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In Memory of “Bill the Pony” August 31, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — theridingwriter @ 12:54 pm


I digress from Gwen this week to honor another rescue of sorts. Bill, aka Sir William of Winwood was purchased by my good friend Debra for $300 from his owner who was looking to trade him for grain.

Bill lived out 10 years of wonderful retirement with Debra, always looking for a way to escape to get grass, always hanging out in the aisleway with his “posse” Wilbur and Charlie the donkeys, and always sneaking into a stall when no one was looking. Bill may have been small in statue, but he was large in personality.




In the end, though he was still strong in spirit, his feet were no longer able to hold him. On Friday, Debra did the last act of love she could do and helped him cross the rainbow bridge. Though he is no longer with us physically, I know that his spirit still resides at Windwood. Run fast and eat well Sir William. You will be missed.



Gwen finds out what dressage is all about August 19, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — theridingwriter @ 8:10 pm


Here Brandi is working with Debra Peebles and her Arabian gelding Wyndikat (Vinny).

Brandi Benedict came back for another round of lessons last week. I was out of town for a week so Gwen had some time off, which she no doubt enjoyed. She loves nothing more than to get a bath, be groomed and generally fussed over, and Debra is doing an outstanding job at that.

I will admit I’ve been treating Gwen carefully under saddle. Not knowing her history and seeing she is sweet as can be, how could I be hard on her? At any rate, I’m notorious for not being very demanding of a horse. I’m one of those “why can’t we all get along” kind of people. And while Gwen is working well in the walk, it falls apart a bit in the trot. She gets very stiff and braced. We figure she has never learned the proper way to carry herself and is expecting something bad to happen. So I have been very accommodating to her. Brandi asked if she could get on her, which I readily obliged. Now Brandi is one of the finest, most correct dressage riders I know. She is demanding of the horse, but always very fair and keeps things very positive. But, she does expect a response from the horse when she asks a question. And as soon as the horse gives her a try at the right answer she rewards it. She is very “black and white”, which I know horses appreciate. I, on the other hand, am all sorts of shades of grey, which horses don’t always understand.

So Brandi got on Gwen and within moments Gwen realized she wasn’t in Kansas any more! Her ears flicked every which way. Her tail swished and her eyes got really big. She tried many ways to avoid doing what Brandi wanted, but she stayed persistent until Gwen gave in. Brandi was working hard. I even saw her face get red, but surprisingly, Gwen didn’t get that tired. Oh the endurance of those Arab/Thoroughbred crosses! The hard work paid off when, during the last trot set, Gwen started to understand and travel differently. Her tail became quiet and she wasn’t as fussy. She had a few wonderful moments and even showed some “stretchy” trot. Overall, she was a good girl and started to understand what was being asked of her. It gives us something to build upon and I also know that I can push Gwen a little harder without issue. As long as she gets plenty of treats and affection when we are done.

G and Brandi

Gwen and Brandi looking fancy!


An Evaluation and Two New Saddles! August 3, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — theridingwriter @ 12:38 pm

Dr. Deb Powell ( came to visit last week and Gwen was on her list. She spent at least an hour going over every inch of her body looking for any issues, places of soreness and existing problems. She only found 2 minor issues – 1. Her topline muscles are very weak, which we already figured and 2. Her right shoulder was tight, which should improve with some stretches and strength. Gone was the soreness that Lisa Brewer found on the left side during the massage she gave her. That must’ve been related to the trailer accident. Good to know!


We have also been graced by the kindness of two individuals. One a stranger (becoming a friend) and one already a good friend. Melissa Kapuszcak, a very kind lady I’ve never met before, saw my posts on the “Camelot – New Beginnings” page and offered us her very first saddle that was purchased for her by her grandfather. She sent it to us and it looks like it will fit Gwen well. So, we have a jumping saddle. Then my good friend Vicki Chen has loaned me her old County dressage saddle that also works well. Both these ladies have very strong emotional ties to their saddles as they were for beloved horses. But they both are kind and giving and want to help Gwen and for that I am very grateful.

G with saddle

So, with no physical issues and two good saddles, we were ready to get to work! On Tuesday I had the best ride on Gwen yet. As we were trotting around I could feel she wanted to canter. Debra could see it too. So, I encouraged her on a bit, got into a half-seat and kissed to her. She cantered right off with no ear pinning or bucking! I was very excited. Now, it seems that cantering and steering may be mutually exclusive at this point, but that will come. I was just thrilled that she wanted to canter and wasn’t at all defensive about it. It means she is starting to trust me in the saddle and understands that I’m not going to yank on her mouth or slam on her back. Debra then got on her for the first time and walked around on her. Gwen was a really, really good girl. We were very proud of her.

I was excited to come back and ride her again on Thursday to build on that good day, but unfortunately, overnight Gwen stepped on her front foot and tore off part of the bulb of her heel. Apparently she wasn’t getting enough attention! She will be fine, but she gets a few days off for it to heal. I will be on vacation next week so I’ll look forward to riding her when I get back.