Sunday, April 17, 2011

Stormy Weather

The indoor arena has had some challenges in the past week, namely three 7' deep holes dug through the wonderful footing to try to locate a leaking waterline. Alas, it turned out the line didn't even go through the indoor as reported....
So the arena sits, waiting for the dirt to settle back in a bit before we get in there with rakes, new sand & rubber, and hours of effort to try to restore the surface. Perhaps it will even be improved in the long run!
The leak was, in the end, repaired and the water pump is no longer going off at all hours of the night. Thank goodness we were spared replacing that!
And the work continues--new stone in 2 of the stall, with 5 more to do. They will be tamped down, and matted, giving a few of the horses a whole new view on the world--they will be a foot higher and actually able to see out the windows again :)
Stone doesn't move itself, however, and we've been hard at it getting the stone from the pile into the stalls.

The storms of yesterday and today have meant the pile is covered tight, and the work has been interrupted giving everyone a break. The winds, with gusts up to 40 mph coupled with rain and a bit of snow, have driven us inside. Time to drink tea, pay bills, do some filing, and make plans.
When the hatches have been battened, and we are quietly sitting out the storms, it reminds me that days like these are sometimes a lovely break from the otherwise incessant work-work-work of the season.

I just hope it isn't too long before the sun shines again. I'd like to get these projects finished and cleaned up. I am sure there will be more to follow, and the occasional stormy days will be appreciated again.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Senses and stories of life

Stories in life...

One of my favorite "quick reads" is a foxhunting murder mystery by Rita Mae Brown. In one I've been listening to on tape, the author discusses--through the animals, of course-- the ability that some humans have to use all their senses and to listen to nature, including their own bodies. They talk about how most humans tend to see only what they are looking for, and therefore miss so much else that lays right before them.

I am guilty of this--not so much because I am unaware, but more because, though I AM aware, I deny following the path in front of me. Sometimes it is fear, sometimes it is trying to please others, and sometimes it is blatantly conscious choice, so that I can try a different road and see what might happen.

It is equally easy to make up excuses for behavior that denies our inner voice and being.
If we could all have the courage to follow our paths--for, as Arwen said to Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings--our path is not hidden; it is right before us. We have only to follow it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spring cleaning!

The horses liked the new post on the CEGA blog so much, they wanted to make sure folks saw it, so here it is again.
The one thing they would like to add is to make sure you schedule in time to try something new--a new type of riding, or going to a new place, or attending a show just for fun and to learn with your eyes and other senses not through riding. It's a great way to learn--with no pressure or stress for you or your horse--and it is a great way to network and meet all sorts of horse people!

And don't forget to check those fences, too--the grass will be greener on the other side after all :)

So here's the CEGA spring cleaning post again:

As we enter spring, with hope and excitement for the upcoming riding season, it's important to remember that we need to get back into shape gently. As the weather gets better, it's easy to get carried away and start in too vigorously, when both our horses and ourselves need time to get back into shape. Even if we ride all winter, the level of intensity is not the same, and it can be easy to overdo it. Take schooling sessions easy at first, gradually building back strength and stamina.

So how can we channel our energy so that we don't over do it on our horses? Spring cleaning!

Pour some of that energy into emptying out your tack trunk, and reorganizing it for the new season. Replenish supplies, clean stored items so they are fresh, and make sure it is packed neatly so that everything is in easy reach as the season gets busier.
Go through your medicine cabinet--make a shopping list. Throw away outdated meds, including wound dressings. Get a full complement of bandages and other items like vetrap, gauzes, duct tape. Make sure your thermometer has survived.
Get your clippers cleaned and sharpened, pull your horse's mane, and clip his goat whiskers, if not all of him.
Clean the barn and tack room--move things and sweep from underneath and behind; get the cobwebs and wash the windows and mirrors.
As the temps go up, get those winter blankets washed, repaired and stored, and make sure your coolers and sheets are ready to go and in good repair.
Check all your tack--daily used items and stored tack. Make sure everything is clean and well-oiled. Make a pile to sell at your local tack store or eBay, and create a list of things that need replacing and repair.
Look ahead in your calendar. What events do you want to attend? What do you need and level of fitness is required to get there? Then organize your training time backwards to set a systematic approach to get ready. Do you still need to get shots, teeth floated, tests done? Now is the time to get all your ducks in a row.
Include making sure your truck and trailer are ready--make appointments for them, too, to get brakes, wheels, floors, and engines checked and running well.

Focusing on being prepared will help us spread our energy around, and prevent us from jumping into riding too hard too soon.
Once the season gets into full swing, there will never be time to do these things--and any time spent on "house keeping" then is taking away from riding!

Happy Riding!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Teachers

One thing I remind my students of regularly is that I am not the main teacher in the arena.
The horses are the real masters, challenging, guiding, and most of all helping the student in so many ways.
When selecting which horse a student should ride for a lesson, there is a lot that goes into the process. How many lessons has that horse done this week, what challenges and opportunities does this horse most like to bring, and is that what this rider needs? And the big question: which horse would like to teach this person today?
I trust the horses in so many ways. When a lesson is particularly challenging, I ask what is this rider being told to pay attention to, and how can I help the horse get the message through?
The horses also trust me. They know I am aware of them and what is happening with them through all of my senses--even if I am not looking! Remember the teacher in third grade who everyone swore had eyes in the back of her head?
In the days ahead, the horses and I are going to explore what it's like to ride with all your senses, and to help riders figure out what learning opportunity is coming to them during each ride.
I hope you join us on this journey :)
Happy riding!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Summer Fun!

The Champlain Dressage Schooling Series has set their summer show dates.

Along with the full compliment of dressage classes using the brand new tests, there will be 2-phases and Western Dressage. We're even including a lead line class this year!

CDSS alos has a new web address. It's

Check it out and get ready to show!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Spring is in the air?

Aren't we all getting itchy for spring? Here in New England, no matter what the groundhog says, we've got at least 6 weeks left of winter. But the days are longer and brighter, and the sun is quite strong already.
The horses are thinking about shedding. It's the tough time of year when I want to ride more and be more active, and yet it's not really time--like waiting for the brownies to be done. if you keep opening the oven, they'll never get there!
Yesterday I rode 4 horses and was sweating with no convenient layers to remove (my turtleneck and longjohns were not coming off!). Today, I spent most of the day catching up on office work, and hoping the thermometer would go above 15 (it didn't, stubborn thing).
Tomorrow will be warmer, though, and no blizzard in the forecast, so I'll be back in the saddle.
Now, anyone for brownies?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Welcome! Horses rule here

For the most part, this blog will feature the thoughts and whisperings of the horses here at the Equestry. Notable contributors will be Xico--because Lusitanos should get first say; Grace--who knows, as the main mare here, that what she says is what really matters; and more from Jasper, Tucker, True and the rest of the cast.

They'll talk to us about life, training, riding, fun and fantasy.

From this barn to yours--happy riding :)

Since this is the first post for the Equestry blog, we would like your feedback on the overall design, legibility and navigability.