Monday, December 19, 2011

Santa, baby

OK, I'll admit that nothing too interesting has happened this week. Other than the frequent Christmas carols playing over the radio... Which doesn't bother me at all. So here, in lieu of a Christmas list, I have my own adapted Christmas song. Enjoy!

Santa baby, slip a saddle under the tree, for me

I've been an awful good girl
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa baby, a passier bridle too, bradoon!

I'll wait up for you dear
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Think of all the fun I've missed
Think of all the ponies that I haven't kissed
Next year I could be oh so good
If you'd check off my Christmas list
Boo doo bee doo

Santa honey, I wanna pad and really that's
Not so bad

I've been an angel all year
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa cutie, there's one thing I really do need, my steed
wants a new blanket

Santa cutie, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa baby, I'm filling my stocking with a quarter sheet, and treats!
You can order online!

Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Come and trim my Christmas tree
With some decorations bought at Dover’s Saddlery! 
I really do believe in you
Let's see if you believe in me
Boo doo bee doo

Santa baby, forgot to mention one little thing, a ring
I don't mean a phone

Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Hurry down the chimney tonight
Hurry down the chimney tonight

Merry Christmas every one!

A girl can dream, can't she?

The Hood

So this weekend was cold.
Bitter bitingly cold.
So cold that I couldn't feel my fingers or toes... before I even finished tacking up Pony 1.

Yeah, I know this is a blurry terribly picture from my phone, but my truck's thermometer says TWO degrees! That's hardly a temperature.
Of course, at this point, I should have said to myself it's too cold. On;y a total loon would be out trying to work horses in this weather. But instead the peptalk I gave myself was more along the lines of dont be a pansy! It's only going to get colder, then what are you going to do? Pathetic....

Never let your subconscious mock you. It's a disturbing trend.

All of the horses were good, cold not withstanding. RC rode in his fleece cooler the entire time (otherwise his tail disappeared into that giant butt and he wouldn't go forward. At all).
Delight was pretty good. I think we're making leaps and bounds to correct this spooky pony issue. We're defeating the scary corner one leg yeild/ shoulder-in/ half-pass at a time!
And Chantilly was the naughty pony. Now, her version of naughty isn't nearly what Delight's can be, but it was out of character for her. She flipped her tail over her back and extended trotted around the ring with her nose in the air like a retarded arabian. Of course after two or three laps she let me steer again, then we were back to the pretty pony that I knew was in there some where. Changing direction, changing bend, lengthening and starting transitions... Chantilly is becoming old hat at this stuff. I guess it's time to push her a little further.

Of course, RC CANNOT be expected to enjoy himself outside when it's two degrees outside. Unless he's wearing a hood.

Oh, and his neighbor (not Delight) was terrified of RC's mask. I think he's kind of adorable in it... Don't you?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Morning Warfare

My month of Scott is over halfway through. Which may very well be a good thing (a person always like their dog(s) the best….)…

First the good: Scott completes his morning rounds with a look of joyous rapture every morning. It makes me smile to watch Bacon and Scott frolic (there is really no other way to describe their running styles) in big looping circles through the snow, avoiding the driveway because neither of them can handle the ice.  The other plus is that on cold nights, I have a big black foot warmer (poodles don’t do feet).
Now for the downside of Sotters. Mr Scott likes to get up around 5:30 in the morning. That is a good three hours before the sun rises, and a good hour and a half before I would prefer to rise. He used to start his morning by talking and shifting around. When that was ignored by a dead-to-the-world Me, he upped his ante by leaping off the bed, making those strange Sheltie noises, then leaping back onto the bed (which he thinks is the neatest trick yet!), circling the bed-first at the walk, then after several more leaps on and off the bed, at the trot and Sheltie run. It’s hard to ignore a 30 pound Sheltie who is running over your bladder/kidneys/head.

So I lobbed him off the bed. I was NOT going to give in to Sheltie peer pressure, and I sure wasn’t going to ‘rise and shine’ at this ungodly hour.

After a week and a half of being lobbed off the bed into my dirty clothes hamper, Mr Scott has changed his tactic. He no longer runs and jumps on me at 5:30 in the morning. He now waits until 7am. Sharp.
Evidently he refuses to take his cue from the poodles, who will open their eyes when I roll over or shift around, but won’t actually move or think about getting up until I make the executive decision to drag myself out of bed.  Even then, on most mornings (nearly all now that it’s cold and dark outside) Tempi will rush outside to relieve herself then flee back upstairs to snuggle back in the warm spot she recently vacated on her pillow.

This morning Scott upped the ante to get me out of bed – seeing as I was still firmly ensconced at 7:04, according to my alarm clock. He walked up along my bed until he was staring at my head, making his Sheltie noises in the process. Then he farted.

A big loud whoopee cushion type fart.

THAT got my attention. I rolled over, and glared at him gagging on what can only be described as a Cloud of Death.  Even Tempi fled to the chaise….

He smiled.

Scott: 1, Alison: 0 for the morning.

Instantly followed by Stairs: 1, Scott: 0. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

BiPolar... But Mostly Polar

The weather in this place could drive a person crazy... 
All last week was cold. Extreemly cold! Less than 10 degrees while I was riding (days of zero degrees in the arena…brrr!)
That's right. 4 Degrees. Brrr....

Then Sunday rolled around. 30 degrees an sunny when I got up with the dogs. We went on a nature walk… all the way around the back field with me carrying Tempi (the snow is taller than she is) and Scott and Bacon taking turns ambushing each other, while nearly knocking me over. Let me just say that it s more work than I had expected walking in knee deep snow…

By noon when I was preparing to head out to go ride, it was 40 degrees, the sun was still shining. By the time I rode Tilly (who was a champ, even though everyone though that she was RC…) it was up to 50 degrees! Off went the blankets (except for RC, who just traded blankets for his light weight one… what a wimp), off went my jackets. Delight was, for once, a delight.  She still tries that silly spook in the corners thing, but wasn’t too terribly tricky to ride. We worked mostly at the canter because I’m sick of the “pony says whoa” and we just needed to move OUT! So we cantered left, cantered right, and by half an hour we were both sweating up a storm…
RC was my last ride of the beautiful day… And we took it easy. I worked without stirrups t try to combat that terribly tendency of letting my heels creep up when my legs get tense. Now, two days later, all of the little ligaments are still screaming at me. Ouch. 
It's pretty here, if nothing else...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Things that go BUMP....

In the barn....

Ahm, after yesterday's unplanned excursion involving two Dans, my truck and a ditch, let's just say that the Ponitas had two days off. While Tilly can handle this kind of lackadaisical work schedule, La Ponita Uno will not tolerate this kind of laziness! And she will punish it in ways that make the tiny muscles in my forearms hurt, my abs hurt, the muscles along my spine hurt... All to try to keep myself in the center when she decides to teleport sideways.

Of course I worked Delight first. Always start with biggest handful first; the reasons are twofold. One, this way I have the most energy to counteract the Pony chess game that occurs every ride (must think three moves ahead of Delight.... otherwise she wins), and two, while expending that excess energy to outwit the pony, I work up a good sweat. This way I am nice and toasty through my rides. No getting chilly for me when it's 13 degrees in the arena, no sir, I'm out there shedding coats so that I don't over heat.
Long story short (too late), By the end of my hour with Delight, we had mostly come to an understanding, that I was going to keep her connected on the bit and she was going to go forward. We achieved this through liberal application of ten meter circles, leg yields and shoulder-ins but by the end of the ride, we looked more like a dressage team in training and less like an out of control pony clubber who's be severely over horsed.

RC was next. Not for any good reason, just that he and Delight are penned right next to each other and he was pretty certain that I had taken Delight inside for the sole purpose of feeding her delicious goodies. Joke's on him when we actually tack up to work! Hah!
Anyway, we amble into the arena with the fleece cooler over the saddle covering RC to prevent his tail from disappearing any further into his butt (he really would prefer a heated arena....), where I promptly ditch my coat, again, and we warm up a bit on the loose rein. I can hear the wind picking up (and my phone is buzzing with texts from the weather service: 4 messages warning of lake effect snow sometime in the next few days), and while RCs eyes get oddly wide, he's pretty much unpreturbed as long as he's snug in his blanket. We even moved on to some stirrup-less work (because obviously I haven't worked hard enough yet. Take that legs and abs!) to try to erradicate some of those bad habits that seem to creep into my riding.
So two good rides. Most underwhelming blog update ever, right?

Tilly's turn!

I brought Tilly in, brushed her, gave her a carrot (finally a treat she loves), saddled her up then stood there talking to her for a minute while warming her bit up with my bare hands (bwwwahhhh! brrrrrr...). As I'm bridling Ponita Tres, we hear the WHUMP! WHUMPWHUMPWHUMP! of a nail gun. Tilly, stoic pony that she is, leaps about two feet straight up in the air at the initial WHUMP! For the following whumps, she does the pony crouch, where the pony seems to shrink and could bolt in any direction (just to let you know that they could and you should appreciate them all the more for their pony bravery), but then returns to the original standing position instead. Great.
I lead her into the arena, using the lungeline, since I figure that two days off in the cold might have earned her a few minutes on the lunge before I get on her... And she's fine. As if nothing had happened.
Psh, what a wimp you are, I scold myself as I swing up on to the flat hunter saddle I've been using on Tilly.
And Tilly is out of there!

We probably set a pony sprinting record.... With me flailing around on top of her like a limp noodle (great riding... This is what years and years of lessons should look like, I'm sure) trying to find either of my stirrups and not get left behind the motion. But it's ok. Forward is good, right? We ride our young horses forward through the problem, so just let her go, but start asking for connection. That's the game plan now.
I get her back in the trot, and we start doing figure eights, 12 meter circles, changing direction willy nilly, and she's starting to settle down. And of course, I'm starting to sweat again, so off comes the jacket.

She's a pretty calm pony, I winder if she'll mind if I just toss it to the side?
Yes. Yes she did.
With a snort that Opie would have been proud of we teleported 20 meters to the left with her tail over her back and her neck arched like an arab.
And I did my limp noodle riding impression again.
Back to the changing directions, small circles, figure eights and baby connection. We dabbled in the canter a little bit (didn't even bolt at the next volley of nails) then called it a day.

And I do this all for fun. I'm gonna need to soak in a hot bath tonight.....

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

...My Bad

I woke up today the pressure of 35 pounds of Sheltie standing on my lower back making odd squeaking noises, poodles curled in the crook of my shoulder and on my head. All was right in the world.
The sun was starting to peek over the horizon, and I was getting my game plan in order: What to work on with each horse, who to work first, remember to bring the carrots for Tilly.

After all, it was only a partly cloudy day. The play of sunlight on the fresh snow was energizing. Who cares that it's ten above out side? Scott and bacon did their morning laps through the snow (until Bacon got an iceball in his toes and had to call a timeout) while Tempi rushed out, took care of business, then hurried back to my nice warm recently vacated bed. She has her priorities.

The School House at Dawn
Mocha brewed, I hopped into the truck (which had been conveniently parked in the barn, so I didn't even have to sweep the snow/ ice off of it) and slowly made my way towards the barn. The roads were covered with a thin layer of snow, so I opted to take the back route to the barn and avoid the hill near town. Why take the trickier route? I reasoned.

Why indeed.

As I turned on my new found 'easy route', I noticed that there was no snow. I could see the blacktop. Right decision I smugly thought to myself, easing up to a whopping 35 mph. That's right. I was flying.

Two more turns and then I'll be there.  Already I was going over my plan of attack for this morning.
Make the first turn. No traffic makes the drive easy and fairly stress free...

I'm going maybe 15 mph (hey, I just made the turn and no one was around to judge me for how slow I was going) when I feel the rear of my poor truck slide. I tried to correct it (Turn in to the slide, don't stomp the brakes) but I slid right on to what must have been the slickest patch of road in America.
Me and my truck did the worlds slowest triple lutz ever completed on ice.  We were moving slow enough that I thought that I'd come to a complete stop as soon as I ricochet off the little snow lip, an then I'd just have a good story for the rest of my day.

Obviously I underestimated the momentum of a 5000 pound vehicle on ice....
So glad dad isn't here to give me crap....
At least the front tires are still on the road!

But now the truck won't start up again, since it turned itself off in the 'crash'. Ok, ok... think! There's a fuel shutoff somewhere! That must be it. Now all I have to do is find the switch... to the owner's manual I go!
OK, found the page. With a picture. But I still cant find the switch....
Right about here, a nice older gentleman stopped and asked if I needed help. Umm, yes. He gave me the number of a towing company and told me to mention his name (you guessed it, Dan).
Perfect! I'll ask the wrecker where the switch is!

Turns out, I forgot to take the truck out of gear...
The wrecker guy (also named Dan. I wish I could be making this up!) gave me the most pitying look when he told me that the truck has to be in Park to start it. Thank goodness I didn't tell him I'm employed as an engineer...Pretty sure UMR is on their way to collect that degree from me, as I exhibited exactly zero engineering or mechanical know-how. Useless...

So I paid my $60 "Driving like a dipshit" tax, and was on my way!

I guess it wasn't quite the beautiful morning I expected.....

Oy vey.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Everyone's an Expert...

Those of you who keep tabs on my might have noticed that there seems to be quite a lot of advice from the railbirds at my barn. Now, I'm doing my best not to come off as the Dressage Queen who only rides Imported Warmbloods in silly circles until we get dizzy... Which is why I have to share some of the barn happenings with you guys, otherwise I'll simply explode on the next horse whapping carrot stick weilding neophyte that lobs a truth bomb in my general direction.
"What a Beautiful day to go riding" I naively think to myself
Case in point....

I've been playing with the changes on RC, and he's getting closer. Now, the good thing about Mr. Chompers is how hard he tries all the time. The bad thing about him, is how hard he tried all the time. Sometimes RC get's himself too worked up about something (Sit? More? Is that enough? Too much? AHHHHHHH) and gets tight in his back. Sounds serious, doesn't it? His canter gets ugly and stiff, and his nose comes above the vertical. Terrible, terrible.
Our local expert (who I've never seen on a horse), Mr FreeLunger, was watching me ride (why? I'm not sure... Probably my tight abs and great ass... under 30 layers of clothing). Ovbiously he was not impressed with Mr. C-sters changes. Even when I moved on to the counter canter and counter bending on the circle to help RC relax a little bit more, I could tell that more wisdom was about to burst forth from the lazy boy at C (no, seriously. There's a Lazyboy recliner in the end of the arena. Legit, right?).

"You know why your having so much trouble with that horse?"
Oh yes. Tell me oh wise one. Enlighten me as to the problems between my and this horse
"He get's tense in the back after the changes so I have to work on relaxing him again in the canter" was my thoughtful, PC reply. I think I covered all of my bases, my answer was technical without sounding arrogant and hopefully headed off any advice.
"No that's not it. He's got white feet"
Wait, what? Is this about him being short last month after the bad trimming? He's great now, but maybe he looks off in the canter when he braces. I mean, these guys can't tell when a horse is cross-firing in the canter, so maybe they just see that something is NQR, I think magnanimously. 
"Um, what?" I ask. Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! Never ask a railbird a question!!!!!
"Yep, horses with four white feet aren't good for nothing"
Stunned silence. Nervous laughter. Pick up the trot and pretend like the last five minutes of my life never happened.
"There's a saying you know...."
Oh, god no. The wisdom just keeps coming.....
"If a horse has one white foot you buy it. Two white feet you try it. Three white feet you look about it and four white feet you oughtta go without it. Four white feet and white on it's nose, shoot him in the head and feed him to the crows.... Someone oughtta told you that."
Shoot... ? Crows...? Seriously?

It's a good thing that his wisdom is being passed down generations. I mean, if no one had told me, I might have wasted years trying to get RC to be a competitive show horse....

Oh wait. I did.
 He is.

It wasn't me! It's the Socks! They made me do it!
So, maybe it's not true...

At least I dodged the bullet and didn't buy a chestnut mare! Ha, those suckers!
Even has the four white socks. And white on her nose... The Trifecta!

Damn it. (And that picture of Tilly is a still shot from my attempt to film her on the lunge. Her head's not really that big)

Scott and Bacon inventing winter sports
At least I have three mostly happy dogs to return home to. Oh, except that Scott chewed off all the hair on Tempi's tail... now she looks (maybe appropriately) like her little poodle bottom is flipping me the bird... Sigh.
One of these dogs isn't enjoy this....

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Slaughter Issue

Obama signed a bill into effect last week re-funding USDA certification and inspection of horse meat. Now everyone on the interwebz is claiming that he had made slaughter legal, but the fact is that it was never illegal, the USDA simply lost funding for certifying and inspecting horse meat, thus the plants closed and a bunch of horse lovers got to feel good about themselves.

Wait a minute, you say, you’re PRO-SLAUGHTER?!?!

I like to think of it as pro-choice, in much the same light as abortion or gay marriage. If you don’t support it, then don’t do it, but the government shouldn’t have the right to outlaw something just because it doesn’t give everyone the warm fuzzy feeling that we as a society seem to crave.

To clear things up, I wouldn’t send my horses to slaughter. Every horse I’ve had to date has retired to family property where they either babysit other horses or new riders (old age doesn’t mean that they don’t have something to teach new riders) until they are no longer comfortable, then they are humanely euthanized. In a perfect world, every horse would have a home for life, either with its breeder, trainer, or the little girl who learned to ride on it. This world is not perfect. I feel that we can all agree on this as fact.
There are far more horses than homes. We can see this in the craigslist ads that read “10 horses must find new home today! Can no longer afford to feed!” or even by the BLM holding stations that have 1000’s of mustangs removed from public land so that they don’t starve to death by overrunning the available resources. All of these horses need food and water. Not all of these horses can or will be ridden or ever enjoyed in a sport capacity. When we look at the number of homes for older, retired, arthritic and unrideable pasture puffs vs the number of unsound (of body or mind) unfit horses in need of a home… well, let’s just say that those are statistics that are about as depressing as a midwinter Michigan day. Those of us that do have the room for the pasture puff generally use that room on the older retired former show horse or ‘heart’ horse, not to some random unknown freebie from CL.

Even after horse slaughter was ‘banned’ in the US, 100K horses on average still shipped out of this country to slaughter houses in Canada and Mexico. This means that the same number of horses was still being slaughtered; only they had a much farther trailer ride to endure first. While it probably made some people feel good that they weren’t being slaughtered in our country – ‘Not here so it’s not my problem’- it also means that we have no control in how humane or controlled the process is (not to mention all of the potential jobs and revenue loss since there is no tax on exporting livestock on the hoof). The drop in auction price in horses, since the hauling to the boarder is that much more expensive, has resulted in now worthless horses simply being turned the horses loose to fend for themselves-especially in the southern states- when their owners cannot longer afford to care for them (especially in this economy, it might be difficult to come up with the $600 to euthanize and dispose).

Next argument: “It would be like eating your pet!”
My answer: Horses are livestock, not pets. Yes, I love my horses, but they are still livestock. And no, I personally wouldn’t eat horse meat, however I also don’t eat peanuts but I wouldn’t ban them from being produced or sold in this country. Americans in general, don’t consume horse meat so slaughtering/rendering horses would be almost exclusively for export. I’m sure that there would be a few “Whole Health Foods” type places that might stock it… and horse byproducts are probably already in your sausage and hotdogs (ewwww), especially if made in Canada or Mexico.  
The only way that horses are like pets is the huge overpopulation issue. The uninformed say “Oh, let’s make horse sanctuaries or shelters, like we do for our dogs and cats”. If it were that easy there wouldn’t be so many equine rescues that are overflowing with unwanted horses. The only difference is that horse rescues usually don’t have a euthanasia policy, and simply turn away owners who can no longer afford their horses. Just take look at your local shelter (get real, they are ALL kill shelters), and estimate how many dogs and cats are euthanized in a year. Those 5-100 pound carcasses are much easier to dispose of than a 1000+ pound body.
Slaughter is an ugly issue. None of us likes to think of our show horses, retired packers or ‘heart’ horses riding that truck towards the boarder, but for some, it is indeed a kinder fate then what might otherwise await them. By allowing horse slaughter in this country we are able to keep a closer eye on how it’s being conducted. Pretty? No. Necessary? Yes.

The best thing we can do for our horses is to install good manners and quality training in them, in case they ever are sold they will have some skills to offer.

This blog was a downer, but it had to be said. Now I have to go ride so that I end my day on a good note…


So, I am experimenting with a new approach to Delight. Don't worry, it doesn't involve carrot sticks, bitless bridles or training with 'lightness and joy'.

Since I moved her and RC to boarding for the winter, she's become much more reactive and a little more tense. My working theory was that she just needed to settle in. Well, it's been six weeks and I've changed the saddle that I use on her (which she's much happier about) but she's still very reactive. She's happy to go to work, and other than pinning her ears when the blanket comes off, she's still the sweet mare that I know is in there.

My new theory: she's not getting enough 'play' time to stretch and use her body on her own. She's in a solo turnout (because RC tried to get her hemmed in to beat her up, that jerk) for 8 hours a day in a 20' x 30' pen, but it's not the same as being out all day in 5 acres with RC (where she can either get away from him or ignore him, which ever she prefers). Add in the high energy feed that they have been switched to, and what I have is a very fit young pony with not enough exercise.

New plan?
Free lunging in the morning and actually working her in the evening. It makes sense because I have time to ride two in the morning- with time to spare- but not to work all three. This way I can work Tilly and RC then let Delight stretch her legs out a bit without 'working' per se.

But wait - doesn't  it piss me off when people free lunge? Why yes it does, so I am not going to just let Delight run around willy-nilly, cutting corners and doing rollbacks because she's all amped up and being chased by the whip. She still has to go in the gait I ask in the direction I tell her for as long as I ask. Really, it's just lunging using the whole arena (which works out since no one is around in the mornings)- even the 'scary' places.
Delight seemed to really enjoy it this morning. She could trot around in her big long trot and get everything loosened up. It's really startling to see what she looks like from the ground. For one thing, this is one fit young horse. As she's trotting and using her body, it's easy to see her using that long back muscle to lift her shoulders, or flex the muscles in her hindquarters when she does a transition.

Maybe I'll start a trend of actually controlling the horse on and off the lunge line. HA! Who am I kidding?

Today is the first day of my experiment, so we'll see how it goes...

In other news, for those of you languishing away in 70 degree Texas... it was 12 degrees F here this morning! That's beyond cold! I remember thinking that it was cold when I went riding at 18 degrees in Missouri! Yikes!!! (PS: that weather channel screenshot is from 1PM!)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

There Goes the Sun

After a week of beautiful 50 degree sunny weather, we are now back to the standard Michigan MO: Grey and cold. The last two mornings that I’ve been out to ride, it’s been under 20 degrees outside. Yesterday the snow started again.

The upshot about snow is that Mr. Scott loves it. He was in high hog heaven when I opened the door and let the dogs out to pee while I brewed my morning coffee. Running (and yapping) with Bacon in big sweeping loops was high on Mr Scott’s agenda this morning. It’s probably a good thing that I don’t have too many close neighbors….
"Weeeeeee" says Mr Scott

Now that the hustle and bustle of holiday visitors is over, I’ve started a new riding schedule: Horses in the morning, work in the afternoon. The upshot to this plan is that no one else is using the arena when I’m schooling my ponies, the downside is that it’s dark when I leave the house in the morning and dark when I get back in the evening, so no light to walk the dogs. They seem to be ok with playing fetch by flashlight, though. .. Scott seems to think that by ‘fetch’ I mean catch whichever poodle got to the ball first. Tempi is not a fan.

"I got the ball! It's MINE!"
As for the barn situation, RC is handling the cold with food. Keeping plenty of hay in front of him at all times seems to take the edge off, so he’s happy, I’m happy, we’re all happy. Delight doesn’t even notice that the cold is here again. She’s in her fuzzy german pony coat, impervious to the wind and snow. Tilly (now affectionately known as the Tillner, thanks Courtney) is growing her winter pony coat at an alarming rate. She won’t be cold as winter hits (though she does love being blanketed. Spoiled rotten ponies).
RC shuns hair growth for the food method

Delight’s new ‘spook at everything’ phase is presenting a little bit of a challenge for me. I oscillate between trying to hold her together, which only slows her hind legs allowing her to become even more reactive, and treating her like a young pony and not forcing the issue. Neither is the right answer (but shoulder ins are so hard!). Now I’m much more careful about asking for leg yields through the corners or a baby half-pass to leg yield on the long side (Deli’s half-passes at the walk are super, but the trot is still a bit… erratic). She did manage to catch me off guard and sling me over her shoulder like a sack of potatoes. So glad that no one was around to see me eat dirt (even though it was an embarrassingly pathetic fall, where I slid over her shoulder and landed on my feet facing a very surprised pony)...

Tilly has been the good pony this week. We had one spook and scoot where she rushed across the diagonal, but other than that, she’s been a wonderful pony. I hope that she’s not too calm (already kicking myself for thinking this, especially since I have Delight in a tough phase at the moment) to be a good competitor not just an ammy friendly horse. Crossing fingers… Anyway, she has been walk-trot-and cantering with me all week! Her canter is a little rushed, and I keep catching myself leaning forward (stop it! Stop the ugly riding!), but we’re getting it! Her trot work is slowly becoming more and more on the bit, even though she still has those moments of “I can’t do this without my head in the air!”, but they are getting fewer and farther between. Thank goodness.

And RC… Well, he’s my wonder pony. On those days when I worry that I’ll never be able to take Delight anywhere or that Tilly should be farther along than she is I can take him for a ride and reassure myself that I do, in fact, know how to train a nice horse.