introducing “hey up”

Or, as she has quickly been nicknamed at the yard: the little mare. She’s a direct result of those “I wants” I talked about in earlier posts. She came with the name (a part of her Yorkshire heritage), and it suits (plus, I’m one of those don’t-change-the-race-name people, so she keeps “Hey Up There” as a show name as well).

I heard about her through a friend (well, I heard about her racing trainer through a friend), and, after looking at her pictures online and having a difficult time resisting falling for her sight-unseen, I grabbed a friend and a horsebox and made the trip to York.

She’s got a nice pedigree, and, well a rather hilarious race record–with a best result of second-to-last. But she’s had an excellent start and has quite the sensible head on her shoulders (and clearly was well-loved and well trained by her grooms and trainer), and she had about ten weeks out in a field just being a horse before I even went to see her, so she’s not too close to her last race.

She’s only been on the yard a week, but she’s taken streams, woods, blowing wind, and lunging perfectly in stride. We’re still in the mostly walk and occasionally trot in a straight line phase, and I’m working mostly on walking up and down as many hills as possible to start building up some non-racing muscles.

She’s also making her mark as a general yard favourite. She’s got impeccable manners (so far!), which is always nice, and I think everyone likes have a young project around, they make for interesting conversation and an excuse to play fun games of “do you know what a lunge line is” (answer: yes, of course), “what do you do when we need to cross water” (answer: weee! jump over!)  and “what happens when I offer you a carrot?” (answer: immediately you become her favourite person ever).

So far, so good, so much fun.


a bad case of the “I wants”, and, of course, books

I absolutely adore riding Moss (the far-too-nice-for-me horse I have been loaning), but I’ve recently gotten a bad case of the “I wants”. Moss is getting older, and he no longer jumps (nor should he have to, he’s definitely earned his “trot around and have everyone admire me” time), and I miss working with younger horses. Moss has really put on a ton of strength and weight over the eight months I’ve been riding him, and I think he’s getting used more around the riding school, which is excellent.  Hopefully, they’ll start using him as a lead horse on hacks around the farm ride soon, as he is absolutely amazing on hacks (never puts a foot wrong and just enjoys it so much).  But, as usual, once something seems to be going smoothly, I look around for something new to do. So, maybe a youngish TB ex-racer? I’m not going to rush the process, but it feels like the right thing to do, maybe with an eye on picking one up at the end of the summer, doing low-key stuff for the winter, and then being able to really get into it next summer. I would really like to be riding something where jumping was part of my goals, and I would also like to work on the sort of basics and training that you really get into with a young horse.  (Moss, of course, is already perfect and needs nothing. 🙂 ) Although trying to plan that far ahead makes me twitchy.

Luckily, I can distract myself with books. There are some amazing books out this Fall (the newest Scott Westerfeld, the newest Johannes Cabal, a new Neal Stephenson, plus more Murakami). Seriously, I love summer, but I am super impatient for these books to come out (already read the Johannes Cabal, but it was so good I want to be able to buy and gift a few copies). I also got an amazing set of young adult books over the weekend, including the newest Kat Falls, the sequel to “She’s So Dead to Us” (which is a lot of fun!), and “Haunting Violet”, a gorgeous YA/ghost-story/historical that I read in one sitting. Continue reading

wackadoodle art installation or photosynthesis experiment: you be the judge

I really enjoyed Antwerp. Sometimes, when you go places for conferences (especially academic ones), you can end up far away from the city you are in, or so insanely busy that you rarely see more than whatever happens to be in between the hotel and the venue.

Antwerp was a great location for a conference.  The university it was held at is absolutely gorgeous (more pictures of that later), and the city itself is nicely navigable on foot, even for me (I can get lost on a straight line). There were also weird and wonderful things around nearly every corner from a printing museum (with the world’s oldest printing press!) to this bizarre combination of sculpture and science they had out on a side street. I couldn’t resist photographing it, but I really should have videoed.  There was steam shooting out bits and propellers spinning and just generally a lot of movement that the still photo doesn’t really capture well. It does look like something out of Scott Westerfeld’s steampunk adventures doesn’t it? It is almost too easy to imagine that it’s just one moment away from lifting up one of those spidery legs and skittering off down the street. Continue reading