Horses, Life, A Touch of Geek

Where The Rot Sets In

Saddle Seat Wednesday

I had another long ponderment planned to build on last week’s discussion of my deteriorating saddle seat position [Back To Kindergarten]. I find myself without enthusiasm for the thinking. Short version.

1) The position is unfamiliar, which makes me insecure.

When things go well, I can cope. When things do not go well, I revert. I do not revert to hunter/jumper. I do not revert to bad saddle seat. I pick a third option. I revert to bad hunter/jumper. That looks all kinds of lovely in a saddle seat show ring.

2) I don’t like being in a car without steering and brakes.

Alvin canters off. Big refuses to come back from the extended trot. Sam bolts. Or rears. Or spooks. Robert hops into the air to protest too much leg.

Oh well.

In these cases, the horse and I are still connected. The horse is saying No!, but we are still conversing, after a fashion.

What I don’t handle is a horse – or the possibility of a horse – not in touch with reality. By this, I mean a horse so scared, or so mad, that they no longer know where they are, nor care where they are going. (Bill Walsh on the subject of ‘they’ as a gender-neutral third-person singular, scroll down. But I digress.) If I even think the horse is going to lose their shit, my cute equitation position is the first thing to go.

The latter is not uncommon. Folks who spend their lives schooling green horses, retraining problem horses, or tuning up client horses adopt positions that prioritize safety over style. My reaction is technically valid, just hypersensitive and extreme. Moi?

Both tendencies have been present as long as I have been riding saddle seat. Lately, they have been exacerbated by my New Tank Syndrome, i.e. riding saddle seat while reestablishing dressage/hunter/jumper [Kindergarten].

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Proper Walk Protocol

What is the right way to walk?

I walk. I walk a lot. Mostly around our field. Three+ laps is approximately a mile. My goal is four laps daily [My Two Horses]. I walk for exercise and for sanity [Field Walks]. I usually take a dog or a horse with me [By George]. While I walk, I ponder many things, among them whether the horse and I should be side-by-side or single file.


Safety gurus say the horse should be at the rider’s side. When I used to lose Rodney, it happened when he’d slip behind me. It just took a moment. He’d drop back, freak out, pull away, and gallop off. Not necessarily in that order. OTOH, Milton was next to me when he crashed into me and took off [Remediation].

Note: although behavior is much improved, Milton still wears a chain as he gets pushy about who walks on the path and who walks in the grass next to the path.

Single File

Watch horses. This is how they walk. This is the position they naturally assume with me when all is calm and right with the world, Constant insistence on marching alongside would be counter to the relaxed spirit of our strolls.

How do you walk your horses?

In case you were wondering: My shirt says Don’t Panic and Carry a Towel [T-Shirts for the Barn], which led to a shaggy dog tale [Spotted at the Dog Show].

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Supposed to be a dramatic recreation of Rodney being proud of himself. Too many flies.

Since our riding supervisor has been occupied keeping the ship afloat, Rodney and I have been going on handwalks most of last week & weekend.

This simple exercise has been the scene of some of his worst come-aparts [Explosion]. When I say simple, I mean s-i-m-p-l-e. I am asking him to stroll once or twice around the mid-size pasture in which he lives 24/7. He routinely grazes out of sight of the barn. When ask him to walk out of sight of the barn? Anxiety meter flips to max. Mind you, no saddle, no marching along briskly. Plod-in-halter would not be a unjust description.

For a while, we did half loops [Progress]. Then walks up and down one side. Recently, he’s put on his big boy britches and done full laps of the pasture. He’s been fine. No running off (in truth that hasn’t happened for a while now. Knock wood.) No speeding up. But I still sensed lingering concern when we came around that far back corner.

On Friday, light seemed to dawn. ‘Oh, we’re walking. Around the pasture. I can do this. This is easy. I got this.’ The question is ridiculously basic and has taken far too long, but he’s so delighted with himself for figuring it out.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

The Brayer
Journal of the American Donkey and Mule Society
Vol. 33 No. 6
Nov/Dec 2000

Found at


Process note: I admit, this one’s a stretch. It’s a last-minute replacement when I decided not to read what I had scheduled for J.

Still need help with U, X, & Z.
This Year

[I is for Ipcar]
[H is for Hatch]
[G is for Gray]
[F is for Francis]
[E is for Endicott]
[D is for Doty]
[C is for Cooper]
[B is for Brown]
[A is for Anderson]

Past Years
[2016 Alphabet] [2015 Alphabet]

Project explanation [AlphaBooks 2017]. Open to recommendations for the remaining letters. Which books would you choose?

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

I want to apologize for my title on a post about inspirational older women [Young at Heart]. The implication is that being young at heart is better than being old at heart. Ageism. Shame on me.

This consciousness-raising moment was brought about by Accident Icon, a 63-year-old fashion blogger who is cooler than I have ever been or could ever be. She is serious about fashion, but doesn’t take fashion seriously. While she doesn’t talk much about her academic life on the blog, a little bit of stalking Googling turns up the LinkedIn entry for for Lyn Slater, Clinical Associate Professor, Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service, (specialization) Social Work & the Law and Child Welfare. One doesn’t work in those areas without realizing what is important in life. Fashion is her way of expressing herself in the world.

Why a fashion blog, when I am on record as being as far as possible from a fashionista and still be dressed [Barn Jeans, My Denim Guide]? First, it is beautifully photographed. This made me realize what a large role photography plays in the fashion industry. I mean, duh, but I had never thought about it. Second, she has a strong personal style and a look that says, ‘No I am not 20. I see no reason to pretend to be 20. I’m me. Deal with it.’ Third, the NYC angle. The counterfactual version of me that doesn’t have horses in the backyard is a successful weaving artist in Manhattan. So I live that life vicariously [Posts: NYC].

I often forget the dignity of my age. At SSF, I am surrounded by kids and I ride in a beginner division. I fall into thinking of myself as one of the kids. Literally.

A young’un said, “Am I the only kid here?”
I thought,”No. I’m still here.”
[Boot Camp Moment]

But I’m not. I’ve learned a few things over the years. If only when to shut up [Jealousy]. No small feat. Accidental Icon reminds me to be proud of who I am now, at this moment.

Of course, my idea of Accidental Icon/Ms. Slater is a construct. She exists at the intersection of what she reveals online and what I project onto what she reveals online. Still, for a figment of my imagination, she is powerfully persuasive. She inspires me, not to copy her but to take my personal energy and put it toward what I value. She makes me want to be creative in my day-to-day life.

The assist goes to Bored Panda, Journalists Accidentally Confuse A 63-Year-Old Teacher With A Fashion Icon And It Ends Up Changing Her Life. I think (?) she had already started the blog before the Fashion Week recognition.

Previous Referral Saturdays
Horseback Reads
Cover Girl

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

I need to figure out how to photograph Greg’s combined driving lessons.

Too far. CDE dressage rings are enormous. I’m sitting under a tree by the side of the ring. Greg is the distant red dot in the center of the ring.

Too close. From my navigator’s perch, over the driver’s shoulder.

I have a feeling I’m gonna need a really big, i.e. expensive, zoom for this. Or perhaps a GoPro.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Greg and the Ladies

Driving Thursday

Greg had driving lessons both days last weekend.

Saturday: saddle seat with Posh. I was kibitzing observing, so no photo [Photo Fail].

From earlier
MSSP 2016
Sandra Hall Photography

Sunday: combined driving with Bliss.

Photo by Kate Bushman

Photo by Kate Bushman

Photo by Kate Bushman

Both were as good as I’ve seen him drive in either style. I’ve always thought he would be a great driver. The only question I have is, What’s up with him and mares?

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott