"And, when you want something, the entire Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

WW: We Fly

Charles came out to the barn yesterday with me, for the first time since moving to the new barn. He normally comes out quite often but we've just had completely opposite schedules for several months now.

We took him on a tour of the trails. He was happy to hike behind Mary on Willa and myself on Lily; it was his first time going for a hike in the fall! He earned some serious points with everyone at the barn.

Mary and Willa. That's Lily and me on the other side of the driveway, behind Mary.

Walking down the driveway...

...and out the gates.

I put a knot in Lily's tail so I could wrap her hinds and forgot to take it off...
Riding up the slope. The horses in the background are retired broodmares belonging to a neighbor.
This couple owns the field adjoining the bridle path. They have two brown Newfoundlands that look like baby grizzly bears. They dogs are super well-behaved and when in doubt, the owners are awesome about grabbing their dogs when we're riding by.

Riding up the bridle path where I do hill sets...
...and down the path past one of the neighboring horse farms.

I've been wanting to get a photo of that sign for awhile now.
This is how in sync Charles and I are: I never even mentioned it, and he got the shot!

Following the fence line through the yard we're allowed to use to access the trails.
This is the spot where Lily likes to spazz out when riding solo.

The big orange tree is more orange now.

Entering the back woods.

Following the trail.
I LOVE this photo.

Up the first, smaller hill that leads towards Four Corners.

Lily hesitated at this giant log initially. She's jumped over it before. Willa, a former eventer, had no problem going over it.

Following the street that runs through the woods. It's actually a neighborhood driveway. It leads to a main road - when you cross that road, you're on the trail that leads to Four Corners. The hunt was out on this day, so we turned around at the main road.

Another great shot of Mary and I, riding on opposite sides of the street.

I had not noticed before how much this trunk looks like a sea serpent!

Mary and I paused to wait for Charles to catch up. He was thoroughly enjoying his hike and had lagged behind. :)

Headed home on the bridle path. I walked Mary to the gates. She went to the driveway to do trot sets, and I returned to the slope with Charles to do canter sets.

Practice run on the lower portion of the bridle path.
Trotting away from Charles.

...and cantering back.

We trotted up the slope once, then trotted back. I wanted to make sure Lily could see Charles and realize it was him, but it didn't really work. She was fine when we were going up the hill facing him, but when we were returning back down facing his back, she kept trying to spook. Goofy in-heat mare!

And then we turned around at the bottom of the slope, and cantered up the hill.

Trotting past Charles. Note that she was looking at him.

The one moment where we truly galloped.

Trotting past Charles. :)

Walking back down the hill. Finally thought to remove the obnoxious orange safety vest...

Nice controlled canter. She was tired by then. We did 6 reps.

Walking back to Charles.

This photo shoot was a big deal. Ever since seeing Dom's profile pic (go to her blog and look at her profile pic at the bottom. LOVE that photo!!!) a year ago when I first started to read her blog, I'd wanted a photo of Lily and I cantering, if not galloping, out in the open. Outside of an arena. I wanted to be able to trust her enough to canter outside of any enclosed spaces. It was one of my biggest goals for this year.

It took 2 years, but we made it. We would have made it sooner if she had not been injured, but I don't know if we would have made it this well. Not only that, I now excitedly look forward to this kind of work with Lily. Yes, I look intense in the photos and video, but that's how I look when I'm focused. I had that same grim look when flying over fences. It certainly did not mean I wasn't having fun. I was. :)

What can I say? I have a pretty freaking awesome mare. 

I love you, Lilybird.


  1. So funny that your "must do" was to canter/gallop in an open area. My big fear was cantering or going fast in an arena or other enclosed area and it took me a similar amoutn of time (2 years) to do it on Farley.

    1. Very interesting, especially that it took you the same amount of time to do the reverse with Farley. :) What would she do in the arena when you asked to canter?

  2. I love the avatar on the blog title. Awesome canter video.

  3. Aww, I loved the video at the end! What a gorgeous and paced canter!

    1. She's a good girl. She still doesn't believe me when I tell her I want to gallop. Lol

  4. Your rides are so gorgeous. Makes me jealous!

  5. Aw, love! Gorgeous pics! Also, that dog sign is hilarious!

    1. Isn't it? It still makes me smile every time we ride past it!

  6. I like that you told her you loved her at the end because I was genuinely concerned for you both prior to this move. I fostered these huge hopes that everything would be better once she was out 24/7 and everything else we ranted and raved about - but I was still a little worried despite it.

    I'm so so so over the moon happy that your relationship with Lilybird has taken off since this move. So happy for you. And Lily. And everything. =)

    1. Believe me, I was worried too. Especially when we had that episode with Circe last month. I still grin from ear to ear when I overhear people talking about the calmest horse in the barn on the trails, and it's Lily's name that comes up. Everyone wants to ride with us. It's so awesome to have my horse back. I thought the quiet little mare I'd seen when I first decided to get her had disappeared for good. I said yes when she was offered to me because she was the only horse in the barn that I could just randomly take anywhere without her losing her shit. It was hell when she stopped being that way when we moved North. She just needed more social interaction with other horses and to be free. At the old barn they only offered 12 hour turnout and whenever she was in her stall she couldn't touch any other horse. Opposite from how it was in FL when she was calm.

      I'm really really happy too! Thank you so much for listening, for your advice, and for showing us the way. The WV trip to visit you was a big turning point in making this happen. Thank you thank you thank you. :)

  7. Looks like a fun ride and I love the galloping photos! It's great that your husband accompanies you to the barn even if he doesn't ride:)