Thursday, September 14, 2023

ride 9: again but with a friend!

It's possible Doozy is reading my posts here, bc after two days being a bit pitiful on her ouchy alleged abscess, she recovered to normal walking soundness. Obvi still with the big leg from her cellulitis (by all accounts, that will be slow to resolve), but otherwise moving quite comfortably!

quite happy to stand around for a few quick pics at the end of the ride!! also look at that pretty sky
(and our chaperone, pretty Rosette!)
She got an extra couple days of just pleasant grooming and ground interactions to be on the safe side, but conditions were basically perfect to get back to our original agenda! 

If you recall, Doozy went on her first fully solo ridden adventure for Ride #8, wherein we used the mounting barn back at our lower barn, then traveled alllll the way past the sheep and shetlands and trailers, following the same route we've been establishing for weeks now, up to the dressage arena. 

Only differences from past outings were that 1) we were alone; and 2) I was riding vs alongside on foot. And the ride... was educational, with Doozy proving that confidence in me as a leader on the ground does not yet translate to confidence in me while aboard. 

"i'm not fired yet, right???" -- doozy, who absolutely is NOT fired yet <3
Before we were so rudely interrupted by the unplanned sore foot, I had originally hoped to get back on the horse (literally) the very next day to repeat the same exact process --- except this time, with a second horse. My idea being: We did the hard thing already, and it was hard. But let's do it all again immediately, but in a slightly easier way. Establish the routine, and prove that it doesn't actually have to be hard. Right? 

Best laid plans and all lol. Oh well, obvi it would have been nice to get on the "daily" train, but at this point we'll take what we can get. So about five days passed between rides, but we did eventually get our outing last night! 

replaced one KK for another, this time Izzy's old silver alloy with the smaller rings intended as a bradoon snaffle. makes the slightly-large bridle fit a little better overall
And? It was good! Really did exactly what I wanted it to do. Doozy was immediately more confident in company, and we arrived at the arena with zero hiccups. 

And were able to loop around the whole thing, including both ends, and turning in both directions, without any noticeable changes in rhythm. By which I mean, no sulkiness turning away from the gate, and no bolting toward the gate. Bingo!

better living thru bribery
This included moving around in opposite directions and lines of travel from our ring mate, basically without issue. Now don't get crazy, tho, we didn't do anything wild like trot - nor, god forbid - did our ring mate haha. Hahaha, not yet. 

But we did have one maybe really productive issue. Some horses passed by in the driveway, as is common on our farm, and Doozy got pretty riled up and repeated a few of her dance moves from our solo ride. 

at least one of us can cheese for photos!!
also, when i say "gate" in this ring, i just mean... that wide open space behind us lol, none of it is fenced
Notably, however, when she had her 'proceed at speed' moment, it.... oddly wasn't really in any direction --- or at least, not so single-mindedly aimed at the gate as to be hard to steer. It also was a bit slower. Like I had time to think about which rein was in which hand, and which hand could more easily tug on the neck strap, but, darn it.., I twisted my reins trying to put them in one hand...., gotta fix that, oof, ok..., left rein is kinda long...., better shorten that, hm, oh, wait a second, Emma, have you even asked the horse to stop yet? 

At which point, I asked her to stop, and she did lol. Which gives the distinct impression that at least one lesson from our solo ride 8 stuck: she knows I can stop her, so ya know, maybe just go on ahead and do it. No need to overthink it lol.  

how it feels sometimes tho lol
I'm sure we will have moments again in the future when she's a bit more committed to whatever she's trying to do, but last night... Eh, she did her little dance, grunted her little grunts, and then kinda just went back to doing what we were doing. 

Sure sure, we repeated a few more laps in closer proximity to our ring mate again, and tested out turning back toward the gate at the far end off both reins to see if that inspired any sort of reaction in her. It did not, so we deemed her recovered, and proceeded as we had been -- riding in basically separate spaces in the ring, doing our own little things. Walking over the pole, turning this way and that way, practicing figures. 

and michael, of course
Then, naturally, stopped to snap some photos before executing another choreographed (but simple and uneventful) exit from the ring. Mission accomplished. Now to repeat this like 8,000 times between now and when the clock changes and we lose sunlight. 

Seems a bit unrealistic to think she'll be ready to ride in the darkness in the next few weeks.... But I definitely want to make progress on riding in company, especially company that isn't catering to my every stressy whim. Bc ya know... Some people are just coming to ride their own horses and do their own thangs. 

So... Traffic school it is. Like, yes I want to canter and jump and all that stuff, but I gotta be realistic in prioritizing the skills that will to allow us to continue developing without needing to rely on perfect and accommodating conditions all the time. 

Whatever it takes, it's honestly just exciting to have goals again, stuff to work toward! 


  1. Yayyy good girl!! On both the soundness and ring work front!

    1. ha for real, much happier to be writing posts like this!

  2. Cool! You are making progress. Doing all the firsts and building on them. It is encouraging how much we can get done with our horses at "just" a walk, developing a calm, quiet foundation.

    1. agreed completely. it's such a different process with doozy than it was with charlie, just bc the farm is so much bigger and busier, there are a LOT of "firsts" that have to be accomplished just to help her get familiar with the surroundings and whatnot. like, the lesson barn shed is across the driveway from the dressage ring, with cars and kids and ponies coming and going constantly -- learning to cope with that is a task unto itself, apparently LOL. meanwhile, with charlie, his stall was literally *inside* the indoor arena at his first farm, so it was a lot easier to just move immediately into the riding exercises part of training...

    2. A busy environment can sure be challenging, especially at the start of a relationship, but what great opportunities for training. I like how you are breaking things down for Doozy to help her process stuff in manageable doses.

  3. Yay! Good job Doozy! Good job Emma!

  4. Are their concerns about her soundness for trotting and cantering that are encouraging you to stay at a walk with Doozy? Or is it based on your personal comfort level with those gaits on a new horse? Asking out of curiosity, this is definitely not a criticism! It is impressive that you have been so patient for so many rides!

    1. i've actually written about each ride if you want the full scoop! she just arrived a month ago, so if you scroll thru last month's posts you can find info on each of her sessions so far, including when we have trotted, and when we have done other things like hacking out, and also details on anything relating to her soundness!

  5. She has the most beautiful head and eye <3

  6. Yay! Friends make everything better. You're doing a great job getting her started.

  7. Oh lord, do NOT remind me of riding at night. I am not looking forward to that


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