dancing horses

dancing horses

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Horse Play

Yesterday was a busy, pony filled day. My friend Karen brought her stallion for the day. She's entering a fun show (it's a fund raiser for a para-equestrian rider) and there's a freestyle costume class. She had her music and costume all picked out but needed to work out the bugs in a full size ring. The plan was that we would work on that and also Cynthia and I would have a lesson.

The morning was a perfect fall morning- the trees are putting on a good show this year.
I love where I live (at least when it's like this and not buried in snow)
I spent the morning cleaning up around the barn, like you do when company is coming (the house remained dusty because I have my priorities). I took some soup out of the freezer to thaw (curried butternut squash) for lunch and prepared some cheese biscuits.

Karen arrived with her trailer and Kalimo just looked around like 'oh here again?'.
Irish and Carmen realizing that this day is gong to be a bit different
Irish, as always was a bit excited. Carmen joined in but I had closed their stall doors so that they couldn't get in the barn and create a ruckus. Once she realized that there was nothing to see she gave a shrug and headed back out to the field to eat. Irish was all 'where's my friend, I can't see my friend, LET ME IN'. 

Shortly after we had Kalimo in his stall I brought in Carmen to get her ready. I had her ground tied and she wanted to go see him but was actually pretty good about the correction. I could have cross-tied her but I wanted her to learn that she's to stand even with temptation (admittedly a hunky, handsome man is quite the temptation). 

I reviewed with Karen what we were working on and things I had noticed: 
  •  I tighten my left hip when I put on my right leg and I was working on keeping them separate
  • that when she tightens I try to loosen up and make sure I connect my seat to her
  • bending. especially to the right. 
  • generally working through any spookiness and keeping on task. 
So we went to work on a circle around her. As typical in a lesson at my place we were both a bit tight and Carmen was being stiff. It was breezy and I was trying too hard. So first we calmed me down and then worked on calming her down.  We worked all over the ring and areas where Carmen was worried about she still had to work. She had definite opinions about that  (mostly 'no') but I was to stay on task. Karen observed that she wasn't super tight about it all and some of it was just a game. There were a few big spooks but we just went back to work. When she was distracted I was to not let her swing her head to look for something to be scared of and it was okay for it to not be pretty. I needed to hear that. The trick was to let go after I brought her head in. We did a lot of sitting trot and walk-trot transitions, some leg yields and then we were warmed up. 

We practiced some shoulder-in at the trot and that was.just.too.hard at first but we made it. I'm still not asking for enough bend so I need to figure that out. Karen asked me how she was with haunches in and I said enthusiastically 'oh she rocks that. Because it's also her evasion she's really good at it'.  Except for today of course. Today was impossible. We practiced shoulder-in-straighten-haunches in. It was okay on one side of the ring (barn side) but the other side was frying her brain quite a bit. I was just about to suggest to Karen that we come to the middle and do a bit of canter when she said "come on to the center and we'll do some canter work'

So we did. At first Carmen was all tight and bound up but I pushed her on and encouraged her to stretch out and she started to blow out her tension. We then cantered around the ring a few times and then practiced canter-trot-canter transitions without falling on the forehand. By now she's feeling tired (finally) and so am I. But that's okay- I wanted to keep going. Once we had a few good transitions we stopped and I walked her out. I was so excited to have a lesson that was on dressage stuff and not about my ring. It was good for Carmen and it was good for me. I have no idea how long we rode but it was well over an hour.  

I ran into the house and began to cook the biscuits and warm up the soup. Nothing like a warm cheese biscuit from the oven after you've worked your butt off. 

We then played with Kalimo and worked out the freestyle. I was following Karen around the ring holding up her phone so she could hear her music. Kalimo took the crazy lady in the middle all in stride. Once we thought that we had it worked out Karen rode it from beginning to end and I took the video so she could play it at home. I also got to see her ride two tempis for the first time! And it's on video! 

Then Cynthia got Irish ready. Their lesson was wonderful and I loved watching Irish use himself correctly. He had a lot of fun too. However, when they first went up to the ring Carmen pitched a fit. I grabbed my camera because it wasn't too often that she puts on a display. When I came into the field she ran right at me 'OHMYGODSHE'SSTEALINGIRISHANDI'MGONNADIE'. I got quite a few photos- Princess can move when she wants to. However, she calmed down pretty quickly and spent the rest of the time eating. The pony has her priorities. 
lots of power in that hind end
After Cynthia's ride Karen loaded Kalimo on her trailer and left. Neither Irish or Carmen lifted their heads. I like that they are getting used to horses coming and going. Cynthia and I met up with our husbands for dinner and it was all I could do to not fall asleep in my plate. 

Horse days are so much fun. 


  1. Such a pretty princess fit lol. All your leg aid talk, it's going to be hard for me letting go of that in a cart. Becomes rather instinctive.

  2. Sounds like a fun day. I probably would have been fighting not to pass out too.

  3. Mmmm curried butternut squash soup with biscuits sounds amazing! As does the pony filled day!

  4. It does sound like a great day with the horses. Love that picture of Carmen, what a gorgeous gal.

  5. Replies
    1. It really was. I love having pony day with others

  6. That sounds like a great day! Such great experience for everyone involved.

  7. It sounds like a great day indeed. Love that pic of Carmen though, wowsers!

    1. yeah- she's really maturing into a stunning horse

  8. It sounds like such a good day! I love the picture of Carmen pitching a fit...it is breath taking! And I love that your guys are getting used to horses coming and going :) Very happy for you!


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