first experience of going around a round-a-bout the *wrong* way). The route takes me through a couple of small villages. Now, I have a major problem over here in that Im quite clueless about the speed limits. Everything is in kmh rather than mph which is annoying as I have no idea of the conversion rate so spend most of my time ambling along at a speed that “feels right”. Some of the roads naturally have big signs telling you how fast you can go; some don’t. Much like the UK when you are entering a built up area, you are expected to *know* to slow to 30 mph. Its the same here, except Im actually pretty clueless on what Im expected to slow too. Of course, you can just go with the flow of the traffic but Denmark don’t use speed cameras so often people are travelling quite a bit above the limit.

I’ve mentioned before that Ive found driving over here really hard. Initially we brought our car from the UK with us. That resulted in me driving on the wrong side of the road but on the right side of the car. That wasn’t too bad, I could work with it. Eventually, we decided that car was far too expensive, particularly when faced with paying massive tax to re-register it with Danish plates (which, incidently, was going to cost us around 20,000 pounds). As such, we got me a new car, which is great! Except Im now on the wrong side of the road and the wrong side of the car.

Anyway, back to today. Travelling on the usual route to the stables and I slowed down going through one of the villages, as did the car infront. The rest happened all rather fast. There was a van parked at the side of the road and it blinked at me. A very bright red blink out of the back of it. Then it hit me that the speed cameras over here are always placed in the back of an unmarked van; GOD DAMNIT! Upon returning home and explaining to my fiance where I was, it’s emerged that I was doing 60 kmh in a 50 zone and evidently there is now a speeding ticket winging its way here. I don’t see my defense of “my speed felt right'” cutting it to be honest.. although the car infront was doing about the same.

I spent the rest of the journey there feeling this incident was completly unfair since there was no signs telling me what the speed was. By the time I arrived at the stables, it was raining really heavily which was hardly filling me with enthusiasm to ride (yes, I know I have the use of two indoor arenas, but the fact it’s raining OUTSIDE still makes me not want to ride. Psychologically, I feel wet and rained on regardless of the roof.) I wandered in to Jack’s stable to find him missing which was kind of odd since I’d walked past the horse walker and he wasn’t on there. I noticed the doors to the small indoor arena were closed so made a dash for it (it’s raining remember). I opened the doors to find not just Jack wandering around but another horse; a friend!

Now, excuse the surprise here but let me clarify. Horses here rarely go out together. We have one field in summer that is used as group turnout but it’s literally a case of “the strongest will survive!” Its a relatively small field and its free for all… there’s no restrictions on who goes in there or for how long. So it’s a mixed group of mares and geldings with individual horses coming and going all day. For me, that sounded like a recipe for disaster. We then have a number of other fields where the horses go out in ones or twos. However as many of the horses on the yard are owned by the same people, the groups were already very much settled. Jack therefore, was going out alone. This suited me in a way as Id had an awful year with him being bullied none stop and a number of nasty injuries as a result. I did feel somewhat sorry for him as he’s a sociable boy, but the stables are set out in a way that they get plenty of interaction.

Fast forward to now, 8 months on and I open the indoor arena to see Jack with a friend.

“Hi! Sparrow out with mine”

Was the greeting from the groom who has now taken over looking after Jack since his former slave girl left. If a horse could smile, Jack would have been beaming, despite the fact that the rather over excited youngster was almost hanging off him and swinging by the neck cover on his stable carpet. I stayed with them a while chatting to the groom and actually started to pity the younger horse who clearly believed he was just out for a quick 5 minute stretch and role (Jack had different ideas and was running round bucking and squeaking like a crazy horse)

So thats it! Jack now has a friend; a rather enormous chestnut gelding belonging to the groom. Another interesting result came out of this conversation. I mentioned that Jack was 16 this year and the groom said I should consider paying for extra straw so he could have a deeper bed. (To be precise, he said i should pay for extra “yellow stuff for to lie on”) One thing I have always liked about this yard is that they don’t skimp on their beds. We don’t have areas at the front of the stable where it’s just concrete… we have enormous, thick straw beds spanning the full size of the stable. Extra straw sounds fun and images were beginning to pop into my mind of opening the stable door to be met by an avalanche of straw which I had to battle through to find Jack buried in the middle and obviously warm (Jack gets cold.. its why we have so many carpets).

“Extra straw? I’ll have some of that. Where do i sign?”

So now Jack has something scrawled in danish on his stud card which apparently ensures him a deeper bed. I cant wait to see it based on the fact that his bed is already usually well above my knees on “normal” straw rations.

Now, when it came to 2007, one of the biggest new products in terms of the technology scene was arguabley facebook. It seemed to replace MySpace really quickly and I finally gave in over summer and hooked myself up with a page. I must admit, I was surprised at it’s addictiveness and the “haha! I have more friends than you!” statements you could taunt real life friends with never seem to grow old (you know you all do it.)

The ways in which we socialise these days are getting more and more bizarre to be honest but last night, a discovery was made which Im still giggling over. Horsebook! Oh yes, a facebook application that allows you to set up a profile for your horse. Naturally when this was posted on the horsey forum I frequent, I had to join. Thats right, Jack now has a facebook profile and has befriended a number of other horses belonging to members of the forum I use. He has his own profile picture, a list of his favourite activites and treats and his own wall where his horsey friends can post messages for him. Indeed, he’s currently strook up a relationship with a certain mare by the name of Porridge who he now wants babies with. Clearly, this application is going to be a hit with horse owners but you have got to question our mentality for partaking. I was happily posting on Porridge’s profile last night.. posting AS Jack. Yes, I posted on Facebook pretending to be my horse. Seriously, you just KNOW that if a psychologist got hold of this, we’d be locked up somewhere. In this day and age we can get away with it (barely) .. imagine a few years ago though. Would my sanity have been under serious scrutiny if I’d sent a hand written letter addressed to Porridge with Jack spilling his feelings for her? Of course it would! (This is of course ignoring the practicalities of posting a letter addressed to “Porridge” and hoping it arrived. Incidently, I had a friend who stuck a stamp onto a banana and scrawled an address over it in black marker… that never arrived at its destination)

And so concludes todays update, with the exception of a couple of pictures I took of Jack and his new found real friend. I will undoubtedly continue to extend his virtual social network while pondering to myself the psychological implications of conducting relationships on behalf of my horse.

Dude! She has a Camera!

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow! Monday, Jan 7 2008 

Much like the UK, we were forecast some snow last week. It came, looked temporarily impressive, but left rather fast. The horrific temperatures of last week have past (incidently, for anyone who remembers my blog entry where my fiance and his family rushed out to find a stuck boat; the temperature at the beach that evening due to the windchill was -21 degrees!) and with the slight warming, all the water system at the stables thawed. Temporarily at least, the great bucket shortage of 2008 has passed. Incidently, for anyone interested, the little mare next door who was frantically attempting to drink at light speed last week now has her own pink bucket. To be perfectly honest I’m rather jealous and now understand the bucket-stealing ideas that may have been plagueing other liveries; although where they were considering such actions in reflection of the bucket shortage in all local tack stores – I was just downright jealous of her pink bucket.

This morning looked grey and miserable and it had clearly rained overnight. Out of nowhere, the weather has taken a bit of a turn. After promising myself that I would start to collect more photographs, I ran outside to snap some piccies of the current snowfall. I’m even going to track it during the day (assuming it stays).

Immediatly out of the back door..

This one is taken looking out towards the neighbouring fields, just beyond them is another livery yard (not where I keep Jack though)

Snow!

This one is taken looking out towards the forest (home to some funky, HUGE eagles) and the beach (yep, the trees run right down to the beach), not that you can see much…

Towards the forest and beach

Over the patio

I know the quality isn’t great but its from a phone camera. Perhaps if my determination to document every moment of my life (interesting or otherwise) continues, I may have to harass my poor fiance for a camera!

Yesterday’s visit to the stables went by with very little entertainment really. A trip to the local supermarket afterwards however, yielded much to be excited about! We went in search of modelling clay which needless to say, we didn’t find. I did wander off to investigate the tinned food situation thought and behold (!) there were tins of spaghetti and sausages! Due to the fact that there weren’t that many, I insisted on throwing them all into the basket, coming away with 11 tins! (Can you imagine what the girl on the check outs must have thought.)

In other victorious news, the search for the modelling clay was also concluded today and my fiance returned from town (incidently, he wouldn’t take me with him which Im very unhappy about) with 9 bars of modelling clay; one in every colour they have. Pretty good timing considering that the weather has put me off from venturing out of the house today and my new career as a modelling clay sculptress can commence.

Blog updates have been slightly slow over the weekend and for that I apologise. Instead I’ve been working on some more serious stuff, particularly focusing on the use of rollkur in modern training methods and Im hoping the first part of that will be making an appearance today or tomorrow. (I know, I know, you’d much rather be reading stories of the strange habits of the Danes but Ive promised myself for a long time that I’d collect together my views on certain modern training methodologies and publicise them online.)

Family Time?! Screw It! I Wanna Shop! Saturday, Jan 5 2008 

Ok, so Saturday’s are generally Jack’s day off and due to the distance between us and where he’s kept, I tend not to see him. (Fear not welfare people, he’s on full livery!). Its a chance for myself and my fiance to spend some time together as he works all week and has a pretty long commute time.

Last night, I had a light bulb moment where I decided I NEEDED to buy modelling clay. I have these moments quite frequently and once something is in my head, it needs to happen there and then. This has, in the past, been responsible for such incidents as having my hair coloured red and black. Patience is a virtue?? Pffft, no, it’s not for me; things have to happen there and then.

So yes, back to last night, my fiance (quite stupidly on his part) sent me a link to some pictures of models that an Asian girl has been making. These are models of fantasy characters in an online game Ive played for a while (I try not to mention this often, its a sad and tragic waste of much of my time). The minute I saw them, I was hit with flashbacks of childhood summers spent modelling things out of “Fimo” – you know, the plastacine stuff you bake in the oven so it goes hard?

So yes, 10 o clock last night I was overcome with a strong desire for modelling clay. Now, there’s something you need to understand about Denmark. This country is technologically advanced – much more so than the UK. People here had super fast broadband lines when the UK populace were still excited about ISDN. They recycle everything, wireless connections are everywhere. In other respects, it feels like the UK rolled back to 30 years ago. So, this leads me to today’s rant; shop opening hours. Once again, I have to stress, Im from the UK. We can shop at just about anytime! I lived within 30 minutes of Meadowhall Shopping Centre (or Meadowhell as it’s affectionatly known). From 10 am in a morning til 10pm at night, I could shop and let me stress, I love to shop. Have a craving for pizza at 3am in the morning? No problem, Tescos and Asda were both 24/7 and I should add, we have in the past, done our food shopping at around that time.

Back to Denmark – remembering again that I mentioned my fiance works all week and due to my lack of driving skills in this country, I don’t like going into town on my own (not to mention he’s the bank anyway). This leaves us two days, Saturday and Sunday, to shop. Mmmmmhmmm, “plenty!” I hear you yell. Not quite. Firstly, Sundays are out. No shops are open on Sundays except the odd small food store which will possibly stay open until 4pm. All the stores in town are closed. All the stores in the nearest large city are closed. Once again, “no problem!” I hear you saying, “you have all Saturday afterall.” Think again. The shops in Denmark open at 10am on a Saturday and, get this, they close at 1pm. Thats right, you have a massive 3 hours in which to accomplish your entire week of shopping before the shops throw you out. The reasoning behind this is that people working weekends has a detrimental effect on peoples’ family lives.

Now, this is a good time to inform people that the stereotypes of the Danes and their beer are completly accurate. These people are drinkers. Television is not a big thing in Denmark at all. People rarely bother with it and certainly not to the extent that the Brits do. They have fewer channels and much of what is shown are old US shows. Like the UK, Fridays and Saturday evenings are prime socialising nights and the younger people hit the town bars to drink. Drinking over here usually involves drinking games. Indeed, bars in Denmark are quite a daunting place when you aren’t used to them. There are many games involving dice throwing, yelling and glass banging on tables. The Danes also seem to have a strange compulsion to say “Cheers!” (or as it is here “Skol!”) at least once every two minutes, usually accompanied by more yelling and glass banging. (Incidently, this phenomenom is the same when eating a meal at a home, much to my annoyance as I seem to spend a good 60% of my meal times, refilling my glass to ensure I can partake in the regular round of “cheers!” – equally annoying is the fact that I spend the rest of my time needing to wee because I end up drinking so damn much). Moving on…

Consequently, Saturdays are frequently heavy hangover days. Alas, remember that if you need to buy *anything*, you have to get up early.

So yes, at 10pm last night, I had a burning desire for modelling clay. My tortured fiance tends to just go along with these phases I have. Theres no point in fighting because I have a tantrum and sulk to rival any 3 year old. We spent the evening watching some new DvDs and by the time we got to bed, it was 3am. Stupidly, I never thought to set my alarm.

Fast forward a few hours and I woke up and nudged my fiance asking what time it was.

“5 past 12”
“Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?! I wanted to go to toooown! I need clay!”
*Mumble*
“Reckon we can make it?!”
“Haha – no”
“God damnit!”

After a good 5 minutes of complaining, I insisted he got up anyway as I wanted to go buy lunch and thankfully at least, the food stores manage to stay open til 4.

So yea, its nearly 3 pm now and Im grumpy. I mean, im REALLY grumpy. I wanted my modelling clay and now I have to wait til next Saturday; assuming of course we manage to wake up early enough to get into town, find parking and reach the shops. Did I mention how bad the parking is here? In all honesty, I think its another “family time” stunt. It’s pretty logical really – if you can’t park, you have to go home right? I have never seen a town with so few parking spaces. What’s worse (and this REALLY annoys me), the ones that are usually free are the 15 minute parking spots. 15 minutes! What in God’s name are you meant to do in 15 minutes. Of course, my fiance realises the advantages of this for him and frequently claims that there will be no other free spaces and we’ll have to just be fast.

As it happens, I’m lucky this week…. He’s working from home on Monday so I will have to wait until then for my modelling clay. I’ll spend all weekend being extremely prickly over this though.

I was about to bring this to a close when I was flooded with another wave of rage that annoyed me today. I mentioned that I kicked my boyfriend out of the bed so we could go and buy lunch, right?

Ok – food here.

The Danes eat a lot of bread. Breakfast is usually bread with *something* on it… pâté, soft cheeses, hard cheeses whatever – its bread with stuff on it. Lunch; thats usually bread with, you guessed it, something on it. Again, pâtés, cheeses, eggs, fish.. various other things (note, never butter).

Now, this annoys me. It’s not that I dislike bread (although Im not a lover of the “black” bread they eat here), but for me, theres only so much bread you can eat. In addition to this, I hate their soft cheeses which usually have lumps of shrimp in them. In the UK, lunch for me was often soup, some form of tinned rubbish on toast or noodles perhaps. Oh yes, Im the Queen of junk food.

Denmark is void of junk food. The most advanced you might manage would be a frozen pizza. Baked beans are treated as the food of the devil. Imagine then, how elated I was to discover large tins of spaghetti and small sausages at our local shop last week. Elated to the point that I think we bought 12 of these tins. Part of my UK life had returned; rejoice! I had tinned spaghetti on toast!

Off we went this morning; myself already incredibly grumpy from being robbed of my modelling clay (I’m not letting this drop. Someone will pay for this). We arrived at the store and I proceeded to throw biscuits and chocolate into the basket. I wandered over to the shelves that hold my newly discovered tins of loveliness….. empty. Whats going on?! What is this?!

“They’ve sold out” muttered the boyfriend
“OH YOU THINK?! FOR GOD SAKE WHATS WRONG WITH THIS COUNTY?!”
“Cant you have soup”

I looked with disappointment at the ONE variety of Heinz soup (tomato) sat on the shelves. I didn’t feel like soup but its the closest thing I was going to find to remind me of home today.

“FINE!”

So yea, its 3 pm and after being denied both my modelling clay (I was going to model the most exquisite dragon!), and my tinned spaghetti, Im feeling pretty foul. I settled for noodles for my lunch – a different type! They still fall short of anything I could find in the UK.. I’d sell my grandmother for a pot noodle right now. The only vaguely good thing about today is that it’s only 1 degrees outside so Im hoping that perhaps the automatic drinkers at the stables have thawed out and the national bucket crisis may pass. Incidently, I realised something last night. On Thursday when the drinkers first froze, the little coloured mare next door to Jack had a drinking bucket in her stable. Yesterday, said bucket was missing and the grooms were left attempting to plug the hole in her food bucket with their fingers in order to let her drink.

Where had her bucket gone?! More images of liveries tip-toeing around the yard looking for water buckets crept into my head. Perhaps Jack’s water bucket is in imminent danger. Perhaps I SHOULD go and see him today and make sure no one has stolen his bucket! The words of Chris the groom are still ringing through my ears..

“Sparrow bucket – sparrow allowed water!”

What if he no longer has a bucket?! This national shortage can drive people to the strangest behaviour afterall and horse owners are already unstable at the best of times.

So, now I have to battle with my own dilemma about whether I should go and check the where abouts of Jack’s bucket and ensure he has water should the drinkers have not thawed…. and it’s cold… and I dont have my clay and I dont have my spaghetti.

Life out here is tough.

International Dressage In Summer 07 Saturday, Jan 5 2008 

As requested by a few people, here are some pictures Ive managed to find of a couple of the international shows hosted at our yard over the summer. Enjoy 😀

Dressage 07

Dressage 07

Dressage 07

Dressage 07

Finally, not of the dressage but rather the Trakhener gradings:-

Grading 07

Me vs Danish Roads; Ding Ding! And the Under-Valued Bucket Friday, Jan 4 2008 

Ok firstly, I will admit that I am not the world’s best driver. I started lessons at 17 as most people do… I got my first car for my 18th birthday and had still not passed my test at this point. It was the following summer before I passed (18 months after starting lessons) and it took me four attempts. To make matters worse, I’m not a confident driver; particularly when it comes to snow, ice and wintery conditions.

The weather here over the last couple of days has been cold… damnit, it’s been freezing. It’s taking cold to a whole new level that I really don’t need to experience. I’ll hold my hands up here. When I stuck my head out of the door this morning, my initial thought was “hahaha, yea. Im staying in.” My horse is on full livery, I dont work, I’m not moving! Then one of those awful sinking thoughts that all horse owners will admit to passed over me… the “what if”. What if he’s not been on the horse walker as it’s too windy… what if he’s not been turned out in the indoor school… what if the automatic drinkers still haven’t thawed!

After wrapping up like michellin man, I set off to see Jack.

Now, I can be a bit slow at times or rather, Im blonde. It took me a good 5 minutes of driving along before I realised something was odd. The roads were bright. They’d changed colour! I was pondering this for some time before I noticed the next odd thing. They weren’t just bright, they were stripey.

I finally had a lightbulb moment where I realised, the roads were frosty – very frosty! Infact, the sun catching a reflection on part of them revealed worse; they were icey! Now, I’m from the UK. If there is a hint of cold weather there, everything gets gritted. Im from the country where the first site of a snowflake nation wide results in a massive wave of people turning on their radios to find out if the buses have stopped running, if the trains have stopped or if the schools are closing. Much more than a flurry and the country grinds to a halt and everyone goes home and admits defeat. Realising how icey the roads were literally made me want to pull over, get out and yell “THERE IS SNOW ON YOUR ROADS!!!” At this point, I was astounded to the point that I wanted to take pictures. Yes I know, I’m writing about being astonished over the road conditions and my first bright idea is to take photos while driving. Of course, the fact that the sun was shining directly onto the roads and that my camera is far from powerful (being in the back of a phone), meant that the pictures are less than impressive… so frankly, you’ll just have to go with me when I say they were bad!

I arrived at the stables whimpering to myself over the cold and was just battling my lack of enthusiasm to ride when my fiance called. I voiced by disgust over the road conditions obviously!

“You have winter tyres”
“Well, are they going to save me?”
“Yes, obviously… hence they’re called winter tyres”

I was just about to embark on a massive lecture about how, unless they have mini blow torches hidden in the treads which help to clear a path through the deathly ice I wasn’t interested, but sadly (for me), he had to cut the conversation short as he was going out.

Seriously, winter tyres… Around November time, everyone here changes their tyres for “winter tyres”. They sound impressive don’t they? Are you picturing tracter tyres or chain clad tyres? Yea… they’re normal tyres with a bit more tread (so I’m told.. and yes, I had to be told).

Aaaaanyway thats just about my only complaint for today. *Just about* 😉

Automatic drinkers – fabulous things! No more dragging heavy buckets around, ending up with more water down your legs than in the bucket (and no one except horse riders understands the horridness of wet jodhpurs), no more horses running out of water in the middle of the night, no more tipped buckets and wet beds! Fabulous; until they freeze. Picture this – a yard of around 50 horses all used to using automatic drinkers. We have, perhaps, 5 buckets on the yard. This is the second day of temperatures of around -5 and -6 degrees… do you see where this is going?

While I was at the stables yesterday, I was aware of a really annoying clicking sound. Almost like someone was continuously smacking two plastic objects together. My curiosity led me to find out who and three stables down was a horse stood at the back of his stable pressing the lever on his drinker.. over and over again. I went to check Jack’s drinker and sure enough it was frozen solid. Looking over at the mare next door to Jack, she was staring fixatedly at her drinker while balancing on three legs. The fourth leg was being waved madly in the air as she was apparently saying “please” to the very frozen and uncooperative drinking machine. This, annoyingly, meant I had to drive all the way home to get his old water bucket and then head all the way back. Upon returning, I checked it was ok to put him a bucket in.

“Jack’s drinker is frozen… can i put a bucket in with him?”
“Yes yes, sparrow drink”
“Drinkers frozen?!”
“Yes, drinkers frozen and the mare next door is thirsty but I let her drink from Jacks bucket before I left it with him”
“No! Drinkers frozen! This NOT good!”

I went up today to find his bucket half full so assumed someone had been filling them as his drinker was still frozen solid. As lunch time approached, a rather comical scene played out.

“Jack has bucket – allowed water”
(person proceeds to fill his bucket)
“Yes, thankyou”
“Lucky Jack – those with buckets allowed water”
“Cant we get more buckets?”
“Shop no got”
“It doesnt have buckets?”
“No, owners bought last two yesterday – no buckets left. Need more buckets!”
(I suddenly became very happy that Jack’s name was scrawled all over his bucket in bright pink nail varnish as it seemed they were becoming a rather valuable commodity and images of stealthy liveries sneaking around and stealing buckets was starting to creep into my head)

This of course led me to wondering what about those poor horses without. Next thing there was yelling in the barn telling the two trainees to put water into all the feedbowls when the horses had eaten lunch. This apparently had to be done “pronto pronto!”

One of the trainees reached the little mare next door and started pouring the water into her feed bowl. A multitude of expletives commenced and I turned round to see a very focused little mare trying to drink as fast as she possibly could, while water flooded out of her stable. Evidently, she had a hole in her food bowl. There was a lot of yelling backwards and forwards along the corridor until the second trainee appeared and went into her stable; placed his finger into the hole in her food bowl and stood there while the first trainee filled it. Now, keeping in mind it was around -5 degrees and the water was cold. Those two trainees stood there for a good ten minutes, one pouring, one with his finger in the hole while the little mare drank.

While Im impressed about the lengths they went to to ensure she drank, surely there would have been a better solution to this! Im back at home sat in the warm and pondering as to how many times today, those two trainees will stand in that stable allowing the mare to drink while losing all feeling in their fingers. Life as a groom in denmark is a tough business it seems.

Finally, Jack had a young girl who took care of him. She’d let him loose in the indoor schools or take him for walks for a small amount of money extra per month. She was invaluable to me as I cant be up twice a day to ensure he’s out enough. We even went to the lengths of buying her a Christmas present.

After having not seen her for a few days, I asked the boy with his finger inserted into the hole filled feed bowl, where she was.

” Lisbeth! Lisette stoppet!”
“Stoppet?! Stoppet doesnt sound good. She quit?!”
“Cant tell you in the English – friend will”

Along came a young girl from the other end of the yard.

“She no work here anymore, she gone.”
‘”Oh! Do we know why?”
“No, she gone home and not coming back”

This wasn’t good. Jack really needed someone to let him loose in the arenas as he can be sharp at the best of times. After speaking to the chief rider, I was sent in search of Markus (pronounced in a rather Eldorado style Markoooooooooooooooooooos – apologies to those who don’t remember that show). He agree’d to take over responsibility for Jack’s daily turnout and seemed rather shocked that we were willing to pay him to do so. I ensured Jack’s headcollar, leadrope and turnout carpet were outside his stable and thanked Markus again before saying goodbye. (Incidently, this carpet business is quite catchy. Im tempted to go into business producing a new range of carpets for the modern day horse. I could even make underblankets and market them as Underlay! (yea i know… but it amused me))

“No problem! I’ll look after Jack the Maniac! Goodbye!”

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And so ends another day and another rant.

Incidently, just as Im linking this blog to a forum there is much shouting in the house. My fiance frantically started putting on his shoes and I’m left looking around wondering what on earth all the yelling is about.

“Be back soon – I have to go help my mom. The boat is stuck on the land”
“The boat is what?!”

You got it… its freezing cold, blowing gale force winds and they’re off searching for a stuck boat. These people are crazy…

The Stables – Scandinavian Style Thursday, Jan 3 2008 

When we decided to emigrate, where to livery Jack was a huge concern for me. Our ultimate aim in moving, was to buy our own yard and have the horses at home but initially, this wasn’t practical.

We settled on a yard about 20 minutes away from where we’re living offering full livery. It’s been an eventful few months adjusting to the differences… Much less turnout, more traditional feeding methods and the like all left Jack and I feeling rather alien!

While Im terribly poor at remembering to take pictures, here are a few which will hopefully serve as a guided tour to our new life.

The equestrian centre itself lays nestled in the grounds of a Danish gothic castle. The current owner has had a lifelong passion for horses and is a well known dressage rider and trainer.

The Castle

The centre itself boasts impressive facilities with two indoor arenas (one olympic size with a cafe and viewing area overlooking it), one smaller; three outdoor arenas (one of which has a full set of showjumps), a horse walker (THE MACHINE (!)), a solarium, a washroom, heated tackroom and off road hacking on tracks around the grounds of the castle.

The small indoor arena (nope thats not me!):-

Small Indoor

This is, however, Jack:-

Relaxing In The Small Indoor

The main outdoor (this is used for dressage only and the main competition arena for the outdoor dressage competitions, of which the yard holds numerous national and international level events):-

Main Outdoor

Main Outdoor From a Distance

The stables are all indoors in an American barn type setting:-

The Stables

Jack’s Stable

Crazy Snow Shovel Wielding Danes with Carpets Thursday, Jan 3 2008 

Ive just got home after a slightly amusing couple of hours at the stables and thought id share

Firstly – its cold here today. Id seen the forcast which said -4 and about -14 with the wind chill. Head out in my little car DREADING driving over the bridge to the next island (where horsey is kept). I passed a gas station with a huge display showing the temperature.. -9 degrees; whaaaaaaaaaat?!

Arrived at the yard pretty much set on the idea of lunging because well, it’s freezing! We have quite high winds, its snowing a LOT although not settling much atm.

On the yard was the head rider armed with his bright orange snow shovel; wielding it somewhat like a weapon. Wrapped up like eskimos next to him were his two trainee riders; both quite young guys one of who doesnt speak amazing danish.

“NO SNOW! ZER WEEL BEE NO SNOW ON MY YARD!” was what the head rider was roughly yelling while running up and down like a gopher on speed manically shovelling the tiniest bits of snow (the yard had clearly been gritted… very little was settling on it but he has slight OC issues ;p)

As i was skuttling past, said head rider (allan) came over to me and explained in very broken english that the large indoor arena was out of bounds for an hour or so due to him giving a demo on working horses from the ground.

At this point he asked what was wrong with me (it was freeeeeeeezing, i had tears rolling down my face from the wind) and i mumbled and whined about the cold. He laughed and wandered off. (Ive already been dubbed the strange english girl who fed her horse rubbish, and treated it funny… they’re a little protective about how they do their horses here )

I grabbed a cavesson and lunge line and went to see jack, who was flat out snoring and looked as though he’d created some kind of nesting system in his bed (probably to keep warm). Dragged horsey out of bed and put cavesson on. At this point the snow was getting heavier and i could still hear very military style “NO SNOW! NO SNOW!” being yelled outside accompanied by a shuffling of feet which i assume was the two half terrified trainee riders.

Being the soft sap i am, i figured stripping horsey of all rugs to lunge, even indoors, was mean so i went and grabbed the outer shell of his duo which had been on the rug warmer / dryer thingie over night.

Rug on, horse ready, off we went.

“You no turn horse out today”
“Not turning out, lunging”
“Why horse carpet on?!”
“Like, its -9!! he gets cold”

By this time, id lost all feeling in my fingers and toes, probably had mascara streaming down my cheeks as my eyes were still running and just wanted to get this over with as fast as possible.

“Still cold?”
“Yes, im bloody freezing”
“Gief horse”
“Huh?”
“Gief horse! Markus, take girl, warm up” (oo er!)
“Why no sidereins on horse?”
“Cos i dont like them…”
“Fine, need more string”
“String?”
“Yes! Another string!” (At this point he was shaking the lunge line in his hands and out of nowhere, one of the manic shovel wielding guys appeared with a second lunge line)

Markus (the second of the shovel wielding duo) then shuffled me off to the cafe which over looks the arena and promptly found me a hot chocolate.

Allan was lunging jack and, much to my surprise, nattering away in danish while doing so. It was at this point i realised his demonstration had commenced and somehow, my horse had become part of it. He lunged him for a while with the rug on, before removing and doing some harder work. Then through the rug back on and summoned me down.

Id still not thawed out tbh and had no clue what he’d just been using jack for.

“Sparrow back”
(Jack has picked up the nickname jack sparrow for some bizarre reason)
“thanks.. What were you talking about in the demo?”
“Providing service to full livery”

I did my best at this point not to giggle.

“Markus! take horse, put carpets on”

(We’re back to the carpets again, are you noticing?)

He then turned back to me and said “see you in march when denmark thaws. Goodbye!” turned on his heel and marched off (collecting his bright orange snow shovel on the way to attack the tiny scattering that had accumulated at the entrance to the large indoor arena)

Anyway, im back home, thawing out a little but waiting for OH to come home and start the wood burner. Hopefully its going to be getting warmer here again tomorrow ;p