Tag has some fun

I brought him in and let him burn off some energy in the indoor:

So that was fun.  Then I put him in the cross ties and brushed him.  When I did, I noticed that his sheath is noticeably smelly.  The next warmish day I will clean it for him.

I tacked up and rode him in the indoor and he was a star.  He was happy to go and polite on the way.  Lovely day.


Elsa goes hacking

I brought Elsa in and groomed her.  She was very affectionate and cute.  I warmed up in the arena in walk for quite a while, then moved on to trot and canter.  She got better and better and had some nice work.

Then we went for a walk on the gravel road, accompanying Archie and Megan on their handwalk.  We walked more than half way to the cemetary by the crossroads.  Elsa enjoyed herself and walked along in a relaxed manner.  I spaced it on getting a picture of Elsa, sorry, but I did get a picture of Megan and Archie on the walk.


Riding blog

A nice mild day and all the horses wanted their blankets off in the afternoon, to have a good roll in the soft snow.  After I got that accomplished, I brought Lexie in and groomed her.  The thrush on her RF seems to be healing well enough that it is not responsive to pressure.  The LF still is a bit sensitive, so it may be time to treat her again.

We worked in the arena and she was really quite good in all gaits.  Getting better all the time.  Gia came and rode her in the evening and they seemed to get along well from what I observed.  Great!

Missy had a lesson on Otto tonight and they produced some nice work.  He is coming over his topline better and she is applying her skills regarding the outside rein and inside leg and incorporating the occasional counter bend where appropriate.  Really fun to work with them.

Meanwhile, I was riding Howdy and we did a lot of bending and yielding to the rein in walk.  He did very well and I am quite pleased.  I know, walking doesn’t sound exciting.  When it needs to be done and you get the results you’d hoped for, it is very exciting!  #horsegeek


Field Day Barn Etiquette

I run a training barn, so have had horses boarded at my place for a long while.  However, usually I am the one doing most of the riding.  The horses’ owners show up to visit, observe or take a lesson, but mostly, it is just me and the horses.  One of the horses I trained is recently being leased by a person who will be coming out and riding the horse at my place.  She asked me if I could provide a list of barn rules.

Barn rules?  Hmmmm…  Now that’s a good question.  I’ve always disliked barn rules that started with “No” and “Do not.”  They flash me back to the dour church of my youth that emphasized the “Thou shalt not” commandments and skipped blithely over the “You-shall-love-your-neighbor-as-yourself.-There-is-no-commandment-greater-than-this” passages.

It seems to me that there are two ways to communicate rules.  One is to tell the listener what not to do – a written game of “Hot and Cold” with an emphasis on the ‘Cold.’  The other way is to communicate general guidelines to show the audience how to decide what to do.  When the rules audience is allowed to take ownership in deciding what to do, it eliminates the need for the myriad “Do nots.”  It also encourages the audience to think about the positive results of their actions, rather than trying to avoid the negative result that is associated with breaking the rules.  Ahhhh.  The joy of clear direction and trust.

In the movie Seven Pounds, there is a scene where Will Smith’s character is watching a hockey practice where a fight breaks out.  The coach whistles loudly to get the players’ attention.  Then he asks the boys where they are.  “This is church sir!”  they yell in unison.  The fighting ceases and they are back to practice.  Where many coaches would have punished the boys for fighting, thus showing them clearly what they ought not to do, this coach simply reminded them of how they should decide what to do – in this case to use the same set of behavioural rules that they would in church.  He reminded them of the general philosophy of how they should be, rather than punishing them for being what they shouldn’t.  Genius.

So I thought about applying this philosophy to barn etiquette and came up with this to post on the barn door:

Field Day Barn Etiquette

You are entering a sanctuary.

Directive One: Treat all animals, people and equipment with love and respect at all times.

  • Treat the lawn as if it was the churchyard. If possible avoid taking horses across the lawn when it is wet. If you must cross it when it is wet, go along the west fenceline where the ground is a little higher and dries out more quickly.
  • Bring cookies.
  • If possible, leave things a little nicer than when you arrived.
  • Pitch in where you can.
  • Praise often.
  • Change the radio station if you like. Be comfortable.
  • You can ride on our land. Let us show you where our neighbors have said it is ok to ride on theirs.
  • Enjoy your horse fully and love on the other ones if you like.
  • If you borrow something, return it promptly in clean, working order.
  • If you borrow supplies, replace them promptly with somewhat more than you borrowed.
  • If you mess up, fess up, quickly and fully. It probably can be fixed if caught early.
  • If you need help, ask.
  • If you can give help when asked, do.
  • When alone and in doubt, ask your Higher Self.
  • If the gate was closed before you went through it, close it behind you
  • Communicate quietly and privately if you have a critique or request.
  • Communicate as enthusiastically and publicly as seems appropriate to you if you have praise.
  • Greet people.
  • Smile.
  • Exhale.

All rules are subservient to Directive One.


Why Field Day?

To “have a field day” is to have a day where everything goes right, and usually implies that there was a lot of fun to be had.  This is one of the reasons I chose “Field Day” as the name for my teaching and training work – because riding should usually go right and be a lot of fun.  The best riding happens when we are “in the flow” which is that quality of relaxed focus where real excellence lies.

The Field Day tagline “Soft elbow, rhythmic leg, relaxed mind” is an extension of that thought.

You might have noticed that some of the banners on this site are not strictly pictures of English riding.  There are some other flavors of horse sports too.  Good riding is good riding and most of it translates from one sport to the next when a person simply keeps an open mind.  A field day is a field day, whether the horn on the saddle is there to dally off or to speak to the hounds.




2/17/18 “Roadmap” clinic at Field Day

What are your dreams for you and your horse in 2018? Jump like a boss? Dressage in public? Just have more fun doing the activities you already do?

Success in everything starts with solid basics. At this relaxed clinic, we’ll talk about your dreams and your current situation and I’ll help you develop a roadmap of how to get *There from *Here.

The format is simple: one hour private lesson, $75. One hour group of two, $90. Topics can be anything from simple to complex, including dressage, jumping, trailer loading, gridwork, in hand work, cavaletti or just horse communication in general.

A straightforward clinic to get your horse life moving straight and forward.  Email me to sign up.




A cold day, but not too bad in the indoor.  I think her thrush is looking better, but still am not ruling out another treatment when we get a 50 degree day.

After a long warmup, we worked on transitions and acceptance of the aids.  She is coming along!