Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Moving in Leaps and Bounds

I haven't posted in a long time, since the beginning of the year, but that's only because Ive been too busy riding!! So I am perfectly okay with that! The last time I posted Lakota and I were having communication hiccups, but that is quite outdated now. Lakota and I have gotten to know each other very well, and are doing things I never could have pictured this horse learning at 17. She is an incredible spirit and personality. I love her to death and wouldn't give up this horse for the world. Since our last post we have gone on a trail ride, which she did spectacularly with, I couldn't have asked for more. She hasn't been off of the property in 6 years. She was quite excited but she behaved well, with me reminding her to remember her manners of course, but that is to be expected. We walked the first length, then I rode her for and hour and half out of the two hour ride. She saw kids, bikes, hikers, other horsey friends, and lots of airplanes overhead (and strangely couldn't have cared less about that).

I took the roundpen down at the end of the summer because it was just too cramped and there was nothing more for us to do. So, we have been working in the entirety of the flat ground we have, which is quite limited, and I have been riding her 2-3 times a week. She gained an incredible amount of confidence since then, and no longer spooks at random, or stares into the woods looker for something to spook at. She will go anywhere I ask her to, over any hill or through any bunch of trees, undergrowth and brambles. Last week, the neighbor's dog was outside (not a nice dog) and growling, barking, and charging at the fence. Usually I just let Lakota look at him until she knows he's not going to come through the fence, and then walk away and continue doing what we were doing. Last week, the neighbor let said dog out while we were walking up the fence line from the bottom of the hill to the main part of our flat ground. He came flying out of nowhere and charged at the fence with his hair stood up. Lakota jumped a little and looked over her shoulder quick, knew what it was, and continued walking after I asked her to. I was quite impressed, she's not exactly what you would call a bombproof horse.

We had our first snow of the year last tuesday so I took her out for that, and she was just cracking me up! Lakota has a habit of snorting at anything new or unusual until she is used to it. So we're walking through the snow and she's snorting at everything like it's a whole new world! I was laughing at her the entire time.

I have also learned many things about Lakota, and how she "works". Every horse is different (as I have learned in great detail with her sister Jen) and Lakota surprises me all the time with things, she's just not one of those horses you can guess at. I began trotting her in early summer, and she took it a lot like when she was first being ridden at all. Her steps were unsure, she stopped or slowed her speed frequently to look back at me for reassurance. And she did well with it, and eventually got comfortable with the trot and me posting on her, now she acts like and old champ at it. I started cantering her at the end of November, and she blew me away with her performance at that. I am ecstatic with her and I just look forward to riding every single day I have time (I started working a few months ago too so I'm busy busy busy). The first time I asked her for a canter she took it like she had been doing it forever. I was so impressed. The second and third time I had her canter she got a little playful and threw a few little bucks, but as soon as I got her head back the second time she threw a hop she hasn't done it since. Something I never would have guessed from an Appy mare, she LOVES speed. I have to slow her down all the time, something I have never had before, and I really don't mind. I learned to ride on my now 35+ year old retired show pony and after I grew too big for her (we didn't have any rideable horses for a 10 year old, all rescues with a lot of issues) I was taking lessons on school horses. The last time I have ridden a horse and been able just to ride was four years ago, so its definitely been nice to have horse that I can ride purely for enjoyment and don't have to struggle for speed.

I rode Jen once this year, she is now almost 100% blind. I decided to let her retire and live without having to do any work. She deserves it taking all those years of abuse, and still opening up to me and being willing to heal her scars and let someone get on her back again. She holds a special place in my heart and is my inspiration. She is is my first rescue and the first of hopefully many many more horses I rescue and retrain/train.

All in all, it has been a good year, its not quite over yet though! And I am more than happy with the mountains Lakota and I have overcome this year. I remember making a goal for the RAC bio and mine was to get Lakota on a trail by the end of the year, I am happy to say we have met that and much more.

(I don't have any pictures of our trot or canter because I was a little busy riding)

- Amanda and Lakota


  1. That is awesome you made such wonderful progress and net your goal! Good job!

  2. Wow, what a super post! I was wondering what you had been up to. This is fantastic news, and you even met and exceeded your goal! I am so glad you are having fun riding Lakota and learning the little quirks that make her special. I love the fall picture that shows her pretty blanket and the gorgeous color all around.

  3. Congratulations! So nice to read about how busy you've been and how much you have accomplished!

  4. Thanks! I really couldn't be happier with her!

  5. You've done a great job, Mandy. You both have made me proud!

  6. When you ride Amanda, how long do you ride for?

  7. When I first started riding her she was very very green and spooked at the slightest thing, she really had no confidence at all so I was just shooting for a relaxed focused (on me) walk. I never really set a time for myself it was just whenever I felt her learn something in even the slightest. However, when I think about it each of those rides would usually last 35 min (on a bad day, lots of distractions, not a good mood, etc.) to an hour. Now, that she has so much more confidence in herself and in me she doesn't really have bad days due to what the rest of the world is doing. If she has a bad day it is simply because she is an Appy mare lol. But I can accept that, so those ride are usually 45 mins. But when she is all for it I find that my rides are usually and hour to and hour and a half. I warm her up and walk around, explore a little, find a tree or something to walk over, then I trot her and we do different patterns over ground poles. And due to lack of space there is really only one flat spot I have to canter her, but I do make her work a little and have her canter uphill too ( and when I say uphill, I mean UPhill). And now with the cold weather I have been more cautious of how hot she gets because I dont want her to get sweaty and be cold.


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