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

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Just in time

We received at least an inch of rain this weekend; hallelujah! Besides all the obvious reasons to celebrate, I had two more. When I rode around the hill on Friday, I noticed that propane cannon had been set up in the vineyards we've been riding through. While I haven't heard any go off yet, Lance and I will be avoiding the area until the "grape wars" (otherwise known as harvest) are over; good thing my sand arena got watered! We took advantage of that this afternoon – just in time to help us better prepare for our show this Wednesday.  :-)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Getting excited

I've picked the music for the liberty class, I have friends coming to support us, and we may actually get rain soon so I can school in our arena once or twice before our day at the fair. Yay!

Lance and I had a good ride around the hill this morning, before it heated up. I pondered how much he has changed in two years. He's grown up and filled out, knows more and trusts me more, too. Someday I hope we can focus more on dressage again, but I'm happy with my mustang no matter what we do together!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Committed

v:  Simple past tense and past participle of commit.
adj:  Obligated by a pledge to some course of action.
adj:  Consigned involuntarily to custody, as in a prison or mental institution.

Ha! Yesterday I mailed off our entry for the State Fair Mustang Show, so we're committed – or I should be! Lance and I are going to play at Trail, English Pleasure, Dressage Suitability, "Dressage" – whatever they mean by that . . . and Liberty! (Why not? He's has a pretty reliable recall, likes to play, and my friend Kate has a lot of liberty music from showing miniature horses.)

I haven't had the time or arena footing to do anything but ride around on our hill, so what we do in Salem on September 2 will simply be a demonstration of our relationship and training together to date. I'm just going to clean my tack, give Lance a bath, ignore his rubbed mane and tail, and be prepared to laugh at our mistakes and have fun with other horsefolk. If that includes any of my blogpals, even better! We'll be showing out of my trailer to save a little $ and for a little more bio-security, so you can look for us in the arena or at the red Ford F250 with the white Logan three-horse trailer.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Waffling

I'm getting down to the wire for submitting a State Fair Horse Show entry. I had fun showing with other mustangs (including Lance's sire!) and their owners two years ago, and Lance is far better trained now than he was then. And this year they've added "Mustang Dressage Suitability" and "Mustang Dressage." Not sure what that second class is, but would love to support it regardless. Gotta decide if I can spare the cash and time to go, the latter being even tighter than the former. Rick will be at the State Fair the day before the Mustang Show as Horse Show veterinarian, and Brian will be at the State Fair driving draft horses the day after the Mustang Show. Oh, and I'm demonstrating spinning the Sunday before all that. Can we just put work and other life responsibilities on hold for a week???


Friday, August 14, 2015

Into the woods

Don't worry; I'm not as fixated on Broadway musicals or Bernadette Peters as it may seem, even if my dancing partner does have red hair and a fine voice. ;-)

This morning I had a brief window of time so Lance and I headed into the woods to enjoy that newly available trail again.

So nice to know those signs don't apply to us!

There was plenty to look at: a doe with twins;

a big flock of California quail; a different quality in the light indicating that summer is indeed waning.

Late this afternoon we had a brief shower. I don't know that it was enough to make my arena ridable, but at least it rinsed off the leaves and freshened the atmosphere. Blessings!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Sunday in the "park" with Lance

I'm still here, and still riding! One of my blogpals checked in with me via email; she said I'd been unusually silent on my blogs. Guess I've been so busy that I didn't even realize it. Time really is like sand, slipping through my fingers, refusing to be grasped....

Anyway, Theresa prompted me to finish this post, started Sunday night. I rode that evening, getting to renew our acquaintance with a favorite old logging road/trail. You see, no trespassing signs with an unfamiliar name had been posted on it, barring our access; I thought someone else from whom I had permission to ride owned that land. When picking up peaches last week I asked the owner of the orchard if he knew who posted the signs. He told me which house they lived in, and said the signs were posted because of a particular neighbor. Hmm; sounds like I'm not the only person anxious for their big, fancy house to sell so they can take their fast cars, loud engines, and high-powered gunfire elsewhere! I rode down to the "no trespassing" poster's house to enquire about access, and he said I was welcome to ride past the signs and over the logs put there to block the problem neighbors from roaring through at 2:00 AM.

The woods have changed a lot in a few weeks. The clumps of large leaves that looked like wild rhubarb have grown into tall stalks with thistle-like buds at the end:
Mystery plants
Their thistle-like buds
Blackberries now hang heavy on the vines:

And leaves are falling prematurely from drought-stressed maples:

The poison oak is changing color early, too, but that's a blessing!

We came back up the hill along the road, where we could appreciate the dramatic sky not yet colored by setting sun. I hope you enjoyed "riding along" with Lance and me!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Buds

Lance and Oliver are better buds now that they are each other's only herd mate. Before I snapped this photo this evening, they were reciprocal grooming, then playing – running, bucking, kicking, striking – a surprising show of energy from my big red goober!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Every time....

Last week I read this blog entry. Carol's simple tale was a powerful reminder of why wearing a helmet every ride, regardless of the horse or the place, is so important. I've gotten pretty consistent about wearing mine; it's a rare moment of "stupid" when I decide my brain really isn't that necessary.

Tuesday when Lance fell down with me (in very similar circumstances to Carol's), I  landed on my hip; my helmet-clad head didn't bump anything. But I was acutely aware of how differently it could have played out. The various sides of Kate's arena are lined with rock retaining walls, a wooden fence, and fir trees. If Lance had fallen near any of those hard features instead of in the middle of relatively soft footing, an unhelmeted head would have faired about as well as a ripe cantaloupe.

Thanks to this wonderful blog, I was reminded that today is International Helmet Awareness Day. This annual reminder was established in the wake of US Olympian dressage rider Courtney King-Dye's traumatic brain injury. Courtney's accident resulted from a simple stumble – like Lance's – in a warm-up arena. It can happen anywhere, with any horse. Protect your head. You owe it to yourself. You owe it to your loved ones. You owe it to your Creator.