Winter weather, ugh. The rain, snow, and ice have definitely slowed down work with my horses, including the soon-to-be-3-year-old filly I accidentally bought last fall. So, cozied up with a cup of coffee, I recently started making a list of the things Atty has learned since I got her and what’s on our agenda for this spring and beyond. I call them “Atty’s Activities.”

Being an Oldenburg/Anglo-cross, Atty is mature of mind but young bodied. Her feet are huge and her joints still awkwardly large, but her body is small and her butt is high. With her having a 16.3-hand sire, I hope that my currently 14.3-hand filly will top out around 15.3. She has plenty of time to grow, right? With all that in mind, I’m putting off starting her (lightly) under saddle until next winter, or maybe spring ’15.

That leaves us with a year to learn lots of big-girl lessons that don’t involve riding.

I see these early lessons as a crucial time for all horses. The skills my filly gains now will carry with her for the rest of her 25-plus years on this planet, and I feel a responsibility to instill these early lessons thoroughly and with patience. Who knows, maybe learning to give to pressure on her legs will save her someday if she gets stuck in a fence; her experience ponying on trails will make her valuable after she retires from the dressage ring; or her quiet and confident response to scary