In which the rain (temporarily) subsides, and we play ketchup games

The ground was still soggy, but Dory and I went riding yesterday anyhow. 

Dory and Spot, Me and Fiddle.  Nice ears, everybody?
We ride on armored logging roads in winter, so the mud isn't a problem, but the epic rain from earlier in the week is still evident--there were several stretches of road that are still under a few inches of water.  Lower-lying parts of the county are flooded, but the creek in my yard drained away within 24 hours.  Whew.
Up the hill.  The new camera doesn't "grey-out" the sky like the old camera;
in this instance, that shade of grey really is the color of the sky.
 Fiddle prefers to follow, but we did take the lead up a big hill.  She likes Spot (as much as she likes anything) but she didn't mind leaving Spot at the bottom of the hill and trotting away.  It is marvelous to have a horse who isn't herd-bound, even if that means she's a nasty dragon instead.

Dory and Spot
 Fiddle did try to kick Spot once, but Spotty is a clever, clever horse.  She was watching, and dove for the ditch, handily dodging my bad mare's badness.  Bad Mare got soundly reprimanded, and then went back to work--no rest for the wicked, sez me!

Fiddle's ears are paying attention to me and the noise from the new camera.
She's doesn't actually have "Bad Ears" in this picture--
Bad Ears look much, much nastier!

 Mostly, though, Spot and Dory set a quick enough pace that Fee doesn't have time to be wicked.  We traveled 9.5 miles in about 90 minutes.  Most of the time we were trotting; we walked for about 20 minutes of the ride (while warming up and cooling down) and we were stopped about 10 minutes, mostly when we met up with our friends
L-to-R: Mojo, Marilyn, Zippy, Rhonda, and Slinky
 Marilyn and Rhonda, and stopped to take pictures of each other!   Spot's moving-out trot averages about 10mph, even up hills.That's a comfortable pace for Fiddle, but a tad quicker than we usually travel with our other riding group, so once we got the Wickedness under control, she put her head down and trotted forward nicely. 

It was a good ride.


Back at home, I took some photos of how the farm is doing during the Seasonal Deluge (it's started raining buckets again) so y'all could see how glorious it is to have a real barn with a real roof!
Barn aisle, nice and dry

Oh, yes. The mud outside is truly frightful

 mud in the paddock--next summer, we will add a LOT of gravel!

but inside Fiddle's stall (and Hana's too), it's dry and delightful.

When the rain slowed some this afternoon, I took the floofs out for a walk to test out a cool new thing that American Trail Gear made for me:

I call it a "Floofer-Walker."

Instead of juggling and continually detangling three biothane leashes for three floofs with vastly different levels  of fitness, the Floofer-Walker lets me hold onto ONE leash that is connected to all three dogs.  When Luna (the least fit) starts to lag behind, she is pulled along--not by me, but by the other floofs.  When Mimsy (the most fit) starts to jet off in some unexpected direction, she is anchored by the other dogs.  It works!

Now, it's time to get back to writing again. 
I finished the first draft of the Endurance 101 book, thanks to some awesome feedback from Funder; now, the publisher is pondering whether or not to accept it.  Cross fingers! 

Meantime, I'm writing the book for the other blog, which already has a book contract.  My co-author for that book lives in India, so we spend a lot of time emailing drafts back-and-forth.  We're on Chapter 9 for that book, and about to throw ourselves down the gullet of Chapter 10.  And on we go!


  1. I love the trail pics ... while I don't miss the endurance trail, I still enjoy seeing other people enjoy it. Thanks for sharing. :0)

  2. Fingers, toes, paws and hooves crossed (believe it or not)!

  3. I will be riding a Spot soon...

  4. Wow, the new camera is much better! I am just dyin' laughing at the Floofer-walker. C'mon publisher!

  5. rhonda's still riding slinky!!! wow!

  6. I like the Ketchup Games. We've had such a ridiculously mild winter, I got all the horses started playing Ketchup. although now we've been dealing with hurricanes. I haven't even stepped outside today.
    on the book: good for you!! I'm writing a book of my horse adventures around the world, and am almost finished with it. I am going to publish it myself in October. There, I said it, which makes it real!
    - The Equestrian Vagabond

  7. SpeedyG: stay tuned for trail pix up the wazoo. I'm hoping that this will be a lotta-trail-riding year.

    Evensong: thanks for the crosses!

    Dom: standies don't usually have spots...tell me more!

    Funder: I think the color depth is significantly better with this camera, but I'm still waiting to have colors that aren't just grey to practice and verify!

    lytha: Slinky isn't sound enough for endurance, but he still gets out. Rhonda has a young horse coming up.

    Merri: wahooo! I can't wait to read your book!!!

  8. Fingers crossed on the book - I can't WAIT to read it!

    Love the dog leash - what a great idea. And your barn looks lovely. Someday I too will have a barn.....

  9. Aarene, you are inspiring! I didn't know you had another blog. A very brave and important one, that I'm sure you'll be bringing piratical humor too as well. Congratulations on book 2!

    Publishers, please note: I am still WAITING for you to get it together with book 1. Totally need it. Met rider yesterday who needs to be given the Endurance book as a welcome gift!! Rider was trying out a saddle that was too big for her new horse, but was thinking of keeping, because it fit her so well. For those 20 mile rides. She listened closely and kindly to unsolicited advice about horses getting sore backs when saddle bars are digging into their ribs.
    We need Aarene's book. Please. It would really help!

  10. Mel: when you get your barn, we're having a party!

    Jane: thanks for your encouraging words. While we're waiting for the publisher to say "yes" (she will say "yes", won't she?) you can point your new friend to the ENDURANCE tab at the top of the Haiku Farm blog. There's an article there about tack--the rough draft for an entire CHAPTER about tack in the book. Here's a shortcut:


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