December 9, 2012

Dressage Work & Unicorns

Friday night I really had no interest in going home so I spent a solid 5 hours at the barn. K had to go play in band at a high school basketball game so I was in charge of feeding all the horses. I decided to be super productive and I cleaned some tack, raked the loose hay up (and tossed it to the beast in the fields), cleaned stalls, scrubbed feed pans and buckets and just did some general tidying up of my things. Brought both Dakota and Echo in. My intention was to lunge both... Dakota in saddle and side reins and Echo on the lunge line.

I made the mistake of starting with Echo. Lets just say by the time I was done with her, there was zero chance of Dakota entering the arena that night. Echo and I had discussion after discussion to the point we were both physically and emotionally tired and frustrated. I feel like I 'won' a few of the battles. I walked her in and out of the arena making a big deal out of how good of a girl she was each time. I know we were both pushed beyond our breaking point but she kept pulling little stunts I felt like I couldn't let her get away with and end the night on a bad note. Each time I was ready to call it a night she did something completely idiotic and we had to work through it.

Dear Echo:
  • The arena is not, I repeat - NOT, a scary place that should be avoided. The arena is a place to get down to training business and not to sleep but this does not mean it's bad. You need to remember the times we go in the arena and just walk with me feeding you cookies and bonding. Yes I ask you to lunge and work few times a week, but you're a horse and you will be ridden one day so you better get over it.
  • Once you're IN the arena, it is not necessary to hover by the gate. The gate is a horse eating scary thing. It is unwise to hunker by it and try rearing over it. Beware, it will eat you one day.
  • When you're on a lunge line, it is not advised to stop and become a reining horse spinning the opposite direction and wrapping the line around your neck. I am trying to get you to see that when on the line, it's much better for you to move in a bigger circle. It's more benificial for your muscles and joints. If I have to keep you in a small circle to prevent spinning I will but its not THE goal or point of lunging.
I finally got Echo cooled out and fed both horses and went home for a long, well deserved bubble bath.

Saturday was a much better day. Megan, my non-horse friend / neighbor was going to the barn with me. I once again was in charge of feeding all horses so I knew we'd be there for a little while. We both had goals for our time at the barn. Mine were 1) Give Echo the day off and let her know I still love her despite her previous night antics 2) Ride Dakota and work on our walk/trot trot/walk transitions. Megan had alternative ideas in mind. Her plans included the grey near 'white' mustang gelding at the barn and a foam sparkle unicorn horn she had bought.

She had a different friend of hers that lives in Washington DC proclaim to her that she wanted a unicorn for her birthday. These were the resulting photos to be sent to her friend.

Megan and the unicorn
Megan also proved quite 'helpful' with barn chores.
After our unicorn encounters I got things ready for the night and brought Dakota in to get ready for our ride. Considering he was feisty getting ready, he was incredibly well behaved under saddle. I think we made some great progress and were productive in our walk to trot transitions (usually sloppy and in need of refinement) and he was actually listening to my ques to go from trot to walk (very unusual and usually requires excess queing). Also was able to keep him in a decent circle through a few transitions AND without him swinging his head out or dropping his shoulder. I was also able to get him to maintain a circle while changing the size of circle without loosing his headset. We need more of these kinds of nights!! Last night really got me pumped and even more motivated for our hopeful 2013 show season.

I'm off to the barn shortly and giving both horses the evening off. Mostly because I'm sore, tired and need to study / finish homework for my math course tomorrow. Tomorrow night I'll work with Echo some more and hopefully have a productive evening with her!


  1. I'm glad you had a decent ride on Dakota. Echo sounds like a real challenge. Someday I'm sure she'll be just fine to work with in the indoor. Great unicorn picture.

    1. Thanks :) The unicorn horn is in the barn and I sense some other horses will be tortured in the future.

      Echo is a challenge but hopefully after I take a few steps back with her we'll be able to move onto bigger and better things.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks :) I'm determined to put it on the pony and watch him run around the field with it on.