I feel a bit like a spoiled hunter princess when I say this out loud, but having a “practice” horse is the best thing ever. It’s wonderful to have a horse you have no goals or expectations for — one that you can simply do whatever you want, whenever you want and just enjoy. I know I’m so lucky to have this option available to me, but it’s really changed my riding for the better.
In early January, Trainer left the cold, snowy Midwest to go on a much-needed and well-deserved vacation. While we’re up here dealing with wild temperature swings and so much mud, she’s down in Florida enjoying the sun and palm trees. I’m not quite sure what she was thinking… but she left me somewhat in charge of all of her horses (you know, in conjunction with barn management #thankgoodness). So I’ve been a busy, busy girl taking care of 4 horses these last several weeks.
The concept of “managing” a horse wasn’t something I thought much about before I bought Miles. My first horse didn’t really require any management, he was a yes man and very easy going. Miles is more opinionated, and certainly not a glass half-full kind of guy. Over the last four years I’ve learned that winter is the most difficult time of year for Miles and that it requires very thoughtful management. Part of that is also managing me as a rider… which is a whole ‘nother ball of wax. Each year I’ve tried something different, and while I hesitate to say it out loud in case I jinx myself, so far this year’s plan has been the most successful.
2016 was not a banner year for this blog — I posted sporadically, and there were weeks that went by without a peep. I really want to change that this year, but I’m still having trouble getting back in the groove, so to speak. It’s winter, and in all honesty, not that much is happening. But that’s half the fun of equestrian blogging: ya’ll can totally relate. So in an effort to get myself to sit down and actually write something, I’m starting a weekly series about what’s going on in my life outside of horses.
Guest Post by Claire A. Dague
When it comes to trainers, I can honestly say I have been truly blessed. My current trainer is a true horsewoman: always putting the welfare of her horses above all else and I have learned so much from her in just the three short years we’ve been together. But the best teacher I’ve ever had, has been a pudgy, bay OTTB named Mingo. Mingo was the last baby to grow up on my grandfather’s farm before he took a break from the racehorse industry. Nine years ago, I would have never guessed that the small, gangly foal I was looking at would one day teach me more than any horse I had ever had the pleasure of working with.