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

Monday, January 31, 2011

New duds, good buds

I got Russell a new sheet (I keep him covered to reduce grooming time) from It was on sale, and has really nice features!

Yesterday my friend Laura hauled in to use my arena for her maiden voyage on her new mare Kiri. It's always nice to have someone on stand-by, footing that isn't slippery, and an enclosed area for such occasions. Laura and I share a love of horses and dressage, sheep and fiber, spinning and knitting - in other words, she's an extra-special friend!

After Laura left I turned Russell out for a bit of play time before riding him. I just love the shot I got of him - I think this is my new favorite photo of my favorite horse!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Playing hooky

I got in rides yesterday (in the fog) and today (in light showers). This afternoon after our ride I was grooming Russell while he stood loose in his stall. He got spooked just a bit by something Brian was doing, and did a slow-mo escape out his open stall door before I could move to block him. He made a beeline for the green grass and, exhilarated by his sudden freedom, would have stuck his tail in the air and skidded around in the mud if I'd pursued him too quickly. So I pulled out my camera and took a few photos while slowly approaching him. Then he stuck his head in his halter and let me lead him quietly back to his stall. He's such a good boy....

I have our entry filled out for a league show the first Sunday in March; I just need to make a copy of my Oregon Dressage Society membership card and mail it in. No pressure; it's close and casual, and we're riding Third Level Test One which we've done several times before at recognized shows. I'm just looking forward to the feedback!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


I'm still riding; see our tracks?

Russell and I got in three rides last week because the weather ended up less wet than forecast, and then didn't manage to dance again until today. It was cold, damp and grey and all I wanted to do was huddle up inside, but Debbie's lessons have moved to Thursday so I had to face the chill. Knowing that once I got out and moving it would be easier to STAY out, I donned my polarfleece breeches and paddock boots, headband and warm coat, and when I got home after Debbie's lesson I went straight to the barn to tack up Russell. Debbie and I are both thinking about riding Third Level tests at our local dressage chapter's show the first weekend in March, so I worked with Debbie on various movements. That inspired me to come home and work on some specific things myself, along with the general strengthening and conditioning we always do.

The view from the arena, looking east. I do have an audience; see them? Here; let me zoom in on one for you:
Too bad the deer don't have opposable thumbs; it would be nice to have photos of Russell and me to post more often!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Riding while the sun shines

Yesterday and today I got in good schooling rides. Last week I rode on Sunday and Monday, too - and that was it, thanks to the weather and other demands on my time. Things may go the same way this week; tomorrow we are supposed to go skiing with friends (I'd rather ride), and a "pineapple express" - a warm, WET front - is forecast for rest of the week and next weekend. Oh well, two rides per week are better than none, and Russell felt good today. I think I've got my dressage horse back!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Riding in the new year

I have long mandated to myself that each new year start out on the back of my horse, even if it's only a bareback walk up and down the driveway. This year didn't begin that way, but I'm finding that I'm okay with that. I got to ride on Friday (when I zoomed in on Mt. Hood, above) and am going out again this afternoon, have clinics and maybe even a few small shows to look forward to this year, so I didn't have to be horseback on January 1 to symbolize anything to myself.

The clear(ish), cold, dry weather we currently experiencing is limiting Russell and I to walking on the relatively even gravel road; everywhere else is frozen into a broken-concrete-like state. But while walking we work on shoulder-in, renvers, travers, leg yield and half-pass to supply and gymnasticize, so I feel we are still progressing. And it feels good. :-)