Beyond the Bridle: Meet Bruno

This little guy is 13 years old and came to Woodland in 2008.  He reminds us of a fuzzy sweet potato dressed as a pony. Adorable!!

He is a chestnut pony standing about 13 hands high.  He is the perfect size to help our younger riders feel more comfortable with the size and movements of horses and ponies.  He is not intimidating in his stall.  Quite friendly as a matter of fact.  He is happy to let new riders learn to groom and tack.  Maybe not the best choice to learn how to bridle as he can move his head around to test your “try”.  Our best guess is he was foaled in 2004.

Bruno knows his job.

bruno5 He is a great choice for kids and smaller adults.  Bruno loves to see what you are made of and will test you to see if you can keep him pointed the direction YOU want to go.  Otherwise he may bring you to your instructor, just for fun!

Just so you know…he loves to canter rather than trot…sometimes!

When it comes to Summer Camp, Bruno is an amazing guy because he keeps his sense of humor with kids who are new to riding.  We can all make mistakes but Bruno will not hold it against you!

Even though he is small in stature don’t be fooled.  He is a spectaular jumper and loves to help new riders build their skill and confidence.


Bruno “Stories”

Sheena Patel, one of our students who has graduated from college and is working with the Teton Raptor Center in Wyoming, has always loved Bruno.  She shared this amuzing story about Bruno with me over the weekend.

“One time I took him to a jumper show at Frying Pan Park with a bunch of other people and we decided to go school the cross country course there after the show was over. So Bruno being the tiniest and not most frequently taken out in the field on a cross country course pony, got really excited. I think it was his first time jumping over a ditch so someone was taking a video and even though it was a pretty small ditch to jump he went over it at and completely tucked his head in between his legs and opened his eyes really big! It was such a funny moment because you could tell in midair over the jump that he all of a sudden decided he was unsure if he wanted to jump over it our not but that it was too late for him to back out. Now he jumps ditches, no problem!”

Such a good boy!!

Bruno w rider

Remember…even though our horses and ponies are well-behaved and very talented, they are still horses and ponies.  They can have a bad day and also be influenced by unexpected things.  They are reactionary critters!

Just Jump It: Going for Gold

If you caught any of this year’s Olympic Games (specifically the Equestrian events) you know they were full of triumph, heartbreak, and exemplary shows of sportsmanship. Maryland may be a world away from Rio, but there were some notable similarities between the 2016 Olympics and the final installment of Woodland’s annual Just Jump It series. Continue reading “Just Jump It: Going for Gold”

Just Jump It, Go!

A group of volunteers zigzagged through the arena, dragging standards and carrying poles to be decorated with streamers, flags, and even a Charmander for Woodland’s second installment of the Just Jump It series. Thunder rolled ominously overhead just as they put the finishing touches on the last fences and the sky darkened. After comparing a dozen weather forecasts they decided to go ahead with the show and hope the rain held off.

Continue reading “Just Jump It, Go!”

Just Jump It Series: Leaping Into Summer

On July 9, as the last lessons of the day ended and the simmering summer sun dipped behind the clouds a crowd of riders and spectators gathered around the big ring. Volunteers had worked hard to transform the lesson space into a neat course of multicolored poles and standards for the first installment of Woodland’s annual Just Jump It series.

Continue reading “Just Jump It Series: Leaping Into Summer”

A message from a Dad: My daughter’s horseback riding lessons


My daughter Liz has always had an interest or maybe an obsession with horses. After cleaning out the state’s toy stores of anything to do with horses, and I mean anything, including little tiny pitch forks to go along with an entire scale model horse barn, I thought after a few lessons she would grow out of this obsession.

Continue reading “A message from a Dad: My daughter’s horseback riding lessons”

School Horses: Worth More than their Weight in Gold!


School Horses are very special creatures!  They have different people riding them all the time, many of them beginners, using all slightly different aids because they are just learning them.  It’s easy for a horse to get confused under such circumstances.

Continue reading “School Horses: Worth More than their Weight in Gold!”