Monthly Archives: February 2013

More busyness and a ski day, too

Busy, busy, busy.  I’m still hoping to get Netwalker Uprising out by March 1st, but damn, this has been the Book From Hell to get out.  Hopefully things will get better…but this has been One.  Tough.  Book.  And then I have to write another one to top it.  Netwalk’s Children should be fun, but OMG, this is one book I plan to plot, plot, plot.

Hopefully the  readers like Uprising.  There’s a lot of tie-ins to current events and I feel like I’m running just ahead of the latest neuroscience…getting to be a bit of a mad race.

Meanwhile, in other affairs, Riding Has Proceeded Along.  Miss Mocha has been quite energetic and switching to a Pelham has had interesting effects–we’re swapping leads quite nicely although a bit on the fast side.  Nonetheless, counter-canter! Comfortably! And two-track on the diagonal at the lope!  Granted, it ain’t purty.  Yet.  But first we have to hit Willing Suspension of Disbelief In Latest Movement Request, Human!

And then today was a sweet bluebird skiing day.  First day back after my fall, with the new helmet.  I’d decided to switch back to the glasses I’d used for a while, and they work better.  The new helmet is comfy and I like it better.  But….

The boots.  Damn it.  Boots!  I had a hard time controlling the skis and it was a midski wiggle.  I’ve put in over 160–maybe even as many as 200–days on the slopes with these boots.  I stopped to talk with the bootfitter on the way home and he pretty much confirmed that those boot liners are packed out.  Either new custom liners or new boots.

Or….I still have the Lange Exclusive boots that got too tight for me.  I talked with the bootfitter about them.  His comment was “I can make a boot bigger, I really can’t do much to make it smaller.”  So I’m going to see if I can use those boots.  After all, they skied well the first few months I had them…but I was heavier, and then had all those injuries to my feet that may have made my feet swell.  I put my custom footbeds in the Langes and tried them on with my ski setup, and they seem to be plenty roomy.  Just need to have my bindings adjusted (half size larger) and we’re good to go.

It wasn’t all problematic on the slope, either.  Lovely snow day, dry crispy snow.  That made the boot issue even more annoying.  Went down the pitch that threw me with no problems, and figured out why I fell–combination of leaning too far forward and a momentary midski wobble.  I skied much slower than usual because I had to overcontrol my skis.  Not fun at all in some respects, but it was so absofuckinglutely gorgeous that I didn’t care.

We got four runs in on Flood before going up to the Mile for two runs.  I stopped halfway down on the Mile and tightened up my boots–definite improvement but still not enough.  The second Mile run, I hit one stretch where it was steep, the tired leg didn’t want to turn right, and I had to force the turns.  Too much fighting the boot, and it meant my hips didn’t want to work right, either.  Or something.  I just knew that lovely as the conditions were, once turns stop working consistently, it’s time to get off the slope.

Nonetheless, it was a lovely ski day.  Second ride up on the Mile, I spotted two ravens together where one raven had been on our first loop.  And that lovely, squeaky, crispy snow!


Damn boots anyway.  Of course, it would help if I were a better skier.

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Out with the old, in with the new….helmet, that is.

Six days ago, I took a hard fall when skiing.  It wasn’t on a black diamond or even a difficult blue slope; the slope’s own name, Kruser, testifies to the reality that it’s a pretty easy run with a few sharp drops that are more fun than anything else.  Nonetheless, I caught an edge, weighted my downhill ski wrong, and flipped to land hard on my back and shoulder.  During the tuck and roll, my head hit hard on the packed powder snow.








That was the helmet on my head during that fall…and that crack, right where you see the harness in the full picture, was the result.

I had a wee bit of whiplash from that fall, but I suspect that without the helmet, things could have been much worse.

And, per all helmet advisories, that helmet has served its time and is now in the trash.  It’s been replaced.






And am I a helmet advocate?  Oh hell yes.  The only time you’ll find me on horseback without a helmet is during a Western show.  On skis or on a bicycle…never.  Helmet.  Always.

Didn’t need this to make me a believer, though.

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A little light schooling

So it appears that I got a bit of whiplash from my ski fall the other day–enough to make driving to and from work painful on Wednesday.  Thursday I stayed home with muscle relaxants, then started tiptoeing back into activity yesterday.

Today, I rode Miss Mocha.  I’d been planning to move up from snaffle to Pelham, just because she’s ready for a bit more collection in counter-canter and outside bend than she’s been willing to offer, and I know that the feel of the curb often helps her balance and relax in a different way from the snaffle.  I rode with a collar, just so I wouldn’t do anything stupid and overbend, plus to keep me from popping my shoulders up.IMG_7617





The photos turned out blurry because the camera was on the wrong setting.  But I did get some good shots, and figured that I’m clearly slumping in my core.  Yuck.  But I did like the line of my hands in this shot:






And a few other shots, including one that just makes me smile to remember how it felt:












And oh yeah, counter-canter does exist.  With a wee bit of collection.










And it’s a brave man who could sit while the horse ran straight at him, without flinching, and snap this shot as she stopped.

(Or at least someone experienced in the ways of reining horses and their people).

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Ski days 5 and 6–yard sale!

Sunday was one of those absolutely gorgeous ski days.  Foggy and moody at home, but up on the Mountain it was crisp, bright and clear.  Driving up, we spotted snow whirls way up top and worried that they meant wind, but it was still at Timberline.  The snow was crisp and sharp underneath, and we got three runs in on the Flood chair before moving up to the Magic Mile.

Four runs on the Mile, two on an older section with a couple of interesting drops.  Sunny, sunny day, gorgeous time.

Today was mist and half-rain, half-snow.  Crisp, icy snow underfoot and a fresh wax job.  Both DH and I are still feeling our early season conditioning muscles, so we weren’t pushing it.  Kruser was a nice run so we did it three times.

But the second time, I took a fall. A real yard sale of a fall, as we call it in skiing, with both skis popping off and poles flying.  Not sure how or why I fell, really, just caught an edge on a little halfpipeish V curve that really isn’t that difficult, except…something caught.  I found myself overbalancing and going down, twisting in midair to catch the fall just behind my right shoulder joint, popping out of my bindings (good, I was thinking as that happened, I so do not want to feel that pain), and landing hard on my back.  My head thumped but the helmet absorbed the shock and my roll had me ending up half on my left side.  DH took a slow, careful fall, I was half-up by the time he was done.  We checked in with each other, then I stumped up the hill to retrieve my first ski and we snapped back in.  The snow was actually pretty forgiving; not hardpack, enough to have some give.  Less snow or a fall like that on hard ground would have hurt more.

So far, there doesn’t appear to be much going on other than sore muscles.  The abs I’ve been working as part of my Pilates program are achy tonight, which suggests to me that I subconsciously engaged them as I fell, my shoulder is sore, my hip is sore.  But I’ve had worse.  As a result, though, I got chilled and wet to the skin (not just that, some other stuff), and ended up feeling wiped out for the day.  Not surprising.

We did three more runs after my fall, and then called it quits.  By then the weather was an icy, sleety, snowy mix.  I was chilled enough that I had problems bagging my skis in the wind and needed help.  But once in the car and warmed up, all was well.

I keep thinking over the fall sequence, though.  Not from fear, rather, from thinking about how to describe it.  One thing I have noticed in falling from skis or from a horse is that I seem to have the same experience of intense focus and looking around for a place to fall.  I never seem to be able to do that if I trip while walking, but skiing or riding, I can.  It was odd because I had the same sensation of picking my spot to fall–there–and working with it.  Ski pops off here, I land here, other ski pops off here, head bonks here, roll onto side and stop.  Very clearly delineated.

The only thing I can’t account for is how my pole got bent.  Not bad, but clearly bent, enough that it was catching a little bit annoyingly.  I’ve got a spare, so that’s taken care of.

Anyway, that was interesting.  This year’s skiing is definitely less aggressive, mainly due to illness and to working my way back from last year’s hip injury/long term hip maintenance.  Getting back into shape.  It’s coming along.

ETA–looking back, these were ski days 5 and 6….

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Oh, mare.

Miss Mocha has decided it’s springtime.  For whatever reason, that seems to mean that we are having battles.  Tremendous breakthroughs at the same time…but also battles under saddle.

Today, she decided that the half-open arena side door was Going To Eat Horses.  But since she’s supposed to be a broke, finished horse, the spook consisted of a lovely two-track by the offending door.  When correction happened, it was an even better sidepass at the trot.  Correction, at the moment, being a whip since I’ve been working on my hips and didn’t want to worry about my heels.

Eventually, I prevailed.  But we had to revisit the same battle several times.


She did some lovely two-tracks at the lope (not quite so by the Damned Door, geez, you’d think it’d be good for something!).  A wee bit of fuss at the counter-canter, but still reasonably NBD.


Half-pass on the diagonal at the canter.  In both directions.  Not pretty, not perfect…but this afternoon, after all the outside bend, the counter-canter work, and Everything Else, she decided that Maybe She Could Do It.  After the second one, I dropped the reins on her neck, let her do a few circuits of the arena at a canter on a long rein, then took her outside.

Outside, she got barked at by an aggressive shorthaired pointer on a chain (raised her head, looked intensely but didn’t hesitate or swerve).  Then a flock of mourning doves flew up almost under her nose, not all at once but in sets of two or three, in a succession of five flights, and she never flicked an ear.

Oh, mare.

(I ruefully shake my head.)

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This and that, ski day #4, catching up, writer stuff, weird horse humor

Work is crazy and I’ve been sick, therefore minimal blogging.  This state is probably going to continue for at least a couple more weeks, and then I’m hoping it will cool off for a while.  ‘Tis the IEP season, and furlough days add to the challenge.

The latest bug managed to hit everyone in the family in one way or another.  I finally started feeling decent last week and went skiing with another teacher at Friday night ski.  Didn’t see a lot of the students but had a nice time.  Icy, fast, and I was wishing for a little less wax but grateful for newly sharpened edges.  The hips worked okay, but tired quickly.  It’s going to be a while before I can have long, intense ski days with me against the Mountain in a storm.  But hopefully it can happen again.

I remembered why I’m not a wild fan of night skiing after a bluebird day.  Bluebird days mean sun and melting, which means freezing after the sun gets low, which means ice.  Sure, it’s stunningly beautiful, especially if there happens to be a full moon (sadly, no), but it was not a night for challenges.  I went down Vicky’s once and ended up muttering and swearing along the way, mainly the upper stretch.  But it’s just one short and steep, narrow dip, and then the rest of the run’s pretty sweet.

Still, that upper stretch?  Arrgh.

I did manage to knock off a short story last week, complete from original notes on Saturday to final draft submitted on Friday.  Themed anthology piece, hope it works.  If it does get accepted, I think I’m going to use it as a plotting/organizing example, then tuck it aside as a potential teaching piece.

Mocha has been quixotic this week.  G has been gone for judge training and his absences do set her off stride.  Girl likes her routines.  Nonetheless, she’s been pushy in small ways.  Some of them are fun, like when she took off a lot faster and harder than I expected when we did rundowns.  I laughed and rode with it.

But then there are the other times.

She got grouchy about me asking her to do two strides of canter between two points in another session, and decided I must really mean “trot,” not “canter.”  Discussions ensued, including entertaining lateral evasions at rollback speeds, popping of whip, and sessions of two canter strides, whoa, two canter strides, whoa, two canter strides, whoa, all around the rail, in both directions.  A bit of that, and then she decided she could do it between two points after all.

I’d be more worried but we have occasional sessions like this where she just plain decides to get sticky about something she’s done repetitively before.  She’s overthinking it, for some reason, and that usually means she’s reprocessing this familiar movement in connection with something else we’ve been working on.  I don’t always understand the linkages she’s making but there generally is a connection.  Smooth out the behavior she’s sticking on and the other movement we’re developing also improves.

She’s also been getting pushy in little ways on the ground and I’ve had to correct her.  In talking to G tonight, she started anticipating a stop, or turning in a particular way to face him, without being cued to do it.  In fact, she moved from a position I’d put her in to a position she preferred.  I corrected it by moving her around, then reparking her.  She didn’t move.  Little stuff?  Yeah.  But with a horse like her, best to stop this stuff early and firm.

G commented that she was herding and driving the other mares around in turnout today.  Making a play to be alpha?  It would match the pushiness she’s been showing–it’s spring and The Girl is feeling dominant.

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