Saturday, November 17, 2012

Lily Reminds Me That Training Never Stops

It was a beautiful November day. Stunning blue skies, the subtle colors of fall, cool but not yet cold, the absolute perfect day to go riding.

There's something about riding a copper horse in Autumn's softer light, the gleaming metallic look of her coat makes my heart shine.

It didn't start that way. I showed up right as Lily was about to be let out to pasture. I had reached Stephanie and we were going to ride together. Which meant Lily was going to have to get in the trailer.

She gave me that look. The "you've got to be kidding me" look.

And my self loading horse turned into a non loading horse.

We spent some time working through the issue. Part of it came from how little time we've had together, part from the call of the pasture, part of it that streak of "I don wanna" mare time of the month. Doesn't matter really, the main thing was that we had to work through it, slowly. And I had to remember my own advice. Slow. Steady. Calm. Clear lines.

Eventually we were on our way.

It was great to ride with Stephanie and Cibolo. He's feeling better, the anti inflammatories seem to be doing their job. Stephanie said Lily is Cibolo's rock. He is confident with her around.

That makes two of us.

It was nice to be back on the old trails, to be riding with my favorite horse riding partner, to be on my horse that I know as well as I know myself.  She balked at only one thing, the swim noodles handing from a tree. I love finding something she won't do because it feels like such a huge opportunity to work through something, to deepen the connection. Funny how it's solving problems that help you connect with your horse. I don't think I'd ever thought of it that way.

As for the noodles, I wasn't totally surprised that she didn't like them. She's never been crazy about things hanging from above. By our seventh pass she was over it.

We kept it simple, we cantered up one hill. We wiped down our horses, we chatted about people we knew, about being over horsed, about the beautiful day.

And when it was time to go, Lily loaded just fine. (Okay, it took two tries, but world's better than the morning.)

It was a lovely, lovely day.


Thanks to everyone who voted on my covers for Matchbook! I'm doing a poll on facebook and to my Crib Notes subscribers (via email) too.  I'm so excited and so grateful for everyone who has weighed in - THANK YOU!

Frankly every cover is getting votes at this point. I'll let you know how the votes go in the next few days.  I'm also going to be emailing out the first chapter for free, let me know if you'd like to receive it...

If you haven't voted, please check it out here.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Trailers and a Poll

Lately I've been working on trailering. But not with Lily.

Steph and I have been taking the long road with Cibolo, who has been having issues with trailering. He needed to go to the vet, and I had to take Lily anyway, so we planned the trip together.

Cibolo has been shooting out of trailers lately. It's scary for everybody. So we spent quite a bit of time just getting in and being comfortable in the trailer.

Then, a few days later, I offered to help Janis with her horse, who had had a terrible trailering experience when he made the trip to Texas from New Mexico. He needed to get over it so he could get back to loading safely.

I like working on trailering. It's slow. It requires you to stay quiet and calm. With Cibolo, it was all about waiting for his release in the trailer. Then it was about getting him to self load, which always makes him more confident.

With Gallo, Janis' horse, it was about waiting him out, saving the reward for the smallest try.   Like the  try of Looking At The Trailer.  Then the try of Sniffing the Trailer.  Then the try of Sticking My Head in the Trailer. Then One Hoof In. And, suddenly, the Whole Horse In.

It took an hour. Nobody yelled. Nobody waved plastic bags on sticks. Nobody got smacked.

Both need several sessions of work, it's the kind of work I look forward to. I'm probably the only person in the world that finds this kind of training relaxing...


I've been traveling an inordinate amount of time lately.  Horse time has been limited. But I do have one project almost done that I need your help with.

Years ago I wrote a book. It was picked up by an agent who loved it, but it never found a publisher. Then life got busy, I made a few changes, had a few more folks read it and tell me they loved it.

Anyway, I've decided it's time to get it out, and I need your help deciding on a cover. They are very similar, but I can quite settle on a single one!  (For now, I'm not going to tell you what the book is about, but in a few days, I'll spill the beans. The e-book will be available soon, hopefully by Thanksgiving.)

Here are the four covers:

Number 1:

Number 2:

Number 3:
 And Number 4!

So, let me know in the comments which version you like best! :)