Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Flash Fiction #2 - Knowing

Second attempt @ Flash Fiction. Extended the 1000 word barrier a little -- hope that's ok! Still new to this art - will aim to make the next one shorter :) As always, comments welcome.

Enjoy!

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Knowing

She awoke to the sound of a scream cut short by silence. Her heart told her to go help; her mind told her there was nothing she could do. Terrified, she lay silent, listening to the too-loud sound of her rapidly beating heart. Eventually the pounding slowed and lulled her back to sleep. As it always did.

When she woke in the morning, the terror of the night had faded to a wisp of a dream. She went out to the pump to get water for her morning chores and surreptitiously surveyed the the townspeople to see who was not visible this morning. Nobody would say anything. He who was gone, would never again be mentioned. It was suicide to cross the wall -- everybody knew that.

"Why would you even want to leave?" the elders asked, and Jezina always nodded sagely as though she too agreed with the prevalent attitude of the town. But really, if she were honest with herself, she wanted to know. She wanted to know what lay beyond the boundary of their little world. The elders said there was nothing. Nobody who had ever left had ever returned, and the occasional outsider that came in would either leave almost immediately, or would settle and seemingly forget the world outside the wall as if their memories had vanished as quickly as the scream in the night.

But, Jezina had realized, the elders had never left. So how did they know there was nothing out there? Nothing worth searching for? Such thoughts were blasphemous and she confessed them at the shrine to Aliah, but during the monotony of her daily chores, she could not stop her mind from wandering out beyond the wall. What was out there? A life that went beyond daily chores, prayer to a god who seemed awfully apathetic about their lives, and people who were not only content but seemed genuinely happy living out their lives within the boundary; a life where every day did not have to be the same as the last. Did such a thing exist? The only way to know, would be to cross the wall. But none who crossed, ever returned.

Jezina went out to gather herbs for the healers; this was one of her favourite chores as it often took her so near the wall. Some days she would take a break and climb it -- looking curiously at the other side. Nothing looked different out there; Jezina couldn't see any reason not to go. With her heart in her throat, she swung her legs over so both feet were technically outside the boundary and . . . absolutely nothing happened. Jezina laughed nervously at her own reaction. She would go for a walk, just a short walk, outside the wall. Nobody would know, and surely it wouldn't be disrespectful to the elders' mandates so long as she didn't speak of it or encourage others to do so.

She paused another second before taking the leap -- and heard her name called in the distance. Denaf. Her cousin and playmate, she and Denaf had grown up together, but while he would've said they were the closest of friends, she knew he would never understand or accept her secret thoughts. "Coming!" she shouted as she vaulted back off the wall before he came into view. Jezina quickly gathered a few of the herbs growing at her feet. Any inspection would make it clear instantly that she hadn't been entirely dedicated to her task, but she knew that on such a warm summer's day that would be forgiven -- so long as nobody realized what she'd almost done.

"Jezi!" Denaf called earnestly as soon as he saw her, "a kelah approaches!" And Jezina started to run; somebody from outside the wall was about to cross the boundary. It was forbidden to speak to a kelah before the elders had, but certainly not forbidden to watch. Ever so briefly Jezina wondered if perhaps Aliah was actually taking an interest in her life -- the timing seemed too perfect to be otherwise. She paused at the shrine before finding a spot on the elders' path. The whole town was there, the elders looking stern and forbidding, the children bouncing with excitement, and all the ranges of emotion inbetween. Kelahs were a rare treat -- although some definitely viewed them more as a threat. And if Denaf hadn't come to get her, she would never have seen, would never have known till it was too late.

The kelah passed through the unguarded gate, hesitated briefly when she saw the crowd, but then turned to speak some unknown words and gesture to the nearest people. The townspeople pointed her towards the elders' hut; Elder Ruset greeted her with the travelers' silent language. The language of signs was forbidden to the townspeople, but elders were taught so as to be able to ascertain the hearts of kelahs. Elder Kesa, a healer for whom Jezina often gathered herbs, had seemed to understand Jezina's need to know and had slowly, secretly, been teaching her the basics. And so she was able to understand both the formal greeting and the response exchanged before her.

Denaf was speaking excitedly to her, but Jezina had tuned him out entirely to her rushing thoughts. The kelah would know what was outside the wall. If Jezina could only have a few minutes to sign to her, then she would know too, without ever having to cross the wall. But despite the answer being so close, she knew she would never get to ask her questions. Either the kelah would stay, and her memories would fade before ever speaking to anybody, or she would leave before daybreak and Jezina would still not know what lay beyond the wall.

The crowd dispersed, returning to their chores. They would find out soon enough if the kelah was staying, and until then there was nothing left to be seen. As Jezina passed Aliah's shrine she made a decision. If the kelah settled and decided to stay, Jezina would put aside her disrespectful questions and refocus her life, following Denaf's lead. But if, late that night, she heard the kelah leave, Jezina would follow, going over the wall just out of sight of the elders' hut. And then she would know.

She had to put those thoughts aside to get through the day without anybody knowing; she was not entirely successful -- Denaf knew something wasn't right but she relaxed when he teased her about her excitement over the kelah. He had no idea what was really behind her tension.

That night, having fallen asleep despite her plans, she awoke to pitch black darkness and the nearly silent tread of footsteps outside her window. Very quietly she pulled her herb pack out from under her bed -- it contained her few meager belongings and some food leftover from dinner. Moving quickly but silently she crept to the wall and as the kelah passed through the gates, Jezina dropped down off the wall.

Her heart was pounding so loudly she was sure to be heard. She could hardly fathom that the elders hadn't heard her land. But nobody called out. Perhaps, having crossed the boundary, she was already invisible to them. Forgotten. She was the farthest she had ever been from the only home she had ever known. She was the farthest anybody she knew had been. She felt a pang of regret that she hadn't been abel to say goodbye to Denaf, but consoled herself that maybe one day she'd be the first to return.

Her eyes were adjusting to the dark. While she could see little, she could make out shapes. She would listen for the kelah's footsteps and then travel that direction as best she could, hoping to catch up when it became light. Perhaps the kelah would let Jezina travel w/ her, she knew some signs, they could communicate. Or if not, she was content to follow to the next village.

She was so attuned to the nearly silent night, pausing every few strides to listen for the faintest of footsteps and otherwise lost in excited thoughts, that the kelah's scream was shocking enough to drop her to the ground. There was a flash of light and a second scream cut off by silence. And then she knew.

Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this.

hahaha so I followed a great license plate into work today -- 52weekhi -- amused me enough to share :)

I gotta admit I'm feeling some flash fiction tension now. hahaha the first one was fun, now it's like omg I have to write something! Should've set the bar lower *g* Cause not only do I have to write something, but it has to be something at least as well received as the last. Yikes! Well we shall see *g* Not promising anything though!

So this ad amused me: http://equimarket.equestrianconnection.com/showads.asp?adnumber=96240 Not too often you see an event horse being sold as a jumper because of "too hot in dressage" hahaha esp if they're generally clear XC...

Had to laugh last night. To understand you have to realize that my bathroom floor is white w/ cream colour flecks in it. The tub is also cream colour. And the *cat* is white w/ cream colour flecks. Now I wear contacts, and w/o them can see not much beyond general shapes. (for those of you gifted w/ perfect vision -- remember the MADD ads from a few years back that showed the car driving, and then slightly blurrier w/ a glass in front of it, blurrier still with a second glass, etc etc. Put about 6 glasses and you've got how the world looks to me w/o contacts :) So I wake up in the middle of the night and stumble into the washroom -- not turning on any lights cause it's the middle of the night and why wake up more than I have to. Well I tell ya I jumped just a *few* feet in the air when the bathtub appeared to move and brushed against me! hahaha between the lack of contacts and the lack of light the cat had blended in so perfectly that I was completely oblivious to his presence. And furry things brushing against you in the dark is just never good >;-P

Sad teaching a bunch of "last" lessons this week before all my uni age students go back to school. Boooo. Ah well -- next summer will be fun :) hahaha

Ok off to pretend I know how to write. Cheers :)

Nothing is Possible

So had to laugh today, my boss needed to know something about the status of something one of the guys was working on, but he started his question w/ a smartass "Hey, Photoshop Boy" -- and was immediately answered by both people sitting on that side of the room. hahaha only in this office would that happen. Well I found it amusing anyways :)

Saw a poster I wish I'd gotten a photo of, but I was driving and lacking a passenger so really didn't happen... Anyways -- was the very uplifting "Nothing is Possible." Wow - cheery eh? But the juxtaposition was interesting cause the words were floating on a blue sky w/ fluffy white clouds... Eventually got close enough to discover it was an ad for clean-air, no pollution, etc. Again though - reasonably effective marketing as it caught my attention long enough to make me figure out what point they were trying to make. Arguably *not* such a good thing to be doing while driving, but what can ya do eh? hahaha

Woohoo - the truly intelligent people list has topped 20 :) Very exciting! (ok so I'm not setting the bar very high here, but it made my day :)

Actually have to admit today's been pretty amazing overall. Woke up feeling almost human (which is a huge improvement over the last few days!). Went and had my jump lesson where my horse demonstrated "what could be." She was absolutely, unbelievably, perfect. At least for the jumping portion of things >;-P And even the dq half, while a long way from perfect, was still reasonable. But man jumping... Wow. Mini course as we were indoors, but first lesson that hasn't been gymnastics. Every fence in stride, perfect consistently round canter, crazy bascule over every fence (to the effect that my event coach tells me I should seriously consider showing/selling her as a hunter). Just wow. The kind of ride you never get, and if you do get it you certainly don't try to repeat it. Well we DID repeat it. And it was *better* the second time! And then I got sent home. hahaha which is all good cause really I was afraid to push my luck and try it again. That line between when do you push forward, and when do you end on a good note. And particularly w/ a greenbean, I'd always prefer to error to the latter. The competitive side of me always wants the former, so really it's an unending battle. But today even I knew it was time to stop for the day.

A huge thank you to the flash fiction people for being incredibly supportive of my first attempt :) The messages I got were all positive, and those that had suggestions to make did so in constructive and useful ways (appreciated :). AND it shows that people actually read it! My story :) I'm still kinda stunned at that. I was sooo nervous about posting it (see below if you've no idea what I'm talking about). Why? Even I don't know. It's on a blog, few to no people will ever read it, and it will disappear w/in a week never to be seen again. So what's the big deal? Well the few people who will read it tend to be those whose opinions I care about so that matters for a start. N really, w/ very few exceptions (I think I can count them on one hand) I've never published fiction. (Bev remember Guardian Angel? hahaha that was prob the first, and had, shall we say, a limited readership :) The blog was the first adult attempt at non-academic writing that others would be reading, and since it was mostly for my friends, and simply telling the story of what was, there's no emotional attachment there. If I can make you laugh, or relive a fun moment, or envision a moment you would've enjoyed if you could've been there, great! And if not, sobeit. Ironic that there's "no emotional attachment" to the story of my life! hahaha I'm sure some could have a field day w/ that statement :) But I'm reasonably happy and confident in said life, so if you like my stories you're welcome to read them, and if you don't, I really don't care. >;-P hahaha but that entirely goes away w/ something I've made up. The stories that live in that quiet part of my brain and generally put in an appearance when I *should* be going to sleep at night, and so to me, sharing them is far more stressful to open that up to public scrutiny than stupid stuff like falling off my silly little horse :) Cause really, anybody who knows me got over *that* concern about two decades ago *g* Anyways -- it was fun, I got to read some fun stories (and a few disturbing ones!), and got some interesting feedback so yes I will probably try again :) Stay tuned for next Friday!

On a completely random note -- if you're at all interested in games, and have a bunch of people to play w/, "Apples to Apples" is an absolute riot and requires no skill whatsoever. Discovered that one at the cottage this summer. Became incredibly silly at certain times :)

Ok well I'm off. Two lessons to teach and another horse to ride before I can go back to sleep.... Wonderful sleep...

Friday Flash Fiction - #1 A Normal Life

So we have a bit of a deviation in today's post. A friend of mine connected me w/ this group -- the premise is to write something short (< 1000 words) and fictional and publish online on Fridays... I thought I'd give it a try till Nano starts (that'd be November for the uninitiated :) Have no idea if I'll actually stick to that or not, but we shall see :)

As always comments welcome, but please be kind *g* (is that a contradiction?) hahaha I haven't written fiction (well other than the *slight* deviations from fact which may from time to time appear in my blog) in a looonnnngggg time. And published even less often... Would like to know what people think though -- worth continuing?

So w/ breath held I present...

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A Normal Life

She was asleep when she first met him -- or at least that's what she would tell her psychiatrist years later.

When she was young, it was cute. "Oh look," people cooed patronizingly, "she has an imaginary friend". But she had never been particularly creative; certainly not creative enough to invent a person. By the time she began school she had learned not to speak of the voice she heard regularly. The voice not in her head, but which only she could hear. "People don't like what they don't understand" her perfectly normal cousin had told her once. This was a lesson she would learn well.

He was a comforting presence to help her through childhood battles. He taught her how to avoid bullies, cheered her growth and successes and comforted her when she cried. He taught her to keep her secret from people who didn't understand.

In her teen years he lectured and mentored and was always there to listen in a time when parents are enemies and friends are as changing as the Canadian weather.

In her early twenties she heard his voice over the din of the party, clear and commanding -- but when she looked around it was obvious that once again none of the others had heard. She was slightly past the happy phase of intoxication, and annoyed with him for interrupting her plans. She was about to ignore him and get in the car anyways when he repeated his message -- but this time there was something in his voice she had never heard before, something which scared her into obeying. Fear. She pulled her current bff Karen out of the car w/ her and both girls returned to the party. The boys drove off while she listed to Karen complaining about being left behind. Karen wasn't complaining a week later as they attended the funeral. "If we had been in that car . . ." Karen kept repeating. She never told Karen why she'd been pulled out of the car. A casual party friend whose life was saved by a man whose existence she'd never know about, could never understand.

A few years later she had one course left to graduate, one course she was in serious danger of failing. Was it cheating to record the answer he gave her on the final exam; the answer she would never comprehend, much less come up w/ on her own? Having been told so often it was "all her imagination" she deemed it acceptable to use her answer, even though in her heart she knew it wasn't.

Heading through life, she never felt the need to find herself, but she did spend several years trying to find him. She flirted with religion -- was this God she heard? But no, surely God didn't have his redneck sense of humour? Or speak w/ an Aussi accent? On the other hand, if she could pick any accent, that might be the one she'd choose too! Of all the religions she studied though, there was none that could account for the man whose voice only she could hear.

She visited doctors and psychiatrists and none could reveal a medical reason for her "condition" as they referred to him. He just laughed and feigned insult at the thought any could diagnose him. She stopped visiting doctors when one became too interested and insisted she check in for observation. She was not about to give up her freedom for a doctor who didn't like what he didn't understand.

She was in her forties when she married. None of her previous relationships had been strong enough to survive him; meeting her parents was nothing compared to learning of a voice who would tell her truths they'd rather remain unrevealed. "People don't like what they don't understand," her perfectly normal cousin had told her once. And so she learned to keep her secret until she was sure. And even then she often discovered she was wrong, but eventually after many painful disappointments, she met and married the one who could not only accept the man in her head, but welcomed him as he did her.

She last heard the voice on the day of her marriage. It wished her well and reminded her he'd always be there, and then there was silence. Through the birth of her children and the death of her parents he remained silent. Through the laughter and the tears of a full and well lived life, he remained silent.

And yet, while she sometimes acknowledged that she hadn't heard from him in a while, she didn't miss him; she was too busy living, too happy w/ the man she'd finally met. One everybody could see, who made her happier than she'd ever thought possible. There were fights of course, and days she wished he'd return to help her deal w/ her husband or children, but for the most part, life was good and she was happy. There was nothing in her life that others couldn't understand. She even started to consider herself normal. A word she'd first thought would never apply to her, and later thought could never be applied to anyone. And still he remained silent.

He was silent the day her husband of thirty years died. He was silent through the viewing and the funeral, where her oldest son held her hand, and her daughter worried because she couldn't cry. He was silent when they gave her some privacy at the grave site after the burial. He was silent until that first tear fell, and then she heard that lilting voice from a lifetime ago. "Ah Love, you know I'd never leave you. I waited forty years for you to find me, and I'll keep you company till you find me again."

Had the two important men in her life really been one and the same? Or was her brain combining them in a frantic effort to survive a life w/ neither? She contemplated for a moment and decided normal was highly overrated and the rest was only details.
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PS

Just for you I looked up the link I forgot earlier :)

It was an interesting story about how a woman used FB to find her son's stolen bicycle: http://ca.tech.yahoo.com/computers/buying-guide/canadianpress/article/3796

Cheers :)

Gravity Sucks

For those looking for something to read, this is my friend Dana's fiction site: http://pixelenvy.ca/cgi/fff.cgi He writes varied and interesting (sometimes slightly strange) short stories which I've been reading all year, really look forward to the next one, and somehow never thought to share. How very selfish of me! hahaha anyways -- rectifying that now. Enjoy :)

So the physicists out there claim that gravity is a constant. 9.8m/s^2 blahblahblah whatever (and if that number's actually right I definitely have excess physics knowledge leftover in my brain from uni which needs to be extracted for more important things!). I would respectfully suggest they have absolutely no idea of the reality of the situation. How do I know this? Years of teaching riding! Because I tell you, gravity was way stronger on Monday than it usually is! People randomly dismounting for absolutely no apparent reason. And not even the usual guilty parties (you know who you are :-P). These were students who generally stay *on* their horses. Months w/ no falls and then several in one night -- gravity was set on high I tell you! Fortunately nobody was seriously injured, but still, rule number 1 people! It's pretty basic >;-P

And to those of you who stayed on -- woohoo! You survived the attack of gravity. Should be good to go till mid-winter. hahaha

For your commercial break -- anybody who needs to get anything clean: OxyClean. I have a schooling saddle pad that is *white* -- anybody who's ever untacked a horse will know this is about the dumbest idea ever. But it was the only colour this particular one came in. Sobeit. Anyways being a normal person I do not wash my saddle pads daily. Or weekly *sigh*. So needless to say, parts of these pads are often basically black. Beyond disgusting and I had no hope of it coming clean -- I was only hoping for "slightly less disgusting". But w/ a miniscule amount of effort and some time soaking, the pad is now white again. Like show-quality white. And I was stunned enough that I figured I'd share :)

Had two lessons last week and *both* coaches picked up on the same skill miss Sienna is missing. hahaha had to laugh cause I had only decided just before that that it was time to start teaching this (and even that only because I remember when I started doing the DQ thing w/ Zel it was one of the first things that got installed). So we'd done it all of once when my dq coach told me to... ummmm ok :) hahaha needless to say wasn't brilliant, but at least not horrendous. And the jump lesson was, well, not overly successful on the flat to begin w/ so really didn't work so well there. The jumping did get much better. hahaha go super pony :) So yeah, I was just amused that all three of us picked up on the missing link in the same week for no apparent reason. Not necessary in competition till Training but still :)

Had another link I meant to share but it's definitely not on this machine. Ah well -- will look it up another day.

The Tame Baked Potato and other stories...

So I had a post titled "the week's already half over :(" which got half written and then suddenly the week was ALL the way over. Booo. So I've scrapped the first post and will start over :)

Was a really nice, if not precisely "relaxing" week :) hahaha and who here is surprised by this? Didn't get done half the stuff I intended to cause it turns out even on vacation there are STILL only 24h in a day. Sheesh.

Saturday I made my annual venture into DQ land. :) Just there long enough to see everybody I wanted to see, get caught up, watch some people ride who actually know how to *sit* and get all inspired -- and then leave before I got bored *g* hahaha but really it was all good. Followed it up w/ an amazing dressage lesson in the heat on Mon afternoon. Pony was a superstar. Of course >;-P Dinner w/ a friend I never get to see made for a really nice evening :)

Tuesday involved fun and games at Wild Water Kingdom. hahaha and it was seriously uncrowded. Lots of fun goofing around being 12 Then grew up enough to go ride my horse and prepare for the show on Wed.

Yes that's right. The show on Wed. Because, well, I'm an idiot. 4am, on vacation, and my alarm goes off. Sheesh. hahaha Stephy and I went, both brought home ribbons, and were done by lunch :) I rode reasonably well in dressage and phenomenally badly over fences -- Steph did the opposite. hahaha Longer version I'm sure will be on the GRS blog sometime soon - maybe tomorrow :) Thanks tons to Amyy for coming to help us out!!!

Thurs I woke up at 2:30! 2:30 how did I sleep that long?!?! OMG I have soooo much to do??? Oh wait -- actually got up stupidly early, ran a million or so errands, and then crawled back into bed around 1ish. Just happens that my "nap" was rather deeper than a nap generally is and I seriously panicked on waking forgetting that'd I'd already gotten up once that day! hahaha BUT I certainly did enjoy my one and only vacation nap :)

Fri was my standard jump lesson -- first in several wks as my coach has been in Europe. It was, well, less than brilliant *sigh* By the end Sienna was jumping very well but it was a long road to get there... Pony really does have some power when she wants it though. Wow :)



Then the fun part of the vacation -- cottage!!!! I've been looking forward to that all summer. And perfect weather! Was sooooo nice :) Dive off the dock and swim around a bit :) Funfunfun! Perfect. Went and did some walking in the clouds, visited w/ the wolves and other critters, and got flung around in a tube. hahaha any of which activities could be a blog all in themselves, but really I only have so much time to type :) Pics here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=297096&id=823765365&l=47edfbb06c



Not nearly enough time spent there!

Oh and as for the tame baked potato? Well it turns out that's not really my story to tell. But suffice to say it would appear I come by my sense of humour honestly :)

All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.

Ok so my mini rant of the day -- I've so had enough of this whole sunburn idea. The hugest blister I've ever seen (like half my leg) which was absolutely disgusting when it popped and now hurts almost as much as the original burn, and all the rest is just wickedly itchy. Discovered the last time I was really sunburnt was in Australia -- which'd be 2000. Made it 9 years -- now I'm going for 20 :) Am a little curious why bruises didn't seem to burn... Thought that was interesting...

On a way more fun note (stolen from GRS blog) -- had a great ride today. One of those ones that starts out pretty dodgy and just gets better and better :)

Ok now have to preface this w/ "the rules" -- these are not the fun rules that my students try really hard to abide by (www.graduateridingschool.com/rules.htm for those who aren't familiar w/ these). The rules according to my dressage coach are minimum of 20 mins of connected, really through, dressage type work every day. As in no slack off w/u by galloping around the field before jumping. Not unreasonable and I have to acknowledge she has several very good points in her argument for this... So combine that with the fact that I do generally make an effort to follow advice I've paid for, we're making a point to include this in every ride (although sometimes the 20 mins is *after* jumping - not sure if that's bending the rules or not? hmmmm just so much easier to accomplish when she's warmed up, forward, and using her back -- and the fastest way to accomplish all of the above is to jump :). Anyways -- the rules according to my jump coach are "only gymnastics, lots of gymnastics, and always at a trot" -- again building strength, coordination and confidence. And helping to fix the long and flat issue that is so prevalent in our course work (not that we're doing courses of course cause we're following the rules and only doing gymnastics >;-P)

So I get on and Miss Sienna is spinny -- could be cause it's 10deg cooler than yesterday, could be cause I usually ride in the aft (read "after turnout"), could be cause I asked her to work before breakfast (NOT in the contract!), or maybe she was just feeling good. Regardless there were definitely a few wheeeee moments :) But she settled, and being dedicated we diligently followed the new regime we did our 20 mins or so of "real" dressage and treadmill type work building muscle, strength, etc etc and mostly trying to get solid enough so as to not be laughed out of the dressage ring. N she got back into the rhythm reasonably quickly so I was pleased w/ that. Still a long way from where I'd like us to be, but at least putting a solid effort in and got an amazing right canter transition. Those of you familiar w/ ottbs will understand why this is a BIG deal. hahaha it's the little things in life eh?

Now having decided to get w/ the system such as it were, I came out before I rode and set up a very nice gymnastic. 3 trot poles (thereby insuring I won't be tempted to cheat and canter in), then a series of 4 verticals each one stride apart. Txt-book distances (which she conveniently can meet no problem) I had the first and last one up and all the rest as poles on the ground (jump coach is big on "set the gymnastics from the last one first so the horse always knows what's coming"). So having warmed up over an X on the other side of the ring, and jumped the last fence of the gymnastic a few times in completely calm and unexciting fashion we decided to do the line. Trot over the trot-poles, no problem. First fence, no problem, then FLY to the end of the ring w/ a mini burp over the last fence. hmmmm not *exactly* what I was going for. Try again but this time we canter the trot poles (a feat of athleticism I was *not* looking for. So much for no cheating. Sheesh!) and tear off to the end of the ring. Ok, change of plan. Make final fence bigger and put third one up too. Now we @ least have a reasonable speed-bump in there. hahaha trot in, jump first fence calmly, fly over first pole, jump next fence huge and bounce over the last one. ummmmm yeah. There was definitely supposed to be a stride in there.

Ok time to reassess -- what things make horse fly through gymnastics? One -- worried, unsure, brain fell out ear, flee response. Two, rider ahead of motion. Very much afraid we probably had *both* scenarios. So I go back to our wonderful dressage (yeah EXTRA treadmill time -- do I get bonus points?) and re-find her brain. On the plus side, she came back soooo much faster. In the past if there's been a meltdown (usually caused by external activity) there's been no recovering, so this was hugely better. Then we dressaged our way over our little w/u fence a few times till that was quiet and easy again as it had been in our w/u. Ok horse has brain reinstalled, rider has acknowledged her contribution to disaster, go try again.

Still fast, but much better. Ok fine -- get off and put up last fence. Now we have three trot poles to 4 fences each one stride apart which go up in height progressively 2'3, 2'6, 2'9, 3'. And 3' is about the highest Sienna's been intentionally asked to jump. She's getting more comfortable w/ it, but it's def high enough that she still thinks about it. So first attempt w/ all four we start w/ the drunken-filly routine, and then when she realizes she has to go straight, we fly. hahaha ok well at least we're through. N didn't even come close to touching anything. Another dressage interlude and try once more focusing entirely on quiet rhythm (along w/ no stupid rider errors!). Just about perfect. I was stunned and grinning ear to ear. hahaha then I had a nice long debate w/ myself about "leave it on a good note" vs "prove it wasn't a fluke". Well two more perfect runs later (complete w/ being balanced enough to calmly halt on a straight line afterwards!) and we ended it there. But man did she ever have amazing form once we got the rhythm under control. Wow. Although I have to admit I would prefer to refrain from bouncing one-strides in the future *g*

So overall I was really happy w/ the morning -- both w/ myself for smartening up (about friggin time!) and w/ super-pony for figuring out the challenge :) hahaha this of course means next time I get on she'll be completely ignorant and I'll hit the ground at least once. But we all know that's how the game is played.

Oh and if you ever want to feel like a beginner -- try mounting on the off side! hahaha for those who never do so anyways. Used to do that all the time as a kid but haven't in oh a decade or so. Horse is so one-sided though that I'm trying to do everything I can to balance it. Well lets just say it wasn't my most graceful maneuver ever!

As of 9:00 tonight I'm on vacation! Woohoo :) Of course I have 2 horse shows in my "week off" and a zillion other things to do, but I'm hoping to get to sleep in at least once or twice :)

I'm having trouble w/ shapes becoming strangely shaped...

Ok so I'm curious -- how is it I could practically live at a barn for five years, accumulate mountains of stuff, and move out all in one day w/o forgetting so much as a hoof-pick... And then be at another barn for not quite a month, 10 months later I manage to pick up the "last" of my stuff from there -- and then promptly leave something else behind. Sheesh -- classic eh? Wonder if it has anything to do w/ which one I feel more comfortable returning to >;-P Psych 101 there :)

Btw -- did you know giraffe can be used as a verb? Particularly in relation to a horse performing the direct opposite of traditional dressage. As in "when he's giraffing, ride him forward and bend him". hahaha there you go -- you've learned something today. Wonder if it was the giraffes causing the shapes to become strangely shaped? Not that there are all that many giraffes in Caledon traditionally, but one never knows. There definitely used to be a camel not too far away so it's decidedly possible.

And I think that's a sign I need to get some sleep. hahaha night!

Brain too full of work to come up w/ a sharp title...

So I've been somewhat eagerly awaiting the arrival of a couple packages that are way delayed... Yesterday I get home and YEAH there's a package. So how disappointing is it that the package there is *not* one of the two but rather a necessary work-related item that I really don't care about in the slightest. Boooo. I want the FUN packages :) hahaha ah well.

Jumping yesterday and there was a beginner adult lesson going on at one end of the ring, so I was rather limited in what I could jump -- one fence and one set of barrels. Did both of those np, so get off and put the fence up a little. Still np. Get off again and set it to 3' mark. Clears it by a stupid amount. hahaha so figure we'll do this a few times till it becomes easy -- well the next time she pulled it w/ her hind end (first time *that's* ever happened. Sheesh). Get off again and put it back up. Next time pulled it w/ the front -- but that was rider error. Sobeit. However, at this point the girl coaching at the other end took pity on me and put the fence back up so I didn't have to get off (her students were busy taking a break :). And just sort of as an aside as we're cantering buy she comments "keep her more up in front and together, don't let her get flat." N it was like "well duh." sheesh. Sometimes you need somebody on the ground to tell you when you're being an idiot. Sure enough, I packaged her just a little more and she jumped it flawlessly. Really, should've been able to figure that one out on my own *sigh* so am more than a little annoyed at myself for that. Speed, balance, impulsion. Apparently all three are required. hahaha we had plenty of speed and impulsion but were seriously lacking in balance. Well problem solved and lesson learned.

Dr lesson the other day -- we show up and Si turned into dressage pony... hahaha well not so much as my *last* dressage pony, but it was like "oh yeah, when I'm here we do this..." Sheesh. We decided it's just cause there are wall-to-wall mirrors and she wants to look pretty *g* hahaha

Why is it work is always insanely busy the 2 days before you go on vacation??? I'm going to *need* that vacation after this!

It is completely unimportant. That is why it is so interesting. -- Agatha Christie

Interesting? Well possibly not-so-much :)

Ok so when one wears shorts approximately once every 5 yrs or so. . . and then decides to wear shorts on the only day of summer. . . and ends up w/ bright red lobster legs and feet. . . one rapidly learns just how cruel a contraption breeches and paddock boots are. All I have to say is . . . ow! Purely hypothetical of course. Sheesh. Dr lesson tonight should be interesting! And why is it every time I have a dr lesson it's storming out? Tornado warnings even! Sheesh. Could somebody explain this to me? Every dr lesson I've had since I got Si has been indoors.

Went for an amazing hack in the Dundas Valley on Sat -- story on Graduate Riding School blog. Was the kind of ride that reminds you why you have a horse. Spent some time updating that website too -- new header pics, a little bit of a cleaner look, and I've added the start of a bookstore :) hahaha let me know what you think! Haven't got latest pics up yet, but they will get there eventually.

I am so beyond tired. Shouldn't be -- got to sleep in yesterday even. Boooo. Ah well -- 4 days and then I have a wk off! Woohoo. Of which 5 days so far are booked -- but hey I still get two off in there, that's progress right? hahaha classic.

Gotta admit I'm really quite impressed by this storm. And I'm even more impressed that it waited till today to hit instead of yesterday! Thanks Nicole >;-P