2018 Show Season Part 2

Our second recognized show for 2018 was in August at Caber Farms in Onalaska.  When I signed up for this Horse Trial, I fully expected it to be blazing hot; it is not unusual for south central Washington to be in the 90s that time of year — but it was surprisingly plesant with highs in the 70’s; perfect riding weather!

Dressage in a hayfield

Kip was better on the ground this time, but was very wound up friday morning before our Dressage test. I took him for a walk, and he just got more and more frantic. Ugh. Our test was early, though so I took him out to warmup, and he really calmed right down when he could just be out and about instead of stuck in a stall.  The ground was very hard, and the grass on top was very slippery, so I put in studs for all three phases.  Dressage went great, in fact we got what I think is my best score in competition, a 30.2!

Sailing over the last jump.

Cross country could not have gone more smoothly. Kip was very forward and eager on course – the only thing he shied at was a damp patch on the ground. Figures.

Stadium was on a slope, and again the grass was very slippery, and it made me nervous, so I pulled on him way more than I should have  – giving us a 4 point time penalty. I am pretty angry at myself because of this. I need to stay out of his face and let him jump. In spite of my timid ride, Kip earned us a third place ribbon! I was so proud of him.


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2018 show season Part 1

2018 was our first season of Recognized Horse Trials.

Unhappy campers

We are soaking wet and freezing

In June we did the Aspen Farms Horse Trials, and it was so incredibly hard. I go to these events by myself, mostly, so don’t have a coach to help me ride or a Mom to go fetch the thing I forgot in the truck.  Friday was Dressage and our ride time was late, around 4:30.  as the day wore on, Kip got more and more restless, and the weather got darker and darker.  Walks were not calming Kip down, and just as I had gotten tacked up for Dressage the skies opened up. In the steady rain, we made our way to the warmup arena.  About 25 minutes in to  my warmup, I heard from another rider the ring was running 30 minutes behind. It turned out it was really running 45 minutes behind, and the rain just kept steadily increasing. By the time it was our turn in the ring, we were both soaked and cold, and Kip was ready for this ride to be done. I numbly rode through the test, just to get it over with.  Unsurprisingly I was 17th out of 19 after Dressage.

It poured all night long. My tent leaked. My coat was not waterproof. it was terrible.

99 problems, but a ditch ain’t one.

Saturday was XC, and Anne came out to walk the course with me. Thank god. She gave me great advice, and talked me off the ledge. We had an awesome XC ride, double clear, and that moved us up to 13th.


Going double-clear!

On Sunday, I got a wonderful surprise, and Scott and some friends came up to cheer me on for my Stadium round. We went double clear again. We were hanging out watching the rest of the riders and chatting when it came time to announce who should go into the ring for awards — lo and behold, my number was called!  We moved up to Eighth and got a ribbon! So thrilling to place at Aspen! Wow!






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acknowledged the existence, validity, or legality of.


I went to my first Recognized show you guys!

It was a Dressage show.  I know! Who’da thought?  It was the Equestrian Institute Chablis One-Day Show.  This was a level-three National competition. Whatever that means. I didn’t join the USEF or the USDF, so I was not competing to qualify for championships.

Kip was really great, and the few complaints I have are totally understandable on his part.

On Friday I bathed Kip, packed the trailer and took him over to Donida, where the show was held.  I wanted him to be nice and settled for Saturday. settling Frankly, the thing I was most worried about was getting him braided–there is no way my hands can do a whole mane. I have tried a braid or two, and my hands just get horribly achy and then hurt for hours afterward.  I found a very nice young woman who is a working student for a very fancy dressage barn to do my braids, so they looked FANTASTIC. Worth every penny.braids

Our first ride was at 2:28 on Saturday, so I had a very leisurely day, hand walking and chatting and snacking, and then when it was time to warm up, Kip was very settled and comfortable with all of the show hubbub – loudspeakers, crowds (small, but still), other horses acting out… he was a cool cucumber. We had a beautiful warm up, really I was so confident going in to our first test, I felt just great. The first class was Adult Amature, I was riding First Level, test One.we are ready

We entered the court, trotted to X, halt, salute.  Proceed to C, track left. As we were trotting down the long side, the first Musical Freestyle ride started up in one ring over — CLAP CLAP THUMP! CLAP CLAP THUMP! WE WILL, WE WILL ROCK YOU!! bellowed out through the loudspeakers. Kip does not like Queen, apparently, because he would not relax at all through the rest of the test.  Poor guy. That music was loud.   We ended up getting a lot of 6’s for a score of 62.59.  This earned us a Fourth, in a field of eight.we did ok!

Our next ride was at 4:15, so I decided to strip him, so he could rest. I watched a couple of the musical freestyles. They are pretty cool.  Anyway, when it is time, we warm up; and Kip is now used to the music.  Again, he warms up so nicely! What a guy! The show is running on-time — this show was run really beautifully; a difference between recognized and unrecognized? Perhaps. Anyhow, it is starting to very lightly drizzle as we enter the ring. e are riding he same test, First level, test one, but this time in the Open division.

Enter in a trot, halt at X, salute. Trot to C, track left. At this moment, two spectators pop open golf umbrellas directly in front of us. Kip freaks out.  Now every time we are traveling in the direction of the umbrellas, he must be fixated on those terrifying things, just in case they decide to attack.  More tension, this time with a good dose of counter-bend. We get a 59.4, which ironically gets us a Third in a field of seven.  Everyone I watched had a difficult ride.  Sigh. Horses.

Somewhere in there I lost my truck keys. So when I wanted to go home…I couldn’t. I looked EVERYWHERE. I even sifted through the bedding in Kip’s stall — I don’t think that stall has ever been so clean without being stripped.

I called Scott,  and he came to rescue me in record time! Really, I don’t know how I rate, but he was so wonderful, and helped me pack up my trailer.

Even with that hiccup, it was a wonderful day. I had a great time.

I wonder where my keys are.

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I have been having a hard time lately, struggling with feeling inadequate, under-prepared and generally crummy.  But the French Creek Derby was this past weekend, and I was really looking forward to it.  I just love going to beautiful Polestar Farm, and I always sign up for the next-day clinic with Polestar’s owner, Meika, too. I love that I have turned this show and clinic into an annual event, but this year I had to struggle to get my head in the right place.

Saturday, the day of the Derby was HOT. I had just decided that yes, it was hot, and there was nothing to do done about it, so I just got on with the riding.  Our Dressage test was at 3:33, and my lovely friend Cheryl who had come for the weekend, graciously helped me warm up, and offered to video my test.  She was so much help to me this weekend, and we joked that she was my “horse show mom”, but she helped me so much, and saved the day on more than one occasion. I can’t overstate how much smoother the weekend was because she was there. Kip and I had a great test, I felt pretty good about it although I wish I would have had studs in because the grass was slippery, and I could feel his uncertainty, because he was concerned about slipping. Here’s a video, annotated with the judges’s comments:

Cross Country was hugely fun, and again, I have Cheryl to thank for offering advice on how to ride a couple of the obstacles. I would have approached them differently, left to my own devices. But the course rode beautifully, and was so much fun we did it again just for schooling fun.  Here’s the course: (I am tired of trying to figure out the slideshow in WP, so here is a gallery)

Our first run, the one that counted toward our score (thankfully) was quite a bit better than the second.

Kip is so willing, and loves his job so much – there is such joy in his huge and trusting heart. I am so fortunate to get to have him in my life.

Here are some videos of our run, thanks again, to the awesome and talented Cheryl!
Derby round highlights:

Schooling round highlights:



We won!  Good boy, Kip!

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Kleos (“glory, fame”) is the concept of glory earned in heroic battle. Kleos is often given visible representation by the prizes won in battle.

I had myself really psyched out for the Lincoln Creek Back-To-Back One Days. In the week leading up to the show, I had myself convinced that we had not schooled enough this year, and it was going to be a real dumpster fire out there on course.  I had a mini-meltdown as I was packing the truck Friday morning, and Scott had to talk me off the ledge. Finally after a good cry and pity-party, I made my way to the barn, packed the trailer and was off.

Lesson #1 of the weekend — or is it two? is follow the directions of the show organizer, not of the lady on your Maps app.  Let’s just say that we learned that a horse trailer will fit over that ancient one-lane bridge with no guardrails.  We arrived unscathed, but I was a little jangled (again? still?). We found a stall, and I got Kip bedded down, and I set up camp.  I met a new friend, also competing on Saturday in the same Division as Kip and me. We camped next to each other, and cheered each other on.  It was nice.  She was lovely and full of good advice, and was a sympathetic ear for me to bend about my misgivings.

Saturday was Senior Beginning Novice, and I went in for my warm-up very early to give Kip a good look around the field. The weather was beautiful all day, light clouds and cool.   I focused on getting his mind to work, forward and stretching down. We had a beautiful test, and I felt great going into Stadium.  The course was short, only 8 jumps, but it was twisty and had a bending line that you needed to pay attention to, and ride through.  We rode it very nicely, with all the rails up, and then it  was on to XC.  The BN Sr. riders were all abuzz at the course, there were a number of maxed out tables on the course, and a very technical for the level #7  –  a long gallop up a hill, 90 degree turn, down the hill, with a red barn at the bottom, sitting in very high grass.  Everyone was also concerned about #14 – a maxed out coop with hay sticking out of it all over, and the sight-line was right into a steep hill.  But, ultimately, none of that mattered to Kip, who dragged me to every fence – ears up, eyes bright, strong in the bridle.  The biggest  story for the BN course for us was the #4, an inviting natural roll-top. There were three of them sitting side-by-side, with the BN jump being furthest to the right.  As we galloped up, from a dozen strides back, I could feel him lock on to the Novice obstacle.  I tried and tried to pull his gaze off of it and on to the BN, but he was having none of it.  We jumped the Novice a little sideways at speed,  and I cursed under my breath and circled him around, and jumped the correct jump.  I had no idea how they were going to score that. I didn’t let it color the rest of the ride, and we completed the course perfectly.

Somehow, after those three excellent rides, I still had myself freaked out about Novice the next day, and was filled with dread anticipating Sunday’s rides. I can’t believe I didn’t let myself enjoy what beautiful rides we had on Saturday.  But I didn’t  – so I got Kip washed down, and cooled out, gave him some hay and decided to walk the Novice course while I waited for the final scores. I try to never look at my placings throughout the day, waiting until I am done with all of my rides to check out the scores. Well. After stadium, I was in first place.  The whole time I was walking the Novice course I was beating myself up over jumping the wrong jump at number four, telling myself I had robbed good and brave Kip of the ribbon he deserved by my crappy riding.  And the Novice course looked hard. Not the jumps, mind you, I was not worried about any of those, I was worried about all the long gallops, and  jumping Into The Woods. The number 12 was an upbank into a wooded corridor,  a gallop through the woods next to a beaver pond, jump out of the woods over a ditch, through a field, then back into the woods for a twisty path and another long gallop to the last two maxed out tables.  Kip gets claustrophobic, and if he can’t see how to get out, he may very well not go in.  So, those were all my thoughts as I trudged back toward the show office, when the kids from Maplewood let me know that we had placed first after all!  Woo hoo! Go Kip!

I went to the show office to pick up our ribbon.  Horse shows are run by volunteers, and god bless ’em. I am thankful there are parents and enthusiasts to put these things on for me and Kip to go have fun.  That said, when I made it to the front of the line (a mother was complaining loudly that some other parents were walking by the Grasshopper field, talking and laughing while her daughter was on course. They distracted the pony, causing her daughter to miss a jump. That should NOT be  held against her. Oy vey.)  the overtaxed volunteer asked what placing I had:
Me: First, Senior Beginning Novice.
Them: Which Division?
Me: Senior. Beginning Novice
Them: What place?
Me: (a little louder to be heard over the mother) First.
Them: (wanders over to the ribbon racks) What Division? (it goes on from here like this – I will spare you this round). She finally comes over and tells me I can pick a prize – a green bucket, or a plate with a cowboy on it. I choose the plate. She hands me a ribbon. Fourth place, Junior Novice.
Me: This is a Fourth.
Them: Oh.

I finally get the correct ribbon. Evening comes,  I go to bed. Cry a little. Worry most of the night. Sunday dawns cool and rainy.  My dressage is at 8:06.  I did not have time for a long warm-up, and Kip felt tired. It was full-on raining, He was behind the leg, and a little stiff, but we made it through without me taking us off course. One down.  At Stadium, we were both tired and had a hard time getting going. I was worried I would not have any horse left for XC, so decided to keep the warm-up jumps to a minimum.  Unfortunately, Kip just kinda smashed through the oxer, and gave a big buck out of frustration – I told him to cut it out, and miraculously, he did.  I got him going in a good forward canter, took the rebuilt oxer, and went over to the starting gate. Once in the arena, he gave me another beautiful round, He was careful and listening, and another phase was behind us. He felt pretty tired on the way back to the stalls.

I have to input here – many people all weekend were commenting on how cute Kip is, and how much fun we were to watch together. We got so many complements, it was wonderful and weird, and just confirms my  opinion that Kip is a wonderful, bright, charismatic horse.

We had an hour and a half until XC. There was a torrential downpour.

My mental state going in to XC was better, and I was telling myself that if Kip felt too tired I would just retire him, that we had had a good weekend, and I wanted to keep it positive. It was still raining, but just proper rain, the deluge had temporarily abated. We were second in the order of go, and  Kip left the start box going forward. The first jump was a very friendly log. Up and over. #2 was a coop topped with flowers — he sucked back and I booted him over.  Three, he was still not as forward as I wanted, so gave him a little smack behind my leg with my whip in my right hand.  This is why when I approached #4, the aforementioned roll-top we jumped on Saturday, my right hand holding my crop was by my side, reins in the left.  The force of him leaving the ground was huge, flinging my arm up in the famous “Taxi Hailing” position. I always wondered how that happens.  What is hilarious is I had the  presence of mind to yell “Taxi!” over the top of the fence.  Cracked up the jump judges, and I was laughing like a lunatic down the #5 drop.  That was it. Kip was on.  Number six was a ramp, and a sweeping turn to seven. Bending line to eight, a large barn in the middle of a field by itself, but Kip had no intention of trying to go around it.  Nine was a large, dark, log-ramp thing with the water 2 or 3 strides out.  I wanted him to get as good a look as possible, and the approach was short , so I pulled him up into a bouncy canter – he took it all in stride, no problems to report.  Long gallop up a hill to a rampy table, then twelve was the up-bank to the woods I was worried about.  I pushed him as far to the left as I could , so he’d be able to see down the wooded corridor, and that I was not jumping him into a solid wall of brush and trees.  His head was up and he was starting to pronk when I finally got him to a point where he could see the corridor, and he lept up the bank.  We trotted in the woods for a brief time, me patting him and telling him what a good, brave boy he was.  It wasn’t long though that he took the bit and we were off, out of the woods, over a ditch, a ramp, up the very steep molehill, and down, number 16 a coop in the field, and then back into the woods. For this entry I galloped him in the open field, and didn’t turn him to the chute of brush and tall grass leading to the forest until I could tell he’d have a good view. That worked well, and going around the other jumps to find ours was a little tense, but we did it just fine. Then it was basically a long gallop to a max table, then another gallop to the last maxed table.  We crossed the finish line and I was absolutely (finally!) elated. Kip had been just brilliant, and we had had a great time; just perfect.  I moved away from the finish flags, hopped off and loosened his girth. We had a nice walk back to the stalls. I checked the postings. I was fourth after Dressage and Stadium had not posted yet.  No matter, since I had gone double clear, at this point the lowest I could get is fourth. I was in the ribbons! Hallelujah!  The rain turned into a downpour. We were both soaked to the skin by the time we reached the stall.

I struck camp  and packed while I waited for results. It was warm and pouring rain for most of the time, so everything was packed while damp or straight up wringing wet.

I went to check the results, and I was mysteriously in fifth place with 20 XC penalties.  I went to the judging trailer to find out what I had gotten a penalty for.  When they reviewed the jump judges tallies, they realized I had actually gone clear.  This, of course, changed the  Division ranking.  I was told to go to the Show office to tell them that the rankings had changed, and not to give out any ribbons yet.  I trot over and tell them, to much heavy sighing and eye rolling, because they had already given out all of the ribbons – except the fifth-place one. One of the volunteers snatches up the paperwork and remaining tests and goes to the trailer.  Much discussion and hand waiving happen. I go back to the board, and in looking more closely, realize that I should actually be in Second. After some feathers were smoothed, they found a spare Second-place ribbon for me, but it said “Senior Beginning Novice on it, did I care?” Of course not. So I took my beautiful red ribbon and my prize (fly spray!!)  off to the stalls to show Kip. He wanted to eat the ribbon and was disappointed to find it was not carrots.

We loaded up and drove home.

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On Saturday we went to Rainbow Meadow Farm for a USEA Derby. We were entered in Novice like usual.  I was looking forward to this show, because we had recently schooled XC there, and our dressage scores have been getting so much better lately.

Here is a link to our dressage and jumping rounds.

It was a very windy day, and RMF is a very visually busy place. Whirly gigs, rainbows, planters, wind chimes – just decorations and stuff everywhere you look.  There are also a lot of different farm animals—goats, donkeys, sheep llama –things Kipling can use to be terrified. Strait off the trailer he was an eye-rolling snorting beast.

I put him in a stall and found a course map (why can’t there just be a course map in the packet?) and went to walk the course. It was all new. We had not schooled 75% of the jumps. As I walked, I knew #5 was going to be tough.  Early in the course, it was a ramp in a fence line, into a field with a fence on the right and a 15’pine tree to the left, really pinching the line of sight. It felt close and very trappy.  I knew we were going to have to ride to it defensively.  Then further along, I didn’t like the looks of #9 or #12 for that matter, either. More on that later.

Walk done, it was time to warm up for dressage. I had forgotten my watch, so was going to have to rely on the ring steward to get me in on time. Arriving at warm up, I was informed there was no steward at the arena. Great. Warm up was tough, Kip kept calling, and was super distracted – the wind had most of the horses keyed way up. I was not the only one on an upside-down, bellowing idiot. By constantly asking random people what time it was, I arrived at the dressage ring on time.  There were no other horses around, just the one in the ring doing his test. Kip didn’t like this and started the squealy-whinny. I usually put him to work when he does this, but there was nowhere to do that. It was time for my test.  We had a promising start, and the scores reflected that – we started with 7s, and a 7.5, but then Kip just dissolved, and spent the entire second half of the test counter-bent looking out of the arena, giraffe-fashion. A bunch of 5s and even some comments on obedience. Crap.

After a short rest and tack change we go into the warmup for XC. There is only one other horse there. I hear from some spectators that they are running quite late.  I hack around, putting him to work when he starts to call. It is very windy and starts to rain. Word comes down that Novice won’t start before 3:45.  At this point, I notice the other rider taking her horse across the road to the jumping field.  Introducing horses to the field before your round is strictly taboo. I can’t imagine what she is doing.  But she goes to the start box, trots in and out a couple of times and proceeds to hack around the field.  As I watch, I see she even presents her horse to some of the jumps, touching his nose to the fence to see that it is not scary. I am amazed.  By this time other people are in the warmup, and I ask them about being in the jumping field before your round. They all see the rider out there, too – is she in a class? Our class? No one knows what she’s doing in the field.  Maybe she is not showing today, just schooling? She has on her number, though, and looks like a competitor. She finally wanders out of the field, and I am busy warming up, and lose track of her.

Finally it is time to go, I was first.  Out of the start box, Kip is giving the first show jump a look. I give him a good hard boot, and we get over it.  Fence two is next to a pen of goats. I am not even kidding. Again, a hard kick gets us over.  Number three is a log drop, and we go over sidways-ish. Four, I don’t even remember, because next is five. It is a long approach; lots of time to get really upset by it. It feels even more trappy than I feared, and even with my leg on, and sitting up for all I am worth, he is pronging to a halt. I thought about a big smack behind my leg with my whip, but for some reason circled him around, and re-presented, and he went over.  One refusal; I would have to live with it.  He was completely dinged out now, though.  The wind was whipping through and it was spitting rain. I ran him at #6, a brush box that he didn’t like one bit, jumped very flat and landed running hard.  I gave him a big half-halt, smacked him twice behind my leg to get his hinds under him and took a sweeping turn to #6, a half-round.  #7 was a straightforward table, but again, all these fences are flyers.  #8 was the water and #9 was across the rough, up a tall-weedy incline and over a lone stone wall.  Kip noped the fuck out and had a runout. A RUNOUT.  Now I was mad, and Kip was too. #10 was a molehill, 11 a downbank, a right hand switchback and a long gallop to a steeplechase fence.  Another pronk approach.  This one was a kick and a cuss, and a four-footed boink over.  Then number 13 was a canoe next to a boat, with a skidded stop. There was all kinds of junk around; an inflated shark, the boat, the water was next to the fence, there were a bunch of other non-related jumps scattered around- really, I don’t know what was scary about this fence, the whole of RMF is covered in bric-a-brack, decorations and stuff. This bit was no different.  Then the last five fences were fine, we actually rolled on pretty good for the end.  I was happy to end on a good note.

As I watched I saw that nearly every rider had at least a tough approach to #5, the trappy-looking fence, and #12, the steeplechase – if not full on stops or runouts.  It was a tough go for every single rider. Except one.  I didn’t even notice until one person said “hey, great ride, I think you were the only team to go clean” I looked up, and sure enough, it was the rider who had hacked the course.  Before I knew it I blurted out, “Of course she had a clean round, she hacked the course beforehand”. The show organizer was standing there and asked me if she had heard correctly, and I and another rider confirmed that yes, she had been out on the course before the round. Before my mouth had taken over, I had decided I was not going to worry about that other rider, and her unsportsmanlike behavior – although really, this is such a huge infraction she should have been eliminated.

Kip and I took a schooling round of this tough course right after this. He went around with no problem whatsoever. So, even having just seen these fences once and having such a hard time, the second time he was perfect.

In the end, the show organizer said she would “Have a talk” with this rider.   When I checked the scores, I saw that she had won the class.

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Spring Fling, 2016

Coming back from an event is always so euphoric. The adrenaline, the endorphins, it is just awesome.  It is in direct proportion to how stressful it is going out.  I am always so worried about driving the trailer to the venue, in my mind, there is row after row of trailers, all parked neatly, and no where for me to park — or turn around.  This has never actually happened. I have always easily found parking, everyone has always been very nice if I have needed help. I have no idea how to turn this part of my brain off.

My next stressor is that Kip does not tie well, not even at the barn. He has, on several occasions  at shows, popped the trailer tie, and come looking for me. Thankfully he does not kite off into the woods, but what he does in not great, which is run hell bent toward where the action is, to the arena or jumping field. This inevitably turns him into a fire-breathing-dragon. So I usually always get a stall, but for the Spring Fling, I entered too late to get a stall. So I had to tie.  And it went okay. Not great, but he stayed tied.  So I took photos of him tied to the trailer to remind me that he can  do it.


When we got there.

20160402_120525After Dressage.





After jumping.




He screamed his fool head off most of the time, didn’t drink any water, and stomped back and forth,  not standing nicely at all — but he stayed tied.

And we had three great rides! I did the Ride and Review instead of entering the derby — so no ribbons for me today, but I got some great advice, in Dressage, to basically do more of what I am doing – take a hold of him, and push him into the contact, bend him around the ciricle, around my leg.  Push forward when he sucks back.  He’s a nice horse, I need to ride him like he is one!

Jumping, I need to narrow the corridor he travels down — I allow him to be too wishy-washy to the fence, I need to hit the center, every time.  My second round was spot on. What a great horse!



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The rain is brain colored

It was very hard to make myself go on a trail ride today in the rain.  As I drove to the barn, my head was chattering about how wet and cold I would get, the footing may be bad, What If The Truck Gets Stuck In The Mud.

Because it is raining. Here.

I let my head chatter, and just had my body do the things to get ready for a trailride. Back the truck up to the trailer. Hitch the trailer. Check the lights. Load my tack. All the while my head kept checking the glowering sky, clouds heavy with rain. Finally it was time to load the horse. I felt my first rain drop.

I just had to get Kip out, and it was the thought of trotting around in yet even more endless circles in the indoor arena, that finally got me to load the horse.


Walking up the hill


I am so glad I did. It was really beautiful at Lake Sawyer, even if there were terrifying ducks and bicycles.   We walked up to to the top of the hill to my favorite field and practiced trotting in two point over terrain.   Of course we has a little gallop, too.

Kip outstanding in his field.

Gallops, anyone?



I even found a felled tree across the logging road. Jumps! All in all, a great day. Oh, and it rained almost the whole time.

It's just me? Okay,

Is it just me, or does this look like fun?

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Every woman

I got on the light rail this morning, sat in my usual seat, and began my morning email check. At the next stop a large man boarded. He was wearing a dark coat, carrying a gym bag. He markedly noticed me; I looked down. He turned to the same side of the car I was on, and sat in the seat across and one up from me. Sitting sideways in the seat, legs splayed into the aisle, he was looking right at me. I glanced up, and he smiled at me, big. I looked back down, I could feel him looking. He controlled all my movement, out of fear of catching his eye. Even as I type this, I hear a voice say it is my fault to decide to feel this way. He was just smiling, looking. But all I can think is that I will have to push past him to get off the train, that I cannot look without meeting a leer– meeting his eye is rewarding him, any reaction on my part, and I lose. If I get mad, or frightened, or friendly, any reaction, he wins. My only recourse is to not reward him with my attention at all. Even by looking out the window his stare is in the reflection. I keep my head down.

When my stop comes, I wait to see if he is getting up – he is not. I wonder if he is waiting until I get up, to follow me off the car. I wait to see if other people sitting behind me are getting off at this stop, to make him move his splayed legs aside, so I will not have to try to slip by without being touched. I know he will try to press his leg into mine as I pass. I hope for someone, a man, in the aisle behind me will need to get off at this stop, to make this man move his legs out of the way, so I can scurry behind, to not be touched by this very large man who has been staring at me for the 38 minute ride into town. But no one behind me is getting off here. I set my resolve and put my purse between my leg and his, not giving him my gaze. The purse-block works insofar as he does not touch my leg directly, although I feel the pressure increase from his leg onto mine through my purse. As I wait for the doors to open, I pray he does not get up and follow me onto the platform. I am glad I have on pants today and am wearing sensible shoes. No, I don’t think he will chase me on a crowded train platform, but the thought occurs that I am thankful that I can run if I need to. I still cannot look to the left. He’s shifted forward in his seat, the doors open and I leave.

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What is time for, anyway?

I keep having to count on my fingers how long Colette has been gone.  Since she died late in the year, Nov. 2012, I think it makes it seem like longer ago than it was.  But as I sit here, it has been  two years and five months (and seven days).  Which is a long time, I guess.  But because there have been three Christmases since then, it makes it seem like it has been three years.  I have no idea why this makes any difference.  I guess I am still trying to gauge how I should be feeling, after this much (how much?) time has passed.  Mom’s been gone 7 years and 9 months. I am still mad they went off and left me, again.

It is hard to not make every post be about Mom and Colette, because it colors just about everything I do, every day. I am almost desperately pursuing my dreams and goals, feeling like I have to live my life that much harder and more perfectly, to make up (somehow) for them not having as much time as they should have had.

I realize I have four drafts of this basic same post saved since early 2013. I have not posted them, because I don’t’ want to seem …. pathetic? Not sure.

This post was actually supposed to be about my show yesterday. The main thing I took away from it was it was a huge effort, with unknown elements and all kinds of things thrown in.   traffic is a huge unknown. then when you arrive, how easy is it to park the trailer?  Kip does not tie well, and wont’ be left at the trailer, so I have to have a stall.  How far is the stall from where you have to park? I had to take 6 trips from the trailer to the stall,  bringing: saddle, 2 bridles, vest, saddle rack, helmet, boots, muck bucket, water buckets, hay net, hay, and manure fork.  this venue was particularly spooky — so many things to distract — wind chimes, rainbow spinners, LLAMAS, donkeys… Then I am supposed to ride a perfect, relaxed dressage test, and  be accurate and brave in the jumping. It is a tall order,  this passion of mine.

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