Moss: the 17h TB with a walnut brain

horseI’ve settled into Cheshire Riding School nicely, partially because they have lessons that run into the early evening, so I can ride even if I don’t get off work until after 5pm. I started out with one group lesson and have managed to worm my way into a private and a loan (the titular walnut brain), so I’m quite pleased.  The vibe at the riding school is good so far, less tense than many places I’ve been, and I will admit to being a bit starry eyed over the all-weather gallops they have.  Between that and the the gorgeous TB stride that Moss showed off on a hack, I was easily convinced to loan him. And, because he doesn’t jump, it means I still get to ride other horses when we jump in lessons, something I really enjoy.

The loan started two weeks ago, so I’ve been riding five times a week (instead of the three I usually did).  The two rides on my own in the arena were only okay (I am certainly out of practice in the riding without instruction thing!), but the hack was…genius. I went  before work, so the yard was suuuuper quiet, and we had the farm ride all to ourselves.  Moss doesn’t get to go out often ( I don’t think he’s been out on a hack without me riding him in months), and he absolutely loves it. Steps out with ears straight ahead and absolutely flings himself into a trot that I think is actually impossible to sit. It’s nearly impossible to post! He was on the buckle about 90% of the time, and for a supposedly flighty TB, he really showed himself to be a solid citizen. We are certainly doing that at least once a week! Weather allowing, I suppose. (Especially as today it is freezing. I am crossing my fingers for Tuesday morning being the one “nice” morning we have this week. Although as long as the sun is out like it is today, I’m sure it will go well.) Continue reading

great new books, new riding school, and, basically, new weather

leviathanSo, I was recently lucky enough to read Scott Westerfield’s Leviathan. It’s amazing. The world-building, the characters, the flying whales (nope, not a typo, flying whales), all combine together to make one of those books that always ends too soon–and makes a reader grateful for the promise of entire series. Especially when the story also has mechanized war-machines, steadfast companions, and worthwhile causes.

Westerfield has placed his steampunk environment into the familiar history of WW1, and he has a deft touch with the history that makes the political shenanigans accessible to the audience without overwhelming them with the portents of what is to come. Alongside the wonderful prose are gorgeous illustrations, perfectly capturing the movement and ferocity of the world that Westerfield has designed. So, yes, go read this book, it is wonderful. At some point, there will be a much longer review of the book up on Bookgeeks, but I didn’t think any should wait to buy it.

I’ve also found another place to ride! It’s a bit farther out into Cheshire, but they have a lot more land, and it seems to be a bit livelier… Two lessons so far (with two different instructors), but I assume it will take a few weeks to make a decision. The have a ton of arenas, a cross country course, and a farm ride–and there’s just a lot more room (and a lot more horses…). The drive up there is gorgeous–although I did run into a ton of traffic the second time I went up–it’s just nice to find that there are more places to ride around here.

And the weather, well, it’s been gorgeous for two days. And supposed to be nice tomorrow. And then rain this weekend.  So, not so much new weather I guess as improved weather for a bit.  Plus, even when it’s gloomy outside, it’s still a lot warmer.  Finally. In June.

busman’s holidays, audio books, and utter exhaustion

copperWell, I’m finally back from a sort-of vacation back to Southern California.  (One of the highlights of which was eating as much Mexican food as I could in ten days.  Hint, that’s a LOT of Mexican food, but not ENOUGH Mexican food: subtle difference there…) I went to announce at the horseshow at Copper Meadows, an eventing venue in Ramona, California. It was a fantastic time–I announced all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (basically, I was blathering on about horses, sponsors, photographers, and following rules for twelve hours a day–and yet, totally fun.)  I then tried to hang out with everyone possible in the ten days remaining.  And ride. a lot.  I got the riding in (thanks Sarah and Nancy!), but I had a hard time finding enough time to hang out with everyone.  Partially, it was because a friend of mine has just had a baby, and it was just so easy to spend a few days just being mellow with the new mom and baby–and partially it was because, between the riding and the working and the running around, I kept falling asleep by 9pm.

I made an unusual choice (for me) on this trip: I only brought three books.  Well, three books in my bag.  On my iPhone, I had about fifteen books in e-book form and ten audio books.  Except for one minor breakdown (I saw Christopher Moore’s newest Fool, and I had to buy it to get me through the 5 hour wait for the second leg of my trip). It worked quite well–my carry-on was much lighter, and Iwas able to live out of one small bag for the twelve days.

Of course, I knew I would be able to borrow books (from friends and family) and, it turned out, I was so busy I basically stuck my headphones in my ears with an audiobook on at 9pm and was asleep by 9:15, so it wasn’t a regular vacation.  I think, if any down-time had actually been possible, I would have *needed* my normal ten or twelve books, but this time it worked. (Now, if anyone could help me out with the really, really bad farmer’s tan I managed to acquire while there, that would be great.)