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

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


When I got home this evening from working at Rick's clinic, Lance was banging loudly on his stall door. I didn't have time to ride yesterday, and my busy boy was going stir-crazy. So I let the dogs out, changed clothes, and went down to remedy the situation. The showers of the last two days had watered the arena footing perfectly, and I was looking forward to riding without worrying.

Lance was mouthier than usual while I tacked him up, and fresher than usual under saddle. The added energy was nice – except when it erupted into a bit of bucking at the canter. ;-)

As we finished up, the sky matched my mood. There's nothing like a nice ride on a good horse to make the whole world look rosy!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Yesterday I had to scramble to get everything done before leaving for my son's violin and fencing lessons. First I homeschooled Brian while prepping seven quarts of pear sauce. Once they were simmering in the canner, I ran down to the barn to groom and saddle Lance, then ran back up to the house to remove the jars from the canner, then lead Lance back to the arena for a 20-minute ride, then ran back to the house for a quick shower. Still, I had to snap this photo of my handsome boy holding my handsome boy:

Not only are they both young, male, and handsome, they are both mischievous rascals. Brian might be more athletic; he's certainly been sounder. Lance is easier to train, though.  ;-)

My Wintec saddle with extra-wide gullet and Shoulder Relief girth are still working well for Lance. After the repeated injuries and time off, I'm more thankful than ever not to have big bucks tied up in tack.

We had some rain today, with more expected tomorrow. That should firm the arena footing up nicely, so we can do a bit more work. Lance has been getting his near-daily constitutional, but I've done little more than walk in the dry sand. I have asked for a bit of trot here and a canter depart there, just enough to be gratified by what Lance remembers.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Unchained Melody

(Ray Stevens seemed more appropriate than a tear-jerker.)  (-: 

"Oh, my Lance, my goober
You make me laugh so much.
Another recovery;
As time goes by so slowly.
Time can only do so much;
Are you now sound?"

Last night Rick took a look at Lance's most recently injured ligaments. They are not as good as new, but they are as good as they are going to get, so we are cleared for take-off . . . or at least taxiing down the runway. We can start doing a little trot and canter work; Rick recommended working on the straightaway as much as possible, and cantering to the right and trotting to the left when turns are necessary. I think Lance will be happy; he's been offering trot for awhile now.

After ultrasounding Lance, Rick took a look at Breezy in the adjoining stall. (The topical chemo had no discernible effect; Rick is investigating the next option.) With the chain off his door latch, Houdini Lance got busy – and I documented the master at work:
Open Sesame!
It really is amazing what he can do with that mouth!

Thankfully, the quick-link and chain still has him stymied.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Walking my mule

Lance is looking rather mulish these days. In addition to his annually itchy mane,
this summer he's been scratching his dock nearly naked, too.
I've prayed it with Itch-B-Gone, fly spray, and even took a fecal sample to the clinic in case some parasite has developed resistance to his daily dewormer. No worms, but no relief. It's not raw, just ugly; good thing we aren't showing this year!

I continue trying to get Lance out for his daily constitutional. My friend Laura offered some suggestions for dealing with his naughtiness that I've put into practice, and I do believe they're helping. On Sunday we started in the arena, then headed down the lane. I dismounted while Lance was still being good and led him farther down the lane. On the other side of the paved road, he started getting squirrelly. A motorcycle cruised by; he launched into airs above the ground. Every time he acted up, I got after him, and led him farther away from home. We ended up walking a lot longer than our prescribed 30 minutes – and my shoulders reminded me just what had brought on my tendonitis. I gave my ouchy shoulders a day off, then rode again today the same way. I rode him a bit farther before dismounting; when he got naughty it wasn't as energetic; and he seemed to figure out that acting up delayed his return to barn and buddies.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What if life gives you lemonade?

I feel like I've been handed a giant pitcher of the stuff and I want to drink it all, but can only have one small glass – maybe.

What am I talking about? I'm being asked to lease/train/sell THREE outside horses right now. (Bangs head against a wall.) Why am I being offered something I'd love to do but that isn't possible?

My mom used to tell me about work opportunities, "If someone asks if you can do something, say 'yes' and then figure out how to do it." I want to figure out how to do this; I can't think of a job I'd rather do than to train horses for people. But right now my three-stall barn is full and the majority of my time and energy are consumed with homeschooling my son. I've been trying to figure out how to shoehorn in one outside training project, since I don't know yet if Lance is going to be able to return to dressage training. Three outside training projects? Impossible, it seems to me.

But it is not all up to me. My husband has to be on board with whatever I do, of course. But even more importantly, I need God's direction. If these opportunities are heaven-sent, then God will have to work out the details for me to bring in one or more horses. I'm listening!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Back on track

As of this morning, I've ridden Lance three times in the arena. We review proper Mr. Manners behavior before starting, then we walk for up to 30 minutes. I let Lanc stretch in between making him march, accept contact, leg-yield, halt, rein back, and pivot on his front and hindquarters. He has been very good, and has a nice, foamy mouth during each ride – something he didn't get on our road/field rides.

We will ride out and about again soon. I am confident last week's bad behavior was a temporary lapse in Lance's "new world order." He didn't not learn R.E.S.P.E.C.T. from his breeder; when he doesn't get regular reminders it is easy for him to revert.