Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

In the Arena #76 -
Three rides = wet saddle pads + :)

Recently I made an addition to the description of our blog - "and the occasional tale about creating my one-woman farmette". Well, the one woman farmette has kept me super busy lately, hence the infrequent posts. I spent much of last week building new garden beds and filling them with our lovely composted manure. Then came the planting the baby vegetables and herbs. Yay! Then came the deer.

So a few more days to round up materials and fence the beds. The materials were on order, but Bambi found the garden with one day to spare, and tasted a number of plants. It looks like everything will recover nicely, if just a bit misshapen. I wasn't able to find something to recycle for this purpose, but I did come across an inexpensive, flexible plastic fencing that should last, will be reusable and was relatively easy to install. Then I scrounged up some old fish net to drape over the beds when the birds come around to peck up my ripe tomatoes. They always know the peak of ripeness, as do the racoons.


We've gotten three rides in this week. Doing loads of trot work, and our stamina is increasing. Our balance through the corners is better. I'm getting some honest reaching for contact - usually right after the trot transition - although it's not sustained yet. I've become obsessed with both of us getting fitter, and specifically with Val's haunches filling out. I know that getting Val to work over his back, use his hind end and carry himself properly is the key to our dressage and fitness goals. I haven't pinpointed what I'm doing / not doing, but hope that when I can get us up to my trainer's farm for some lessons again she'll set me straight. I'm so looking forward to riding in a proper arena with good footing. Time to complain about my arena again... it's very deep sand at the moment due to lack of rain. I've been thinking that I want to start working on the canter, (which I can't believe I'm saying) but until the footing is more solid I don't want to try it at home.

Overall, things are going really well for us now. While our improvement isn't swift, it is happening consistently. What I am most pleased with is my partnership with Val. And we're becoming more adventurous - two jr. trail rides this week, after schooling in the unfenced arena. Six months ago I couldn't steer my way out of a paper bag. The thought of a dressage test was literally nauseating. Heck - the though of working outside the arena stressed me out. Now I can finally envision not only successfully completing a dressage test, but possibly showing. Horse shows are pretty impractical when you live in the middle of nowhere like we do, but with enough planning it could be done on the rare occasion. Something to look forward to :)

View from the other arena

Cookie please - bring one for my friend here too....

That's right - it's bath time...

I love shiny things

Just desserts


  1. Those deer - very naughty but cute!

    Your gardens look wonderful. I am tired of working on my farmette - I want to ride more!

    I, too, am flirting with the canter idea. I don't have an arena at all - it would have to be on the paths in the hayfield. I am afraid to canter in corners anyway - past cantering mishap fear! I would like to have Pie more fit - I am using you as inspiration - more trot work for a fit boy.

    Val looks so sweet in the photos.

  2. Wow, they ate the tomato. The worst I've gotten in unguarded tomatoes is teeth marks in a green fruit. BUT, the deer, rabbits, chipmunks, moles, slugs, woodchucks, coons, feral cats and skunks launch a constant assult on my garden and landscaping so we've become experts on fencing, trapping and killing.

    Have you seen my garden blog?

    Lately it's been all about the rabbits, but I have some things to say about microscopic baby slugs too!

  3. The price of fresh veggies and herbs is definitely annoying animal pests. We have so many deer around here it's not even funny. I don't even plant a garden anymore. Like your fix on the beds though. Good thinking.

    Sounds like you and Val are having a good time together. I think your confidence and mutual trust in each other is getting stronger. So glad you had some nice rides on the trails.

  4. There's a type of plant (deer grass?) that wards off deer. You can plant it along the outside edges of your beds to keep them away. Won't do much for raccoons though.

  5. Your garden looks great! Your bounty is going to taste sooooo good because of the love and care you have put into it. Two trail rides this week??...good for you!!

  6. Yea, look at you go- little farm gal! Sorry for the scavengers taking your bounty! Darn.
    And you and Val on the it.
    I still chuckle about how you do things in the arena, that I won't right now, but canter on the trail I'm all about.

  7. LOL, thank you for reminding me of the tradeoff you have to take. We get random snowstorms and hurricane winds - but no deer come to eat my plants!

    Love hearing about Val; I just don't have much to contribute. :)


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