Grateful To Celebrate 3 Years With The Gray Friend

becoming a better rider

3 years with this ever trusting sweet mare.


She’s become a great friend and an absolute ease to handle.  So cool to see her grow stronger and more filled out over the years!  Here’s the annual Before & After Post!

If you’ve followed along for some time, you’ve seen the yearly update at Thanksgiving, a long slew of pictures each time.  Today, keeping it short and sweet.

Want to see some of the fun stuff we’ve done along the way?  Transforming from dark-silvery, gangly half-ugly-young horse, to “half way there” mature mare – here’s the link to the other two anniversary posts:


Starting out, possibly the most unflattering picture ever.  Brought in from her pasture herd, in a temporary stall at her breeders.

slim young horse before training
Soaked, scared, and she clearly thought the room needed an upgrade. No ocean view?! The brochure had been so nice…

She was a few scant months above three.  Not halter broke…  A drenched rat with the spine tenting.  Sloping hind.  Cartoon hocks.  Impossible shoulder and neck.

Logic should have kicked in, to walk away.  Deciding to have an adventure instead, I took her home.  (Smacks hand on forehead…)


A little more than a year later –

With Intro Level schooling shows under her belt.  Here 4 1/2 years old, stepping up to Training Level.

Elinor Yee


At 5, first time out at First Level, in the warmup 2016.

Elinor Yee


This year, Late summer, 2017.  Go Gray Mare!

becoming a better rider

Is it recommended to do this on your own?  Absolutely not.  Doesn’t mean you can’t!

Physically, she’s done a 180, looking strong and capable.  For everything we’ve done wrong, today is a little pat on the back for everything that’s gone right!

Having fun with her along the way?  Yes!

Hazy, Smokey Days At The Pond

white horse standing with dog

We’ve had some really good rides.

If she can go like that at a show, she’ll do really well.  You know how that goes, schooling at home vs showing…

As promised, some outdoor pictures, just hanging out.

Really doesn’t matter what season it is – there’s always somewhere, or something that looks nice and alive, right?


taking pictures of horses in nature

Planning on hanging on to this great feeling she’ll offer at the end of each ride, and see where it takes us.  Some nice walk-canter transitions would be really cool, but that’s far off.  For now, just hanging out, and enjoying it.

With our little hind end stalker.

white horse standing with dog

September Schooling. Better?

elinor yee

Yes!  Better!

After treading water for some time, things feel looser, easier, less grindy.  Sure, that’s not even a word.  But it is now.

I think she’s getting to where she really likes the work sometimes, feeling happy and content there.  A little less “falling apart” as soon as she gets the chance.

So fun!

Here’s the photobomb for this time.

dressage in smoky air

collecting the trot

Where some horses want to come too low and you have to train hard on short moments of more elevation – Valiosa has the opposite difficulty.  She wants to go short and up in the neck.  All the time.

gray horse dressage

lengthen trot on long side

It will always be the “trick” to training well with her – getting a lower, more relaxed neck, and coming over the back.  We didn’t quite get there in these pictures (surprise), but the connection is so much better.  See?

amateur dressage

taking better pictures of dressage canter

As long as I get a few moments like these out of each ride, I’m thrilled.  Gray Mare is growing up and she can be SO much fun!

Elinor Yee

10 M Volte without hissy fits or a clamping inside calf.  It’s happening!

10 meter trot circle

Short Read, Day 8 – Ride Your Possum

walking on a long rein


Gray Mare, finally thought she’d caught on…


– “Yes, I get it! Oh, finally!”

– “You want me to waver like a lit possum through the corners!

– Gaping on the bit like I ran out of toothpaste this morning and just rubbed my gums with a little rat poison instead?!

– Alrighty Mam, you’ve got it!”

lengthening the canter

Actually, she turned out pretty good in this ride.  Once we’d both landed on the same planet.

walking on a long rein

The leg yield.  Yes, still needs some.  Work.

crossing over with the hind leg in leg yield