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Showing posts from January, 2013

In which many riders are also readers, so here's a book review!

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Have you been wondering what to read now that you've finished reading Endurance 101?
Here's a suggestion:


Pacific Northwest region rider and author Karen Paulo (now Bumgarner) recently announced that she is working on a revised edition of her classic American's Long Distance Challenge: the complete guide to the sport of endurance and competitive riding (1990).   
It's been a long time since I read the first edition, so I tracked down a copy (yay, public library!)  and read it.  
The first thing I notice is the abundance of photos. There are many horse breeds represented in the photos--not just grey Arabs, but also plenty of Appaloosas, Quarter Horses, Thoroughbreds, gaited horses and even (page 16) a Standardbred!  Photos also clearly illustrate stages of the vet check, scenes around camp, and trails all over the United States.  The captions are clear and concise.
The book is well-organized, with a good index in the back.  The text is more detailed than Endurance 101,…

In which we explore some new trail, offer praise (and offer some help, too)

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Duana and I took Hana and the Dragon out on a brand-new stretch of trail that was recently opened by the county parks department.

I'm just getting the hang of MapMyRun, so here's my experimental trail map insertion:



This new trail is an add-on to the Centennial Trail, a rail-trail conversion project that was begun in 1989, the centennial of Washington State (hence the name).  With the new bit (including a new trailhead),

the trail is now 30 miles long, stretching from the Skagit/Snohomish County border to downtown Snohomish.   Details about the trail (including plans for expansion and hopes for future connections with other trail systems) are HERE.

The Nakashima Barn trailhead is of tremendous historical interest, and there are tons of interesting details HERE.  Here's the short version:

This farm was originally part of the Bass Lumber Company.  In 1937 1,200 acres were sold to Takeo Nakashima, eldest American-born son of Kamezo and Miye Nakashima (and thus, the first in t…

In which Connor is useful, Flower learns stuff, and we don't really clash

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If you've read Endurance 101(or even flipped through the book to admire the beautiful photos), you've probably seen (and laughed at) the picture of Connor.

Connor is Patty's dog.  He's a good dog.  He likes to be useful. 
If you are walking around the grounds of Fish Creek Farm with a helmet in your hand, Connor will usually offer to carry it for you.
WARNING:  sometimes Connor carries your helmet AWAY.  Keep an eye on Connor if he has your helmet!  Voice of Experience here!


Connor likes to help with other stuff, too. 
When it's time to bring Flower* from the field to the barn for her lesson, Connor is your go-to, helpful dog.
Connor isn't allowed in the arena, though, so Patty has to move the trot-poles by herself.  She tries to make a huge spectacle of the process so that the horses will understand just how much** she worries about them being afraid of trot poles.



 Flower works cheap. 


Flower prefers cookies as a payoff, but she will also accept "Good…

In which we go to the PNER convention and have good times

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Those prom dresses sure looked good on Saturday night!

For the first time at PNER convention, I spent not a single moment in the lectures.  
I often miss big chunks of the education portions, usually because I'm putting out metaphoric fires elsewhere, or just because I love hanging out and chatting with folks more than I love sitting still and taking notes.
This year (hooray!) all the lectures have been video recorded and archived--so I can watch them any time I want.  What an excellent plan.
(The lectures are available to all current PNER members.  If you aren't a member and live outside the region, you can pay for a "newsletter-only" membership that will allow you access.  I'll post the link to details when our webmaster returns from his business trip and activates it)
So, what did I do at convention?


The beautiful ladies at American Trail Gear  kindly allowed Endurance 101 to camp out in their booth and sell books.  So that's what we did all weekend:  
We …

In which we reveal the things ladies say while trying on prom dresses

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"Trust me.  This will go over your bum and your boobs... ...I'm pretty sure."



"I'll push in and you pull up."




"I feel like my choo choo hoo hoo can't breathe."



"Too much like a demented fairy?"





"This will fit if you just stop breathing."





"Yes to the shoes, no to the socks."





"Are we amused?  We think not."





"Needs more fluff and and less tuck."





"Take the picture quick before they let go and my girlz fall out!"




"I could hold your girlz in place for you.*"



"Give us enough duct tape and support garments to floof up and squish in. We can make any dress fit anybody."

Other things we say:

"I've lost my pants again."
"I think I'm wearing your pants."
"You'd know if you were wearing my pants.  Your

In which the worst Easter Egg in the basket takes a riding lesson

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We can't help clashing.

Hana was already halfway tacked up with her old green gear when I discovered that her green-and-white bridle had gone home to Duana's to get run through the dishwasher.  Which left me with the perfectly functional PINK AND ORANGE headstall.  And a green saddle pad.  And a rider bundled in a billion layers of purple and black polarfleece.

It was not pretty.   But we took a lesson anyhow.  Once Dory's eyes adjusted to the color glare, we got down to work.


Hana does NOT like to bend to the right.  She's always been inclined this way, but we know that a chiro visit is needed now.  With Duana's lessons, they mostly concentrate on improving the rider.  When I ride Hana, it's okay to work on the horse a bit, especially at the trot.  You cannot make me tired at the trot in an arena.

I had to really work to get her even to move straight-forward.  With all the leg and hand support in the photo above, note that she is still bent to the outside.


S…