yay for pretty bay mares

So this is not the world’s most recent picture, something made at least a little obvious by the fact that both the little mare and I are only wearing a minimal number of layers–unlike last week, where I refused to leave the house without at least four, and she graduated to the sort of layering that would make a wedding cake proud. She has also learned that I have very cold hands in the winter, and this reality prompts a hilarious facial expression whenever I touch her: very much on the order of “Uh, no, that’s not cool, why would you do that to me? That’s mean! Stop touching me with the cold things!” Mostly I laugh at her and shove my freezing cold hands in between two of her rugs so as not to drive her too crazy with the cold. That response to the icicles that are my hands is, quite possibly, the only thing she and my husband will ever have in common. Not that he would even admit that.

We’re at the point where it’s possible to really see some changes (again, sorry about the not recent picture!), she’s really grown “out” a lot and lost her whippet-like racehorse build. She’d also gone bum-high again, which I hope will even out and give us at least one more inch (I would like her to be a *tiny* bit taller!).  It’s already starting to even out, and as I hopped off yesterday I swear it took longer to hit the ground. (This could be wishful thinking). I feel I should also mention that she had spent nearly a week only working on the walker as the arena and her field were iced over. She’d been out that morning in the now mostly defrosted field (and impressed everyone with her ability to buck), but, seriously, I took a four year old on a walk hack on the road after a week off and…nothing happened. It was only twenty minutes, but she’s starting to relax a bit into the rein as well (plus, there were no terrifying allotment people–I’m not sure what she thinks they will do if she takes her eyes off them, but I’m certain it involves eating pretty bay mares.)

Although it can sometimes be frustrating to wait to go out and “do the fun stuff” (ahem, cross country)–I’m really enjoying working with a baby again. There is something about making sure it all goes quietly and smoothly that appeals to me, plus, of course baby shenanigans are fun (there is a lot of time spent investigating the bag I use for a grooming kit because it, once, a few weeks ago, had a carrot in it). I’m really looking forward to this summer. The plan is to take her out and about for little things and get her going and then give her the winter between 4 and 5 off to grow a bit more (hopefully!).

Right now, we’re doing a lot of stretching and flexing to help her get a bit more wiggly in herself. She came to me quite “tight” with racing muscles, and it’s been a bit of a process to convince her that she is safe enough, really, to relax and shift her focus from what is going on around her to the work we are doing. She is absolutely stellar, and her walk, especially, has gotten huuuuuuuge, but we still have those moments where she pretzels herself to look at something (usually behind us, on a diagonal, and below the horizon, just to complicate matters). Yesterday, though, as we walked out for our last lap up and down the lane, she took the rein forward of her own accord and started really stretching out and down. So yay for babies, especially pretty bay mares.

P.C. Hodgell, she’s back, thank goodness (also, so’s the blog)

Of course, the over-the-top typical of Baen Books cover is still there (One of the more hilarious aspects of the covers vs the story is how often it is integral to the plot that Jame is mistaken for her twin brother, or just a boy in general, which is clearly impossible if she…had the assets of the girl on the cover).

I have, as always, written a proper review of it over at BookGeeks, but I can’t resist being gleeful over here as well.  I can (vividly) remember a time when I would repeatedly buy extra copies of “God Stalk” and “Dark of the Moon” because they were the only Kencyrath novels available, and how, when the gorgeous Meisha Merlin editions came out (and were super expensive), I seriously considered selling my warmest coat (not a small thing in Minnesota) in order to afford them (it made sense at the time, college can do that to you). Eventually I decided that frostbite would make it difficult to turn pages, and I waited a bit for more reasonably priced versions…and waited, and waited.  But Hodgell has finally hooked up with Baen, and the last few years have seen Jame’s story spiral out from its beginnings in Tai-Tastigon to encompass the wider world of Rathillien.

I won’t go into any of the details of the plot (except to say, of course, that it is loads of fun and everyone should read the books…), but it does make me think about how certain books end up more a part of everyday life than others. I’m sure a lot depends on when you read them, but this series in particular (and “anything written by Connie Willis”) has ended up being one of those series that feels like it punctuates my life. And I absolutely love that new books in the series are coming out at a regular pace, and that Baen has such incredible ebook policies, so I can own many copies of them both on the bookshelf and on the computer. Continue reading

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.