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Spring Break!

amywink March 13th, 2012

I’m slow on posting this week because it’s spring break and after a soggy, soggy week last week, I am out enjoying the sunshine as much as possible. I hope to get an extra drive in mid-week but we’ll have to see because the pastures are currently swamps. On Saturday morning, I had watched Blessing show off her new skills in the darkened arena. The cloud cover and cold made the lighting very challenging for the camera and I don’t have too many good shots of her. The weather also delayed her introduction to the carriage but she did have a successful introduction to the driving bridle with blinders and her breeching. These photos are altered somewhat on iPhoto to help with the underexposure issues but at least we can sort of tell what she looks like–almost a proper driving horse!

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Malen reports that she had some kicky reactions to the breeching but nothing unexpected. I could tell she’s still working out how to work in the blinders when she can’t really see Malen all the time but she is doing very well and I am pleased with her progress. Francine reports that Blessing’s attitude really changes when I come to visit her and I have to say she does seem to try to show off her skills when Malen works her for me. She often seems to be thinking “Are you watching me? See what I know! Are you looking?”, and looks to see if I am watching at her–more obviously now with the blinders. And of course, I am watching her and tell her I’m quite impressed and she’s doing very well–how’s that for anthropomorphizing? ;)

I did get one very humorous photo out of last weekend’s visit, a little photo I like to call “NightMare”

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I will hope for better lighting this week!

Quite A Pair

amywink March 5th, 2012

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Will must have heard the rumors that I was considering sending him back into training after his escapade last week and he worked very hard this week to remind me that he was, according to him, my Favorite Pony and a Very Good Pony who knew what he was about. “See? See how good and cute I am?”

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He does this pose often–I call it his “Look, I’m a Morgan!” pose–and he’s done it since I got him. It is quite charming and he has returned to my good graces.

The GPS track from last week’s bolt indicated we moved 150 meters 40 seconds faster than our usual pace. We returned to our normal speed this week.

We did have a very good drive in the Dragon Free Zone of the dressage arena. I took quite a long time to get ready, scraping as much of his winter coat off as I could get–there’s probably enough to knit something, or perhaps I should collect it and have a hat made of the felted hair. I clipped his bridle path, since his mane is rather unruly and quite bushy. All the slow work lead up to our quiet harnessing. He did start off a bit faster than I wanted so we will return to that lesson on our next drive. My main goal this weekend was slow, steady, responsive driving and we managed it. By the end of our drive, we even managed a very nice circle!

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I was quite pleased when I saw this GPS track, since we’d been off driving for a month and I’d not attempted a circle in the carriage for a while.

I am working, however, on riding them and at my riding lesson Saturday, I managed to get a few circles quite right–no GPS for that. Maybe I should attach it to my leg to see! That wouldn’t indicate any borderline obsession with circles, would it? I told Francine and Malen my riding goals would not include a perfect circle….and yet…..

Riding continues to illuminate my driving. Yesterday toward the end of our drive Will started doing his typical “I’ll just turn my head and not my entire body, if that’s okay with you” and this time, I applied my “leg” to his side/hip, taping him over with my whip. The response was instant and he moved correctly into line and looked rather surprised at the same time. This is probably a small thing (perhaps even worth a “Duh”) but after connecting the dots this way, I may have solved a long time issue for the both of us.

Blessing continues her fabulous progress. This Saturday was so blustery, however, than she was only long-lined in the arena. She is, however, doing spectacularly well and she’s quite beautiful when her movements are all correct, which is more and more often. She’s going to look lovely with a carriage, which she will be getting used to this week. Though the lighting was difficult, I did come away with one shot I like very much. She reminds me a great deal of her brother in this photo.

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Next week, we’ll see what she’s learned and maybe we’ll have good weather for some more outside photos.

Happy New Year!

amywink January 2nd, 2012

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Will the Rock Star

amywink October 31st, 2011

Will had guests this weekend and he was his best self as he touted them about the place and showed off his skills and strength. Kristi came up from Houston and Steven finally made it out for a long promised carriage ride. I think I made that promise in 2009! But we finally had good weather and good timing!

Will got a nice brushing from Steven and he clearly knew it was different but also that he was supposed to be a good horse and stand there quietly. He’s a lot more….gymnastic… when I brush him. And clearly, he wanted to show what a good boy he was being:img_2045.jpgimg_2047.jpg

Though 2 more passengers were more that he usually carries, Will did his best to show he could manage and took his guests on a tour as I answered questions about driving. In the middle of the questions, I thought about how much I actually knew now about driving than even just a year ago, and way more than when I started as a blank slate 4 years ago. Remembering how far I had come from that beginning experience was deeply satisfying. Being able to explain things that I used to barely understand, as well as being able to do it while driving and not make a directional mistake, was also very personally gratifying.

Will, of course, begged his rewards once we’d finished, and now thinks Steven is his new BFF.

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I have had to make some changes to my plans for the fall and have withdrawn from the Haven Hill Driving Trial because of family health issues. However, I believe I derived as much pleasure or more from driving my friends around than I would have from competing next weekend. There will a time for competition, but right now, I just want to relax and enjoy the fall weather with my horses and friends.

Blessing turned 4 in early October and she heads to training in November. I am looking forward to driving her and seeing what she can do. She’s a bit calmer than Will and more independent–he’s the diva. She also likes to put her feet in water so I’ll have at least one horse who will go through a water hazard. I imagine she may just drag her reluctant brother along.

Here she is waiting to see if someone might be putting dinner out in her bucket.

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I finally have my driving apron as well and I am very pleased. Ashley Mitchell selected the fabrics and has a seamstress made the aprons to order. The combination of smokey blues, greens and blacks in the plaid side look surprisingly gorgeous with the chocolately brown side. I’m quite pleased and will have several color options for the rest of my eventual attire.

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Fair Trade

amywink October 10th, 2011

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No driving this weekend. We had rain.

whew.

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