Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Writers in Virginia City

I was gone this weekend to Virginia City Nevada. I was lucky enough to attend a writers conference sponsored by the Nevada branch of the SCBWI and it was an amazing group of people gathered there to talk about writing and to mentor and critique. Just some names- Ellen Hopkins ( CRANK,GLASS,BURNED, IDENTICAL,IMPULSE) Suzanne Morgan Williams ( BULLRIDER)
Susan Hart Lindquist ( WANDER,SUMMER SOLDIERS,WALKING THE RIM) Yuyi Morales (JUST A MINUTE, HARVESTING HOPE,LITTLE NIGHT, LOS GATOS BLACK ON HALLOWEEN) and about ten others. My head was just spinning and jammed full of information by the time I left that group on Sunday afternoon. 
Virginia City is a fantastic place to visit no matter what you are doing. You can see ghosts, wild horses, bikers, families, famous people and not so famous people. The Bucket of Blood Saloon has a killer view of the 6 mile canyon, and the Delta Queen is still on the wall -glittering with ancient silver dollars . And as a writer or a photographer or an artist- if you aren't inspired there you never will be! 
I am inspired! I chose the conference instead of a horse show- and though I am sorry to miss the show, I came home with renewed vigor to finish the novel I'm working on and then to sell it! 
So with revision notes in hand, and a strong pot of coffee on the stove- I am going to endeavor to do that. 

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A brilliant idea?

I'm happy to report that Desi is doing so much better. Things are moving smoothly and he is eating with his usual vigor. Thanks to all of my saddle pards for your well wishes! 

My little friend Allison is still in a coma. It's amazing the outpouring of love and prayer that is coming her way! She can't help but get better with all those good thoughts  swirling around in the atmosphere! 
The Horsemen's Club that I am a part of is going to sponsor a Benefit Playday for her in May. I'm thinking fun and easy games on horseback that all her friends can come out and play, and also a couple of Carnival type games too- like a ping pong throw (prize is a fish)a bean bag toss, a dunk tank...( can you guys think of any more?) that even non-horsey folks can play.
More on this later....

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Poor Poor Desi!

It is a good thing that I like my vet, and he likes me- cuz I spent all day yesterday with him. Not only was it our shot clinic day ( yippee!) Desi decided to really colic this time! My oh my! He was not a happy camper- no siree! Belly distended and painful. He wanted to just lie down. Of course we walked him until the Vet came, and then we did all the ususal stuff. Desi began to perk up a little, but by 4 o'clock- still no poop happening!
Now, that isn't good news! Des wanted to eat, but the blockage would have just plugged it all up, so no foodies!
So off we went to the Vets office. Trailer rides often are poop inducers!
Nope! Not this time. So more stuff down the tube, out the tube ( if ya know what I mean) and pretty soon lil Des started to feel a bit better.
We brought him back home, and waited.
This morning- we had acheived poopiness! Yeah!
He's still not 100%- just nibbling at his food, but drinking and ...well you know... so I'm just going to keep an eagle eye on him for a day or two.

We are all set to move in a few weeks to the new barn. And I am really excited now. Not too much drama with the declaration of our intent to move, and I hope it stays that way.
Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

If you just believe things will work out- they will.

So I've decided to move the horses into a new stable. It is going to cost a tiny bit more but the improvements are going to be huge. Tomorrow I will give notice and I can almost hear the retort I will get from the stable owners. Disbelief and dismay from one and an 'F-you attitude from the other. I can honestly say I don't care what they think, but I do care if they neglect my horses, so I know I'll have to be vigilant as well as tolerant. I have Glacier, the Rescue mare well placed in a retirement pasture with plenty of green grass and a few other horses to keep her company. When things get a little more settled for me I'll move her to where the show horses will be- which luckily, is right around the corner from them! And the barn is only a few miles from my house, so I'll be able to ride more and drive less. Its only a few miles from Lil Mama too, so she is also stoked about the move.
So please bear with me if I'm a little out of sorts for a few more weeks. I'll try to get back to my cheery ol self real soon.
And Many Thanks to all of you for your support! You have no idea how much it was appreciated.

And as for my 16 year old friend- keep the prayers coming. She is still in a coma, but there is brain activity and all her vitals look good. Another of her friends went to visit her, and was encouraged to speak to her as if she were awake. When she was spoken to, her eyes fluttered. They said" Blink if you hear me" and her eyes fluttered. They said " Blink if you want to give me all your money," and her eyes stayed still. Little hopeful things- yes. But sometimes if you believe things are going to work out, they do.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

This has been a tough week blogger friends. If you read Mommy In Spurs blog, you'll know that I was verbally attacked by someone I thought was my friend. I was accused of something I didn't do and what can be worse than that? I take my integrity very seriously~ and as you all know, and what this blog makes clear to me daily, the horse world is a small world indeed. I try to live my life right and let my good reputation speak for me, but I know that no matter what I do in this situation, it is not going to be enough for the accusers, they will not be happy, and they will continue to sully my name.
This puts my horselife in an uproar and it is only likely to get worse before it gets better. Desi tried to colic in the middle of all this. Our weather has been so crazy, hot-cold,rain-sun, and I think because I had changed his blanket he might have gotten cold and stopped drinking water. I warmed him up with a hot bran mash, bute and some green grass so he's all straightened out now.

But that isn't the end of my really hard week.

One of my Horsemen's members, a 16 year old girl, took her horse to a show in Fresno. It was a cross country event, and her trainer was with her. Somehow , not on the course, but during a warm up, her horse tripped and she was thrown. She suffered brain injury and is in a coma. That is all that I know and the not knowing is just the worst part. She and her family are so far away, and how do you call for information or offer to help when you don't even know where they are? I am relying on third hand information to follow her progress. I can only pray to a higher power to help them. And in light of their suffering I feel so small and insignifigant with my measly little problem.
I am sure glad a new week starts in a few hours! It has got to be better than the last one... right?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sally Swift

Today I received this in my in box today. I have read Centered Riding, even though I ride Western, and found it to be helpful in many way. I know she will be missed by many.

Date: April 7, 2009 6:12:35 PM PDT

Sarah Rodman Swift known to her worldwide following as Sally Swift passed away on April 2, 2009.  Sally was less than three weeks away from reaching her 96th birthday.  She was born on April 20, 1913 in Hingham, Massachusetts to Rodman   Swift and Elizabeth Townsend Swift.  She had one sister, Agnes, who died in 2004.
Sally Swift was known all over the world for her innovative horse-riding methodology known as Centered Riding.  She was the author of two books Centered Riding and Centered Riding II – Further Explorations which, together, have had sales of more than 860,000 copies worldwide in fifteen different languages.  Sally was the Founder of Centered Riding, Inc., which is the non-profit organization that oversees the worldwide membership of instructors and horse riders.  Sally began Centered Riding at the age of 62 upon her retirement from the Holstein Association in Brattleboro Vermont.  Her first book, Centered Riding was published in 1985.

In August of 2006, Sally Swift was inducted into the United States Dressage Foundation Hall of Fame.  In June of 2008, she was presented with the seventh annual Equine Industry Vision Award by Pfizer Animal Health and American Horse Publications, an award which recognizes innovation, ingenuity and service across the entire equine market.
At the age of 7, Sally was diagnosed with scoliosis, lateral curvature of the spine.  She worked for many years with Mabel Ellsworth Todd, author of The Thinking Body who believed that you could control parts of your body with your mind when you couldn't direct them with physical movement.  Sally used concepts of her work with Mabel Todd to develop the Four Basics of Centered Riding.
Sally was homeschooled until 7th grade and then attended Milton Academy in Milton Massachusetts for her 7ththrough 12th grade education.  She graduated from Cornell University in 1947 with a B.S. in agriculture.  She worked for 21 years at the Holstein Association of America located in Brattleboro, Vermont, retiring in 1975.
Upon her retirement from the Holstein Association in, Sally began teaching her friends at the rate of $10 per lesson and $50 per day for a clinic.  She never advertised – her teachings spread by word of mouth.  Before long, she was going up and down the East coast with her teachings.  In the early 1980s, when Sally was in her early seventies, she began travelling to other locations in the U.S., Canada and eventually to Europe.  In 1988, at the age of 75, she went to Australia to work alongside Richard Weis, who was her first apprentice.  Sally continued to be very active in Centered Riding until her recent illness.
During the days of her illness, Sally was surrounded by her friends and Centered Riding family who loved her.  She was closely attended to by her long-time friend, Lucile Bump, also of Brattleboro, her devoted friend, Munson Hicks, her care-givers, and her special friend Francois Lemaire de Ruffieu.    Sally was well-loved my many, many people.  Despite her fame, breadth of knowledge and accomplishments, she greeted all who journeyed down her path with warmth and humbleness.
Plans for a memorial service in honor of Sally Swift are underway and will be announced on this website.  In lieu of flowers, donations in Sally's memory can be made to Centered Riding, Inc. P.O. Box 157, Perkiomenville, PA, Windham County Human Society, 916 W. River Road, Brattleboro, VT 05301, The Heifer International Foundation. 1015 Louisiana St., P.O. Box 727, Little Rock, AR 72203 or Amnesty International, 16th Floor, 5 Penn Plaza, New York, NY 1001
The world was made a better place by Sally Swift, and the horse world and all who came to love her deeply mourn her passing.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Thicket of the Devil

Mt. Diablo rises up 5000 feet from the floor of the Central Valley. It is a part of what the Spanish called the Volvone Range. To the East lies the Great Central Basin of California, to the West lies beautiful rolling hills and the Pacific Ocean. It was a place that was full of animals~ Elk,Turkey,Wolves, Fox, Bear and many more. The fresh water rivers and many creeks provided salmon,trout,mussels,clams and edible vegetation. A place that would rival The Garden Of Eden especially if you were one of The First People.

The First People lived in Mt. Diablo's shadow and lived so well in the bounty of the area that when the Spanish finally arrived all they saw were healthy ,happy people. And why not? Fish practically jumped into their nets, birds flew into their pots! Every person of the tribe was valuable and worked with everyone else like a well oiled machine. There were no long distance treks to hunt and gather food because every thing they could want was already here. They did trade with the Tribes across the Great River Carquin, for strange red obsidian, shell beads and seafoods. Often the Tribes of the first peoples - and there were a few- Miwok, Carquin, Bolbones and Chupcans just to name a few- inter-married making the trading ties stronger. The Spanish mistook their good natures for indolence and named them 'digger' Indians, after watching them 'dig' for river tule roots. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

Father Junipero Serra was 'called by God' to colonize California. He set up the long string of Missions up the California Coast, and that was the beginning of the End for the California Tribes. The Mission at San Jose was one of the very farthest Missions, only The Mission in Sonoma was further North, and the Spanish King was unhappy with the progress Father Serra and others were making with the 'Natives'. Once the Native people were baptized, the Church felt a moral and financial obligation to keep them in the Mission. Of course once the Natives realized that they could no longer live with their families, eat the Mission Cattle or sleep their days away, they didn't want to live in the Missions any longer. They often ran away, back to their territory, where their homes had been. The Mission Fathers would send the Spanish soldiers after them, and would pay to get their neophytes back.

The Spanish soldiers hated the Mission Fathers, considering them too religious, and going after the Native people was at least something for them to do, they actually wanted to be fighting, they were soldiers after all!

Usually they were able to track and return the Indians to the Mission, all except once. These particular Chupcan Indians had left the Mission and were heading North, back to the Carquin River and their tribe. They ran hard and lived like the chased animals they had become. They arrived at their village well ahead of the soldiers, but they were afraid the Soldiers would destroy them and their village in retribution. They gathered up the remaining elders, and came up with a plan.

The soldiers were not worried about catching the Native people. They knew that the People could only go as far as the River and would have to stop. The Spanish knew that no ship could sail the river, it was too narrow and shallow. They took their time riding down the escapees. When they finally reached the village,at the base of the Mountain of the Volvone, something quite extra ordinary met their eyes. The village had built a giant bonfire. It blazed hugely into the night, larger and brighter than any bonfire the soldiers had ever seen. The People chanted and sang around the fire all night, gradually winding down their ceremony as the day dawned.Knowing that the People wouldn't give them any trouble after such an exhausting night the soldiers slept. Early the next morning the soldiers remounted their horses, anxious now to capture the Natives and bring them back to the San Jose Mission.

They rode down to the village, across the brow of the hill, straight into the village, swords drawn, pikes at the ready- only to find the whole village- deserted.The fire still smoldered, the huts were still standing, but every soul was gone!

How could that be! The soldiers decided that it was the work of the Devil! The very Devil himself had swooped down into the village just to spite the Mission Fathers, and took the neophytes away! As quickly as they could they returned to the Mission and reported that God had lost and the Devil had won. From that moment on they called the Mountain of the Volvone- Monte Diablo- The Thicket of the Devil! Over the years Mount became Mountain, and thus the Mountain remains today. Some say they have seen ghosts of those Native Peoples in the hills and in the valleys of that sacred place.

The End

But Wait! You ask~ what happened to the People?

That is really the best part of the story- I'm glad that you asked!

The People had a plan. Because they were used to traveling over the River to visit relatives and traders, they had a flotilla of 'tule boats', boats made of the cat tail tules that grow thickly at the edge of the River. The ingenious way the boats were built allowed them to carry quite a bit of weight. The People packed up every soul, young and old, and floated them across the treacherous water of the Carquin River to safety. They joined tribes they had married into, and abandoned their ancestral homes.

There are many relatives of that tribe still living in the area today.

Friday, April 3, 2009

When a win is not a win.

I went to the first horseshow of 2009 today! I packed my truck, and my lil pony and drove to Woodland to compete in an AQHA show. This is the first show of the year, the first show where I went all alone, ( Lil Mama and the LC came up just before showtime-thank gawd!) the first show that I put a bridle on Desi and showed ' one handed', the first show at this location, the first show I've been in that was a freakin' wind storm. Whoo! That's a whole lot of first for this ol cowgirl!

Now you've heard me preach that you need to set small goals in your horse life as well as big ones. That is because the small goals are usually acheivable and help you feel better because you can see that you are actually going forward! My usual 'daily' goal is not to get thrown off! Whoo Wee! That goal was achieved today! My second goal is to have a good time- Whoopee! Another goal achieved! Todays third goal was to get my pony out of his usual comfort level by taking him to a new place. Ding ding ding- winner winner Chicken Dinner!My forth goal was to place, somewhere- anywhere....

WHA--wha-wahaaaa..... no such luck. (Three out of four aint bad!)

The second obstacle was a bridge- the kind that is made of two by fours and is about four feet x four feet- yeah... that tiny little scrap of wood...
Desi put one hoof on that and said " Eh, Mom- NO!" and flew backwards through the first obstacle which were walk over poles. DQ!!
It was comical ( to everyone except me) when he did finally place his front feet on the bridge and conga his back end around the sides, until I finally MADE him step on the whole thing! We made it! (a day late and a hoof short!) Next was trot over poles, (check-good,) weave the cones, (check good), trot over a pole into a chute, back through an opening in the line of poles on the ground,( Erk !! I think we touched that pole- eh maybe a few times!) Four more wide trot overs, then a nice sweeping turn ( check -good) three more trot overs, and into a very confusing box with two right angle turns. ( I think I made it through the first box ok- the second touch was the nut behind the wheel (me)! Trot to the gate, left hand push,( check- Good!) and finish! Whew!! All that preperation, all those hours at the barn practicing, all the fuss, and the clipping and the grooming ... all for four less than steller minutes in front of the Judge.
And you know what? '
It was totally worth it!
Guess what I'll be doing this weekend?

No!Not that!

I'll be building a bridge -- Sillies!