jumping horse on lunge line
Ground work

Something different today.

This is not going to be super exciting.

90% of average readers just clicked away.  Good.  You are not average.

Everyday barn pictures.  Just because I never really take time to take any.  Or post them.  So come along for a few!

Dark rainy day in the barn.

barn with high ceiling

Valiosa, disdaining the short cross ties.

sky lights in barn ceiling


hanging wet horse blankets to dry

Barn laundry.  If you were to confess, how many of you have ruined your laundry machine at home with horse blankets?  I may have.  Not admitting it.  Just, maybe it happened.

tumble drying horse blankets

Youngest new stallion in the barn, Jaleo DA with Alexis.

horse explosive on lunge line

young stallion saddle breaking

I built a quick jump for Valiosa.  It’s been a long time.  Just to see if she still thought it was fun…

building jumps in arena

She did!

jumping horse on lunge line

free jumping with young horse

dressage horse jumping small bounce

keeping dressage fun for the horse

The giant bounce jump:

variety in dressage work

It’s the weekend!  Go out and enjoy!

insecure horse
Horses, Every Day

Do You Have A Manure Grill?

Valiosa has settled in at the new farm really well.

With less pain in the hand and my horse more confident in her surroundings, I’ve been able to work her on the lunge just fine a few times now.  Yay!

Impossible to do it just right, (Try lunging with the whip in your armpit…) but great for maintaining fitness and some muscle conditioning.

She adores her pasture mates.  Maybe too much…  She’s had some riding from Alexis, but during the last ride she was absolutely impossible.  Screaming for them the entire time, inattentive and impossibly naughty.

Between ugly mule and tense giraffe, this is all we got.

fressage horse

insecure horse
It was rainy, her friends were eating, she wanted her amateur rider back and walk on a long rein.  And be angry.

horse reluctant in walk
My steed, as the most unpleasurable ride of the day.
horse screaming in arena

So, no, things are not super easy and friction free.  Are they ever? 🙂

Then, this here mysterious washrack lurker kept asking about the Manure Grill.

wash rack lurker

How does the manure grill work?  How do you turn it on?  How often do they really use it?

The manure grill?

We walked out in the rain to see it.

stallion breeding mount

leading horse in rain
Horses, Every Day

California, The New Ireland

We’ve had more rain than ever.

Farms in the flatter areas are almost floating away.  Here in the foothills we’re doing OK,  it’s like a mini Ireland, complete with rugged blankets, green marshland and soaked feet.

rainy green pasture

Bringing in Galana DA from pasture.

walking horses out of gates

Newly installed personal whirlpool at the gate.

walking horse in rain

Blog wise, it’s been an interesting week.  I’ve ruined links on the Facebook feed.  Mistakenly erased comments.  Marked someone by mistake as spam on the mobile.  Unknowingly approved spam comments.  Erased a really cool draft (Maybe it wasn’t all that great.).

Sudden support for this page after being published on “Discover” on World Press was overwhelming.  A wonderful surprise – of course I’d love to have it happen again!  But with all the follows that came out of it, things have been busy here.  Yes, I DO visit each new page follower’s website, reading the posts and getting an understanding of what their page is all about.

This is sort of key.  🙂  Taking time to check out what new followers do is almost half the fun of writing!

leading horse in rain

Galana, Ronin, my boy and I, the plastic bag wrapped hand, and a pasture treasure:  Cariñosas shoe.

how to find shoes lost in pasture

Ready to sit back and start posting pictures of Miss gray mare again soon.

How about tomorrow?

azteca mare
Horses, Every Day

Monday Poll Feedback

The results are in!

Thank you to every one who voted and commented on this!  Sunday, votes were still coming in, but they weren’t changing the percentages.

azteca mare

Here’s your wrap-up:

 Most of you drive much more than expected.  Top group at 30-40 minutes, followed by the 15-25 minute drivers.
Official Results – without all the extra alternatives added in.

How Long Is Your Barn Drive?

Answer Percent
30-40 Minutes, body a bit creaky getting out of car but limbers up. 24%
15-25 Minutes, it’s really just a quick drive. 23%
No time, I keep my horses at home or at my neighbors. 16%
45-55 Minutes, butt sticks to the leather seats in summer. 13%
1 Hr +, I’m a fool. 13%
5-10 Minutes, I could bike but, neh. 8%
Other: 3%

There were other answers too, in comments, messages, and IM’s on Facebook, where there’s a mix of work/home commuting on different days etc.  Most of those were not added to the results.  Such as:

Other Answer
45 minutes from work (3 days/wk), 22 minutes from home
I trailer to ride in arenas, about a 30 minute commute each way

This is one devoted group of horse enthusiasts!  Only 8% are at the magic formula: – “super quick drive and no horses at home to fix fences for all the time.”

riding with arthritis

My current commute?  Pretty much topping the chart for insanity.  School morning drop off/or pickup days it’s 1 hr and 25 minutes. (Well, so pretty much every day then.)  Straight drive; less than 1 hour is not going to happen.

Yes, it’s worth it.

hand walking horses on trail
Horses, Every Day

Ugliest Horse Pest Ever – Oak Mites

Virtually invisible, but leaving the nastiest evidence behind on the horse.

These mites like to bite/eat like crazy on the face of the horse.  The bites itch and irritate immensely, leaving bumps and welts behind along with raw, scarred crusted patches of skin.   The horse’s own serum react with the bites, creating yellow oozing and coat loss.

Enough of bites are very painful for the horse – Valiosa’s entire body is reacting to them, with swollen glands between her cheeks, lower jaw, and at the throat latch.

That pristine mare right here?

grey horse with french braid

No more.  Now she looks more like a bottom-budget scabies-ridden call girl – one look at her, you regret you ever.  Called…

Extremely visible on a gray horse.  Let’s just say no one is going to steal her any time soon.

Google “Oak Mites on horses” and there’s very skimpy results.  Feather mites etc, sure, but the Oak Mites are very different, and most of the search results are for human exposure.  (Where sometimes steroid injections are needed due to  major secondary bacterial infections.)


Oak leaf gall mites are parasites that live inside galls on the leaves of oak trees. Pesticides sprayed on infected trees are not an effective control measure since the mites live inside the galls, which act as a protective coating.

Usually, the horse will have a larger reaction during first exposure.  Which makes sense, Valiosa is the only horse on the farm looking like she’s got scurvy.

It’s getting a bit better, but, well, she’s not exactly photo material… 😉  Soon enough though.  Of course all ears open for any Oak Mite Expert advice!

Other than this, we’re both doing fantasmic!!

Here, latest trail adventure on the farm.  (It’s not a trail ride unless the horse is actually carrying your butt around.)

hand walking horses on trail

Many gates like this, connecting all sorts of acreage.  This time we headed out by ourselves for close to an hour.  No one died. 

oak mites


Oak mites on horses

Swear this setting right here was so beautiful with shade, filtered light, moss, and a creek.  Looks like any old grass picture on the mobile, I know…

walking on trail with horse in handSnow capped Sierras in the background, but those pics were trashed since someone’s got unsightly wounds and completely ruined the view.


Appreciate all the feedback in the ongoing Barn Drive Poll!!!  Over 70 votes on the poll alone as I write this, not counting individual comments and FB messages!

This means we’re way past statistically significant.  Whoever decides what that number is.

If you haven’t voted already, get in on it here!:  Barn Drive Time Poll

It’s open for several more days.

Results this Monday!

Dressage On A Dime A Horse For Elinor
Horses, Every Day

Your Barn Commute – How Long Is TOO Long?

How much wheel time do you have to put in to keep up your horse habit?

And how long is just too long for you to drive?  I’d love to hear what others think is acceptable 🙂 –  I’m sure others would too!

To make this a fair comparison, pick your average drive time, not miles.  25 Miles in rural Kentucky is obviously different from 20 in L.A, and pick the time it takes on most days.  Not the day when you get stuck behind half-legal slow-moving field equipment on single lanes, or 4:30 AM lone-rider speed stints to braid before a show.

Dressage On A Dime A Horse For Elinor

OK let’s hear it!  Cast your vote!

Poll is open until February 24th – I’ll talk about the results on Monday already, and tell you where I’m at on this scientific scale.

very loose rein contact
Every Day Training

How Much Leg Tossing Do You Need?

Dressage with a flat mover – maybe not all that exciting.

But how much leg flinging do we need until it’s enough?

I’ve had to settle for a little, eh, less.  So far so good.

If I can eventually create something lively from my cross mare, it will make riding everything else later so much easier.  Her trot is still not all that elastic.  Through her work it has become much more springy (still an overstatement) but it’s smooth to sit and it DOES have life in it.  Once the ugly, reluctant, warmup is over, the hind leg is coming through nice.

very loose rein contact

This was back last fall and she’s gotten better.  Actually riding posting trot on contact is usually a good choice. 🙂

Mostly, I think it’ll be great if we can just get to where she looks smooth and harmonious.  If we don’t get spastic leg hurling with it, fine.


Canter is really coming along.  (Or was, since I’m not riding now.)  I swear she had a two or five beat canter to start.  Impossible?  Not really, it was awkward, or racing.  Now, after fumbling to find the right concoction of extracurricular (extraterrestrial?) training, it’s really developing.

I watched Alexis ride her (Sheesh, such a difficult mare!) and she looked good at the end!  Happy times!

Setting a new record in blurry pictures with another mare, Galana DA, and Alexis schooling.

grey andalusian

Now, this mare can move! 🙂

dressage horse cantering

I know these are terribly grainy images.  Just wanted to show you something from the Somerset arena.  Stay inspired with your regular-moving horses, spring is around the corner!

dressage trot

dressage canter

expressive trot

family at restaurant
Horses, Every Day

“Tiny” Injury – Long Recovery Time

It’s been 4 weeks since the ring finger caught on the lunge line.

That’s a full month…  Yes, I’m counting.  The bone suffered not just a fracture,  but twisted and broke through.  These pins will stay in until March.

x ray with pins in finger bone

Thank you so much for all messages!  I’ve fallen behind on answering friends on what’s up, so thought it was time for an update here 🙂

Here’s the current, 6th, outfit on the hand.  Heading in for an upgrade today.

ring finger fracture

Not really sure how much damage to the tendons – I’ll find out in mid March once physical therapy starts.  My group of men are dearer to me than ever.

family at restaurant

Valiosa is settling in at the new farm. Of course it’s completely normal to drive out there, just to put your horse in a stall and watch it eat.

pulling front shoes off

Another surprising benefit of this injury: Barefoot on all 4!

Today we walked out to meet the Murray Grey’s a little closer.

horse meeting cattle

It’s an enormous property, with trail riding capabilities (For when you’re not broken and able to control your beast), but it involves riding in and out of gates to the cows.  Without having a cow.

Stuck to the safe pond this time.  As you can see she was thrilled!sour looking horse

Regular mare look. It’s how she rolls.

It’s a little quiet right now.  That can actually be really motivating in itself.  If you let it.