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

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Achieving goals

November has been a great month. I'm getting to ride nearly every day, and feel blessed to do so each and every ride. The stirrups have stayed off my saddle for #NoStirrupNovember except for a couple rides down the lanes, when I thought it prudent to play it safe and be able to get back on if I should need to dismount for any reason. Lance has been great, though, so I did ride down through the woods on Friday (#optoutside) without stirrups. Wouldn't you know it; we encountered a very noisy Harley-Davidson that made Lance nervous so I hopped off, but there was a big rock nearby to use as a mounting block. (Even as a tall, spry teen, I was never able to swing/jump up onto the back of a 16hh horse from the ground!)
On our Friday ride I saw this BLOOMING rhododendron at someone's place!

And whether Lance thinks it's great or not, he has been working up a bit of sweat each ride. It seems to be helping, too; it has been a bit easier to buckle his girth the last couple of times. ;-)

Friday, November 17, 2017

The dance of the sugar plum fairy

Lance got two days off because of weather and work, but we got to ride in nice weather today. My mustang is bordering on FAT, so I've decided we need to up the intensity of our rides while keeping up the frequency. The goal: sweat. Not WET, just some sweat under the saddle or at least the girth, which is what we got today. We actually had a very nice little dance session; his walk-canter and canter-walk transitions were sharp, and he was meticulous in picking his way through the semi-circle trot poles. We finished with a good gallop around the arena to blow away the cobwebs. ;-)

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Signs of the time

A fat and fuzzy mustang, crunchy leaves, green grass, woolly sheep, smoke coming from the chimney, saddle sans stirrups – yep, this scene says November!

I'm trying to coordinate a lesson with an instructor I used and loved for years. (Difficulty coordinating time and place was why I switched to Julie, who has moved to SC.) I would like to long-line Lance sometimes rather than lunge him, but don't feel proficient at the finer points; Suzan is a master at long-lining. She worked with me and Russell once on long-lining years ago, but Russell did not like it. Hence my lack of proficiency!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Just Do Did It!

Today's forecast was wet and windy. After doing morning chores, I started the steamer for supper hay. When the timer went off, it was just spitting rather than raining, so I pulled on my warm winter breeches and went to the barn. Once there, I waffled; the spit seemed to be getting heavier. I headed back to the house; it really wasn't that wet. I turned around and headed back towards the barn.... Wash, rinse, repeat a few times (hey, it fed the FitBit) before I told myself to Just Do It – and did!

And the whole day will feel the better for it. ;-)

We warmed up in the arena, then rode down to the mailboxes and back, doing a little lateral work, a bit of trot and even smaller bit of canter. Short; sweet. I think my mustang man is feeling better; hurray!

Now I'm back inside a warm house with a fire going in the woodstove; the wind has definitely picked up. No photos, but how about a list of things I'm thankful for – eight for the 8th of November.
  • Warm winter breeches by Boink, a gift from my husband many years ago. I misplaced them for a couple years; so glad to have found them again!
  • Warm winter gloves by Kerrits – their riding gloves, winter and summer versions both, are my favorites.
  • My saddle – inexpensive (even more so because I got it used) and synthetic, it fits both of us well and is weatherproof.
  • Our arena. As places to ride out from home become more restricted, it has become essential.
  • My handy husband, who built our arena (after the dirt work was done), and my cavaletti, and the hay steamer, and much more.
  • My professional husband, who has done so much mundane and advanced work to keep/get my horses healthy and sound over the years.
  • Fun challenges like #NoStirrupNovember.
  • Last but not least, my mustang man, Lancelot Dun Dino!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Still sans stirrups

I was wrestling with my teenage son the other day when he protested, "No, not the dressage thighs!" I gave an evil chuckle and said, "Just wait; they're going to be even stronger by the end of #NoStirrupNovember!"

I just realized I used stirrups the morning of November 1 before the farrier came – and before I knew about #NoStirrupNovember. As you can see, it was a gorgeous day on our hill. We haven't been out of the arena since; Lance is (and always has been) barefoot and I hate to ask him to walk on gravel right after a trim. Today I rode the warm-up, then lunged him to focus on "forward," and finished with a bit more mounted work to enjoy the results. Here's my autumn-colored mustang man today in fine flesh:

Friday, November 3, 2017

Apparently it's a thing

I follow US Equestrian on Instagram, and yesterday they posted this:

The day before (November 1) I had decided to lunge Lance just to do something different, and removed my stirrups. Today when I rode, I thought, “Why not?” and left them off.
We stayed in the arena and utilized the cavaletti in a new configuration.

Interestingly enough, Lance's trot felt better than usual, and cantering was awkward. It will be interesting to see how things develop this month!