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

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Good-bye, good guy

We said good-bye to Larry today.

Don't worry, she remembered her helmet and put it on right away.
His new owner is looking forward to riding him more than twice a week three hours from home.

There's an empty stall in our barn tonight, and it's gonna take some getting used to.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summer days

It's been cloudy and cooler the past week, but we haven't seen any of the rain much of the rest of the state has gotten. The pastures are dormant, and we are feeding full hay rations. Still, cooler is good, especially for riding.

Speaking of riding, Larry (front and center) leaves early next week for his new home in Washington. I'll miss working with him; he's been the perfect project horse. So what will my next project be? I'm not sure. I'd certainly be open to taking in another horse to board and train/school/condition. I've also been encouraged to look into adopting a BLM horse, so look into it I have. There's much to learn about the different HMAs and the kind of horses that typically come from each one; fortunately, I have a couple of very knowledgeable connections. I have spent a lot of time looking at the photos of horses posted online, but the horses pictured are only a fraction of what is available. Besides, choosing a horse from a photo is like getting a mail-order bride – not my idea of the best way to enter into a lifelong commitment! Still, there's some very nice eye-candy, like this yearling with the "quote bubble" on his forehead:

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Speaking of that time of year...

See that? Larry is shedding. When he came in February, Larry was shedding his winter coat, and now he's shedding his summer coat. You can't fool animals; they know when the day length is getting shorter.

Larry's owner is coming down for lessons on him each week, and I school him in between. He's doing great; I'd love to get some current photos of him but the arena is too dusty to turn my camera on. There's a chance of thunderstorms in the forecast; I'm hoping for a good shower to settle the dust before Tina comes tomorrow.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

It's that time of year again

On the right, seven bales of "sheep & Larry" hay;
in the middle, the remaining certified weed-free hay for horse-camping;
on the far right, a small stack of valley hay
Our hay supply is dwindling and it's time to fill the barn with fresh stuff. One of the rare local producers who irrigates to get second and third cuttings of orchard grass and alfalfa called this evening to say he has 54 bales of second cutting orchard grass and a ton of second cutting alfalfa. It's considerably more expensive than plain ol' valley grass hay, but also has far more nutritive value, so we'll take it. With the alfalfa, we can get by with the balance in valley hay for the horses. The sheep do best on third cutting orchard grass; hopefully we can get several tons of that from the same producer later.

Now to finish cleaning out the camper and get it off-loaded so we can haul hay with our pick-up!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

School resumes after a short recess

Larry got a week off while we went horse-camping; "school" resumed last night and he was a star pupil.

Even though I didn't have my own horse to take on our trip, I did get in some saddle time. My friend Laura brought her horse Tang and camped with us, so my husband and I (on Brian's pony) joined her for a trail ride. The next day Laura and I rode again, this time with me on Rick's horse Oliver.

My nickname for Oliver (aka Smart Chocolate) is Oliver Twit, because he has a reputation for being, um, less than sane and sensible. But this year at Cowboy Campmeeting Mark Bolender (below) was there for a free clinic one afternoon in which my husband participated. Afterwards, Oliver behaved better than he ever has, and I actually enjoyed my ride with him!

Laura also had me ride her horse for awhile to see what I thought of Tang's knowledge base. I think this big, blond beauty is going to make a nice dressage/trail mount for my friend!

Monday, July 2, 2012

A favorite thing

"Bright copper . . ." horses! There is nothing like the metallic sheen of a bright chestnut (sorrel) horse. I used to think sorrel was boring, because it's so common (at least among quarter horses). But when summer comes, there's not a prettier color in the pasture.

Larry is doing great. His ability to "sit" and collect in the canter and trot has really come along in the last couple weeks, indicating much greater strength.

After today's ride, he's going to have at least five days off while we're gone, the longest "vacation" he's had since arriving here. But he'll be out on pasture every day, and I'm sure he'll be ready to go back to work upon my return.