Mid-Season Break

It’s another day off from riding, before going back to work tomorrow. The day off from riding is good for both horse and rider. The horses, essentially, to be horses. My daughters, the riders, to be the young women they are.

Having their nails done, they enjoy.

Deborah & Elizabeth: matching multi-color glitter

Tara: classic red glitter

Their thoughts, though, are not far from riding. The off-saddle work of reviewing hours of video and sorting through a few hundred photos is exacting, ferreting out the good and the not-so-good.

Come tomorrow, they’ll be ready to get back to work – riders and horses.

Deborah and Comet: the end of a day off (JN Ranch, Jul 05 2016)

A Bit of Inspiration

My daughters have found some of their preferences match up with one of best riders in the world, Elizabeth “Beezie” Madden. The video featuring Beezie Madden talking about preferences can be seen here.


Off The Saddle

Though we arrived later than we had planned, it was good to be home. Four weeks away, while it passed quickly, it was long enough. Another week away would have tested our endurance. Missing from our welcome home was, of course, Miss Egypt. Our always sociable, ready to visit tabby girl would have positioned herself right at the door, making it a bit hard to come inside.

Miss Egypt showing an inattentive Pinky how to greet the family

Both yesterday and today have been spa days for the girls. It is the opportunity to pamper themselves and not to be dusty and sweaty, with bits of hay here and there. They get to be young women with polished nails and nicely coiffed hair. Yet, it is not to say they are not analyzing and reanalyzing the video from the past few weeks of competition to improve their riding skills.

The few days off-saddle is also a chance for the girls to recover from the bumps and nicks they’ve picked up along way. Elizabeth has been riding with a moderate wrist sprain for the past three weeks, which has finally begun to feel much better.

wrapped with care: Elizabeth’s wrist support made from horse wrap boots

While we carry a variety of velcro wraps and miles of adhesive tape (for horse and rider), the best wrist wrap for Elizabeth was fashioned out of a new pair of horse wrap boots. With a little tape, it provided the maximum support for her wrist when it was very sore.

Similarly, the horses are having their spa days to be just regular horses. No fences to jump, no exercise routines to repeated over and over. Tomorrow, they will have a vet check-up and a farrier check-up.

athletic but just regular horses: Comet and Mr. Ed enjoying the days off

It’ll be back to work on Sunday as practice begins anew for a show in two weeks. The show will be used as a tune-up for the two shows in Iowa, in August.

Cross Training


My equestrian daughters call it “cross-training”. Riding a cross-country type course, it is a departure from riding practice hunter/jumper courses. It keeps the horses interested. Moreover, it improves their speed and endurance. Also, it prevents their riders from settling into a rut when it comes to their training.

at nearly full speed, Deborah and Comet execute ” the bounce”


With jumps low and no water barriers, Deborah, Tara, and Elizabeth took their turns on their cross-country course, at the JN Ranch, this morning. When riding, their competitiveness show in their eyes. And, while no times were kept, each, good-naturedly, claimed they had won. In the session, this afternoon, they turned their attention back to the 1.40 m hunter course they’ve been practicing with.

This practice cycle has been a good and productive one. If anything, the weather has aided their preparation immensely – last week’s humid conditions, this week’s hot conditions. Much better was today’s hot and muggy. It’ll be the kind of weather they’ll encounter in the next set of horse shows. They’ll wrap this practice cycle tomorrow with a light workout and a walk Saturday morning.



Whenever a practice cycle comes to an end, it is not uncommon for my girls to have a slight case of butterflies. It’s the excitement of the coming competition. A touch of nervousness. It’s much more heightened this time around with the schedule, and the riders they’ll be competing against. One of their competitors will be Megan, their former mentor and Rustler teammate. After suffering a leg injury three years ago, Megan has worked considerably to regain her form. Though last year was a struggle, Megan has quietly put together a very solid season and proving she’s a tough competitor. Talking with the girls, she wished them the best of luck – but not too much.