Sunday, November 23, 2014


What if real life, like you know... housecleaning, career, school, dating...  you know real life was like rehabbing your Lil' Pinto Pony?  What if, instead, of throwing yourself off a cliff, changes can be made in increments?  What if?
Keeping busy photographing our
  • I am pretty sure that Sugar did not spend this time reflecting on her issues, meditating on life's next steps and truly resting for any and all future decisions.  She fought it like a good, co-dependent alpha mare until we relented and let her stand with her UL Dressage Lover with her promising to be quiet.
{{Note, she also did not clean her tack well, polished her brass or cleaned out her closets at home.}}


After a bit of time whining, complaining (quietly) and fighting restrictions, one finds gratitude and begins to enjoy the quiet solitude of our new found freedom.  These twenty minutes allow the reflection necessary to move forward (or accept) with life.

In the later phase of this stage, you begin to see the future more clearly and yearn to make changes but are still inhibited by restrictions.  Sugar chose to deal with this with occasional leaps and bounds - leg said GO! 


Release the Hounds!
The eagerness to move forward is exhilarating.  Yet, change must happen gradually or you risk further injury or a set back.  The first set is dull and lifeless... is this the right thing?  Do we need to wait?  Then the second set is brilliant, each stride more enthusiastic then the next.  This where we need to be! 

Still, while boldly moving forward, we must do so incrementally - 6 minutes week one, 12 minutes week 2 adding lateral movements, 18 minutes (ok to hack outside with no limit on walking), 24 minutes week 4 (still no 20 meter circles or turns on forehand).

Happy Thanksgiving!

The world opens up again...  To be determined

There is so much going on in my life now.  What if I rehabbed it as gently as we rehabbed the Lil' Pinto Pony?  What if I had a guide as good as my vet?  What if? 

Hmmm...  Still, Life is, indeed, Good!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


First, let me say this, Ingrid Klimke is a goddess!  That's right, this is a woman who excels at the highest level of two demanding sports - Eventing and Dressage.  And, after auditing the New England Dressage Association's (NEDA) Fall Symposium on "Methods for Training the Classical Way Through Fitness & Gymnastic Exercises", I would also say that she is the ultimate horseman.
Grand Prix rider on an UL Dressage

I really want to inundate you with great quotes, particular exercises and lots of her tips to help you become a better rider.  Alas, it was 38 degrees and my ability to write notes quickly deteriorated into indecipherable scrawl.  (See, that word, once again hypothermia.)

What I can do is give you a few things that, after 3 days, remain crystal clear in my brain.  Here you go:

Area 1 Eventer & Ingrid
"Don't worry!" - No matter what happened, no matter what mistake, no matter how awkward something looked, her response was always, "Don't worry!" Mistakes will happen and, you have to let the horse figure it out and keep doing it.

Repetition helps the horse gain confidence.  Once you're successful give them a big pat and allow them a walk break.  Then move on to something else.

Cavelletti exercises done regularly will improve a canter, develop a weak hind end and will break up the routine of a dressage horse.  Eventers, these are low impact exercises that will just improve everything - jumping and dressage.

"Ride him like he's a 4 year old" - For horse who easily goes into a frame but isn't quite on the bit or a horse who has been collected or worked in a frame, allow the horse to flow easily forward on a longish rein to find their rythym and balance.  Use this as a break in your collected/medium gaits.

On Training Aids (like draw reins) - maybe some horses might need them but she never uses them.  "If I did, I know someone (Reiner Klimke, her father) is looking down on me and he wouldn't be pleased." 

"If you make a mistake, you must continue"

Another Area 1 Eventer doing us proud!

"Be brave and try" - This is one for all you dressage riders who participated in this clinic.  I watched the exercises and they were hard.  You were brave to do this with your dressage horses and the results were stunning!  Keep trying (and maybe try the dark side).

A girl can dream... one day...
"Reward your horse by doing something that they think is fun" - One rider did 3 tempe and then 1 tempe changes and another entertained us with passage.  And, you could see the horse's enjoyment.

And, for us Eventers, she talked about safety, bridging the reins for XC and then showing us how and why you should bridge your reins for dressage training.  She was a phenomonal clinician.  I wish I had more to offer you but the chill won out that day!

Shhhhh, Sugar doesn't know that I told our trainers that winter training will be cavelletti training...  lucky girls!  "Don't worry!"  We'll figure it all out!