Monday Morning

gray horse in cavesson with flash

Just two days off.

Can’t wait to get out there to see her again!   That’s what just a couple of days off will do.  Good stuff!

On Mondays she’ll sometimes pop her head up, all the way out there in pasture, when I come in with the quiet hybrid.  She knows what’s up.

– “Yay, my servant is here!”

gray horse in cavesson with flash

Happy to have her.  Growing respect for this mare, with her peculiar ways.  Do it just right, sitting square, and she’ll sometimes let me access her back and she’ll get very sensitive, almost hot, accepting only small aids.  It’s a taste of what I think she really could be.  I just need to catch up!

Dressage On A Dime A Horse For Elinor

Lots of stuff to say this week.  Kind of unusual.  Buckle down!

Birthday Time!

leading horse from pasture at winter

Today:  My birthday –

Don’t really feel that much different from yesterday.  Usually a good sign, right?!

More celebrations with my favorite family tonight, and tomorrow, but first, some absolute favorite things will happen.

Trail run at the lake with one of my awesome dogs.

Riding the quirky horse.

bringing horse out of pasture safely
Dirt Goddess exiting her kingdom to greet her people beyond the moat.

leading horse from pasture at winter

So grateful for being able to do all the fun stuff I love, and still more, the next day – without really hurting all that much the next day.  Best birthday present ever!

horses with floppy ears

Getting a new show coat too – want to help pick one?!! 

On the list:

  • 4 buttons
  • Blue
  • VERY breathable – I live in a toaster.  (Locals don’t agree, but they’ve been brainwashed.  Don’t trust anyone who thinks soft baked summer cookies made on the dashboard is quite normal.)

What you got?  What would you pick?!

Wrapping Up The Year Of 2017

riding in sun light

What a great year!

With hundreds of pictures (Possibly overkill…  But who am I to say.  They just keep coming!) of this horse, we’ve got to have a little Looking-Back-At-The-Year post.

Today, a look at some favorites from each month!


Here’s from where we started in January – a clean slate, no clue what was ahead.

Elinor Yee dressage blog

Only made it two weeks into the new year, Friday the 13th, with a hand injury and some serious surgery.

Which luckily planted us at my trainers’s wonderful facility.

horse seeing it self in mirror
Valiosa got to meet her first pony, and moved into a massive paradise with rolling hills, grass, and oak trees.

safely introducing horse to herd



The entire winter continued as a long, never-ending, rainfall, after years of drought.  California turned in to a giant green Irish swamp, complete with people evacuating due to breaking dams.

rainy green pasture
I secretly loved all the rain…
walking horses out of gates

Lots of ground work, as I couldn’t ride, or get dressed in anything but snail pace.  Physical Therapy fixed things back up though.

keeping dressage fun for the horse

Valiosa had her own therapy -Pig Therapy.  She barely graduated from my class.

beautiful barns



New  big pasture.  New friends.  New haircut.

horse watching over sleeping horse

New ground exercises.

horse jumping over tunnel obstacle



Riding again!

strengthening bare hooves


Gray Azteca Mare Dressage



More varied work.

trotting over cavaletti

And those two longer trips down to the specialist clinic for hock treatments.  Valiosa though it was boooring…

bored horse

Finally got out to a show again.  Her 2nd time out at First Level, a schooling show, with a 63.1%

warming up for first level dressage

trot lengthening on the diagonal



Moving in to a different pasture again, even bigger.  Valiosa ate all. summer. long.

horse peeking out from behind tree


Many easier days with long-lining on the property paths.

long lining horse outdoors

Some better riding here and there.

azteca mare

Sucking at the leg yield.

too much angle in the leg yield

Worrying that she’d never settle down and become a real horse, working well and concentrated.

horse spooking on dog

riding in hot weather




Trying to survive the summer heat.

boy with horse and cookie


engaging the inside hind on trot circle

Rated show.  This time with interpretative snake moves…

bucking at shows

Still enough good moments for First Place in both classes!  First Level Test 2 64.7%, First Level Test 3 60.1%.

dressage blogs

We continued to practice at home.

goode rider iconic fit breeches

Wondering if she was forever doomed to ride twisty and difficult.

horse unsteady in contact

Knowing that she isn’t, as long as I am not twisty and difficult…

staying balanced in canter on diagonal



Playing and checking out the new power in the hind end.  Yes, it was there.

free jumping horse on lunge line

Heading out to a schooling show at First Level at a new venue, she rode the tightest in any test ever.  While still placing 2nd and 3rd, the scores dropped some to  63.9% and 58.5%…



Only to surprise with a few absolutely lovely minutes here and there when schooling at home the week after…

horse blogs



End-of-summer-almost-white coat.

horse by green pond

Just like every year, September was a month of never ending heat, with everything burnt out.  Setting up for the worst fires in history in fall and winter, both in North and South California this time.

Thousands of people evacuated, not from flooding danger, but from fire danger this time.

leading horse to barn

Continuing to suck at the leg yield.

crossing over with the hind leg in leg yield

While surprising with the canter turning out to be her best gait.

collecting the canter with young horse

Meeting new friends again, in new pasture.

horses meeting for the first time

Riding through fire-smoky days.

a better trot on an average horse

climbing for hind end strength



Reluctantly leaving the wonderful breeding barn to be able to stop the long barn commute.

trail riding with dogs


Hanging out for a month with my wonderful friend again, just to make sure to have some time together.

fall decorations at barn


Little Ellie’s cookies happened.  Promise, in my next life I’ll have time to bake, market, and sell these.

how to make your horse eat anything

Valiosa went to her first 2-Day show!

She took first place in First Level Test 2 with 65.3%.  3rd in First Level Test 3 with  62.5%

Elinor Yee

The 2nd day, which was rated, she seemed tired from the overnight.  63.1% at First Level Test 2 and 62.3% at First, Test 3.  Still a solid performance on her part!

Elinor Yee dressage



This month saw a move to a fantastic barn, with a shorter commute, and the biggest change ever – to being “just a boarder”.  No additional horse related backgroud work…  I still haven’t gotten used to it 🙂


barn with thanksgiving decorations


Valiosa somehow worked her way to a live-in boyfriend arrangement.  Yes, she enjoys it.

free trot with no rider and ideal neck



Beautiful winter days.

horse drying at washrack with fal trees

With hopes for So much more fun in 2018!

riding in sun light

December Training Update

training a better leg yield

Here’s Where We Are.

Maybe there should be some sort of cool new tricks, moves, or feels up our sleeve.  But there isn’t.

trotting with young horse

No exciting big break-throughs.  Because, hey, it’s dressage, and sometimes the improvements come so slow it’s easy to “sort of miss” them.

Especially since one day they’re there.  And then the next they’re not.  Only to come back again.  I’m sure you can relate.


SO much fun doing this.  Can’t wait to see Gray Glimmer each time I head out there!

gray glimmer horse

The Latest:  some more forwardness.  Bit more attention to the leg, and, most important, the overall feel of the ride is much happier.  Happier riding is the best riding, right?

inside bend in trot

Tried a little more shoulder fore feeling on her in the canter, to get the inside hind to actually do some real work.  Horrid stuff according to Valiosa, and she has switched leads out of confusion sometimes.

A sign of weakness, sure.  But in a positive spin I take it as a sign of intelligence – she’s doing some thinking of her own and sort of guessing what all the monkey aids up there could mean!

Which means she tries.  And once your horse stops trying, there’s no real “play” going on any more.  So.  Yay!  Switching leads!

training a better leg yield

Getting tired of the “fake” lateral work I decided she must now move over immediately for the leg.  For real.  Not in a dressage test sort of way, just cross over the hind when asked, please.

So.  Now we sport sideways crab walk or trot for the outside leg without much style at various points in the arena.

Mostly when asked.  Later she should just softly flow over from just a weight aid, in the same rhythm and tempo.  While going mostly forward.

Getting sweaty and itchy just writing about it…  Leaving that alone for a while.

dressage horse lifting the back in canter

staying round in canter

Enjoy your last rides this year!