Sunday, February 27, 2011

Faking it

We've had some nasty weather lately. Who hasn't, right? But here in the Northwest, we're never prepared for it. Yeah, it rains -- we get that. But snow … now that's something you'd think we'd never seen before. Generally, it doesn't stick around long. Including lately.

However, there was some left and it was still pretty chilly the other day when I was teaching. Our arena has a roof, but is open on the sides. I like it. Even when the weather is bad we stay fairly well protected. But, the horses can tend to get a little "looky" when things change outside of the arena. With the cold air and patches of white snow here and there my student's horse was -- well, let's call him a little "fresh." My student was feeling a little nervous about riding him, but she's a good rider with a good position and I knew if she got her mind in the right place she could handle her horse just fine.

Horses sense tension in those near them. When you sit on their backs and pick up the reins you can easily transmit tension through your seat, legs, and hands. When the rider is tense, the horse will reflect that and become tense as well.

The solution is not to slump in a casual position, or throw the reins away, but to give the horse a job to focus on, and to be very careful to make your body operate with the same fluid movement you have when you're relaxed.

In other words, fake your confidence.

It worked perfectly, I'm happy to say. My student was able to fool her horse into thinking there was nothing more interesting than the job they were doing together. It took a lot of concentration on her part to be aware of just how and when tension would sneak in to her position, but we worked it through. She got a better handle on faking it. And the really great thing was that she conquered her nerves and found a level of confidence that was not bravado. A level she could access when she needed it. All by pretending.

It's a lesson we can all carry in to those situations where we feel less than equal to the challenge. Don't bluster, or adopt an opposite attitude, but go forward as if you knew what you were doing, being aware of your equilibrium, the nuances of your expression and posture. Fake it until you make it.

It's true. It works.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


What month is this? February? Must be. It was just Valentine's Day. Eddie's been convalescing for four months now. It seems like forever. Considering that he's the one cooped up day after day, you'd think he'd be going a bit nuts -- but he's not. He's the same reasonable guy he always is. He's like a horse-Buddha.

Put a furry winter coat on him, and this is still Eddie's expression after 4 month on stall rest.
I'm not as patient or as accepting of the status quo as he is. I tend toward impatience, or at least a certain single-mindedness. Does the laundry need to be done? Do it! Hungry? Eat! A report due next week? Do it now! And yet….

Life rarely affords one the luxury of being that efficient. Extenuating circumstances seems to pop up everywhere. There are times, more frequent than I care to admit, where my to-do list grows to such proportions that it threatens to topple over and bury me. And all because of those danged extenuating circumstances. They're beyond my control, yet they control me to a degree, and that causes me to fret. I think I need to take a page from Eddie-Buddha and expend my energy more wisely.

It is what it is.

Do that which you can do.

Live wisely in the present.

Thanks, Eddie. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Getting Sidetracked

I'm back! And my apologies for being out of touch. There's been lots going on and only so many hours in the day (although I've petitioned for more, my request seems to have gotten lost somewhere. Go figure). It's been a mix of stuff, too, some happy and some not so happy.

Fable -- deep in concentration
Thank you all for your kind words about the loss of RB. His stablemate Fable is adjusting and has become even more fond of hanging out with the humans. RB's owner has been looking for another companion of the equine variety, and I'm sure one will turn up soon.

The color-coordinated section of our Peaceable Kingdom
Jasmine (who passed last year), Tal, and Eclaire

My own old kitty, Tal, passed on to the rainbow bridge last month, too. He was another senior citizen who led a full life. Although we are now cat-less, we still have the bunny and bird, and of course Eddie.

Eddie -- without his winter coat
Eddie is still on stall rest, but is doing well. He continues to be an excellent patient, and the last time his vet took x-rays he said the fracture was healing beautifully. There's every chance he will recover and be able to go back to the dressage work we both love so much. He's now sporting a special shoe instead of a cast, and the places on his heals where the cast rubbed have also healed -- thanks in large part to Stacey, the stable's owner and my good friend.

On the writing front, Death By A Dark Horse, has been doing well, and it made Amazon's Hot New Release List for both mysteries and women sleuths! That was a thrill! The list is updated hourly and it hung in on those list for well over a week!

The Blog Tour de Force in January was a huge success as well as a lot of fun. It was work, and a bit confusing at times (from my end, anyway), but well worth it. I'm sure there are more than a couple new readers here who found their way from that tour. Welcome, to all of you!

The second in my mystery series, Levels Of Deception will be out in e-book form this month. Phew! Edits are still being worked on, but I see light at the end of the tunnel. It's a longer book than DBADH, and takes place not only in Western Washington, but Montana, too. Stolen dinosaur fossils are the focus in this story, in addition to a murder -- all of which Thea must solve. For those of you who are Blackie fans, don't worry. He's there, too!

So, what have my horses taught me to deal with this flurry of activity (you knew I was going here, right?)? Mostly, that no matter how orderly you strive to make your life, the unplanned and the unexpected will arise. In those times of need, if you pause for a moment to scratch someone else's back when they need it, you'll find they return the favor.