Sunday, 30 June 2013

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

The Good

Walker's new SMB boots came in, and I got to try them out today.  He looks super cute in his little turquoise boots, and I think they were a good investment.  I was happy that he was not looking lame again today, and the vet told me to work him all this weekend, including riding, so long as he doesn't look too lame.  She is coming out to x-ray his feet again on Tuesday so she would like to see him at his worst, if he's going to be lame.  I was pretty happy with my progression with him without wearing spurs.  He was much more willing to trot off when I squeezed my legs today than the last time I rode him where he needed a good swift kick.  I take my improvements in small doses.

The Bad

My legs, seat, and hands leave a lot to be desired.  While I'm happy that I was able to be more effective with our "go forward" cues, he was not so good with my steering cues, which comes back to him not being light enough off the leg.  I will say that wearing no spurs has really given me a whole new arsenal of tricks though, and I kind of like being able to use every part of my leg, heel included, without worrying about jabbing him with a spur.  My legs were also not very silent.  Try as I might, they were flopping around there like spaghetti, and my seat was not particularly deep or stable, something that is going to be necessary for his inevitable temper tantrums. As for my hands, those blasted things have a mind of their own.  Even when I'm on a loose rein, I somehow seem to be pulling on his mouth, but I know that I am doing it in conjunction with him ignoring my leg aids, i.e. I ask him to turn with my leg, he ignores my leg, so I find myself pulling him around.  Frankly, Walker is not the only one out of shape, and these three things have always been my downfall.  I'd like to say that before he got sick I was better with them, but not by much.

The Ugly

Walker needs an attitude adjustment.  He rolled on the end of the lunge line again today.  Except that he rolled with my saddle on!  My suede saddle.  And his new boots, which are now filthy.  I was thrilled.  He is also full of bad behaviour.  I mean, he always used to buck and go a little wild on the end of a lunge line when he was fresh, but this is starting to become unacceptable. He was bucking and kicking inwards on the circle, hoping to hit me in the head, I imagine (probably not, but he knows better).  He didn't rear today but lots of similar nasty behaviour.  Flying backwards, trying to intimidate me with wild flying hooves, including his front hooves, facing me with that "make me" attitude that always forces me to reciprocate.  Once I get the ok from the vet and we solve whatever is wrong with him, I am going to run the bejesus out of him.  I was definitely less accepting of this behaviour today, especially since he didn't appear lame, but I still don't want to hurt him.  When I got Walker, I lunged him everyday for 6 months straight until I finally got him calmed down.  I can see that happening again in our future.

Oh well, work is better than no work.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Multiple Personality Disorder

I think that all horses suffer from multiple personality disorder.  Time and again, riders feel the need to have different names for the different versions of their horses.  This accurate understanding of the psychotic quirky nature of horses was brought to my attention by Hillary in a much older post of hers, and then while I was mulling over this post, again by L. Williams with Ramone.

Walker #1
Walker is no saint among horses, and he too suffers from multiple personalities.  I have whittled them down to three:

1) There is Walker, the horse I know and love.  He rocks.

2) There is lazy Walker.  Lazy Walker has fights over simple things like asking him to trot when you want him to, or dare I say canter a straight line.  Lazy Walker would much rather expend ALL of his energy trying to avoid expending any energy.  Lazy Walker is the basis for all my frustrations and the main reason why I don't believe in the phrase "better lazy than crazy".  BETTER CRAZY!  At least crazy horses move.

Walker #3 - notice the crazy eye
3)  Then there is bolting Walker.  Bolting Walker is kind of like a crazy Walker, but he is also an unhealthy mix of lazy Walker and crazy Walker.  Bolting Walker bolts, and bolting Walker cannot be stopped.  I can feel it happening, and I can try to prevent it, but once we're bolting, we just go until he decides to stop.  It has become a surreal thing for me because I just sit on his back now and let him fly like a lunatic at full speed around an arena like I'm out for a Sunday drive on my pony and I accidentally hit the gas.  Bolting Walker frustrates me in a completely different way because it is the one maneuver that truly does get him out of work.  He knows that now, which is why it's his favourite move, and I spend entire rides like a schizophrenic on edge waiting for it to happen.

My god, horses are wonderful.

I'll be taking appropriate name suggestions for these other versions of his personality.  Fire away!

Quick Update: That Damn Horse

I manage to get a hold of the vet today, and she is unable to come out until tomorrow at the earliest.  In the meantime, she asks me to take video of Walker lunging so that she could assess it.  This is fine.  This should be fine.

Except when I get to the barn, he is not only fit as a fiddle and sound, but he's angry because he's been sound and kept in.  I proceed to lunge him anyway, and while I admit that he is still off enough to warrant my concern (after all, the question still remains as to why he was lame), he's generally looking pretty good.

Now, before I lunged him, I decided to socialize with the three women out there with their horses.  They proceeded to sell me on the Clinton Anderson program 100%, and I must admit that after watching the crazy, unbelievable things they could get their horses to do (like simply wag their finger in front of the horse and the horse will back up half way across the arena), I am pretty sure I will be doing this program.  One girl has only been riding for a couple years and has only had her horse since February.  She can already get him to do all of the Beginner movements (and I assure you, these movements are not "beginner" to any normal barn's sense of groundwork).

So after they do all this fantastic stuff with their fancy, super broke horses, I bring Walker into the arena.  And of course, why would he behave when he can have a meltdown on the end of the lunge line in front of everyone who is now watching what my horse can do.

Well I'll tell you what he can do, folks.  If I wag my finger like this, he will ignore it.  If I wag my whip like that, he will leap four legs off the ground into the air.  For kicks and giggles, he will even rear, and for the grand finale, he will not be concerned at all that he is on the end of a lunge line and mid trot, he will fall to his knees and roll in the sand.

I mean don't get me wrong, Walker was never a saint on the end of a lunge line, but my main problem lunging was always letting the speed demon get it out of his system.  He would run like a madman, throw in the odd buck, freak out - but he never reared, and he sure as hell never rolled!  He also managed to rip the lunge line awkwardly out of my hand and now my middle finger is throbbing and gushing blood.

He may not be lame today, but after that performance, he's bound to be lame tomorrow!


As far as I'm concerned, the summer is a write-off at this point. 

For the record, I had a much gloomier post written, but I decided against writing about ultimate despair and decided to stick to general gloominess instead.

In case you haven't figured it out yet, I live in Atlantic Canada.  It is summer here for approximately two weeks.  I jest of course, but not by much.  Today it is 14 degrees (57.2 degrees Fahrenheit) and pouring rain.  We have been known to get snow in May.  In the city I live in now, which I will admit is a particularly horrible city weather-wise, the average temperature in July is 17 degrees (62 degrees Fahrenheit).  That is the warmest month of the year.  By the time Halloween arrives, children need to wear snowsuits under their Halloween costumes or risk freezing to death.

In many ways, I think of the pinnacle of a year as an equestrian as those 2-3 months smack dab in the middle of the summer.  Sure, I ride all year long regardless of temperature or depth of snow.  I even continue to work on things that I worked on all year long, but I defy you to be productive when temperatures can drop to below 40 degrees (that's -40 Celsius or Fahrenheit) in the Winter.  This is rare-ish, of course, but it never shocks me to have weather of around -20 degrees (-4 degrees Fahrenheit) consistently.

Summer is an important time of year for all riders, but it is especially important when Winter means cold, really cold, and Winter means snow, lots of snow.

My boots looking sad and forgotten in a corner
I have decided at this point that the rest of the summer with Walker is a write-off.  My old vet is starting to concern me that it may be laminitis after all (just not full fledged founder with significant rotation of the coffin bone), and so I'm having the new vet out again to double check him.  Regardless of the cause of the lameness, I'm looking at a couple months at best to get Walker back into shape after I get him sound.  That puts us into the Fall, and while the loss of any showing really doesn't bother me, it's the loss of the summer that does.

If summer is the most important time to progress, and I lose the summer, then I have lost the year.  If I were an experienced rider, perhaps this would be ok, but I'm getting back into riding and really can't afford to put myself (let alone my horse) behind that much.  If I can't start progressing with Walker until later in the fall, that means I have lost 6 - 8 months of my own personal development.

When I moved to the new city, I made a few compromises.  I compromised my own progression for Walker's ultimate care.  Illness in a horse has a sobering way of putting your priorities straight, and it matters to me that Walker is at a great facility with attentive care.  But it is pricey and I can't have both - his great care and my lessons for personal growth as a rider.

I really need direction, but I justified this to myself at the time because although I had lessons at my old barn, a lot of my accomplishments came through my individual work.  If riding Walker becomes limited, it changes nothing about his care.  I like the care he's getting.  He benefits from it.  But that means I still don't have any extra money - money for lessons, money for a second lease, money even for a second horse. 

I must say that I do not know where this leaves me as a rider.  What is a rider without a horse?  I came along so far and so fast with just one year of Walker, and I would be lying if I didn't think our second year would look much the same.  Now it will be a matter of retraining both of us and essentially re-doing the year.  Next year, that is.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The Great Coffin Bone Debate of '13

I talked to my farrier and he confirms that Walker is lame in the front feet.  Sure, his back feet are breaking away, but he's not concerned about that.  He thinks they will harden up, and while I hate to see his feet look that bad, I will give him the benefit of the doubt.

Not that Walker is turned out anyway.  We are still waiting on our second (and third vet opinions).

The farrier explained to me his concern.  It's not so much the rotation of the coffin bone that worries him, but the dropped heels part.  He thinks that the coffin bone is much too low in the heel area, and if he had known that when he shod him, he would have added a little elevation and a different shoe.  He was surprised that the vet never mentioned that, but in her defense, maybe she figured that he would come to that conclusion on her own.  She was probably more blatantly concerned with the abnormal toe length and sole thickness, which were glaring problems at the time.

For your viewing pleasure and education, I have included Walker's x-rays below, as well as a handy dandy little diagram showing what all the bones and parts of the hoof look like.

Handy Dandy Diagram

left front

right front

As you may or may not know, the angle of concern with laminitis is the angle parallel to the front of the hoof wall.  According to my report, both of those are sufficient in Walker's case.  For reference, I have included an x-ray I found on the internet showing the hoof of a horse with severe laminitis.  As you can tell, the situation is quite different:
hoof with severe laminitis
Walker's issue is more of a "flat feet" kind of problem.  If you check out the other angle - the one that should not be parallel to the sole of the hoof, Walker's is much too flat compared to what it should be.  Or at least this is the concern of the farrier.  


He has shown the x-rays to a vet friend of his, and I emailed my old vet to see what he thinks.  Hopefully one of them will be able to give us some direction - either quiet our concerns or else simply tell us how to solve the problem.

A horse with lameness is a hard thing to watch.  If I were the hulk, I would simply throw Walker over my shoulder and carry him everywhere he wanted to go.  I hate to watch him walk!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013


I wanted to apologize for complaining lately (like the last three months kind of lately).  I fear that I have been coming off whiney when in reality I'm more of a "suck it up princess" kind of person.  I'm not always the most sympathetic individual, and it bothers me to be throwing myself this daily pity party since I don't usually attend other people's pity parties!  So I'm just going to get it all out now:

My life SUCKS.  There are so many things about my life that sucks that there's no sense listing them all off.  And I really need Walker to be the one thing in my life that doesn't suck right now.

I read a lot of blogs, and I'll be the first one to admit that everyone has problems, and many people have worse problems than me.  But I also notice that a lot of my fellow bloggers have many good things in their life as well.  I'm sure I have some of those things too, but besides my family, nothing is really coming to mind (Read this with a tone of bitterness, not pity - I'm always at my best when I can be bitter about things).

For the meantime, I'm resisting the urge to stalk my farrier.  He did not call me this afternoon, although I know from having stalked my barn manager that he was at the barn today.  I also resisted the urge to go to the barn this evening because, after all, what I was supposed to do without information.  Just stare at Walker's feet and try to conjure an answer?


The End of my nervous breakdown.

Second Opinion

My farrier thinks we need to get a second opinion on Walker's x-rays.  He has all the faith in the world in my vet and said over and over again on the phone that he was not a vet, but having looked at the copy of the x-rays I provided him, he is of the opinion that Walker's coffin bone is not ok as my vet told me it was.  He's afraid that Walker's lameness has nothing to do with his back feet.  Having not looked at him yet, his over-the-phone guess is that he may be having residual lameness in his front feet, which I'll admit, I never considered.  I didn't walk Walker far enough down the hall to pinpoint his lameness.  I simply assumed because of the horrible state of his back feet that they were at least giving him some discomfort.

He has asked for my permission to show the x-rays to another vet, and I have consented of course.  In the meantime, he's out to the barn today to check on Walker's feet and see what kind of damage has been done.  While I agree with him that feet that have been on stall rest are obviously not going to be hard enough to withstand all that dry ground, I just find the damage so much more significant than what I've ever witnessed with Walker's feet in any past transitions to barefoot.  He doesn't really want to put shoes on his back feet unless he has to, which I understand, because he's afraid that his feet will just never harden.  He is going to assess that too.

In the meantime, I feel like a horrible horse mom.  This whole time while I was being mad at my pony, little did I know that he may still have serious issues with his feet - and not the kind of issues you can slap shoes on and be done with.  Perhaps that was just wishful thinking on my behalf.

I feel conflicted.  I'm still a little angry with Walker.  It's not about the physical pain (although my face is definitely bruised).  I can take that.  I'm pretty durable.  It's the emotional pain, like whatever happened that day was just the straw that broke the camel's back.  It's so hard to explain because if you ask me if I'm this upset because he hit me in the face, I'd tell you that's not it at all.  It's the summation of a bunch of things that have been just weighing me down.  It's not just Walker.  I feel like I don't want to be around any horses.  I've never felt this way before.

On the other hand, I love him so much, and this new information is devastating.  It has put me back in a state of worry for him because I of course want the best for him.  Last night I forced myself to go out to the barn to check on him.  I wanted to pick out his feet and generally check him over.  He rested his head on my shoulder like he does sometimes, and for a moment there, I remembered why I put up with it all.

Now I'm just waiting to hear what the farrier says.  Even if he decides it's a problem with the back feet, he's still going to get the second opinion about the front feet just in case.  So I'm back to the waiting game.

My other man living the dream

Saturday, 22 June 2013

I'm not going to sell my horse... probably

Now that I have woken up this morning clear headed, I can say for certainty (certainty-ish) that I will not sell my horse.

But my anger and our extended break needs to remain for a while, and it seems fair that I wait until he is sound/shod.

It's true that since getting Walker, my interests have changed significantly and it's more than likely that Walker will not be capable of keeping up with them.  I already know that he can't jump anymore, which eliminated 85% of my interests and dashed my dreams pretty significantly.

But the other truth is that Walker or no Walker, I was never going to compete at a high level at anything.  For one thing, I hate shows because they stress me out, and for another, I live in the middle of nowhere.  There are simply not a lot of options for me in that way unless I'm going to trailer my horse a long distance and win the lotto.

I bought Walker to have a horse and to ride.  He fulfills that minimal obligation, and I do love him very dearly (even though it might not feel that way today).  He's a stubborn problem child sometimes, but in other ways, he's unbelievably obliging.  He's the type of horse I would put a child on (and have) while at the same time saying that he could never be a child's horse.  He'll try and do anything I ask him to, but if I don't ask him nicely, he won't do anything at all.

We clash and we mesh.

For now, the Walker troubles are simply just another conflict in a string of conflicts in other areas of my life.  Could I deal with him if those other things weren't going on as well?  Most definitely.  Do I blame him for anything?  Not at all.  He is a horse.  He doesn't understand why I do what I do or feel the way I feel.  He means nothing by his behaviour.  If anything, I always get the impression that when he is disrespectful, it's like he thinks I disrespected him first.  It goes both ways I guess.

I feel like the real soul searching that I have to do has nothing to do with Walker.  Other things need to be worked out before I can even figure out what I'm going to do in my equestrian life.  We do our best to isolate our horse world from the outside world, but unfortunately the walls break down sometimes and reality has to set in.

My current plan: a few days break from the pony, get him shod, get him sound, get back on.  Move forward.

Friday, 21 June 2013

The Breakup

Walker and I had a breakup tonight. I think we need some space.

I could tell something was wrong by the way
he went to the corner of his stall after I tacked him up.
This is him sad and presumably in pain after I coaxed
him into the hall.
It all started when he turned up lame and I started to bawl. I had my suspicions earlier in the week that this was going to happen because the ground at the new barn is very hard and has a lot of rocks. Walker only wears front shoes but I quickly noticed that the other horses at the barn all wore four. His back feet have been chipping and deteriorating all week, and frankly I was just hoping that either they would harden enough to be passable or else I could hold out a couple weeks and get the farrier when he's actually due. Unfortunately, that's not the case and I have called him to see when is the soonest he can come.

This really broke my heart more than any of the other times in the past 3 months that something bad has happened. It was not a good week - at work, in my personal life, etc. I was really looking forward to riding my horse all weekend long, even if it was just at the walk, even if it was just for a half hour. And it was going to be sunny and warm. And if you haven't heard me say it before, I'll tell you again: I live in what I like to call The City of Despair where it is never warm and never sunny. So this is a big deal.

Our breakup happened because I decided to give him some bute to help him feel better. After all, I wouldn't want him to be in pain, and I have been nursing him for 3 months at this point, tending to his every need.

I should preface the rest of this post by explaining I have a horrible temper. It has taken me 20+ years to get a handle on it. Many people who meet me can't imagine this about me because I go to great lengths to keep myself calm, but people who know me very well know that it takes all of 10 seconds to set me off.

All that being said, I never lose my temper at the barn, around barn people, or especially around horses. If anything, horses have taught me more patience than I have ever had in any other area of my life. It is simply unfair to be angry at an animal who is confused or perhaps scared or does not simply agree with your methods and ideas.

But tonight I lost it. Absolutely LOST it.

Walker was a [insert a string of swear words here] tonight, and he physically slammed his head into my face. If I don't wake up tomorrow with a black eye or a swollen face, it will be a goddamn miracle. All I have wanted to do for the last year I have had him is look after him, and then he acts like an absolute jerk when I try to give him some meds just to keep the pain at bay.

I am ashamed to say he never got those meds. I am also ashamed to say that he was half-terrified of me by the time I left his stall. For the record, I did not do anything. I would not want people thinking I abused my horse, but he could definitely tell by my demeanour that I was livid, and when I reached to take his halter off so he could go back to eating hay, he spun so fast on his haunches thinking I was going to hurt him that I realized I needed to calm down.  (This is also a good lesson for those of you who may take your emotions to the barn - your horse picks up on them.  I can assure you).

I am also sad to say that for the first time ever, all I could think about was how I should just sell him and cut my losses. How he does none of the things I aspire to learn. How after all that, he's still a stubborn horse that won't even let me take care of him when he's in pain.  How maybe my barn owner was right and he does have too much attitude to be worth my while.

For whatever reason, it was Julie who calmed me down, although she doesn't know it.  I read her Liebster Award post and it made me smile.  That simple.  It's amazing what a smile can do.  So thanks.

The strong drink I mixed also helped.  But I'll attribute this one to Julie.  

For the meantime we are giving each other some much needed space, at least until the farrier can come and until he is sound. I simply do not have the mental fortitude to handle another blowout, not in the one area of my life which I actually enjoy.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Jitter Bug

I was a nervous wreck tonight riding Walker for the first time in three months.  I was literally shaking like a leaf.  At first I thought I was afraid for some unknown reason, but then I realized it was just a combination of my nerves wanting everything to go right, my excitement to be back in the saddle, and my apprehension that my barn owner was at the barn and might see me at my worst!

It's funny how long and how short three months can feel.  When I got in the saddle, my first thought was, "Wow.  I'm awful high off the ground."  Which is absolutely absurd on my 15.3 hand horse, but the only horses I rode over the last three months were all in the 14 hand region.

I have to admit that I had some pretty lofty aspirations for our ride, despite only being allowed to jog for a total of 5 minutes.  With all my new Jane Savoie knowledge crammed in my mind, my internal dialogue went a lot like: "Watch me rock this!  We'll be doing flying lead changes and all sorts of crazy fancy things in no time!  Stand back and watch me put this horse on the bit!"

And then Walker decided to be Walker.

"I think I liked you better when you
just gave me treats and cuddles all day"
I guess I should be happy that he wasn't fresh or wild.  Many people will say "better lazy than crazy".  Those people have never met Walker.  Our ride started out so wonderful and I had him stretching for the bit and all these lovely relaxed reactions at the walk, and then when I dared to ask him to do any work - jog for 10 seconds - he responded with: "Work?  I don't think so."

At the jog/trot, there was a lot of bad behaviour on Walker's behalf and a lot of bad responses on my own.  I'm not quite as upset about the bad behaviour on Walker's behalf.  It was a lot of his old tricks and he was just trying to see if they'd still work.  I had no spurs on, and in fairness to my thick skinned pony, the last time I rode him without spurs was never.  Well, that's not entirely true.  I rode him with no spurs maybe twice when I first got him but then he body checked me into a wall and I quickly stopped that.  I was convinced after reading Dressage 101 that I was going to create a nice, light horse, and he was definitely softer in the mouth than normal but still fussy about the no-spurs thing.

I'm mostly upset about my own reaction.  The minute he started being a jerk, I got irrationally mad, and because I wasn't strong enough in the legs to get him to listen to me, I found myself hanging on his mouth like some city slicker on a trail ride.  I'm so glad my new barn owner didn't walk in on all of that - Walker doing his best to ignore me thumping him with my legs and me waving and ripping wildly like a banshee with a vengeance.

Once I got my brain back, I decided to just go straight to a loose rein or neck rein and try to end on a good note.

Final tally:
Walker 1
Jane Savoie 0

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Back on the Saddle Train

my current goal for the Walker Fund
I don't know if I mentioned this or not, but I got a little bit of money for graduating that I was going to put in Walker's College Fund for a saddle.  Then reality smacked me in the face, and I decided that it was a much more financially responsible thing to do to put it on my line of credit instead (since that thing is starting to skyrocket through the roof).

I had completely resigned myself to my cheap English saddle when I decided to pop into Maritime Tack on my way home for a weekend.  While I still haven't completely decided if I have the money for a saddle (or what type of saddle I'm going to invest in - one needs to have some sort of purpose in mind for that), I was extremely impressed with the lady that runs the tack shop.

Not all of her merchandise is listed on her website, but she's pretty much open to ordering me whatever I want.  She told me that she could match almost any major competitor in Canada and the US, and she said that she would give me a discount on all the matching accessories.  As if that wasn't wonderful enough, she told me that I could do a layaway plan with her if I wanted to make payments until I had enough money to afford the saddle, AND when she ordered it for me, she could have it within a week.  She was completely helpful, explaining to me all the differences between the saddles we were looking at (mostly Wintec, Bates, and Collegiate since I was simply perusing), and I was so impressed with her customer service that I pretty much decided on the spot that when I was ready to get a saddle, I would order it with her.

A couple of the saddles I was looking at included the Wintec Isabel Dressage saddle and the Wintec Pro Dressage saddle.  Those were just the synthetics.  I wasn't originally thinking about going synthetic, since that's what I have now, but if I decide to buy a dressage saddle for my not-so-dressagey horse, then perhaps a cheaper model is the way to go.  I also looked at the Bates version of the saddles in leather, but for some reason I can't get the link to work.

She had a GORGEOUS jumping saddle in my size there that she was selling at cost since she ordered it in and it didn't fit her client's horse (another perk - she'll take big ticket items back).  Then I had to remind myself (over and over again) that I can no longer jump my horse.  But boy would we have looked fabulous trotting over all those poles!  Because I was just peeking and trying to get out of there without buying the whole store, I didn't even really ask her what other brands of saddles she could bring in, so I'll be interested to have that conversation with her once I prepare myself mentally for the purchase.

As a general rule, I believe in supporting small businesses, and stores with customer service that fabulous deserve my business!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Liebster Award

It was so nice of L. Williams to nominate me for the Liebster award.  I'm always surprised that anyone reads my blog, but I definitely enjoy reading L. Williams' blog!  I'm truly honoured.  You have no idea!

HOW TO ACCEPT THE AWARD: The Liebster Blog Award is a way to recognize blogs who have less than 200 followers.  Liebster is a German word that means beloved and valued.  Here are the rules for accepting the award:
  1. Thank the person who nominated you and include a link back to their blog.
  2. List 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  4. Create 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate.
  5. Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or fewer followers to nominate and include links to their blogs.
  6. Go to each blogger's page and let them know you have nominated them.
11 Random Facts
  1. My favorite food is peas.  Raw peas in the pod straight from the garden.  If you cook them, they're not my favorite food anymore.  Few people grow peas these days, and there are people at home who grow them just for me.  
  2. I eat popcorn every day.  
  3. I eat every hour.  I will get sick if I don't eat regularly enough.  Because of this, I keep fruit snacks in my purse, in my car, on my night stand, in my desk at work, etc.  When the Apocalypse happens, come find me.  We will not starve.  
  4. I have a minor in Latin.  I can read and write in Latin, and I have also studied Ancient Greek, Irish Gaelic, Italian, and French.  I am bilingual in French and find languages easy to pick up.
  5. I hate my birthday.  Bad things happen on my birthday, and as I get older, I am getting surlier about it.  A couple years ago, I actually went on a vacation with my parents out of the province and told none of my friends who were planning a party for me and were less than impressed by my absence.  
  6. My friends call me the pope-killer because when I went to World Youth Day in Germany, Pope John Paul II died that year before we got to see him.  This past year when I went to Italy with my mom (who really wanted to see the pope), he retired the day we flew out and there was no pope for the entire time we were there.
  7. I love the Royal Family.  I read EVERYTHING about them and I'm a big history buff when it comes to the entire monarchy.
  8. I love writing stories.  My friend and I have been writing together since we were young, and I participated in Nanowrimo a couple years ago.  Whenever we get together, we call it "storying" instead of writing (so as not to feel too pretentious about our literary aspirations) and our routine includes eating a box of Kraft Dinner straight from the pot while we watch old episodes of Xena and discuss plot lines.  I let no one else read my stories but her.
  9. My grandfather was an expert marksman and sniper in World War II and an amazing salmon fisher who used to guide tourists on the river.  His son, my father, can shoot or fish nothing, nor does he have the patience to do so.  My biggest regret is not learning to do those things while my grandfather was still alive.
  10. I have had almost every type of pet (cat, horse, dog, bird, rabbits, fish) but my parents aren't really pet people.
  11. I have night terrors - or at least that's what I call them.  They're actually a mix between nightmares and sleepwalking.  I wake up in the night and assume irrational things are happening like the ceiling is collapsing or there are strange men in my room.  I then react like any rational person in those types of situations - I will battle roll out of bed and defend myself (and sometimes my stuffed animals) from disasters and intruders.  I have been told it is terrifying.  This is also probably why I'm single.
11 Questions from L. Williams
  1. Favorite type of jump: Big ones.  Since I've only ever jumped crossrails (and one sad attempt at a 2 foot fence which shall remain nameless), I am in awe by all jumps.  Someday. 
  2. Favorite Professional Rider/Horse Team: Ian Millar.  No doubt in my mind.  Not only is he Captain Canada, but I am in awe with his riding.  While all the other jumpers are out on the course like they're running from a nuclear bomb, he always looks so calm - like he's out for a hack and there just happens to be five foot fences in his way.
  3. Favorite Riding Exercise: Anything where there is a pattern because I get bored easily and also because Walker will usually pick up on the pattern after 2 or 3 times through.  Then it's easy sailing.
  4. Least Favorite Riding Exercise: No stirrups posting.  Because I can't do it.  My legs ache immediately the minute I drop my stirrups and apparently I'm too out of shape to propel my body in the air every couple of beats.  Obviously, this is on my to-do list.
  5. Where do you see yourself next years (horse/career/life): I expect to still own Walker of course, and hopefully we will have found a place/discipline that we enjoy.  I have no idea what will happen with my career or the rest of my life.  Either I will get hired on at the firm I'm at and live in this godforsaken city for a few more years, or else I will try and find a new place for us to eek out a living.
  6. Advice you would give yourself 5 years ago:  Buy a horse.  I regret not doing this earlier.
  7. If you could change your name, what would  you change it to? I like my name.  In fact, I'm so attached to my last name that if I ever get married and have kids, I'm going to be very upset if the kids have to have my husband's name!
  8. If you could train with anyone, who would it be and why? It's a toss up for me between someone like Ian Millar, Jane Savoie or Buck Brannaman.  I feel like there's something different to be offered from each of them, whether it is the skills and work ethic it takes to compete at a high level, the methodical understanding of the horse and how to make him stronger and healthier, or the simple horsemanship that helps a person truly connect with a horse.
  9. I'm giving you $5k.  What would you buy? I would probably put it on my debt because that wouldn't even dent it.  But if I had no debt, I would buy a new saddle.
  10. Give me the recipe for your favorite dish you can make: I'm sorry but I am the plainest eater on the planet.  I am a meat and potatoes kind of girl, and I put no sauce on the meat so I have nothing special to share.  That recipe includes: boil potatoes, mash potatoes, fry your choice of meat, and eat.
  11. Dream vacation destination? Ireland.  I've been wanting to go to Ireland since I was a little girl.  Some day I'll get there.  
11 Questions from Me
  1. What other discipline would you try if you had the chance and why?
  2. If you had no financial concerns or ties, what job would you rather be doing than the one you have now?  What is your dream job?
  3. What is your one weakness?
  4. Describe the qualities of your perfect horse (breed, age, height, colour, capabilities, etc.)
  5. What is one of your favorite quotes?
  6. What would you name the autobiography of your life?
  7. Tell me about the best day you've had with your horse.
  8. What other animals do you have in your life?
  9. What is your favorite TV show (assuming you have time for that kind of thing!)
  10. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you go? Don't worry, you can bring your horse!
  11. You can put three pictures on your desk at work.  Which ones do you choose and of who or what
11 Bloggers
  1. Julie at The Little Bay Princess
  2. K at Kiss Me, I'm Irish
  3. Lauren at My Life With Charlie
  4. Gingham at Pia's (and Prairie!) Parade
And all the rest of mine were already taken by the other winners or L. Williams... fail...  But for a list of blogs I enjoy, check the column to the right.  I'm always interested in finding new blogs!

A Few Observations

When I lunged Walker on Sunday night for the first time, a few things came to my attention.

1. Weight

I'm content with his weight now, although he's definitely what I would call "top heavy" because of any lack of musculature in his hind end.  He doesn't look nearly as emaciated, so I can check that off my list of worries.  Now it's just a matter of turning that fat into muscle.

2. Fitness

He's really not using himself properly.  I distinctly remember complaining that I had a hard time making Walker collect compared to other horses, but watching him trot on the edge of the lunge line confirmed my suspicions that he at least used to use himself a bit more properly.  On Sunday, he ran around like a giraffe, neck straight in the air, hollow back.  He never looked like that before so at least there used to be some level of fitness and desire to use his hind end.  Now I'm really going to be back a few steps because he is barely reaching under himself with his back legs.  Of course, I don't fault him any of this, considering his extended break, but it might take slightly longer than I originally thought to bring him back to full fitness.

3. Manners

Despite a few naughty moments on the end of the lunge line, I do think he's going to remember his manners pretty quickly.  He spooked at some weird noises, but then again, it's a new barn, and he has never actually done any real work there yet.  Although at one point he got scared and stuck his tail almost vertically in the air, once he calmed down, he was back to being a gigantic puppy.  I think he just needs a bit of a refresher on that end.

According to the barn manager, he finally got out with the herd today, and he already has a buddy: a mare named Zeva.  I'm not surprised in the least.  Walker has always been a lady's man!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Dream Herd

Lately I've been thinking about my imaginary dream herd of horses.  I'm pretty determined that some day I am going to own lots of land, a barn (with a rockin' indoor and outdoor arena), and I will eventually move all my horses to here when they retire.  As much as I would love to have a slew of top notch horses and compete at all the coolest shows, let's be real here, people.  I'm only going to shoot for the following six different horses instead. :P

Walker: I will never sell Walker.  Never.  He is destined to live the life of a princess in my care, and when he gets old and if I haven't found it already, I will start to look for the perfect house with the perfect backyard for him to retire.

The Jumper:  Otherwise known as my second horse, and while perhaps he won't be a jumper, the point is that he will be the horse I get to compete in whatever discipline I want to do in the future.  And let's be honest.  He will be my flashy gelding that I paid an obscene amount of money for and will probably have horrible manners but will make me feel like a superstar while Walker continues to remind me that I'm an overachieving lunatic.

The Husband Horse:  Originally intended to be Walker's companion horse when he retires, he will also be the lovely little gelding I get for little to no money to babysit friends, husband(s) and reckless children who visit.

The Team: I want a team of draft horses.  A friend of my father's has horses, and he uses his team to plow his garden and haul wood.  I want to do those things and be all sixteenth century pioneer.  And I would also love to hitch my horses up to the cart and drive around the neighborhood.  "Why?" you ask.  WHY NOT?

The Broodmare:  I think it would be fun (and mildly terrifying) to breed a foal or two.  I doubt I have the nerves for all the ups and downs involved, but I would like to try my hand at it sometime.  I would either sell the baby for a profit or use the opportunity to train a foal from day 1.

Other Horses I Would Consider:
- A Rescue Horse: I would love to rescue a horse, and if the opportunity presented itself, I would want to make sure that I was properly equipped for the situation.

- a Pony: I don't know why because I don't really like ponies (and Walker hates them), but it would be kind of fun to do pony rides for little kids.

- A Donkey/Goat: I feel like there's always room for more animals on a farm, especially an imaginary one!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Back to Work Schedule

Walker and I finally have a back to work schedule.  We decided that the best thing to do was to tranquilize him with just a mild tranquilizer and turn him out alone for a couple days to get some energy out.  The first day he was really good, so I don't think I'm going to bother with the tranquilizer when I go to ride him, but I've been given the ok to lunge him a little bit before I ride just in case.

His current exercise schedule is: turn out for a couple days alone, turn out with the herd (this will be his first intro to the new herd), and meanwhile I am starting to lunge him this week for a couple days.  I'm hoping to hop on his back for the first time later this week.

The vet has also given me a much needed excuse to create the ultimate spreadsheet because of her generously detailed instructions on tranquilizer, turnout, lunging, and riding. I really quite like her. Completely for free, she pretty much designed Walker's entire back to work schedule, and I merrily skipped off to make a colour coded spreadsheet I could post up in my apartment.

Tonight was the first night that I lunged him, and I must say that I think he has forgotten how to lunge.  Well, I'm pretty sure he hasn't forgotten, but he's kind of got that "Make me!" attitude going on.  He was a little high, of course, and spooked a couple times at some weird noises, including when the wind blew some plastic wrap.  For the first time ever, he actually broke in on the circle when he spooked which, despite being both dangerous and disrespectful, was so uncharacteristic of him.  Because I have to be careful not to overdo it on the lunge line, I couldn't really lunge the bejesus out of him for any of his naughty moments like I would have liked.

Right now I'm shooting for our first ride being Wednesday, although more realistically Thursday or even later since I can't go out and lunge Monday or Tuesday.  If he manages to get his manners back sooner rather than later, then I will ride sooner rather than later. Until then, naughty pony needs a bit of an attitude adjustment, and while I do believe he will pull himself together quickly enough, I intend to make sure of it!

Friday, 14 June 2013

The Queen

I found this lovely documentary on YouTube the other day that I'm currently streaming while I do some paperwork at work today.  I have a great fascination and admiration for the Queen, and I love that she loves horses too.

This documentary is called "The Queen: A Passion For Horses".  Enjoy :)

Wednesday, 12 June 2013


I'm not a morning person.

In fact, I'm so NOT a morning person that I couldn't even bring myself to write this post yesterday morning like I originally planned.

I always dream of someday owning my own barn and having horses in the back yard, but in all honesty, I fear that they would starve to death before I could convince myself to wake up on the weekend and feed them.

Don't get me wrong, I can get up early when I have to. In fact, I get up at 6 every day when I have work or school, but in school I usually need a nap, and when I work, I'm usually the picture of crankiness.

A quick Google search tells me that this is what Dawn looks like
I don't sleep well at night so I think that just adds to it. I'm a night hawk. I don't go to bed until midnight, but then it wouldn't be a normal night unless I laid in bed for 2-3 hours trying to fall asleep. I've had some exceptionally bad nights where I've been awake until 4, just to have to wake up at 6 for school/work. 

I also tend to be sick every morning.  It's a weird metabolism thing, and I've been that way my whole life. Needless to say, it's easy to understand why I loathe mornings.

All that being said, I still wish I was a morning person. There is something so calming about the morning, and I always feel like the morning has so much untapped potential. I mean, that's several hours of the day I never see (if I can help it).

I also feel like horse people should be morning people. It's that whole "up at the crack of dawn to feed the cows" mentality that transcends the equestrian sport.  In fact, I sometimes see people talk about their "morning ride", and I'm so impressed because my idea of a morning ride is one at 11:30 AM.  If I get my way on the weekend, I'm up at the crack of noon.

I find these days that working has made my mornings even worse.  It doesn't help that I have no desire to go to work or that I live in a city that has yet to see summer, but I find that I'm just so physically exhausted that it really takes every bit of energy I have just to get myself to work on time.  That can't bode well for the next 40 years of my life, that's for sure.

What about you?  Are you a morning person?  A night hawk?  Both?

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Tack Room Makeover

Before I started hand walking, I was really debating just hopping on the pony to ride.  For obvious reasons, I'm glad that I didn't do that.  I was also intelligent enough to realize that the high winds from the hurricane this weekend would definitely knock the common sense right out of him.

Since I was mostly stuck inside all weekend, I decided to tackle my tack room (better known as my storage room turned tack room because of the obscene amount of stuff I own).  I thought that if I was going to start riding Walker soon, then it would probably be a good idea if I could get to my saddles, especially since I'm still not clear on whether there is a place for my stuff at the barn or not.  It's amazing to think that I used to fit almost 50% of this stuff in a tiny locker at my old barn.

I found an old shoe rack that I used to have at another apartment and decided to use it as shelving.  On top, I put the things I will use most often like my breeches and a few bins filled with riding gloves, some cleaning supplies, and bits.

My main goal was to literally create a path through the room to the back.  I still have to go out and buy a few hooks, but then I'm going to hang my jackets and bridles in there as well.  For now, I have my girths just strung over my saddles, and that Sobeys bag is actually my cowboy hat since I don't have a hat case for it yet.


All the bins have been put to an organized use
I am keeping all of my riding clothes in there too
(since there's no room in my dresser for them)
Soon I have to find out if there is a place for some of my stuff at the barn, in which case I will need to do some more organizing to decide what is going to stay there 24/7 and what will stay here.  For now, I still have some junk in my car, namely my grooming kit, first aid kit, shampoo kit, and a miscellaneous bin with some odds and ends.  Most of that will have to stay at the barn (except for the shampoo kit), but it's nice to have a good start on organizing everything.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

How Not to Die

I guess I forgot to mention in my last few posts that Walker is sound.  Well, from my quick walks of him down the concrete hall, he is at least sound at the walk.  I've decided to give him a week or so just to be on the safe side so I've been hand walking him instead.

This has turned out to be wildly dangerous, and he has turned out to be as high as a kite.  I don't blame him, of course.  He's at a brand new barn, where he has never been turned out but in the indoor arena that I walk him in, and he hasn't been worked or ridden in three months.  Besides a couple of days where he got turned out while sick, he has been cooped up.

I love this picture because he looks so unimpressed with me,
which is an accurate portrayal of our day
That being said, it's not that fun to have your horse throw his head up and rear in front of you when you dare to ask him to jog beside you.

The vet has said that I shouldn't lunge him excessively, and in my opinion, excessively means anything that would be a little too wild.  Well, I know my pony, and the minute he hits that lunge line, he's going to go crazy.  So no lunging excessively means no lunging.

The barn manager (and one of the trainers) thinks that we shouldn't turn him out until he has been ridden for all the same reasons.  He's going to go crazy in a field with or without other horses and potentially hurt himself.

This leaves poor ol' me trying to devise the safest way to ride my horse without lunging him or turning him out after three months on stall rest.  Needless to say, the words "tranquilize" have come up in conversation with my barn owner.

Tranquilizing Walker doesn't really bother me in principal, but for some reason, I just don't think it'll help.  First of all, it's not solving anything; it's just doping him up long enough for me to get on him.  Once we stop doing it, he'll still be wild even if I've ridden him a couple times by then.  I know my pony very well at this point, and when he's hyper, he just needs to get it out of his system.

So I've emailed the vet and asked her for her advice on the three issues: turnout, lunging, and tranquilizing.  In my ideal world, I would like to be allowed to turn him out for a week (this week preferably) before I try to ride him.  I would also like to lunge him before I ride him for obvious reasons.  Whether or not we tranquilize won't matter to me as much if I can do those things, but I threw the idea into my email just in case.

No matter what, bringing him back to work isn't going to be simple, and it might just be a matter of getting a professional to help me if it turns out to be too much to handle.  I don't necessarily think it will go that far.  I think it will simply be a matter of getting the first few rides in, and then we'll go back to our lovely ask/fight relationship.

Friday, 7 June 2013

"The Program"

Everyone at the barn is on "The Program".

They talk about it like I should instinctively know what this program is.  One lady I met has her thoroughbred in for training.  I asked what she was training her for since the mare isn't exactly green broke and I, the fool, assumed she was working towards some particular discipline.  She said, "Oh, I'm just putting her through The Program" as though I should already know that.

What they mean, of course, is the Clinton Anderson program, and they talk about it like there are no other programs out there, like it is the be-all end-all of training.

I have always been rather fascinated with Clinton Anderson.  But I've also been fascinated with Buck Brannaman and Jane Savoie and anyone else with good ideas and wonderful horsemanship.  I believe that almost every program has its merits, and in fact, I subscribe to the piecemeal approach of horseback riding, or rather the "borrow from every program until you find what works" method of riding my horse.  It works for me just as I'm sure some programs work better for others.

Unfortunately, The Program is not so much suggested at my barn as it is mandatory.  Someone once used the word "strict" when describing my barn owner's philosophy, and I have to say that I balked at the word.

There's a reason I work in the profession that I do, and that's simply because I don't always like to be told what to do.  Don't get me wrong.  When I'm interested in something, you don't have to tell me.  I'll be ALL OVER it.  But the minute someone tries to force me to do what I'm interested in doing, I fight against it.  Walker and I have that in common.

I once whipped Walker in the face with a lead line by accident.
That didn't phase him and I doubt this stick thing will either.
I have no intentions of making waves.  I like my barn and I like my barn owner.  I think Clinton Anderson's program is useful, especially because of its emphasis on groundwork which I've often been too lazy in the past to do with Walker in any substantial amount.

But I'm also hoping that I can get across my own philosophy - the one where I don't necessarily believe that buying certain products will make me a better horsewoman or subscribing exclusively to a method, especially if it doesn't work as well as another method, just because it's the thing to do.

I'll do whatever it takes to be a better overall rider, and I'll try anything once.  But if that doesn't work, well, I'll be back to the good ol' Fly-By-The-Seat-Of-Your-Pants Program (FBTSOYPP for short).

Here's hoping they can make me a believer.

Good horses happen in every breed and good trainers in every country.  In fact, it is really important to avoid "equestrian religion" of this-and-that brand and remember that all correct methods, regardless of their apparent "flavours", result in active, straight, obedient horses that are light to the aids.   - J.P. Giacomini

Thursday, 6 June 2013

How to Bathe a Horse

Or more appropriately: How to Bathe a Horse Who Has Been On Stall Rest

Step 1: Get yourself super excited that it is a warm enough day and that you actually have the day off, and you will finally get to use that super cool Showsheen Try-Pak that you won over at SheMovedToTexas (especially since you never win anything).

Step 2: Wake the sweet looking pony up from his pony nap and take him for a test walk down the hall to check his soundness.  Be super excited that he appears relatively sound, even if it might be the bute talking.

Step 3: Bring him to the wash stall where you've never washed a horse before and frankly aren't clear on the pony's reaction.  Be sure to walk him past the door to the outside world where he knows all his friends are so that he'll be super pissed when he realizes you just tricked him into a bath.

Step 4: Soak, suds, rinse, repeat.  Use Shampoo/Conditioner and  Stain Remover.  Ignore directions and don't leave stain remover on long enough to remove stains.

His white socks post freak-out
I wish I could have given a review on the stain remover but...
Step 5: Take horse back to stall.  Be surprised when he seems overly eager to get in his stall.  Watch while recently lame horse has a freak attack and starts bucking and rearing in his stall.  Remove head before it gets kicked.  Yell "stop" a few times, but watch while horse rolls in the bedding and almost puts a foot through the  wall.

Step 6: Text barn manager to say, "Hey.  Maybe tomorrow should be the last day we give him bute instead of today."  Leave part out about foot almost going through wall.  Act normal.

Step 7: Leave defeated.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Western Dressage

I don't know if I've mentioned this before or not, but the AQHA has recently added Western Dressage to their roster of classes.  Yes, folks, that is actually a thing.  In fact, I have often heard of reining as being a similar skill as dressage because of the emphasis on using the body appropriately and the light movements needed.

The point of my story is that quarter horses are a particularly versatile breed, and the Western disciplines are not all about lazy lopers and chasing cows.  The emphasis with all riding is (and in my opinion, should be) teaching the horse to use himself to the best of his ability in order to function in the discipline in which he performs.

And that's where dressage comes in - English or Western.

When I bought Jane Savoie's book, I bought it for particularly that reason - to teach Walker to use himself.  It just so happens that now we are going to focus on it even more than originally planned.

Do I need my pony to do Grand Prix dressage movements?  No.  Do you?  Probably not (unless that's your thing of course).  Because frankly, you can drop a substantial amount of money and still end up with a horse that won't take you to the top.  You can't buy drive, and you can't buy talent.

I get myself caught up a lot - caught up in what I don't have.  And really I should be ashamed of myself because I talk sometimes like I have no faith in Walker's abilities.  I have taken my natural inclination to underestimate myself to underestimate my pony, and that's not fair.  How can you ever expect your horse to do something if you don't believe in them?

Maybe we'll excel at dressage.  Maybe not.  Maybe we'll do Western Dressage instead.  Maybe not.

But most importantly, we'll never stop dreaming, never stop working, never stop having faith.

I mean, who am I kidding.  We have SO MANY options.

And every day is just about the ride.

If I had...

If I had $5000...

I would take lessons.  LOTS of lessons.  On different horses, Walker included.  But I would also take lessons on other horses so that at least I had some exposure to horses with an affinity for disciplines we can't do - jumping, dressage, reining, cutting, etc.  Plus, it never hurts to put some miles on different horses.

If I had $10,000...

I would lease a second horse.  This would be the best of both worlds.  I wouldn't feel bad about taking Walker back to Western Pleasure because I would have the second horse to do some of the other things I want to try.  I could have my cake and eat it too - get to keep the love of my life AND get to try (and dare I dream to say "excel at") a discipline I would better enjoy.

If I had $15,000 $20,000+...

I would buy a second horse.  Same as leasing a second horse only Walker gets a brother.  I imagine that this will be the plan eventually.  It just depends on how long "eventually" is.

If I had $1,000,000...

I would have Walker and however many lovely ponies I want.  I would have a nice big ol' farm house with a beautiful barn and lots of fields.  While I would probably keep my ponies at a place where I could continue to learn and have another watchful set of eyes, I could retire my ponies to my backyard or even keep a few there for the extensive trails I will obviously have.  If I had $1,000,000, I would probably spend the ENTIRE thing on horses (after I paid off my debt and gave some to my parents, of course).

But instead I have $0...

So I will make the best of life.  I will not complain that I am poor nor make excuses for not having the fanciest toy.  I will be thankful that I have a healthy, goofy pony who tries harder for me than many horses would.  I will work hard because at the end of the day, you get what you want by working hard, not by spending money.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

New Direction - no, not the boy band

Ships arriving for our Tall Ships Festival
When I got Walker's diagnosis, I was so happy that it wasn't founder/laminitis that I didn't care as much about the navicular. Don't get me wrong, I cared that he had minor changes, but I didn't care that it meant we could no longer jump. I've since learned that my vet would like to take additional X-rays to better understand the extent of the changes, but she suggested that it was simply because the X-rays she took were to determine the farrier's approach to shoeing him and she would like them for reference. Frankly, after three months of vet bills, I'm a little strapped for cash, and since she doesn't think they're urgent, I intend to wait for a little while - maybe until at least he's back into work.

It's finally starting to hit me like a brick that we can't jump anymore. It's not like we (he and I both) were very good at it, but it was something I was interested in doing - not to show at any high level or anything, just to do for us.

I've been saving up my money for a new saddle to replace my cheap English one. I was pretty determined that I was going to buy a jumping saddle but obviously there's no need for that now. Now I'm pretty sure we're going to try dressage, but for all the same reasons that he wouldn't make a good jumper, he's never going to excel at dressage. This was ok when I thought we could play with jumping AND dressage, but now that we just have the latter, there's seriously no point dropping that kind of money on a saddle for a discipline we won't be good at and thus won't show in.

Maybe I'll just stow away on board this
As always, this circles me back to Western. Except Walker wouldn't make a good barrel racer, penner or reiner either. Surprise, surprise. This brings me back to Western Pleasure, while no means an easy discipline and by far Walker's greatest potential to show at a "higher" level, is SO boring to devote my daily attentions to. I can't work on dressage one day and expect Walker to reel himself back to WP the next. It's an all or nothing adventure.

I feel quite lost. Believe it or not, but my little Quarter Horse actually has a beautiful extended trot that he pulls out to show off for the mares in the field or when he's really hot with me under saddle. My only hope is to somehow channel that energy and then maybe I can justify a little dressage saddle and some schooling shows. 

Otherwise, folks, I've got myself the cutest little trail pony there ever was.