photo by
Tales of Taco the Wonder Horse and his ammy rider on their way to a Training Three Day

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Taco Cookie

The title has no particular meaning; it's just something I call him sometimes.  Taco has been his lovely and adorable self, and I always smile when I walk in and see his face pop over the stall door. He has been a superstar for the past week or so.  The hives made a very brief appearance last week after some rain (hmm.... pattern here...) but I am pulling my hair out less.  I am still considering doing an allergy test.

 Why yes, I do know that I am cute!

One thing that I have noticed, now that I have experienced a stretch of not competing,  is that I am concentrating on the quality of my riding and training more, for their own sake.  Since last winter was so harsh it felt like we never had that nice downtime in which to ride a lot and make some progress.  So, now that the weather is good and the semester is over, I have felt like I have paid better attention to our development as a partnership.  I hope that this work transfers over to the shows when we go again.

I've actually been enjoying dressage schools.  Why is it that the best dressage rides happen when there is no one watching but the dog? I've been playing a lot with leg-yielding and counter canter, and both really help supple him.  Then I try some lengthenings at the end of the ride and get some nice ones!  It wouldn't be a bad idea for us to visit a dressage show this summer.

Our lesson last weekend was really challenging and interesting.  Amy wants me to try sitting lighter on Taco's back during the approach to fences.  So the trick is to teach myself that I really can be effective with my aids in two-point.  Taco responded by jumping well, we thought.  What do you think?

I am going away this weekend to volunteer at the MayDaze horse trials at the Kentucky Horse Park.  I'm looking forward to the trip and to seeing many friends ride by as I fence judge, but I am not wanting to leave Taco.  I'll also be gone the following weekend at the Indiana T3D, where I will volunteer for both the event and the Long Format Club.  And then I will spend six days in mid-June in New York City doing research.  So I'll be missing my number one guy a lot over the next few weeks, but it makes my time with him all the sweeter.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Watching Paint Dry

Although there can be thrilling, transformative moments, teaching and learning can be like watching paint dry.  Every day brings practice and incremental improvement.  I feel that I am learning every day from Taco and Amy, but it is a slow process that takes place over time.

I had a good jumping lesson this week.  Earlier in the week I did a short jump school on my own, practicing a figure 8 over a slightly narrow, small vertical and getting pretty good at influencing which lead we landed on. 

In my lesson, we started with that vertical and then added a course, turning either left or right on a bending line and continuing on.  I was pleased that I kept thinking throughout, adjusting what I needed to in the moment.  I felt like an active partner for Taco.  The difference, Amy thinks, is probably my short jump schools on my own. I don't need to do much in those sessions to get a positive results in lessons.

Message from Taco:
I'm hungry!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Guest Blogger: Taco Himself

The following is what Taco dictated to me.  I told him that some other horses have been writing their own blog posts and asked him whether he wanted to write one.  He agreed, so here it is.

First of all, I would like to thank all of the humans who have taken such a keen interest in my well-being.  You are all very kind.  I live a very active, adventurous life and I sometimes manage to acquire injuries.  I would rather live life to the fullest and take the risk of getting hurt, but I know that this causes great distress to Stacy and it also used to worry Annika a lot, too.  So I will try to avoid getting hurt but I cannot make any promises.

Last week was a pretty good week.  Stacy came to the barn on Sunday and put me on the lunge line.  I showed her that one of my legs was sore (I had done some delightful galloping in the mud the night before) and she untacked me and gave me a bunch of carrots.  Then she went home.

The next day, I had to jog on the driveway a bunch of times, and then Stacy tacked me up.  She put me back on the lunge and my leg still hurt a little bit but she couldn't see it.  Then she got on me and trotted a couple of circles, and finally realized that my leg still hurt.  She got off and took me back to the barn for my carrots.

The next day the Needle Man came to see me.  He poked me with some needles and then I had to trot on the lunge and jog back and forth for him a bunch of times.  It wasn't so great.  However, then the really nice part of the week began.  Stacy would show up and brush me, and then she would take me out to eat grass for a really long time!  It was immensely enjoyable. 

But it got boring after a while and then the weekend was exceedingly boring.  The place where I live now, Tennessee, got a lot of rain.  It rains a lot here in general but the rain last weekend was very heavy and there was thunder and lightning.  I heard Amy say something about a "tornado warning."  As a result, I was forced to stay inside for one night.  I was incredibly bored and that is when I started to think about blogging.

This week, my leg feels better, but I had something really bizarre happen to me.  I got lumps all over my body.  I do not know where they came from.  But Stacy got all worked up about it.  She kept squeezing my left hind leg, the one with the scar, and she hosed me off with cold water.  She made me wear a strange thing on my head when I went out to my pasture.  She also gave me some food that had medicine in it, but I did not mind because it did not taste bad.  The next day, I felt a lot better.

 I am not sure why I have to wear this.

For the last few days Stacy has been riding me again.  I had forgotten that I like working.  Sometimes when I think about working, I don't want to do it.  But then I get started and I like it again.  Stacy said that we could jump over a few things this weekend, and that is something that I quite enjoy.  It is better than "dressage," which is what we did today and tends to get a little tedious, I must say.

Stacy says that we are not going to do a lot of traveling this month, but we will travel more in the summer and go to a "camp" in July.  That sounds OK to me.  I like going to new places.