Horses, Life, A Touch of Geek

Driving Thursday

Horses can ride and drive on the same day. Saddlebreds do so all the time.


We are not currently asking Milton to multi-task. We tried it over the holidays. It did not go well.

It was the day Milton walked about with me leaning on one stirrup [I Ride]. He was a star. We gave him a break, hitched up, and tried to to school some driving. He was a pill. He wouldn’t go in the ring (in his defense, it is a steep hill). Once in the ring, he revisited getting silly at the end of the ring [On the Move]. He whined and fussed the entire time. He’s had worse individual moments, but this was the worst he has been consistently.

Does he not like riding and driving on the same day?

Did he not like going back to work, regardless of activity?

Was he having a bad driving day unrelated to riding beforehand?

Or does it have nothing to do with the horse, instead the operators have trouble switching gears?

Who knows.

Eventually, he will be able to do both. Nashoba [Show Report] has a ride-and-drive class where entries are driven, tack is changed, then entries are ridden. If all goes to plan (Ha!), Milton will slam dunk this class. Some day.

For now, Milton does one at a time. Since both driving and riding are being done at Stepping Stone, we go over, work, come home. It is tempting to combine the activities, particularly since my rides are so short. Slow, methodical horse training struggles against maximizing efficiency. Festina lente.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Saddle Seat Wednesday

I did not show last weekend. I did not feel ready.

Between rain, the holidays, the cold snap, and riding (yay!) and driving Milton, I’ve only had two saddle seat lessons since the last show [Show Report]. This was not enough to give me confidence that Whiskey and I were ready to go back into the show ring.

It is possible that the more I ride the home team (Kermit dance!), the more my saddle seat will deteriorate [Pondering]. Although I have not yet figured a way to continue dressage lessons [Dubious Future], whenever I sit on Rodney, I try what I can remember of the exercises. Every time this happens, I reinforce my dressage/hunter/jumper/eventing habits and move farther from inexplicable correct saddle seat habits, i.e. hands in the air, grip with the knees, sit on the cantle. Riding Milton (yippee!) will double the effect.

Even Greg’s driving tips the balance away from saddle seat. Combined driving is based on eventing. Driven dressage is ridden dressage with cart added. Listening to his lessons and watching him at shows puts me in the d/h/j/e headspace.

I had a brief reprieve in November, but the only thing Nationals proved was that I can ride Dottie [Show Report], which is right up there with proving one can drive Alvin.

This isn’t a bad thing. I have two sets of horses to ride. (!!!) More learning is good. I have faith that I can do both, eventually. For a while, it’s gonna get confusing, mostly for saddle seat. The habits of 40 years will always win out over the habits of 5 years.

Confession: There was another reason I did not show. Greg was not able to join me. I showed at the first Winter Tournament without him. It was not fun. My rides were fine [Show Report]. Beforehand, not so much. As I’ve said before [NRHA 2016], I don’t get any less nervous when he is there, I just have someone to be nervous at. I hope I will get my act together sufficiently that I can show without such intense moral support, at least at the little, one-day shows. This weekend was not that time.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Milton Does It All


I am reversing my position [I know I wrote a post about this. Can’t find it. My search-fu is failing me]. I think sharing Milton will be a good thing rather than a thing that needs to be dealt with.

First, fitness. If Milton is to get in shape for a CDE, someone will have to condition him during the week. That would be me. Said conditioning will be more successful if I am aboard instead of trotting next to him.

Dressage lessons? I ride Saturday; Greg drives Sunday. Driven dressage is ridden dressage with a cart. No problems here.

Finally, Milton is the sort of horse who thinks he got it even when he don’t. After the third rendition of an exercise, I can see Milton start to phone it in. Physically, Milton needs to do it again. Mentally, his attention has wandered. Constantly changing up the approach will be a benefit rather than a distraction.

That’s the theory. For now.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

This is a hay pile.

This is not a hay pile.

Milton does not look for his hay. He waits for Rodney to find a pile and then pushes him off. This becomes a problem when Rodney can’t find the hay.

After breakfast, the horses eat their morning hay in the pasture. Lately, I have been putting the two piles high up on the hill to get the horses in the sun/keep them out of the mud. It has not been an easy transition.

First day: Rodney mills around the usual service area. I walk up to the pile and rattle it. Rodney comes over.

Second day: I decide that I wouldn’t show Rodney the hay pile. I want him to solve the problem for himself. I stand back. Rodney searches the breakfast area. Milton comes around the corner. He stands looking at Rodney, ‘Dude, you had one job …’

Rodney continues to mill, looking gormless and lost.

Milton gives up with palpable disgust, walks up the hill, spots a hay pile, starts eating.

Seeing that Milton has hay, Rodney walks as far as the first pile. Milton is not interested in sharing. Rodney circles Milton, looking longingly at the hay, occasionally lipping at stands of dead grass, ‘Why is there only one pile today? Gee, I wish there was another pile of hay for me to eat.’

I start playing hot/warm/cold with Rodney, trying to herd him up toward the second pile. He cuts around me to get back to Milton and the first pile. I consider the possibility of administering horse IQ tests. Milton continues to eat.

Finally, I push Rodney far enough up the hill. He sees the second pile. ‘Oh look, more hay.’

Third day: Rodney goes straight to the hay.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Zigby Camps Out
Brian Patterson
2003 Harper Collins 2002

Zigby and Friends (Not loading on my system)
IMDB: Zigby
BBC: Zigby

Process Notes, for my future reference: 75% Inkscape, 25% GIMP. Created majority of image in Inkscape. Opened in GIMP for cropping, border, watermark (GIMP didn’t like the Inkscape text) & conversion to JPEG. Also used GIMP (along with online color converter) to pick, convert & the import the cover colors. Might have been able to finish in Inkscape. Ran out of time & brainspace. Overall: slow, but I remember when using GIMP was slow and frustrating.



[2017 AlphaBooks]
[2016 Alphabet]
[2015 Alphabet]

[Project Explanation 2017]
[Looking for Letters 2018]

This year, I’m using names of horses in books as well as authors of books. Otherwise, I’ll run out of letters. I’ve already had to with Z, both this year & last. Which books would you choose?

Why reverse alphabetical? Why not? [2015 Alphabet On the ordering of the alphabet]

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Camel? Yes.
Trek. Journey Beyond Travel: How to Ride a Camel Uncomfortable.
Oyster: What No One Told Me About Riding a Camel in the Sahara Desert Far away. Pretty pictures. Not so much about the camels.

Race. Abu Dhabi Digital Government: Camel Racing in Abu Dhabi
CNN: Camel racing: The multi-million dollar industry mixing modernity and tradition

Rides. The photo is an ancient one of wee me at the Bronx Zoo. Photo by Mom? Dad? Mom of friend? The zoo still has, although the saddle appears to have changed. Bronx Zoo: Camel Rides

Zebra? No
Slate: Can Zebras Be Domesticated and Trained? Too small & their lifestyle choices have made them too aggressive.
Thomson Safaris: Wild Horses Can’t be Broken: Zebra Domestication Attempts Condensed version of above info plus photo of four zebras pulling a cart.

Ostrich? Not really
Eventing Nation: How to Ride an Ostrich

Elephant? Yes
Elephants Forever: Domestication And Use Of Elephants Historically used for war & industry.

Please don’t. Counterpoint (not a happy read) Huffington Post: If You Love Animals, Here Are 5 You Shouldn’t Ride Due to living and training conditions (elephants & dolphins), behavior (manatees), or physiology (ostrich & dogs).

But, of course, it’s not that easy. “It is only tourism that can provide the money that owners need to care for their animals.” & “Just like the use of horses as ride and pack animals in the West, it all depends on how it is done.” Chai lai orchid: Elephants Facts and Myths

Rhinoceros? If you are this guy.
The Telegraph: South African game warden rides rhino It’s okay, they’re friends. “He also likes to tag cars, trucks and buildings with his horns, its like rhino graffiti.”

Cow? Yes.
Google cow jumping.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Wiki: Imperial Camel Corps Memorial
Statues – Hither & Thither: Imperial Camel Corps Memorial
View from the Mirror. A Cabbie’s London: WWI 100: London’s Memorials… The Imperial Camel Corps

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott