Wrapping Up The Year Of 2017

What a great year!

With hundreds of pictures (Possibly overkill…  But who am I to say.  They just keep coming!) of this horse, we’ve got to have a little Looking-Back-At-The-Year post.

Today, a look at some favorites from each month!


Here’s from where we started in January – a clean slate, no clue what was ahead.

Elinor Yee dressage blog

Only made it two weeks into the new year, Friday the 13th, with a hand injury and some serious surgery.

Which luckily planted us at my trainers’s wonderful facility.

horse seeing it self in mirror
Valiosa got to meet her first pony, and moved into a massive paradise with rolling hills, grass, and oak trees.

safely introducing horse to herd



The entire winter continued as a long, never-ending, rainfall, after years of drought.  California turned in to a giant green Irish swamp, complete with people evacuating due to breaking dams.

rainy green pasture
I secretly loved all the rain…
walking horses out of gates

Lots of ground work, as I couldn’t ride, or get dressed in anything but snail pace.  Physical Therapy fixed things back up though.

keeping dressage fun for the horse

Valiosa had her own therapy -Pig Therapy.  She barely graduated from my class.

beautiful barns



New  big pasture.  New friends.  New haircut.

horse watching over sleeping horse

New ground exercises.

horse jumping over tunnel obstacle



Riding again!

strengthening bare hooves


Gray Azteca Mare Dressage



More varied work.

trotting over cavaletti

And those two longer trips down to the specialist clinic for hock treatments.  Valiosa though it was boooring…

bored horse

Finally got out to a show again.  Her 2nd time out at First Level, a schooling show, with a 63.1%

warming up for first level dressage

trot lengthening on the diagonal



Moving in to a different pasture again, even bigger.  Valiosa ate all. summer. long.

horse peeking out from behind tree


Many easier days with long-lining on the property paths.

long lining horse outdoors

Some better riding here and there.

azteca mare

Sucking at the leg yield.

too much angle in the leg yield

Worrying that she’d never settle down and become a real horse, working well and concentrated.

horse spooking on dog

riding in hot weather




Trying to survive the summer heat.

boy with horse and cookie


engaging the inside hind on trot circle

Rated show.  This time with interpretative snake moves…

bucking at shows

Still enough good moments for First Place in both classes!  First Level Test 2 64.7%, First Level Test 3 60.1%.

dressage blogs

We continued to practice at home.

goode rider iconic fit breeches

Wondering if she was forever doomed to ride twisty and difficult.

horse unsteady in contact

Knowing that she isn’t, as long as I am not twisty and difficult…

staying balanced in canter on diagonal



Playing and checking out the new power in the hind end.  Yes, it was there.

free jumping horse on lunge line

Heading out to a schooling show at First Level at a new venue, she rode the tightest in any test ever.  While still placing 2nd and 3rd, the scores dropped some to  63.9% and 58.5%…



Only to surprise with a few absolutely lovely minutes here and there when schooling at home the week after…

horse blogs



End-of-summer-almost-white coat.

horse by green pond

Just like every year, September was a month of never ending heat, with everything burnt out.  Setting up for the worst fires in history in fall and winter, both in North and South California this time.

Thousands of people evacuated, not from flooding danger, but from fire danger this time.

leading horse to barn

Continuing to suck at the leg yield.

crossing over with the hind leg in leg yield

While surprising with the canter turning out to be her best gait.

collecting the canter with young horse

Meeting new friends again, in new pasture.

horses meeting for the first time

Riding through fire-smoky days.

a better trot on an average horse

climbing for hind end strength



Reluctantly leaving the wonderful breeding barn to be able to stop the long barn commute.

trail riding with dogs


Hanging out for a month with my wonderful friend again, just to make sure to have some time together.

fall decorations at barn


Little Ellie’s cookies happened.  Promise, in my next life I’ll have time to bake, market, and sell these.

how to make your horse eat anything

Valiosa went to her first 2-Day show!

She took first place in First Level Test 2 with 65.3%.  3rd in First Level Test 3 with  62.5%

Elinor Yee

The 2nd day, which was rated, she seemed tired from the overnight.  63.1% at First Level Test 2 and 62.3% at First, Test 3.  Still a solid performance on her part!

Elinor Yee dressage



This month saw a move to a fantastic barn, with a shorter commute, and the biggest change ever – to being “just a boarder”.  No additional horse related backgroud work…  I still haven’t gotten used to it 🙂


barn with thanksgiving decorations


Valiosa somehow worked her way to a live-in boyfriend arrangement.  Yes, she enjoys it.

free trot with no rider and ideal neck



Beautiful winter days.

horse drying at washrack with fal trees

With hopes for So much more fun in 2018!

riding in sun light

16 thoughts on “Wrapping Up The Year Of 2017

  1. Black boots or brown boots, which do you prefer in terms of color and comfort? With brown, you almost look like a hunter/jumper. Black, definitely dressage but goes well with any pair of breeches and at the show. My girls like black dressage boots, preferably no zipper, with its dressier appearance. 🙂

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    1. While the color won’t change the comfort of the boots 😉 I DO prefer schooling in brown. It’s a European thing, check it out.
      I’ve managed to kill off 3 pairs of black ones, currently school in brown, have a black schooling pair waiting on the sidelines, and an additional black pair that I show in. (Although they’re not my dream pair, so someone could convince me to trade up!)
      Truly, I go only for comfort, and would even school in Field Boots (which are not much used in the US in dressage) if they had the right footbed. My feet are my tools, and with decades of long distance running, I try to salvage as much as possible of them so that we can continue to play 🙂
      All boot lasts I own have the thicker, less sophisticated sole, meant for walking without hobbling on sharp gravel etc. I simply refuse to abuse my feet with “pretty” boots – they take a hammering with my weekly mileage both distance running and at work.
      No-Zipper boots: ain’t coming near my legs – who wants to wrestle with that at the end of a sweaty ride?
      For shows, I think the best look is a shiny, zippered, well tailored boot, with some bling – but overall quiet-looking, where the eye goes just to the horse.
      Hmmm, makes me wish for new boots, all this!


      1. Looks like someone needs to go shopping for new boots. 🙂

        We found a small shoe store, and the owner was nice to special order the boots for my daughters. He said make the initial buy a good investment then have a cobbler resole and re-heel the boot as needed. To our good fortune, he has a full-time cobbler (hard to find profession these days) to do repair work. Footbed and arch support, always important like you said.

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        1. Cobblers are getting so rare, it’s true!! It’s amazing how even a large city over here will have maybe ONE cobbler, and it seems only half busy. I hope we get to keep the craft around – they can do wonders with a boot, or a bridle that just needs a small amount of fixing to be good as new.


  2. I loved each and every one of these photos! I have loved following along with your and Valiosa’s journey over this past year, and I know that 2018 will hold great things for you and Valiosa!!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes. This year my goal is to STAY where we are, no moving around. And stay injury free. Well, in the fall of 2016 I had a concussion, but I still think 2017 was a bit more challenging.
      Here’s to a wonderful 2918 for both you and I! You did so good with her this year, heading out to clinics and shows. This year, I’d really love to do a clinic too!!


    1. Glad to hear Michele! This was sort of a loooong post 😉 I usually try to keep it on the shorter side. But hey, it was an interesting year, just had to share all the favorite pictures again. So glad you enjoyed it, thank you!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kim, thank you!! Thrilled that you like the posts and the pictures. It’s weird, but without some new pics, I can sometimes “talk my way out of” even posting. Without them, there’d be much less activity here 🙂

      So here goes – I have my two sons coming out to the barn with me a few times per year, and they take pictures for me. A lot of those shots, I can use in some other posts later on, depending on the subject. Other posts, such as reviews etc, I just shoot my self with the mobile camera and do a little editing. At shows, I often, but not always, have my husband show up for half an hour or so and take some pictures. If he’s not there, I usually go home with barely a pic, because I get so busy at the show I don’t take the time to take the phone out. So, I know how you feel! If it wasn’t for my boys, I wouldn’t have much ridden material at all.

      They’re growing up and I have to bribe them more and more, for less and shorter visits… Full disclosure: I bribe them with some good food they like afterwards, usually Mexican. And lately I’ve been paying them each $5 to come out and spend this time with me. Small price to pay to sort of keep them “involved” with the horse thing, even if it’s only a few times during winter and summer break etc.
      Other than that, most pictures where I’m not in the saddle, I’ve taken them myself 🙂


    1. I’m so lucky to be there. Usually, winters up here are great, and as long as the property is managed really well, there isn’t too much mud… Well, depending 🙂
      Last year with the extreme flooding, many places got really sloppy and deep… This year, it’s a lot better.
      Love N. Cal!! 🙂

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