Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Julie is planning on returning in a couple months; there's my motivation for winter riding! Hopefully the weather will cooperate more than it has this week; it has been very wet, even by western Oregon standards.
Happy New Year!
Friday, December 10, 2010
This will come as no surprise to my mom, who used to worry that I would ruin my young knees with all the galloping and bucking I did while pretending to be my favorite animal.
You're a Horse!
Versatile, powerful, and true, you have quite a reputation for hard
work and a certain unbridled spirit. Many look up to you as an example of what
people can really become, though somewhere deep down, you admit to feeling a little
bit broken. You hate racing, but are still exceptionally good at it. Beware broken
legs, dog food, and glue. If your name is Ed, you do a surprising amount of
Take the Animal Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
I rode on Monday, but the rest of the week looked like a wash according to the weatherman. Still, sometimes we get breaks between showers, and today we got a nice, long one. I jumped at the chance. Since the arena was too sloppy to use, I suggested to Brian that he ride with me so I could head down the road. When he declined I turned it into a mandate. After all, his pony needs exercise and a reason to justify all the care and expense involved in having her. He ended up having a great time, even though she sent him tumbling over her head early in the ride. That's what the helmet is for....
We really do live in a scenic area, built up as it has gotten to be. I love our green winters, too. I remember how brown and barren the Midwest was in the winter (except when covered with snow), and I definitely prefer green.
(You know it's wet when both moss and ferns grow in the trees!)
Russell says the best part of the ride was the apple at the end. ;-)
Friday, November 26, 2010
Today it is "blowing spit in the wind" (Oregonians will know what I mean), so I am doubly thankful for the chance to ride yesterday!
Monday, November 8, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
This handsome boy belongs to the barn owner. I couldn't resist this photo op, and would find it hard to resist the horse himself if he was available and I had room in my barn. Debbie says he's a nice mover to boot, even though he's a halter-bred Quarter horse.
Yesterday afternoon I got an unexpected chance to ride, in unexpectedly nice weather. (I knew today was supposed to be nice, but also knew that getting a ride in today would be impossible.) I took the photo below at the north end of our road (it dead-ends at both ends, intersecting a paved road in the middle).
On the horizon I could see Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood. My new camera has more zoom power than my previous point-and-shoot digitals, so I decided to see how well I could capture one of them.
Mt. St. Helens: the volcano who blew her top the day I graduated from high school!
Russell seemed to enjoy the weather as much as I did. We won't have many more days like this!
Monday, November 1, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
But tomorrow is supposed to be dry again, so you can be sure I'll take advantage of that!
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Some notes to remember when we school:
• Slow his front legs down at the walk; he tends to pop his knees. Remember to relax my thighs and make my legs long to encourage this.
• Keep the trot "innocent," and "fade" into transitions within the gate. His response will tell me if he's got enough impulsion or too much tension.
• Ask for more hindquarter activity at the canter, so he lifts his back behind the saddle.
• At all gaits, shorten my reins and encourage him to go to the bit, engaging his nuchal ligament.
Monday, October 11, 2010
There are days I stay off my horse because he doesn't deserve my frame of mind. But a lot of other times I need to read today's thought, pull on my breeches, and saddle up. How 'bout you?
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Addendum: By the time we finished chores it was no longer raining, so I got to ride after all. Hurray!
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
I've had my share of saddle-fitting issues with my horses, and have had to work hard to find the right solution for each one. Treeless saddles have never made sense to me, because I know how much pressure a seated person's "seat bones" exert in a very small area. Saddle trees aren't ideal, but at least they spread the pressure over a broader area. This research proves that point; I hope the word gets out.
On a related issue, I never mount from the ground if there is anything within walking distance to stand on, because I have seen the kind of punishing, uneven pressure a saddle tree exerts on a horse's back when one mounts from the ground using a stirrup (as documented by a pressure-sensitive device placed under the saddle). My horses have all been trained to stand still next to anything I lead them up to - fence, stump, rock, trailer - so I can simply place my leg over the saddle and ease onto it.
Horses are so very forgiving of discomfort, but my goal is to eliminate or minimize any discomfort I, as the rider, cause.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
This morning we rode through the neighboring vineyard (straight rows make good places to practice shoulder-in, renvers and travers):
and checked on the local peaches (they'll be ready to put in our freezer soon - yum!):
Sometimes we stay on the roads - of course we always watch for traffic:
It has been "the year of the snake" around here!
We have a horse-camping trip coming up the weekend of August 21 & 22. This will likely be our last one of the year, since the next one is scheduled for the same weekend as my grandma's 100th birthday celebration. My grandma and I have always shared a love of horses; her father was a horse trainer and she was quite the horsewoman herself.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Friend Debbie and I do plan to pop over to DevonWood tomorrow to visit the vendors and take in a bit of the show. This is the second year in a row I'll not be there with a horse; all the showing I used to do is starting to feel like a lifetime ago. You'd think with all the money I haven't been spending on lessons and show fees that I'd see a difference in my bank account!
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Yesterday started out cool and cloudy AND Brian went to work with his dad, so I had every opportunity and intention to ride Russell. But I had this little addiction thing going that I found hard to put down, and when I finally did, I saw Russell lay down flat out for a nap. It's a well-documented fact that horses need sufficient time to sleep like that or they can actually get sleep deprivation, so of course I couldn't disrupt his beauty rest. I started spinning again, and then it got hotter, and there went my riding time.
I have been getting in some conditioning rides every week since getting back from Cowboy Campmeeting. He got shoes all around for that, so we have been riding around the one-lane gravel roads in the area. Schooling in the arena is very unappealing when it is this dry, as it gets so very dusty. But one hardly needs an arena to school dressage! We incorporate good connection over the topline, lateral work, a bit of collection and extension, and lots of flexion wherever we ride, and I think doing these things outside an arena keeps a horse from getting ho-hum about his work.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
1) Rick said we can add (a little) trotting to our short rides.
2) Russell got to go out on pasture today. Rick led him up to the section closest the other three horses in their separate pasture so he didn't have an excuse to tear around, and he's happily - quietly! - grazing away.
I'm ridiculously excited over these baby steps!
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Monday, May 31, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
If I spent as much on my own feet as we do on the horses, I'd be another Imelda Marcos!
Sunday, May 16, 2010
I've been getting Russell out every other day for a short ride or hand-walking, as per our vet's orders. But the other horses are now getting out for a couple hours of grazing every afternoon, which Russell is NOT allowed to do, as per our vet's orders. Too much risk of re-injury at this point, if he busts some moves in the pasture. So he stays in, pining for his stablemates - and all that green grass.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Anyway, Russell was a perfect gentleman on our short ride in spite of being cooped up for two months. That's one of the many things I love about this horse; he's no dead-head, but he's about as steady as they come. Our first scheduled horse-camping trip of the year is over Memorial Day weekend, so I plan to talk a lot of those (very short at first) walks to get us both back in riding shape!
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
A week ago Saturday, March 6, Brian had a friend over after church who wanted to ride horses. So Breezy and Russell graciously gave "pony rides" in our arena. I observed out loud, "Russell is short-striding on his left hind." Rick said, "I see that." Sigh.
So a week ago Rick had some time and started his investigation. Although Russell was short-striding with his left hind, he was positive on the flexion test to his right hind, so Rick started there. He had time to do a six-point nerve block (blocks the foot and pastern) and a suspensory nerve block; neither changed Russell's way of going. Rick didn't have time to do more until today. Since nerve blocks interfere with a good ultrasound image, Rick shaved Russell's suspensory and stifle areas on his left hind and ultrasounded them first. His stifle looks good; his suspensories, not so much. So Rick did the same nerve blocks on the left hind and as we suspected, the lower block didn't change anything, but the suspensory block did. Rick checked his records and confirmed this was the same area Russell injured two years ago and Rick treated with extracorporeal shock wave. He treated it again with shock wave, but is thinking of using IRAP as well. It is not reassuring that Russell has injured it again, especially since he has not been worked hard in the last two years. Indeed, I can't seem to keep him sound long enough to get him fit for hard work!
Right now we have two lame horses and two old horses; you'd think we ran a home for the aged and infirm here....
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
First I got on Breezy, Brian's pony. The last couple times Brian has ridden her, she's bucked at the canter - getting him off once. Since we got her to build Brian's confidence, this was a big step backward and not welcome. Rick felt that some remedial training was in order and I was the obvious choice to do it. After re-establishing law and order, Brian and I headed out on a road ride. (I rode Russell; mount #2.) Happily, Breezy behaved like a perfect little lady for Brian, and he had a great time.
This evening I felt like I entered a time machine. Last Sunday I had a completely unexpected phone conversation with the lady we bought this place from 15 years ago. She asked about us and our animals, and I asked about her and hers. That's how I learned she has a tall six-year-old Morgan she got as a weanling and who isn't really suited to her, and, well, I got curious. So tonight I met up with her at the barn where this Morgan boy is stabled, and got to ride him, too.
So why did that feel like a time machine? Because my very best dancing partner was a Morgan gelding that I bought as a long weanling and trained through the levels, hitting the top spot in the USDF All-Breed Awards from First Level through Prix St. George. Axel (Rogue Hills Galaxy) was my first and only Morgan, and a real departure mentally, emotionally and physically from any other horse I've ridden. By the time I reluctantly parted with him almost eight years ago, I had come to love and appreciate that horse like no other, and the horse I rode tonight reminded me of Axel in so many ways. Is there a second Morgan in my future? I don't know; I really don't know.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
I'm trying to be thankful that January cooperated perfectly and grab schooling/conditioning opportunities when I can this month. Rick's mom and rain were here at the beginning of the month. I finally got in a long-lining session last Friday, then rode Russell in the arena Monday and long-lined him again yesterday. This morning, days of rain moved in and my sister and her husband are arriving on Friday. Such is life; I will persevere in finding time for Russell and me when I can. He's starting to shed; spring is coming!
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Now that we've managed two workouts a week for a month, I'm going to shoot for three per week in February. I'm not sure how, but there it is. I'll keep track of how we do here....
Monday, January 25, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
Yesterday was a beautiful, sunny day, so in spite of a full schedule that included giving my friend her weekly lesson, I squeezed in a long-lining session with Russell. So far this year (I know - it's only JANUARY), I've managed to get in a long-lining session and a ride each week - a modest start to be sure, and a far cry from when I was training and competing TWO horses - one at Third Level and one at Prix St. George! Ah, those were the days I could crack walnuts with my inner thighs....
Monday, January 18, 2010
Welcome to my world; this is the view from the lane that leads to our house (click to biggify):That's Mt. Hood due east, the clouds streaming from its south side looking almost like an eruption. Between us, the lovely Willamette Valley, the "Eden at the end of the trail" to the weary settlers who came west. On our hill, acres of wine grapes have replaced many other crops like prunes, cherries, hazelnuts and timber.
We had a lovely ride. I worked on suppling Russell, and Brian wanted to know how I got him to move sideways. After a short lesson, he was able to leg-yield Breezy, much to his delight.
Home again, home again, and back inside to finishing homeschooling and violin practice and bread-making and blog-posting....
Friday, January 8, 2010
Friday, January 1, 2010
As the saying goes, the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a (wo)man. The way a good ride can make your whole day better doesn't make sense, but I'm okay with that. I didn't ask Russell for anything fancy - he's not in shape for that; we mostly walked with just enough trot and canter to say we did it. But it felt good, and gave me hope that Russell and I can spend more time dancing together this year than we did last year, and have a good time doing it.Amen.