In which Duana has a green horse and is ready to learn a lot

We're going to start a new series of posts here on the Haiku Farm blog:  all about getting a green horse moving down the trail.

Duana bought Freya in May.

Since then, they've experienced typical two-steps-forward/one-step-back progress.  This winter, I want to document some of the stuff they're doing...or rather, let Duana document some of her progress!  

So, I sent Du a few questions to get things started.  The photos and video were taken today.

new "raspberry" biothane tack, courtesy of
American Trail Gear, of course!

Talk about Freya.  How old is she?  What did she know before you got her?  

I bought her in May 2016, she had just turned 8.  She had mostly lived in a pasture, with occasional work as a lesson pony for kids.  She also had done limited in hand showing.  She knew how to do the minimum to get by – she wasn’t challenged but also she was left to grow without being over-worked. 

warming up

Five words that describe Freya's personality:

Curious, smart, brave, sensitive, forward

smart enough to try evasions

Talk about you.  What is your riding/training experience (with horses AND DOGS) before starting to work with Freya?
Horses- I played around enough to break a collar bone in college (hmm, how did we manage that one Aarene?! ). 

(Aarene's note:  I'm sure I have no idea!  I didn't break any bones that year...)

Then after the loss of a beloved dog, SOMEONE (again Aarene) suggested I come ride this really sweet, lovely, mellow mare that Jim happened to own.  

2011 photo of that first ride on Hana

Apparently this sweet, lovely, mellow mare told them she actually belongs to me, even though we’d never met… 

Three rides later, while trying not to pee  my breeches from being overwhelmed by the Bad Radish, otherwise known as Hana, I was in love.  Hana was 15 at the time, I bought her the next year and have learned everything I know so far from her and  our Usual Suspects (insert other blog posts here ;)  ).  

Du and Hana, lesson at Fish Creek 2011

Together Hana and I have done a lot of dressage lessons, a wee bit of schooling shows and had an utterly amazing three seasons of 25 and 50 mile endurance rides together.  My technical riding ability has improved (starting at nil) and I’ve learned volumes about working with an older, rather opinionated but extremely forgiving mare. 

I have no experience with younger horses except for being along with the ride while Patty has been bringing up Flower….  (cue the music….)  

BUT, I have a trainer who I would follow to the ends of the earth (Dory Jackson – also a Suspect) and I have my Suspects, with whom I just can’t imagine life without.  I’m also trying new things such as working with a second trainer on occasion in order to learn things in different ways (Jonathon Keimig).

Dogs – been working with and loving them since I was born.  Got my own first rescue rottie-mix when I was 30.  After she passed, I now have a second rescue.  Both required a lot of learning and  willingness to be challenged on my part.  I have had many times to take 2 steps forward and 1-3 steps back when I’ve been way out of my comfort zone.  And so far, with both, I’ve grateful for the life lessons they’ve brought me.  In the  intervening years I also adopted another rescue who didn’t work  -learning what I can and can’t do (and of the latter, what I’m willing and not willing to do) is incredibly hard but incredibly important, not just for me but also for the animal. 

Five words that describe your personality:
Ambitious, sensitive, silly, loyal, loving

We'll keep watching Duana and Freya as they progress.  Stay tuned!


  1. It's great that Duana is a rider who looks where she's going and not at her horse's ears. But the evasion isn't just up with the head, it's rolling behind the bit. Can the trainer help her get up out of that chin-to-chest posture? I know Duana didn't teach her that - she's new to her. Yah, I'm one of those Philippe Karl people: ) Is it Freya, is that what we call her? She's gorgeous - what is her pedigree?

    Hey, I found out today that Ross died, my CMO cowboy friend - you met him. I'm heartbroken because I really expected him to live forever. "You can't ride PRETTY Beth!"


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