In which I try to inspire some writing with a 5-day challenge

The weather outside is not frightful, although we had sub-freezing temps for more than a week recently (read: frozen water tanks, frozen hoses, frozen finger tips, and frozen trails)
Nothing to see here, move along, move along.
Riding in cold weather isn't just a challenge for staying warm.  I'm actually pretty good at staying warm, thanks to the Gods of Polarfleece, the Deities of Wool, and the Angels of Those Little Chemical Heater Thingies that You Put In Your Pockets.

The challenge for riding in the cold is the footing.  The recent cold front moved in slowly, so the rain soaked into the ground and then froze, solidly.  Not slippery (mostly), just Rock Hard and Unforgiving.  Not a lot of fun to trot on for the pony, and not much fun to walk on for me (because riding my horse at a walk is the most painful thing I do with my arthritic hip).  So mostly, I stayed home.

I did venture out without the Dragon once--Cathy over at Cascade Gold Akhal-Tekes hosted a fun barn party, and let me borrow Ari for the day.

Ari's trot:  I've bounced on couch cushions that had more impact
on my bum than this fine fellow.  Comfy!

It was a fun excuse to mess around, but with temps in the low 20's, we only played for a couple of hours, and then we adjourned to the house

Extra festivity points for the "candy corn" tablecloth, which makes me smile.

and feasted a bit more.

I gotta admit that for the last few weeks, I've mostly been working weird strange hours at the library (my building is being remodelled, so I am "on loan" to other libraries for the duration), writing the new book, writing up the annual holiday story booklet, and trying (unsuccessfully) to ward off evil cold germs.

The blog has gotten a bit neglected.  Sorry 'bout that.  BUT I'M BACK NOW.  Sorta.  Kinda.  Achoo.

Here's a challenge originally posted on the Fly On Over blog.  Maybe my readers want to pick it up too?  It's five questions per day.

(I think the idea is to do five questions per day for five days in a row, but hey.  It's not like we are big on rules here at Haiku Farm.  The most we cop to is "guidelines.")

Here we go for Day One :
1. Most influential person on riding
Clearly, the most influential person on my correct riding is Dory.
Dory with Burley at a recent schooling show
Dory is the reason that I disagree with lytha that "dressage is a crying sport."  It isn't, at least it isn't when Dory is teaching.  She pushes me with tough stuff all the time, but I don't think she's ever overfaced me.  I'm still not a great rider, but I'm a better rider because of Dory!

The Usual Suspects are most influential about how often I ride.  They say (and I agree) that riding makes pretty much everything better.  Riding with Patty and Sirie and Duana and Katie and Dory and Dean and Monica and the others definitely makes everything better.

The Usual Suspects: taking themselves seriously as usual
2. Piece of tack to splurge on
Is this un-American?  I don't need anything...and can't think of anything that I want.  Much of my gear has been carefully acquired over a lot of years, and the rest has been thoughtfully gifted by Friends Who Know How to Shop.

I guess if the Money Fairy clobbered me really hard (or if Oprah suddenly decided to promote one of my books), I'd buy a new horse trailer, but really, the current version of the SS Illegible does just fine.
If the Money Fairy clobbers me...otherwise, NBD.
Also, it could be painted purple.
3. Top 5 riding playlist
When I'm riding, I don't usually take music with me...except the music that is already in my head.  Mostly it's children's songs, boy scout tunes, and sea chanties.  Lately, it's been an ongoing version of "Donkey Riding."

4. Most important aspect of your barn?
It's in the back yard.

And in the evening, I can deliver a "bedtime cookie" to the Dragon.
That's the best.

5. Three winter riding goals
1. Figure out a really amazingly good pain reducing routine so I can train (and ride) a 50-miler or two next summer.

Acupuncture is helping, but hasn't "fixed" the pain thing.  Sigh.

2.  Fix the Dragon's "I will kick other horses" attitude.  Or at least, decrease it significantly.
3.  Ride.  Often.  With friends.

Okay, Readers.  It's your turn.  I'll try to post the next part of the challenge in a few days.



  1. How did I miss this?? Oh. Wait. Yah. Surgery, getting that pesky third elbow removed. I definitely want to play...*need to play*, and while you are hopefully over your cold, mine is still in its heyday, so I can even sneeze along with the project. Now. Off to kick a few brain cells to engage, but only after I, done catching up here at Haiku Farm!


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