As a little girl, I always wanted a pony for Christmas. Santa never brought me a pony. So in my late 40s, I started taking horseback riding lessons. When I turned 50, I got my first horse, an Icelandic named Blessi (Veigar frá Búðardal). Little did I know how much fun life with an Icelandic was going to be. Blessi has a unique perspective on life. I hope you enjoy reading about it as much as I enjoy Blessi. And you will probably read about my cats from time to time.
Monday morning, I went to see Blessi.
I was going to ride him in the arena but I thought I would longe him first since
I hadn't ridden him for a few days. The barn had a jump clinic over the
weekend. The jump course was still set up in the big arena (as opposed to the
covered arena). A line of trot poles was set up and all the jump poles were in
place but the cross poles weren't up.
This is a jump cup.
I decided to turn Blessi loose in the arena so he could run around . What
does he do but he trots right down the center of the arena across the center of
the trot poles and then proceeds to trot through about 30% of the course! The
cross poles weren't up but he still trotted between the support poles. Blessi
must have been watching the clinic all weekend and was just dying to show off
what he could do. So I decided to change plans---free style jumping rather than
Since Blessi seemed so interested, I put up some of the cross poles to
create low jumps and then asked him to free jump for a piece of carrot. He had
a blast taking those jumps from different directions per my ground directions.
Some times he did go between the jumps but he did it at a trot. Between
treating, I was laughing at all the attitude he was exhibiting--arched neck and
Then Barb set up some real jumps for Diva, her Dutch warmblood. She set up
a cross pole on the ground, a very low jump, followed by three high jumps--all
designed to be jumped in sequence in a straight line. As Barb returned to the barn to finish
saddling up, I went to the arena gate to collect my stuff. Blessi was still
loose in the arena and since I wasn't paying attention, he decided to make a bid
for a jackpot of carrots. He voluntarily started to take the run over Barb's set up of jumps. Blessi went over the trot pole, jumped the little jump,
and then decided that the first of the large jumps was too high and slid to a stop.
He bumped the pole and knocked it off the jump but this was done very slowly.
However, he did manage to break the jump cup---yes, I learned a new word and how
much it costs to replace them.
The next day, Shannon was cleaning
Blessi's stall and let his stall door open a bit. Blessi saw an opportunity and
opened the door to take himself off to pasture. They left him graze thinking he
would come back out of the rain but, being Icelandic, Blessi was not detered by
some rain. So Lea went out had to chase him for a bit to catch him. Blessi was
bound and determined that he was on pasture break.
Today, Shannon started teaching Blessi how to piaffe. The beginning steps
are easy. You just tickle the horse's back leg until he picks it up and then feed
the horse a carrot. However, piaffing with a rider on his back comes at the end of a
longer process. Blessi does get the idea though. Since a sugar cube was
involved, he picked up the idea really quickly.
And Blessi has taught Zoeey the weanling a new trick. A bunch of tall
ornamental grass grows next to their pasture. Blessi demoed to Zooey how to
lean over the fence and nibble on the plant. So now they are taking turns