Archive for December, 2009

Mud, mud, everywhere….

amywink December 13th, 2009

Over the last week, we’ve had more rain, drizzle, fog and chilly temperatures. What we thought was muddy before pales in comparison to the mud we have now, a slick, gooey, black clay that looks just about ready for the potter’s wheel!

Will is Not Happy.


Popeye is a little more relaxed about the whole thing, preferring to think of the experience as an opportunity for a fine facial:

So, there won’t be any driving any time soon. It looks like December may just be a little vacation for the horses.

Luckily, Lisa has other entertainment opportunities inside: puppies!!!!!!

Her Jack Russell “Biscuit” is the proud and weary mother of 4 of the most darling examples of puppyhood: Sopapilla, Sourdough, Strudel, and Cookie. So we spent the afternoon playing with puppies, which is a pretty good runner up to driving.

Be Not Afraid of Cuteness!!



Brisk weather. . .

amywink December 6th, 2009

. . . .makes for frisky horses.


and the afternoon light makes ponies glow. . .


Fire and Ice

amywink December 5th, 2009

After the “snow” yesterday, we had a hard freeze overnight, with a 19 degree low recorded at ABIA overnight, 25 at Mabry. And outside this morning, I thought of Robert Frost again.

Fire: Our Spanish Oak in the rising sun.


Ice: Frost on the car windshield.


Fire and Ice: Frost on Oak


Dressage Notebook

amywink December 4th, 2009

Since Will and I are beginning to work more specifically on dressage, I have been thinking about creating a dressage notebook in which I can collect exercises we can try and something I can refer to while driving. This week, I picked up a nice binder and page protectors and today, I began creating.

Now. It’s really cold today.

We even had snow (34 flakes) and so I can’t drive.

And I don’t have a lot to do except think about this dressage notebook.

So what happens when a trained academic decides to really focus on creating a dressage notebook?

Behold the product of The Driving UberNerd*:

On the inside cover, I’ve listed the Six Elements of Dressage, then I have a Section for with each element:


Then, in each section, I have the exercises for that particular element:


And the sections are in the appropriate order:


I plan to put velcro strips on the binder cover so I can strap the notebook to the dash or seat. But I haven’t done that yet. :)

* In case you’re doubting my academic nerdiness, consider this: I know that the “U” here should have an umlaut over it. An umlaut is the two little dots over a letter indicating a specific pronunciation of a vowel in German. It’s not the same as the two little dots used in English (like over the e in Bronte) which is called diaeresis. Behold the Nerd.

Will’s Christmas Bells

amywink December 1st, 2009

For over a year, I have been staring at Jim Dingman’s Lignite Carriage and Bell Company website, trying to decide what bells I wanted to order–saddle chimes? shaft chimes? a full set of bells? and in what style?– but this year, I decided on a set of Heirloom Series bells. Jim designed a set of 21 brass bells, with sizes 8, 6, and 4, to be worn “down”, on Havana brown leather. They arrived the day after Thanksgiving, just in time for Christmas!!! The sound is marvelous and I am trying to figure out how to create a mpg file for this website so everyone can hear the wonderful cheerful sound they make.

This Sunday, we introduced Will to his Christmas present.

He was Not Sure about this and when I started jingling, well, I think his expression here says it all:

I left them hanging on the tree as we got ready, jingling occasionally until he no longer lifted his head or stepped back, then we went out our drive, sans bells! After we finished a good long drive, Lisa unhooked Windy, then brought the bells over, walking toward him, jingling a bit, and climbed on the back of the carriage. Will didn’t look up and though he thought we should really be unhooking ourselves, he started off slowly and we took a nice slow walk around the yard, with the bells jingling on the carriage. After he showed no signs of trouble, we trotted a bit. He did listen to those bells, ears back, so I’m not sure he likes the sound that much, but he also put his ears happily forward enough to show he didn’t hate them. So that was a success. We unhitched and unharnessed, and I wore the bells to brush him and feed him treats. We’ll see how long it takes to get him used to his bells.

Perhaps I’ll read him my favorite lines from Robert Frost’s Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

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