Trending Mare Things That Need To End Now

Mare Habits

  • Snubbing almost every supplement.
  • Sniffing the manure shovel and then spooking at it.
  • Sharting when you pick the hinds.
  • Slobber-muzzle rubbing across clean shirts.
  • Standing heat.
  • Scrubbed tails, where the top ends up looking like a pine cone.



Spanking new supple stirrup leathers make up for it all!  Soft and awesome!  Pinecone tail in the background…

supple stirrup leathers

Finding The Best Quality In Your Horse

We talked about this before the weekend.

About the importance of knowing the one quality you appreciate the most in your horse.  Sometimes the answer can be a bit surprising.

As promised, here’s what I appreciate most with Gray Mare.

We can do focused work, while staying (relatively) safe. 

No lunging on Monday mornings.  We work in all sorts of weather.  (Although less, eh, well, in wind.)  And with some negotiation, we work when she’s in heat, and when other stuff is going on.

Sure, she often drops her shoulder, bucks, or more recently, throws in a huge spin when she spooks at random ridiculous things.

Ignoring the death-speed bolting across the grass field when there are turkeys there.  Oh yeah, and the dolphin moves with squealing if she’s feeling ON and you make the mistake of touching her with the leg, you know, to say, -“Hey, we can’t stand and stare here like a statue any longer or you’re going to spook yourself out.”  Or if she’s touched with the leg at any time she’s feeling a bit feisty.

Forget that.  It’s mostly for show.

finding the best quality in your horse
Most days, she can work, breathing hard, and really trying.
grey dressage mare

The best part – she’ll come back down, just as easy.  I appreciate this with her so much.  Makes things much more fun – working without too much nerve.

horse relaxing after working

More irrelevant, I also love how she’ll hold absolutely still if I’m around her legs.  Taking off ice boots, fiddling with blanket straps, she’ll hold, making sure never to hurt her human.  Nice quality in a friend.

That Wasn’t Really Fair To Her

Those bucking pictures earlier, last week…

She deserves a better reputation than that.  (But Hey, it would help if you’d behave under saddle most days too!)

We’ve had some lovely moments during rides.  Always toward the end.  She never comes out ready to give anything for free.  First, we negotiate, then, she’ll consider doing something more productive.

dressage with gray horse

She’ll tolerate absolutely no bullying.  Riding her like that will make her shut down immediately.  Instead, she has to want to do it.  Which she sometimes does.  Look how cute and straight she can be!

a horse for elinor 2018

Walking pirouettes happen too now, but you better just think it, not come with some ugly aid.  She feels staying round throughout all those steps is overkill though, so she’s not ready to show it off just yet.

Gray mare, going.

dressage on a dime 2018

Riding Mares In Heat

Sometimes tricky.

You don’t always know what you’ll get.

This time, her heat cycle was much more intense than compared to a year ago.  Last month, in December, it was barely noticeable.  She was mostly spooky and intense.  Silly to the leg etc.  Oh, and spooky.  Maybe I said that.

Then, just a few weeks later, we got this.

riding mare in heat

Canter transitions were.  Exciting.

bucking mare in heat

The 3rd day, I’d had enough and we hacked on the property instead.  There are some gravel and asphalt areas – great for cooling off.  Next time I’ll do the same if she’s just as bothered.  While working more on stuff at, well, at the walk.  🙂

Below, a short road-stretch out to what I call the “poop field”.  It’s an uneven field, all green on the horizon there, where manure, shavings, and straw is spread out from the stalls each day.  A “sacrifice” field, far away from the barn and pastures.

hacking out when in heat

The footing is pretty iffy.  A swamp after rains.  And in summer heat there’s no way we’ll go out there and bake.

Right now, it’s the ideal thing for us.  Valiosa thinks it’s an interesting place; we head out there when we can to preserve a four beat walk.  On some days, she’ll walk very forward, using her back more, especially on a short uphill slant, – a treasure!

The poop field even has a pond at the bottom.

You already know what it’s filled with…

When your friends are really far away. And you can’t see them. And you just have to scream.

New pasture, with several new friends.

Gray mare’s been in the front pasture for over a week.  More friends.  She mixed right in and thinks living in a larger group is great.

horses greeting in pasture

A little less hilly than the other two pastures she was in for three months.  This one is larger, and involves a bit of a hike to get around in.  (Big enough to get lost and lonely if you ask her.)


About as lush as it gets in the California foothills.  By the end of the month, most of the grass will burn off.  If she wasn’t in full work, I’d be worried about way too much grass, but so far she’s staying in great shape.

introducing mares to each other in pasture

Don’t want to jinx it, but a few days after she moved out with this group, we’ve only had forward, productive rides.  Not sure how long it will last, but now, she’s going well, happy, putting in a real effort at every ride, feeling really great.

Yes, yes, we go fast, all the time, try leg yield in canter yep yep, no-way-I’ve-never-been-lazy, she says, and works hard so it will be over with and she can go back out to her new exciting group.

OK, well, thanks!  Let’s make it stick.

mares making friends in pasture


Going back out was never this exciting.  You can hear screaming until the very end.


Breeding Season

Started a while back, full speed now.

The barn I’m at is a breeding barn.  Four stallions, with a total of four mares to be bred this year.

With the last colt sold before the end of the year, the rest of 2017 will be completely without babies/young horses.  That’s the first time I’ve seen that at this barn.  2018 will be different though…

broodmares in pasture

Breeding is done by AI.  At least one of the mares will be bred to an outside stallion, who has his own show schedule to consider and shipping times that have to work out.  Heat cycles have to be determined just right.  Having a stallion at home makes that pretty easy.

barn reflecting in pond
The barn, in the pond.

Botijo is the sweetest stallion, always manageable, and gets to go see his mares often this month across the fence.  Prancing and talking to them.  With that, it doesn’t take long to see if any are at a “good”, or “getting better”, point in their cycle.

Lots of mane shaking, squealing, and high energy on his part.  The mares, at least last week, not so much…  No interest yet.  The only one, calling and posing and in general feeling conflicted..?

Gray mare.

Nope, she’s not invited to party.

riding horses in heat
Yes we still ride! Fingers crossed she’ll always be easy while in heat.

Thanks to pneumonia, not the flu, there’s some new fresh tweaks to the homepage, menus, and pages now.  Almost done and back out now!  Ride when you can!