Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Working Equitation

This year, I am finally going to get to participate in something I have ALWAYS wanted to do - working equitation!

I've talked a bit before a long time ago about how addicting dressage is, and how it can kind of be a snooze-fest despite that - but I also had written about WE and how much I wanted to give it a try with O. Obviously that went flying out the window, since O went from a terrible riding horse to the best damn driving horse on planet Earth (I'm definitely not biased or anything). Dylan is completely opposite of this: he'd probably be a terrible driving horse, but he he excellent under saddle. He is hot, and he anticipates *everything*, but when he is listening he is outstanding. His talent for collection is incredible. And his work ethic is magnificent. My desire to give WE a try is actually doable now!

He has really changed over the past few months. When I first got him, he was highly suspicious of me and everything I did. He was SUPER hard to catch. He was wild about the mares. He was weird about his food. He walked the fence constantly. He was thin and super wound, all the time. 

I've had him now going on six months and he is totally different. He walks right up to me. He is FAT and sleek. He doesn't walk the fence anymore (unless the neighbor's stallion is out, then he goes down there and promenades back and forth to show off his manliness, but that's quite acceptable). He is best buds with Zuul and he really enjoys having a friend around. He leads with just a cotton lead rope. He doesn't fret about the mares anymore, although he always keeps an eye on them and talks to them whenever they come near him.

Just letting him be a horse changed all of these things for him. I think his old trainer took great care of him and was a wonderfully skilled rider, but I just do my management differently and I think he has benefitted from it. He was in a stall constantly with little turnout because he walked the fence so badly that he would walk himself to skin and bones if he was left outside for too long. He was isolated. He was getting fed a commercial processed feed but it wasn't doing much for him. Now, he's out 24/7 with hay and pasture in front of him all the time. He eats a minimal amount of Crypto Aero and a tiny bit of fat - I had to cut him way back recently as he had gotten so huge I thought he might explode. He has a buddy. He lounges under the trees. He is mellow. He is content. And he is friendly too - I don't know many mature stallions that you can just hang out with loose in a field and not at least be watching them all the time, much less worrying about your safety. I don't worry about that with Dylan.

He still has his little quirks - he hates the spray bottle, he's not a huge fan of his ears being handled, and he anticipates literally everything you do under saddle. But these are just things that make him who is he - and I like a bit of spice anyway.

Whoa there wild steed don't let those mares distract you too much! 

Also you're jealous of this tail aren't you.

Tailmasta has the tail magic. Sadly today it looks brown and gross again

He could see the reflection of the mares in the window and was super confused 

I think he has grown some mane too! Not much though. He has the worst mane I've ever seen on a Spanish horse EVER

I thought when I got Dylan that I was going to leap right back into USDF shows straight away, but I haven't done this. Instead, I've spent the past six month getting to know him better, trying to sort out my physical issues, and feeling my strength and seat gradually returning to me. I've been seeing my physiotherapist regularly and we have made real progress in getting some mobility back into my calf. I still don't have a ton of flexibility yet but I am able to ride mostly pain-free, which is something I haven't been able to do in years. YEARS! This is so exciting and opens up so many possibilities for me. 

This weekend our local WE club is putting on a free practice at one of the training facilities around here. It's probably a solid hour from me, but to be able to work with all of the obstacles for the first time - and for free too! - is really a great opportunity. I'm eager to dip my toes into a new sport the same way that I did with O - just like with combined driving, working equitation has a basis in dressage but with SO MUCH MORE on top of it. 

Secretly, I am hoping one day to go to the Haras Cup, but we'll just have to see about that!


  1. So excited for you!! I am doing a clinic on Weds, a show on Thursday and three days of clinics via our Horse Expo Fri - Sun. Plus, our club has four shows this year. I love WE. And more importantly, Ashke loves WE.

  2. That is SO EXCITING! I mean really, who doesn't want to try WE???

    Great job, with Dylan! I love when horses get the chance to be just be a horse and it's clear he enjoys it!

  3. Oh - that sounds like so much fun! And how nice to see how much healthier and happier Dylan appears to be now.

  4. I did a WE clinic on Reddums at Haras several years ago - it's loads of fun and Haras is a gooooooorgeous facility. I'll come cheer you on when you go!

  5. Sounds like a fun plan. I look forward to hearing all about another discipline I know nothing about. :-)

  6. I'm so excited about WE! It looks like all of the things I liked about jumping combined with all of the things I love about dressage! Unfortunately I think it's going to take awhile for it to reach is up here in the North so I'll live vicariously though you and Endo the Blind in the meantime!!

  7. oooh exciting! i know pretty much zip zero about WE so will be curious to learn more about your experiences!

  8. WE sounds like a ton of fun! Look forward to reading all about it. :)

  9. I saw a new post and was desperately hoping it was the big reveal about the next stallion you chose!
    But I am equally as excited to hear about you doing WE -its a TON of fun!

  10. Working equitation looks like so much fun! I really wish we had it around here.

  11. WE has come to my local area, with some local clubs running training days not too far away, and I'm really looking forward to taking my young horse when he's ready. I took my mare to a training day two years ago and had so much fun - the obstacles were a great way to get her used to strange objects! :) Can't wait to read about Dylan's adventures!

  12. I can't believe you've had Dylan that long already! Time flies.

    I'm so excited you get to try WE with him. He will be perfect for it!! I have wanted to try WE for a long time too. It looks like so much fun.

    I need the Tailmasta to come help me out! The goats have ruined Chrome's tail. :(

    Have fun at the free practice day! That is a fantastic opportunity! I hope someone gets some videos for us. :D