Tuesday, December 16, 2014

"Appaloosa to Zebra: Horses in Rhyme from A to Z"

It's been a long time since I've updated this poor blog. But my neglect is for a good reason: I have been very busy writing and editing books.

One of those books is my new book of horse poems. It's called Appaloosa to Zebra: Horses in Rhyme from A to Z.

It can be bought here. Thanks for taking a look!

Available on Amazon

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Even Mustangs Go Shopping at the Gift Horse!

Timber obligingly poses by the store sign.
The Gift Horse is a lovely horse-supply store and saddlery in Woodinville, Washington. I had the pleasure of doing a book signing there last year; I signed copies of For Horse-Crazy Girls Only while a herd of horse-crazy girls painted horse models and played games.

But it was even more fun to stop by the store the other day with my horse-crazy daughter and see an actual horse clip-clopping up to the window.

This horse seemed far more alert than your typical horse. He flicked his ears constantly and turned his head in all directions to keep an eye on things. He didn't seem nervous--just extremely vigilant.

His exceptional alertness made sense when his owner told me that he was a young mustang she'd adopted a few months before. He'd only come off the range in southeastern Oregon in 2011. His name is Timber.

Timber's black hide and long, curling mane made his owner suspect that he had Friesian heritage. She also thinks he's descended from horses bred to supply the U.S. Army in times past--horses who were known as "remounts."

What she does know for sure is that Timber ran with a band of bachelor stallions. His watchfulness suggests that his specialty in that band was guard duty!

Timber was at the store that day to be fitted for a new saddle. Good luck in your new life, Timber!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Elephant Horses and Poodle Ponies: Horses on Parade

blue poodle pony
Our riding stable likes to round out the year with a rally day on which all riders get to demonstrate what they've learned to an admiring crowd. Capping off this event is a costume parade. This year the theme was "Circus," and the patient ponies and horses were turned into everything from a circus strongman to a lion. Here are some of my favorites!

Poodle ponies also come in pink.

Ponies can be elephants, too.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Behind the Scenes at "Cavalia"

photo courtesy Cavalia
"Cavalia" is a horse show like no other--a beautiful blend of circus, ballet, and myth. It's a stunning spectacle for anybody, and even more stunning if you're crazy about horses. You can read more about this show, its horses and humans, and its history here.

I saw "Cavalia" several years ago when it galloped into my city. I was perched way, way, way up in the top of the huge circus tent, up near where I could've been clipped by the wings of migrating geese if there hadn't been a roof on top of the tent.

Despite nearly getting altitude sickness, I still fell under the magical spell of the lovely horses on stage--sometimes thundering across it, sometimes prancing, sometimes seemingly floating.

This past weekend, my daughter got to see the show from a front-row seat. And she got to go backstage afterward to see the horses off-duty! So all these pictures below are hers. (She could not take pictures during the show, of course.)

What I really like about the pictures is how the horses--who seem like unicorns and Pegasi and other magical steeds on stage--are just your typical oat-munching off-duty ponies offstage. For some reason you think they must always have flying manes and tails and twinkling hooves, so it's rather fun to be reminded that they have more in common with your trusty riding-school mount than you'd think!
A lot of effort goes into braiding those manes.
Lots of tack...
...all kept nicely organized.

Friday, January 6, 2012

My Little Pony, and Nobody Else's

How many of you horse-crazy girls are (or were) into "My Little Pony" ponies?

My Little Ponies galloped onto the scene in the early 1980s, when I was starting work as an editor in a publishing company, so I was a decade-and-a-bit too late to start collecting them.

(Yes, I know there are lots of grown-ups who collect them, but I am guessing that a lot of these collectors played with the ponies as kids, and they're fond of them because they bring back fun memories. I'm quite sure that if My Little Ponies had been around when I was a little girl, I'd have loved them and would've kept them all.)

I do have a horse-crazy girl, though, and she loved My Little Ponies for a few years, so I did get to play with them for a bit. But, you may wonder, if I don't collect them, why am I yarping on about them today?

Mainly because one of the horse blogs I read talked about a site where you can make your own My Little Pony, and I had to go and check it out, and before I knew it, I was designing my own pony. Here she is:

I haven't a clue what to name her, though. Suggestions welcome!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Late, Great Gatsby

The path taken by a horse and rider consists of hoofprints for a long while before it splits into two paths, with hoofprints going one way and the rider's footprints the other.

Our favorite lesson horse at our local stable has, sadly, taken that other path. Gatsby, a black Morgan gelding, lived to the ripe old age of about 28, a lot longer than most horses survive, and he had a good life, but that still doesn't take the sting out of the sorrow of saying good-bye to him.

I didn't ride him, of course--I only got to pat him on the nose and scratch the crest of his neck along his mane, and if he could have rolled his eyes at these attentions, he would've.

Instead, he endured them and just stamped a forefoot now and then to say, "You're distracting me while I am trying to will that girl with the feed bucket to appear from around the corner."

But my daughter and other riders got to know him very well over the half-year they spent with him and report that he would follow them around and give them "horse hugs" by curling his head and neck around them.

He also apparently had an interesting gait between a trot and a canter that they called "trantering."

"Gatz," as he was often called, wasn't a famous dressage star, jumper, or race horse. He was just a sturdy, reliable fellow who was kind to his riders and, according to some info we found online, helped them collect ribbons at 4H events in both English and western classes. He was said to have "a big heart."

There are lots of such unsung horses out there, giving generously of themselves every day.

Maybe you know some of them. Give them an extra pat, a kind word, and, if it's OK, a bit of carrot or apple.

We're hoping Gatsby is enjoying lots of all that in whatever celestial pasture he's kicking up newly supple heels now.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Horses with Curls for Horse-Crazy Girls

We went to the Puyallup Fair last week, and in one barn we came across every horse-crazy girl's dream: a young horse that was happy to lie on its side like a dog with its head cradled in its fond owner's lap.

Look closely and you can see how curly the horse's coat is. Would it surprise you to learn that she's an American Curly Horse? Curlies' curls may be tightly crimped, like this filly's, or just wavy. Some horses in their summer coats may only show curls in their ears, manes, or fetlocks.

The Curly mare below is named Epona. Epona is the ancient Celtic goddess of horses, in charge of their protection. The name means "Great Mare" in a now-extinct Celtic language.

This Epona stood close enough to the barrier around her stall so that people could just reach her forehead and nose but not any other part of her, which enabled her to exhibit her breed's traits of calmness and friendliness without having to interrupt her nap (clearly showing off another breed trait, that of intelligence!)