Cavesson v.s Drop, Or Remont, Noseband

drop noseband

Earlier in 2017, I switched over to a drop noseband.

Before the switch, I kept my young mare in some different cavessons, with or without flash, and with or without crank.  She seemed happier in the drop, so we’ve stuck with that almost the whole year.  Wasn’t really all that interested in switching back.

drop noseband
Miss Tiddlywinks in her comfy drop

Still, it’s important to experiment.  (Right!? I’m always open for change!)  So, recently, I did a test-ride in the regular cavesson with flash combo.

Not really a believer in it, since it touches more of the sides of the cheeks and the drop seems simpler and less intrusive.

Surprise – she was better in it!  Steadier.  The holy grail, since this mare has a specialty of being “squirmy” in all parts of her body.

Less fiddling and tiddlywinkling in the bridle is fantastic news!  Foamy flash with cookie stains is just fine…

Here’s To A Great Start On The Week!

cantering in dressage arena with corner mirror

Awesome Monday.

Except I work, so there’s no riding today.  Also, both calves, and Achilles, and a hammie, are completely wrung out, making it hard to walk, forget running.


It’s an awesome, beautiful, December week!

too dark in indoor arena

The indoor is a bit too dark to take any good pictures.  (HOW is it possible, with open air along all sides and skylights…?)

cantering with ears forward

You’ll just have to trust me that we’re continuing to work.  And, yep, possibly getting a little steadier.

cantering in dressage arena with corner mirror

This week, introducing a period of spurs again.  I’ve chosen to ride her without spurs for over a year.  Used them for two shows late summer/early fall of 2016, but truly I’ve only put them on for less than some 10 rides since September last year.

Now, I think she’s ready.  K fine, maybe someones lower leg is straighter and a bit more ready too…

She seems possibly happier with them than without.  Quicker aid, less clingy leg, all the good stuff.

Early Mornings, Emptier Mornings

sophisticated barns

Sweet the way that works.

The earlier, the emptier.  Never truly solo here, with two trainers and a larger clientel, but show up early enough and it’s very quiet.  Really.

upscale barn isle way

I don’t ride all that early, truly.  Too many other, things, to take care of first.  Always loving the speedier, more adrenaline filled distances, but now there’s a spring Half Marathon on the schedule too.  Reckless.  So, more time spent running.

sophisticated barns


Valiosa has been going surprisingly well.  (The minute you say that it’s all jinxed and next ride will be challenging again…)  She feels just a tad softer, a little more forward, and actually attentive to the leg aids, go figure.

Got a walk-canter transition by mistake, unheard of for her!

getting horse in front of the leg


The tweaky, tilting and definitely-NOT-throughness is still there, but less.  See it here below?  She contorts herself, pushing the shoulder out one way, folding the neck, later tilting the head left or right.

horse resisting the aids counter bending

Once that stops, I know she’s in the hand and actually applying her self a little more from behind.  Tricky part is just to get to that point.  Before she runs out of steam.  New winter goal!

California Style Winter Morning At The Barn

gray horse with black and white boots

Things are going well.

Valiosa has stayed sound through the move, which is always the biggest worry right?  Changing something in the routine and poof, lame horse.  Or, colic…

barn with thanksgiving decorations
Main barn, with fall harvest pumpkin deco.

Not happening here.  She doesn’t stress out much, and with some grass to eat in the pastures now, there’s something to nibble on most of the time.  Couple of days ago I watched her saunter up to her gelding friend, convince him it was OK to share lunch, then they ate from the same hay pile, nose to nose.

Until she told him to go 🙂 .

california style barns

Lots of activity at this place, she’s sort of getting used to it.  By spring, there’ll be monthly jumping shows during weekends.  Planning on schooling in the hustle a couple of times just to get used to it.

gray horse with black and white boots

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!

Happy Thanksgiving To All!

free trot with no rider and ideal neck

Much to be grateful for!

Day off for Gray Mare of course.

Next up, Special Anniversary post.  Hey it’s tradition by now!


That moment you realize the horse looks better showing off freely on her own vs. under saddle…

free trot with no rider and ideal neck

Humbling, no?
Other humbling facts –

horse moving freely in trot in pasture

– Realizing the sweet retired Chestnut she’s showing off for isn’t a mare. Oh.

Live-in-Gelding-friends, very liberal. Better behave.