Thursday, 27 June 2013

Back to the horses....

So enough ranting and messing about with online awards (for now), and back to what the horses have been up to.....

Have done a couple of lungeing/long lining sessions with Sky. It was somewhat noticeable that Sky seems less than impressed with this idea, I'm pretty sure she thinks she should just be a field ornament. So she decided to try and bog off on the lunge, then did some nice airs above the ground when asked to canter. When these cunning plans failed to result in me going away and leaving her alone to eat grass, she grudgingly got with the programme and did some vaguely reasonable circles on both reins.

But, as with Chester, it is painfully obvious she finds going round in circles a bit dull. So do I, to be honest, so I put on some long reins and took her out for a spin. This resulted in very much more in the way of cooperation, in fact she didn't even look back at Tari, but strode out ahead. And didn't stop and try to eat, either, for a change!

Yes, I know, her tail is disgusting, because she doesn't lift it high enough and poos in it. I do occasionally try to wash it, honest!!

Then today I took the old boy out for a ride, for the first time in weeks due to him having had COPD. He hasn't been coughing for a while though so I thought I'd see what he was like out and about. Turns out he was absolutely fine, we only did about 5kms but a good half of that was at trot (his choice) and a couple of times he broke into a canter without too much distress in the breathing department.

We went over the river for the first time in months and discovered that the calcaire track has been resurfaced with new gravel which seems to meet with Gandalf's approval as he walked and trotted along it quite happily without constantly trying to get on to the verge. And Ches didn't even spook at the plastic-festooned tractor ;-)

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Yes, I know, I'm a grammar nerd.....

....but honestly, why can't your average internet user write their own language correctly these days? Did they spend their entire school career smoking behind the bike sheds? (Actually that sounds so last century. No one cycles to school any more, they get driven by mummy in the Chelsea Tractor in case they get abducted on the way in). Did they decide that as they could get their entire GSCE coursework done by copying and pasting Wikipedia there was no need to learn any tedious spelling and grammar rules?

As my regular readers know, I spend entirely too much time on the internet. I run a equine forum and its associated Facebook page and Twitter feed. (And yes, I have obviously only included those links so you go and like/follow us). I spend a lot of time reading blogs and websites, articles, forum posts and playing online Scrabble. Why? Well, (apart from arguing with people I have never met about a whole host of subjects, looking at cute pictures of cats, reading inane tweets from fictional characters and being rude to or about people I have met) because I like words and language and the way people use them interests me.

Sadly though, as time goes on (and people's teenage kids get online and start spouting rubbish) the general standard of English language I see (not to mention the French, some of my daughter's friends have a seemingly tenuous grasp of their mother tongue's grammatical structure that could be easily outclassed by any of my former French A level students and quite a fair number of the GCSE students too) is slipping alarmingly.

Now the spelling isn't the biggest annoyance, actually. I mean there's the American Influence everywhere of course, spoiling things with their insistence on losing the u and changing an s to a z. (Which they then tell me is pronounced "zee" instead of "zed"). My American friend (yes, I do have one, but he's one of the few Americans I have met who isn't an irritating self-obsessed tosser, it has to be said) claims that they are merely helping us to simplify the language. Check is easier to spell than cheque, after all. But I really don't like jewelry, it just looks wrong. As does maneuver.....

No, what really annoys me is the bad grammar. It would seem that an awful lot of people don't know the difference between they're, their and there. Or where and wear. Or even bear and bare ("bare with me" is something I have seen on more than one occasion. What does that mean? Get naked with me?!!). But the one that is top of my hit list is incorrect use of the conditional perfect. Replacing the "have" with "of". I would of totally wrong. If you want to sound stupid enough to have been in Set 4 for French at my old school, then that's the best way to do it.

A close second is the wandering apostrophe. Plurals do not need apostrophes (unless it's a possessive of a plural noun) so stop putting them in ("here are some photo's" is a phrase that seems to appear a lot on Facebook). It's only needs an apostrophe if it's short for it is. Not if it's a possessive. Easy enough to remember, no?

But I suppose I am in the minority these days. Judging by the things I read online, I certainly am. I managed to get full marks in this test for a start:

How about you?

Monday, 24 June 2013

Wow! Somebody actually likes this stuff!!

I got an award! Someone out there actually thinks my ramblings are worth reading. Which is nice, as all I usually get is on people's nerves ;-)

So here it is, my Liebster:

Big thank you to Martine for nominating me :-)

HOW TO ACCEPT THE AWARD: The Liebster Blog Award is a way to recognise blogs who have less than 200 followers.  Liebster is a German word that means beloved and valued.  Here are the rules for accepting the award:
  1. Thank the person who nominated you and include a link back to their blog.
  2. List 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  4. Create 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate.
  5. Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or fewer followers to nominate and include links to their blogs.
  6. Go to each blogger’s page and let them know you have nominated them.
So here are eleven random facts about me:

1. I used to have a job looking after 50 or so goats
2. My all time favourite TV series is Blake's 7
3. Although Firefly comes a close second (can't believe they cancelled it!)
4. The thing I miss most about no longer living in the UK is real ale
5. I sometimes make wedding dresses
6. I passed my driving test first time (but failed my motorcycle test)
7. I have nine tattoos
8. I once spent the weekend in St Malo dressed as Wonder Woman
9. I detest raspberries
10. One day I want to do a long ride and get into the Long Rider's Guild
11. I loved having really long hair but had to have it cut once I'd had a baby!

And my answers to Martine's questions:
 1. My-Nom-in-Ees, do-doo-be-dooby….. did you just sing that in your head? Yes!
2. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten and would you eat it again?
A lot of my friends think eating gizzards is weird but I'm with the locals on this, they're delicious!
3. If you weren’t into horses, what would your favourite sport be? (If you’re not into horses, what’s your favourite sport?)
Quite like cycling, in a purely getting from A to B way, I'm not into wearing fluorescent lycra and cluttering up the roads in packs.....
4. Do you have hairy toes? 
No (but I do often eat second breakfast)
5. Did you just take off your shoes and socks to check?
No, haven't put any socks on yet!
6. Seriously, though… did you have a pet/pets growing up?  Species/Names/Quirks please
 Loads, we had a series of cats/rabbits/guinea pigs/hamsters/gerbils. No pony though, despite my sustained campaign (didn't get my first horse til I was 37). My little brother had a mouse called Squeaky and he escaped from his cage and somehow squeezed through the bars of my hamster's cage......and she ate him. My little bro was devastated (we had to have a burial ceremony for what was left - his back legs and tail ) and he never had another pet again the whole time we were kids.
7.  Do you tan, burn, freckle or none of these?

Burn usually but since moving to France I do seem to manage a tan  eventually most years
8. Tea, coffee or hot chocolate? Or what?

Tea, Earl Grey, hot.....
9. Would you ever eat horse meat?  Even in the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust?

Oh yes. More on that here
10. What’s the furthest you’ve ever travelled?

Been to Canada and Thailand
11. How would you feel if you were told Blogging has been banned from the internet?

Some questions for my nominees, totally random:

1. What book are you reading right now?

2. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
3. What are you seriously scared of?
4. Do you have a collection of anything?
5. What's the worst injury you have ever had?
6. What's the last thing you purchased?
7. What would you want to be written on your gravestone?
8. What is your current desktop picture?
9. If you could meet any famous person, alive or dead, who would it be?
10. When was the last time you turned off your mobile phone?
11. What did you do during your childhood summers?

And finally, the blogs I'd like to nominate for a Liebster Award (in no particular order):

1. Lionheart Horses - a former fellow expat who has since moved back to the UK blogging about the classical training of her two PRE horses. She's really, really good at it and has taught me loads......

2. The Long Horse Ride Blog - Megan's amazing journey from Beijing to London between the last two Olympic Games. Not content with that, she is now riding across Ireland.....(not sure how many followers this one has, but I love it)

3. Becoming the leader my horse needs me to be - another expat blogging about her horses (one of which used to be mine)

4. Tails from Provence - not sure if you're supposed to nominate the person who nominated you but I like her blog so why not?
5. I Am Pierre Menard - not horsey at all, but perfect for us Tolkien fans.....

6. Crazy with a Chance of Rain - "Purveyor of Awesitude". Says it all really.......

7. The Marathon Jogger - my other half writing about his midlife crisis.

8. Big Gay Longcat's Big Gay Longblog - because he loves Avon from Blake's 7 as much as I do :-)

9. Adventures with Shyloh - Shyloh is a very pretty Haflinger mare...

10. Le Puy - another expat horse blog "My life, My Horses and My Attempts to Train the Classical Way"

11. Chamfron Stud - they breed the most beautiful spotty horses, and post lots of great photos of them :-)

Actually, having just spent hours working on this blog post, I realise being nominated for a Liebster is actually quite hard work!! So feel free not to accept the nomination, fellow bloggers ;-)


Wednesday, 19 June 2013

You can talk the talk, but......

Recently I have noticed an increase in the number of equine trainers popping up on Facebook and various blogs and web pages. Many of these "gurus" have written extensive articles expounding their various methods and offer advice for a whole host of problems. Now this in itself isn't a bad thing as far as I'm concerned, many people benefit from things they've read on the internet, I learn new things all the time from people on our equine forum. But as I've said before, there are a lot of people on forums and other social media sites who do nothing but write........

They come across as "experts" on everything from how to ride dressage to the dynamics of a horse herd. They write, they post photos, they get their clients (friends?) to write glowing testimonials, but it's all just words and they never seem to have much in the way of video evidence of their riding or horse handling.

I have been to a fair number of clinics and demos given by horse whisperers/éthologues/equine behaviourists. Some of them have been really beneficial and I have posted about them in the past. And some have been a huge disappointment, I felt I have learned nothing I didn't already know and in some cases I have felt that I already knew more than the "expert"......

On more than one occasion I've been reposting articles that sounded great to me, only to be contacted privately by someone else who has had direct experience of the trainer  in question and was hugely disappointed that they cold talk the talk but couldn't in fact walk the walk at all in reality. One time I went to a demo and got the overwhelming impression that the trainer in question was actually scared of the horses!

Then there's another internet annoyance, that of certain "experts" having a go about other people (horse owners or fellow "gurus") either directly or indirectly. Not the sort of thing a professional should be doing at all. And if you're trying to be a teacher, surely you should have thought out how to be constructive in your criticism?

So come on, experts, put your money where your mouth is........

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Now where was I....?

Oops, haven't updated for a while. Got a bit distracted from the horses. (I am, after all, a total geek.)By this....
...and this.....

...and a bit of this (again)

Not to mention the arrival of freeloaders from the UK and therefore more of this......

But we have still been making progress, I've been doing a fair bit of this (can now pick out all 4 feet)

And Ali has been doing lots of this (another comp coming up this weekend)

And the SNO has been getting pretty good at this :-)