Tuesday, 13 April 2021

go, go, go

 I feel like things have gone from pretty quiet and predictable, to 11/10 busy this spring.

My work is absolutely crazy right now, and I've got a lot going on outside of work at the moment too. 

The horsey blog relevant things are that lots of riding is happening and I'm in the process of organizing either some clinics or lessons (depending on whether there is enough local interest or whether I will just travel to her). I am reluctant to attempt to organize clinics again, and am most likely going to arrange to just meet somewhere for a lesson, but we'll see. 

In the meantime, we went trail riding all by ourselves and she was very excited, but excellent.

Our Covid situation here isn't currently great and travel outside your community isn't advised. I'm fully on board with riding lessons and shows not being essential so you won't see me out there until we're able to do it safely. Many shows and outings scheduled for this spring/summer have already been cancelled. This of course puts a bit of a damper on my lesson scheduling, but I'll cross my fingers I can get something organized as soon as it's safe to hop back on that ferry.

With shows and out of area clinics off the table this summer, my focus has shifted to buckling down and getting things done at home. 

We've made multiple offers on properties these last couple of years, but the market is red hot and nothing really works out. The last one had 15 competing bids for a 400k listing and finally went for 150k over asking, all in about 24 hours. So, we're going to start work on the World's Tiniest Horse Property this week. I think I've mentioned it before and shown you some plans, but then I got sidetracked :) Anyway, I have a little 1.2 acre property that is zoned for horses. I bought it many, many years ago before I met G. We have been renting the house on it out for the past 15 years or so and the remainder of it sits unused.

 I'll give you a recap post this week and get some before pictures of the disaster that is the 'horsey' part of place. (To give you an idea, I've hired an excavator to clean it up - it's just been slightly overgrown/neglected and there may or may not be a tree fallen on the barn. I've been travelling and living elsewhere a very long time lol).

This is the space I'm working with - I think it ends up being about 3/4 acre, so it's TINY. I wanted to leave a nice yard for the house, and have my access off the back laneway in case we keep the house rented long term. You can see some of the old paddock fencing and the barn.

Plans include upgrading the rustic 'barn' a little, clearing paddocks and planting grass seed, new fencing, and, if I'm lucky, the contractor will be able to fit a riding ring in the back beside the lane! While it's not going to be what I had envisioned having, I am grateful to 'previous me' for getting into the market when I did and I'm super excited about having my own space again. The hope is to move the horses there next fall. 

Bridget's going to be a backyard pony :)


Wednesday, 7 April 2021

A nice week

 We’ve been having fun since my last update, with more to come - I’m on vacation!

 So far, the weather has been very kind and we’ve had sunshine and warm spring days. It’s still too cold at night to really go wild planting the garden, which just means more barn time! 

Sophie’s still being worked a few times a week and thriving. I admit to second guessing myself this winter and comparing her to the other 4 coming 5 year olds already doing all the things, but I’m so glad I waited. She’s finally looking more like an adult horse ready for a job and she’s come back stronger and ready to go. She’s retained all the basics she learned last summer/fall and just looks good.

Here’s where I let you down by only having trailer and Bridget media. I’ve been trying to focus on the moment with Sophie and if I’m being honest, I low key dislike people taking pictures of me. So, I’ve left the riding media distraction off the agenda this week. But, Bridget is adorable, right? 😁

I’ve been keeping it low key on her - I am mindful I am not really brave enough to push the boundaries. Despite all my best intentions I find myself sending her little signals that maybe I don’t mean it: “Go forward, but my tense body says maybe not TOO forward, thanks!” Especially in canter, but I’ve caught myself doing it in trot too. Sophie’s generous enough to adjust accordingly, but I’m aware such riding might eventually lead to inadvertently shutting her down. That’s where R comes in! I’m very lucky to have someone willing to hop on and canter all around our giant club arena, letting Sophie find her balance with a rider with zero stress. ( I am far too prone to worrying about all the things going on in or around the arena and making excuses for why it’s not an ideal time to canter the baby horse) 

Resident deer was more interested in inspecting the new trailer than my horses ;)

Started organizing the tack room, realized I own a lot of blue items lol

There was a clinic this past weekend that I had on my calendar to attend, sadly I just couldn’t justify spending another $500 on horse things right this instant. But, there is always a silver lining - it was at our “home” arena and there was plenty of space to share. So, we took Sophie and accomplished many of the things I had wanted from the clinic - riding in a busy arena with other horses coming and going, and a show like atmosphere outside. 

Took no time at all to fill that up...and this is just “spare” stuff. I may have a problem.

In short, Sophie’s coming along really well, I am taking a bit of time to get my confidence on her, but it’s coming. We’re good.

I’ve been riding Bridget quite a bit to get back riding fit after my very slow winter. B is doing just fine. She’s having a little spring allergy flare up but still enjoys being a part of things. I’m forever grateful I’ve got my “old faithful” to fall back on when I struggle a bit with a young horse.

Trailer driving has been happening. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned I actually haven’t towed a trailer in years...and “back in the day” it was a boat with a pretty easy shot to the boat launch. So...this horse trailer thing where I can’t see over it is different and new. I’ve been practicing without the horses. I’m confident driving around, but backing up around corners is not a thing I am that great at yet. My husband is easily able to back it into tight spaces, which I appreciate, but I don’t want to be “that girl” getting the guy to park the trailer for me. So, I will keep practicing!


Monday, 29 March 2021

Trailer Must Haves?

I think I've been talking about getting my own trailer for the 10 year extent of this blog. I finally went and picked one up this past weekend. 

It's never to late to achieve those goals, lol.

I ended up buying new because I live at least one ferry ride from anything and that pretty much automatically makes any trip an overnight one. It made me anxious buying used 'unknown' where I didn't know the maintenance, miles, or history. I know it's not a car and a trailer only has so many things to maintain, but still...given my middle-of-nowhere location I really need reliable and as few surprises as possible.

With the current used market super hot and prices approaching new, it became a no brainer to just set a budget, go to the dealership, and see what I could get. Luckily, they had the three trailer brands I was interested there to look at, and it worked out the one I ended up choosing was in stock and ready to go. The one I had originally reserved to pick up ended up not being the one I chose, so I'm glad I was able to get there in person and look, even though it meant a 16 hour travel day!

A few compromises were made, but this checks all the boxes for things I need - small and relatively light for our F150 to tow. Aluminum body that won't rust and windows that close and lock, since it's parked in our driveway in the Wet Coast rain.

So, that's accomplished. As a person who tends to like having only a very basic level of 'things', it still seems a little odd to have it sitting in the driveway. But, if ever there was a year when I'd deem a trailer essential (with Bridget's upcoming trips to the Island), this is it.

Anyway, as a newbie trailer owner who is planning multiple overnight trips...I'm hoping the more experience crew can make recommendations on what I need to stock the trailer with. 

It came with interior/exterior lighting, a water tank, spare tire, all that. The doors and windows lock, so I'm cool with storing trailer dedicated essentials in there full time. The tack room is not huge but I am a minimalist. It came with hooks, blanket bars, saddle racks, and organizers installed.

Off the top of my head, I'm needing a roadside kit for tire changes, I'm thinking a first aid kit, and the obvious practical things like trailer ties and hay bags. You wouldn't think trailer ties would be a rabbit hole I could get lost in, but with one horse who doesn't solidly tie, and one who has allergies and really needs to be free to travel with a lower head, I'm indecisive.

So, readers - any recommendations for must-have items you can't live without? On the flip side, is there a commonly recommended item that you didn't find useful?


Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Good Things are Happening

 It's been a little while since I've felt like saying much. Winter kind of took it's toll on me this year in all things motivation and feeling ok about myself. I was having the odd day where I felt alright, but for the most part I was letting anxiety and negative feelings get the best of me and then feeling ashamed of my seeming inability to get on with things or acknowledge the many positives in my life and things I have to be grateful for.

I'm still digging myself out my hole of negativity, but, as always, I keep on working hard to progress too. So, even with some setbacks, there have been lots of good things happening that deserve updates here, despite my inability to pick up a camera to document them :)

- Sophie's been back in work for a couple of weeks now. I've enlisted R to help out again and she's had one great ride, one average one, and one more challenging one where I knew I'd made the right choice getting help. I'm riding too, but I think my confidence took a knock (along with my head - ha ha is it too soon for concussion jokes?) this winter so I'm mostly just hacking on her days off between R's schooling sessions. I'm getting myself back to being more comfortable up there and more riding fit, trying to be patient with myself and just do whatever feels within my comfort zone on the day. It does get easier every day.

She got a grown up pony bridle too. Also, she's shedding, so that awful clip will hopefully be a distant memory soon.

- I got a new phone...and the Pivo now works with it! It took some excellent video of a friend's recent lesson. I tried it last night in more challenging conditions and it still managed to track Bridget and I in rain and fading daylight. Exciting! One step closer to virtual lessons and showing.

- Sophie has definitely grown and filled out this winter. I need to measure her, but the difference under saddle is noticeable to the point it's almost as if she's been in work all winter. She's stronger behind and much more balanced and looks wise is getting to be more my type all the time. She's still very immature and a lot to deal with mentally, but the work is helping her settle.

- Clinics and horsey events everywhere. Our little town is close enough to Vancouver that it's been booming ever since the pandemic started. Lots of people moving here from there to work remotely...and a few of those people came with horses! It feels like the local calendar is busier with clinicians and planned rides than it's ever been, and that's pretty exciting. I've met a couple of other people recently that ride and want to do dressage, possibly a bit of jumping, which makes 3 of us! lol. In all seriousness, we've been chatting about sharing expenses to attend out of town lessons and shows, which would be amazing. 

- Bridget is still feeling good. She has a slight cough due to me stupidly trying to sub in a little bit of different hay (I have so much...more than Sophie can eat by the end of summer) but she feels alright under saddle and is still my go to riding pony, happily trucking all over the trails one day and humoring my desire to pop over tiny jumps the next.

- I finally pick up my new trailer Friday! I'm really looking forward to having the freedom to trailer out of town, mostly so I can get back to lessons with EC. Also, it's kind of an integral piece of the puzzle to get Bridget over the island to be bred this spring :)


Friday, 5 March 2021

The New Bridget

 Amanda's post HERE got me thinking, because I also own a horse that doesn't much resemble the one I bought all those years ago. It's a fun topic, looking back on where you started from and what you've got now. Maybe your horse has all kinds of experience now, maybe there are way more tools in the toolbox and that's changed how they are to ride and be around. Maybe it's more of a mental thing, where you've both matured into a partnership. I wonder how many of us could honestly say their horse is exactly the same from the day you bought them?

I was looking back on the blog archives and it's so funny - I actually wrote a post about Bridget in April 2014, sharing for the breeder. I was working out of province and not really in the market for anything, plus I was riding at a hunter/jumper barn and had some aspirations of going that direction if I ever was to buy another horse.

I forgot she had a grey mane and tail when she was young...wonder if her foal will?

I actually ended up purchasing her in the fall of 2014...so that was 6 and a half years ago.

For the first year or so, I had her at home with me and we tackled tons of trails and did a bit of schooling in the arena. She was super on the roads and trails, but my initial impressions were that she was very, very stubborn and super lazy and opinionated about anything she found difficult (which was everything involving any sort of schooling or rein contact). Zero interest in being part of anything that didn't meet her own agenda. Her go to was to just shut down and plant her feet (I'd joke that the batteries wore out). So although she checked my boxes as a safe confidence builder, I didn't love her or think I was the right person long term for her. I was still shopping for the right horse, then Bridget was going to be sold as a safe kids trail pony.

This clinician still asks about B...she looked easy with me, but then decided 'nope' for him and made him work for his $ lol

Then, I moved yet again, for my current job. My office just happens to be 10 minutes from a very good eventing/dressage coach. So, obviously I was not going to let that opportunity slide and just brought the potato pony I had that was sort of for sale to a barn full of eventers.

The next few years I learned a ton, as did B. The more she learned how to use her body, the more forward and confident she became. While she never really could be trusted to not opt out and let me down on the day (we used to joke I needed to bring 150% motivation and commitment to make up for Bridget), her work ethic improved a lot and she became surprisingly athletic and capable as a little eventer/jumper and later, as my low level dressage pony.

She's so cute. I do believe she hesitated a few strides out and I was still shouting at her to go, lol

She's talented enough dressage wise that I was encouraged to keep on keeping on by even some bigger name trainers (besides, by that point we had a partnership and I was super attached and not selling her) but after a couple of successful show seasons she gradually got more and more unreliable and 'stuck' again and was definitely telling me she didn't love her job. I started shopping for a pony to be my future dressage/eventing ride, and that's how baby Sophie came into the picture.

Why yes, I do still have all the tests with nice comments :)

A couple of years ago, I was offered the chance to work from home part time, then Covid happened and I've been full time from home for a year. B moved home with me 2 years ago and I have to say the change in her since then has been absolutely shocking. The first time my coach came to give us a lesson she was surprised - "I don't know how you did it but you've finally got her forward enough". I didn't do anything, to be honest, B was finally just offering it freely and I was happily just riding. Maybe I didn't need another pony for those competition goals after all?  Encouraged by the breakthroughs, I signed her up for a show in the city that spring. She worked wonderfully all the way up to it, then on the day...nope. Nada. The B of 2014 was back and it was awful. I don't know how much more loudly she could tell me she was not interested in being the next dressage star.

Since then, we just visit the arena once or twice a week and hit the trails most days. And again, the difference in her attitude continues to be shocking. She's bold, outgoing, super spicy, opinionated, engaging, and often way too much in your space. She whinnies and comes running when she sees me or my truck.  A far cry from the reserved and uninterested pony I bought who basically had zero personality beyond a pretty strong "best leave me alone if you've got any work planned" vibe. If I look back, she was never easy, and there were always glimpses of a bigger personality in there, but I'm honestly still puzzled as to why she was so reserved for so long. Our current boarding and riding schedule is exactly the same as what we started out with all those years ago, but I've got an entirely new pony. Part of me feels a little like I let her down a little before thinking she was naturally just super quiet and introverted, the other part of me just wants to appreciate that she's gradually come out of her shell over time and is such a fun, happy thing now.

Living the life :)


Monday, 1 March 2021

Nothing To See Here - February Recap, March Happenings

 Well, I feel like I totally dropped the ball on doing pretty much anything interesting in February. I had plans to go to the city to pick up my new trailer and then get lots of riding in at the indoor on week nights. In my mind I was totally going to own February.

B striking a power pose

 Then our truck decided it needed some fairly costly repairs before it could safely go on a road trip, the mechanic was booked way out, and it snowed. Rather than adapting my riding plans, I went into "when I have my trailer I will..." mode, where I basically made excuses to do the bare minimum because it's all just going to be so much easier with the trailer so I might as well wait. Never mind that I have been getting rides in 'the hard way' and hacking down the road in the rain and dark for 2+ years now. Some twisted logic there for sure :D

Of course I am somewhat exaggerating my lack of riding time - I did get Bridget out for some nice outings a few times a week last month and Sophie tagged along too quite often. In general, they've both been feeling WAY too good. I've been feeling way too rusty and out of shape - honestly though it's less physical and more that my mental game is pretty weak right now. So, B and I have been on an easy schedule of long walking hacks up and down hills, some basic flatwork in the arena once a week, and that's about it. It's good for her, and honestly exactly what I needed this month to try to get my head straight and my body happy to be in the saddle again.

Look how shiny!

With Sophie, I finally accepted the limits of my patience and ended up giving up getting her exercised on my own every day. I started putting her on a few hours turnout in a different field most afternoons. It's still too wet to use the lower fields and the barn owner was hoping to save the grass for spring, but I was starting to dread having to lead half wild Sophie down the busy road to the arena each day. She's a good girl and tries her best, but she's still young and is naturally very high energy and playful. She really just needed more room to get in a good gallop (or ten) on her own each day. She's done a number on the footing in her own paddock so it's a bit too mucky/slick most days for her to really play as hard as she'd like. Thank goodness the barn owner agreed to let me sacrifice my summer fields a bit for her antics. It really seems to be helping Sophie and I get along better with each other ;).

Likes an audience

Both girls are starting to shed and both had pony makeovers in preparation for spring. B is of course just going off to (hopefully) be bred. Despite having nothing else on her agenda, I like keeping her looking tidy and as much like a little sport cob as I can.

New halter so everyone knows she's special

Sophie. As mentioned, the bigger field with gallop friendly footing is helping S and it's finally starting to be light enough after work to get a quick ride in. Despite having some nice Bridget therapy on the trails, I'm still at a really low point as far as my mental game relates to riding. The mean girl voice in my head has been winning. I know for me the best way to get past that is to just get out there. I need to just be too busy doing all the things to think about all the ways I might be doing them inadequately, yet with Covid I find it difficult - it seems a lot of my motivation to get out there every day comes from setting show or event related goals.

Girls having fun in the sun

Honestly I really need to see if I can book some boot camp time with my coach once I get the trailer home (not an excuse, she lives a few hours away so I really do need a trailer to get Sophie there ;). Until then, R has agreed to help out again so I'm hopeful this month as the days get longer, I can get S back to the consistency we had before Christmas. 


Monday, 22 February 2021


 Sophie is, unfortunately, one of *those* horses. The ones who don't reliably tie. At some point her younger self probably got scared, pulled back, and got free. She's smart and I suspect it's now forever there as an option to try if she's scared (or frustrated) enough.

I've had a couple of horses like that. I suspect we probably all have owned or needed to manage one at some point. Then there's the flip side, the Bridgets of the world who would probably stand tied forever if that's how you left them, because it would never occur to them there is any other option.

Thinks she is tied, will therefore stand at this tree until the end of time.

The old school approach with the trickier ones used to be to just tie them, leave them, and let them figure it out. I actually know someone whose horse died that way. The poor horse stuggled a while before anyone could get him free and his death was not the result of just one 'unlucky' injury. So, count me as someone who would never try that.

My go to method with Sophie is to loop (rather than tie) the rope so there is resistance when she pulls back, but it doesn't catch. Normally she stops as soon as the rope gives a little, so there is no dramatic exit or anything like that, just me coming back to rewrap a foot or two of the rope again. Those blocker tie rings accomplish the same. I've had success cross tying where there is a wall behind them too to discourage that option (like in a wash or grooming bay). 

Ropes looped around posts - an imperfect solution but it seems to work.

I also always leave her with a hay net or something else to keep her busy (she likes playing with the end of the rope or a brush (or really anything) and I let her - I want the experience to be fun and positive rather than stressful and looking for a reason to leave.

I also spend a little bit of time getting her to lower her head and give to pressure every day. Every time I put her halter on, I use it often when she wants to giraffe and be distracted, sometimes just to clip or trim her bridle path. It's a handy thing for them to know. She's a smart cookie, and it's been a long time since there's been any drama, but I'm not kidding myself that I've really solved anything - I'm just managing it until the next time her instincts take over.

Bridget looks so offended, but you can see the broken snaffle bit someone attached to the post as a cheaper version of the blocker ties you can buy.

When I see an article or video on teaching a horse to tie I'm all over it. I'd love to find a fail safe solution.

However, there was an incident here a while ago that got me thinking harder. It could have gone so, so, wrong. It kept me up at night for a while after, just in disbelief that everyone was OK. I feel nauseous just thinking it out now. As is the way, I also spent a good chunk of time wondering what I could do to keep myself and my horses safe in the same situation.

The (short, edited, version) of the story: Where I board, someone inexperienced tied a horse to some round pen panels. He pulled back and brought the whole series of panels with him. He ended up on top of and tangled in them, with a small kid, assorted saddle stands, saddles and gear, all now pinned underneath both the panels and the panicking horse. The whole mess got dragged over to two other horses who were tied at the barn(and now also trying to get out of there and kicking at the whole disaster behind them, one falling over in her attempt to get free) Only one of the three horses were tied with a quick release knot (which someone luckily was able to safely get to). None had any kind of gear that would have allowed them to break away - one was even tied in a rope halter. I have no idea how that little girl is OK (she was right under the horse for a bit), how the horses didn't break legs or worse, or honestly how anyone trying to help untangle the whole mess while it was happening (to get the little girl out) walked away unscathed. I was on a different part of the property and heard kids screaming and just arrived in time to get one of the horses tied at the barn out of the way and that felt sketchy enough.

I don't think I need to go into crazy detail on all the things that shouldn't have happened there. I doubt anyone reading this blog needs a safety PSA on tying horses properly.

It did get me thinking that I'm not sure there's any situation where I'd feel comfortable tying a horse where they couldn't potentially break away and leave if needed. So if I own one that knows they can take advantage of that, well I guess that's just life and I manage it as best I can. Quick release knots are fine and all, but it means you've got to be close enough and able to get to the end of the rope to pull it loose. Not so safe for you if there is one panicking pony, let alone a few of them.

I guess that means I just keep on keeping on with Sophie. She knows she can pull back and get away, I know she can pull back and (eventually) get away, but maybe we just keep our truce where she knows a good pony stays where they're put. If she does pull back, we have a deal where I won't make her feel trapped. Fingers crossed, she's been very honest about our little arrangement so far. It will be a bit to manage it properly outside our bubble (thinking of events where there is no stabling and everyone ties to the trailer, especially) but I can't be alone in this.

Enjoys pretending to be wild and fierce, is actually quite civilized

How well do your horses tie? Do you have any tips or tricks to reform the ones that pull back?


Friday, 12 February 2021

Winter Came

 And I don't mind.

Like many of you, we're having colder than average temperatures and a bit of winter. Living here can be incredibly depressing in the winter with all the gloomy, rainy, darkness, so I'm currently THAT person.

Sophie always looks like she's smiling, at least. 

 The one who is beyond happy to have a taste of real winter. We got a nice dump of snow a couple of days ago, so the roads are super hazardous. To give us our due, I have lived both on the prairies and the coast and the snow we get here is more similar to that icy melty snow the prairies get in the spring - it actually is really is hard to drive on (not arguing the fact the drivers here are...less than capable... in general though ;)  Anyway, with the roads being unsafe (because obviously we only have one snowplow in the area and everyone seems to drive a 2wd car, lol) it's been pretty quiet and relaxing. Kind of nice to have a built in reason to not have to do all the things.

I almost didn't turn them out into the bigger field the first night because I was worried about Sophie playing too hard and slipping, but she was sensible for once.

The horses haven't been up to much of anything, because I need to ride on a road to get to the arena (which is covered in snow - on top of some too deep sand that's not draining properly - anyway). This weekend I might see if I can venture to the indoor, but that will just be a Bridget ride. It's only available to book on weekends, and longeing is not allowed in there. There is no way I'm hopping on Sophie after a week off without giving her a chance to burn off some energy first!

Bridget declining to leave her stall :)

Instead of riding this week I've been putting in some extra hours at work, which means I'm banking days off for future horse adventures. There are a couple of clinics coming up in March that could be doable. April/May is going to be a bit up in the air with Bridget's appointments and expenses, so it might be nice schedule and budget wise to get some clinic time in ahead of that.

Or, I may wait. It's made for a very uneventful blog, but I've kind of enjoyed this intermission I've had this week, and even in general the more laid back pace the past couple of years while I wait for Sophie to mature enough to be my next riding and competition horse.


Tuesday, 9 February 2021

A One Pony Party

 It's been drier out so I've been able to give the girls a bit of a treat and put them in one of the smaller fields while I muck out and do chores. Bridget says thank you,  the grass is tasty there. Sophie, well, she's been Sophie:


Monday, 8 February 2021

50 First Rides

Bridget continued to be a little ball of fire all last week, leading to some interesting rides. We had one more parting of ways. She uses that big neck against me where she'll slam to a stop, get me tipped a bit forward and get her neck down and buck. Sneaky pony. Even at my strongest I’m pretty helpless against it (especially on down banks, lifetime memories from that xc clinic lol) - if she gets my shoulders forward and can pull her head between her knees I’m done. Thank goodness she’s usually not inclined to pull out that particular trick and the technique she uses involves slamming to a halt first and depositing me fairly gently over her shoulder, lol. 

Non dramatic reenactment of the view from the ground :)

By Saturday she’d pretty much tired herself out and we were back to normal rides. Even though she’s obviously feeling fantastic and cheeky I’m still trying to be cautious with her and build up her fitness gradually. I’m so grateful to have her around, it’s a treat to have a relatively well schooled pony I know inside and out. The plan is obviously still to breed her this spring, but I’m working to build up my fitness again and bringing hers up too will hopefully ensure an easier time for her once she’s in foal.

We had a drier week, so the girls had some much appreciated pasture time.

On to Sophie. Sophie. Oh my goodness. The mood must have been contagious because she’s been an absolute nut all week - as the weather gets colder, the ridiculousness increases. By Saturday I’ll admit my patience with her was wearing thin (and that unfortunately just feeds more drama from her.) She was a bit much for the shared outdoor and her energy was affecting the other horses, so I ended up moving over to the indoor and just tying her in there while I rode B and contemplated S’s sale ad ;) 

Sophie dancing to the songs in her head

I did hop on S eventually this weekend for the first time since Christmas. My husband (G) and I were joking my life with her this winter should be titled  50 First Rides. It did indeed feel like a first ride on a baby,  she was overreacting because I’d been on her case all weekend about remembering her ground manners - it’s kind of a negative spiral where she pushes and pushes and I calmly correct over and over while she tries things every different way. Then, eventually, I break and she gets a bigger reaction, and then she’s sure I'm out to get her. It's a game, I know it is, and yet some days I still get sucked in to playing.

 It’s the same type of thing she does with other horses (and she has the scars to show for it) - she pesters them all day long and she lives for the exciting moment when someone finally chases her off and she can then be super dramatic and gallop around and play. That's usually immediately followed by over the top repentant, can’t-survive-without-your-friendship mode. I don't think she has any desire to be the boss of anything, I think she thinks it's all just fun and everyone should want to play and then she's upset when no one thinks it's funny...she's 4 years old and still does that funny lip smacking 'I'm just a baby, don't be mad' thing they do. Anyway, at the very least, she is definitely going to teach me to be better. 

"Help! Bridget is mad at me!"

On paper I guess it looks like there were a few frustrations and negatives this week. I’m actually feeling pretty happy though - B is feeling great, which means the world to me, and it feels really good to be be starting to put Sophie back into work too....the days are getting long enough now that even on week days if I plan well I should be able to fit in a short ride or outing before dark.