Arena Back Drops

cantering with seatbones out of the saddle

Staying at the “new” farm means not being able to see good friends at the “old.”

So many good days together out there, and I’ll miss Nancy, my friend and partner in crime, a lot.  Have a feeling we still have some adventures together, just need to come up with a plan 🙂

Today, honoring the wonderful, enigmatic backdrop of the covered arena at Twisted Oak.  It is absolutely magical – the colors and vegetation forever changing with the seasons.  A treat and an honor to ride there.

I know the beauty can’t come through in the pictures enough (it wasn’t the focus at all when they were taken.) but it can look like a piece of art sometimes when you’re there.  The twisty trees, the droopy tiny branches, the shadows, the moss, and the different leaves throughout the year…

So here goes, pictures from several different months!  Ignore the riding, just look at how the colors change throughout the year!

September heat.

"Elinor Yee"

 

Late fall.

"Dressage On A Dime"

 

December.

young horse trot

loose rein walk

 

January.

Andalusian cross mare

 

Late winter.

starting to leg yield at quarter line

 

Cantering on loose rein

 

Spring time March.

posting trot

easter egg color breeches

"Elinor Yee"

"Elinor Yee"

 

June.

warm up canter before jumping

horse cantering with high neck

 

July.

canter with grey mare

 

The never-ending summer.   August.  So hot you can taste it.

riding a horse in a mist of dust

cantering with seatbones out of the saddle

 

Early fall in September.

inspiration for riding dressage when things are not going well

 

December again.

leg yield from centerline

creating a longer neck

When To Quit

horse standing guard while another one is sleeping

The minute you consider yourself not good enough, too old, or without enough talent.

There’s no shame in that. Everything has to come to an end at one point.  And that’s alright.  Accept, and move on.

Maybe it’s the “move on” part people get stuck on? Ranting about it.  Endlessly telling anyone who cares, or sadly just ended up within earshot, how they would be doing it if it wasn’t for A, B, or C.

Isn’t it exhausting to listen to?

Of all role models, I mostly admire the ones who’ve been able to stick to their passion for years and years.  The ones who stuck it out, decided over and over that, nope, it’s not time to quit just yet.

It’s beautiful.  To be able to continue on – that’s not for everyone.  And a gift.

Who hasn’t had to end many things throughout the years?  Often not by choice.  And often because the body decided it was time.

Allow it to slip like a piece of cool silk, easy, without trying to grab on.  A happier ending, especially for others around.  While opening up so many other possibilities.


That was a lot of rambling. Not really the style of this site.  Nothing to tie up the end of the post with either.  Back to horses.

Late morning pictures.

horses in pasture under oak tree
Late, but too early to get up.  No one came to say Hello.  Is it still called Catching In Pasture, if you have to go all the way down there, making that “possible-cookie-crinkle” in the pocket just to get them to stand?

horse standing guard while another one is sleeping
– No thanks, still sleeping.
horse watching over sleeping horse

Namaste.horse stretching

Pictures As Promised

cross bred andalusian mare

Here’s where she is in the training.

Or, full disclosure, here’s where she is for 3 seconds in the training!
horse trotting through corner

The canter is really coming along, which is so encouraging!  Right now our problem is to stay within the set tempo.

Earlier, she’d rather not bother to canter much at all.  Now, she’s gotten stronger and rounder over her back, and has decided it should be done with gusto, faster and faster.  Or yeah, not-at-all-thank-you-very-much-I’m-stopping-alltogether-now.

gray dressage horse cantering

Have to regulate it just right.  Last week, that seemed like it would take forever.  She hated it.  Then Friday I tried some (almost) serpentine work just for kicks and she stayed so soft and controlled through the turn on both leads.

Thrilled with her!  Paying NO attention to transitions that time.  Would have been too much…

trotting with young horse

improving trot on diagonal

Trying to leg yield both to, and away from, the rail.  Sometimes it works.

starting leg yield with young horse

Another great thing (but at the same time challenging for now.) is a huge amount of blow/snorting during the canter.  She used to be quiet, never breathing all the way through, not truly releasing and giving the feeling she was working in it.

Several rides she’s done so much relaxing and blowing that we completely fall apart and have to start over.  Very good problem to have!  Just need to figure out how to allow it to happen and carry on, earlier.

Fun times!

cross bred andalusian mare

In The Forest

trail riding with young horse

Last week we got lost.

I didn’t mind.  Usually you can just find the way, and if not, just turn around and search for the same trail, right?

She did mind.  Miss gray mare, walking fast and hard up the hills.  They were steep, very boggy in places.  Had to work it to keep up with her.

horse in pasture under tree

Pasture Pics – the only ones today.

Going downhill she’d chew the bit and froth, grunting the “bolt-coming-up-soon-because-I-hate-bending-and-sitting-and-walking-down-and-besides-I’m-all-alone-out-here” grunt.

Took a while to figure out we were following a deer trail, not the main trail.  Getting the cantle of the saddle scraped up by low branches should have been a hint.

relaxed horse in pasture

Seriously, it was really fun!  And she had a blast.  Didn’t have a death wish enough to stop and take pictures, but she was cute hoofing it over logs and sliding down a mossy hillside.

trail riding

Clearly, you’ve figured out I did a little more walking than riding on that trail outing.

Next time, when it has dried out, we’ll keep it more grown up.  Staying on on the main trail.  Keeping dressage boots mud free and fleece leg boots clean.

trail riding with young horse

Spring Signs

free ranging pigs

Spring is here in California.

Betting it will last about 10 days, then it’s all summer in my book.

It’s a paradise in early March!

Some spring shots from the barn, to set you off for a great weekend:

 

Early morning, before feeding, horses can be found at the very bottom in this pasture.

horse eating branches in pasture
Found this creature eating a branch. Because that makes so much sense with all that grass around.

The super ferociously dangerous horse-eating piglets had some free ranging out of the barn.  They look so cute and pastoral here, but watch out or maybe they’ll try to eat a hoof.  For sure.

piglets in grass

free ranging pigs

No longer scary, the cattle.

murray gray cattle

Another sure spring sign;  shedding.  Groom just one horse and there’s almost enough for making a soft little, I don’t know, hat?

shedding season in the barn

Spring = Sweaty horses again.  This is Calynda, after a shower.  She’s a Friesian-Warmblood Cross, in for the day for training with another mare.

friesian cross mare

Alexis with Castiza.  Probably the last shot of bare tree branches.

oak tree with bare branches and white horse

Another spring sign – riding with one hand in a gardening glove, two fingers in one hole.  Maybe not a spring sign, but definitely a sign things are really crazy painful but fun 🙂

It worked OK, back on tomorrow!