Horse & Pony Nov 2016-Jan 2017

Easy as pie

Having fun with a horse (or pony) means something different to each one of us. For me it is a combination of caring for and developing a bond with an animal, exercise, and setting and achieving goals. Piper is showing off her nice big trot, a gait much improved since last year. (Sydney Caldwell photo)

Having fun with a horse (or pony) means something different to each one of us. For me it is a combination of caring for and developing a bond with an animal, exercise, and setting and achieving goals. Piper is showing off her nice big trot, a gait much improved since last year. (Sydney Caldwell photo)

    I’m wondering who coined that phrase? Was he or she referring to the eating of the pie? If so, it makes sense, but frankly making pie is challenging. It’s not easy at all. Maybe for someone more practiced than myself – someone who stuck with it, soldiering through batch after batch of crappy tough pastry before finally nailing the perfect, delicate, light, and flaky crust.
    I googled the phrase and found another idiom to use in it’s place – “as easy as rolling off a log.” Now, that’s more like it! If you are reading this, chances are at some point you have both rolled off a log, and rolled off a horse. Much easier than making a pie.  
    As I write this I’m still a little red in the face and sweaty from today’s adventure in the saddle. My little roan Kijiji special, who most days I consider my four legged gym membership, was dialed onto the peak Stairmaster setting for the second day in a row.
    I was rusty, and out of practice when I purchased her. I just wanted a pony who would (I hoped!) stand to be mounted and dismounted, not buck, spook excessively, or run away with me. I figured I could work on the little things – like steering. It would be as easy as pie.
    It’s over a year in now and we have still have not nailed the right lead canter transition, though she does a fairly impressive lead change if I can manage to get my left leg, and dressage whip where it needs to be prior to drifting sideways into the ditch, or the pile of standards, or the board fence. I recently decided (with encouragement from my taskmaster daughter yelling at me from her “nursing” chair inside the barn door) that it was time to “bear down” as they say. We are making progress. Piper is a good mover. She is soft and round at the trot and her left lead canter is great. She is sweet in the barn and I hate the gym. So this works for me in a weird sort of way. 
    Another thing that’s harder than rolling off a log is narrowing down a theme for each issue of Atlantic Horse and Pony. Four provinces, dozens of disciplines and breeds, all with a multitude of competitors, coaches, and backyard riders. So many stories to tell in four issues a year. You could say the ongoing theme of HP is variety. We have lots of it in this issue from attending to concussions and managing wounds; to getting to know a horse loving news anchor, a seasoned horse hauler, and a tack store owner; and finally checking in on western dressage, the local eventing world, and the news from around the region.
    Along with the usual variety we will be bringing you a breed issue in the February-April HP. If you have an extra special mare in the barn you are thinking of breeding in 2017, this should get you in the planning mode. If you have a stallion, or breeding services here in Atlantic Canada, the next issue will be a great opportunity to get the word out.
    Striving to do better may not be easy but is a healthy pursuit even if you have no plans to leave the yard. It’s especially important for our four legged partners. That “forever horse” in your barn will stand a much better chance at a happy life if he is a useful, well mannered citizen with a few redeeming qualities (and a right lead canter). Just in case forever takes a left turn. On that note, I wish you all a happy and healthy beginning of winter. Here’s to warm bran mashes and lots of pie!