To ride dressage is to dance with your horse, equal partners in the delicate and sometimes difficult work of creating harmony and beauty.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The scene of the crime... well as the scene of the sentencing!

With time, turn-out and training, Lance has gotten less mouthy since moving here in January. He still uses his mouth plenty, though. One of his more recent habits is to grab the corner of the wire panel covering the upper half of Sammy's stall door and "spring" it loudly, demanding to be served quickly at mealtime. I noticed yesterday when I was getting Lance ready to school that the upper left baling twine tie had broken. The wire panel was slightly askew, so I straightened it.

Last night I was working frantically to finish a client's project so Rick did chores without me. He heard Lance clang the wire – and then panicked scrambling as my horse fled his stall. When he investigated, he found the wire panel askew – and against the electric wire that keeps the horses off the dividing wall between the stalls. That busy mouth got buzzed, but good!

The barn was much quieter at chore time this morning.... ;-)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

If I didn't have Lance...

...this girl might very well be my next project!

No, seriously!!! Years ago (like, 20; EEK!) when I first started competing in dressage, a Shire gelding, OneMile Joey, from this same farm was being shown successfully in the area. This three-year-old filly is built a little lighter than her pasture mates, and her feet aren't huge (comparatively speaking). And she's my favorite color. ;-)

I'd better get out and ride my boy and stop dreaming about black beauties!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Three modes of transportation

Our family Sunday morning:

The beautiful valley at the foot of "our" hill:

Looks like we could have taken that fourth mode of transportation – our pick-up (with camper and horse trailer) – and gone horse camping after all this weekend. Oh well; better safe than soggy!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Wet, windblown, and well worth it!

Sometimes I forget just how out of sorts a lack of saddle time makes me feel. Today I got to ride Lance, and it is amazing how much better things have seemed since!

After getting my son through most of his homeschooling subjects, I announced I was going for a ride and invited my son to go with me. He wasn't interested in riding his pony, but he did want to go down the hill to an old, blocked off logging track with me if he could ride his bike. Fine by me as long as he was willing to listen (for safety all around). The rain had held off all morning, but by the time we headed to the barn it was sprinkling. No matter; we wouldn't melt, right? Well, it turns out Lance doesn't like working in the rain any more than Russell did. Instead of constantly shaking his head, though, Lance expressed his opinion by trying to stop and turn around. Fortunately it didn't shower on us the whole time, and I was able to keep him headed in the right direction.

After being cooped up since Monday night, Lance was on edge. Remembering just how high he could jump when I hand-walked him during his convalescence, I rode ve-e-ery carefully, giving him lots to think about. We leg-yielded side to side, went straight in shoulder-in, and turned in a few tight circles. Aside from a few minor spooks, he was wonderful and brave, even managing to pass a big, gaping "bear den" (a 3'x20' metal culvert lying on the ground) beside the trail! Hopefully Lance enjoyed getting out as much as I did. :-)

Washed out

It's been raining off and on all week and is supposed to continue for days more. I've gotten in one ride on Lance, the horses have gotten turned out on pasture one day, and our horse-camping trip has been cancelled. In fact, it was snowing on Wednesday at our planned destination!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Hello, love

Remember the soundtrack that first came to my mind for Lance? He demonstrates how well it fits him nearly every time he sees me. Not the best for picture-taking, but it sure does my heart good to have that pretty head pop up and then head my way. :-)

Lance's Cavallo tenny-runners are still working well, as is my beat-up old Wintec saddle. Gone are the right canter departure issues and the difficulty with lateral work – things that I thought were green-horse strength and training issues.

We are planning to take the horses camping up at Mt. Adams over Memorial Day weekend with our Christian trail-riding club, if the weather doesn't look too miserable. I can't wait to show off my pretty boy to the group, and ride him through equally pretty scenery. I just hope we can keep him safely contained in camp!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Lance's new shoes

The Cavallo Simple Boots I ordered Tuesday arrived Friday. They look rather big and clunky out of the box, but on Lance's front feet they rather look like sneakers for horses!

We took them for a short test ride around the hill yesterday. As advertised, they are easy to put on – so easy, in fact, that I managed to get one on crooked. After fixing that, I led Lance out of the barn, expecting some comical high-stepping from the unfamiliar contraptions. Nope. He didn't seem to mind them in the least, and traveled naturally throughout our ride, in all gaits. Better than naturally, actually, because there was zero ouchiness on gravel, which I didn't avoid as I usually do. When I removed the boots at the end of the ride, he had some roughed-up hair on his heels, but nothing more. I am hoping that with the recommended break-in, even that will go away and the boots will be a comfortable, more economical alternative to iron shoes.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Gettin' itchy

Since discovering that my old Wintec doesn't bite Lance's back, I've been riding out and about on the hill every chance I get. Even though the available territory has been severely curtailed by various kinds of development, riding where I can still brings back lots of memories of years and horses past. I think that is why I have a fierce itch to go to the beach and ride. My beach-riding buddy (who no longer has "big" horses) reminded me recently that we used to haul our horses to the beach once a week – back when we both obviously had way more time and much lower fuel costs!

Last night before taking Lance out for a hack, I measured his foot to see if my EasyBoots are the right size for him. Nope; they are size 2; he needs size 3. (Anyone need a lightly used pair of EasyBoot Epics?) Fortuitously, Laura had forwarded to me an email promotion for Cavallo Simple Boots with her personal recommendation, so this morning I ordered a pair of those. Lance has really good feet and I've been keeping him off the gravel roads as much as possible, but we would have more riding options if I wasn't avoiding rocks.

And yes, Lance is itchy, too. It has been unusually hot here for May, and the horses can't get out of their winter coats fast enough for comfort. Lance really appreciates a good neck or chest scratch, along with a thorough grooming; it's been awhile since I've had a horse who does!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Get the boy a Rubix Cube!

Yesterday evening when I went down to the barn to turn the horses out on pasture, my husband's old cutting horse was already out. I suspected that my son had not properly secured his stall door after cleaning Sammy's stall yesterday morning. But when I looked, the clip was ON the business end of the sliding L-bolt of Sammy's door; apparently Lance had managed to work the bolt and snap backwards through the narrow opening!
Sammy's door latches above; Lance's latches below
Last night Rick scrounged up a larger snap for Sammy's door, plus a chain to secure it to the other end of the slider bolt. That way the door can only open so far even if Lance manages to work the bolt and snap through the opening again. For good measure, we also clipped the double-ended snap on Lance's door to the chain.
Lance's door on left; Sammy's on the right

This is what I found when I went to the barn this morning:

Lance had managed to unsnap the clip from Sam's slider bolt. Seriously?!? Does this horse have an opposable thumb on his tongue???

I found a bigger snap for Sam's door. If Lance can undo this, I think a padlock may be in order. It would only be a matter of time until he figured out a combination lock....