|Photos from the Houston
Dressage Society Schooling Show Championships, December 13, 2009
The series above were all taken during Faeryn's seventh time under saddle, and during our first 'real' lesson.
Video clip taken 9/24/09 of Faeryn during a lesson. She's 4 years old.
Compare to the clips below, taken 5/18/07 when she'd been ridden less than 25 times.
Faeryn walking HERE.
Faeryn trotting HERE.
|January 16, 2009
Not much training getting done lately - it rained almost every other day in December. The HDS Schooling Show Championships were held Dec. 13 and I had ridden Faeryn maybe once a week the two weeks prior. The outdoor warm up arenas at the show venue were totally unusable so there was just one small covered warn up area that had to be shared with horses being lunged. Faeryn was very good. Scared of the truck they'd brought in for the judge at E at first, but worked really well in our first test and got a 67.5 average from S judges Dinah Babcock and Sue Malone Casey. Unfortunately for our championship ride, she was not working as well. I'd had toshare the warm up with three horses being lunged prior to that ride and just couldn't get much good work from her. But she still got a 65% and was just .4 behind the horse that was champion.
Next weekend she's going to her first recognized show, at the Great Sw Equestrian center in Katy. It will also be the first time she's stayed in a strange place overnight, except for during hurricane evac when she was with her buddies from home. The goal isn't really to win anything, but just to get her used to going to big shows.
Faeryn went to the Sienna Stables Schooling Show Oct. 25. She had been there once before, but it was back in February. She was quite the wild child at that show, even tho I'd hauled her there the day before to get a look at the place. Either the hauling her around the past few months has helped, or she's just matured in the past 8 months - she was very quiet and calm. She did gawk a bit once inside the arena, since I hadn't been able to show it to her beforehand - and the judge at this show sits way up high in a stand. But she was obedient and calm - she got a wrong lead in the first test because she wasn't sure about a scary corner and did the old throw the shoulder to the inside, right where you had to canter. She got a 71 on her first test, and a 73 on her second test and was Training Level Champion, and, for the third show in a row, was the HDS High Score champion! Such a good girl! Her mom would be so proud of her!
October 21, 2009
Finally got Faeryn to her first show since April. NOt the best of circumstances - I'd only been only to ride her twice in the previous ten days due to 'life' interfering. She was very calm and well-behaved, despite not having been out and about for awhile. She got a 67 on her first test, even with getting a 3 on right lead canter depart, since it was on the 'scary' end by the judge in the witch's hat, and she was really leaning on my right leg. It took me three tries to get it right. She won her class, and then ran out of gas a bit in the second class and got a 61 - mostly for being poll low and behind the vertical. The judge thought she was leaning on the bit - but she wasn't - that's just how she really prefers to go - especially if she is the least bit tired. Her 67 ended up being the high score of the show, and for the second show in a row, she earned the HDS High Score award! She goes to Sienna this weekend, and I actually rode her once befor the heavens opened up - this morning we got five inches of rain! Our pond, which HAD been completely dry for the first time in seven years about three weeks ago, is now full!
October 3, 2009
Faeryn is working really well and I've been TRYING to get her to more shows, since she definitely needs more 'mileage,' but the last TWO schooling shows I've entered her in were cancelled due to lack of entries! There's one next weekend - hoping it does not get cancelled! She is working well and is still very easy and uncomplicated. Check out the new video clip of her, above.
September 2, 2009
Whew. I don't know who's more tired - Faeryn or me! Probably me, since I did most of the work and I'm a lot older than she is! She was very good for braiding - she stood very still and it didn't take me any longer than it does for Faxx. I did it at home this morning before heading over to the venue - which, fortunately, was only 30 minutes from home. She was very wound up when we got there. As predicted, I was the only one having to LUNGE my mare before having her shown in hand! I hired a handler for that since I knew if I had to run her around the triangle, run her through the jump chute AND ride her, I'd be dead by the time it came to ride her. She scored 100 points in the in-hand inspection and so is now in the Main Mare Book of the Oldenburg NA. She also was the highest scoring mare at the inspection! She is branded ISR because her mom did not have enough 'sporthorse' pedigree - being half Arab and half paint. If I breed Faeryn to an Oldenburg, it will be branded Oldenburg. She did not show her really good walk in hand - her back was tight. After the in-hand, Faeryn and the other mare who was doing the Mare Performance Test headed over to the outdoor arena to do chute jumping. I could not even let Faeryn WATCH the other mare jumping - it got her totally wound up again. So I took her and walked around the barns until it was our turn. I was worried about getting her 'going' and then getting her into the chute. That was not a worry - all I had to do is point her toward it and she barrelled through -- too fast the first few times. Also, they had the 'chute' in a round pen and Faeryn has been schooled to jump through a straight chute (which most are) - so by the time she got to the last and largest jump - an oxer - she kept hitting it at the far side and getting into the jump wrong - since she was jumping in a straight line - but the jumps WEREN'T in a straight line. She finally got the hang of it - the inspector was very patient with her since it was quite obvious she was ENTHUSIASTIC about it - and finally she LAUNCHED herself over the jump with more than a foot to spare, and in terrific form, with her back feet curled up as tight as her front legs! And, in fact, that effort earned her an "8" for the 'ability' jumping score. We didn't have much time to get prepared for the under-saddle portion, since Faeryn was the second horse to do the jumping. I had to hose her off - she was dripping wet. We had really no time to warm up by the time I got changed and got her tacked up. I wasn't even aware we were already being 'judged' in the under-saddle part. Her back felt really tight compared to at home, but she was quiet and obedient and forward and nicely connected. She just did not have the 'schwung' in her back that she has at home. But it didn't matter - she got all 7s on her under saddle scores, and ended up with a 72 for her final score in the MPT, which is considered a "Premium" score. She only had to get a 65 to pass - and the other horse got a 62, so Faeryn was the 'champion' so to speak, of the MPT. Faeryn celebrated by coming home and wading into the muddy bottom of our almost-dry pond, making lovely 'mud socks.' She now gets two days off and her next gig will be a schooling show the end of September.
August 26, 2009
The Oldenburg inspection is a week from today! She's working well - I just hope she will stand still to be braided since I've never braided her! And that she doesn't go into complete sensory overload at the strange place. She has to show in hand first - I was hoping that the jumping portion of the Mare Performance Test would be first so she could work off her excess energy! I have some friends lined up to come help 'shoo' her through the jump chute. I hope it's not 100 degrees!
August 9, 2009
Faeryn has had three 'chute jumping' lessons now and she is doing super! Cathy Strobel, the hunter trainer, says she really likes it and has plenty of power and ability! Yesterday we progressed to using the actual chute and by the time we finished, she was free jumping through it and cleared a 3' x 3' oxer with plenty of room to spare! We're trying to keep it really fun for her and Cathy's been great at coming up with a progressive 'program' to gradually 'challenge' her, but not overface her, while keeping it fun for her. Even when she came into the jump totally wrong and had to stop, she would jump them from a standstill! She has a lot of try and ability. Two more sessions before the inspections Sept. 2. In the meantime, Marta taped me riding Faeryn in one of our lessons. I have not seen video of Faeryn under saddle since last December. WHAT a pleasant surprise! She is amazingly collected - she looks like a first/second level horse. I was especially surprised by the canter - it does not feel nearly as collected as it looks. Maybe because I am comparing her to Fling! Anyway, my little 'ugly duckling' as definitely turned into a swan! She is super fun to ride and I am just thrilled with her work ethic.
July 26, 2009
Faeryn is just doing super. Her canter is getting stronger, rounder, and more correct, and the stifle issue is virtually a non-issue. Marta has been having me ride her in a slight shoulder fore and that's made her gaits very fancy! She just naturally raises her back and goes very round, so she's really easy to sit, and actually, I think I interfere with her much less when I sit. She is very sensitive to my position on her back and when I post, if I get a fraction ahead or behind, it really affects her. She 'rides' so much like her mom, Lisa, it's really uncanny. Well, she rides like Lisa would have if she hadn't had to put up with my bad riding for a lot of years in her youth. Faeryn is a more elegant, more talented version of her mom, and I feel so fortunate that I have her. I lost Lisa almost a year ago and even now, when someone asks me about her, it's enough to make me tear up. I haven't even been able to bring myself to update her page since her passing. I miss her so very much and I am so grateful I have her two wonderful daughgers, Fling and Faeryn.
The Oldenburg inspections are in September and I would like to do the mare performance test with Faeryn. I am waiting to hear from the ISR/Old to see if they are going to offer the MPT at this site. Saturday I took her to a local hunter trainer to work on free jumping, since one part of the MPT requires free jumping through a chute. Faeryn did super - we haven't progressed to chute jumping yet - we lunged her through a series of small gymnastics and she showed a lot of 'try' and only stopped once or twice when she got really out of sync. At the end she was doing two 2-foot verticals with a stride in-between. I'll take her next week to work on it again, and probably every week until the inspection. The other part of the MPT is under-saddle work - simple stuff like walk/trot/canter, some serpentines and lengthenings at trot/canter. She's well-prepared for that part of it!
June 23, 2009
I had a little setback with Faeryn. She's had a 'sticky' stifle (only at the trot to walk transition) from day one, but nothing major and it was getting better as she gained strength. She must have hyperextended it in the pasture and it really made her canter wonky. I gave her a week off and then started doing the stifle exercises again - backing her in hand and making her do turns on the forehand in-hand. I also took her to a park near us this weekend where there are some levees and I walked her up and down them. Hill work is the very best thing to strengthen stifles, but we have few hills around here! I had a terrific ride on her today and can't wait until her canter is strong enough to show her again.
April 5, 2009
I am a glutton for punishment. There were two dressage schooling shows less than 20 minutes from my house this weekend - one on Saturday and one on Sunday. Faxx went on Saturday. Sunday was Faeryn's turn. I took her over to the facility to school her yesterday because she just hasn't seen much of the world. She is very looky at a new place but I think that will improve with show miles.
I got a day stall for her and she had the 'best seat in the house' to see the show and maximum activity - her stall window overlooked the competition arena. A pair of teenaged girls were particularly 'taken' with her and Faeryn ate up all the attention as she stuck her head out her stall window to schmooze with passers-by. It is really hard for me to think of Faeryn as 'beautiful,' since I still remember her as a very awkward (ok, ugly!) yearling. Yet everywhere I take her, people comment on how beautiful and elegant she is!
It was windy and she was very 'up' when I took her out of her stall to go lunge her and get on her to warm up. She tends to get very excited in new places- and needs to 'blow off steam' and then she is ok. For her, 'blowing off steam' consists of lunging - preferably in a round pen. The first ten minutes I was thinking " there's no way I am getting on this horse today" - but then she got it out of her system and she was ok. She was a little distracted in the field when I was warming her up, but I was very proud when she got into the competition arena and she didn't look at anything - none of the things around the arena that she had been looking at the day before (jumps stacked outside, etc) bothered her at all. She was really much steadier in the actual test than she was in the warmup. She got a 64.3 on her first test and had the highest score of all the Training 1 rides. She got to hang out for a few hours more before our next test, Training 2. I _thought_ she would be worn out enough to just get on her and warm up without lunging her, but when I took her out, I could see her tension building, so we went to the round pen again - and she was actually more wound up than she was before our first ride. She was still pretty 'up' when I got on her too - she actually bucked when I asked for the first canter depart - very unusual for her. I actually considered scratching my ride - but then I realized there was no one else to get her through this stage of her 'career', so I told myself to 'cowgirl up' and ride her through it. I just thought calm thoughts and tried to ride her as methodically as possible, and within 10 minutes she was calm and responsive. Again, she was better in the show arena than she was in the warm up and this time our beginning and ending halts were better. I was still surprised when I heard we'd gotten a 67 and had again won our class! She was the Training Level champion and we also won the HDS High Score Amateur award! What are the odds? Faxx was Training Level champion at his show the day before and we were also HDS High Score amateur there!
Faeryn gets a little break now - I may even wait until fall to show her again. I think a little more maturity may help her deal with the excitement of show grounds.
March 29, 2009
Faeryn went to a schooling show today and made her Training Level debut. When I first got there she was very excited. I have to remember that she has not seen much of the world compared to Faxx, who was shown in-hand for two years before he was ever under saddle. Fortunately, they had a round pen I could use to let her work off a little steam. It was just busier than anything she'd ever seen - lots of horses, tractor, gator, etc. and she had sensory overload.
She was fine once I got on her, other than being quite suspicious of stuff around the warm up arena. I think it's just a matter of not having gotten off the farm much. When we actually got in the competition arena, she was pretty good. Her only 'spook' happened when she skidded to a stop at one end of the arena when she saw some tractor implement just outside the arena.
She got a 62.6 on the first test, with a wrong lead. On the second test she got a 65 with an EIGHT for gaits!! Comments included " elegant horse...rhythmic and balanced. needs steady connection and relaxation through back/neck...horse needs to develop confidence" (ya think???) She was the only one in our T1 class and she was third out of 3 in the T2, but the other horses were seasoned training level horses, so that doesn't bother me at all.
She got dinked for tilting her head some times - this just started about ten days ago - she's also grabbing the right rein sometimes. I think she needs her teeth done - it has been 7 months since she had them done and youngsters need them done more often due to new teeth erupting/losing baby teeth, etc.
So, next weekend Faeryn goes to another show - but she gets two days off to rest up from today!
March 16, 2009
Faeryn has made huge progress in the last few weeks. She is consistently working from inside leg to outside rein at trot and even canter. Her canter departs got much better once I started using my inside leg to cue for canter instead of outside, and at the same time, asked her to move a tiny bit toward my outside rein at the moment I cued. She is very easy to ride - she reaches for the bit of her own accord and rounds her back nicely, making her easy to sit. She is very supple - really not a tense bone in her body - even when she spooks at something, three seconds later she's right back to work with no residual tension at all. She feels very fancy and to me, she is what the old time horsemen would call a 'ladies' horse' - soft, responsive and elegant. I can't wait to show her again! This time we'll be doing training level. She's made huge progress since her first show at Intro in December. I haven't had a lesson on her in two months, (my trainer has been out of the country) but we're making good progress on our own. I'm very proud of her - and of myself! As I have mentioned earlier, I started her under saddle myself - at the ripe old age of 50+! She is the first horse I actually started myself. Having ridden her mom for 15+ years, and her older sister for 5+ (and never being dumped by either of them!) made the prospect a whole less scary. ;)
February 24, 2009
Faeryn continues to improve. Her trot work is getting quite good for a horse her age. Have two horses the same age at the same time is sort of like a mom having twins and trying not to compare the two. ;) Faeryn is way ahead of Faxx when it comes to taking contact and being 'connected' at the trot - but Faxx has her beat in the canter department. Faeryn is really quite uncomplicated to ride and she's nicely relaxed and has lovely suspension and freedom in her shoulders. She gets a little unbalanced and 'quick' in the trot and the hardest thing in the world for me, as a rider, is to learn not to 'go with her' when she gets like that, but just maintain my position and make her come back to me without doing much besides sitting deeply, remembering to keep breathing and not give her anything to resist against. Harder than it sounds, tho! The canter is finally getting better. I finally figured out she was really leaning on her inside shoulder, making it hard for her to even 'get out of her own way' to do a good canter depart, and as a result, the canter itself was awful. I finally started asking her to go more on the outside rein and opening my inside hand a little and pushing more with the inside leg in the actual depart itself, and during the first few strides - that made all the difference in the world. She does not have as naturally good a canter as Faxx does, but it will get there with training. She needs to go to some more schooling shows to gain confidence and see the world. I think I will do a few more at Intro so they'll be easy and non-stressful for her. She has not been to one since her first one in December, but there's one in March and one in April we're eyeing. The problem is having two youngsters that need to go to schooling shows and only so many schooling shows within an hour's drive. But so far I am really proud of my little home-grown, "home-schooled" girl.
December 8, 2008
Faeryn went to her first dressage schooling show yesterday. The one thing I always seem to forget is that my horses are not used to having other horses in the ring with them. It does not seem like a big issue to me, but sometimes to a three year old it is quite distracting, apparently. ;
had taken her over there the day before to school her in the
competition arena so we might have a better chance of actually making
it down center line on the day of the show. Even with that, she still
found plenty to look at, and her eyes are probably tired today from
being held open at maximum size most of yesterday!
She was quite inattentive (for her!) in the warm up. At home, Faeryn is steady as a metronome in her trot work – it was a big surprise to me to find her alternately slowing to a crawl or revving to warp speed and careening around the arena. I didn't know it, but the show was already 20 minutes behind when I got on Faeryn. I finally got off of her and just stood around for awhile, since I did not want to be on her that long – generally I only ride her 30 minutes at home, so between our warm up and two tests, I was already going to be on her much longer than usual.
Before our test, I had enough time to trot her around the arena once – but that was not enough to convince her that the judge (who was wearing a Santa hat) was not going to eat her. The first halt down centerline was more like a lean back, haul on the reins, Hail Mary sort of thing. Then we had trouble going down center line to the scary Santa judge, and then she cut the corner each time to avoid that scary stuff down there! Still, there was some good work in each of the walk/trot tests we did - she had fairly round circles and except for some unsteadiness in her head, they were pretty rhythmical. Still, not as steady or solid as her work at home, and her rhythm was a tad faster than ideal. The good thing is, all of her ‘mistakes’ were related to her age and lack of mileage and not attitude or naughtiness. I thought she was much more relaxed and had a better tempo in the second test, but she scored exactly the same on both tests – 64.5. She was second out of two in each of the classes but the other horse was solidly trained and the rider did a good job piloting.
I have video I'll post as soon as I can get it edited.
I was actually almost giddy about her outing – not only in how well she handled it, but also (maybe mostly!) that it was OVER and we both lived. ;) It’ll all be a cake walk from here on out. And, as I told a friend, “one down, one to go.” Faxx _might_ go to a schooling show next weekend.
November 24, 2008
Mike and I went to the park near us to ride Sunday. I took Faeryn for her first real 'trail' ride. This was her third 'out of arena' experience - the first two times we went to the park, we just rode around the open area near the covered arena. This time we headed out for a 2-mile trail cut through a wooded area. There were small hills to go up and down and Faeryn was absolutely convinced at first that she could NOT walk DOWN an incline! In her world, her ten-acre pasture, everything is flat. ;) She got over it, though and by the end of our ride, we were cantering up and down the small embankments next to a canal. She was quite fun to ride - she was eager to trot out in front - until she came upon something that worried her - then she'd skid to a stop. I cantered her with complete confidence along the bayou trail and she is very comfortable to ride. I think she had fun - and I am very happy to see she is turning into a horse just like her mom - one you can take anywhere, anywhere can ride and there's no drama involved.
November 15, 2008
Faeryn is doing super! She's starting to seek the bit and come round and her canter departs are much better. She is nicely forward and I am not having to 'nag' her about it anymore. She's bending nicely both directions and is getting very consistent and steady in the bridle. I think she will go to a schooling show in December to show Intro, just for an outing!
October 2, 2008
I cantered Faeryn for the first time ever last Sunday and I am happy to see it was quite a 'ho hum' event. She humped up a little the first time I asked - more from the exaggerated leg cue than the actual cantering, I am sure. She got the correct lead, we did about a 20 meter circle, came down to trot, and I asked again and got a nice quiet depart. I did it again twide the other direction (getting the wrong lead once) and quit for a day. She has a super nice canter to ride - very balanced and uphill. She is progressing nicely and is finally almost as self-propelled as her big sister, Fling.
September 6, 2008
Faeryn had a big day today! Mike and I took her and Thor to Jack Brooks Park, about 20 minutes from the house. The park is quite large and has a big covered rodeo arena and several miles of trails and a large bayou that runs through the property. It was Faeryn's first time to be ridden out of the arena. Her eyes were pretty big sometimes and she snorted a little and did one small spook at a very suspicious looking clump of grass - but all in all, she was quite good. We rode for about 45 minutes, which is probably the longest I've been on her back at one clip. She had a nice 'power walk' and we even trotted a little. In the late summer sun, the copper highlights in her coat shone, and seeing the world through her black-tipped ears made me realize how much like her mother she is. There is really nothing quite like finally getting to ride the foal you planned and brought into the world. It's even more satisfying when that foal meets - or exceeds your expectations. Faeryn has been very easy so far and I look forward to a journey of many, many more years with her.
August 16, 2008
Well, I've lost track of how many times I've ridden Faeryn now - probably 50 or more. She is doing very well. I am still only riding Faeryn 2x a week since she is just 3, but with Marta I have really been able to 'maximize' the correct training and during our last lesson, Faeryn almost felt like a trained horse! I still have not cantered her - Marta says, no hurry. It is more important to get her going well at trot first. Marta also taught me how to lunge her to get her working more correctly over her back, and it will help her develop the muscles she needs to carry a rider more effectively. So the schedule has been lunging about 10 minutes 3x a week, and riding about 20 minutes 2x a week. Faeryn is getting her 'go' button confirmed - she's doing some baby leg yielding and she is starting to, for a few strides at a time, take contact with the bit and round her back. Steering is improving a lot, although sometimes we still manage to 'stall out' going to the left around a corner. It's all getting better, though, and she is very calm and rideable in new places and situations. By October I think she will be ready to go do Intro (walk/trot) at some local schooling shows, just for mileage! A friend of mine loves Faeryn and the other day while I was riding her, she went and got her video camera and recorded part of my lesson with Marta. She said she was tired of me thinking of Faeryn as the 'ugly stepsister" when compared to Fling and Faxx. She says "Faeryn is beautiful! Elegant and feminine!" I watched the 5 minutes of tape and have to agree. ;) Her movement is much better under saddle than loose - when she rounds up just a little, she is very airy and light and just dances across the ground. I think part of me just never 'got over' the fact that Faeryn didn't come out with spots! ;) She's still awfully cute, tho. And even cuter by how easy she is. Pretty is as pretty does!
June 26, 2008
Happy birthday, Faeryn! She's 3 years old today! While I was feeding around 6:30, I realized it was 3 years almost to the minute that she was born. Her mom, Lisa, uncharacteristicly foaled on a Sunday evening when we'd just gotten back from a movie! Faeryn got cookies, but I skipped the party hats and singing happy birthday! Last weekend she did a 'mini lesson' in the Richard Howard clinic. She was very forward and very obedient. Richard kept telling me, "you don't need that much trot" and I kept saying "too much trot is never a proble at home!" LOL! I'm still just riding her 1-2 times a week, for about 15-20 minutes. The biggest proble is she starts out very forward, but runs out of steam quickly. I don't know if it's her lack of fitness, or she is just a bit lazy. Time will tell We're in no hurry!
May 18, 2007
Although I've ridden Faeryn about 23 times now, it's been over about 6 months, since I've only ridden her once a week at the most. Still, she has progressed a lot. Now I'm going to up the ante and start riding her twice a week. I am still only riding her about 15 minutes. She does not have a lot of stamina - she is different than her sister Fling, in that respect. Mike took the videos above and when I watched them I was surprised how steady she is. She is not quite forward enough to really take any contact with her mouth yet - but still, she is accepting very light contact with the outside rein, and if she lifts her head, she will respond to a squeeze from my legs and go forward into contact. The steering is getting better, but she still does not know how to move away from my leg. She is very sensible - so much so, that I have quit wearing my eventing vest (but am still wearing my helmet!) and will even ride her when Mike is not home. Next weekend I discovered there is an open schooling show at Great SW in Katy and they have a walk-only class, and a walk-trot class. In one way it seems like total lunacy to be even considering taking a horse who's been under saddle less than 30 times in her life to a show - but this is Faeryn. I figure if I take her and she's too ga ga to ride, we'll just hang out. My biggest problem, coming from my own farm, is that my horses are not used to having other horses in the ring when we work. So the show ring is a totally new experience for them from that standpoint. It's just something else for them to get used to - and the earlier the better as far as I am concerned! I'm still considering it....a lot depends on how much I have to do next weekend! It will be about an all-day affair to go to the show.
Faeryn continues to be a model student. I have ridden her about 20 times now, over the course of several months, I am comfortable enough riding her now that I will do it by myself with no one standing by, ready to dial 911. ;) Although I admit to carrying my cell phone with me. I am optimistic enough to think if I do get dumped and am hurt enough to actually need medical attention, I will be conscious in order to summon said help on my own!
Her steering continues to improve. Still walking and trotting. Canter is still in the distant future. ;) She is more forward – but not forward enough yet to ask for contact – except for keeping a very soft but steady outside rein to aid in steering, I am trying to not ask for any contact just yet. Mainly because I don’t want to do anything to discourage her forwardness, and secondly, she is still very much a baby. Her walk is super – when she relaxes and really strides out, it is something to ride. She will get very good scores for her free walk, no doubt. She had help from mom AND dad in that department – they both have super walks. The goal for this year is to get steadier, to eventually get her forward enough to take a bit of contact and accept the bit better, and by the end of the year to go to some schooling shows and do the intro tests. In short, to get out and see the world and start learning to be a show horse. Oh – and to canter. I think we will manage that by the end of the year. ;)
April 6, 2008
Had a super ride on Faeryn today - it was ride #16 and she finally, for the first time, was truly forward and 'self-directed.' I did not have to 'nag' her to stay forward. She was also steering well enough to put her on a 20-meter circle and I was able to get her to lower her neck and take some light contact with the bit. She is just so mature and self-confident - like her mom and big sis! She is a lot of fun, but I am still holding to my 'one ride a week' policy until she's 3, which will be the end of June. She got two sugar cubes during our ride, and when I got off, I swear, she looked at me as if to say "Please deposit another sugar cube." LOL!
March 23, 2008
Not much new to report. We had ride #14 today - I am pretty much riding her once a week. She is learning to stay 'in gear' better and I am realizing just how much 'forward' a horse has to have before they can even think about taking contact with the bit. She reaches for the bit at the walk, but not much at the trot. Today we had a few steps of really forward trot with more 'umph' and I could feel her seek the bit. A lightbulb moment! I also have learned she has to be really be going forward before I can think about making even a very big curve or change of direction. She continues to be a very pleasant young lady and she really likes the sugar cubes she gets at random points along our rides. Just like Fling, I have a 'treat pouch' on the saddle where I carry sugar cubes and wrapped peppermints. Every once in a while when she's stopped, I give her one. Even tho Faeryn is a complete treat hog, she does not spend any time with her head craned around expecting a treat...neither does Fling. They both take them politely and happily when they are offered, but do not 'seek' them on their own. We'll stay with this once a week schedule until June and then probably I'll start riding her twice a week for about 20 minutes each session. Right now I only ride her for about 10 minutes, after lunging her for about 10 minutes first.
March 9, 2008
Faeryn is up to 12 rides now. We've graduated from the round pen and are working in the big arena now and she can do nice large ovals at the trot. The steering is getting better and she is very fun to ride. She moves across the ground very lightly and is very rhythmical in the trot. She has a huge walk, too. She is very sensible and has only had a few very tiny spooks at legitimately 'scary' things. She tends to just scoot over and stop when she 'spooks.'
The biggest challenge is for her to learn she is to stay in one "gear" until notified otherwise. ;) "Whoa" is her best gait right now. ;) She is not lazy - I think she is just still finding her balance with a rider. I am riding her no more than once a week, and I will continue to do this until summer when she turns 3. Then she will be ridden more often, but still in very short (15-20 minutes) sessions. I have no idea when we will canter - I will know when the time is right. I'm in no hurry.
February 9, 2008
Faeryn had a big adventure today. I hauled her to a friend's place to ride her. Mike is out of town on an endurance ride and since I did not want to ride her at home by myself, I decided to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, and ride her, AND take her somewhere new to test the waters.
So, my friend was riding in the arena when I got there and Faeryn was just a tad big 'ga ga' at the new place and strange horse in the arena. She lives on our farm with five other horses, so she has not had the benefit of living at a busy boarding barn, where a lot of activity would be all in a day's work. She also has not ever worked in the arena with another horse. I tacked her up and decided to lunge her first since she was looky. After I lunged her about 3 minutes, she was settled enough to do a bit of long lining, so I did that, then took her back out to the trailer to get her ready to ride.
My friend thinks I am "very brave" doing this, but really, it does not take a lot of bravery on my part. I think it helps a lot that I have owned Faeryn's mom, Lisa, for 18 years - have ridden her for 16 of those years and she has NEVER dumped me. And Faeryn's big sister, Fling, is coming 8 and I have been riding her for almost 5 years and SHE has never dumped me. So there's a little history there.
I got on and walked her around and she was good - she still falls in very badly but I am trying not to 'micromanage' that at this point - just forward, forward, forward is my mantra for now. I walked a few laps both ways and then trotted her a few times each direction and called it a day. A very good day. My friend was very impressed with Faeryn because not only was she perfectly behaved, a cat ran out almost underneath her at one point and she did not miss a beat, her trot is very rhymthmical and even tho the neighbors were mowing and buzzing around, she remained focused on the task at hand. In that respect she is exactly like her big sister and her mom. It was interesting to get another person's perspective. My friend has seen me show Fling, her big sister, many, many times. Her 'take' on the differences and similarities between them is pretty much what I think, too. Faeryn is freer in her shoulders and moves very lightly across the ground. A bit more effortless than her big sis, who moves just a bit more 'huntery.' But she gets 7s for gaits most of the time, nonetheless, if her _rider_ does her job. I also agree with her observation that Faeryn is a bit leggier than Fling. I have thought that almost from the moment Faeryn was born.
My friend said, "you're going to have a lot of fun with her." I said "I think so too." Heck, I already AM having a lot of fun with her. ;)
And for the record, this was just her NINTH ride under saddle!
February 2, 2008
Last weekend, I took Faeryn (and Faxx, too, but that is another story) to a longlining clinic that the Houston Dressage Society was hosting. Ida Anderson (S dressage judge) was the clinician. I have longlined most of my young horses, but I am totally self taught, and have never felt confident enough to do it except on a circle. I have longlined Faeryn, but only in a circle, in the round pen.
Faeryn has not been many places in her life, but I was pretty confident she would handle it well. Faeryn was the youngest horse participating in the clinic, other than she and Faxx, all the other horses were already working under saddle. Ms. Anderson took the reins first and I was happy to see how calm, willing and confident Faeryn was with a total stranger. She lives on our farm and has not been handled by many different people in her short life.
Ms. Anderson drove her all over the arena – up the long side, over across the middle, down centerline, up the other side. She only walked her – I was fine with that. I did not want any wrecks! Then came my turn to take the reins. I was feeling pretty smug when we went to the left, because I had the outside rein in my right hand and things went very well. No trouble steering at all. What a surprise when we reversed and I had to take the outside rein (the most important rein, just like in riding) in my LEFT hand. Oops. Poor Faeryn thought she had a drunk driver, I think. ;) She was very forgiving and SO calm. Ms. Anderson told the auditors that Faeryn was very smart, extremely trainable, quite elastic, and she would give her a 10 for temperament!! I would too, but I am just a bit biased. ;) I ordered some leather long lines to replace the web ones I've been using. AFter using the leather ones at the clinic, I am hooked. So long lining will be added to Faeryn's "curriculum" and I'll continue to ride her maybe once a week - but no more than that - until she turns 3 in June. The goal is to get her to a schooling show before the end of the year so she can start getting used to working in a strange place. But frankly, after seeing how good she was at the clinic, I don't think that's going to be a problem at all. I am really starting to see her mother in her face and expression, too. It's funny because Fling looks very much like her sire, Frohwind, in that respect. But Faeryn is definitely Lisa's little girl!
January 13, 2008
Wow! I rode Faeryn in a 'mini' lesson with Brooke today. Brooke got some pics with the digital camera. She's a little star! She looks SOOO cute her in little white boots - I call them her 'go go boots.' I thought lately when I was working her that her walk looked really terrific - very cat like, and she moves her whole back. But, what do I know? But today, Brooke was as wowed by her walk - and even her trot - as I was. We worked in the round pen for about ten minutes, then moved into the big arena. First, Brooke put her on the lunge line - not so much that we thought she was going to be naughty, but I have a plastic chain with stakes around the perimeter of my arena and that really needs to be taken up before I start riding youngsters in there. She was so good, we took her off the long line and I did a few 20 meter circles solo. Gold stars all around for my girl. She has improved so much, in just the six or seven rides I've done on her. At first, she was all over the place underneath me and I had a hard time staying with her. Now, she's going forward much more freely and she's not 'wobbly' underneath me. She's also learning what the leg means. Other than some steering issues, she doesn't really feel like a totally green horse. I'm so proud of my little girl. And I can say now I am REALLY glad I decided 3-1/2 years ago, to breed Lisa to Frohwind again! :) A great weekend all around, since Faxx went Champion Half Arabian Gelding for the second year in a row at the January Jubilee on Friday!
December 20, 2007
I've had two or three uneventful 'rides' on Faeryn now. Walk and trot only, just in the round pen for about ten minutes each time. She seems very interested in what I am asking her to do and does not feel the least unbalanced like most young horses do. Getting the idea for the 'go' cue is the main thing to work on now. She spooked with me the last time I rode her, and since my reins were very long, trying to stay out of her mouth, she got almost all the way to the other side of the round pen before I could reel them in. It was not scary at all and she did not even unseat me. Sometimes it is a very good thing to be only five feet tall and have a low center of gravity. ;)
Now Faeryn is learning to stand still and tolerate having her mane pulled. I have never really done it with her before. I have been dreading it because she has a super thick 'pony mane' like her mom. (But does she have a matching nice, thick lovely tail? Of course not!) As a result, she's had this unruly mop of mane her whole life. I tried roaching it like her sister Fling's when she was about 10 months old but she just doesn't have the right kind of neck for it, and I immediately knew that I couldn't take the easy way out with her mane. For the last year I have been calling her 'my little surfer girl' because of her long, unruly 'hair do.'
So now it's time to face the task. She hates having it pulled. I can't blame her, but it's one of those things they have to learn. That's one thing people who have never raised a youngster fail to think about - young horses have to _learn_ to do _everything. And someone has to _teach_ them those things.
So Faeryn and I went round and round for a few days about standing still, not barging forward and knocking me over, etc. etc. Major threats and a whip were involved. I am happy to report that by day three she was standing still for the requisite five minutes of mane pulling I've allotted each night. At this rate maybe by spring she will have a short, thin mane. ;) Or, it could be like painting the Golden Gate bridge - by the time I get it all short it will be time to start pulling the other end again. ;)
October 28, 2007
I trotted Faeryn under saddle today! I started out just walking her around in the round pen and working on her steering. She does not have a good 'go' button yet and doesn't yet understand what the leg means, so I used a whip to lightly touch her when she would stop. Eventually she will make the connection that leg means go, but for now I do not want her to get 'dead' to my leg. In typical young horse fashion, she kept stopping. She will need to learn to continue with whatever gait she is in until she's instructed otherwise. But that is still a long way down the road. She feels remarkably balanced for a young horse. When she strides out at the walk, she has a wonderful walk. She is not having any trouble compensating for my weight like so many do at first. At one point when I touched her with the whip, she broke into a small trot and I just let her. That's the best way to do it. No fireworks at all, and she has an easy trot to sit. I just tried to stay as still and quiet and as vertical as I could and just stay out of her way. It was a little hard since I was giggling and blubbering "We're trotting! We're trotting!" ;) A little later I actually asked for a trot again and got one easily and made about one lap around the round pen - and then we quit. She's really done too much already for her age. At the ripe 'old' age of 50, this is the first horse I have actually "started" under saddle myself! I think I have raised more than half a dozen young horses, but always sent them off to be started for 30 days just to make sure they were not going to 'kill me' before I got on them. After having watched Brooke start Flying Colorz (aka Fling), Faeryn's full sister, and having ridden Fling for more than 4 years now, I am perfectly confident with Faeryn. The hardest part now will be waiting for about six more months to do anything more with Faeryn.
October 21, 2007
Another milestone for Faeryn. Today she went to a local schooling show just to hang out and I thought if she was good enough, I would try and work her in the surcingle and side reins on the lunge line. The last two times I took her to a schooling show to just 'hang out' she was a total idiot. She was totally freaked out and whinnied - loudly - at the other horses the entire time - I was half deaf by the time we got home. I was really getting a little worried about how bad she was going to be in strange places when it came time to ride and show her. This morning I took her to a different place than before - and she was super. I don't know if it's just a little more maturity on her part, or that this place, Marie Morgan's Solstice Farm - is more inviting to the horses. She stood tied to the trailer and ate her hay quietly for awhile and then I walked her through the very scary barn aisle filled with riders getting their horses 'dressed' in Halloween costumes for the costume class! The scariest thing she saw all day was a huge inflatable "horse drawn hearse' that was part of Marie's Halloween theme. Who could blame her for being scared of that - and it's not likely she'll encounter that sort of thing often at a horse show! LOL! She only whinnied three times - so after we did the tour of the grounds, I let her eat hay for awhile and then I tacked her up in her surcingle, bridle and side reins and I lunged her in the huge field where everyone parks. It was the first time she'd been lunged outside the round pen - and at a strange place, too boot. She was a little tentative at first, but ended up working very well and was very attentive to me. She got several carrots, more hay and then we called it a day. She gets a A+ for this outing and I am much happier about the prospect of taking her to her first under-saddle show, probably by the end of next year! She is turning into quite the lovely young lady and she is a fancier mover than her big sister, Fling. Now, if she has Fling's work ethic, she will make a very nice riding horse!
October 15, 2007
The other day I got on Faeryn in the round pen and rode her around at a walk! I had Mike attach a lead rope to her bit and walk beside us "just in case" but everything went fine. She does not have a very good "go" button yet, but that will come, as will steering. We're just going to take it very slow. She is still very young and I'm really just doing this to have _something_ to do until next spring when she can start kindergarten!
September 15, 2007
I got on Faeryn today! On a whim, after I worked Faeryn in the round pen I decided to see how she would react to me getting on her. I initially just planned to lean my weight over her and pat her all over. I am so short, I had to put my foot in the stirrup, even with the mounting block, just to lay over her. She didn't care, even tho when you do that it's a totally new senstation for them to feel the saddle pulling sideways on their back. I did that, patted her all over, wiggled around on her and she was "ho hum" while Mike held her. So I just sat up on her and put my feet in the stirrups. Still ho hum. So I had Mike lead her around the small paddock in front of the barn. She seemed to balance my weight well and didn't feel 'drunk' like they so often do when they first have to compensate for the weight of a rider on their backs. I squeezed her a little with my legs (of course she has no idea what that means yet - they aren't born knowing that cue!) and she didn't care about that. Sometimes mares are a little touchy about their sides. She didn't mind when I dismounted and hit the ground beside her either. All in all, a very productive session. Of course, she's only 27 months old, so too young yet to really ride, but I was happy to see how sensible she is. I might even try and start her myself when it's time, probably early winter. Then she won't begin any sort of real work until next summer..
August 25, 2007
Poor Faeryn stepped on a horseshoe nail carelessly left in the barn aisle by my farrier. That was a $400 vet bill and two weeks of soaking, bandaging and extra stall cleaning for me, since she had to be kept confined in a stall way more than usual. She is finally sound now and I look forward to resuming our longlining. It is the summer doldrums, though. It hits me every time this year...when I have had about _enough_ of the heat (and, in this case, the RAIN as well) and it's hard to keep motivated. The worst part about Houston summers is I can only ride very early in the morning or late in the evening, which means I don't have time to work every horse in a single day, plus it really plays havoc with trying to go out for a dinner and a movie! ;)
August 12, 2007
Today Faern longlined for the first time! I never got around to ground-driving her because when I tried to do it alone, she kept turning around to look at me and tell me I was in the wrong place! I never had anyone handy to lead her while I 'drove' from behind so she'd get the idea. So, since everything else had been very non-eventful, yesterday I decided to just skip ground driving altogether and longline her. I am not the most coordinated person in the world, so I only do it in the round pen. First I lunged her for about 2 minutes in the sidereins, then took those off, hooked the longlines and ran them through the rings of the girth, and as I held her, I ran the lines all over her, behind her legs, between her legs, under her tail, etc. to make sure if we somehow got tangled up, she wouldn't freak by the lines. A typical 'ho hum" reaction from her on all that. So off we went. What a good girl! She looked so grown up - she took nice, soft, steady contact with the bit right away and was steadier than lots of training level horses I see at recognized shows! I practiced using the inside rein to 'turn' her a bit to the inside to go on a smaller circle, then using the outside rein (which comes through the ring on the off side of the surcingle, then over her back from the outside to the inside) to take her back out to the circle. I think she is going to be very, very easy to start. She looked VERY cute, too! What a relief since she REALLY went through a long ugly stage! LOL! She's a very feminine, very light mover. It's amazing how much better they look when they're not all strung out! LOL!
May 5, 2007
Well, Faeryn is now officially taller than Fling. She is almost 15.1, and Fling is just a wee bit over 15 hands. Fling looks bigger, though, because she is so muscular and much more 'filled out' than Faeryn. Today I worked Faeryn in saddle, bridle and side reins. The side reins were very loose - I just want her to get the feel of them. I tried to do a little ground driving with her again, but I am going to need someone to lead her at first since every time I get behind her, she just turns around to look at me and I can't get any forward movement going. LOL! While I had Faeryn standing saddled in the crossties today, I pulled on the stirrup leathers and took the saddle and moved it around on her back. Then I got the mounting block and stood on it next to her and leaned on the saddle, then I put my weight in one stirrup and finally ended up lying across her and patting her all over. To Faeryn it was all very boring. I actually thought about swinging over and actually sitting up on her, but since I was home by myself, and didn't have my helmet on, decided that little maneuver could probably wait. We've got plenty of time and Faeryn is actually ahead of schedule for her age. Nothing has ruffled her feathers at all, which is why I just keep saying, "I wonder if this will bother her?" And since nothing HAS bothered her, I just keep throwing new stuff at her. (Well, going to strange places with lots of horses bothers her, but we'll be working on that some more this summer) Next on her dance card is ground driving...and when she's mastered that, I'll start longlining her. This sumer I am going to get more sand in the round pen to improve the footing so that over the winter I can have a more 'weatherproof' area to work 'the kids.' Since they'll both be 2.5 over the winter, they'll probably get lightly backed and then be ready to start light, regular work next summer. They'll spend all winter working in their round pen 'classroom." I don't like to take them into the big arena until they're under saddle.
April 14, 2007
Faeryn just keeps looking better and better. And she won the 'shedding game' this year and is sleek as a seal, where everyone else still has gobs of hair coming off. I pulled her mane - which is thick as a hedge- and she looks very elegant and classy. She was not happy about the mane pulling - she would buck with every bit of mane I pulled at first! But she finally got used to it and ended up being quite good. Tomorrow she goes to a dressage schooling show just to 'hang out' and see some more of the world. She will be two the end of June. Time flies!! I can't wait to ride her - she is very sensible and smart. Yesterday I watched her in the pasture - she really wanted to eat some leaves off one of the trees, but there were none within her reach. She walked over to where Rroc, one of Mike's endurance horses, (who is very tall!) was pulling branches down to within 'eating reach' - and she ate leaves off the branches he had pulled down! LOL! Whenever food is involved, Faeryn is quite motivated to find a way to get it!
March 3, 2007
Finally, current pictures! Faeryn was really an ugly duckling for the last six months or so. But, my little girl is finally looking like the elegant filly she was as a foal. She does not have quite as pretty a face as Fling does, but I think she will be a bit more elegant and leggy in general. Hard to tell how big she will be. She's now _almost_ 15 hands at 21 months and Fling is 15.1 or so, full grown. So I think Faeryn may end up just a tiny bit bigger than Fling. I know she will be plenty big for me, even if she doesn't grow another inch. I think she is a better mover than Fling. I sure hope she has the same work ethic Fling does, but so far, she's very sensible and catches on to what I ask her to do very quickly. Today, as you can see from the photo above, we had a lesson in lunging.
February 28, 2007
Faeryn went to a local dressage schooling show just to 'hang out' last Sunday. My laid back filly completely disappeared in an angst-filled hour of gawking and screaming at the other horses. Faeryn never even knew there were THAT many horses in the entire world! ;) She was especially agog at the large pasture filled with horses just on the other side of the competition arena. And for all her hollering, not one single horse answered her. Poor Faeryn! We left before she really settled down. I didn't rent a stall for her and it was too crowded - and too close to a busy road - to tie her to the trailer. But that just goes to show you never know how they'll react. She is just dead calm at home and even when we evacuated for Hurricane Rita when she was just a few months old, she took it in stride. However, going somewhere ALL BY HERSELF was quite another matter indeed. I think she was fairly horrified to discover she's not as big and brave as she thought. ;)
February 18, 2007
What a well-behaved young lady Faeryn has become. January brought almost constant rain, which, of course, made lots of mud, which has been very slow to dry up due to the freakishly long cold spell we've been having. This weekend both 'kids' got worked for the first time in a long time. Faeryn won't be two until the end of June, but she is very mature, mentally. Physically, right now, she is very gawky and the body parts don't _quite_ look like they go together. But she is just so sensible, smart and sweet! And she's a really nice mover - light and airy and very feminine. Last week I put a bridle and bit on her for the first time. She did the normal mouthing of it. Today I saddled her up and she stood very quietly in the cross ties for the whole thing. Then I put the bridle on, and took her to the round pen for about 10 minutes of work. First I free lunged her to let her get the kinks out and then clipped on the lunge line and we did the walk/trot/canter thing. She really didn't put a foot wrong. No bucking or silliness whatsoever and it's been several months since she's worn the saddle. When I free lunged her, I did a bit of the 'join up' work and she followed me all over the round pen. Our next step will be ground driving off of the halter. I won't try and actually 'use' the bit for anything until she's at least two. At some point, before she's ridden, I will be longlining her in a circle using both long-line reins through dees on a surcingle and she'll learn to accept contact with the bit and to steer that way. But first I will ground drive her. I tried a bit of ground driving this evening, but I need someone to lead her at first while I walk behind her. She just thought I was crazy for getting behind her and she kept trying to turn around to 'get' me in (her opinion!) the 'right' place - at her head. ;)
December 16, 2006
Bad mom - still no new pictures. Poor Faeryn has been sick. She had nearly 105 temp and quit eating - a bad case of the flu. Her temp spiked up and down for about 3 days and I took her to the vet who agreed with me that something else seemed to be going on. Turns out she had ulcers from not eating. She was one miserable little pony for a few days there. She spent a lot of times lying down - flat out on her side. When Faeryn is not eating, you know something is seriously wrong. She is the single most food-motivated horse I've ever owned. She lost a lot of weight and still looks bad, but should be back to normal in another week or so. At least she is really enjoying the slightly increased rations she's getting now!
October 10, 2006
Bad mom! Faeryn says I have been FAR too occupied with her mother and sister and it’s high time she got some attention! And she’s right. Miss Faeryn is turning into a proper young lady. She now stands nicely on the cross ties for grooming, gets all A’s from the farrier and has learned her ‘place’ in line when it’s time to come into the barn at night.
Last weekend she had a trailer loading session – her first in months – and remembered her lessons just fine. She hopped right into the trailer. Backing OUT has always been tougher for her. The first time, I had to go in and back her out. However, the second time I loaded her, I just gently pulled on her tail and she backed out very carefully, putting each little dainty hoof ‘just so.’
Last week she also got introduced to the saddle. She’s had a surcingle on, and she was not much impressed by that. As I predicted, her first instinct was to taste the saddle to see if it was edible. I do know my child! LOL! After she discovered it was not, it wasn’t very interesting to her! It was all very ho hum…Even when we walked out to the round pen and I had her walk, trot and canter with the saddle, she didn’t even hump her back. I think that’s the least reaction I’ve ever gotten while ‘saddle breaking’ a youngster! But since she won’t even be 2 until the end of June, there’s not much more to do with her until next summer. She’ll get a ‘saddle lesson’ every few months and some more trailer loading until then. When she’s two we’ll start ground driving and long lining and I’ll probably lay over her back and have someone lead me around on her. I am sure it will all be very easy. She is super sensible and sweet.
April 16, 2006
There IS a shiny, slick pony under all the fur - there really is! Faeryn is shedding at both ends - neck and butt! The middle is still fairly furry. But we're getting there! I curry her every night and there's dozens and dozens of 'furballs' in her stall from where I've cleaned out the rubby currycomb. Maybe this week I'll be able to get new pictures!
April 12, 2006
Faeryn has definitely redeemed herself lately. She is respecting space, stepping back quickly when asked and in general, behaving like a model child. ;) This evening we worked on trotting in hand, since I'd like to take her to some little open schooling shows to show in halter this summer - as a preview to her future life as a show horse. She was great. Very obedient - trotted right beside me, didn't get silly, try to rush or leap around. Afterwards I turned her loose in the round pen and had a game of 'chase' with her. I used to do this with my beloved Arab gelding, Muscatyr... I'd run at her all hunched over, stomping big and she'd bow her neck and leap in the air and do this very animated trot for a few steps..then bounce to a stop and face me... and I'd lunge at her again and I swear she would almost laugh as she wheeled around and trotted prissily away, for all the world with a "Silly human!" look on her face. We did that for probably 10 minutes. Some horses "get" this game and some don't. Fling doesn't "get" it and I think it might scare Faxx. Faeryn is a natural! STILL waiting for her to shed so I can get some more pics of her. She's turning into quite a nice horse - albeit a still-very-furry one as yet.
April 2, 2006
Does this look like the face of a juvenile deliquent? No, you say? Well, rest assured, it is. Miss Faeryn did not like her lesson on 'get out of my space' and kicked me last week when I tapped her hip with the whip to get her to move over. . I have a large, quite lovely lump and colorful bruise on my thigh. She was "suitably punished" and in subsequent sessions, has gotten high marks for submissiveness. This weekend it was time for trailer loading lessons. She's ridden in the trailer several times (once in our infamous Rita evacuation) and getting her in is fairly easy. It's getting her out that has been difficult. I've had to unlatch the partition and let her turn around and walk out. She's getting too big to do that and it was time for her to learn to load and unload properly. She put up a bit of a fuss getting in, but even when I had to tap her with the whip to get her into the trailer, she did not kick. However, I think Faeryn thought we were parked at the edge of the Grand Canyon and she would fall to her death if she backed out - because as hard as we tried to push her OUT, she got more and more frantic about pushing FORWARD. I knew once we got her out the first time, it would be easier. It's a common thing with babies. And, sure enough, once we managed to drag her out onto terra firma that first time, she got the idea and decided we weren't trying to push her to her certain death after all. (Althought right after she kicked me last week I'd have gladly pushed her to certain death. ;) ). She is EXTREMELY smart like her sister Fling, and, like Fling, will probably need a "job" at a relatively young age to keep her mind busy and out of trouble. ;) She, too, is looking more like a small horse and less like a baby these days. Now if she would just give up her baby fuzz already.