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

Thursday, October 27, 2011

"Out, damned spot!"

(I'm not using bad language, just quoting Shakespeare.)

Since his crash at the beginning of May, Russell has had a spot around his left stifle that sometimes gets sweaty. It comes and goes like a mirage, with no rhyme or reason; it doesn't correspond with weather, work or time of day. Rick thinks Russell might have some nerve damage from the wreck, although we have seen no other signs of such - besides this strange, sometimes-sweaty spot:

Not that I'll be noticing it as often; it is jacket season!

Actually, this is just a sheet; I've never blanketed Russell for warmth. I think keeping a sheet on him may reduce the amount of winter hair he grows, but my main objective is keeping him cleaner for faster grooming. Homeschooling Brian dominates my waking hours, so everything else has to be shoe-horned in here and there, and every way of economizing my time helps.

Sometimes when my time is especially limited, I lunge Russell with just a halter and lunge line; saves the time it takes to thoroughly groom, tack up, untack and groom again. It is reassuring to see him walking and trotting around with regular cadence and relaxed tail. This week I've even asked him for a round of canter here and there, which he readily picks up. Last night he was feeling downright frisky and took off leaping and plunging when I first asked him to canter, and moved out in a beautiful forward trot much of the time. He really looked good - more like my dressage partner of the past than he has for a long time!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Scenes from the saddle

Since the beginning of October, my saddle time has been curtailed by the weather, our homeschool schedule, and a house guest. But I keep plugging away, squeezing in rides whenever possible for both Russell's and my sakes. Since we still aren't cleared for anything other than walking and jogging, I don't need the singular focus used when schooling dressage. So I look around, and sometimes stop and try to capture what I see from the saddle. Here are a couple recent images. Looking west toward the house:

Looking east at the Hunter Moon:

Underneath it all, my horse and I, going round and round in the sand....

Monday, October 3, 2011

Wet and worth it

A couple hours ago it looked like it had stopped raining, so I grabbed a jacket and headed to the barn. Before I could get Russell saddled up it started raining again, but after seeing that his rear fetlocks were slightly stocked up and determining that it was really only sprinkling, I decided a short ride was in order. I whisked off his head and saddle area, threw on my old Wintec all-purpose sport saddle, and off we went to get the mail. It was only a 15-minute walk, but it got rid of the swelling in his hind legs and seemed to perk him up. And we didn't get that wet. Yep, totally worth it. (-:

I waited too long

After our strenuous-for-us trail ride yesterday, I thought it would be good to take Russell for a short ride today to loosen up any sore muscles. Rick came home for lunch and took Brian with him when he left, giving me the perfect opportunity to ride off-property. I thought we'd play Pony Express and go get the mail that arrives in the afternoon. Well, I waited too long. The day has gone from overcast but dry to gloomy-grey and very wet, and neither of us like to be out in the rain. Obviously, the early bird gets the ride. )-:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Over the hills and through the woods

What a wonderful ride we had today! Rain threatened, but held off until we got back, put up our horses, and went to the covered arena for a potluck picnic and meeting of the Chehalem Mountain Chapter of the Oregon Dressage Society. My husband and son even came along for the ride and picnic, so it couldn't have been any better. All three of our horses worked up a sweat going up and down the hills, but we took it easy and weren't out much more than an hour. Sigh; it was just perfect.

(That's poison oak, easy to see - and avoid - in its autumnal colors.)