WITH BELLS ON! #jinglebellchallenge 2017

So, Alanna of Pony Express did this a few weeks ago, and the second I saw her video I knew I had to try it for myself. I procured some jingle bells, and on the first day I tried – a picturesque snowy day in which I intended to try outside with maximum mood – I got into a small car accident on the way to the barn. Sigh.

The next day, I was determined. I warmed him up, then did a little desensitizing – mostly shook them in his face and then praised him for getting a touch bug-eyed but not actually spooky – and then away we went! He did so great. He was even forward. (Though, obviously, more tense than I would like for a proper dressage ride.) The barn manager was watching and decreed I have to ride with them for the next few weeks. I might just do that! I was grinning ear to ear the whole time. I had forgotten how much fun it was to do something silly and new. I love this horse so much.

clinic notes · cross-country · equine affaire · phillip dutton · video

Phillip Dutton at Equine Affaire

I kind of lost track of time while shopping and only saw the second half of Phillip Dutton’s clinic on using ringwork to prepare for cross country, but what I saw was really terrific.

I had sat through nearly all of Julie Goodnight’s clinic earlier that day on the canter, and was really disappointed at the amount of time she spent covering extreme basics (like…what a canter looks like, and how you have a right and left lead, and how to cue the canter. yeah. that was the first HOUR) so I was thrilled to see that Dutton had a group of extremely capable riders and was kicking their butts.

He worked with individual riders, setting up broad exercises but then addressing each horse and rider pair’s challenges as they worked through it. These were NOT easy exercises – think one stride extreme slices, and one stride right angles, and big wide corners. He had them up and out of their saddles and in a true cross-country gallop to approach some jumps. It was really cool to see, and to see the riders and the horses improve in just a few minutes.

Here are three of the exercises that I watched.

longeing · video


We are both still alive! Work is stressful, my brain is in a very bad place, but it’s also 60 degrees outside today and I am going to ride in my regular breeches tonight come hell or high water.

Here have a video of sassy Tristan longeing on Monday to tide you over until I can make my brain do actual thinking and writing things.

A video posted by Amanda G. (@beljoeor) on Mar 9, 2016 at 7:45am PST


equestrian history · video

Behind the Scenes of Downton Abbey: Filming the Point to Point

Okay, I’ll confess. I haven’t watched Downton Abbey since the second-to-last episode of season 3, allowing me to preserve the illusion that a certain favorite character is alive and well and happily where he belongs. At one time I was as rabid a fan as it gets. Season 1 got me through my master’s thesis: for every 10 pages written, I got to watch an episode.

So when I heard that season 5 featured Lady Mary Crawley riding in a point to point race…! Well. I scoured the internet for footage, and found this lovely little video. Enjoy!