Monday, November 22, 2010

Stepping Away From The Familiar

Lucky me. I got to ride in a dressage clinic last week with Henrik Johansen, despite the fact that Eddie is still convalescing. One of my students, Anne Christensen, allowed me to ride her horse Fable, a 15 year-old Holsteiner gelding. Although I've trained Fable and Anne for years I've never ridden him in a lesson myself. It was exhausting, but wonderful. Henrik pushed us just enough to nudge us along to new levels of accomplishment. Fable was just as pleased as me when all was said and done. And Henrik was, too. He said he learned a lot watching me ride a different horse. Really? 

I asked him about that.

What he learned was that I really know more than he thought. Cool. Everyone wants to look smart, right? But…um….Okay, July -- our last clinic with Henrik -- wasn't exactly Eddie and my finest couple of hours, but we'd ridden with him before…lots of "befores" -- years, in fact. Didn't that count?

I asked him about that.

Evidently, Eddie and I know each other so well that I spend a good deal of time reacting instead of acting like a leader. I didn't realize I did that, but since he mentioned it, and I've had time to think about it, I have to say he's right.

Depth of knowledge is a wonderful thing. We call it having a "history" with some one -- be it human or otherwise. That history can shape our behavior, our attitudes, and the way we feel about ourselves. While often a comfort, sometime we need to step out of that circle of familiar action and reaction to test ourselves, and find out what we are truly capable of. Fable taught me to be more conscious of my role as leader. Eddie needs that from me and I hope I can bring that back to him when we finally get to work together again.

I'm thinking most relationships can benefit from similar growth. Now I can't help thinking about my kids….

Monday, November 15, 2010


My horses have always supported the spread of happiness, joy and good cheer! With that in mind, today's post isn't so "off topic"!!

Today is Launch Day for my debut mystery novel Death By A Dark Horse

It's available on Amazon and Smashwords for $2.99

Monday, November 8, 2010

Keeping Promises

I've worked very hard at being a Woman Of My Word. It's so less confusing for my horses if I can say to them, "Every time I do this (insert specific aid), it means this (insert specific desired response), and you must do that (insert horse's response). This is how my horses learn to trust me. I become predictable. The rules are in place and there is less stress when one knows what is expected and where the boundaries are.

I can't really say I'm much of a "rules" kind of gal when it comes to my personal life, though. I've been know to negotiate heavily with myself, not to mention invent exceptions to self-imposed rules.

One cookie won't kill the diet.
Five more minutes of sleep won't make a difference.
I really do need that pair of shoes….

It's those kinds of conversations that can whittle away at good intentions and end up really messing up what I might have been trying to accomplish.

You'd think I'd be on to me and my wily ways by now.

I'll admit, though, that I am much better at keeping my promises to others than I am to myself. In light of that I am making good on my promise to deliver my mystery novel, Death By A Dark Horse, free to whoever would like to have it. My intention was to make it available on Amazon at no cost. However, that plan fell through. I can set my price, but it can't be "free." 

Well, okay then.

Drum roll, please.

Death By A Dark Horse is available on my website, free, in the pdf version. It won't be there long, so I hope you'll pop over and grab it. Click on "death by a dark horse" on my home page, scroll to the bottom of the sample chapters and click on the download link.

If you have half as much fun reading it as I had writing it, you'll have a great time!

Yup. It's something I learned from my horse -- keep your promises. My mother told me that, too.

Friday, November 5, 2010

10 More Days!

My debut mystery novel 
Death By A Dark Horse 
will be available in 10 days!

Visit my website to read the first two chapters

Death By A Dark Horse will be available from and
after November 15, 2010 

No e-reader? No Problem! 
Most e-reader software is available to downloand onto your computer for Free from the manufacturer!
Check the website of your choice for details and instructions.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It's Almost Here!

The countdown has begun!

Death By A Dark Horse
will be available on November 15, 2010 from Amazon and Smashwords.

The first two chapters are available, FREE, on my website
Click on "Death By A Dark Horse" in the blue navigation box.

Death By A Dark Horse story summary

Thea Campbell goes out for revenge when the one person who is simultaneously the most likely and least likely candidate for thief steals her horse. But Olympic hopeful Valerie Parsons is past caring about being arrested. She’s dead. At first Thea’s horse is assumed to have killed the woman, but when the coroner determines it was a human hand and not a horse’s hoof that ended Valerie’s life Thea becomes a person of interest. Now intimidating people with little regard for due process are showing up on her doorstep looking to even the score. Toss in her wrecked love life, a sexy geology professor who stirs up more than dust, and an alleged psychic horse, and it soon becomes apparent that Thea’s predictable life is now out of control. As she takes charge of clearing herself of the murder she discovers the victim had a knack for making enemies—one of whom is Thea’s ditsy sister. She pursues her investigation with more at stake than ever, and in a seedy biker bar comes face-to-tattoo with information that will lead the police to the real killer. She dutifully reports to the detective in charge. But Thea is wrong. As close to dead wrong as she ever wishes to get.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Knowing When To Quit

I know I've talked about consistency before, but it's an important topic and a surprisingly broad one. As riders, most of the time we concentrate on honing our skills so we can use them with reliable results. If our equine partners know that X always means something specific then they're more likely to remember to do that specific thing when we use X. It's simply the communication of ideas, just like a spoken language.

I've noticed, however, that it's possible to dwell on a "topic" too long. Horses, like people, can become bored and inattentive if a topic of discussion is carried past its usefulness. Straight lines become crooked, circles are no longer round, even shoulders-in will cease to engage the inside hind leg. While we, the riders, are busy working on perfecting an aid (or what-have-you) to a classically correct level the other member of our team is falling asleep at the switch, finding ways to avoid the difficulty we're inflicting on them, or looking for something else to occupy their minds.

Ideally, we don't want to get to the point where our partner is done with an exercise before we are, and is now engaged in an activity that is amusing only to them. We want to change the exercise when it has done its job--for example; improved the way the horse is going, or shown him a better way to balance himself.

The problem is that each horse is different. And while Eddie has been laid up I've been reacquainted with that fact. The solution is to pay close attention to the horse, and when he has demonstrated a consistency in the exercise you are doing, then it's time to change to something else--even if he's not perfect because you've probably gotten as much out of it as you're going to at this moment. Does that mean you can't revisit it? No of course not. Just do something else for a while. 

Like everything else one does with a horse, what they teach us is a life lesson. Now I just have to figure out what the aids are to teach teenagers to clean their rooms….

Horses are easier!