Friday, September 28, 2012

Man o' War, a poem

Man o' War

America's genetic gold,
son of "good tidings",

veins throbbed fire,
his mind, desire.

Had a 26-foot stride
that soared as if winged.

Rebellious youngster,
"like holding a tiger's tail",

he became "De mostest hoss
that ever drew breath."

He transcended his sport,
a "Babe Ruth" of the track,

truly "brought one close
to divinity."

by Margaret Bednar  9.20.12

Man o' War and his caretaker, Will Harbut
Click on the above link (under the picture of him with his groom if you are interested in reading about this famous race horse.

I just finished re-reading a book I had from my childhood "Man o' War" by Walter Farley.  It is fiction, but largely based on fact.  A very uplifting read!  I highly recommend it.

Fred Stone  has painted many a magnificent horse.  I'm considering purchasing this poster of Man o' War.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Unicorn?

Unicorn Oberon!
The Late Passenger 

C.S. Lewis 1948

The sky was low, the sounding rain was falling dense and dark, 
And Noah's sons were standing at the window of the Ark. 

The beasts were in, but Japhet said, 'I see one creature more 
Belated and unmated there come knocking at the door.' 

'Well let him knock,' said Ham, 'Or let him drown or learn to swim. 
We're overcrowded as it is; we've got no room for him.' 

'And yet it knocks, how terribly it knocks,' said Shem, 'Its feet 
Are hard as horn--but oh the air that comes from it is sweet.' 

'Now hush,' said Ham, 'You'll waken Dad, and once he comes to see 
What's at the door, it's sure to mean more work for you and me.' 

Noah's voice came roaring from the darkness down below, 
'Some animal is knocking. Take it in before we go.' 

Ham shouted back, and savagely he nudged the other two, 
'That's only Japhet knocking down a brad-nail in his shoe.' 

Said Noah, 'Boys, I hear a noise that's like a horse's hoof.' 
Said Ham, 'Why, that's the dreadful rain that drums upon the roof.' 

Noah tumbled up on deck and out he put his head; 
His face went grey, his knees were loosed, he tore his beard and said, 

'Look, look! It would not wait. It turns away. It takes its flight. 
Fine work you've made of it, my sons, between you all to-night! 

'Even if I could outrun it now, it would not turn again 
--Not now. Our great discourtesy has earned its high disdain. 

'Oh noble and unmated beast, my sons were all unkind; 
In such a night what stable and what manger will you find? 

'Oh golden hoofs, oh cataracts of mane, oh nostrils wide 
With indignation! Oh the neck wave-arched, the lovely pride! 

'Oh long shall be the furrows ploughed across the hearts of men 
Before it comes to stable and to manger once again, 

'And dark and crooked all the ways in which our race shall walk, 
And shrivelled all their manhood like a flower with broken stalk, 

'And all the world, oh Ham, may curse the hour when you were born; 
Because of you the Ark must sail without the Unicorn!' 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bareback & a Straight Line

We are taking a bit of a break from the dressage saddle and are riding with a bareback pad.  The girls love Oberon's trot for posting, but it isn't the easiest to sit.  So, for balance and a change of pace, this is what they have been doing.  I already see an amazing improvement in their balance and it will be interesting after another week to see if their riding in the saddle has improved.

I rode him today and I worked on look, leg and "hopefully no" lead.  Every time Oberon deviated from my straight line, I circled him around and put him back on track.  We started with the walk, and then a trot.  We really did make progress!  I want to get really good before I try it at a canter as I am also trying to get him to feel my energy and drive "stop" as well without using any rein.

I know it is all very basic.  But, this is where we are.

I know Oberon's head should be carried differently for better collection, and that will be addressed eventually, I'm sure.

Of course, we always find time for ground play, and I had a fun time working him in a crazy 8 around two cones and also an exercise while I walked a straight line and he half circled and cut back and forth in front of me.  I will try and get a video of both of these as they are a lot of fun.

The summer heat has lifted and riding is a joy again!

And of course, after a hose down, a bit of green grass is always a nice reward!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Tac, Tac, Tac

I am saving for a new saddle, and I think I am leaning towards a County dressage... either the Perfection or the Fusion.  Or the Parelli English Fluidity.  Since we have decided NOT to buy a second horse, I feel I can splurge.  In a few months I will order a few demos and will post all about the saddles.

For now, I have a Wintec Isabell Dressage which I paid only $200.  I have only ever ridden western, so a used Wintec was a practical course.  I have found I love the dressage saddle.

Currently, I have problems with Oberon's saddle slipping forward.  I purchased a nice thin line pad, but it too slipped forward.  I then used an ugly foamy thing between the saddle and the blanket, but ... well, it was ugly.  So, I found a "No-Slip Pad" made by Nunn Finer and so far it has REALLY worked.  I place it directly on the horses back and the saddle pad.  I also love their colorful dressage pads HERE.  Crisp white (see my nice new one above) is always striking, but how long does it take to get dirty?  Plus, these colors look fun for the fall and winter months ahead.

Once I get my custom fit saddle, hopefully this little problem will be a thing of the past, but for now it seems to be working.

Do you have a favorite dressage saddle?  If so, what is the brand?  Any favorite shims?

And now, we can comfortably ride off into the sunset...