The Pitfalls of Animal Rescue

 Posted by on 18 April 2015 at 10:00 am  Animals, Economics, Horses
Apr 182015

I saw this post on a group about draft horses on Facebook a few days ago:

Here’s my question: How many sweet, wonderful, and sound draft horses went to slaughter while this person lived out his fantasy of “fate” with this poor colt … who will likely never be more than a pasture ornament? This kind of emotionalism — combined with the broken window fallacy — makes me so very sad.

Mae and Her Best Friend the Green Ball

 Posted by on 9 April 2015 at 10:00 am  Animals, Dogs, Personal
Apr 092015

The other day, I was trying to bring Mae inside, but she was obsessed with her best friend the big green ball. So I took the ball from her and threw it over the fence of the dog run… which she promptly leapt over. Then, a few moments later, I was surprised when she came back over that fence (from the low side!) with the green ball in her mouth.

Of course, we had to do a reenactment for video. She wasn’t quite as smooth or eager the second time around, but she did it!

A Quick Thought on Aggression in Dogs

 Posted by on 4 March 2015 at 10:00 am  Animals, Dogs
Mar 042015

A quick thought in response to some BuzzFeed article along the lines of “it’s all how you raise pitbulls, not about the breed”:

Sorry folks, but as the owner of a much beloved dog with fear-aggression problems (Mae), I call bullshit. My dog wasn’t ever traumatized, she’s on meds (prozac, which helps tremendously), and I’ve done tons and tons of training with her. And guess what? Her problem still persists, even though much lessened in severity so that she’s pretty manageable.

Really, why do people suddenly think that all mental problems are due to environmental causes — that none are genetic or otherwise inborn — when considering dogs?

I’ve known some awesome pitbulls, and I’m not opposed to the breed per se. However, genetics in dogs matters a whole lot, and breeds are known for certain kinds of temperaments for a reason.

Addendum: I just read the article, and it’s even more stupid than I thought. The tendency to aggression in dogs has nothing to do with the size of that dog. *facepalm*

Las Cruces Horse Trial

 Posted by on 13 December 2014 at 10:00 am  Animals, Horses, Personal, Sports
Dec 132014

Back in November, Lila and I left the sub-freezing (and by that, I mean -12°F) weather of Colorado for a few days in warm Las Cruces, New Mexico for a horse trial.

Here’s our dressage round:

Here’s our stadium jumping round:

Lila was great in cross-country too — bold and forward. I was particularly pleased with how we jumped the ditch: I stayed up, and so Lila jumped it without a second glance. Alas, I don’t have any video because the USEF has banned helmet cameras due to safety concerns. (Hopefully, that will be temporary.)

We ended up in 5th place… which isn’t bad. If we’d just not had that unlucky rail down in stadium, we would have won. Them’s the breaks!

Dog Agility Done Right… and Slow

 Posted by on 8 December 2014 at 1:00 pm  Animals, Dogs, Funny, Sports
Dec 082014

This is the most fabulously funny dog agility video ever:

He’s willing, just v e r y s l o o o o o w.

An Exciting Hack

 Posted by on 6 December 2014 at 1:00 pm  Animals, Horses, Personal, Sports
Dec 062014

Earlier this week, Phantom was a bit of a handful on our hack along some neighborhood roads to get to the arena. Here’s our conversation:

Phantom: The sun is setting. I’m worried.

Me: We’re all chill, nothing to worry about here. We’re just on a nice quiet hack.

Phantom: I’m still worried. My buddy Lila is missing me. I miss her.

Me: It’s okay, lovebug. Lila will be okay, and you’ll see her again soon.


Me: It’s alright, he’s just going for a walk, like us.


Me: No, let’s just keep walking, love.


Me: Oh sh*t…

Video from Eric Horgan Clinic

 Posted by on 6 December 2014 at 10:00 am  Animals, Horses, Sports
Dec 062014

Over Halloween weekend, I rode Phantom and Lila in a three-day clinic with Eric Horgan. (Eric was the reason for going to Aiken, South Carolina last winter… and the reason for doing the same this winter. He’s wonderful.)

Here are some video highlights from my rides on Lila:

I was particularly delighted with Lila’s flatwork. We’ve come a long way, baby!

Here are some highlights from my rides on Phantom:

Phantom was very excitable the whole weekend — mostly due to being separated from Lila, I think. So that was a struggle for me. Still, we made progress, and we’ve been doing really well together lately.

The More Cats Change…

 Posted by on 24 November 2014 at 2:00 pm  Animals, Cats, Personal
Nov 242014

Oct 182014

Here’s the video from my helmet cam of Lila’s cross-country round at the Greenwood Farm Horse Trial in Texas. (That was last Sunday.) In sum, Lila jumped wonderfully boldly from a gallop for so much of the course — until disaster struck! — and then we recovered to complete the course nicely.

Here’s the video, but you might want to read the description below it for context before watching.

The bold jumping that Lila gave me throughout this course is exactly what I’ve been struggling to get from her for some months. Her hock injections, plus some changes in how I rode her, made a huge difference.

In particular, I was so proud of her (and me!) for how we jumped the trakehner. Trakehners are logs set over ditches, and this was a max height log (2’11″) over a deep ditch. Lila isn’t great with ditches, and I’ve always been freaked out just by the thought of these fences. We’ve not ever schooled over them, although we jumped a log with a half-ditch under it in the horse trial at Santa Fe. (We didn’t do that very well, however.)

Over this trakehner — which you’ll see right after the white fence — I cantered her into it with plenty of gusto and determination, and I kept my eyes above the horizon. She jumped it without the slightest hesitation, and you can hear just how pleased I was by that.

Not too long after that, we had our minor disaster at the log fence headed into a gully. I was quite tired heading up the hill into the pasture. (My stirrups were a hole shorter than they’d ever been, which was good, but extra-tiring.) So I didn’t sit her down in the way that I should have in the few strides before the fence, and I probably didn’t give her any leg. I was just a passenger, and that’s never good.

So as you can see on the video, she stopped suddenly in the stride before the fence, and I was thrown forward, hard. I ended up in front of the saddle, arms wrapped around her neck, with my face looking close-up at her ears. I really really didn’t want to fall off, so I shimmied backwards when she raised her head and neck. That took just a second or two.

As soon as I sat up — still in front of the saddle — Lila decided that she’d had enough. She began cantering back up the hill, and I started getting pretty scared as she went faster and faster. I realized that I could have a pretty bad fall unless I stopped her pronto, so I put on whatever brakes I could, stopped her with some difficulty, and then wiggled myself back into the saddle. You can hear the panic in my voice during that segment. Yes, that is funny! Laugh away!

Then we jumped the fence properly, and we finished the course just fine. (Well, the ditch to the brush was a bit rough, but we got through it.) The only casualty was my glasses, which I never did find.

Despite that bit of craziness, I’m soooo proud of Lila for jumping so well. Obviously, I need to work on my balance and endurance in my cross-country two-point, and that will get done in the next few months. (It’s already underway!)

We ended up in last place, but that’s fine. Lila showed me a whole new level of potential on this very difficult course — the most difficult novice course we’ve ever done — and that pleases me greatly.

Interview of a Guinea Pig

 Posted by on 16 September 2014 at 12:00 pm  Animals, Funny
Sep 162014

This is adorable:

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