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

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Riding the wave

Tonight I had the third good ride in a row since the Lisa Wilcox clinic. Each time Lance has moved well, felt balanced (no tripping), and ended with a foamy mouth:

So I'm feeling pumped about that, and also about the possibility of another educational/inspirational event in the near future! I just found out about it this morning and don't want to say too much because several things are up in the air, but auditing one day of another clinic looks good and actually participating in it with Lance could happen. I should know soon....

Monday, October 29, 2018


For the first time in a long time, I got to immerse myself in dressage this weekend. I happily hung out with horse friends and enjoyed watching some superb equines, even though it made me wistful for what once was. It seems a lifetime ago when I  advanced my skills with regular clinics and/or lessons, trained and competed with an equine partner, braided mane and wore tall boots, even won awards. Even harder is not knowing if those things will ever be a part of my life again. (I may forever stay one score away from my USDF Silver Medal....)

Saturday night was the Oregon Dressage Society awards banquet and silent auction. I picked up my friend Kate and we joined other members of our local chapter (which kindly paid for our weekend's activities) – and not a whole lot of others! The food was good, the awardees were inspiring (some of them amazingly so), the silent auction provided some great shopping (I got a long-sleeved ODS t-shirt, a fleece ODS vest, a fleece ODS headband, and an ODS magnet for my trailer), and the keynote speaker, Olympian Lisa Wilcox, made me eager to attend the next day's activities.

on the way to Kate's house
So early Sunday morning I picked up Kate again and we headed through beautiful countryside to Whip & Spur Farm, once the home and training facility of Rich Fellers, another Olympian (in Show Jumping). There we got to watch as Lisa taught eight different horse/rider combinations with a consistent message of keeping a correct position and posture while making a million and one transitions – within each gait, not between them. You could tell she was taught by a 29-year veteran of the Spanish Riding School, where students sometimes spend years without reins or stirrups, perfecting their own position in order to be able to properly influence their horse's way of going.
at Whip & Spur

I took photos of all eight horses, but video of only two, so I decided to only keep and share photos of the two I filmed. Both of these horses were poetry in motion, the chestnut a five-year-old filly (ridden by a young trainer Kate won two lessons with in the silent auction), and the other a 12-year-old gelding.

Events like this always inspire me to go home and dance with my own horse – so I did! By the time I got Lance saddled the sun had set, so we walked up the hill to capture this photo before going back to the arena to dance.
 Our schooling session felt good, and Lance ended with a foamy mouth, always a good sign.
Even if we never set foot again in a show arena, we can dance!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Checking in

Taken during a sunset ride in September
The squirrels are squirreling!
Hey-ho, it's autumn! The days are getting shorter; we've had a little rain but mostly glorious, perfect weather. The fall colors, the angle of the light, the cooler air all make me feel positively effervescent  at times – like yesterday afternoon. I got off work early and didn't have to drive to Salem to pick up my son (he's away on a junior/senior camping trip), so I called a friend to go for a trail ride. Unfortunately my truck battery was feeling puny, so Lance and I went for another ride around the hill, which is getting surprisingly better instead of worse. Even though grape harvest is in full swing, the vineyards aren't using as many noisemakers this year, and apparently none of the propane canons. Lance is handling the 'tweety birds' just fine. We also found our way through the logged area shown in my previous post, and ended up at a postcard-worthy vantage point.

Lance is coughing a bit more; I should probably start steaming the hay again now that the horses are mostly in their stalls/paddocks. They do get out to romp, though:

The coughing could be from the dust generated by the tractors working next door (where the boulders are two photos above) and/or the smoke, also from next door and neighbors. It is especially bad at night; I like to sleep with our window open but the smoke has been so strong it keeps me awake (so I close it and get too hot 😖).
Lance got a new High-Neck Ultimate Turnout Sheet after damaging yet another one; I think this is #3 – or maybe #4. SmartPak's 10-year replacement guarantee on the Ultimate has been the best deal on the planet for us. I also got another helmet during their annual helmet sale; it's the same model as my current one, just a different color.
We should be set for awhile!