Whoop de Doo!

Emilie’s long isolation is finally over. Today, she got to run around with Welsh Mountain pony Cassie and Shetland pony Prins in the outdoors arena. Do you think she enjoyed it? I think she enjoyed it. She started it, but Cassie finished it.

Videos by Caroline Frandsen at Ridecare.


Who’s a good dog?

Photo copyright Louise Jäger.

MindCare Weekend at RideCare

This weekend I had the distinct pleasure of attending one of Caroline Frandsen’s MindCare weekend courses, from Friday evening to late Sunday afternoon. MindCare is coaching in understanding yourself and your mental processes in order to make a positive change in your life, be happier, and let go of negative patterns. Some of the lessons are practical, on horseback, or on foot with the horses, and some are theoretical. Caroline is a trained coach in existential psychology and positive psychology.


Myself and Pilar sharing a bag of hay and the warm spring sun Saturday. I finally got her tail washed, dried, and resembling a tail rather than some sort of roadkill tacked on to her rump.

The course focused on stress and negative thought patterns, personal problems, anxieties, and lack of self worth. For me personally, my fear of riding after my bad fall in November was the big issue, but as should surprise few people, anxieties, low self esteem, and the feelings of chaos in the head when negative thought patterns take over are pretty universal. We were just four attendants so everyone had ample time to get their say in and not feel crowded or intimidated by the amount of people listening.


Walking around the arena at a comfortable pace. Pilar adjusts her walking speed to that of whoever is walking next to her. At the moment this picture’s shot, two other riders were returning and of course she had to look at them and not pay attention to what she was doing.

I’ve never been all that great at sitting on a chair so I enjoyed the outdoors one-on-one lessons where Caroline would be working with one person and the other three would be chatting, preparing horses, and exchanging life stories and ideas. It sounds so… mundane, we just walked around at a leisurely pace and talked, but somehow, the horses have an amazing amount of presence. You find yourself opening up and touching on things in yourself that you’d likely have kept well under lid in a living room. Horses are amazing therapists. Equine assisted therapy is a thing these days, and I can see why.


This is the view that greeted us Sunday morning. Snow in late April is unusual to be certain, and this amount to boot! Brrr!

Waking up to heavy snow Sunday morning was a bit of a surprise. Went out to grab Pilar early at 7 am so she could dry off before being saddled later, and I just couldn’t see her in the paddock. I whistled and she whinnied back but no horse. Then a snowdrift got on its feet and plodded towards the fence. Fortunately she loves snow.


Some of the one-on-one lessons were done out on the trail. I’m not brave enough yet for that, but with the sort of weather we had, I sure wish!

The gas heater in the cabin became very popular for warming up those poor riding boots frozen feet.


Pilar was on her best behaviour all weekend. Here she is offering a ride to one of the other attendants.

One of the little lessons Pilar had for me was very interesting as an example of how horses’ minds work. She likes me, of course. I may not be Alvin, the centre of her universe, but we’re pretty good friends all the same. When I try to mount her after my fall, she inevitably tries to step away from the mounting block. She stands rock still with everyone else.

Misbehaviour? No, she’s picking up on my fear and telling me that if I’m terrified of getting on her back, then hey, she can easily solve the problem. Stepping away means I can’t get up there and then I don’t need to be scared, right? Horses are amazingly sensitive and caring animals.

Would I attend another time? Hell yes.


I think I own the only purebred Friesian in the world who unabashedly sets a chocolate brown summer coat. My horse is such a non-conformist.

Pictures by myself, Caroline Frandsen, and other attendants.

Dolling Up Pony

Most horses love to be groomed. They enjoy being fussed over and fed treats, the company of their people, and eating hay while somebody else takes care of snags and mud. Horsemanship is not just riding or groundwork; the time you spend with your horse, simply enjoying each other’s company, may be one of the most important parts of building a good and trusting relationship.

Horses cannot say thank you, but horse girls quickly learn whether their ponies are happy to be fussed over. Sometimes, the amounts of ribbons, glitter, and hair dye (you make the best easy-to-wash-out dye from crushing kids’ drawing chalks into water) can make the aesthetically sensible adult cringe, but remember: The horse doesn’t care what it looks like, it cares about the attention, the grooming, and the time spent in its people’s company.

Caroline, Lucia, and Sif have dolled up Apple and Cassie just for fun and giggles!

Karoline, Lucia, and Sif have dolled up Apple and Cassie with pink and silver glitter for no reason whatsoever besides having fun!

There are rules about how a horse or pony can be prettified for shows and competitions for obvious reasons: All horses should compete on equal terms and decorations must not be used to hide or obscure flaws in mount or rider. For fun, however, the sky is the limit and your horse will love the attention.toomuchglitter

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