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

Monday, October 31, 2016


I had a chance to slip out for another ride through the woods today.

We rode past the peach orchard, scene of our scary ride in April, too. I am happy to say that no spooks came out to play today – and they haven't for quite some time. My big red goober has become a knight in shining invisible armor!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Seizing the moment

Today I had a short window of time between work and picking up my son from school. The rain had stopped and the sun was trying to break through thinning clouds, so I pulled on my breeches and ran to the barn to squeeze in a ride on my mental health mustang man. With no more than 30 minutes of actual saddle time available, we headed for the the neighboring hollow's gravel lane.

It was the best half-hour of my day. :-)

Monday, October 24, 2016

House calls and cutie-pies

Lance has been acting like his mouth is bothering him while eating, so after taking Brian to school this morning, Rick came back home to check him out. Lance has "horsey cold sores" (petechiae) again, poor guy. He also had some points, so Rick floated Lance's teeth, then gave both horses their rhino/flu and Potomac Horse Fever vaccinations. Then I led out my ram for Rick to examine; I had noticed during morning chores that Blake was squinting his left eye. No wonder; Rick pulled out a big, nasty grass seed head!

As he was putting his vet equipment back in the truck, Rick asked me if I wanted to ride along on a couple calls. I had things I needed to do, but in appreciation for his help I decided to be a sport. At one of the barns we visited, this flashy Hackney pony caught my eye:
I call him Puzzle, because his wild facial chrome reminded me of a puzzle piece. :-)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Photos for you, notes for me

Lance and I hauled over for a lesson with Julie today. It was a gray day but I had to try for some photos since Julie wanted to get on Lance to see how he feels; I don't often get the opportunity to watch him get put through his paces! I also took photos of Julie, her beautiful driveway and her talented Totilas filly (yes, her pasture buddy is a miniature horse, who is totally the boss!).
Blurry but I love the color, the motion, Lance's frame....
I'm not sure I've ever seen Lance so quiet after a ride; he was TIRED!


Require a better work ethic; don't let Lance take a break with every canter-walk transition.

Work on simple changes around the whole arena, not on a circle. If Lance gets "stuck," get in two-point, ask him to be a little rounder, lift his belly with spurs, and go forward for a bit.

Hold the counter-canter sometimes, asking Lance to counter-flex. I should be able to feel him flex more in his fetlocks.

Don't grip with my upper thigh; it can block Lance. Must use my correct seat bone while keeping thighs relaxed.

RHYTHM is main goal in trot. Ask for collection by closing hip joint some and moving legs back, then ease out to bigger trot by opening hip joints and using a long, relaxed leg.

Lateral work at the walk is good; save lateral work at the trot for times when Lance has extra energy.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

New duds

Just in time for fall!
Lance's replacement SmartPak Ultimate High-Neck Turnout Sheet arrived while Rick and I were in Canada last week. They've been out of stock since he tore up his first one; SmartPak sent me a different model to tide us over but he damaged that one, too. (Good thing I invested in the Ultimate, which has a "10-year Indestructible Guarantee"!) This one is a size smaller than the original, and it fits perfectly.

Since we don't turn our horses out in the rain and (slippery) mud, why does Lance wear a turnout? It keeps him cleaner, reducing grooming time, it protects his mane and tail head from rubbing, and I think he grows less winter hair, which makes it easier to cool him out.

After getting ready for our trip, being gone on our trip, and coming home to rain and work after our trip, Lance had quite a few days off and I was anxious to get back in the saddle. Yesterday I went down to take advantage of a break in the rain showers, but the dry spell only lasted long enough for our walk warm-up and a little trot work. Lance made it very clear that he didn't like the rain in his face, so we trotted back into the barn. While Lance ate some lunch, I tidied up his mane, shortening the thin section between his withers and the rubbed area, and shortening and thinning the bigger section between the rubbed area and his bridle path. By then, the rain had passed and we went back to school awhile longer. We finished with the above photo shoot, Lance looking spiffy with his new 'do and turn-out sheet.

We had a better weather window today and had a good schooling session. While I'm trying to remember and practice what we worked on in our last lesson, I find myself wishing I'd written better notes and wanting another lesson to confirm things in my mind and muscles. I was thinking of entering an ODS League show at the end of this month, but have changed my mind. First, I'd rather spend my time and money building on the progress we're making with Julie's help than show at a level at which we've already demonstrated competence. Second, I've just learned my MIL is having eye surgery a few days before the show, then coming here to recuperate for at least a day and night. That throws a wild card on the table; better to not plan anything else in close proximity.

But the week before that looks feasible; off to email Julie about scheduling!