Here’s some video from late July — when Martha Deeds, Jill Garzarelli, and I schooled cross-country at the Colorado Horse Park. This was Lila’s first time over training-level fences. We had a few refusals (e.g. at the corner), but she was really great overall. Who would have predicted that my lazy, opinionated, on-the-forehand draft-cross would be such a capable eventer?!? She’s my girl!
I like this:
About 10 years ago, I sat down with Phillip Dutton and asked him what I could do to be more competitive. The first thing he told me was to “never underestimate how long it took me to get mentally strong enough to be this good.” He didn’t say I needed better horses, more lessons or more money. None of those things hurt, but they will not take the place of mental strength. I think other sports focus more on this than eventing, but we need to realize how integral it is to our success.
Personally, I feel like I’m gaining experience in all the varieties of mistakes that I can make every time I compete. I figure that so long as I’m making new mistakes, all is well. Also, once I start competing Phantom, I’m going to have to make a whole new slew of mistakes, just because she’s so different from Lila.
So when I get impatient with myself, as I often do, I need to remind myself, “never underestimate how long it took me to get experienced enough to be this good.”
Tomorrow morning, I’ll head to Santa Fe for a weekend competition on my horse Lila. We won’t return until Sunday evening. As a result, I won’t broadcast any live radio shows this week… and I won’t do much more blogging for the rest of the week.
However, that doesn’t mean that I’ll leave you high and dry! I’ll post a brand-new podcast on Sunday. It’ll be the lecture entitled “Moral Conflicts and the Virtue of Justice” that I gave at ATLOSCon in 2012.
Here’s the abstract:
As we live our lives, some people will harm us by their moral wrongs and honest errors, and we may commit such wrongs and errors ourselves. Objective moral judgment is an essential part of the rational response to such events. Yet circumstances often call for more than judgment: sometimes, forgiveness and redemption come into play. In this lecture given to ATLOSCon in 2012, I explored the nature, function, and limits of forgiveness and redemption in relation to the virtue of justice. Then we applied that understanding to common examples of wrongs and errors.
So be sure to be on the lookout for that… and have a fabulous rest of the week!
Paul and I are on vacation, and yesterday, we hiked six miles along “Cucumber Stream” near Breckenridge. At the mid-point of our hike, I waded into said stream in my Vibrams to cool off my feet. The stream was not merely cool, but OMFG COLD!! After just a few seconds, my feet got “brain freeze.” (Really, the feeling was just the same, only in my feet.)
Here are some choice pictures that Paul Hsieh took as I walked back through the water to the blessed shores of dry land.
I swear that I was not hamming it up for the camera. That water was was insanely cold.
Phantom arrived this evening! She’s here, and she’s mine, mine, mine!!!
I’d gotten everything ready in advance, so when she got off the trailer, I just took her up to the barn, walked her around the area, and then let her loose. She trotted and cantered a bit — not due to any great anxiety or excitement, but just to stretch her legs after two long days in the trailer coming from Atlanta. After a bit, she got in a good roll and then settled down to eat hay.
For now, Phantom is staying in the dry lot which surrounds the barn. Lila is in the neighboring ring, so they’ve said hello a few times. (Elsie departed to a new home yesterday evening, so Lila has been lonely for the past 24 hours!) Tomorrow, I’ll turn Lila and Phantom out to pasture together. (Right now, that pasture is occupied by the lovely quarter horse mare of the guy who trailered Phantom out to Colorado. He’s spending the night in his live-in trailer before heading out tomorrow.)
I’m just amazed by how smoothly everything has gone with this purchase of Phantom. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that it was meant to be!
Last weekend, Paul and I headed to Atlanta for ATLOSCon, a weekend-plus conference produced by the Atlanta Objectivist Society. We couldn’t attend the whole conference due to conflicts in our schedule, but we greatly enjoyed ourselves nonetheless. So if you’re interested in Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism and you’d like to meet a slew of interesting, benevolent, and happy people, set aside Memorial Day of 2015 to attend! The conference just gets better every year, and new faces are very welcome.
Two days before heading to Atlanta, Martha Deeds suggested that I look at horses to buy there, as the pickings are very slim for thoroughbreds in Colorado. My reaction: “Uh uh uh…. OKAY!” I drove out to Conyers with Arthur Zey on Sunday evening to check out a just-off-track thoroughbred mare, and I liked her so much that I bought her!
She’s very forward, she’s built uphill, and she’s powered from behind. All of that is critical, but I fell in love with her big floating gaits and unflappable attitude, which you can see in this video:
I rode her too, of course — walk, trot, and canter. I even jumped her over a little crossrail a few times. She’s very, very green (i.e. inexperienced, untrained), but she’s also calm, sensible, and willing.
She only raced nine times. Apparently, she never took to it. Her race name is Phantom Opera. I don’t want keep that, although I like “Phantom.” I think I might compete her as “Phantom Luck,” but I’ll call her Phantom or Fanny (Phanny?) at home. Oh, and here’s her pedigree.
She’ll be mine — ALL MINE — when she arrives from Atlanta in just a few days! We’ll have lots and lots to learn together. Since she’s so recently off-track, I’ll be training her slow and easy for the next few months. (She needs to gain about 100 pounds too.) Meanwhile, I’ll continue to train and compete Lila, who will soon have a new friend!
Doggie Mae has a major addiction to laying about outside and periodically barking frantically at wildlife and passing neighbors… which is annoying. Today, I finally tried a citronella bark collar on her. Alas for her — but hooray for all nearby humans — this change has ruined all the fun of roaming about and barking. This morning, she asked to let inside, despite seeing that some very awful neighbor doggies were passing by on the trail. (!!) Right now, she’s happy to be inside, sleeping quietly.
Hooray! Clearly, I should have tried this with her years ago!!
In case you have a barking dog problem, here’s the collar that I bought: PetSafe Bark Collar. It says that it’s for small dogs, but it’s fine for large dogs too.
My policy is that I’m putting the collar on every time she goes outside, at least for the next few weeks. I hope that will change her behavior permanently, but she’s very smart, so I’m sure that she already knows that the collar is the source of her discomfort. So if she has to wear it every time she goes outside, so be it!
Paul Hsieh and I were married fifteen years ago today! The secret to our marriage is that I keep him in dinners and he keeps me in horses. Happy Anniversary, Mr Woo!
I witnessed an unexpected Rube Goldberg Machine of animals on Sunday morning.
Realizing that I was about to go outside to feed the horses, doggie Mae ran into the living room, dropped her ball, and chased it toward the kitchen table.
Doggie Conrad got excited and ran towards kitty Oliver, who jumped up on the cart on which I feed the cats.
Merlin, who was on the cart, jumped down and then up to the kitchen counter in a panic, sliding across the counter and knocking to everything… including the bowl of chicken covered by a dinner plate.
The dinner plate slide off the bowl and crashed onto the floor, breaking into many shards.
Then everyone calmed down… and the cleanup began.