3 Small Things To Keep My Riding On Track

Because planting the backside in the saddle is not enough…

  1. Setting goals.  Riding for ridings sake is fun of course,  but just like in any sport there has to be some accountability.  Without it, it’s easy to continue the same way as before.
  2. Spending time around “bigger and better” riders.  Better skills, better horses, better trainers – hopefully a combo of all.  It’s super motivating, even if it’s not every day.  (Or even every week.)  Our small, happy, barn is not a show/training barn – I try to get out and watch when I can.
  3. Riding something OTHER than green horses.  Because, truthfully, it can feel a bit cheerless to work on the very basics, over and over, while not knowing if it’s coming along correctly.
About that number 3…

With a green horse, there’s not much time for the rider to work on her own riding.  For me, I’m suddenly missing other, earlier, green horses.  Forgetting all their faults and difficulties.  Funny how that works!

Elinor Yee blue roan

Sure, I even miss Copper a little sometimes.  He could be really fun.

And Gaucha, who actually was really fun, and everything wasn’t so complicated.

Elinor Yee

So, I have to work a bit on number 3 – ready for some different fun this fall!  A bit of work at the breeding and dressage training barn in Somerset.  Somehow squeezing in time for at least a little.

Short saddle time on a well-trained horse = Supah Motivation.

Thinking about throwing in a quick picture here and there of the beautiful PRE horses.  Want to see?


Because. 5 Year Old

Not going to be an opportunity to take this young mare to a multiple day show.

Later, but for now not sure when we can pull it off.  Next best thing – get her out even more to some different environments.  I’ve been so lucky to have several chances to do this in a short period!

Just short rides in a few different arenas.  Because…  5-year-old.

grey horse in cross ties
Valiosa ready to work at Rosebud, together with two other horses in the arena. She did great!

Few days later, trailered to LBH’s arena.  I’ve taken her there many times and knew she’d do well.  Pretty easy-going, happy to be out seeing different things.  All good signs for the next show!

horse tied to trailer
Not rattled at all about another trip

Still, she’s not the same horse as at home – I’d love to get to where we can have supple and relaxed rides in front of the judges and show what she can really do.  And other horses are still distracting.

wet horse at trailer
Shower-Wet. Because ladies don’t sweat.

This week, a really fun trip up to Camelot with friends – we brought four horses.   Just for a day of riding in the dressage courts and on the giant Cross Country course.

camelot equestrian pens
Camelot’s AWESOME shaded pens.

Largest equestrian facility in the state at 1,600 acres. Great training for her!  She cantered some hills, willingly left her friends, went through a water obstacle and performed like she’s done it all before.  Just at snail pace, because that’s her pace.

Friday we’ll trailer out with a friend for a trail ride.  Great times, does absolutely nothing for dressage, but really fun!


EQyss Barn Barrier Spray Review

 Quick Tip On An All Natural Fly Repellant.

I got the opportunity to test this all natural fly spray, and have used it in all sorts of conditions for several weeks now.

There’s no oily residue, it smells absolutely fantastic, and it’s citronella free – for horses where that’s important.  I really like that it’s all chemical free, and it will not hurt the tack in any way.

eqyss barn barriew review

We don’t have heavy flies at the farm.  Only 5 horses, mostly living outdoors, very dry conditions and fly predators to keep the population down somewhat.  I also keep my mare on a feed through product for 2 or 2.5 months to help keep fly numbers low even more.

Still, the flies are there, and they’re pesky!  For us, an all natural product like this is not strong enough to do as good as the “oil based” ones like Pyranha etc.  And for those biting, tiny gnats that live where there’s grass and like to eat inside the ears, it does nothing.

eqyss fly spray review

Instead, I mostly use this spray during grooming time in the cross ties, and before a ride in the covered arena, where flies are always really light.

Great for use on a grey horse – no ugly sticky buildup at all!  If you have to go all natural, this is a good choice.  Just be ready to reapply often.

eqyss natural fly spray


Getting better all the time…

To all you “Before & After” lovers out there I give you this awesome 5 Month update from Horse Sage – https://horsesage.com/

Check out Starlight in the post “Getting Better All The Time” – tell me it doesn’t make you smile!

horse sage

Starlight is at a stage where progress happens fast. I know  plateaus will come soon enough, but I’m enjoying her willing attitude and aptitude for dressage.

What a dance partner she is!

A fellow blogging friend challenged us to a “before and after” post about our horse, so here we go: the first five months with Starlight

Starlight in March 2016 when I bought her:

DSC02900 Talking to Starlight before the vet check. You’re going to be my girl now (assuming you pass the vet check)!

A few weeks later, under saddle as we got to know each other. Looks at those happy smiles.DSC02965

In April, at the Woodside HorsePark on a cold windy day, having a clinic with Miguel Tavora, Starlight gets a little TOO enthusiastic about the canter depart!

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 7.51.36 PM Whoa there, girl! I don’t want to play Calamity Jane in this partnership!

Our first show, Training Level, six…

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Show Me Your Before & Afters!

This is your chance to post on A Horse For Elinor!

Time to give back to readers through sharing posts from you on this site.  Read on!

Told you before – I’m a sucker for makeovers.

It’s just plain wonderful to see some improvement, of any kind, in the horses we work with, isn’t it?!

This blog started with La Prima, in need of a serious makeover.  Didn’t take very long and she bloomed…

La Prima, Castle Rock Farm

Check out this short list of links to quick makeovers on this blog:

I have another fun one for Valiosa this fall.  A great one – and shorter, I PROMISE!  Won’t be until the end of November.  I’ll have to bribe my little photographer to come out…

But now it’s your turn – I want to see!

If you’ve posted a Horse Makeover, a Before & After, or just any horse update with improvements worth celebratingcomment in the comment field with a link to your post and I will put it up here on www.aHorseForElinor.com.

I know I’m not the only one who’d LOVE to see it!

Anything in the “before and after” department goes!  Posts featured here will go up on both A Horse For Elinor and on Facebook – A Horse For Elinor.  Join in the fun!

Thank you!


Wow, The Olympics…

Exhausting having to explain our elusive sport of chewing-gum-passage, sticky-asphalt-on-hot-summer-day-piaffe, and-half dead-retriever-dog-with-ball-free walk.

No one understands dressaaghe.  At least not many of my acquaintances.

Now that it’s over, and we’re past the shock of it all, can we at least agree on one thing?

We have a repeat, major badass, lovely Olympic winner and holder of multiple world records!

modern dressage at its best

She has horses with extremely little tension.  I don’t see that exaggerated front leg snappiness that comes from non-stop rollkur for 25 minutes.  Her hands are only forward thinking, and she seems very genuine.

Can we stop wasting time with attention on all the bad sides of Modern Dressage, and just celebrate?!

Forget the never-ending debate on the tight nosebands, blue tongue incidents, horrific news on the direction dressage is taking in Europe.  We have a rider who (at least apparently) is working with a system that actually works correctly.

Focus on the positive!  This is a time to celebrate.  The winner is incomparable to the direction of some other high level riders.  Let’s agree on that!


The minute I saw them, I knew they were both dying

You could tell from the way they were laying there.

Both lifeless looking and, yes, pale.  Could they lose their color overnight like that or had this gone on for months?  How could I miss this?  The signs so obvious – they looked neglected.  Abused.

One had a gash torn up on its left side.  The other was so tired it couldn’t stand up anymore, even with help.

Overworked, an understatement.

riding a horse in a mist of dust

They don’t even fit me right.  Too wide.  Still, they’ve held up for years of riding.  Awesome boots and they’ll last for many more schooling rides.  Gashes and all.

Forgot some, sure, but just these boots alone have been on top of:

  • Fosco
  • Bella
  • William
  • Wynona
  • Whitney
  • Wocelli – sure, it counts even if just hacking out
  • Carbo
  • Jordan
  • Harlow
  • Hugh
  • Skye
  • Storm
  • Silvius
  • Scooter
  • Hadrian
  • Hadrian FLF
  • Brady
  • Beringer
  • Allonsy
  • Dakota
  • Wakanova
  • Zorro
  • Oz
  • Amigo
  • Fleur
  • Rayna
  • Veri
  • Isis
  • Tully
  • Miley
  • Botijo
  • Zingara
  • Lancia
  • Cariñosa
  • Castiza
  • Gaucha
  • Cooper
  • Harely
  • Beringer, yes even him
  • La Prima
  • Jaworzno
  • Paris
  • Valiosa
  • Maxwell
  • Antonio
  • Gandolf
  • James Dean

And others, too short rides to remember their name.  Thank you, Ariat!


A Better Reaction To The Leg Aids

Happy Sunday – a lesson with Valiosa to resensitize her to the leg.

A true leg aid, with the calf in its proper place, not reaching back and nudging with the heel somewhere almost behind the saddle.

In the end, I know this will help get the seatbones firmer in to the saddle too, when the leg isn’t driving forward and squeezing the seat up and out.  You’ve seen plenty of that!

cantering with seatbones out of the saddle

I had spiraled into the habit of working way too hard for a reaction from Valiosa.  Easy to do, easy to recognize, yes, but I didn’t have the tools to get out of it.

I’ll be working on this, probably only on this, forget bending and lateral aids this week until confirmed.

So during today’s ride on our own, the leg aid has to be really specific, and short.  Just a clear, concise, and very timely light nudge with inside of calf.  On, and then OFF.  I can’t take it off quick enough.

And never, ever, asking repeatedly.  Are you sure you’re not nagging?  Ever?  Harder than we think, isn’t it?

New mantra for riding her  – “Legs are off, legs are off, legs are off.”

She has to keep up the gait, walk, trot, canter, on her own, and learn to balance in transitions on her own – if I’m there to rescue or help her all the time we will never get anywhere.  That’s another pretty big challenge.

With some new tools, sometimes it doesn’t take many rides until it becomes all sort of muddled again.  This has to stick!  I won’t find out if it truly has until more than 2 months.  Fingers crossed!

Cantering a young horse

Go Grey Mare!


Because Some Days You Just Have To Ride The Big Girl

With Video!

Olympic Dressage ramping up for the Freestyle on Monday in Rio.  There’s nothing here to be even half as interesting.  Still – #twohearts🙂

OK just don’t get too excited about the video. It was a test. Didn’t work out well.  This is not going to be a Video Site…  Find it at the end of the post

A Bareback On Misty sort of day.

riding bareback

cantering bareback

Great for those days you want to get really sore and stretched out🙂

riding draft horses

trotting bareback

And now, the reason you won’t see much video from me.  This is all – 20 seconds of nothing much.  Oh, but mounting.  Only possible with a tall mounting block🙂