In which this post has some flowers but mostly horses (as I promised)

In my last post, I promised a break from the medical (non-) drama that currently focuses my life, and that's what this post is all about.

(one-sentence update on the hip replacement:  I'm two weeks out from surgery, walking with decreased limp and decreased pain and decreased meds, but not riding yet because I'm not completely stupid, although sometimes that is debatable.)

Let's start with the flowers, because that part will be brief.  It's MARCH, fer cryin' out loud--although we had a sunbreak  today, it only lasted about 20 minutes, which isn't much inspiration for photosynthesis.

Here in the Swampland, our first "spring flowers" look like escapees from the movie set of Jurassic Park--mostly horsetail and skunk cabbage (aka Swamp Tulips).  It's even a little bit early for those, although I have seen some sprouting up in the marshland beside our road.  This is the first springtime in several decades I haven't documented their emergence from horseback.

But here on the farm we have a few sprouts to show, including these dinosauric-looking stems

 Down in the yard, the blueberry bushes are starting to awaken...slowly...
blueberry bushes

Above the house, I finally found something spring-like!

a very early forsythia blossom
 And then, at last, I remembered a repository of flowers:

gifts from friends while I was in the hospital
Now that I've satisfied the the "flower" portion of the post, let's get on to the HORSE part!

Duana and Hana have been practicing their dressage together for more than a year, with the goal of showing (as well as improving their communication skills).

Yesterday was their very first show--a local schooling show, only a few miles from Fish Creek.  The weather was beyond horrible (cold, wet, windy) so of course we all showed up.  Yes, even me--I've been looking forward to this!  I wrapped myself up in layers of clothing, piled on some horse blankets, and tagged along slowly after the group.

Du's tests were in the afternoon, so we watched the morning group before getting Hana dressed up.

The weather was so crummy that riders warmed up in the (covered) round pen

Miss Sally and Burley

In the arena, the rain on the roof was so loud that test callers used a little megaphone so riders could hear them!

Finally, it was time for the very nervous Duana to head back to Fish Creek and get her princess ready.

This is where Hana and Fiddle part ways.  Fee doesn't mind being brushed, as long as the brushing is brisk and purposeful.  Dirt is to be removed, tangles straightened, and shoe cliches tightened. Anything more smacks too much of the ridiculous for this practical mare.

Sensible Mare does not need "beautification" a la The Hunger Games
Hana, by contrast, would happily spend hours in the beautification process.

The Cowardly Lion's beauty treatment seems just about right to Hana Banana Wannacookie
Fortunately for Hana, Du is happy to provide plenty of "spa time."  They spent hours on Friday with preliminary bathing and clipping, so Sunday was abbreviated...but only by contrast.

washing the mud off the chrome

Shedding blade used liberally.  Fee is just starting to lose her winter coat, but
Hana has been dropping hair for weeks!

Mud removal on the face

combed out, and ready for braiding

A long pipe cleaner is woven into the long french braid to add substance

 And topped off with a kiss, of course!

Then, finally time to tack up.

A few warm-up laps around the arena at Fish Creek

The horses loaded up, fully tacked except for headgear, for the short trip to the show venue.  We haul our horses in their tack regularly, so this is not new.

Hiding from the rain in the covered round pen 
Finally, it was Duana's turn in the arena!

My little camera is not equal to the task of taking good photos indoors in a large space, so the following pictures were borrowed from Margie Thorngren's facebook album.

One last kiss for luck

Schooling show = can still wear endurance bridle!

In the arena, going forward nicely!

They did the same test twice, and learned from both tests. 

Score = not important
Surviving the experience = priceless!
Mostly, the day was about doing something brand new.  Duana was exhausted at the end, but completely triumphant and "officially proud."

I'm proud too.  Although I'm happy to take dressage lessons, and very eager to do so again soon, showing is not what I want to do.  But Duana was brave enough to try something brand new, to learn a bunch of skills she didn't have before, and to try something.

I was happy to be there.  Because clapping and cheering for my friend is a Good Thing.


  1. Looks like a successful day all-round! Good job Duana & Hana!


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