In which I cave to the tremendous stress of blogreader peer pressure

Becky is such a whiner.  Perhaps I haven't been posting because not much has been happening?

Not an excuse, according to Becky.  She can manufacture hilarity out of thin air, I've seen her do it.  So, to shut her up, I've written a blog post about Swamp Life.

Y'all know that I live in a Swamp.  This is not a surprise to regular readers (I hope).
It may surprise you to learn that this spring has been even wetter than usual.
Our normal Spring weather leaves residents with the perpetual sensation of just having stepped from a refreshingly brisk shower.  Our skin is pale, but dewy.  Our surroundings are soft, green, and reminiscent of sappy ballads sung by Irish tenors about the green green hills of home.
 This year has included some of the wettest Spring weather on record in the Swampland. 

Meteorogists (or as we locals call them, "the weather-guessers") report that our temperatures this season are 90% cooler than normal.  This leaves us with the perpetual sensation of stepping from the brisk shower and being immediately wrapped head-to-toe in six layers of clammy, wet towels.  Our skin is pallid, waterlogged, and collectively we resemble the school of fish swimming in Gollum's cave. 
Optimists (there are some here, despite our best efforts to drown them before they learn to speak) point out that we are enjoying a record year for moss-growth on the timber.   

I can hardly contain my enthusiasm for moss growth.

It ranks up there with discovering a new kind of grub in the woodpile.  Whee.

I continue to ride, however.  The Fish have showed me a bunch of "trails" that are actually logging roads...and are thus armored with heavy rock so that they don't wash out under the wheels of logging rigs.  Normally a logging road is my least favorite kind of terrain, but during soggy spring weather, gravel is just fine. 

Astute readers will perhaps know that there is a drawback to training on logging roads:

I've demonstrated Fee's patience  nonchalance in the face of working machinery in the past

This is one of those "don't try this activity at home" activities:

Just to emphasize the loveliness of a horse who is a member of Team Sensible, I want to draw attention to Fiddle's headgear on the trail today:
Look Ma!
No bit in my mouth!

This sidepull is about as strong as an elderly halter with a leadrope looped through. 

I've been using it without the bit sometimes when Fiddle and I are out solo (because when we're with the group I want a little more control in case she decides to shoot off her cannons at another horse), but today was the first day we did the entire ride (2.5 hours, about 14 miles) without a bit.

Result:  no worries, no problems.  My goal is to be able to ride her without a bit in competition. 



(I know:  it's a good thing I'm still young!)

Meantime:  Life. Is. Good.
(but also quite damp)


  1. Well, we'll see you on the "dry side" on Saturday, and see if we can't wring you out! (btw, who do you want to ride, the slightly unpredictable dun lump, or the go-getter B&W streak?)

  2. EvenSong: I can hardly wait to visit the DrySide and meet your lump + streak! I'll take whichever you don't want to ride. >g<

  3. I think its going to dry out...eventually!

    I've become very familiar with logging roads and our local jogging path this spring- and can't wait to get to some 'real' trails this summer.

    See ya this weekend!

  4. now that's a logging truck. you just don't see those here. in fact i've only seen 2 logging trucks in total, and they are half the size of the american ones. i've come to see that there is only one thing in germany that is bigger:


  5. Oh...I want logging roads! Without the log truck, I'd be SO DEAD. ~E.G.

  6. C'mon, Aarene, eeeeeveryone's doing it.... :D

    I feel like such a celebrity whenever someone mentions me in their blog.

    And I laughed out loud at the moss-growth. Wow. Those optimists were digging pretty hard, weren't they?

    On Wednesday I went walking on the beach in the evening with some friends. The DragonMonkey was enjoying himself so much that even though the sun had already set I stripped him down to his diaper and let him go splashing and wading in the water. I thought of you as I did it, because my phone said it was snowing in Washington.

    On the other hand, in almost every photo in this post you're snapping photos between Fiddle's ears.

    I think you win.

  7. I, too, would enjoy a ride down a logging road. Flat easy footing that Grif and I can just stroll along would be wonderful!!

    We don't see a lot of moss on the trees here (in Wisconsin) unless we are deep in the forest somewhere (I often see it when I hiking). I'm one of those people who thinks it's pretty, but just because I don't get to see it a lot and I AM a huge nature nut (grubs in a woodpile, however, would not excite me -- LOL). If I had to look at moss every day, I might feel differently about it too.

  8. Stupid blogger deleted the rest of my comment....Grrrrr...

    Anyway, I was also going to say that it's wonderful that you are riding Fee bitless.
    Griffin and I have been riding strictly bitless since last September. We use the Nurtural Bridle which is crossunder bitless. I made the choice to go bitless for too many reasons to list, but the one thing I have REALLY noticed is just how much his confidence has improved.

    We recently has a ride outside on a very windy day. Normally, the wind makes him very jumpy -- doing little spooks so frequently, it gets annoying. I wasn't sure what to expect on this day, but went for a ride anyway. Griffin was awesome! He did not shy even once. My hands have always been very steady, so I know it really isn't that. For some reason, I just got the feeling the HE FELT a lot braver and less....confined.

    I have yet to take him on a ride off the property where I board, but I am eager to find some riding buddies and try it to see if his confidence has improved there as well.

    We are still not perfect yet, as Grif still doesn't bend as softly as he did in the bitted bridle, but I just keep telling myself to keep working with it and not to give up -- we will get there!

    ...and you and Fiddle will too! :)

  9. What a mess it is up there! I don't think I've ever seen the roads so bad! I'm amazed that they're still logging!
    Good luck on your ride!

  10. I'm in the kitsap peninsula so very much understand what you mean about the weather. Lately I've settled for being happy when there's no white stuff on the ground. Even my big dog who usually loves playing in the rain and snow is now saying enough's enough. She goes out and will usually beat the jack russel back to the door now.
    Good luck with Fiddle on going bitless. I have to admit that I've given up on going bitless with my horse. I've tried crossunders, rope hackmores, sidepulls and bosals, but she freaks out with all of them. She's even flipped herself over if I even put them on her. The vets have given up finding something wrong. One told me maybe it pinches something. I have no idea what the problem is, but she's very happy with her myler bits so I figure if she's happy, I'm happy.

  11. Evensong and CG: see you soon on the Dry Side!

    lytha: That's a midsize truck; the big ones haul a trailer.

    EG: most horses get used to the truck traffic eventually...with some, it takes more practice. Also, the drivers in the morning/early afternoon are usually very considerate. Later in the day they have a local reputation for "speeding" (chemically as well as transportationally) in order to get paid for a final load of the day. Best to get waa-aa-aaay off the trail when you hear them coming in the evening. In this case, I had just talked to Joe (driver) a few minutes earlier and knew that he was upright.

    Becky: we need to combine my horses and your sunshine. Sort of a peanut butter + chocolate thing.

    Connie: the roads are pretty muddy where they're working. The salmonberry bushes are growing like crazy right now, and holding an amazing amount of hillside dirt in place, though. So far....

    Carol & Nicole: Fiddle *hated* the sidepull at first. She likes the precise nature of a snaffle bit, and she wants to know exactly what I want. The sidepull was too vague and it made her mad! We've done so many trail miles together now that she understands what I want from my body cues and doesn't need to rely so much on the bit anymore. But I'll still use a bit when we're in company, for safety.

  12. Hilarious. Love your take on the optimists. That's about how I'd feel. Fee. Has. A. Trot.
    You know this, so it's dumb of me to mention it here, but I'm known to do dumb things. Nice working trot! I think she and Hudson would hit it off like gangbusters. That's about his response to a logging truck. Though he might use the opportunity to yawn and give a good shake. And maybe she could teach him to love the trot!

  13. I love this sidepull, I always start out with this with my young horses, then graduate to a snaffle.


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