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decision

This has been a difficult time for me.  Although my laptop has finally been returned, the last few days I’ve not been in the right frame of mind to blog.  I blew my knee out again, after three lovely rides on Mojo, and the reoccurrence has some serious repercussions.  For one thing, I will most likely be looking at July – at the earliest – before I can ride again.  After a lot of honest introspection, I have decided to move Mojo to a friend’s barn where he will be ridden regularly while I deal with my knee.  I don’t want Mojo to have another 10 weeks off – he’s had enough time off in his life and his work ethic, as small as it is, needs to be encouraged, not extinguished by remaining a pasture puff.

My friend’s barn is an hour away.  I will probably only see Mojo a few times a month.  I am really sad, as he is my One True Thing – the light of my life that I can turn to when all else is difficult and trying.  However, my responsibility is to his well-being, so I have to do what is best for him.

I’ll be moving him on Saturday.   

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request

Does anyone have recommendations for barefoot trimmers, boarding, and trainers in the Ft. Collins, CO area?  A friend and her horse will be moving there this summer.

I do realize, between my fiction and artist requests, I’m being a little needy over here on ye olde EqPal.  I promise to make it up to you all just as soon as the Lovely Boyfriend returns my laptop.  Until then, posts will be short and sweet.  Or maybe just short.

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Although I haven’t yet really dug in to the subject, I am very interested in contemporary equine art.  My taste is more towards the modern, post-modern, and abstract, but I’m open-minded.  I had the thought that maybe I’d even like to start a gallery here, so if you all have a favorite artist you’d like to recommend, that would be great.

In the meantime, I found artist Barbara Rush, who has a self-described neo-cubist style:

It looks to me like she might be a dressage rider.  What do you all think?

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procrastination.gif

I have been remiss in commenting and answering comments, but I’ve still been hoarding away posts to list today:

I have a heap of new horse blogs to go through when I have some time to “pan for gold” as I love discovering new sites to network and share. If you know of a great blog that I haven’t yet discovered, send it my way!

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vent

Why does it have to be windy every *&#! weekend here? I don’t mean breezy, I mean cross-gusts of up to 35mph. I realize that “It’s too windy to ride” can be a rather time-worn excuse, but does anyone really want to take their horse out in a steady 25mph wind?

This has been a long week and I haven’t had any Mojo time as I’ve tried to adjust to my wildly fluctuating schedule with a new job, so I was really looking forward to spending my one day off communing with the Big Red Caboose. I know we haven’t had snow and I really shouldn’t complain but I am sick to death of the unending wind. Grr.

I am working on the blog round up, so it should be up in an hour or so….

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Did you all catch Stacy Westfall on Ellen last Friday? I think this is an example of how powerful the associative nature of the internet can be, since Stacy put her new website up in January and by March she’s on a major show:

Of course, I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that Portia de Rossi is a showjumper!

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goldcup.jpg

Of course the largest font on my author tag cloud in the horse fiction library is Dick Francis, who, as you most likely already know, was a champion steeplechase (or, more properly, National Hunt) jockey before he became an incredibly prolific writer. Having read all of his novels, I thought I had some idea as to what a National Hunt race is like, but it turns out I really didn’t have a clue.

Wiola posted a video of the 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup – a race Dick Francis never won but described many times in his novels – and I was totally amazed, watching it, to realize I had never seen a National Hunt race. For some reason, all of the imagery I had absorbed from reading tricked my brain into thinking I had actually watched steeplechasing – but seeing the real thing, it was completely different from what I had imagined.

Given the dramatic action of the race scenes in Dick Francis’ novels, the pace seemed slower and the fences looked lower than I expected. I do realize that if I was riding the course – a completely and unequivocally absurd thought – it would most certainly be the other way around (and since Dick Francis writes in the first person that makes sense), but having adjusted my sense of speed from flat racing to harness racing, I still wasn’t prepared for the initial circuit’s lope towards the fences.

In reality, of course, the fences are at least 4½ ft. high and it’s only the talent of horse and rider that makes them seem smaller, but perhaps because of the camera angle they didn’t seem to loom above the horses as I thought they would. I know it’s an optical illusion, but somehow Grand Prix showjumping has ruined my eye for what constitutes a tall fence.

The course itself seems to go on forever – 3 miles 2½ furlongs – and the fitness and stamina of the horses blew my mind, particularly with Cheltenham’s famed uphill finish. It makes a flat racing course, even the most strenuous, seem like a sprint. Harness racing horses are jogged for miles daily to increase their wind, but the actual races are only a mile (longer in New Zealand and Australia.) I can’t imagine the amount of work that goes into conditioning a ‘chaser.

When the narrator in a Dick Francis novel describes a race, it sounds like the course is full of twists and turns, dark alleys where misbehavior can’t be seen by the stewards and hidden pockets out of sight of the cheering crowd where a bystander could be lurking to string something across the jump to fell horse and rider. It’s a testament to the skill of his writing that the atmosphere of his suspense novels is nothing like the cheerful, endlessly green course of the real race in the clear light of day.

It’s interesting how the mind works. I’ve had memories of things that seemed much larger, or imposing, when I was a child, only to find as an adult that they weren’t intimidating at all. I just never realized that the same dynamic could occur with memories that were, literally, fiction.

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