Monday, July 21, 2014


found boot, minus the mud it was buried in
From deep beneath the waters, my lost boot was retrieved! Not by me, but by my awesome SO. Who not only let my horse chase him out to the lake for two miles, but packed along goggles AND a snorkel to find my boot buried in the clay mud. While I kept riding.

He's a keeper folks.

before I abandoned him and went riding, he graciously took a photo of my tripod horse

It was a weird weather day, with a tiny sprinkling of unusual rain, just enough to make drop marks in the dust. We slammed on the brakes when I saw about three feet of rattlesnake stretched across the trail, and watched it slowly disappear into the brush. And ran into an old friend on the trail too! (Literally almost ran her over, that's why we slow for blind corners!)

Major was super full of it today. And I did the best thing: let him go. I have worked and worked to get this horse to have a nice slow and/or medium trot, but that takes 20+ miles. Until then I have walk, 10+mph trot and two canter speeds: reasonable and bolty (not allowed). Today I averaged a 12mph trot (when we could trot, our trails are tough) and a nice canter for 10 miles.

No fighting me when we can do a ride like that. This seems to be a whole different style of partnership than the obedience model that was drilled into me in the past. I still question does he learn a bad habit because we're going at the speed he wants? Or do I succeed because I'm getting what I ask for? Or are we both just having fun? I think the more I ride and learn the more questions I have.

All was going great until I hit the last stretch, and literally hit it: a large branch that fell on me as I glanced off its dead branches. Thank goodness for helmets and non-spooky horses that stop from a canter. Found boots, rattlesnake tails, cool breezes, cantering along single track and a bruised shoulder. More than 50% good works for me.

reunited and it feels so good...


  1. What're you using as padding in there? (Always on the lookout for ideas that work to recommend to customers...)

    And can I clone your SO? Or does he have brothers? ;)

    1. For padding I'm using yoga mat glued with contact cement. Just enough padding to help but not make a huge fit difference. I tried the Easy Care pads, but they got shredded after about 10 rides, and that was just pricey. I also tried mouse pads (destroyed almost instantly). This is a dense thin yoga mat from a discount store. I can make a lot of pads from it!

      After the first ride these get smushed down along the hoof wall area, but still leave the frog and sole support. Seems to help on our rocky trails.

      Once they get destroyed, chiseling them out isn't the most fun, but I've yet to find a good glue that will stay stuck AND come out easily!

      You can clone him, he'd probably help figure that out too!

    2. Okay, cool...I know I've recommended that type of thing exactly -- dense, thin yoga mat -- so it's good to see it works. :) For temporary pad attachment, I will use double-sided indoor-outdoor carpet tape, but that's pretty much a temporary, good-for-a-few-uses thing.

  2. How AWESOME! Definitely a keeper.

  3. Definately a keeper and so cool that you found your boot!!!!! I too have deviated from the obedience model and imo its only enhanced our relatiinship. And think anything that reduces the overall stress is a good thing. And we have more fun. And we talk to eachother more and listen more

  4. YES!!! Super extra boot score AND a cool photo! Your S.O is indeed a keeper.

    "I think the more I ride and learn the more questions I have. " I hear ya, sister! I think it all always boils down to YOUR goals in YOUR relationships with YOUR horse. There are ideas and ideals of perfection, and then there is real life. Personally I think that you're paying enough attention to notice if something you're trying (like speed/him choosing) has bleed over effects to your next sessions. That was the FIRST thing I noticed in Scrappy vaguely which led to a larger project: a bleedover effect of riding with faster horses nicely self collecting horse was turning into a rushy giraffe, and that highlighted the fact that he was broke and went in a hackamore when he was feeling polite, but when he was fitter and wasn't polite, he wasn't truly TRAINED, and I found myself on Snaffle Chomping Giraffe Boy. Cue much mental and vocal whining. I stopped riding with faster horse buddies, but that really didn't answer the WHOLE issue. That brewing "Hmm interesting..maybe I should do something" came out big time at april's Nevada Derby 50 where he was hi ho silvering and giraffey about so foolishly that he had some soreness under my seat bones after it from his crappy carriage, and we were kind of grumpy at each other. As you know I've also been screwing with saddle fit, but it's all of a picture so I won't put him in another ride, even happy with my saddle, until he's really solid on responding to the bit, coming up under himself, etc (which relates to happy back and saddle fit of course). I don't pretend to know much about dressage or the fancy terms but I know when a horse isn't using itself properly..Okay, this got long winded but my point is, I rooted out an issue with my horse and I'm addressing it so we can both be happy and comfortable. Some might say I'm doing it in the wrong fashion, should have noticed it sooner, yada yada whatever, the point is MY horse and I are addressing it and seeing positive changes already in our relationship. As long as you are seeing positive/positive change in your relationship/experience and are attentive to subtleties (which you clearly are), who's to say you are Doing Wrong? People have lots of opinions but horses don't generally lie. :)

    1. We are totally coming from the same place. Major does need more actual training, he has big holes like your guy too. For now we're working on just what I'm comfortable with doing on my own: speed without silliness by himself. He does carry himself nicely, but I definitely need more help with getting him to do so in exciting circumstances. And I could use a trainer. Maybe this fall...

      It's always something, I'm glad I'm not the only one. It sounds like you're making some very wise decisions about Scrappy, especially for creating a life-long riding partner.

      And horses don't lie. Thank you for that. I guess at the end of the day my happy horse speaks for himself.

  5. Have you read any Mark Rashid? He's understanding and perspective are unique in the horse world. I would recommend anything he's wrote, but one of my favorites is Horsemanship through Life and A Good Horse is Never a Bad Color.

    Great perspective on building relationship with your horse.

  6. Wow, good job SO! And good job Major - clipping a tree branch and having it fall on me is still one of my fears :( So glad yall are out having fun again.