It’s OK Not To Believe Everything

It’s OK to listen to everything you’re told, think about it, consider it, and decide if it’s something you have to adhere to.

Or not.

It’s OK to read, and do as much as possible to learn more, and it’s OK to ignore it if it doesn’t seem to be the right thing.  Or admit that right now, I’m not at a point with riding where I know just how to do it that way – and because of that, it’s not going to work.

easy keeper horse
-“Hi, I gain weight just from sniffing grass and eating acorns. What’s YOUR Superpower?”

It’s OK to see new methods, consider them, try parts of it, and then maybe move on.

It’s OK to hear, read and see things, and not believe in them.  We all know that, right?

It’s OK to not believe in everything.  Ooops, already said that.

Of all the things I don’t believe in, it’s that horses have to come to work in an exact, specific way, each time.  That they get confused if they have a goofing off day. The equine brain can’t get better credit than that?

Really?  Valegro gets confused when he hacks out with his older lady rider in the rain, and then Charlotte comes back and flings him off to the Olympics in Rio to achieve the ride record of a lifetime?!!!

Just checking.

Valiosa –  hanging out, just enjoying being a horse.  We all do this, and I know your horses get to goof off too sometimes.  Isn’t it great!?

ground work with horse

lunging bitless
For variety I sometimes handle her in just a plain drop noseband. Yes, variety is good🙂

Have a wonderful week!

I’m back to riding, so hopefully she’ll be doing a little less goofing off now🙂 .

2nd Year With Valiosa

Time for the 2nd annual Before & After post.

Press hard with that little scroll finger, another photo bomb🙂

This is where it started, late November 2014 – her first week after I bought her, as a 3-year old.

thin 3 year old horse
Just a smallish squid, really.

1 year later:

horse conformation picture
November 2015

She’s grown up even more since then.  Thankfully, big improvement in rideability, too🙂

Starting out, this was a few months after backing her:

young horse under saddleMarch 2015

"Elinor Yee"In winter, early 2016

As for the rest of 2016, we’ve had a fun year, with lot’s of “young horse” variety stuff with friends.

drought at folsom lakeAll sorts of trail rides thanks to wonderful friends who’ve taken us places.

first dressage show with young horseSeveral shows since this very first one in late 2015, where she placed First and Second Place at Intro Level.

difficult to canter with young horseFebruary 2016 – She looks good here.  But I already realized the canter would REALLY take some time to, ehrm, develop.

jumping on lunge lineMarch 2016 – learning to jump.

"Elinor Yee"April 2016 at Training Level.

Elinor YeeMay 2016 at Training Level.

horse jumping off high at a low jumpJune 2016 – sure jumping with me too.  Everything is worth trying.

grey horse jumpingJuly 2016 – of course she did it better on her own.

Elinor YeeAugust 2016

dressage over trot poles to strengthen core musclesSeptember 2016 – starting cavalettis.

5 year old horses on trail
Some awesome trail rides with her friend Orion.
grey mare in posting trot
September 2016

young mare schooling training level dressage

Elinor Yee

dressage show first levelOctober 2016, Debut at First Level.

developing the canter with young horse
November 2016 – Really liking how she can carry herself better now!

It’s been two fun years with this mare.  Amazed there could be so many readers interested in looking at our attempts to go from halter breaking, to backing, and to the showring.  This winter I’ll be working on making her more reliable.  Still playing and goofing off, but she should settle in for focused work, well, sooner.  My goal is to bring her to Second Level later – for now, long out of reach🙂.

Thank you for tagging along with us!

Mary Wanless Clinic

6 hr car round trip to audit your riding biomechanics guru?!  Sure!!!

I was lucky to get to do just that, and spent a day at American Sport Horse, outside Santa Cruz.

Mary Wanless, in just the few hours I was there, did all the magic I knew she could do.  And more.  Here she is with Leslie and her charming little gelding.

Mary Wanless at American Sport Horse

She’ll visit the U.S in just two locations – East Coast, and Watsonville between Capitola and Santa Cruz.  So, you get it that I was excited to attend🙂

With the Dressage On A Dime budget, her 3-Day clinic is not in the cards for Valiosa and I.  But I’m lucky to have a little help from someone who is trained in the Wanless method, so all may not be lost…

Mary Wanless in California
Question and answer session. Surprise, my hip tweak is a rare one and there’s no quick-fix. There’s never a quick-fix.

While I’m rehabbing my tendon and things are a bit slow, I can still see that you’re checking in on us as much as ever before, which is great!🙂

I appreciate it, because I worry about all sorts of things.  Will everything get better with my pesky multiple tendon thingies?  Will my horse develop, or are we spiraling down the wrong direction?  Will we still be stuck where we are now, in a few months…

Now, there was this promise of a new Before And After post, back in this post: “Show Me Your Before And Afters!”…

That one was read by so many!  I know you like a good makeover, or simply Before & After horse shots.

It’s time!  Check in on Monday next week – time for a wrap up on 2016!

Because really, just how many pictures do we need of her stupid horse?…

Hey, I heard that!

I said something about this horse not knowing how to jump…?

Rambled about it some time ago.

How she’d just plow straight through even a half-foot tall single pole.  No kidding.  (Find it here:  Grey Mare don’t jump.)

Well.  No one showed up to teach it to her.  So we did it on our own. 🙂

Told her she wasn’t allowed to jump high.  She did it anyway.  Sassy.  Where’d she get that from?

horse next to barrel
– OMG! A barrel! I’m going to jump it!

Nope, no.  No you’re not.  It’s not what we do.  You don’t have the skills to do it, it could be harmful, and besides, it could confuse your training.

horse talk
– Oh yeah?! Just watch me! I go!

No, we do dressage, you’re a bit lazy, and some say you’re simply not built for it.  Besides, you don’t look the part.  And I’m not entirely convinced you know how to canter correctly.  Just stick to some circles and low-level stuff.

confused horse
– Um, what? It’s not for me?  But I thought I could do anything?

Hate to break it to you, but it’s not in your cards.  Besides, it builds all the wrong muscles.  And that harsh landing, argh, pounding straight down on the forehand!  It looks painful, and it twists the sacroiliac, and do it enough you’ll have an ugly Hunter’s Bump.

horse looking confused
– But… I want to be something too.  We can’t just have a little fun?  Besides, just WHO gets to make up all the rules?

Simple facts.  Accept your path, don’t monkey around.

horse learning to jump
– I don’t CARE. Look! I’m doing it!

Smokes, Wow you did it!  Wish you’d feel the same about, well, just trotting straight forward…

horse trotting on lunge line
– I told you so!!

OK, I think we should do some suppling work.  Or think classical.  Or walk slowly in a small circle while I limp backwards and almost topple over every fourth step.

horse speeding on lunge line when jumping
– Hey, I’ve been thinking about something by the way…

Doesn’t look like much thinking.

Horse rearing on lunge line
– I thought that maybe now, when you’re in a cast and feeling vulnerable and all….


horse bucking on lunge line
– I thought you should whip out the bareback pad and we’ll do some work together. What do you say?

I say you’ve lost it and need to move on, and this is a very awkward blog post.

horse galloping on lunge line
– Fine, whatevers. Now I go Faaaaast!
horse jumping from trot
– Weeeeh! Check me out, I did this from trot.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Soon Finishing Up 2 Weeks of Recovery

Valiosa, healthy and spry as ever.

I’m the slower one, dragging us both down.  But it’s OK, we’re both really happy and things are going well.  Going to be a long month with no riding, but we’re doing our best to have some fun.

It’s absolutely wonderful that you keep checking in on us at the blog – thank you!

A day of tarp work.  Really wasn’t necessary.

lunging with a tarp

horse faking a spook
Fake spooking at the tarp. Just an excuse because we had roof workers on their 1st day out there.

introducing tarp to horse

working horse with tarp

horse not afraid of tarp
This tarp work is seriously overrated. Next, please.

On another note – I finally get to make a special post soon, probably the best one for the rest of this year.

Wrapping up Valiosa’s 1st Year in late November in 2015 was really fun.  Almost time for a new Before & After post to wrap up the 2nd Year…  Coming up next week!

Romfh Cool Grip Gloves

Romfh Girls – heads up!

These beauties can be had for a steal at Amazon right now.

grey riding gloves reveiw

Yep, they’re Romfhs.  And grey, which makes them all so much better.  Although you can get them in White, Black, or Black with White as well.  Very short in the wrist as seen above – they’re warm weather gloves after all.

Romf Cool Grip Glove Review

Flexible and grippy!  There is a lighter material between the fingers for breathability in addition to your average perforations.  Rein reinforcement in all the right places, but I have no idea of durability yet.

If your regular glove size is really tight, go up one size in these.  Delish!

Romf glove reivew

Last Ride Was A Blooper

The two last rides before taking this very long break were like wearing a latex swim cap and googles, looking at Polish kitsch short-film and feeling lost.

Thought we’d have fantastic riding days at the end.  Nope…  Strange behavior where I didn’t know what to make of it.

I’m ignoring that whole thing now, focusing only on the other couple of rides the week before that, which were great!

Yesterday was the first day making it out to the barn, no crutches but a walking cast and a slow gimpy gait.  So slow the dogs even gave up on following.

Valiosa, lovely to see.

grey horse with white boots
Think I’ve missed her?

Somehow, I’ve created the perfect therapy horse!  She’d match my turtle gait, waiting patiently for me to do everything in ultra slow motion, and didn’t freak out when I had to lean on her a bit while walking with the wheel barrow and lead at the same time.

Thought there’d be some awkward moments where I’d be afraid to get stepped on or pushed over, since everything is so wobbly now.  She looked out for me every step of the way, waiting with a deep sigh as I fumbled a bit with the gate as I let her out in pasture.

Yeah.  So I forgave everything🙂

After 5 days straight rest, she did some strange-ish lunging and several low jumps on the line over a jump that happened to be in there.  Planning on doing some simple lunge work 2-3 more days this week to keep up a bit of fitness.

Farrier came out to put a front back on.  Grain bags got filled.  Michelle, who is such a super star, drove me to get some new hay.

All is well🙂

Onto week 2 of recovery!

Dressage On A Dime A Horse For Elinor

Thick Dressage Braids – Swedish Style

Here’s a great tutorial on how to make the fluffier Dutch/German/Swedish/European or whatever name you’ve been forced to call them.

Got such nice comments at shows (Not really on the ones where I was able to get pictures, figures.) on these braids during the summer.  Today – sharing a video tutorial on how to make them.  It’s in Swedish, but very self-explanatory.

how to make dutch dressage braids

Video by Elenore Simberg.  Just like me;  a blond, blue-eyed, Swedish dressage rider from the West Coast, with an awesome name.  All similarities end there – she’s an elite rider, trainer, competitor, educator, and, well, you get the picture.  In September, right before competing at Swedish Breeder’s she won in the National 5-Year Old futurity.  At 91%…

It’s too bad my chance of International Working Student has expired🙂

Here’s the video!  Starts after a 30 sec. intro.

The change I’ve made on my own (from another top groom’s video) is to fasten the thread at the braid’s bottom (simply back-sewing it in-out 3 times), by the rubber band.

Time consuming, but helps since my mare shakes her head violently countless times before even making it into the showring, and this can help.

Pro’s with making this type of braid:

  • Less total braids to make.  Usually you’ll never make 9 of these.
  • Less chance of losing mane – braids are loose at top and hairs won’t pull out as easily.
  • Comfortable for the horse – no stretchy, tighty-tight feeling along the neck.
  • Still look OK if they “loosen up” some.
  • Easy (easier) to take out – because stabbing around with scissors around your horse’s neck at the end of a long day should always be made easier.
  • Great for young horses with thin necks.  The crestier the neck, the better I think it looks with a smaller, tighter braid.

Just because I really wanted to go home – Come along for a simple wintry ride with Elenore in Skåne, Sweden here:


It’s All Peachy Over Here

Just a few days after the election.

California mostly in shock.  Below – from Thursday’s Sac Bee.

how to cope with our new presidentGood thing we’re running a horse blog here.  Where things are still peachy, where there’s hope for growth, room for learning, time for working very hard on something that can never be perfected, and the biggest issue is a missing left front shoe.

sacramento bee about trump politicsSure.  Dig deeper, and there’s some stress about saddle fit too.  Plus the minor detail that I can’t even walk now, but that’s a too self-centric.  Let’s move on.

blue bell boots on grey horse
– “What problems? There’s a problem?!”

Seriously, look how much she’s come up in the withers!  Young horses, they go wider, come up in the withers, wider again, then up in the withers.  Saddle fitting coming up, as soon as I’m back in business!

horse coming up in the withers