Tuesday 30 September 2014

B&BS Blog Hop: Quirky Horse

I really enjoy Terise's blog, Breeches and Boat Shoes, and she has come up with an excellent blog hop. She asks:

What are some quirks, naughty or nice, that your horse has and do you love or hate them?

Since I own the most wonderfully quirky horse in Ginger, this was a blog hop designed for us!

-Under saddle: Think about what you want. Please don't progress to asking...mind reading pony will be very insulted. Don't even consider a stick or spurs - cue panic!

-The "Stranger Danger" thing. She's amazing at convincing people she doesn't know that she's just a poor, terrified pony who ether A) was abused, or B) is totally untrained. Same for strange horses - she's not a fan until you introduce them. Can make things slightly interesting when we attend a lesson with a new instructor.

-Vehicles. Vehicles are ok. Slightly different vehicles (ie with a trailer, or a roof rack) eat ponies for lunch.

-Barn cats. Black one = scary panther of death (run away if sighted at any time). Tabby colored one = awesome friend.

-Water. Loves water in any form, particularly if she can get her front feet in it.

-Sensitive. Like really, really tuned into you. It can be a little creepy if I'm honest. But it also makes for some really cool liberty type work - lunging without a line, trail courses tackless comes when called, etc.

-G. With acting like she's high on something half the time, and not a horse I would in any way consider beginner friendly, around my not-so-horsey husband G she is a big dog. (She prefers his company to mine and LOVES when he takes her out for a walk!)

A happy day for Ginger! Splashing in the lake with G.
Of course I just love Ginger and she wouldn't be her larger than life self without all the quirks!

Monday 29 September 2014

The (Really) Easy Keeper

Both girls are super easy keepers...even with the price of hay pushing $500 a ton around here, I've worked out it costs an average of about $100 a month (including a basic grain and mineral supplement) to feed the both of them. It's pretty nice that we have pasture to graze, but they have to have their pasture time pretty strictly regulated, even in mid winter.I suspect if I wanted to be a super budget owner and didn't worry about sugar content, they'd do just fine on pasture alone all year and I could forget about feeding hay. 

We know Ginger will eat just about anything. But now we have Bridget, who takes it to a whole new level. Is there some weird genetic thing that makes her want to eat the worst weeds and grazing in the pasture? Its a bit odd, since the pasture is seeded and mowed and the poop picked - it's beautiful! She really has to go out of her way to find weeds. Exhibit A:

A zoomed in shot of the other horses happily eating nice grass at the far end of the pasture. The dirt patch visible is from some digging to install more drainage pipes, not overgrazing. 
And....Bridget at the other end of the pasture, eating the weeds around the manure pile. Same moment in time, same pasture, She does this every day - it's really her preferred area to graze, and as you can see it's not a large area so she's eaten it basically down to the dirt. I pay extra  to board at this beautiful pasture why?

Whatever's in those weeds is making her shiny and healthy, at least.
Hope everyone had a fabulous weekend! We did a bunch more trail riding, which is not so very exciting blog material, but was a lot of fun:)

Saturday 27 September 2014

September's 10 Questions

L Williams at Viva Carlos has 10 more excellent questions for us. Yay!

  • Is there something you don't like about your riding? My lower back hurts. I think this is why my right leg and heel want to creep up all day long so I can sit on my left seatbone. It really bothers me since it's not fair to my horses for me to sit so crookedly! Been focusing on it hugely and feel like there's been great progress...then I see pictures where it's still in evidence here and there and hate myself a little. Also impatient to finish losing the extra weight - not only do I think I'll look better in the saddle, I think being smaller will help me ride better/more effectively.

  • Does your horse buck? Ginger is more a fan of the spin and bolt - her bucks in the field look super awkward. Bridget's done a little rear and crowhop, but again, not showing much talent for rodeo :)
    Ginger's signature move

  • Is your horse head shy? Bridget - never. Ginger - if she doesn't know you she can be very head shy and convince you I beat her. If she knows you or you give her a treat she's instantly cured of that. 

  • Favorite barn chore to do? I love doing repairs and landscaping - anything that makes the place better. I like cleaning and doing stalls, but the satisfaction is obviously not quite so long term!

  • How many times do you ride a week? Twice a week while I was away, now we are pushing a month at 6-7 days a week and I'm just loving it!

  • Who is your favorite pro rider? Tough one. I really like to watch Carl Hester's videos - he's so light and positive and has an amazing sense of timing. I do love eventing though, so I'll pick Mary King since she's an amazing rider and also seems like a good person from the interviews I've seen.

  • If one pro rider could train you for one day who would it be? For one day only? Hmmm. If I could magically learn one thing from someone it would be more confidence going faster over bigger fences, so maybe I'd choose to be out with a steeplechase jockey or something! Or, I'd pick one of my above choices or any of the eventers who also seem to produce good dressage tests consistently...WFP, Ingrid Klimke, etc. I'd be super super nice to them and be a barn slave to try to get that one lesson extended to many!

  • Favorite Facial Marking? Nice even blaze.
    Sensing some similarity here

  • Leg Markings or No Leg Markings? All or nothing! Either 4 evenly marked whites or none at all. I'm apparently OCD about markings.

  • Ever broken anything falling off? Does confidence count?
  • SHARE:

    Thursday 25 September 2014

    Progress: Bridget Edition

    Thought I would do a progress update for each pony once a month or so. Apologies in advance, this is probably going to be boring as heck, but I'm hoping a good tool for me to be able to look back on and/or set future goals. Ginger gets to be exempt this month, since we`ve just been inching back to work, but Bridget has accomplished a lot!

    Best trail pony

    Where we were at:

    Confident little pony who would go anywhere you pointed her. Problem was, her concept of rein and leg aids was vague at best. Not to mention stop and go. But if you wanted to go out and walk around the trails she was actually pretty good - spooky and opinionated, but enjoying the outing.

    Where we are now:

    Way better steering! Our circles are mostly round these days. Awesome about moving off my leg as well...turns on the forehand and haunches are a go, as well as spirals and leg yields. Huge progress there over the last few weeks

    A basic idea of contact/forward. It`s only been in the last week or so it's started to click. She's much less 'stuck' and willing to stretch down onto the bit. This is actually huge, since the driving video I saw of her was essentially all her running around inverted and featured a ton of head tossing. The head tossing stopped almost immediately when she realized I'm not going to haul on her face, but the inverted, hiding above the bit is taking longer. The last couple of days she's got a lot more confident about things and is addicted to stretching over her back, which makes me so happy!

    Practical stuff - opening and closing gates mounted, lunging, fly spray, leaving the barn solo, dogs accompanying us, people on bicycles, leading/middle/following on trail rides, puddles, standing for mounting...all things that took some practice, but she's pretty solid now!

    Things to work at;

    Rhythm, straightness. Baby pony is still pretty wiggly, and the trot is much improved, but still very stop and go feeling as compared to a more finished horse. 

    Balance, strength. Lots more slow trail miles will help get us there with minimal stress.

    Canter. Currently if I'm after her to get some 'forward' and if she offers canter for a few strides I take it. That's fine for now, but a transition on cue could be something to play with after the above two items have progressed a little more.

    Lunging/in hand work. We've got the basics, but I'd like to get her more on level with Ginger, where I can essentially do everything I need to from the ground and get the same or better results as a ride.

    Lots more of this in our future


    Tuesday 23 September 2014

    Two For One

    With G's help, this morning I was able to get in a ride on both horses in one outing and accompany G out on a hike. So lucky to have a 'horse valet'!

    Since G is not the best picture taker and the rain was really coming down, we didn't get any really nice shots, but that's OK, we had a great outing, with a quick ride in the ring on both ponies, then a trail ride where I rode Ginger through the forest for about an hour or so, with G leading Bridget. then I got on Bridget for the half hour ride home along the road. 
    Those hands again. But I was so happy to ride Ginger :)

     I really need to keep putting time on Bridget. Our ride in the ring to start with was a little discouraging - the forward button was once again sticky and to be honest I called it good after pony kicking my way to a few canter strides in each direction. I've been focusing on having fun out on the trails a little too much - my efforts to get her moving in the ring left me huffing and puffing more than she was. We need to buckle down a little and get those basics more solid, as she can be quite impatient about standing as well. Definitely a respect issue in general as she's pushy on the ground too. It's great we've been having a lot of fun and putting a ton of miles on, but we need to address the respect/work ethic issue - I feel like what we do now is setting the foundation for our future together and it's not going to be all fun for Ms Bridget all the time :).
    One of the many outtakes but Bridget is it at least lol

    Ginger was fabulous. To be critical maybe a little too forward and excitable, but it was nice after Bridget :) We just walked and trotted and did a few leg yields and serpentines. My main goal today was to have a good trail ride on her, so the ring work was more just a check in,
    Nice relaxed trot to finish

    Both were excellent on the trail. We went through lots of water, over some small wooden bridges and through some tight spots and difficult footing without any issues. So nice to have my awesome Gingersnap back in trail pony mode. I don't know if I'd go so far as to say Ginger had fun - she hates the rain and is currently obsessed with one of her barn mates - but she was really well behaved and I think enjoyed the attention she got.
    Good Ginger gets a hug - she doesn't look overly impressed :)

    We came back down the area's main road. Bridget of course was a star and G was very impressed with her, as I always am. Ginger remains quite spooky with traffic if drivers don't move over and slow down, so I don't really ride her on the main road as I can't count on the drivers there to be horse smart. 

    All in all, a nice morning that left me eager for tomorrow's ride.

    Monday 22 September 2014

    Happy Pony

    We've been calling Ginger the Happy Pony jokingly for years because it's literally impossible to catch her in anything but a good mood. Also, pony time puts me in a good mood, which G finds valuable ;) It spiraled from there to become a 'thing' and it rates all sorts of jokes in our house. She's basically morphed into a super pony that can eliminate any of the worlds troubles. 
    Happy Pony to the rescue!
     A month or so ago, I saw a random wedding photo from a friend of a friend in another province. My friend wanted country style engagement photos like the one she had seen at the wedding she attended, but all I could think was that the horse in the photo looked an awful lot like Ginger! It turns out it was indeed her. I guess a local photographer set up country style shoot at the farm for a couple as a one off, and people saw those photos, and it's now a bit of a thing to have your wedding or grad photo at the farm with Ginger in the background. The photographer loves it because Ginger always comes to the fence to pose and "always looks so happy!". She's supposed to forward me on some shots to share here, and has promised a free photo shoot of the girls as a thank you, which I will of course also share here. You can imagine our amusement when we found out the Happy Pony has independently expanded her empire to participate in weddings and engagements :)
    Who, me?

    So, with Ginger's help, this weekend marked three weeks of happiness and fun and NO horse world drama.  And I enjoyed every second of it. Then yesterday, some nasty (and untrue) gossip about myself got back to me and that added with some weird dynamics at the barn put me in a bit of a funk. I know, I know, I don't need to allow those people to make me feel bad...and actually I really didn't. More just sad that the reality seems to be that we can't all just leave egos out of it, mind our own business, and enjoy our ponies and be positive and kind to each other. I could write a giant angry post, but instead I'm going to opt to use the force of the Happy Pony. Here's a bunch of pony spam that should put the world to rights again :)

    You have treats, please?

    Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

    Saturday 20 September 2014

    In Which I Finally Ride Both Horses/ Blog Hop Failure

    I was going to do the blog hop from Now, That's The Spot! and tell you all about my other hobbies, but then I realized I haven't really been hiking/running/mountain biking/cooking/designing much at all lately - it's been a 24/7 horse party all of September! So, instead of something different, you get to read about horses...again. If you want some more entertaining stuff, check out the blog hop :) I've been really enjoying reading everyone's posts.

    Ginny was the pony of choice yesterday morning, and was absolutely full of herself. I have to take back my words from the other day where I was thinking she might be finally growing up. Sorry Ginny, but a massive spook at nothing, resulting in explosive poo (while still in the barn driveway) will do that to you! (Also spooking at that same poo on the way back into the barn gets bonus points). Mental age today = -1.5 ;) 

    Just call her Crazy Eyes
    I opted to walk her up to the ring and lunge. She was back to pretending to be scared of me and trying to convince the world I beat her (for the record I have never so much as even tapped her with a dressage whip...nor have I ever been in any way rough with her. Silly mare.)
    Sad pony. Also my saddle looks tiny on her as compared to Bridget!

    She was a bit cranky on the lunge, which is VERY out of character for her and I thought I was seeing a bit of a short stride on her right hind. That`s also the side with what appears to be a small kick mark on her bum from pony roughhousing. We`ll keep an eye on it...she seemed to warm up out of whatever it was, but I still kept it short and let her use most of the arena rather than just keeping her on the circle. I`m hoping it`s just a pasture bump and not a big deal.

    Finally, I actually got on my big mare for a quick ride. I know, I know, I was going to wait for G to be there, but it was a good day and it just felt like the right time. Ginny surprised me by letting out a huge sigh and dropping her head/stretching over her back almost immediately. Did she think my riding was going to be that horrible? Sadly, maybe. This is the first time in a long time I'm not nervous on her and I think she was probably relieved by that. Mindful of my (relatively newly found) confidence, and her fitness and stiff bum, we just puttered around on a loose rein and did pretty much the same things I'm working on with Bridget - big serpentines and circles, and lots of forward walk and trot, trying to encourage her to stretch and relax. Ginger was totally with that program and we had a really nice ride with some super stretchy circles and lots of yawning and relaxed chewing on her part. It felt so wonderful to be back riding Ginger - she really is so cool under saddle. I managed to lose my phone somewhere in the ring, so I had a little freak out over that and forgot to be overly emotional about the fact I actually rode my big mare for the first time in months. Hoepfully the first of many more great rides! G has promised to come take some pictures in the coming week.

    Phone really didn't want to be found, so I gave up after a couple of hours and enlisted G to help after work and of course then miraculously found it in about 2 minutes, but way outside the ring in the bushes. G is convinced there must have been some crazy pony antics to make my phone fly that far, but all I can think of is maybe that big trot of hers helped propel it.
    Nice road, deep ditches
    Bridget and I met a new friend at that clinic a couple of weekends ago and finally got out for a ride with her and her Icelandic horse this morning. Lots of fun and beautiful trails - I think we've found another riding buddy! My ride home on the road was a little hair raising at one point since a large bus-sized motorhome towing a truck opted to be super ignorant and speed/accelerate towards us on the gravel, crowding us off the road. So rude...I saw he forced an oncoming car off to the shoulder as well! :( Little Bridget was wonderful, though, and rather than panicking and blindly leaping into the ditch, opted to assess the situation logically and remain facing the vehicle and just back sideways, bum first very carefully into the ditch. We had a bit of a jump to get out - we'll call it practice for those big eventing up banks :) I expected her to be a bit worried about other vehicles passing after that, but she was fine. After today, I will officially say she's 100% road safe.
    Only worries about where her next meal is coming from
     Have a fun weekend, everyone - I'm taking the day off tomorrow and then will hopefully be having a dressage lesson on Monday.


    Friday 19 September 2014

    Like Magic

    It's been cool and misty the past couple of mornings, and of course I've been enjoying the break from the heat at the barn. It's hard to describe how special these fall mornings are - the leaves are starting to change, the ponies are feeling cheeky and it even smells wonderful and fresh with the little bit of rain.

    A hint of the fall colors to come
    I'm going to go out on a limb and say those who predicted Ginger would mature with age may be right. She's 7 years old now and is so much more level and easier to deal with than in the past. Even our excursions out and about and up to the ring have yet to yield any drama. I haven't ridden yet, since I did promise G I wouldn't ride her alone the first few times, but I've been lunging her regularly and playing with groundwork. We had a huge semi truck fly past us (accelerating!) on the road yesterday and she didn't put a foot out of place. Is this really Ginger?! I'm anxiously waiting for G's days off work so I can hop on and get going again. Since Ginger only had about 3 or 4 short rides in my absence, it's probably not a bad thing to bring her back with short sessions on the lunge, but I'm really feeling impatient. I'm back to being excited to ride her, which is such a nice feeling after those months of being nervous. She's so great and I just love her.
    Love that pony. Pic from last week. This week = more of the same

    Will she get fit by watching? :)

    Bridget came out with me this morning for a ride. I was cleaning up my tack bin and found my spurs I had for Lainey and thought "why not?". I could see in last week's photos I'm falling into the habit of nagging with my leg. I hate that! Ginger will hate that! Again, though, with spurs it was like magic. I only had to use them lightly once and she was wide awake and putting in a good effort after that. I've not been giving myself enough credit - I've actually taught her well! She's just been outsmarting me and giving me the middle finger the last couple of rides and I fell for it thinking the poor pony just didn't understand yet. Today, I had forward and I had nice bend all at the same time, so I could start playing with getting pony really working from behind. We had some great beginner leg yields and I even got bold and impulsively asked for and got a couple of good shoulder in strides coming off a circle. Who is this pony?!  She's obviously very green and unfit, so I only ask for a couple of strides here and there where she's really on the aids, then we head out on a loose rein for a few, just going forward and working on getting her relaxed. Just like Ginger, she holds all her tension over her back and neck, except we're also dealing with a pony who lacks a bit of initiative and forward momentum. After those lessons with Splash this summer, I'm sorry, but the behind the leg frustration is fresh in my mind and is just not an option for my regular ride! Giraffe pony is very much alive and well, but there were addictive moments of 'cute dressage pony' the last couple of rides and I'm feeling hopeful the pieces will slowly come together.She did so well today, I was really pleased with her. Exciting as watching paint dry, I'm sure, but so very cool when you're the rider feeling those subtle changes.

    Love the quiet country roads to hack home on. Fearless little pony also a bonus.
    I really, really enjoy babies. It's just so neat when they start to get confident about what you've taught them. Little Bridget was very proud of herself and was rewarded with a nice quiet hack home on the buckle and some apples from the tree. Ginger will always be my heart horse, but I'm starting to think there may be some space in there for a second pony as well :)

    Thursday 18 September 2014

    Horsey Bucket List

    Here's the top 15 horsey things I still want to do (or do again) in this lifetime (in no particular order)

    1. Gallop a racehorse on the track. Or any horse, really.

    2. Attend Rolex (as a spectator!).

    3. Multiday horse trip somewhere spectacular (the Rockies? a cattle drive? somewhere overseas?).

    4. Be a pro at backing up the trailer.

    5. Take a horseback backcountry park ranger job for a season. (Because this would accomplish #3 and result in me being paid to do it :)

    6. Keep my horses at home.

    7. Take my horse on vacation with me. I have a friend who takes her horse to Arizona in the winter to camp and ride the trails there - sounds fun!

    8. Try fox hunting (but without the foxes or any other animals dying, please).

    9. G wants to go to Santa Anita. I'm game.

    10. Learn to drive. I do theoretically have the perfect pony for it, after all.

    11. Do a competitive trail ride with Ginger.

    12. Show at Spruce Meadows. Just once, even if it's over tiny jumps.

    13. Build my own farm.

    14. Attend either Badminton or Burghley (or both!)

    15. Ride well into old age.


    Wednesday 17 September 2014

    WW: One More!

    One more pic that was sent to me from the clinic the weekend before last. Bridget is like "Why must I put my feet here?", but did it anyway (although she was keeping an eye on me rather than focusing lol) Such a good pony.

    I can't wait to get Ginger out to one of these clinics - she's so curious about things I think she'll love it as well!

    Monday 15 September 2014

    Pushy Pony

    I'm not sure if I ever mentioned a part of the reason I eventually sold my mare Lainey. Besides her lease actually being the perfect home. she was super alpha. We got along just fine on the surface, but it felt exhausting to me to have her constantly trying to test the boundaries. I'm a laid back, happy kind of person. I don't like conflict, and I'm sure she knew it, hence the continuous pushing of my buttons. Don't get me wrong, we had a lot of fun and she's an excellent horse, but I breathed a huge sigh of relief when super agreeable Ginger came into my life. I tell Ginger something once and she never toes that line ever again. It's kind of awesome.

    Enter Ms Bridget. Or, 'Mini Lainey', as we've been jokingly calling her :) She may be small, but she's the boss of the herd. I'm starting to think that calm and confident personality must go hand in hard with being a more dominant horse. It's a bit weird to have to go back to having very defined rules and personal space after being so spoiled by Ginger. I was warned before I bought Bridget that they had problems with her being overly 'cheeky', so I've been a little more strict than I normally would be and it sounds like she's much better than she was. Luckily, Bridget is as kind as Ginger, so the pushiness isn't coming from a 'bad' place, more her just wanting to see if she can get out of work by pushing back at me (or maybe she's wanting a human as a pet...hmmm;). I've been noticing it a little bit under saddle, particularly on Saturday's ride when she was a bit excited, so today I opted to buckle down and do some lunging and groundwork.  I had an idea there might be some naughty pony antics that are easier for me to tackle from the ground.

    Don't make eye contact with the mean teacher lady, whatever you do!
    Sure enough, I had a pony that did not want to stay out or go to the right on the circle. Very persistently, and had a bit of a meltdown over the fact I wasn't going to let her turn back at a particular spot each time. Just green horse stuff and testing to see how serious I am about telling her where to move those feet. Also, the forward button was either all in or not an option. She knows better than that. It's funny how I must 'babysit' her under saddle but on the ground issues become really obvious! Since Pushy Pony is actually a very nice pony, she gave in right around when she started to feel like it was more work ignoring me and was excellent from then on. So nice to know I can get after her a bit if I need to and she isn't the type to hold a grudge over it. I've been reminded of the 'control the feet/control the mind' phrase the NH clinicians like to teach. I do think there is some truth to it.

    We had a nice lazy hack down the road to start and finish off with, which I find a bit funny in a way...'Hey bad pony, just let me hop on so you can pack my lazy bum up to the ring so I can maybe discipline you a little and then you can pack me home again. Thanks!'. Really, though, I just wanted to give her a reward for her hard work and also reboot her mind a little in case this weekend's activities had her thinking trail rides are always super exciting.

    Multiple people have noticed little Bridget is my shadow and wants to be everywhere I go. It's sort of awesome, but honestly feels a little bit weird at the moment. She is obviously convinced I'm her person but I'm still kind of getting used to the idea - she still feels like someone else's (awesome) horse to me!

     I hope to get Ginger out again tomorrow...I had a feeling there would be pony drama today and we all know how worried Ginger can get about that. She requires a totally different energy than what little Bridget needed today and I'm just not that good at being able to switch easily. Where Bridget would consider me whispering, Ginger would be offended by my 'shouting'. I know that sounds a little 'out there', but I promise you it's totally real - they're very, very different.
    Ginger spy cam. It's impossible to get pictures of her without her wanting to say hi. I'm hiding in the barn here trying to be silent and taking super zoomed in pics through the crack in the door....

    and...busted :) Must be all those treats I give her!


    Sunday 14 September 2014

    Saturday At The Lake

    A very kind person offered to trailer Ms Bridget over for part of weekend Backcountry Horsemen event yesterday. We're so spoiled! I jumped at the chance for a last minute mini trip, although it was a little stressful trying to get organized on such short notice. Bridget trailered just fine, then we spent a bit of time getting used to the sights and sounds of the grounds where the camp out was held. I had to unexpectedly face some fears when I was unaccountably nervous, then realized the last time I had ridden in that arena was when I had a bit of a bad fall from Ginger. Silly brain. All was good, though and Bridget was a star. In order to keep things interesting we went for a ride up to the lake with some good friends in the afternoon. Bridget was excellent all day. She was a little worried about riding with so many horses and was a little impatient about standing now and then or venturing to close to horses that were moving in her general direction, but that's just baby stuff and something that I'm sure we'll work past very quickly. On to the pictures!:

    Her little accomodations ended up being right behind a busy farmers market. Lots to see, but pony was excellent.

    The horses were loving the water

    Bridget was so excited about the lake. She wanted to go right in and go swimming!

    This little halflinger and Bridget were making love-y eyes at each other all day.

    I didn't let pony go in with the big horses for very long, since the water was very quickly up to my knees and filling my boots on little Bridget :)


    Friday 12 September 2014

    Where We're At

     I'm off work, at home with nothing to do but ride and spend time with my awesome ponies, and the weather has been amazing. It's been years since I've had this much fun!

    Bridget continues to be on the 'forward' program. She tends to want to do the bare minimum, so I'm still focusing on getting her thinking a little more ambitiously before we get too involved with anything else. I'll compare it to driving a car - at first she was stuck crawling along in first gear or so, now we're up to about third gear...which is better, but there's still room to go!
    Cute baby pony.

    I want this pace, but look at me being all impatient and asking for more.

    A couple of strides later she's all muddled up..."Posting trot is weird! Also the world is moving too fast - I can't do this!" little pony says.
    Back to a happier trot

    Steering has also improved a ton in the last week or so. At a walk we can trick you into thinking she's got a lot more miles than she really does. Add some speed, though, like the above photos, and all bets are off. Pony brain can only handle so much at one time, and currently forward AND bending off my leg are individual efforts, not something that can always occur at the same time :) She did, however do her first proper turn on the haunches this week, which made me a very proud 'mom' indeed!

    Playing with the idea of contact. Slowly but surely...we started with inverted, head in the air all day long if you even thought about touching her mouth...I'm beyond happy with this for the short amount of time she's been here. I really need to sit up and stretch my leg down, though! Always something :)
    I'm realizing again how spoiled I am with Ginger, in that she's always naturally been more balanced and off my leg and wanting to move out, wanting to please you. Bridget is less athletic so things don't come as easily for her. She's also harder to convince that this working for a living thing is a good gig. She does best when we set her up with a really clear purpose that means more to her than 'because I told you so!"
    Ginger came along for the ride today. She's the one striking a pose, of course :)

     Bridget's doing so well, really, and I keep counting my lucky stars she came into my life.

    Such good ponies.
    Ginger is also doing a lot better - her sweet itch is toning down. She still has a big scabby patch all along her belly and most of her mane missing, but it's not red or irritated anymore and seems to be healing up. I could use that as the reason I'm not riding her, because really, scabby sores on her girth do equal no riding, but honestly I've been having such fun with Bridget and was so focused on that clinic last week that this week was the first time I consciously thought I'd get Ginger going again (also just in time for a clinic this weekend - I`m terrible, I know). It wasn't until I went to do her girth up that I realized 'Oh yeah....girth not healed yet = no riding!' So yeah....sorry Ginger, your owner is a bit of a loser! Ginger has enjoyed a couple of outings with us this week regardless, and a ton of scratches on those hard to reach itchy spots, so she`s not feeling too neglected I hope. I do think I'll continue to bring them out together now and then. They get along well enough it shouldn`t be a big deal to pony one from the other, and they`re both so social - they enjoy a good visit with the neighbourhood!
    Ginger keeps an eye on us and fills in as coach

    Looking beautiful!