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

Sunday, January 13, 2019

New Year's tradition attrition

Hey there; it's been awhile. Christmas has come and gone; we've had good weather and not-so-good weather, but no BAD weather. I've been taking photos to share and exercising Lance regularly, but his lack of energy affects my motivation to post. And then New Year's Day happened....

If you've followed my blogs over the years, you know I have one cherished New Year's Day tradition. If I'm not out of town, I've got to spend some time on horseback. You know: "Begin as you mean to go on." Well, on New Year's Eve I got a text from a my best riding buddy asking if I was going to ride as is my custom, and before you could recite "Paul Revere's Ride," I had agreed to haul over to her place the next day so we could ride in the New Year together.

She has an arena with some obstacles, a long sloping gravel access drive up to the neighbor's, and some paths mowed into an adjacent empty lot. We tootled around utilizing all of the above, enjoying the beautiful day, good conversation, and our equine partners.

We came off the empty lot (shown in the last photo) and turned to head up the access drive one last time. Lance and I were in the lead – and then Kate's riderless horse passed us. I whipped my head around to see Kate lying on the gravel. By the time I jumped off Lance and hurried to her, she was sitting up but obviously in discomfort, slowly rubbing her left leg. I asked her if that was what hurt, and she whispered, "No, I think I broke my clavicle and a rib. I'm going to need the electric cart." So I ran down the driveway with Lance in tow to retrieve Kate's husband and the cart, threw Lance in my trailer, and Tim and I gingerly transported Kate down to the house and their car. Off they went to the local hospital, while I caught and cooled off Kate's mare, untacked both horses, and headed home. As the evening unfolded I learned, from a series of texts from Tim, that Kate had broken her clavicle and all 12 ribs on her right side, had two compression fractures in her spine, and punctured a lung. She was transferred to OHSU, the regional teaching hospital, because of pulmonary risk . . . and was finally released on January 9.

To add insult injury to injury, on the 11th I learned that my long-time clinician/instructor and superb horsewoman Suzan Davis Atkinson had been bucked off the Monday before and has a broken humerus! 😳

It's a good thing I'm not superstitious. Maybe more careful than ever now, but not superstitious. Off to ride my big red goober on this beautiful, sunny day; more later.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Whether the weather...

I'm doing my best to give Lance his prescription of 30 minutes of exercise daily regardless of weather or circumstances.


Weather, the busy-ness of the holiday season, and a week of unexpected medical appointments for my husband have interfered at times, but never more than two days in a row.

After a period of really great schooling sessions implementing what I learned auditing those two clinics, Lance seems to have lost energy. I wonder if it has to do with air quality/allergens, even though his respiration rate hasn't increased; regardless, I give him grace. It makes entering my dressage chapter's ODS League show at the end of February less appealing, but makes Lance a more dependable road/trail partner. Life is all about trade-offs.

Last Sunday was my dressage chapter's annual Christmas party. The gift I brought home included a cool pair of "Horse Nebula" knee socks and this antique salt shaker:

If I don't post again before Christmas, have a merry one!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Getting out of the arena

Ever since the Lisa Wilcox clinic, Lance and I have stayed in the sandbox (I still need to do a post with all the take-away points we're using from that and the Anna Blake clinic.) The footing has been good and I'm trying to solidify new habits and muscle memory (in me) to help Lance shine. But yesterday I decided it was high time to cross-train, so we walked around the edge of the lot next to us, which gave us a unique perspective of our house,

and then rode back and forth through the vineyard, now nearly devoid of leaves.

Lance found it harder work than arena schooling, and actually got a bit sweaty for a change.

I didn't ride today because I was tired and it got really smoky again. Reasons and photos over on the farm blog; hoping to be back in the saddle again tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Ride the horse you want

Implementing what I watched Lisa Wilcox do with the fancy-shmancy warmbloods and their riders has been gratifying. While Lance will never 'boing' with the incredible suspension seen in the clinic videos, we have moments of ballroom magic when I correctly channel what I heard and watched into my riding. As we were circling in a lovely, swinging, springing trot I thought, "Ride the horse you want."

For quite a while now, I've been "riding the horse I have" as I had no other option (plus I love my big red goober and exercise is part of his prescription). But by riding more effectively, Lance becomes the dressage partner I want – who knows; showing might even be in our future again! Most importantly, his foamy mouth tells me he's relaxed and happy in the work:

Monday, November 5, 2018

The feasting season

No, I'm not talking about Thanksgiving. 🍴

After a week of wonderful rides following the Lisa Wilcox clinic, yesterday I had a chance to audit the second day of an Anna Blake clinic! I have followed her blog for years and got to meet her at the World Cup in Omaha a year and a half ago, so when I found out late last week that she was going to be in Oregon I scrambled to find out when, where, and how much. Unfortunately I already had too many commitments in place to do more than audit one day of two two-day clinics, but that alone gave me plenty to chew on and implement at home. Here are some photos from yesterday.

Anna worked with all kinds of horses and their people, some mounted and some not. This clinic was specifically on "Calming Signals" and groundwork (you'll have to read more about those on her blog), although I have to say I got more from her work with riders. Anna is brash and funny and extremely insightful, and except for being cold all day I enjoyed watching her very much.

Feeling so in sync with my dancing partner (more on that in another post) and getting to audit TWO clinics just a week apart is exhilarating. I feel like I'm getting part of myself back, if that makes any sense.