Wednesday, February 12, 2020


I wore jeans and cowboy boots to ride the other night.

In my dressage saddle.

ZB wasn't wearing the latest matching outfit. She didn't even have front boots on. Her mane hangs below her neck now.

She's not blanketed.

She's not clipped.

I'm focused on developing the horse I have in front of me. She's not fit, but she's smart and she's fun and she learns things very quickly.

All kinds of things.

What's the practical application of teaching her to kick a giant ball? Literally nothing.

What's the practical application of encouraging her to use her naturally inquisitive personality and food motivation to solve problems and think independently?

Hmmmm a lot.

I'm not trying to build a show horse right now, though that might come. It is so fun to put in the time to build the horse I want to ride. It's not about teaching her to mindlessly zip through a list of tasks. It's not about skipping steps to get to the "fun part".

I want her to be engaged with me.

I want her to think.

I want her to be brave.

I want her to trust that she can achieve what I'm asking her to do.

I want her to try.

Today the "try" is follow the soccer ball and kick it herself.

Tomorrow it might be to find her way through a tricky part of the trail.

The day after, maybe a challenging arena gymnastic.

What fascinates me is how little repetition a horse really needs to understand a concept. All those transitions and hours in the tack help us develop the muscle memory we need and it definitely builds the fitness a horse needs to feel strong and confident in a long, challenging test.

The horse doesn't need them to learn.

If Zoe does something well and I drop the reins and say "good girl", she doesn't need to do it again.

I can leave it alone for 6 months, come back, and it's still there.

It's not about cowboy boots and jeans or breeches and a hairnet.

It's about learning together.


  1. I always say that good training sticks and you lose nothing but fitness if you let them sit. But it's always so cool to see that concept in practice! I love your attitude with this mare and the general tone of all your posts lately. It makes my heart happy.

  2. This is awesome! Nice to see someone having fun with their horse. You guys look great! <3

  3. All of this = ❤ Its so easy to get caught up in so many horsie things, but truly... it's about finding your happiness with a horse that you love.

  4. You just seem so much happier. Your posts reflect that and that's a good thing. It sounds like you're truly enjoying ZB and what's not to love about that?

    With my pony - riding has also been hit and miss for us because of the weather and life. Yet I come out and mess with her a little and even hop on and it's like she picks up where we left off the last time around. There's no drilling things into her head, we work on a few things, get what we need and call it good.


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