Thank you Donna! it has been a pleasure watching you turn into a horsewoman these past years.
Instead of 7 posts for 7 equines, I will try to consolidate by pecking order, dynamic duo buddies, or maybe size and attitude. Sugar and Raven are both doing well. This is year 7 with Sugar, my beautiful girl who started this equine obsession. I'm pretty sure I get those super cool papers this year from Karen and Scott making Raven officially mine. Raven and Sugar became fast friends and are almost always together. Yesterday was farrier day and they both napped in the sun while Steve trimmed their feet. My goal this year is to lope on Sugar Bear. We can trot till the cows come home with no problem and everyone tells me loping is easier. I think it will help to have lower impact as I've recently learned I have arthritis from my neck to my toes. The good news is we ruled out some other pretty scary stuff so I just have to pursue PT to keep riding. That's my plan anyway. The only pics I ever take of the girls are with a cell phone. Not the best but you get the idea ... super happy, laid back mares making it through this brutal northern Wisconsin winter without a care in the world - because I do all the work! Attached Images
Sugar Bear and I recently went to Palmquist Farm with a few friends. Let me tell you, as many are well aware, riding a mare with three geldings can offer some interesting experiences.
Day 1: Travel Day/torrential rain day Sugar was a rock star but all that was asked of her was to go for a ride in a trailer, hang out in a dry stall, and eat. Heck, I might have even enjoyed that. Day 2: Rode some soggy trails with lots of water crossings, infatuated with Fella, pinned ears at Dusty (actually she always hates him), didn't give Dallas the time of day; tied well at the winery when we stopped for ... ahem ... an ice cream cone. Day 3: More riding, in love with Dallas, more pinned ears at Dusty, perturbed with Fella ~ I knew she was gonna be a floozy on this trip; pretty sure she was PMSing since she felt like she was going to explode under me every time I asked her to stop eating. If you've never been to Palmquist Farm, I highly recommend it but only if you enjoy comfy accommodations for you and your horse, home cooked Finnish meals, nice trails to ride, and salt of the earth hosts with lots of farm history to share. They even played their Victrola for us! Sugar and I have reach a milestone this year. We lope ... together ... while I'm on her back ... on purpose! I can't lie. I'm enjoying this. Couldn't make it to the MHWF camping trip because we had planned the Palmquist trip in December and couldn't make both. Here are a few pics from our visit to the farm. The group pic from left to right Sugar and me, Dallas and DeeDee (that was the day Sugar liked him, Sheila and Fella (Sugar's beau from the previous day), and Dusty with Crystal (Sugar really does dislike his hugeness), the "shack" we stayed in, our gracious hosts, and lots of horsing around. Attached Images
Sounds like a really neat experience!
Donna that sounds wonderful, marish antics and all!
Looks like fun. Way to go on the loping!
Wow looks like a great place and sounds like a great trip!
Donna, your update cracks me up. It's so honest...although I'm not sure you're being honest about the ice cream at the winery. There may be a lie of omission in there. Congratulations on the loping, and surviving a trip with a floozy mare.
Donna, you are so nice for doing this. What a lucky young girl to have found a generous person with a herd of equines.
I think what you are doing as far as groundwork is a great idea. The halter and lead is also a good idea, and later you can go to a lungeline. When Kasey gets to the point where she has more coordination with her reins and legs, teach her how to do a one rein stop. Reminder, this is not to be done once a horse is at a gallop as it's dangerous at that point. Have her practice this at the walk. If/when Sugar resists, use it as an opportunity to teach her to figure out what's going on and how to deal with it. These are the things that will not only teach her how to ride, but how to think about the horse's point of view. I would start slowly by just walking her around on the lead. Let her learn to balance (not sure how comfortable you would be putting her on bareback, but that would be beneficial to do at some point, but I don't blame you if you're not up for that). Teach her about leg and seat cues. You could maybe have her practice that before even introducing her to reins, since we tend to be naturally "handsy" as it is. Instructors often have students work on a lungeline with no reins or stirrups to get their balance. To make lessons a little more interesting, once she's ready, you can have her walk and trot over ground poles, serpentine around cones (have her try it without using the reins) or other obstacles. Last but not least...helmet and proper footwear, and maybe a pair of gloves for groundwork. A helmet isn't a bad idea for groundwork either. (I'm not saying I wear one, but people do, and it's not a bad idea.)
Starting with the lead rope is a good idea and then you can progress to walking near enough to grab the reins. It is ok if a new rider makes a mistake and the horse doesn't respond the way they are hoping, that is how you learn. The rider can just try again.
Although I wasn't giving the lessons myself, I allowed my mare to be used for a child's lessons at my boarding barn this year. I was nervous thinking about all of the things she might do and then I realized that none of the issues would have been issues for me as a kid. They did great together.
Donna, you are such an awesome lady to share your horses and to start this young lady on the horse road. I agree with all the thoughts presented.
7 years already!?!
This girl sure has changed my life ... ate up all my savings, retirement investments, time, energy, strength, patience ... In return she has given me bruises, abrasions, sleepless nights, aches and pains in places I did not know could hurt, and endless attitude. 😆 But she has taught me grace, tolerance, communication, commitment, acceptance, trust, fairness, and has freely offered the bond of an animal like I’ve never known before. Such a powerfully gentle spirit my, Sugar Bear. ❤️ Attached Images
7 years already? Sure doesn't seem like it. On the other hand, I was 21 about 3 weeks ago.....
Great picture and great sentiment, Donna. Your love and care for all your horses is inspirational!