In which Willy takes a riding lesson and we get a ton of hay

Willy had his first "real" riding lesson the other day, aboard a kindly older gelding named Guy. Guy is one of those weight-in-gold horses who simply will not travel faster than he deems the rider can handle.

They started the lesson at a slow (really, really slow) walk, so that Willy could get the rhythm and learn to balance himself in the saddle.

As soon as he was comfortable walking, Dory had him drop the stirrups and balance himself up in the saddle without them.

At this point, I could almost hear Willy wondering when he was going to get to the part where the horse does all the work.

Once he was sure that his inner thighs would catch fire, Dory let Willy put feet back in the stirrups...and then had him practice a 2-point position at the walk (er, shuffle. Guy didn't think Willy was ready for a proper walk at this point).

They finished the lesson with some basic posting trot. Again, Guy shuffled, but this was a slightly bouncier shuffle, which accomodates the posting rhythm without actually going forward at any speed.

Willy says that Guy is "Slow. But nice. But slow."

And worth his weight in gold, too, bless his little grey heart.

Then it was time for my lesson.

First step: put Hana in the hot-walker to keep her busy and safe while Fiddle and I work. Hana did not appreciate this treatment, but she did walk--for an hour--and it did keep her safe and busy.

No two-pointing for me, oh no. Fiddle the Dressage Machine and I are working on a collected, seated trot.

My posture is improved, but argh, still not great. Fiddle does well at this in spite of me, not because of me. Sigh.

When I get it right and she gets it right, it's fabulous. A lot of work to get there, though.

After lessons, I get a ton of hay. We haven't had a decent crop of local hay (horse hay, I mean, not slimy cow hay) in years, so I'm lucky that our first year on the farm I will be able to pick up some cheap grass hay for winter.

The farmers loaded the truck and tied it down, but they apologized for their lack of expertise in knot-tying. They told me that since they can't tie a good knot, they'll just tie a lot. And that's what they did!

Turning the horses loose in the pasture at the end of their lessons--nice to know they aren't exhausted or anything.


Life is good.


  1. You have my envy and admiration: I can't sit a trot to save my life.

  2. I can sit's not pretty, mostly. Let's just say that I've come a long way in a year of lessons. Helps a lot that Fiddle is actually quite talented (although clearly I am not talented at all!!!)

  3. Good for Willy that he is starting slowly! It's always best to learn things right the first time, rather than having to go back and unlearn bad habits!

    And good for Fiddle, to be such an excellent teacher.

  4. I have been buying local grass hay for 5 years now, and haven't had a bad experience until this year. Yep, got a load of bad hay. 70 bales. I wasn't there when it was picked up. But it was baled too soon, still wet, and ended up molding. We got our money back and we had to dispose of the hay. I will make sure I am on every hay trip from now on.
    My horses can't be on alfalfa, so we feed local grass in the summer, and usually run out by winter, so we feed eastern grass in the winter. We don't have a big enough hay storage to stock up enough to get us through he winter. Something we will have to fix, hopefully soon!

  5. Paint Girl: I haven't been thrilled with local hay for the last few years--even if it was harvested late in the summer, my horses wouldn't touch it. And they don't get alfalfa either (Hana is fat enough without it) so I usually get a timothy/orchard mix from E. Washington. Last year was $painful$ (between bad weather and high fuel costs) ; this year should be better!!!


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