Monday, September 30, 2013

Flying Without Wings

Cliche I know.

But it's true.  I like to look back retrospectively and I found myself thinking about the few times I've jumped.  It's on my bucket list to get another jumper, but seeing as how my current horse has had a good ligament injury, hock arthritis, and a sprain/strain/fracture in the hind end in the past few years, it's safe to say that anything over cavaletti is probably off the list.

So interjection over.

I wrote the other week on how I accidentally jumped Alex over the log wall.  I suppose that was probably one of the first times I jumped.  I'm trying to remember.  I think I had rednecked it before that with a bamboo pole and some buckets, but nothing seriously.

While in college, I had the chance to take a riding course.  Part of the course was an introduction to fences.  Cool, right?

Well, I rode a half Arabian mare which was right up my alley.  Only part not up the alley was the fact she'd never been over fences.  Our jumping was often more of a skitter, plunge and go through the obstacle rather than over.  In my own world, I would have just let her go through a jump chute or something on her own without the WTF frog human on her back to figure out how to do her job since clearly, I wasn't going to assist her in it.  She was also a horse that preferred to canter over a jump.  When my professor was inside giving a final exam to other students, I finally just let her canter over some jumps outside and we got something more respectable like this.

The human aspect of it still sucks, but hey, I was kind of used to trying to hit the poles or more often than not, stopping and stag leaping.  I realize now that it probably would have helped if I didn't have an incessant problem of looking at the ground.  I still have that problem.  

Along the same vein, I have (had?) an awesome friend/mentor/etc kind of person that suggested I play hooky one nice day to go ride.  I was a good student and I think I can count the number of times I can skip class then...on one hand.

But no regrets.

This horse is a saint.  Ask anyone.  What a good first horse to jump cross country on.  

Then during finals week, this was an appropriate way to study.  I had a riding final right?

Best finals week ever.

And a great memory.  I hope at some point that jumping can be more than a memory.  I certainly appreciate the technical side of dressage and have realized that fixing my posture, lack of core strength, bad habits (looking down anyone) and so forth is so critical to my success as a rider, but there is something to be said about the sheer enthusiasm and skill it takes to navigate fences.  All I even did were baby ones and I still appreciate it more than ever.

So who knows.  Maybe the little feral filly will take a fence or two.  :)

At a month old: "I'm not sure about those stripes."


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Gumby and Pokey

Remember these fun guys?  When I was younger, I wished for my very own Pokey.  When that didn't happen, I just called my younger brother Pokey-butt instead. 

Gumby and Pokey

I had original intentions of going out and riding yesterday.  Best laid plans are often derailed.  I went home sick as I was beyond holy buckets sick.  So no driving anywhere or moving, let alone riding. 

But this morning, I got up as I always do and went out and did barn chores.  The not-so-feral husband had left town to go volunteer and help at a summer camp we grew up at, so I was on my own which was fine.  The weather was nice and I could poke along at my own pace turning out horses and picking stalls, which is a bit relaxing after a crazy, crazy week.

And then I stepped in a washed out hole.

You see, I'm a little too flexible.  Generally people consider that a good thing.  But I've come to realize that it's not such a good thing. That's how I went from pokeying along at the barn of my own volition to pokeying along because I was in pain (again).  Eh.  It happens.  I can generally tolerate the back issues now which is also related to being too flexible.  Apparently my too weak core can no longer hold the rest of the stuff together that it's supposed to, so I tie my shoes the wrong way or pick something up awkward and I end up straining my back.

So, for all you people that are too stiff in the morning and wish you were a little more like Gumby, I'll take a little stiff and raise you a little gumby.  It would make me a little less Pokey.

But even after all that excitement, I had a decent morning.  I tried out the new saddle I accidentally bought.  I say accidentally as I didn't think making an insultingly low offer on ebay would result in someone actually accepting said offer.  So now I have another saddle.  And better yet, my husband didn't kill me.

So I stole the leathers off my close contact and gave it a trial run, except I was in jeans and Ariat terrains.  Not really conducive to riding in half chaps in my new-to-me-saddle but I went for broke, I suppose, even while looking a little feral looking.  All in the name, I suppose.

And holy buckets, riding in a dressage saddle after riding in my flat-as-a-pancake County is a way different feeling.  I want to desperately ride in it again tomorrow in a pair of breeches.  I'm not sure if I'm in love with the feeling yet, but like a new-to-me car I have to decide if I love it or hate it.

So folks, any gumbies out there?  How do you avoid frequent horse related or work related injuries?  I am constantly battling muscular issues from this and it gets frustrating.  Little did I know when I sat there and wished I could have my own Pokey that I would get Gumby with it! 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

When it Rains, It Pours but I Just Need an Umbrella

Usually when bad luck strikes, it tends to be in the way of major vet bills.  So I do have to be grateful that there hasn't been any of those issues yet.  But good grief, this week has been unrelenting in just absolute nonsense on work front and some other personal things.

But, I am striving to look forward to the future.

I was naughty and didn't ride today or yesterday.  I did however, at least get a short run in with the dog and came to this conclusion: I am still out of shape.  The dog is also out of shape and after almost a mile of running, he had sideways tongue and we had to quit.

Why does sideways tongue determine when we quit?  You see, our pet Labrador is a bit special and he cannot hang his tongue out sideways and run.  He invariably ends up biting it and dribbles blood down the sidewalk and I end up getting hateful looks from the neighbors sitting around in the subdivision.

So that was a short run.

But, at least better than nothing.

I told the Semi Feral Mare that I sent in entry forms the other day.


I don't think she was impressed.  She was fairly lazy the other day when I rode her so hopefully that's a good sign.  Next goal: make circles look more like circles and less like eggs.  Although I am quite certain that describing them as eggs might be generous.

Geometry may not be my strong suit.  

But sometimes I need to push myself past the comfort zone.  It's easy to say I can't do something, so we will go to this show.  I will be able to handle my work and still figure out how to fit in riding and those other things that life occasionally requires. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

What's the Itch on Rain Rot?

Rain Rot

The bane of many people's existence in the late fall or late wet spring in my area, it is known by a few different names such as rain scald or even greasy heel.

But what is it? 

I see people offering up advice continuously on how to approach and treat rain rot and while there are multiple ways to approach a problem, sometimes a little education and understanding is a good foundation upon which to stand.

Rain rot is caused by a bacteria called dermatophilus congolensis.  It is a gram positive bacteria.  But more simply, it often exists already on the skin of our horses.

But then why do horses have an issue when chronically wet, especially with a long winter coat?  This bacteria is a faculative anaerobe, which means it can exist in the presence of oxygen, but prefers carbon dioxide.  Most bacteria prefer a dark, moist area to reproduce.  It already exists in the skin (epidermis) of the horse.  When the horse's coat is wet for long periods of time, it can be drawn upwards through the epidermis externally to spread and begin to reproduce rapidly in a dense carbon dioxide pocket just on the outside of the horse's coat at the bottom of the long winter fur. 

Know those nasty little scabs?  Simplistically, that's a little pocket of the nasty bacteria.

So how do we approach the itch and why should we bother? 

Quite simply, secondary infections are a possibility for the horse.  When one bacteria begins to rapidly proliferate and stress an animal, another native bug like Staph or Strep (yep, they exist naturally on the skin as well) can overgrow and cause a much more serious infection.  Number two, it's painful to the horse and the hair loss is unsightly.  It can be contagious to other horses and animal species, including humans, so be warned.

So how can we treat this? 

The easiest way is something that will kill the offending bacteria.  But realize that the bacteria is often in tight little pockets and those icky scabs.  That's why the first step is to gently remove the scabs.  If possible, the long fur should be aerated too, ie if clipping is possible.  Keep the horse out of prolonged moist conditions.  Then treat the affected area with some specific method to kill it.  Some people use Listerine or other mouthwashes which can contain antiseptic or antibacterial agents, or just alcohol.  This can work too.

But from a microbiological standpoint, scrubbing the horse with betadine or chlorhexidine will also work and then you know which antiseptic you are treating your horse with.  A benefit of betadine/chlorhexidine is that they don't induce excess scar formation/delay healing time that some antiseptic agents do like hydrogen peroxide.  

If a horse is badly infected, then a veterinarian may need to look at treating a horse with antibiotics, especially if there is a secondary bacterial infection or it is on a joint like the pastern.  Good thing is that gram positive bacteria (like dermatophilus!) have a thinner outer wall and are susceptible to penicillin (unless resistant which of course is a whole other idea).  :)  So, if you are concerned that the horse's case of rainrot isn't healing, despite treatment, then there are other options.

So what do you think?  What do you use to treat rain rot?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I had another good day working with the two semi feral critters.  First, I worked the filly in hand and ground drove her around the farm and to the outdoor.  Apparently the gate to the outdoor is more than a little intimidating because that's the one thing that gave her pause.  

I rode the semi feral mare as well.  Just a bunch of trot circles and working on accepting a steady contact and trying to keep my hands from creeping down onto her neck.  Easier said than done, usually.  But all in all, she was quite well behaved.

I'm thinking about going all out crazy and taking her to a schooling show in a few weeks.  I should decide soon, but, I figure we only live once and why not in a low key environment.  Then I can just work my way up from that experience, right?  I'd just be doing intro A or B I think.  Nothing too incredibly fancy.  

And I am quite dismayed on how furry the horses are already!  I'm not ready for winter to be here soon.  I still need to get my horse blankets cleaned first! 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Memory Monday

The Auction Horse

In 2006, I bought my first horse at an auction.  Technically, a friend held up the bidder's card, but I wrote the check, which same friend later reimbursed.  We purchased him to donate to a summer camp at which we were working as they needed a few more solid, dependable horses.

Meet Alex

I am sure I will have many stories about Alex on the blog here over the years, but I suppose I should just tell one for today.  Alex is a purebred Arabian gelding who had been shown in the 4H level and done a bunch of trails.  He's a solid, good natured in a hyper Arab way kind of guy.  And I love him quite a bit.

The summer camp has theme weeks which a special "theme" day once a week.  Western week is when all the crazy men and women who work with the horses get to shine as we introduce the horses all to camp, usually with a storyline of how bandits are in camp and we need to catch them.

Pretty fun game.


It takes a special horse to handle the hoopla of three hundred plus children and assorted staff talking, interacting, and being around you at once.  I thought Alex would be up to the job.  Plus, he is a fast fellow and perfect for chasing a bandit or two.

So on cue, we raced onto the "stage" which was a built up wall next to the waterfront.  The bandits had been stealing the flag or something along those lines.  I don't really remember that part.  We did our best chasing impression as the children were herded backwards, flying across the built up "stage".

Visual prop here.  Different year, same stage

Coincidentally, Alex is on the far left again.  He gets drafted a lot for these events.

See how there is a rock wall in front.  Well, I knew that part.  What I forgot is that there is a rock wall for a couple feet on the far edge that curves around.  So imagine taking off at a quick canter and looking down and realizing something.

There is a rock wall.  I panicked.  I had no idea if Alex could jump or not.  I just thought I was going to get shishkabobbed on the western saddle in a dirty stop.

But Alex's version of the event was something more like this.

Well this is interesting.  All these tiny humans looking at me.  Look we get to run.  I love to run.  Look at my tail when I run.  Oh look!  Something to jump.  What is that person looking at up there?  Who cares?  Let's run AND jump.  Hurray!
And that was that.  So, by being unobservant I managed my first cross country jump in a western saddle on an Arab in front of an audience of almost four hundred people.  

Saturday, September 14, 2013

On This Day

On this day....

A seedless watermelon was developed in 1951 by Purdue University.

Also looking vaguely melon shape was my semi feral mare tonight.  Fortunately for me, she is not the typical 8 to 10 pounds of a watermelon, as that probably wouldn't leave enough room for a saddle.

Also on this day, I had another riding lesson.  Yippe.  On the plus side, there was improvement.  Sounds simplistic to work on things such as bending, maintaining rhythm, and steady contact.  But add in a horse with fear issues from snatch and spank type of training and a rider who is also struggling with her fitness (or lack therof) and it ends up being more than enough to work on for an hour.

But, the plus side is that progress appears to have been made.  The right circles were much better than the left.  Left, she has a tendency to just thoroughly resist and not be able to relax.  I noticed that she just seems stiffer & more sore on the left side in general on the ground, so perhaps some more gentle stretching and massaging to see if that helps.

And I realized that I need to pick my hands up a little bit more.  I just need to fix my hand to prevent it from creeping down low towards her neck and back towards my knee on the circle.  Easier said than done.  For some reason, just quite difficult for me on the left and an absolute non-issue on the right.  Definitely something to be aware of and work on in this next week.

And just because I can and because I'm a nerd at heart, I'd like to share this joke.

Friday, September 13, 2013

French Braids & Tarps

Sadly, I have been slacking this past week.  It was very, unbearably hot and while my old plan would have been to go out and ride at eight or ten at night, it's a little more difficult when my alarm clock goes off at 2:52 am.

So the past few days were horseless.

But I pushed through the late afternoon grog and slogged out to the barn today and I am glad I did.  It's always the struggle to finish the drive out there and get out of the car, but once I have my horses in hand, I feel the energy return. 

I pulled the semi feral mare out of the pasture first.  I decided recently that I need to learn how to do a decent running braid.  Unfortunately, I also realized I can't french braid my way out of a paper box, let alone trying to do something tight and elegant on a horse's neck.

So, I think I may have to go to the Goodwill & find an old Barbie doll or something to practice on. 

French Braid 1:  Feral Rider 0

So I decided to give up on that project and move onto something that I theoretically know how to do.  Easier to say than in practice.  I saddled up the semi feral mare and we rode in the indoor for a few minutes.  She was good and well behaved, despite the cooler weather and time off, so we headed out to the outdoor.  Egads, no crazy bulldozer to stop our path. 

However, the grass in the outdoor was fairly long and she was tripping a little more than I was comfortable with.  While, I don't mind an occasional small trip out of a typical horse, but the mare has had a couple minor hiccups the past few years: a fractured splint bone, a torn superficial flexor tendon, and a bunch of smaller bruising from the splits-on-the-ice adventure.  So, in the interest of keeping my horse theoretically in one piece with the same amount of lumps I left with, I went back to the indoor arena.  Sad defeat.  But no tripping. 

Next time, I'll try putting her Back on Track hock boots on and see how that helps.  I'd like to get a pair of Back on Track polos too and see that if that will make a difference. 

Any Back on Track fans out there? 

So overall, semi feral horse was less feral and more semi tame.  Very good.

Are we done yet?
Then I went ahead and got the semi feral filly.  She really is a sweet filly and I should come up with a better nickname for her.  She does have a tendency to go by Silly Filly though.

She is a two year old filly with a good head on her shoulders.  She currently lunges with tack on, ground drives, and has been out and about showing in hand for a little while now.  No major rush to put her under saddle, but I enjoy exposing her to new things.

Tonight's adventure was the tarp.  She had been exposed to a tarp off and on since a suckling, but she used to hesitate a bit and then get a little nervous anytime it was bunched up or moved around.

I put it down tonight and asked her to sniff it and she decided to do better.  She just walked right onto the bunched up tarp and gave me the cookie face.  So I gave in. 

Filly 1: Tarp 0
I worked a little bit longer with the tarp, but why beat a red horse with a tarp (better than beating a dead horse right?)

Hoping to have a lesson tomorrow.  Let's see how that goes!  I'm hoping for more success than with my braids.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Superbugs, Equine Style

A recent event in my horsey life has me reflecting once again on society and our dependence on having a silver bullet or cure for everything.

If we are fat, we need a fat pill to be thin.  If we are dependent, then let's have another drug to reduce the dependence.

If we have a runny nose, let's go get antibiotics because obviously that will cure all ails.
Same in the horse world.

I see rampant overuse in equine antibiotics.  Who hasn't put their horse on SMZs?  Despite the fact that antibiotics have no effect on viral disease. 

Horse owners: why don't more people ask for a gram stain or why don't your veterinarians offer this?  I personally would love to know at least if we are dealing with a.) a bacterial agent at all or b.) something that's gram positive or gram negative.  Let's save the wide spectrum antibiotics for those cases where we are in a crisis. 

For those looking for a more succinct version of my complaint, please feel free to check out this link from  

I should confess though that I am a little biased.  I'm a microbiologist so I am constantly surrounded by opportunistic pathogens in the lab.  But still I wonder, why do people always reach for the antibiotics first and ask questions later?  I personally always worry about antibiotic related disease like colitis.

Is it convenience?  Fear of the diagnosis?  Worry about cost?  Readers, what do you think?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Memory Mondays

I always enjoy telling stories, however, I always worry when I begin to forget those memories that were so vivid, so potent, and so incredible.

So I am trying to create "Memory Mondays"where I post a memory.  Fun ones, sad ones, and those that I just like to share.

Hope you enjoy.  Let me know what you think and share some of your own.

(Back story:  I volunteered/worked over the years at a summer camp where horses are run/lead in and out of large grazing pastures in the evening when the work was done)

Running the Herd

I was still young.  I remember being a little apprehensive about running the herd, so this must have been after my first fall.  Not just first fall while galloping a horse bareback in a large thunderous group, but first fall ever.  Don't worry self, there would be more to come. 

I remember sitting and looking across the corral to decide who were were riding.  Some of the other people must have taken pity on me.  I remember the hour was going later and it was getting dark.  While we were checking gates earlier, the sun had begun to set.  I remember sitting atop a horse on a tall hill and looking all around at the world's most beautiful panoramic picture.  Just an incredible sunset full of vivid colors that were just surreal.

I selected my mount.  He was a little Arabian gelding: chestnut with white feet.  Comfortable, small enough for me to get on bare, and very smooth.  An ideal horse to take the herd out in because he was so utterly dependable.  So Louie, it was.

As we opened the gate of the corral, dusk had fallen.  The pasture was close-by that we needed to get to, but still we had to push, or the horses would never leave the home corral.  So off we went.  I was in the middle in a perfect introductory-to-running-in-a-big-herd kind of way.  We galloped smoothly across the home field, up the hill, across the camp road, and up the main path.

I remember it getting dark enough that I could barely see Louie's ears.  I asked him quietly to keep me safe.  He kept on, smoothly and steadily.

As I looked around, grasping to see anything in the darkness, I saw an incredible display.  Sparks flew from where horseshoes hit the gravel on the path.  I could see little glimmers through the darkness lighting a path to our destination.

And then we arrived, safe and sound a few moments later. 

Louie had kept his promise and had given me a short, sweet, yet long lasting ride.  Thank you old man for letting me see that in the darkness, there will be light.

Sunday, September 8, 2013


I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit.  Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'
 Muhammad Ali

Today was more of a lazy day than I am afraid to admit.  I made lunch this morning, went to the vet clinic job for a few minutes, listed things for sale on E-bay, and then wondered what to do next.

I realized that I want to be better.  I want to be more of the athlete that I once was.  OK, maybe not so much of an athlete, but I am tired and ashamed of when I go for a walk that I have to go for a walk and not a run because I am no longer physically fit.  And the only person I have to look at is myself.

And it's easy to say that I'm too tired.  And truthfully, I am tired.  Way tired.  I am wondering when the next day I am getting eight hours of sleep is.  But at the same time, if I am awake and sitting and being lazy, then why can't I slowly set goals for myself?

My husband and I moved an elliptical machine upstairs into the living room.  I am trying to go ahead and set small goals for myself.  Unfortunately, I like to think BIG sometimes and say OK I am going to go run a couple of miles or go swim a couple thousands of yards or whatever and push myself too hard.

A mistake.  I need to set reasonable goals.  I am thinking about fifteen minutes a day for this first week and upping that by five minutes each week until I reach an allotment of time that I no longer have.  Well, hopefully by that point, I am comfortable enough to go take the dog out and run instead of just cruising on the ellipical machine.  

I know to better myself as an equestrian I need to be in better physical condition.

And don't get me wrong.  I am not a heavy rider or a rider that most people would look at and say "Wow, this may be difficult."  But at the same time, we expect our horses to do physically taxing things.  Round their backs, drop their heads, soften at the poll, self carriage, control the speed of gaits, and so forth.  To do so, they need a large amount of mental and physical training.

The same should apply to us.  While I appreciate that riding, is of course, a physical activity, I know the benefits of cross-training.  When I was a swimmer in college, my coach was very adament on cross training and had all of us in the weight room several times a week.  And you know what: he was right. 

So I think the same should apply to riders as well.  They should have sufficient mental and physical training in order to accomplish their goals.
What do you think riders?  What do you do out of the saddle? 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Half Mown Meadow

The stubble and mown hay were fresh like tidal sand
When at low tide I walked by that standing lake-waved sea;
The surface of the grass wore such fluidity,
Melting of plane in plane, as seemed unknown on land.

Except from The Half-Mown Meadow by Edith Joy Scovell

Beautiful day this morning.  It's hard to believe that it's September already.  I keep thinking it's just August.  I went out and did barn chores this morning and hoping to get in an evening ride after I go into one job for a few minutes and then go out and do evening chores at the farm.  That's the hard part about working three jobs--trying to fit everything in!

I ground drove the Semi Feral Filly the other day and she was a champ.  She's a two year old and very different in personality than her dam (the grey).  While her dam is apprehensive and nervous, the filly takes most of life in stride.  I just put the harness on and off we went around the farm.  A little bit of coaxing to go down the aisleway, but she was happy go lucky about being outside and going into the outdoor arena and over some of the ground poles.   I think she is going to be a nice little filly once under saddle. 

I often wonder what the mare would be like if she had this much handling and work when younger.  Would she be more confident and self assured too?  

Here was the mare yesterday afternoon after our outdoor adventure.  

Get me out of here, she says

Update from this evening.  I did my normal running around to another job and then back to the barn.  Finished chores and then had time for a ride.  It ended up being very warm this evening, so we just stayed in the indoor arena and worked a bit on trying to be soft and ride into the corners.  Proper posture, looking where I am going, and then when she softened up at the walk, going into the trot.  The mare has a tendency to get amped up at the trot and going like a freight train and I have found since working on trying to be softer in the walk, her trot has been less like a crazy train and more like a comfortable jog trot. 

For all of her good behavior this evening, she was rewarded with a bath.  OK, probably not much of a reward as she isn't a fan of baths.  The water is fine, but rather the hose is more of a snake and she would rather die than stand on the slippery black rubber mats outside.  Fine, we just stand on the grass on the other side of the wash rack.  Works for me.

Onwards and upwards. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Zero to Hero?

OK, not to quote Hercules (or as I prefer Herakles, the Greek form of the name), I have been trying to hopelessly get the semi feral horse and the semi feral human (me) back in some form of shape besides round.

I recently have switched to an earlier shift at work, which is great because I now have time to ride after work.  Unfortunately, this means I now get a lot less sleep because I haven't managed to figure out how to commute, ride, shower, eat, do something domestic (and not in that order) and get somewhere close to 8 hours of sleep.

But I will enjoy the riding. 

I am far from a perfect rider.

I have a lot of faults that I am desperately trying to correct.  I used to ride some difficult horses and started a few colts, so I end up looking down a lot and have a tendency to have my leg swing a little too far forward.  I had a back injury last year, so I also spend a lot of time guarding my back.

This meant that while I was riding my accident prone little horse, I was upsetting her balance with my crappy balance and I was finding myself getting frustrating.  She was erratic in keeping a chosen gait and wasn't willing to soften and seek contact.  We more resembled a monkey perched on a giraffe, rather than an elegant horse-rider pair.


I'm sure I'm still in giraffe mode, but I finally kick started myself with an honest riding lesson.  And sure enough, semi feral horse started off semi feral, but actually resembled more of a horse by the end.  And I truly discovered when I sat back (up), kept my elbows back, got rid of the soft puppy paws and looked at someplace besides the dirt, I actually could ride.  Go figure.

Easier said than done.

Tonight, I took SFM (Semi Feral Mare) out to the outdoor.  Seriously a big step.  SFM has very little life experience, except for eating grass and making babies.  We rode out from the indoor and while she has been out on the trail a few times, she has not been out by herself.  She is also very timid.  It took a few minutes to convince her that the Bobcat isn't so terrifying and has nothing to do with its feline counterpart.  We made it down the driveway.  Then we were stalled by the in gate to the outdoor (go figure).

I realized that the barrel jumps were just too much for a little grey pony's brain to handle, so I walked her in and off we waddled around the outdoor.  She had a good time looking at all the scary jumps and couldn't figure out which ones to look at the most.  The barrel jumps ended up being the clear winner though.

My goals are simple.  Better equitation and being soft with my body, while trying to instill confidence in my horse.

We weaved and walked around the jumps.  Worked on less giraffe, and more bend and using her body.  We trotted.  I decided to sing (and good thing no one else was there because a dying frog could sing better than I can) to try and keep focus and I think it's a bit soothing to the horse.  Maybe not, but I kept a nice steady trot much better that way and I remember to breathe at the same time, so win for me.

We waddled over some of the ground poles.  Poles with stripes are more terrifying than poles without.  But less terrifying than barrels on the ground. 

Overall, pretty good ride.  I keep my expectations low, hah, but it's all a good experience for me.  I've had a chance to ride some phenomenal horses, but I am finally learning a lot about how to correct my habits and become a better rider so the next time I have the chance to ride or show a "made" horse, then I can achieve more from our partnership. 

And on the homefront--I was probably more domestic than normal.  Loaded this dishwasher, made dinner, and prepared the crockpot for tomorrow.  The horrors of becoming too civilized!

Why a blog?

I have wanted to start a blog again for a while to just share thoughts, chronicle my riding/horse adventures, and share photos, since more or less that's my life in a short nutshell.

So welcome to the Semi Feral Equestrian.

Why semi feral? 

It pretty much describes my life.  I have an 18 year old horse that is in a state of being semi feral.  Years of inconsistant work and a few injuries have slowed us down.  However, I would like to rededicate myself to being the rider that she should have always had.  I have a lot to learn and she is a good horse to let me know when I am actually riding properly.

I am also not the 100% blue ribbon winning housewife either.  I get things done, but my sweet husband is much more on top of the whole clean house, doing dishes, and cooking thing, so I suppose I am as much "semi feral" as my horse is!

Doing what a semi feral horse does best...eating.