Showing posts from October, 2010

In which I ride both horses, and it's a pretty day out on the trails

Jim and Hana are going to start taking arena lessons again, and Hana hasn't been out of the pasture in at least a month. Hmmmm.

The day before the first scheduled lesson, I figured that even a chubby little Arab probably has some extra "fizz" from all that leisure time, so I took her out on the trails for a little while.
I'm pretty sure the white fluffy stuff at the top of the photo is some of Hana's steam, which finally blew away after almost two hours on the trails!
She's so much fun to ride, but she has a little more "spunk" than you want for an arena lesson...especially if it's the first time the RIDER has been in the saddle for 6 weeks!
She and I did about 6 or 7 miles of walk, trot and canter. The Tree Farm wasn't very crowded, probably because the weather forecast was for "dismal." The actual weather was kind of pretty! Hana, de-fizzed. Still kinda pudgy, though. She'll be glad to have her dad back in the saddl…

In which we celebrate Saturday stories: a spooky horse story

Last year, I posted a recording of the story I'm writing for you this year. If you want to hear it, the archived recording is here. It's not a great recording, which is why I wanted to publish it as a printed piece this year.

And by the way: it's scary.

I just wanted to warn you.


When I was growing up, we always called the farmland up near the Canadian border “the north county.” My hometown was a timber and fishing town, but just a few miles north of town is where farmers have lived for generations, growing their crops of corn and wheat.

They’re a quiet, sober lot mostly, up in the north county, not given to weird behavior or crazy superstitions. But they do have an interesting habit: every year after harvest is finished and before winter settles in for the long haul, they braid red thread or red yarn into the manes of all their horses. They leave those red threads braided into their horses’ manes from October until at least New Year’s. They don’t talk about it. But t…

In which poetry is one of those things I spend time with each morning

I love Garrison Keillor. I love his voice, I love his humor, and I love his Writer's Almanac. And I love the poem he featured yesterday, and want to share it with the horse-loving blogosphere...with photos from Haiku Farm.Enjoy!"Gold Horse, Brown Horse" by Candace BlackIn the pasture behind
the house, an island of berries
ripens in the summer
heat. They will grow
plump, darker than garnets, then shrivel
away, or rotting, fall
to the brambles, tasted only by birds,
field mice. Two horses graze
here. They watch from a distance as you
whistle, their ears shifting with each
variation. One morning they reward
you and stand at the fence, flies
clinging to the moist corners
of their eyes. They know
how to take the offered
apple, even from a child's hand. Brownie
shies from the gold one. She comes
only when he moves on, and then
with hesitation.
You stroke her forehead's
blaze, give her your palm to smell,
to nuzzle. Late August,
two horses rolling in the afternoon dust.p.s. Although Mr Keil…

In which we celebrate Saturday Stories : a nice spooky story

Endurance Granny shared a nice spooky story on her blog this week, and asked other folks to share their favorite haunted tales. I am a storyteller--I know LOTS of scary stories. I spend the entire month of October every year telling scary stories!

This one is a story that I'll be sharing in the schools this week, leading up to a scary story program at the library right before Hallowe'en, and our super-scary-storytelling radio program on Hallowe'en morning. And now...I'm gonna share it with you.

I call it:

The Dare, or, Why I Became a Storytelling Librarian

My parents were teachers, which meant mostly that I knew something that most of my classmates didn’t know: teachers have first names.

Because my parents were friends with most of my teachers and their families, I knew that my 2nd grade teacher’s first name was “Roxanne,” that my 4th grade teacher’s first name was “Walt”, and that my 5th grade teacher’s name was “Greg.”

It didn’t occur to me until years after that I n…

In which Lisa has her first riding lesson, and Guy gets a gold star

Lisa was soooooo excited to be taking riding lessons at last!
Her lesson horse is Guy, the same weight-in-gold horse that Willy (and many other kids) got as a very first lesson horse.
Clearly, Lisa has never seen some of these amazing tools before in her life (it was a hoofpick).

She was pretty enthused about the brushing, which Guy clearly enjoys. I think every kid should have a grey (mud-covered) pony as a first-lesson horse. As I recall, my first-lesson horse was grey. After that, I graduated (permanently) to horses the color of Swampland mud.
Feet. They are big and scary. Nobody else was inclined to clean them for a rider who was too scared to pick them up and clean them. She cleaned them herself.
Saddling is....
but eventually, accomplished.
Check stirrup length.

The bridle...also complicated.
Tacking up: accomplished! We head towards the arena. Posted prominently in the arena:
She hops aboard: not graceful, but she did end up on the up-side of the horse. When Guy st…

In which it takes an (endurance) village: a story of two riders

At the Foothills ride last weekend, there was a "keyhole" section of trail. Basically, it looks like a lollipop on the map:
Riders approach the watertanks at the base of the lolly. A sign on a tree at rider eye-level says "OUT --->" . There is also a sandwich board on the ground that echoes the message: "Out --->" and ribbons on the trees leading riders in the correct direction.
After completing the keyhole, riders approach the watertanks from the other side, and are greeted by another pair of signs. These signs read "<----IN".
Pretty clear, right?
But you know: If it can go wrong, it usually does for somebody.
Two riders went off-course at this location.
The first was a young lady new to the sport. She was riding an elegant foxtrotter stallion who had clearly spent a lot of time in the show ring, but was sufficiently conditioned to do fine in the 25-mile event. Somehow the rider got turned around, missed the keyhole, saw the ribb…

In which endurance is a great sport, but it's the *people* that we love

We went to Foothills of the Cascadesand the weather (unlike recent years for the event) was FABULOUS!

(blog reader Karen W, is this you drawing on my pony's nether end?)

I drove to Molalla to help Sky celebrate her birthday by riding one of our favorite rides together! Although we've known each other for years, and we ride together whenever possible, we've never actually ridden together at an endurance event. This year, the weather was forecasted to be not-rainy, Sky's back wasn't sore, Cricket had a shiny new set of shoes, and Fiddle was finally ready for the additional challenge of doing an event with another horse.

We went!

We rode!
We had fun!Some pictures from the (beautiful) trail:I loved the trail signs. Most of the trails are named for kids and grandkids of ride management.Yes, lytha , there were plenty of rocks on the trail. Next time I do this ride, I will put shoes and pads on my horse's feet. Fiddle did fine with just shoes, but for this ride th…