No Live Shows This Week

 Posted by on 13 August 2014 at 10:00 am  Announcements, Horses, Personal, Sports
Aug 132014
 

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!

Rider Error in Jumping Cross-Country

 Posted by on 9 August 2014 at 10:00 am  Horses, Sports
Aug 092014
 

This is a fun video showing some of the errors that riders can make when jumping cross-country, comparing that with correct riding.

I wish that they’d shown more variety in the errors, but mostly I think that this horse deserves a medal for putting up with such deliberate errors! Then again, Lila deserves a medal for putting up with my non-deliberate errors!

Via Digital Horse

When Traditions Go Awry

 Posted by on 31 July 2014 at 11:00 am  Culture, Sports
Jul 312014
 

This article on the tradition of a golfer who gets a hole-in-one buying drinks for buddies (if not the whole club) — Why Golfers Buy Hole In One Insurance — is quite fascinating. Because of the cost involved, the tradition has given rise to insurance against seeming good luck. But it’s also a bit sad:

Other golfers admit to fearing the wrath of a spouse if they treat the clubhouse, and therefore having agreed with golfing buddies to slip away quietly without telling the clubhouse if anyone scores a hole in one. It’s a rather sad result of the tradition — instead of celebrating a hole in one like the once in a lifetime accomplishment that it is (the odds of getting a hole in one, very roughly, are 12,500 to 1 for an amateur and 7,500 to 1 for a professional), it pushes golfers to slink away like they crashed a golf cart in a sand trap.

If your cultural traditions transform a fabulous bit of good luck into a financial calamity… it’s time to change those traditions!

Dixie Jumps Cross-Country

 Posted by on 26 July 2014 at 10:00 am  Horses, Sports
Jul 262014
 

Last week, Cyndi Meredith? and I took our horses over to Spring Gulch for some work on their cross-country course. (Lila needed work on ditches in a big way.) As a result, Dixie got her very first school over cross-country fences. Even though she’s only jumped a few times — and not since December — she was super-chill and took everything in stride. Here’s the video we took:

With just a few weeks of work, she’d be ready to compete at “beginner novice” level, I think!

Dixie is for sale, I should add. She’d make a fabulous horse for a younger rider who wants to do Pony Club, 4H, etc. She’s super-quiet and willing to do whatever you ask. If you’re interested, shoot me an email and I’ll put you in touch with Cyndi.

Jul 052014
 

Here’s the video of the grand prix jumper whose bridle fell off in the middle of his course just yesterday in Paris. As you can see, the rider (Gregory Wathelet) to hold the bit with just the reins (with the bridle flapping below) and the horse (Conrad de Husmanaged) jumped the rest of his course perfectly. Amazing!

Three thoughts:

(1) That’s a well-trained horse who loves to jump!

(2) That’s a damn fine rider to keep his cool over those last few fences.

(3) The stupid ear cover probably allowed the bridle to slip over the ears. I’ve always hated those useless bits of decoration. Now, I hereby request that someone shoot me if I ever compete my horse in such silliness.

Kacy Catanzaro on American Ninja Warrior: WOW!

 Posted by on 23 June 2014 at 2:00 pm  Sports
Jun 232014
 

This clip from American Ninja Warrior is one of the most amazing and exciting feats of athleticism that I’ve seen in a long time:

GO GO GO, Kacy Catanzaro!!

Friesian Horses

 Posted by on 14 June 2014 at 10:00 am  Horses, Sports
Jun 142014
 

Someday, I will own a Friesian. I saw one competing in the dressage show at the Colorado Horse Park recently … and wow, they are spectacular.

ATLOSCon… and a New Horse!

 Posted by on 30 May 2014 at 10:00 am  Animals, AtlosCon, Horses, Personal, Sports
May 302014
 

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!

My First Normandy Bank

 Posted by on 26 April 2014 at 8:00 am  Horses, Sports
Apr 262014
 

Earlier this week, I took a clinic with big-time British eventer Lucinda Green. We struggled on the first day, but we did well out on the cross-country course on the second day. Happily, now Lila and I are very ready for our first novice-level event in mid-May.

Mostly, I’m just amazed that we were able to jump this Normandy Bank:

It was a looooong drop down for us — somewhere between 4 and 4.5 feet. I still can’t believe that we did it! Lila didn’t even hesitate. That’s my girl!

Meanwhile, I’ve begun looking in earnest for a second event horse — hopefully, a horse that I can take up through preliminary level, at least.

Oh, and if you want to see some really amazing eventing, check out the live feed of the Rolex Three Day Event this morning. The cross-country phase starts at 10 am ET!

Feb 202014
 

I really enjoyed this article on the upside and downside of perfectionism: Is Perfectionism Growth-Minded? Here’s a tidbit:

According to Dweck, the research says there might be two kinds of perfectionism, and those two ways of behaving have drastically different outcomes for people both in accomplishing their goals and in how they feel about themselves. One kind of perfectionist tends to agree with statements like: “People will think less of me if I make a mistake;” and, “A partial failure is as bad as a complete failure.” Another kind of perfectionist agrees with these statements: “I try to do my best in everything I do.” “I am driven to be excellent.” “I strive for high standards.” In these responses we can hear echoes of the person-focused vs. process-focused fixed and growth mindsets.

In the past, I’ve tended to think of perfectionism in purely negative terms — as just the “perfectionism monster.” However, in light of the horse training that I’m doing here in Aiken, I’ve been rethinking that view, along very similar lines to the article.

In my riding, my explicit goal is to achieve “best practice” most of the time, and that requires having very high standards and not accepting less. So if I shouldn’t transition to canter unless I have a damn good walk, and I shouldn’t approach that fence unless I have the kind of canter I need. I don’t ever want to just slop through what I’m doing: either I do it seriously and well or not at all. That’s the approach of the amazing coach we’ve been working with, Eric Horgan, and I can already see the huge benefits of his approach. Plus, he’s perfectionistic in that way without ever being unrealistic or belligerent. (He does threaten to kill us on a regular basis, but only in a very friendly way!)

That kind of growth-oriented perfectionism need not come with beating myself up for mistakes, seeking to show off for others, hating to admit ignorance, or any of the other problems of the fixed mindset. (I’m still doing the first, but I’m working on it. Eric has been very kindly discouraging that.) Instead, this growth-oriented perfectionism requires a heck of a lot of patience. The goal isn’t just to get it done, but to wait until you’re properly prepared to do it right. Oh, you’ll need endurance too, because you’ll still make mistakes left and right.

Basically, I’m thinking of “perfectionism” as more of a moral amplifier — with an upside and a downside, depending on how and when it’s deployed — rather than as a vice or failure mode. That’s not a fully settled view: I’ll be thinking more about this as this month in Aiken draws to a close and once I return home. Still, I thought that tidbit worth sharing now.

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