Friday, September 30, 2011


I am just trying to get on Nina 5 or 6 days a week and gradually get her back in shape to work.  She was a little sore across her back when I first starting riding her again, but that is gone.  Now she is a little weak in the rear.  She has a great engine and pushing off with her rear for every stride, she doesn't dog it and trundle along on her front.  So she is getting a little sore and I can tell when she is tired.  If the weather is mostly good for a couple of months we can get back in shape.  She is really feeling good.

My students are doing much better than I am.
Ned is learning how to actually jump, canter a rhythm, pick a spot without rushing and canter off without needing the length of a football field to rebalance.  Well, the last part is definitely a work in progress but he is going great.  A few months ago it was obvious that he had just been run at the fences and had learned to fling himself over and gallop away.  He is going to be fun.
Porter, the mustang that I posted pics of, is doing great.  We ran through a dressage test this week, just for something new to do.  There was some giggling involved but the nice thing is that he was able to focus for the whole time (his attention span has been, well, short) and while he didn't exactly make all the transitions and turns like a pro, he didn't get rattled by so much coming at him so fast.  He is just a delight and very outspoken about how he feels about things.
I am going with a student to look at a horse on Monday.  There are things I like and things I don't like from his one (bad) photo.  He might be very cute. 
I do have to wonder at what people call professional training.  If you say your horse is in professional training, you shouldn't have to sell it by posting a bad picture on craigslist.  One or the other, not both.
Oh well, still fun to go look.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

what a clinic!

Amy over at Slow and Steady wins the race posted some great videos of her recent clinic with Peter Atkins.  I just love listening to how these upper level riders can break things down and make them simple pieces that you learn and link together.  This guy is a master at it.  I would LOVE to attend a clinic with him.  Check out the videos - two days of posts.

new blog for people and horses...

A friend of mine is starting up a new business making essential oil products for people and for horses.  Instead of a website she is writing a blog so that she can talk about current items and answer questions about oils.  She could use some support and followers from the blogger community.  Her blog is at Evening Star Essential Oils.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


is not all about winning or ribbons.  Those are extra.  Riding is about emotion.

Monday, September 26, 2011

92 degrees!

Happy Fall!  My car thought it was only 90 and the bank said 91 but the car dealer where I used to work said 92 and I have never known the GM of that dealership to ever be wrong about anything, so 92 it is.

Nina got hosed off.  The scraping took a while, she has enough winter coat to hold a lot of water.  Her coat passed the plush and fuzzy and cute stage weeks ago and is marching with great determination toward a serious winter coat.  I am not looking forward to minus 22 like last year so I am ignoring it mostly. 
She was pretty good today.  I threw some poles out on the ground and we did circles and figure 8s over them at a trot for about 15 to 20 minutes.  That's about all I can handle right now if I sit up, put my shoulders back and look like a rider.  If I slouch and slump and lean over her neck I can go indefinitely.  All the time I was obsessing over her lameness I certainly was not working on MY fitness.
Rode around for a while at a walk.  She is a little sore and easily uncoordinated from the lack of work but getting better and I think all the stepping over poles is helping and lots and lots of walking.

More poles tomorrow.  I am thinking about clipping her already if it doesn't cool off soon.  I usually wait until around Thanksgiving - might be a little earlier this year.  That reminds me to get clipping flyers out to other barns ASAP.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

shedding sole

I sincerely hope that when Nina gets through remodeling her feet that we can just leave well enough alone for a while.  She is shedding her front soles.  I have had horses all my life and never seen this.  I know it happens, but apparently any horse that I have owned has done this in a more subtle fashion.
I picked up her right front foot today (the one with the hole in it) and immediately thought that she had another hole.  Then I realized that what I was looking at was just a piece of sole missing, like a jigsaw puzzle.  The rest of her foot looks like a dry river bed.  Sort of like this:
Another piece fell off while I was cleaning her foot.  I decided not to pry anything off, just let it come off on its own.  She is totally sound and moving well.  The other front foot is doing the same thing, it seems to be a day or so behind.  The rears are not, apparently, interested in shedding.  They got a little thrushy during the last rains, but that is cleared up.
So much has gone on with her feet in the last year.  She was very unhealthy when I got her and I wonder if her body is just getting around to repairing her feet over the last year or so.
Time will tell, I am just glad that she is sound.

Anyone else have experience with a sole shedding all at once like this?  I did a quick run through Google looking for a cause and found everything from 'it happens all the time' to 'chronic bad hoof care' and everything in between.

Friday, September 23, 2011

don't be a passenger

Yesterday I taught three lessons and rode Nina for a short ride.  I gave one lesson partly while riding Nina.
Now over the day of lessons I must have said a hundred times some variation of 'ride the horse' and 'don't be a passenger.'   So then I find myself being a passenger on Nina, over thinking her head tossing rude behavior and sudden inability to trot over some poles on the ground.
Picking the most cuddly and tactful approach out of my hat I gave her a resounding, walloping, knock-the-breath-out-of-you kick and after her initial shock, I got a much nicer attitude and renewed physical abilities.

Don't be a passenger!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

everybody say 'ahhh.....'

Below are two pictures of Nina, taken today (with her newly short mane).
The proper comments to post include:
1.  She has gained weight and looks better good.
2.  She has gained weight finally and looks good.
3.   She has gained weight and gained weight.
4.   She has gained weight and has long legs.
5.  Is that a feed bucket?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

a little plug....

...for one of my favorite horsey blogs.  Holistic health for horses and their riders. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

hit and miss

Riding has been a little hit and miss.  Several days of rain left the arena too soggy to ride.  So riding off and on between rains.  Today the arena was great but Nina had a minor meltdown over the tree trimmer hacking away at the big cottonwood tree that we all sit under.  She actually was fine with the cherry picker, fine with the tree limbs falling out of nowhere, but the chain saw kicking on after she had decided that it was safe had her upset for a while. 
She did manage to get her head on and was fine for a short ride.  I am a little frustrated and not being able to get into a routine fitness sort of program with her (mainly through a serious lack a attention and focus on my part) but, on the other hand, she is sound and has stayed that way for...... oh......days now.  So I will be happy with that. 
I trimmed her mane and was going to take a picture - but I might let it grow back out a bit first.

Monday, September 19, 2011

the people who change our lives

The person who pushed me into learning to jump and thereby changed my life died this week.
His name was Ron Medina.  In 1995 we were working for a government contractor on the night shift.  I stopped by his post and was chatting with him about horses.  I was surprised to find that he was showing that weekend, doing the A/Os at the Colorado Classic.  I did not know that he rode English, jumped and was doing the Hunters.  Ron was the least likely person that you would pick to be a rider, judging by his appearance.  He was a Master of several martial arts, enjoyed weight lifting and was basically built like a fire plug and not a very tall fireplug.  Not what you would expect on the back of a Hunter.  He told me that he had just taken up jumping a few years earlier and was addicted to it.  I whined a little about how old I was and how I had always wanted to learn to jump but I thought you needed to start young, all the time looking at this very unlikely adult, not young, rider who was having a blast jumping.  Apparently I whined too much because the next week he made an appointment for me with a jump instructor.  That lesson was cancelled due to weather (WAY below zero) but the way Ron kept after me I knew that I had to reschedule it.
So, in that way I met Dion Dana, who leased me Shorty and years later sold me Scotty.
My life, focus, interests, friends and possessions (horses) took a dramatic turn and I never looked back.   A truly addicted horseman, when Ron's horse had age and miles related problems and stopped jumping he took up driving.  Not driving as in, the local parade driving.  Nope - driving as in Combined Driving with emphasis on the cross country part.  He always tried to talk me into trying this, but the idea of sitting in a cart behind a TB was more terrifying to me than any fence.
Ron died of a massive heart attack last week.  He will be missed by many people including me.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

getting ready for winter training

So, summer is about over, fall is moving in fast (cool rainy days due this week) and winter is lurking.

Since Nina had the summer off we will have to suck it up and ride and train through the winter. 
We are going eventing in the spring, come hell or highwater.

OK, so we wouldn't be doing it like this (Christan Trainor and Sea Accounts) ...

... we could do more like this level (me and General Counsel) ...

But we are going to be out there!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

trudging along

I have been riding for a short time the last few days.  Saturday Nina was very pissy about trotting so we just did a little and walked.  Sunday we just walked, and walked and walked.  She was cheerful and forward.  Her back is a little sensitive and the engine dies quickly after being off for so long.  If just walking can work her through this initial stiffness and soreness at getting back to work, that's fine.  I can use the time to work on my incredibly bad posture. 
Or so I thought.
Yesterday she decided that exploding at the sight of the manure guy loading up his truck was a good idea.  So after I got her attention back on me we did lots of trotting figure 8s.  So I will have to see how sore or lame she is today and play it by ear.  The good thing is that I felt absolutely no difference in her in the changes of direction and she was moving well. 
I really want to start doing some trot sets with her and get her (and me) back in some sort of shape, but I will give this hit and miss a few more days and see if she gets more comfortable.  The tough thing with this mare is that I can't tell when she is fussy if it is because she is pissed because she gave in and let me get on her, or if she is sore somewhere. 
I keep telling myself that this is pretty normal for a horse that has been out of work for months and there is not really much sign of her obstinate side.

Friday, September 9, 2011

finally Fall

Lovely day today.  70s, sunny, a little breeze.  I taught two lessons this morning and then trotted Nina around for a few minutes, still sound.  I asked a friend to take some pics, this is the only one where I am not slumping or staring at her neck.  I really need to take some lessons myself and get back into some sort of better habits.   Great day anyway!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

There is a new foal at the barn, just a couple of days old now.   The last time there were foals at the barn Nina was a little obsessed with the one that lived next to her. 
When the newest one was just hours old I walked Nina passed her pen and she took a good look and then quietly walked away.  I thought, good girl, much calmer than I thought she would be.  Then we had walked a couple hundred feet and suddenly her head shot up and she was staring over her shoulder at the foal.  BABY!  Look!  it's a BABY!
She didn't take her eyes off of it the rest of the afternoon. 
Kind of a delayed reaction.
This lends credence to my one-brain-cell-firing-at-a-time theory.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Has anyone noticed that my horse blog seems to be a weather station?
It was 61 degrees and raining all day.  I totally wimped out and did not ride, I did teach a lesson and I put shavings in Nina's shed to dry it out.  That was it, total wimp.  Since I am just getting back to riding Nina after doing nothing all summer I am going to have to do better and ride through the winter.  But honestly 61 degrees and soggy wet?  Last week it was 105.  Where is my nice autumn?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

back to work

Yesterday I started Nina on some trot sets.  From just that little bit of trotting that we have done I can tell that she is a little weak in the rear.  So we will start very slow and both of us get back into being fit enough to train.
We started with just 5 sets of  one lap of trot and a half lap of walk.  She more than wanted to keep going but I can be patient.  The arena is pretty big, about 200ft long and nearly that wide.  It takes about a minute to trot around on the rail. 
Very little work for her, 5 minutes of trotting with a rider but after all this time off I am not going to make her sore.

Here is a shot of the arena at the barn.  (Nina's house is on the north side of the arena, I colored it red.)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Early fall colors

We are jumping into a 'fall' look here a little early.  After a record setting hot hot HOT August the weather gods decided to play along with the human calendar and suddenly it is 10-20 degrees cooler with a breeze.  Lovely!  Fall in Colorado can go on for months and months and is my favorite time of year, so even though it is earlier than normal I am changing up the blog to encourage a continuation of some cooler weather.  New banner is in the works!


Almost afraid to post.  I have ridden Nina for the last three days doing a little trot work.  Very little, but more each day.  Yesterday we even trotted some poles, which was probably not a good idea but her attitude improved.
Yes, not limping but a less than endearing attitude.  Still, it is progress and we are actually starting back to work before the dead of winter. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Burghley 2011 winner...

William Fox-Pitt and Parklane Hawk

 photo found here

The Sunday jog up at Burghley

Horse Junkies United posted their top ten of the Sunday jog up at Burghley.  Unfortunately for some of the riders they had to jog in the rain, but some nice jackets came out.
Check out the pics here...Horse Junkies United

Friday, September 2, 2011

Burghley is in full swing...

Eventing Nation ran pics of the first jog up at Burghley.  All horses passed the first inspection, although a couple have been withdrawn since.   The second day of dressage is today and a big cross country course starts tomorrow.  There is free online coverage, visit Eventing Nation for more info.
You can see the pics of the jog here.

Jules Stiller with Chapel Amble were Best Turned Out:

I thought this was a nice turnout:

And I liked the look of Lucinda Fredericks and Prada:

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