6 Years Old!

6 year old horse

Gray Mare turning 6.

No big party, don’t think she expected one either, but we will have a full week of riding.

horse birthday

Early August she’ll probably have some straight 8-9 days off.  Until then, we’ll continue to work on improving on – well, all the stuff that needs improvement 🙂

She’s grown up to be a much stronger, developed, and “almost mature” young horse.  Well, although at a trail ride last week she flared her little temper;  stomping and pawing impatiently with her front leg when she had to stand again to open a gate.  Not very mature…

Happy Birthday, strong-willed mare friend!

6 year old horse

celebrating birthdays for pets

Showtime On Sunday!

dressage horse on the bit

Gray mare will make it to the showring again this weekend.

Half the accomplishment right?  Just making it there; fit, healthy, ready, paperwork in order, time and money and transportation in place.  Just as happy every time it works out!

horse blogging
My wonderful supportive husband may just show up and take pictures again in one of the tests. Not sure we need any more geeky ones like this 🙂

Same venue, Valiosa has been there many times over and will act like the pro she isn’t.

calm dressage horse at show

If we make it to another show location next time, I’ll have to be ready for a lot more tension.  Hopefully less than in Lodi, where she bolted and we almost left the ring.

Sunday, she’ll go in First Level Test 2 and First Level Test 3.  Bit of a stretch there with Test 3 but some time has to be the first.  Fun times!


Go Gray Mare!

dressage horse on the bit

Breaking In Tall Boots

breaking in new tall boots

Bending and flexing…

In the old boots, the Ariat Volant’s that simply won’t die, (Announced their death last winter but they haven’t decomposed yet.) tacking up is no problem.

bending in tall boots

Somehow stuck with three new, or newish, pairs that need full breaking in.  Riding with the zippers open at the top, heel lifts, and tack sponges folded at the top edge, is more of a survival strategy.  They still hurt and chafe.  Who’s got time for that?!

Absolutely no bending like this in them.

breaking in new tall boots

Current offenders are the Ariat Volant V’s, the Ariat Volant S’s, and the De Niro Ride and Fly’s.  Good times!

Magical Breaking In Tips welcome 🙂

Admitting To Having An Affair


To start, made a promise to keep things in check this time.

Not going overboard, and end up hurt again.  Keep things controlled, no getting emotionally invested in the whole thing.  Just have a little fun.

Go in to it expecting really just entertainment, enjoyment, and sure, exercise – with benefits.  That sums it up about right, but how long would that last?

Couple of weeks?  A month?  Then, increasingly, a stolen hour a few times a week wasn’t enough.

Didn’t take long until pain was unavoidable, and everything was back to the same wicked cycle, off, then on, that started decades ago.

Hang on.  It’s about running.

Long Distance Running – something so painful and joyful at the same time.  A source of simple bliss many relinquish in childhood.

It’s all there, available to anyone willing to pay the price.  Sweat, time, achy bones and joints, and a fear of the small possibility of being unable to stop until the feet have turned in to bloody stumps.  Exaggeration, but still feels like it sometime.

Some tear up to the Budweiser Clydesdale commercials.  I do on the rare occasion I happen to click on a link and there’s a really good kick in the 1500 track or 5K and the soundtrack is just right.

Now you know.


For every runner, there’s 10 people out there waiting to ask Just Why Do You Run?

No precise answer, but here’s a try, then we’ll go back to horse blogging.  Just one time, so you’ll know why I never call, text, or e-mail you back; between these two sports there’s no time.

Besides, someone said to write the post that makes me cringe – and lengthy, TMI personal posts do just that.  So, here ya’ go.

Running for the sheer bliss of moving through the air without walking.  For the slow tightening of that snare around the neck, shoulder to shoulder.  There’s strength and beauty in that, and a privilege just to be able to take part.

I run for the flicker of light through the trees.

Small glimmers.

They bounce and reflect in a way they only do when running.  For a little wave from some dried grass when you go by, considering stopping or turning, but then who’d stop when grass is waving to you?  And then you wonder about that, and if that’s even a good thing to think about – that’s just an ugly weed anyway, but weeds are still green in August here, and suddenly another mile clicks, you’re still going, all is well again.

Running for the bubbly feel of knowing you’ve outsmarted things all over again and got the body to move faster than it thought it could, or should, and now, finally, you can rest.  How can you walk so slow when you run so well?…

Feeling sorry for any one that has to ask.  Since it means you just don’t know – don’t know how wonderful it can be.  I’m so sorry you’re left without.  Remembering to have empathy for that, I allow you to ridicule the Lore Of Running, nodding in agreement – “I know, it’s a silly sport.”

I run because on good days, there’s power enough to tell that brick-orange, cushiony, smirking track that Yes, shhh, you do belong there, it’s OK to drop the pace to sub-5 minute on older bones at least a short while. Dying-whale thighs turned-pistons and somehow you can lift your self up and go.  Punch through the air, ignore the feeling of falling at speed and instead marvel at the feet still going, and going.


Flickering light through leaves.  A fleck of light.  Fickle.  Wondering which would best describe it.  Talking about weird and silly things while running with your friends, and often serious and more difficult things while breathing in, and out, and in again.  Until that weekly Long Run is over and you still don’t know the answer.

Running, because in doing so with someone else you touch a side of their personality they haven’t even defined to themselves, and isn’t that a great and marvelous thing to share?

Running, to visit someone who only comes out at races.  Still not sure just who that is, it’s so dark and you’re straining to stay straight, any additional move is a waste of energy.  You say Hello, glad at least one of you is serious, knowing she’s GOT this.  Can’t put your finger on just why this silly race is important at all, but now it is, as she rants about not dropping the pace.

Running to relax.  To think about silly things like “If an ice-cube falls on the floor, and you rinse it off, is it clean again?  Or does bacteria cling to ice?”  What about soap, does it expire?  And what’s my stride rate if I hit 16 on the right leg for 10 seconds?  Let’s see, multiply that by six and then by two.  The goal is 180, I think that’s over 190!  What?  Impossible to calculate while also running hard.  And, why can’t we do math while running hard?

I run, because those rare rest-run days, where things feel SO easy it almost doesn’t feel like any work at all.

Running because inevitably, the body will need help with just the simplest things, a stair will be a mountain, and when there, I want to rest, knowing I used up every opportunity to enjoy, for as long as it was possible.


Beauty in running.  Young girls in a group, early evening, pony tails out like flags behind them.  A strong back, that just develops, you don’t really see it, but how kind of it to show up, helping keep things upright, through so much pain and for so long.  Hip angles, when they go fast – have you looked at how pretty they are? Mine haven’t given up yet, even though they’re almost ready.

Abused feet, complain and groan but stay wiry and sinewy strong to push thousands of steps, every day.  Every day!  Who does that?!  Good little ugly feet.

End of post.  That was way too long.

Better Fitting Saddle = Everybody Happy

County Perfection saddle

Glad it’s over, actually.

Saddle fitting and testing, time-consuming.  And then you’re always second guessing if you’ve made the right decision.  Right?!

Even if she’s not done going wider yet, at almost six, we’ve still got some space with this tree, so we should be all set.

county perfection with internal rolls


test riding jrd saddle
Testing, and mostly bombing around, in the JRD. With a good hind leg coming through. Thank you Barbara!

That’s the end of Monday’s post – have a great start on your week!

Reads later this week are about to become much more serious…  Well, you’ll see.

Waiting For A…

dressage blog

Magical ride.

It’s been a while.  I’d like to have one.  Please.  It will happen.  Sure of it.  Any day now.  Many of us waiting, right? 🙂

While waiting, sharing some lily pads.  Since this picture was taken, another 4 feet of the small pond has dried out.

This one, is for Alli.

lilly pads in pond

She writes at Alli Farkas Artist Adventures, with lots of much more special lily pads…  Take a peek if you like.

OK, this morning was a pretty steep trail ride, easier tomorrow.  Maybe Friday will be that “special” day, where more things feel like they click…

I’m ready!

starting the sitting trot

dressage blog