Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Monday, February 28, 2011

In the Arena #57 - Letting go

Bad weather on the horizon (what the heck else is new) so Val and I rode at lunchtime today. He was napping when I arrived, but roused and made himself available for grooming + hay in the run-in. It must feel terrific to get groomed when you have all kinds of extra hair hanging around, falling out, getting matted up under your tack. And having lunch served at the same time - seems decadent, in a Roman empire kind of way. Dogs have owners, horses have servants as they say ;)

Trot, trot, trot! Posting, two point, sitting, posting without stirrups, loose rein - it was a trot + half halt fest. Val felt it was entirely too warm to expect that much exertion, but we persevered. Worked more on driving and increasing the contact, but still allowing with my hands. This resulted in some reaching, slight but (I'm pretty sure) it was there ;) Also pretty sure I was not always releasing my hands / giving forward in my half halts, or not quickly enough. Whenever I caught myself today I followed up a few rounds on the buckle or very loose rein. In fact, I think blocking with my hands pervaded my ride, as Val offered the rein back (when I hadn't asked for it) quite a few times. Blocking with my hands + off of my seat. Sorry Val! Luckily he doesn't hold grudges :)

I dismounted and prepared to undress Val when it occurred to me - it's warm out, Val is tired from hard work, quiet around the barn... hello - perfect time for a mini trail ride. We walked out to the small arena, mounted, did some circles there and then explored the property. Calmly. Nonchalantly. Pleasantly. Without Val's neck all tight and his head way up in the air on the lookout for imminent danger. Perfect :)

It's not that I think Val is some sort of super hot tb - he most certainly isn't. He can do a pretty good impersonation under the right circumstances though, such as our last out of the arena foray - the super train wreck trail ride. He had a serious case of drama llama going on, and bolted out the front gate almost unseating me... and this was before the ride even started.

I know that Val wasn't thinking of that today. I know it's up to me to forget about it. Every uneventful ride we have brings me another step closer to letting go... another step closer to the freedom of trail riding. *smile*

Sunday, February 27, 2011

In the Arena #56 - It's not just for hunter / jumpers...

I may have blown Val's mind this afternoon. I came down to the barn way early for dinner feeding, but much later than our usual midday rides... groomed him, dragged the ring at hyper-speed and then left. He had such a concerned / confused look on his face as I drove away. Don't worry Val - I did not forget your chow - I swear!!

It's so nice that there is light late enough for evening rides now. I met a friend for a quick power walk in the campground, then zoomed back to the barn. (much to Val's relief) What can I say, my guy digs his eats :) We tacked up and had a lovely pre-supper ride.

Focus was on contact, timing of my aids and two point trot work. And I experimented with my stirrup length, as in I shortened them one hole. Kacy from All Horse Stuff and Carol from Dressage Training Journal have been discussing the benefits of riding in two point and stirrup length on Carol's blog. Thanks so much to both of them for the inspiration and training suggestions.

I recently had the opportunity to examine some of my trot work on video, revealing among other things an un-quiet lower leg and a not low enough heel. Immediate improvement today with the stirrup length change. I must confess that I had lowered my stirrups a notch, a month or so ago, because I was sure that all of the bareback work we've been doing had opened my hips and stretched my hamstrings enough. Guess I jumped the gun ;)

This evening I rode in two point for ten or fifteen minutes straight, then alternated long sides of the arena and then numbers of strides. My legs felt good, my balance felt good, and Val was very relaxed. I foresee more two point in our future, because I want to earn my longer stirrups!! An altogether enjoyable ride.


As a horse crazy eight year old, I channeled my frustrated horse desires into a reading habit. I lived five minutes away from our local library, and spent whole summers there, reading every last horse book in the collection, memorizing horse "facts" and gaining ammunition for my constant requests for riding lessons and my own horse.

Imagine my surprise when, while wandering around online, I should stumble upon an etsy store that sold primarily jewelry, as well as one vintage book,

which I read and re-read countless times as a child. It was my horse bible. What a blast from the past to see this book again. And what a random way to find it after all these years.

Here are some highlights:

The ubiquitous parts of the horse diagram...

A lovely synopsis of the goals of a riding instructor.. (wish my first riding instructor had read this!)

And then there's this?!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

In the arena # 55 - It's all about the half halt

The half halt is one of the foremost balancing tools. It is one of the main keys to forging harmony between horse and rider. This is so because it is only when the horse finds independent balance - through correct use of the half halt - that he begins to carry and complete (or "fill") the seat and leg so that the rider can find a comfortable place to sit (half the seat is made up by the horse!). The half halt is also the single most important avenue to liberating the horse's powers. Through the freedom, founded on independent balance (self carriage), true suppleness can be developed, which in turn enables the horse's energy to travel unimpeded through his whole body and enables the gaits to blossom beautifully. Erik Herbermann Dressage Formula


Slowly but surely there are more days you can ride, than days you can't. Thank goodness. I'm working up a raging case of spring fever... things are greening up, my winter garden is finally producing and sleeves felt unnecessary for part of today. I even contemplated flip flops, then came to my senses ;)

Monday was super windy - blowing steady in the 30's by the time I got to the barn. For a little while I reconsidered riding. Really hated to have wasted the time and fuel to get there - so I decided to give it a go. The wind blows six out of seven days around here, so I need to learn to just deal with it. Fear is such an interesting emotion. My desire not to be wasteful eventually over-rode self preservation :)

We worked on the half halt. Specifically coordinating the half halt with posting, and keeping a quiet leg. I found it very challenging, and don't need video to know that I need a lot of practice. Even so we had some nice moments. Every ride Val is moving off of my leg a little more, and more responsively. My use of the whip is reserved for when we lug in the corners. I find I need to give that aid well in advance of the actual turn for it to be effective and avoid stalling out.

At one point, the tarp canopy over the front of Val's run-in flapped violently as we passed by and lifted up like a parachute. Val spooked - one of those crouching then sideways kind of spooks - which left some air between my butt and the saddle. I guess I was relaxed because it was no big deal. We both survived. :)

Tuesday was a day off, although I did get the chance to drag both of the arenas. A happy conjunction of the perfect amount of moisture in the sand + equipment functioning. As I was cleaning up the arena before I dragged it, Val suddenly charged from the far end, full speed galloping, veered towards me, and screeched lightly to a halt right at my feet. I don't know why, but I didn't flinch. It was an impressive maneuver lol.

We rode again yesterday, and this time our focus was on forward. I really wanted to try to get a big walk. I have noticed how nice of a walk we have achieved when Val was slow to respond to my request for the trot, so I drove until we just about trotted, (sometimes trotted), half halted, and praised, praised, praised the bigger walk. I aimed to be very clear about what I was asking for.

Next we tried for forward at the trot. I drove, drove, drove! Again, there were nice moments. It felt to me like I had Val reaching in the beginning of the transition, but only for several strides before we lost it. I'm guessing that I'm not sustaining the driving aid? We finished off with some beautiful 10m circles, which got the best reaching of the session, and a number of lovely rein backs. Perhaps my contact was better with the circles? Finished up with work on the buckle. Can't wait until I see my trainer again - miss you Erin!

Val got off property walks to indulge in grazing both days after our rides. He's becoming more comfortable every time. The death dealing trash can gauntlet is officially no big deal. We did some trot work on the pavement, to continue toughening up Val's feet. It must be working, as our farrier commented on how good his soles are looking today. And how well he behaved he is. He also mentioned how nicely Val is moving as I trotted him out after the trim. Floaty he said. Now if we could only do that under saddle ;)


Finally got time to work in the garden this afternoon, thinning the rows. This is the raised bed and deck I built with my dad. The soil is a combo of composted horse manure and composted eel grass (sea weed). I used some recycled widows to make a simple cold frame, which was enough to defy the ridiculous temperatures we've had this winter. Romaine, spinach, chard, mesclun, buttercrunch, arugula, bok choy, flat leaf parsley, and cilantro. Shared some of the thinnings and planning to eat the rest. Yum :)  

last summer

Saturday, February 19, 2011

In the Arena #54 - If he ain't reaching - you ain't driving

It's been a crazy week. In the good column, Val and I got three rides in, thanks to a string of beautiful days.

In the not-so-good column, my lab / pit mix Sweetpea needed an emergency vet visit to figure out why she suddenly wouldn't bear weight on one of her front legs. She was in severe pain, didn't want to venture off of the couch or head outside for walks, and most alarming of all wouldn't lift her head up to lick out the yogurt container. X-rays revealed no cancer - the worst case scenario - at least no cancer that could be detected yet. An arthritis / orthopedic issue is what we're treating her for, so she's temporarily on an assortment of meds - an anti-inflammatory + stomach easer + pain med + she gets to share Val's adequan. 48 hours later she is moving well with good energy, back to aggressively begging, and no more pitiful whimpering. Fingers crossed that I can keep her comfortable. She suffers from Cushing's which besides shortening her life span, complicates treating her for any other condition. Glad to have her back at home and back to normal. I love my Sweetest Pea :)


Wednesday was a repeat of Monday - a really fun ride and another faulty video attempt. Things were going so well that I kind of forgot about the camera, and ended up with over ten minutes of trot work recorded. Ten minutes is t-o-o long. Too long to download, too long to upload, (too long to watch unless you're me)! It took about 45 minutes to get it loaded into the more modern photo program that came with my camera - with hopes that I could edit it down. Once in the program I failed to accomplish editing anyway... just didn't have the attention span for the poorly written manual, and not enough energy to pursue trial and error ;)

I learned a lot from watching the (excessive) footage. Still prone to off-to-the leftness, leg aids are far from subtle and we've got a long way to go in the energy department.  I know the solution: forward + half halts + soft even continuous elastic contact. What remains is to consistently put it into practice. On a positive note, we kept up a sustained trot with changes of rein through numerous school figures, smoothly, as well as some lovely loose rein stretchy trot. Having the camera going was much like having someone observe my ride. It was a very helpful tool to keep me focused on the details of my position - knowing I could see the results afterwords.


It's Saturday morning now - and while I wait for youtube to finish uploading my video (hopefully), I'll finish up this post. Yesterday's ride was very productive, continuing our happy trend. After warming up, we did more trot work. I kept the focus on half halting to rebalance, and maintaining steady contact. I think it's time to take up more contact, and we'll explore that in our next ride. A few months ago I was getting a lot of head tossing/ protesting from Val, which generally meant too much contact for the amount of energy - and I needed to encourage him forward with my legs. Now that we've got the energy level increasing, I suspect I need to modify the contact to match - to give him a place to reach to.

Trot work will be the story of our lives for a while I think. As the footing has allowed, I have gradually increased the amount of time working at the trot hoping to improve Val's fitness and stamina. (Holy cow - I need to build stamina also - twenty minutes of non-stop posting had me sucking a bit of wind the other day!) When I got Val he was lacking topline and his haunches needed filling out, although his on-the-forehand way of going had kept his front end pretty beefy. Thoughtful dressage training will help Val fulfill his potential - beautifying his build and movement under saddle.

Yes - the video worked! Have a great weekend everyone :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

In the Arena #53 - Some really good work - you had to be there...

It was super windy but warm and sunny yesterday - yes - the sun actually felt warm. I couldn't bear not to ride. For once I didn't catch my horse napping at midday. We got cleaned up, dressed, and off we went.

Apparently the next door neighbor was hanging around near the woods by our arena (quietly for once). I didn't realize he was there at first, but Val is excellent at detecting lurkers, be they human or animal, so we had to do a little work to move through that part of the arena willingly. Leg on, keep the neck straight. He relaxed immediately once we heard the neighbor get in his car and leave. I intend to plant a thick hedgerow of Russian Olives in the woody area dividing our properties to screen the neighbors + their noise, and to discourage visiting, invited or not. Good fences make good neighbors ;)

My plan for the day was to warm up, get right to the trot, and when we were moving smoothly in both directions, to shoot some video. I had set up the camera on one of the gate posts so that all I had to do was turn it on when we were ready. Wish I had charged the battery though. It ran out right before we did our best trot work to date. Bummer!

We achieved some forwardness - this has gotten better every consecutive ride, and did a number of decent 20m circles, with prompt upward transitions. I focused on the half halt which was fairly successful at re-balancing the trot. Our downward transitions were less than smooth however, and I think the key would be half halts. Since the footing was pretty firm, we were able to do more circle work than usual. I noticed how much it helped Val for me to support him (inside leg to outside rein) on the trot circles. He was reaching, especially during our breaks on the buckle - nose to the ground. A great ride :)

We toasted the day's success with another walking trip down the road for grazing rewards and to get hooves on hard surfaces. As windy as it was, I had some reservations about taking Val out, but there was no need. He was super brave, only acting up when we came back on to the property to find Cowboy screaming his head off. Poor Cowboy - he's going to flip when we go to our next clinic.

My goals for the next few months are forward consistently, half halts and contact. (They're all kind of related come to think of it.) Oh, and to get it together with the camera!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Why I fell in love with my horse...

In honor of Valentine's day, Jane at The Literary Horse suggested folks should blog about their horsey love stories. What a great idea, especially since I don't have a valentine of the human variety at the moment :)

Why did I fall in love with my horse? Good question - it was not love at first sight. I tagged along one weekend to another barn to watch my trainer give Val and his owner one of their first dressage lessons. He was a cute ottb to be sure, good size, although I didn't really want a grey. He was hunter / jumpery, and moved decidedly on the forehand. He was well put together, seemed to have a mellow attitude and had been very well cared for. Plans were made for a test drive - ring work + a mini trail ride - and then negotiations began. And ended in just a few minutes. My overwhelming feeling was if I pass on this horse he'll be gone. No lightning though. No emotional connection at all. Against my better judgment I bought the first horse I looked at.

Two days after picking Val up, we were off to Maryland for a five day clinic with Erik Herbermann. The clinic had been planned well before Val came into the picture, and I convinced myself that taking a new horse on a six hour trailer ride (my first) to a clinic (my first) was an okay idea. Truth be told I was absolutely petrified - to the point of almost getting sick right before my first ride. Thankfully Val behaved beautifully, and in retrospect it was a great way to start off our relationship.

Our first few months together went smoothly. I got used to the routine of caring for Val. He got used to a new living situation. We trail rode out to the beach, Val's first time seeing the ocean. He was perfect :) Then I did something totally stupid. In an effort to address some weight loss, I put Val on a supplement called Amplify. So not necessary. I didn't see weight gain but I did see a change in temperment, and it wasn't good. Not long after, we had our disastrous, bolting, sky high bucking trail ride, where I employed an emergency dismount as well as hit the dirt super hard - without a helmet. I got back on and rode before I called it a day. But I was decidedly not in love with Val. And I had seriously damaged his confidence in me.

Over the next several months I avoided riding. I questioned why I ever got a horse. Who did I think I was, that I could handle an ottb. Who did I think I was that I could even ride. When I did get back on, we had so many arguments. I couldn't steer him - at all. I couldn't get him to move. I was so scared of my horse... and I'd deal with it by getting mad. Val tested me on everything, and it was so frustrating! Until I finally decided to get my act together. A conscious decision. Part of the solution was getting Val to respect me, part of it was resolving to respect Val.

When I stopped treating Val like an adversary, he stopped acting like one. I discovered his soft side. And his sense of humor. His habits became endearing, like how he always tries to eat his reins, or the lead rope, (or whatever he can get into his mouth)... and how when he's really content he'll gently groom me, top to bottom. *Sigh*

Little by little, one tiny step forward at a time, we became friends... then partners. We became more confident, and more confident in each other. I firmly believe you get the horse you need, even if you don't realize it at first, or need a lot of convincing ;)

We're in really good place now, and without a doubt, I LOVE my horse. A lot. What's not to love ?!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

In the Arena #52 - Two firsts + needs improvement

A reprieve on the foul weather until this evening. We got a sunny but very chilly bareback ride in. I arrived at the barn to a sleeping horse, then experimented a bit with shooting video. I repeat experimented. This is my first try. One way you can tell, is by the part where I turn the camera sideways to get a nice closeup of Val's droopy lip... didn't know it's better to keep the camera oriented horizontally. And (who knew) time to update my software - I don't have the capability of rotating the screen. I actually need to update my whole computer. It's nine years old - gotta love a mac - nine years and (knock wood) never had one moments trouble. Except now, when my software is antiquated :)

Despite it being windy and brisk, we had a super calm and fun ride. I captured a couple of minutes of our ride on video as well, but since it's all shot in the vertical mode, I won't tempt you all to get big cricks in your necks. Plus it might take five years to upload.

So.... we finally trotted bareback! (Val might question the use of an exclamation point) Several passes of the long side of the arena. I figured that was enough for him. I felt very stable, so I wasn't even nervous, but not nearly quiet enough in my seat. Hopefully that will come with practice. Love, love, love bareback. Yay!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

In the Arena #51 - Getting in a groove

A gorgeous day for riding. Once again the weather forecast is for things to go downhill - snow / sleet / freezing rain later in the week - so I headed up to the barn as soon as possible after work. Looks like there will be time for some tack cleaning coming up.

Confession. A big hole in my equine knowledge is wrapping. Considering our tricky footing these days, it seemed a good idea to pull out the polo wraps and give Val some extra support. My trainer had shown me the basics ages ago, inside to outside - front to back, but I seriously need practice. After today I'm thinking - why would they package the wraps (new) rolled inside out? Is this a stupid question? Shouldn't the velcro sections be in the middle of the roll when you start? Was I supposed to re-roll the wraps before wrapping? This is the kind of task that can send me over the edge, due to the conflict between my perfectionist side and my adhd side. Anyhow, I got him wrapped after a fashion. He had way more patience about the ordeal than I did. (Any tips about wrapping would be welcome!)

We focused on forward today. I recently got a lot of good comments about forward making straight easier. (which my trainer often reminds me) I'm still getting the gumption to trot bareback, so forward needs to happen under saddle for now.

As soon as I had Val's attention, which didn't take long at all, we moved right into our trot work. I practiced adjusting our tempo, both with my posting, and counting out the rhythm I wanted. Also keeping the tempo steady throughout the whole figure, which was sort of ovally today, as the whole back of the arena was flooded out. We achieved good energy quickly, and the transitions were responsive. Some especially nice halts off of my seat. And minimal use of the whip - Val was moving off of my leg almost exclusively.

Posture / position felt good today. I was conscious of how my legs influenced Val's haunches, and attempted to use the aid with more subtlety. As time goes on I realize how much I (formerly) used my reins for steering, and how much more effective my legs are as a steering aid. After an aborted attempt at on-board video, (which proved too big a challenge of my multi-tasking skills), we finished off with some good work on the buckle... round circles and turns on the forehand both ways... we even had a nice foamy mouth. Someone got plenty of cookies ;)

Monday, February 7, 2011

At the barn #35 - File under "Why you should always keep your camera in your pocket"

What started off as a run-of-the-mill buck 'n' fart fest up and down the fence line with neighbor Cowboy, suddenly blossomed into this: (sans rider of course)

Yep. A full blown capriole. Kicking out the hind legs and all. I kid you not. I experienced simultaneous elation - as I had no idea Val could do something this athletic - and deep depression that I wasn't documenting. I take fifty pictures of Val eating hay out of a manure filled wheelbarrow, but when he pulls off some jaw dropping airs above the ground all I can do is watch.

I guess I should just be happy I was there to see it. One tempis across the diagonal (my ultimate dressage goal) may not be out of reach someday... who knew?!  :)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

At the barn #34 - Today was spa day (and I saw the first fly!)

Val was curried and brushed within an inch of his life. No bath yet, not warm enough, though I was tempted, looking at his less than white coat. He also got mane and tail haircuts + hoof treatment. Finishing touch was having his bridle path and muzzle clipped - well over an hour in the cross ties - which he was a perfect gentleman for.

Spa Day

Too soon for hair biscuits!



How about you and me go out for some grass :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

In the Arena #50 - Keeping it simple

Contrary to popular belief, horses do not get bored with simple basic work. If the rider has clear goals in mind, and pays close attention to detail and quality, neither horse nor rider will have time to get bored by even the most rudimentary work - instead, a true sense of accomplishment will be attained. Nothing is more important, more challenging, or more difficult, than cultivating the basics. Erik Herbermann

Thursday's forecast called for several days of cold, wind and rain to come, so I figured we'd better get another ride in - bareback again. :)

For this ride I focused on straightness - both moving on a straight line as well as keeping ourselves straight - Val's neck mainly. It occurred to me, while making the many minor corrections necessary, that straightness is just a series of tiny little turns, with the inside leg / outside rein changing depending on the correction. And further, that circles are just a series of straight lines + turns on the forehand. Seems counter-intuitive, but true, if you're not popping shoulders / haunches out or falling in... being truly straight. I believe my trainer has mentioned this numerous times, but apparently it is just now sinking in. :)

Then I had another thought - that riding straightness is a similar dynamic to what you need for successful trailer backing. An awareness of where you are to begin with, breaking the movement down into a series of small turns and corrections, and avoiding over-correction which may lead to starting all over again. Ideally with both tasks, you should get to the point where the corrections - if any - are so minor as to be undetectable.

We also incorporated cone work... same idea with leg yielding through the cones - the inside leg / outside rein flip flops. We did some respectable circles, (approaching round), figure eights, some very nice work on the buckle, and had a better overall energy level.

There are many small improvements, but what I'm most pleased about is that in our last few rides I have begun to feel an integration of the aids. Reins, seat and legs working as a unit. While it's far from being second nature yet, I'm hopeful that muscle memory will eventually kick in. Super happy with this ride :)


A conversation overheard at the barn this morning...

Me: "Val, I'm tired of picking all this hay up off of the floor. It's wasteful. Starving horses in China would love to have this hay! I have to work really hard to pay for this hay. I have to spend a whole day driving to pick this hay up. Who do you think unloads this hay and stacks it in the hay barn?" I slowly fill the wheelbarrow with forkfuls of discarded hay.

Val: "Well, let the starving Chinese horses have it then. But don't pick it back up, put it in the hay bag, and expect me to eat it. Because I'll just yank it out and throw it on the floor again. I like my hay fresh!!!" Val stops beside the wheelbarrow, now layered with piles of yesterday's manure and the discarded hay. He buries his nose in the mixture and starts munching...

After discovering the hay needle damage in Val's mouth last month, I went back to using the large holed hay bags, thinking he'd be more comfortable while he healed up. I didn't want him to lose any weight, considering how (insert curse word here) cold it's been. Now that he has gone back to his wasteful ways, I guess it's time to bring back the Nibblenet :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

In the Arena #49 - chase one's tail - To run in circles, to chase one's own shadow

future header pic

This morning started off cold and cloudy, but by the time I finished up at work, there was bright sunshine, the wind had fallen out to nothing and temps were on the rise. Hope that doesn't seem like bragging - I know that many of my blogging friends are in the midst of or getting ready for some epic winter weather. Please stay safe!

I headed up to the barn, feeling not a little bit conflicted about the decision. Basically, there is a ton of work I really need to be doing... my bedroom is halfway rearranged (as in can't use the bed until arrangement is finished), my studio is an absolute explosion of paperwork, taxes are on the horizon (see explosion of paperwork in studio)... don't even mention moving the manure pile at the farmette, which has been on my list of to do's for months. So - I went riding instead. ;)

Val was out cold in a sunny spot when I arrived, bottom lip dangling down in the dirt. (so darn cute!) I did a few chores while he took his time waking up, mostly because I was thinking about a recent post from Billie at camera obscura - "wise words for living and working with horses". She discussed how (patiently) engaging with your horse is more respectful, kinder, and will help to develop the trusting relationship we all want with our horses. She really made me think about all the times I've come to the barn preoccupied, in a bit of a hurry, probably rushing Val around so I could keep up with my schedule. Pretty rude when you think about it. After a lingering grooming in the warm sunshine, we tacked up and were off.

Today's ride was well worth putting off obligations for! While we definitely need work in the creating energy (at the walk) department - everything else was super. Zero steering issues, no scary spots in the arena, had some decent re-balancing half halts and Val was reaching into the contact. Trot work was the best yet. I barely used my dressage whip. My posture felt relaxed and natural. Our extensive bareback work has really helped my seat and leg, so I think I'm aiding more effectively. My trainer often reminds me that when I get it right, so will my horse. :)

Our progress lately has left me with the feeling that I'm going to wake up soon and realize I was just dreaming... I know intellectually that we're moving forward because we're working hard and focusing, but I guess the improvement in my confidence is hard for me to process. It feels so good. My trainer also often reminds me that riding isn't that hard - once you get the basics down, everything else is pretty easy... that my struggles have been of my own making... that I need to stay out of my own way. I believe this is finally starting to happen - I'm psyched.

And I absolutely cannot wait until my "real" arena with good footing and much more room is ready, because we're going to take off when we have the proper space that will allow us to do some sustained trot work and get fit. (Which means I really do need to attend to my to do list. Once my studio is ready I can get to my jewelry work which will help me pay for the new arena...)

Enter the sanctuary of the horse ever with honor and respect. Erik Herbermann

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