Monday, February 6, 2012


Well the weather actually cooperated. I did about an hours worth of work at my barn and then headed to Peggy's. When I pull up to the barn I noticed that the horses were in early. Normally they are turned out till about 3pm. The question was answered by Peggy when she came and told me that Comrade may be lame. What?
Turns out that Comrade had a big head and decided to take on Addie. He backed up to her three times bucking. I could see ruffled fur all over his butt. I decided to use the bareback pad so I could feel if he was anyway off. No lameness. He actually was ready to work. We did some lateral work, mostly to avoid the dog, and some transitions. The only problem I had was that I put on my Cuddle duds and they are a little slippery when you are bareback. So I just tried to stay centered and ride through my slips. Comrade gave me some really good canter transitions and I let him be done. I am sure he is more sore today.
We found out after the ride that he nailed Addie on the inside of her back leg. Poor girl was dripping blood. Cleaned her up and put a layer of Alu Spray on.
It was still early when I got back to my barn. The ever present question arose; Who do I ride? The easy choice is to ride DaVinci. Rosemary always needs work. Dottie is coming off a lameness so she needs better footing. And Winston has not been ridden in... oh who knows. I made the hard choice to ride Winston.
Winston is a sweetheart, but a very complicated one. When we first got him, he would take off for unknown reasons. The result was me falling hard twice. He rattled my confidence badly. After a lot of groundwork mom started riding him and eventually I did too. I signed up for a dressage show and the Tuesday before the show he took off again. At the show I was a wreck. Surprisingly once we got in the show ring we were some what able to do the test. After that I said that I would not ride him until he and I were both in a better mindset.
In 2009, I found a trainer to come and ride him. She did great work with him. He was more balanced and settled into working. He still has the "take off" in him, but it takes more to trigger it. Due to finances I could not longer afford training. My mom is his main rider, but I am more confident now and will get on him. I have to really focus on keeping a positive mindset and staying relaxed.
Winston (left) and DaVinci
I crawled on and put my feet in the stirrups only to realize that they were set for my mom. Short stirrups are not the best when riding Winston. I like to feel around him. Unfortunately, by myself there was no way I was going to try and change the stirrups. "Just breathe" was my mantra.
I started by checking the brakes, then moved on to some lateral work to get his mind focused. I had to be aware and ignore the cat pouncing on mystery mice by the bushes. Then Rosemary figured out that the boys were in the barn and she was missing out. Therefore she starts doing laps and calling. Did I mention that I was still on the sensitive horse that had not been worked in ages with short stirrups? Bless him he took care of me. We even did a some trot circles where we leg yielded out to make the circle bigger. Then we halted and I took a deep breath. When he answered with a big sigh and chewed, I gave him a piece of sugar and hopped off. I may never ride him like the trainer does, but I can at least make sure he feels involved. Winston reads people well and so when he offers more when I ride him, I feel complimented that he thinks I can handle what he does.
Riding Comrade, who does spook, take off and buck at times has definitely helped when I ride Winston. That being said though, I won't even consider getting on him if I am stressed or worried about anything. Mindset is a very powerful tool.


  1. You are wise to listen to your instincts. They all take time and understanding. Different things for different horses. Sounds like you have it under control.

    1. Yes, I strongly believe in looking at horses as individuals. Many times they will tell you what they need or want. As long they are happy, I am too.