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Starting with groundwork.
Jack came home about a month ago to find me sobbing in the middle of the paddock while Dancer pranced arrogantly around me, as she’d been doing for the last two hours. Crying while pregnant comes as natural as breathing and our mare’s shenanigans finally tipped me over the edge (that day, anyway). She wouldn’t let me catch her, which led to our battle of wills for two hours and me eventually giving up because I couldn’t spend all day taming the beast. Then I became all introspective, wondering why she didn’t trust me after she’d had a wonderful life with us for years. The answer is really because A) she’s a mare, B) tis the season for mares coming into heat and thus acting like terrors and C) she’s stubborn. Well, I can be stubborn too.
Stoney happy that he gets to watch instead of being ridden, for once.

I vowed to gentle Dancer despite everything else I’ve got going on but Jack’s been the one spending frequent training sessions with her. He’s become the cowboy at home and for the most part, he’s making good progress. Sometimes I hear him yelling, “Whoa!” and bailing off her back (it reminds me a lot of the awesome land rush scene in Far and Away where Tom Cruise gallops around on an ornery black horse), but we’ve had some really miraculous progress with her.

Far and Away’s land rush scene. That could’ve been Dancer playing Tom Cruise’s horse.

Where Dancer and I butt heads, Jack knows just how to get her to do what he wants, usually without any obstinace on her part. Then, he ends their training, gives her a treat and Dancer’s following him around like a lovesick puppy.

Getting a mouthful of grass as a reward for a good ride.

Once he was done riding her around one evening, we took the chance to test Dancer as a kid’s pony. After all, that’s what I’d really like her to be. Eventually, I’d love to breed her and produce a horse that would be suitable for me when I (hopefully) get back into competing when I’m done having kids. But someday–and probably sooner than later–she’s going to have to replace Stoney as the go-to horse for birthday parties, pony rides and lessons.

Taking Claire for a spin.

Thankfully, Dancer was all meek and mild and did a great job. The girls thought it was such a novelty to get to ride Dancer and Stoney followed Dancer around, probably heckling her and laughing the whole time since he wasn’t the one with the saddle on.

Evelyn practicing for a horse show!

I’m looking to take the girls to their first horse show this year and every time they get in the saddle, they practice and get a bit better. It’s nice that Dancer is will be usable for them, with a bit of guidance.


A big thanks to The Cowboy for taking the time to work Dancer and to Dancer for finally being submissive and rideable, at least for an evening.

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True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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