Monday, December 20, 2010


Lazy Horse

Between the holidays and the cold weather playing havoc with my bad hip, it's hard to stay motivated at this time of year. Spring seems a lifetime away, and it's just so darn cold at the barn. It's a battle to get in the car and do the long drive up to see the pony.

Especially when I know there might be a fire breathing dragon awaiting me.

However, this is a good season for goals and thinking. I saw Denny Emmerson's goals for kids on his Facebook page (scroll through his wall, they're all there), and promptly started checking them off. Compared to a lot of younger riders I meet, I consider myself well rounded. It appears I have some work to do.

1. Learn about sport horse and racing pedigrees. I'll admit, I've been woefully reluctant to commit any real time to pedigrees, mostly because I've never been in a position where they mattered to me. My horses have always been whatever was available. Neither of the horses I've owned have even had papers, so I have to work with what I've got. I never intend to breed, and with my habits, a lot of my partners will be from dicey situations. However, ignorance is still ignorance, and I should at least know some of the TB bloodlines with my penchant for fast horses that are convinced the chipmunks will eat them any day now.

3. Learn to ride bareback and mount bareback. Ride bareback? Any time, baby. Mount bareback? Have you heard the sounds that come out of my hip? Leave that for the next generation, I'm going to use a mounting block. My mare is 16.2, after all.

5. Teach your horse to drive. Okay, that would actually be a lot of fun, I just have to figure out how to even start that. I'll add that to my bucket list. I should at least learn how to drive, it's silly to not know how. That, and I can only imagine Fiona's reactions. I should not be motivated by the thought of my mare's expression when she sees her first cart, but it's going to be hilarious. There will be video.

6. Show your horse in a showmanship or fittings class. Now I just have to find one. Not a lot of those at the events or dressage shows on my schedule. This one might have to wait until I have a trailer and can scandalize everyone by shipping the princess off to an all breeds show. Or a hunter trial. Hmm, that dove tails in with the foxhunting plot quite nicely. We have started ground work, since she'll need to be able to jog nicely when we do that novice long format. I have plans.

7. Complete a 100 mile ride. Reality of the matter is that the princess has not shown any propensity to go out alone, making the training more of a challenge. Having said that, I've done a lot of research on endurance because Fiona just loves to hit the trails and trot for as long as I'll let her. This one will require a buddy. Any takers? It's just 100 miles, no big shakes.

12. Breed and raise a foal. Sorry, but I'll pass. Too busy cleaning up other people's messes. I'll keep to the adults that need a home rather than making another one.

14. Ride in races. One day, maybe. Races aren't something that are on anyone's agendas, but it would be good for us to do. A little point to point never hurt anyone, assuming there's enough bit to stop the princess when she realizes that this is a competition. She's a lady about many things, but when it's time to compete? It is all about winning. The princess is a sore loser.

There are 33 of these goals, I'll go through the other half next time. Looks like a I have a long list of things to add to my skill set. At least I got credit for learning how to do western pleasure and knowing how to lunge with all of the appropriate equipment. While it's one of the aspects of riding that I adore, knowing that there is always something more I should learn is a bit overwhelming. Since it's winter, I'm just going to start with #1. That can be done online with a hot coffee and a quilt.

We'll save teaching Fiona to drive for warmer weather. My poor mare. So many plans.


  1. He's up to 40 now!

    I'm looking through to see what I need to/don't need to do from that list.
    The bareback one is interesting to me - when I was too small to reach to get my saddle on my horse, and too impatient to wait for my mom I started riding bareback. My first jump? Over a bucket someone had left in the middle of the wash when I was galloping bareback in deep sand!
    I haven't done an endurance ride - I think the most I've done in one day is 15 miles.
    I definitely haven't taken my horse for a sleigh ride, but have gone on some.
    I have raised a foal. I'm thinking about breeding one... I have a specific mare picked out as a possible purchase to do so based upon her bloodlines (see challenge #1!) and the quality of her previous babies. I haven't broken a baby yet, but was the ground person for a second ride and worked with a filly after 60 days very basic training.
    I love that Denny put in the college comment - we went to the same school. :)
    I need more work on longlines. It's been many years, and I never learned all I needed to know.
    While I haven't scribed yet, I'm trying to get my GMO to put on clinics so I can learn how. Incidentally, I'm hoping to ride a test in front of General Burton in January...
    I've definitely never ridden all night. But have trail ridden in a safe-ish area in the moonlight...
    I've never taught a horse to jump into water.
    No haying for me. Not with my allergy-induced asthma and hay as my second worst allergy after cats!
    The rest I've done. Not too bad!

  2. Ah, someone make that man stop or I'm going to have a list of things to do that never ends!

    But I'm very excited that I've knocked off several of the new ones, including number 40. And I was cursing my horse and his four reins the entire time I was doing it.