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

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Wouldn't you be leery?

I walked down to get the mail this afternoon. Since I had my dusty-lens barn camera with me, I thought I'd let you hear for yourself what made Lance nervous on Thursday.

Ah, country quiet. Just wait until the vineyards add the "screaming birds" recording and the propane cannon this fall!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Success in the important things

I finally feel physically and mentally recovered enough to handle whatever comes, so today I rode Lance outside our arena. We warmed up and schooled in the arena first, then rode down the lane to get the mail. The vineyard was playing the distressed deer bellow from speakers next to the road (I have no idea why; that's usually an autumn thing). Lance made it by okay on the way to the mailbox, but on the way home he got increasingly alarmed, in spite of lots of lateral work to keep his mind and body occupied. So I got off and led him away from home, then got back on to ride home. Again he got to a point where he seemed ready to "stop, lock, and load," so I repeated the dismount, lead away from home, remount, and ride home. The third time he was able to hold it together and we made it safely by the scary area. Success!

Keeping a full mane on my horse has not been successful, however. The high-neck turnout sheet was protecting it, but when we had the record-breaking heat wave earlier this month I took it off because Lance was just too hot. He started rubbing then, and has continued even when I put the high-neck sheet back on. Today during turnout he ripped off one of the belly strap fasteners, so he'll be able to rub his mane and tail to his heart's content until SmartPak gets a new shipment sometime in August. :-/

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Tickled pink

In spite of a sad start to the day, I was tickled pink to:
• Have no really painful spasms
• Be able to comfortably sit all three gaits
• Get asked by my husband if I would be interested in taking on a training project.

I don't know much about that last point yet; just that a client died last year and her husband would like to see her dressage horse tuned up and slimmed down. We'll probably be moving the horse here as soon as he recovers from a hoof abscess. I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Pink protection

As I shared on my farm blog and Instagram, I got back in the saddle last Sunday. We just walked around the arena for 20 minutes; I was still too sore to attempt more than that. Still, it felt good to be on my horse again. I intended to keep getting back on my horse on a regular basis, but dealing with the teen did not allow room for that in my life again until Friday. :-/

By then my new helmet had arrived, pinker in real life than I expected. Other than that, I love it – the dial fit adjuster, the mesh-covered vents, the incorporated visor, the fit and comfort. Brian made up for the difficult week by riding with me,

AND taking a photo of me and my steed.
Again we mostly walked, but I tried a little posting trot and was tickled that doing so wasn't painful. The area that is still giving me trouble is my right lower back where I took the hardest hit going through the peach orchard. Hopefully that will resolve sooner rather than later!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Second choice

SmartPak was out of black in my size.

Thursday, April 14, 2016


I found my helmet and gloves in the garage today; I thought Brian had taken them down to the tack room for me. I picked them up – and noticed something I hadn't seen when I looked at it Monday:
Um, yeah; that would explain the bruise on the back right side of my head! Nice little gouge in the top as well, and who knows where the visor is.

And that, children, is why you should ALWAYS wear a helmet. I'm shopping for a new one; that one has done its job (thank-you!) and is now in the trash.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


A fellow horsewoman and fine-fleeced Shetland sheep breeder posted a link to the following video on Facebook. It starts out like a fairly typical quadrille but just gets better and better – to fantastic! It's a delightful diversion while I'm earthbound. ;-)

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Or, sometimes you're the bug.

Yesterday I was anxious to get back on my mustang man after a weekend away and four days out of the saddle. When Brian went to the neighbor's to do some yard work, I got my opportunity. After a thorough grooming (yielding an impressive 'harvest' of winter hair!) we headed out through the woods. I rode up the driveway of our easterly neighbors to let Brian know where I was going and admire his work – a little side trip that turned out to be Providential.

We left the neighbor's and headed north on the gravel lane past the peach orchard when Lance stopped. Two deer had just crossed in front of us but something else caught his eye; then he spun and bolted. My one-rein stop didn’t work; it just turned him into the peach orchard. I dropped to his neck, but still took hits from low limbs. When we emerged from the trees I looked up and realized I had one more chance to turn him – into the yard on our left – before the woods closed in on the one-lane gravel road. I hauled on the left rein and got him turned onto the lawn, getting whacked by yet another tree in the process. At that point I decided I couldn’t take any more hits and bailed, thus taking one final, big hit from the ground. I lay there with my eyes closed, listening to the thundering of Lance's hooves nearing and then fading quickly into the distance, taking a mental tally of my condition. Nothing seemed broken, so I struggled to my feet. I thought about calling the neighbor Brian was working for to pick me up, but decided that if I didn't start moving I soon wouldn't be able to move. Slowly, painfully, I limped towards home the shortest way – up that neighbor's driveway. How thankful I was to see Brian leading Lance towards me! I really didn't know where my charging steed would end up; I think his choice to go up that driveway was directly related to our having just been there. Brian caught him, tied up the broken rein, and came to look for me. Together, we headed for home.
Hindsight is 20/20, and I beat myself up (inside, to match the bruises on the outside) for the rest of the day. Fifty-four-year-old women should not bail off galloping 16-hand horses. I should have lined Lance out on the gravel lane; eventually we would have faced a long, steep hill that would have slowed or stopped him. But what's done is done. I’m battered, bruised, and moving v-e-r-y slowly. It'll be a few days of ice packs and round-the-clock Aleve – at least – before I'll be able to mount Lance, much less ride. But I know my guardian angel was looking out for me, because it could have been so much worse.

Oh, and wear your helmet. My head is bruised instead of bashed because of mine.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The weekend that was, and wasn't

Last Thursday Lance and I had another lovely ride through the spring woods, flower-spotting along the way. Saw lots of Oregon Grape (not a grape, but our state flower), and more of my favorite wild iris.
It felt positively summer-like, and Lance actually worked up a little sweat.

I had to work on Friday, then leave immediately afterwards for a Christian women's retreat at the Oregon coast. My friend Kate rode with me, and we were practically in agony over heading to the beach in glorious weather without our horses (doggies, too)!
Still, we enjoyed the weekend very much, and the beautiful weather continued long enough Sunday afternoon for Lance and me to get in another woods ride when I got back.

Now I have brief window of time before Brian's violin lesson, so off I go again. :-)