Baby Steps



It’s been three weeks and so much has happened.

We had a little downtime due to weather. It sadly hit BELOW zero for about four days.


While the indoor was probably warm enough to ride in. I just wasn’t mentally prepared for that temperature. I really, really needed more of an ease into arctic winter. Plus it snowed, roads sucked, and I was really just too busy pouting.

So Alice got FOUR days off. FOUR. She was wild to say the least.

We would have to ride in the indoor. This posed a few problems.

1. I hate riding inside.
2. The indoor contained no less than four people riding at any one time and the chances of those riders know how to steer let alone deal with a horse near them that might be levitating at full speed was slim to none.
3. Did I mention I hate riding inside?

So it was settled. I would go back to my early morning rides. How much fun, bitter cold and ass crack early.

Totally worth it to avoid the crowds!

So Alice learned to ride in the indoor. Day one took a pre-ride lunge session to get her less high. But not sure if that was indoor related or just wild from being cooped up. Either way she settled right down after the lunge.


I’m always surprised how little most horses mind mirrors. I’ve been on a few horses that were scared of their reflection and even one that wanted to fight it’s own reflection (nope not Frankie, he was fond of his own image). So the fact that Alice acknowledged the reflection but didn’t give a shit, was nice.


But oh how the indoor is uninspiring. I tried to make the best of the small space. We worked on figure eights, changing the bend, simple lead changes, transitions, and some adjusting.


We had fun with poles. Set up the box in the middle of the ring, even got a few flying changes not that I was working on that. But she thought she’d add them in as a bonus. But mostly we got bored.

The outdoor seemed forever away and I thought we might never jump again. Ever.

Oh the horror!

Then we had some warmth to thaw out the outdoor and poof, we were back outside. Well, as long as I showed up AFTER the damn sun rose.

Going from the indoor to the outdoor was amazing. So much space. Still no jumps set up and I didn’t really have time to set anything, especially because it would require me to get on and off a million times to adjust height. So we worked on more pole exercises. This one was fun and really helped her get the adjusting down a little more.


So all was good and one weekend day I ended up getting out there in the afteroon, the latest I’ve ever been out there on a weekend. It was a MADHOUSE. I don’t know how many people were riding in the indoor but it looked like too many. There was one person in the dressage ring and one person in the big outdoor.

No biggie, right?


I needed Josh to hold her for me to get on. Which is a first.

Then Josh left to get a coat because the wind had picked up which has never been an issue for her…

We slowly walked around the ring, I felt as though we weren’t walking anymore but flying, the mound of buck was clearly felt under the saddle. I don’t think she had a foot on the ground for a good quarter of the ring. I decided it would be best if I dismounted and retrieved a lunge line, work the kinks out.

Well, as I attempted to walk her back to the barn to retrieve the lunge line she continued levitating and bucking. Also showing off her airs above ground moves that I had no idea she had perfected, like, Croupade, Courbette, Ballotade, and of course the Capriole. All while we had an audience.

She even got away from me once. She didn’t know it though. Phew.

Luckily someone offered a lunge line so we didn’t have to make the death defying trek to the barn. Instead we circled our way back to the ring it was like I had a horse kite. I was just able to get the lunge line attached and then let go. She careened around me in a tight circle going a million miles an hour. I lunged her for, I don’t know, a half hour. All while this poor girl tried to ride her horse who was like “stupid youngster!”

Needless to say Josh sadly didn’t get any video of this because he feared, slightly, for my safety. But I was able to complete the day with a quiet walk, trot, and canter WITH another horse in the ring with us.

I’m still unsure what set her off. But I’m gonna chalk it up to her being a youngin’ with a misunderstanding of working while other horses exist. Or something like that.

We had to go back to the indoor for a few days due to another cold snap. But lucky for me, Josh came out one morning to set some mini jumps for me. A nice refresher course on jumping for her. She was fabulous! Just amazing. Despite that she doesn’t actually jump when trotting fences. Not gonna stress out about that. She jumps them when cantering, that’s all that REALLY matters!

Josh made his debut in this film as the jump crew bandit.

We kept our work on bending and adjusting. More pole work. She’s really just so easy to work with. Get’s lazy when bored, but who doesn’t amiright?

We even rode with a group of horses in the outdoor on Saturday. Well, I wouldn’t say it was completely uneventful. But considering there was a tiny pony cantering around and a woman who clucks non stop, she handled it pretty good. The pony was a little over the top for Alice. Foal? Midget? Demon? Hard to say. But the clucker, that was a bit much and I couldn’t blame her. Incessant. Annoying. And she just wasn’t sure what the fuck to make of it. Go? Go right? I hear that and I’m supposed to go? Everyone should go? Why the fuck aren’t we all going?

Good girl. We mostly walked until the pony and the clucker left. She had horses come at her and go past her at the canter and while she wasn’t 100% cool with it, she was easy to get back to 100% cool. Which is a step in the right direction.

I do NEED to get out to the barn when other people are riding. I just can’t stand the other people part!

We ended this week off with a great jump session outside. 2’6″ one stride. She is SO good. Josh is gonna do his best to get out to the barn once a week to set jumps for us. Keep us moving forward. But no need to rush, no need to jack the jumps up, make things too complicated. She is so good and happy in what she is doing, I don’t want that to change. We will be taking baby steps, the whole way!

In other news:

Tall Omaha is now on bookshelves at the Tattered Cover. So anyone in the Denver area head to one of the three stores and you’ll find a physical copy there! Check the Rocky Mountain Authors, Fiction, and Young Adult sections!!!


And also, since I’ve been missing Mr. Frank so much, I got something I’ve always wanted…A couch snuggle Frank!

Meet Frankie’s doppelganger:


He’s just like him, except he doesn’t chew on the furniture which is a HUGE bonus!

I hope you all enjoyed a happy, healthy and compassionate Thanksgiving. I ate like a horse!



Equestrian author, rider, and horse advocate Kristine Oakhurst has performed every equestrian related job there is from being a groom, vet tech, stall cleaner, catch rider, barn manager, trainer, and even board member for a breed committee. Her first novel about a discarded ex-racehorse and homeless 16 year old girl has just been published. [Checkout Tall Omaha at Amazon]