In which we ride and improve the Dragon's demeanor (a bit)

At Spay Day + 6 weeks, the Dragon is back in regular training again.We ride trails twice a week, and try to take a lesson once a week whenever we can schedule it.

 Lisa had a day off from school last week, so I called Dory and she squoze Lisa into the lesson schedule.  The kid was thrilled!
Pretty pony!
 Our old friend Guy has moved on to the Great Arena in the Sky, so Dory is using Kalief as a lesson horse now.  He's lovely.  
Instructions for posting the trot
 Kalief is accustomed to an experienced rider, so he was pretty confused by the bouncing and squealing of a beginner, but he has an awesome attitude.  By the end of the lesson, he had figured out that Dory was driving the train, not Lisa--so he listened to Dory, and everybody was happy.
 One of Fiddle's biggest issues is tolerating other horses "in her space", so we've been working on that with her a lot now that we aren't tripping over her ovaries anymore.  She was my tripod during Lisa's entire lesson...
...and I kept her in the arena while other horses and riders came in to work as well.  I didn't ask her to work; her entire assignment was to stand quietly in the middle of the arena while I took photos from her back.  The other horses walked, trotted, and cantered around her without paying her any attention at all.  She did pretty well, even when the green horses and riders came a bit closer than she prefers:  she flipped an ear but didn't pin them or try to kick.  This is big progress. 
Watching the lessons
I've been enforcing the "no kicking" rule very strongly now, because she was starting to kick out at the bushes when she got frustrated with me, and that was not leading us on the path to happiness.  Now the rule is "no kicking and no bad ears EVER" even when it's her rider that she's mad at, and not another horse.  

She doesn't like this rule, but I like it a lot.  

She isn't 100% on board with it yet, but she's getting the concept that I now enforce the "no kicking" rule even when there's not another horse within miles.  She still gets frustrated with me, but now she'll have to think of another way to express the frustration.

I know she'll come up with something....interesting.  That's the kind of Dragon she is.  

Warpainted face
 The stupid starlings  have been decorating my horse.  Biggify the photo above to see her warpainted face.

The trails haven't benefited from all the rain we've had this month, but we needed a break from logging roads
Post-wedding:  Skivvies doesn't worry about tan lines anymore.
 so, a-slogging we did go.  And hey, 
Salmonberries:  the freely-growing M&M's of the Swampland
the salmonberries are ripe.  Yellow, red or orange doesn't affect the flavor--they're like M&M's:  they all taste the same.
 Fiddle likes the leaves best.

Trails are the best, even in the wetness.

It's good.


  1. How do you discipline the angry ears when you are on her back?

    1. Secret ninja technique, which I will demonstrate WHEN YOU COME VISIT ME!!!!

    2. I am really curious about this too. I have a grumpy BLM mustang that pins ears (no more than that... yet) but I'd like her to "stop that right now... sheesh". Any ideas would be much appreciated :) And if you come to Sunriver or Bandit Springs you can show me too!!

  2. I love your choice of words. "Tripping over her ovaries"...yes! I like your no kicking rule a lot, too. One more reminder why I don't ride mares. But I love hearing about you and Fiddle and your photos are great. You guys are quite a team. Cheers!

  3. Back when I took some lessons with Griffin (we have issues with "angry ears" around other horses as well). Bill, my instructor (and someone I would jump at the chance to take lessons with again if given the chance) instructed me to do some very small half-halts when Grif wanted to make angry gestures at the other horses. He explained that the half-halts encourage him to bring his attention back to me and to not fixate on the other horse(s). As time went on, I had to half-halt less and less as he started to figure out where is attention needed to be.

    The key for me is staying on top of it for every ride, especially now when he doesn't do it all the time anymore. Consistency is something I struggle with very much *sigh* When I do stay on it with him, he is a LOT better and actually starts paying attention more and keeping his ears forward :)

    I am also curious in what you are doing with Fiddle on this issue :)

    Lisa looks like she is doing very well! There is a lot of difference in those pics with guy and the ones in this post. I'd say she definitely looks more confident...and yes, looks like she is really enjoying herself. Perhaps you will have a future endurance rider in the making???

    I'm sorry to hear about Guy. He looked like a saintly old man. RIP sweet boy :(

  4. I can't believe it's been six weeks...


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