2nd Year With Valiosa

Time for the 2nd annual Before & After post.

Press hard with that little scroll finger, another photo bomb πŸ™‚

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.Β  Thankfully, big improvement in rideability, too πŸ™‚

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. β™₯

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

Thank you for tagging along with us!

21 thoughts on “2nd Year With Valiosa

    1. I’m glad you can see it, too!
      You know how that goes, sometimes we’ll just sort of wonder if, ugh, maybe we’re the ONLY ones who can see the improvement. And, ouch, if it’s not enough.
      That’s why I’m enjoying the blog so much – great way to be able to go back and see that things are going the right way πŸ™‚
      Thanks for stopping by!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Teresa! I’d love to read a year end wrap up about Carmen. I haven’t gone back for several months in the posts, and I’m a sucker for “Horse Improvement” – it would be a fun read!


  1. Wow, you guys make such an elegant pair! I love following your progress with her. I visited your “steeds” page and all your other horses are gorgeous too. Do you ride professionally, or just for fun?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a nice thing to say πŸ™‚
      No, I ride just for fun, but I AM really serious about it though. It’s such a time consuming hobby/sport/art, and the most expensive thing anyone could pick – so I can’t justify doing it without really putting a lot of effort into it…
      Hanging out a sign as a trainer is not in my plans – I’d need to ride another 10 years or so first πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, I was just wondering because you always look so well turned out in your pictures :). Ditto on the time and money expense of riding! But it’s all worth it when you really invest yourself in the sport by setting goals and strengthening the bond with your horse.

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        1. πŸ˜‰ Well, I am a closet grooming addict… Seems impossible to get on dirty πŸ™‚
          Thrilled to have readers checking out my little pictures from the barn life, which I love so much.

          Maybe that somehow justifies owning another new saddle pad… Just maybe πŸ™‚


    1. Many thanks!
      Now, fingers crossed we can keep going the right way. There are many hurdles to get over πŸ™‚
      Most current, going straight in a steady connection. Sounds so elementary, but, I think we need another year πŸ˜‰

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      1. You might be surprised, and have a sudden leap up a level. It does happen that way: stuck, stuck, stuck, inching forward, stepping backward, (what happened to the canter, I thought it was improving?), and then…all of a sudden, things that used to feel impossible are happening easily. Voila! Your horse got stronger, more balanced, understands the concept now. With these horses, I’m finding that it’s about strength more than anything else. They are smart enough that training is not the issue, it’s being strong enough to maintain the balance for long (to carry themselves and not fall on the forehand, lean, pop a shoulder out, etc.). So, lots of strength work, trying to do it correctly (Ha, that’s the hard part), and then ask for the more difficult work. That’s why I’m excited about trails and hills: strength work without Star knowing she’s doing strength work πŸ™‚

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        1. Oh, I’d take a leap up right about now πŸ˜‰

          Very timely comment! Rode this morning, and the same happened yesterday too, and in the canter right, we had the biggest problem ever staying the line I wanted while flexing slightly right.
          She’ll get upset with it, and come to a complete stop and in general be very difficult. The second I start half halting a little on the outside rein, we have an argument. I think it’s just like you say, a strength issue and it’s too much work for her to do it while in balance.
          The tricky part for me is adding the strength work correctly – that’s not going to come from our little cavaletti work. I can’t wait to have a lesson again and get some pointers. So I don’t feel like we’re fumbling so much. (Guessing it’s going to be all about transitions. It’s all about them usually anyway…)
          Give me a hill!!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yep, I feel your frustration. Sometimes it just feels impossible. But this, too, shall pass…and suddenly you will find that now the right lead is just fine (but she can’t bend left to save her life, ha ha). Horses make me crazy, but they are a continual challenge and that’s a good thing, most of the time. Deep breath and hold goals very loosely. The journey and the time with your horse is what is important: it really is. The horse has no goal except to be a horse and to enjoy being with you. This message it to me, too: keep it fun for you both. I think you do that better than I do. I get very goal oriented and have to stop and remember: this is supposed to be FUN! So go have some fun!

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          2. Not sure I’ve ever told my little blogger friends how much I love you πŸ™‚
            It’s comments like this that keeps me afloat!
            We carry on!
            Yesterday, I worked Valiosa from the ground entirely. I’m not an expert with it, but it incorporates some fun and “difference” to her training, so I do it once per week. For the very first time, she could yield her shoulders with ease a few steps, relaxed, walking with me. And she managed to at least try canter poles on the lunge – WITHOUT breaking to trot over them or trying to jump. Not sure who’s having the most fun – her, me, or any poor person happening to watch me squealing around in there.

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          3. Laughing at the thought of happy squeals. And the wonderful work you are doing with Ms. Valiosa. That is one lucky horse! I am so excited to get to Star’s new barn (pictures next week when we move) and be able to start doing trot poles, trails, etc. Star and I feel so sick of dressage right now…

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          4. Ms. Star just got body clipped and looks COMPLETELY different. So much…smaller (thinner)…and of course a different color (that weird grey that black horses are when they are naked). She felt nervous yesterday in her first day with no hair. I will be taking pictures at the new place with the no hair look and the new digs. New look up on HorseSage by the end of the week πŸ™‚

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          5. Well Hey, always good – justifies tossing extra hay πŸ˜‰ I always get excited when they look thinner. – Yey, you can have MORE food!
            I planned on clipping a light new trace today, but waited instead for farrier from 9:30 to after 1pm. No show. I should have just clipped!!

            Glad you’re taking time for picture of new horsey home! I know how time consuming it is to squeeze in pics and blogging – love to see other’s places!

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  2. Valiosa is BEAUTIFUL! πŸ˜€ What a lovely girl…
    It is always kinda mind-blowing to see horses come so far… I’ve only had my 1 yr old Native American mare, Taloowa, since March… But she has grown so much and is learning always! πŸ˜€
    YHVH bless!

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