In which I write about Patty's horses: the new one and the old one

Happy New Year, everyone!

Patty decided to celebrate the beginning of 2013 with "pony play".  

ground driving

She's been ground-driving River for the last week or two, and the mare has really gotten the hang of it.  

Today, we added a few new important new elements.   First new experience: ground driving while other horses are working in the arena.

Hey, wait.  This is AARENE, but it isn't FIDDLE!

I decided that the New Year was a good time to do some stuff I've been intending to do for a while, including "ride other horses."  I  asked Patty to scrounge up a mount for me to ride today, and look who she chose:

It's Ross!
Ross is mostly-retired these days, although Maddy likes to ride him when she's in town.  He's in his mid-twenties, and fuzzy as a stuffed animal in his winter coat.  Here are some pictures of Ross in his glory days:

Patty and Ross at Cougar Rock in 1997.
They finished Tevis in 74th place.

Although Ross has an entrenched reputation for teleportation (i.e. you are riding Ross, and suddenly your bum hits the ground and Ross is eating grass 2 acres away), he was AWESOME for me today.  Not a beginner's horse, for sure, but he gave me a lovely ride...and look what I got to practice:

Once River was comfortable with the crowd in the arena, Patty asked her to "thread the needle" between two other horses.

Look at the "thinking" ears on the spotted horse!

She thought about it for a moment, and then marched on through!

Then, it was time to add another new element:

leaving the arena behind
They practiced for a few minutes with Crystal as a sidewalker, while Ross and I stood by and took photos.
Watching Patty's young horse through the ears of her old horse.
Yeah, I'm loving that.
 When River seemed comfortable with the "outside the arena" thing, Crystal let go.

"Thanks, Crystal!"

And off they went to explore the farm!

Large weird pile of gravel = not scary
 Ross and I went along, supposedly for moral support.

 In reality, we just wanted to get a bunch more pictures.

Big tree between Ross and River -- this mare is NOT herdbound!
Still not enough challenges!  Let's add more!

Patty's first time up on River -  lots of pets and praise for the mare!
 River has been backed a little bit this week by Dory and Big Meagan (they are doing the Formal Training for this mare), but this is Patty's first time in the saddle.
Safety first: helmets for the rider and the sidewalker

We start with Sirie as sidewalker until River is comfortable with the concept.  Then...

Cast off the training wheels


A few rounds of "follow the leader" with Duana and Hana...

"Do like I do, River."

and then River is asked to walk away from her new friend Hana and go alone.

"Bye!   Write when you get work!"

When River's brain gets full, she stops to think.  We call this her "data compression" face.

file compression 80% complete

She yawns for stress relief.  And then...

Brain is getting full.

...she moves out again.

Good girl!

What an excellent start to the year.


  1. How exciting for Patty and River! Ross is a cutie. Happy New Year

  2. What an awesome start to the new year for River and Patty! They look like a great pair. Aren't calm, smart young horses are worth their weight in gold:)


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