Wednesday, November 26, 2014


When coach said, "I want you to come ride this horse!", I couldn't refuse.
Well, I guess I could have, but I sure wouldn't want to!
I understand that JoJo is established at 2nd level dressage and schooling most of the 3rd level movements.
I suddenly felt like I didn't know how to ride...

JoJo - Fancy TB dressage horse
JoJo is responsive.  He is also very forgiving.
I walked a bit as I tried to help him relax...  He didn't like the rain hitting one side of the indoor arena...
Finally, I felt ready to find my place in the trot.  Constantly Coach yells at me: "Get your lower leg forward!  You're kicking him in the flank!"
I insist that I was fighting against the saddle...  So, I tried to feel like I was "waterskiing".  And it helped, sometimes.
We explored shoulder-fore, where I was able to find the easy bend.
We explored shoulder-in, where I could easily put too much angle in because JoJo is so responsive!
Once shoulder-in started getting consistent, I got to explore completely foreign land: HALF-PASS!
Putting theory into practice is never as easy as you think it should be.
I got a few decent steps at a time, but I always dropped his inside shoulder, which I'm sure JoJo didn't appreciate.  That leg kept creeping back, and I would think I was asking for half-pass, but instead would get a canter transition...
In the cold, I worked up a sweat trotting around in the indoor arena!  This was seriously hard work!
And I loved every moment!  What a priviledge to get to ride this horse!!
We wrapped up with some canter (on purpose, this time), then cooled out.  We were both toast.
But, the fun didn't stop there...
Next, I had the opportunity to ride Ultaire, a dutch warmblood who used to own the hunter ring!
He needed to hop over a few fences, and his owner ran out of time, so I dared not refuse when offered the ride!!
I was told he is a "kick ride."
In fact, I would need my spurs (well, someone's spurs, anyway).
His nickname is The Grumpy Slug.
Oh, boy!

Ultaire - The fanciest slug I have ever met!

We warmed up with lots of walk.  He was scared to death of the water coming from the hose as Coach dampened down the arena.  So, of course, I insisted that we get ever closer to it!
We trotted, and I found out how hard I was going to have to work!
He leaned on my left leg. The entire time!!
But, going through the jumps, he was as "point and shoot" as they come!  His demeanor never changed, wether we came in at the right spot or not.  He just shrugged and made it happen.  I could focus on me!  What a treat!
We were both too tired to actually get one of those automatic changes Coach had mentioned, so we accepted the simple change and moved on to cooling out.
When I voiced rhetorically, "Why does it feel like I don't know how to ride whenever I get on a new horse these days?"
Coach actually replied, "Because you don't get to ride different horses every day."
Hmm.  Good point, Coach!
Something should be done about that!!
Here's to more catch ride opportunities!  Never turn it down!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Raising the Bar a Little Further

The Fancy Pony has shown us that she really does like to jump.  When I let others ride her, she will try to take them over the jumps (against their will!) on her own accord.

Actually, it is rather amusing to see the panic on a beginners face when their mount wants to quietly trot over a 12" elevated pole...

So, we asked her to show us what she's got!

Just in case that didn't work, see it here:
Fancy Pony free jumps 3'6"

She also made is laugh as she demonstrated her understanding that "forward is always the right answer:

And, in case that doesn't work:

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Another Taste of Our Driving Adventures - video!

Our workouts have begun to look like this:

What would I do without willing minions?
I feel like I should post an add:

Seeking MINIONS!
Flexible hours!
Excellent benefits!
No experience required!
Will train!

Translation: Come get exercise for free while walking for hours dragging my horse cart!
How many takers do you think I would get?

Of course, wherever we may go on our adventures, we must always return home...
And in the hell that is WINTER after the end of DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME, we face dusk way too early...

In case you can't watch that, try viewing it here:

It isn't very exciting, but I think it's bridging the gap between ground driving and hitching up quite well!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Driving Adventures

We are still working at it!
So, I finally determined beyond a shadow of any doubt in my mind that the crupper (when pulled by the harness surcingle) is what initiated the bucking fir that led to our cart wreck early this year.
Luckily, no one was hurt.
I have not given up...
See my determination...
 I took a page from Jane Savoie's instruction manual, and I broke the process down into more abby steps....
I put a crupper on my saddle and let her buck it out on the lungeline...
This was quite impressive, as she pointed her feet to the sky and let them hang there while she continued to trot on her front legs....  It looked like a game of "wheelbarrow" where God was holding her back legs...
I also picked up a training cart.
after removing the shafts...
And decided to refinish it!
Point A...
So, I sanded...
sanded on the left...
And I primed...
And I painted...
And I sanded and stained...
Yay for stain!
In the meantime, I continued my "baby steps" approach...
Step 1: bang stuff against sides and legs...
Step 2: Add a load...
Now, we're following the cart around and walking next to it until it doesn't bother her wherever it goes or whatever noises it makes.  I think we're getting there!!
Who is up for driving?


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