Monthly Archives: March 2020

Work-in-progress musings

So while I’ve had some down time after finishing The Ruby Project: Origins, I’ve been thinking very hard about character series arcs for the three Ruby books. Usually this involves sitting alone in the living room after hubby’s gone off to bed. I’m sipping on a shot of whisky or something of that ilk, and just letting my thoughts wander.

This project is the first time that I’ve tried writing a complete series before marketing or release. Back in the day, writers were discouraged from such behavior. You wrote the first book, then started shopping it around while writing something unrelated. But these days, especially in the era of self-publishing, one of the recommendations is to get a series written, then release it all within short intervals. Both of my existing series, Netwalk Sequence and Goddess’s Honor, were first written during the old days. Both series expanded further than I expected, probably because they were written over a span of years. In this instance I’m going to go ahead and write all three books before releasing the first one. I’m thinking it could be easier than writing a series over a span of years, especially since this is one that wants to be written in a white heat.

Not that this means the series is going to lack depth, at least judging from what I am seeing as I develop these character arcs. Along with the agtech stuff is a heavy dose of family politics, relationship stuff, and…yeah. Human trafficking comes up in these books as it intersects with technology and the development of a culture of indentured servitude as a response to financial ruin. Go broke and bankrupt? Sign your life over to a corporation for a number of years. Owe a lot? Welp, you’ve just become a slave.

So far everything’s been written from one character’s POV. I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to bring in other POVs or not.

In any case, the projected order is The Ruby Project: Origins, The Ruby Project: Ascendant, and The Ruby Project: Realization.

I suspect that work on the rough draft of Ascendant will start next week if what I’m doing now comes together like it should. Especially in this era of COVID-19. If it flows like Origins, it’ll be done by mid-April. Ideally, I’ll take a week off, and then it’s on to Realization.

I’ve done this once before, when I wrote three books in the Netwalk Sequence, ten years or so ago when I went back to writing. Netwalk and Netwalker Uprising ended up requiring significant rewriting work. Netwalking Mars was a total trainwreck and I ended up scrapping it, though pieces of it ended up in Netwalking Space. Part of that was due to some very improbable physics and…yeah. Character development really, really sucked. As it turned out, those books ended up being better but it took rewriting Uprising to include the Gizmo and issuing a second version of Netwalk to incorporate it.

But I have many more years of experience under my belt now, enough to not make those mistakes. Part of that also includes not releasing the first book until all three are finished, then doing revisions.

It’s not at all what the publication plan I drew up in January projected. COVID-19 kinda screwed those plans up. So this is the year of Ruby, and if I get lucky…then perhaps I’ll get the Vortex Worlds stuff started.

We shall see how things unfold.

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Musings on an era of contagion

How quickly things can change. About a month and a half ago, COVID-19 was a slight concern on the horizon as I attended RadCon in the Tri-Cites. Yes, cases were happening in Seattle and people were starting to think about handwashing and not touching their faces. But really, it was business as usual. I took my usual precautions against norovirus and con crud, washed my hands faithfully, and was careful about my exposures. Right after RadCon we went to Portland for a quick trip. Within a day of our return I was down sick with something. Chills. Headache. Body aches. Fever. Cough and mucus, thankfully all upper respiratory. But my fever was high enough that I didn’t want to do anything other than sleep and read. I certainly couldn’t think, and lost five days of writing.

The bug–whatever it was–resolved quickly enough. I had a fever for two days, and then it went away. Coughing and mucus remained, but I didn’t think much about it because as someone with asthma and hay fever, plus a tendency toward bronchitis, I normally have lingering sinus and coughing going on after an infection because everything including my lungs is usually irritated. I know what it feels like when a post-infection irritation becomes infected, and what measures work best for me to banish it. Nothing about this bug ever crossed any of my parameters of this is going to be a problem, go to the doctor. But I also have the tools I need to fight a bug on hand–allergy sprays, cortisteroid inhaler, rescue inhaler, etc. My normal habit when I get sick is to attack it aggressively and keep the dang thing from getting too settled into my sinuses, because I’m allergic to upper respiratory bacteria as well, and there’s nothing like an endless cycle of infection, allergy, infection, allergy to drag me down hard.

All the same, it’s taken 2-3 weeks to recover from this bug. We’d assumed it was the flu, because the onset and the symptoms appeared to be more like flu. Plus husband came down with a milder case the next day. And yet, like anyone else who has had a bug this winter, we wonder. Probably will not know one way or the other, alas.

So we were already somewhat in isolation when COVID-19 hit hard in the region. Not that our lifestyle is particularly outgoing these days. We go hiking or on sightseeing drives to spot wildlife, most of which is without a lot of contact if any with other people. Maybe 3-4 times a month we go out to eat, except for when we go to Portland once a month. Supermarket trips are often 3-4 times a week as we walk to the store for exercise. I have a couple of meetings a month, sewing days once a week, and occasional excursions to local events. I make regular trips to the library and bookstore, as well as the quilt shop and Wild Carrot Herbals. And then there’s the horse, but everything at the world of the horse is outside. Her tack, treats, and grain are at our house. I groom and tack outside. I ride outside.

Of these activities, seeing the horse and going for careful hikes and drives are left. Grocery trips are now down to once a week, and with the car to account for the larger shopping.

I’ve been focusing on writing during this time of contagion. The Ruby Project has metamorphed into a trilogy with the titles The Ruby Project: Origins, The Ruby Project: Ascendant, and The Ruby Project: Realization. I’ve finished book one, and am letting it sit while I think about books two and three. I have decided that my days of loosely planning a series are done. This time I’m going to script out books two and three. More than that, I am thinking that I may do a rapid release of the books in the fall. Ruby is a fast-paced agripunk thriller that would benefit from this treatment. It’s a big book, and in other times, I’d be running with it as a submission project. In this era…well, we’ll see. It won’t hurt anything to have the books written and ready to go as a package. More than that, I’m pretty excited about what I’ve blocked out so far. The closest I’ve come to doing something like this was writing three Netwalk books in the course of six months. But I was nowhere near as experienced a writer as I am now, nor have I blocked myself into an impossible corner like I did with the Netwalk books. Plus, well, it will keep me distracted. Itching to get back into that world is an EXCELLENT sign right now. Ruby, Gabe, Brandon, Markey, and Justine are whispering to me. And ooh is it fun.

But before I start blocking Ascendant and Realization, I have some other writing to do. I’m part of the NIWA (Northwest Independent Writers Association) Spring Blog Tour. I join five other writers in writing short blogs about the business and process of writing, to be shared amongst our blogs. The tour starts next week, with everyone posting their first blog on their own website, and then five weeks of guest blogs. I have two of my six blogs written. The good news is that those are two of the three hardest subjects, and the next blog is the last of the tough blogs.

A local quilt shop handed out mask-making kits and I made some. Now I’m waiting to hear about scrub caps, because I want to keep my contribution local for now. But I have a donation baby quilt to work on, and some other projects in mind.

So at the moment we are still recovering from a bug, hunkering down, and finding things to do. While I’d like to go get my spring porch flowers, I’m also being cautious and telling myself that there will be time later. Perhaps now is not the time to spend the money or risk the exposure.

A quiet time in the era of contagion.

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Happy 20th birthday, Miss Olena Chic (Mocha)!

Happy 20th birthday, Miss Olena Chic (Mocha)!

I met Mocha a few days after she was born. At the time I was just a lesson rider at the barn, and cautiously peered into the foaling stall to look at the little chestnut filly who was the much-anticipated result of breeding one of the barn owner’s well-bred mares to an up and coming young stallion, Chocolate Chic Olena. Mocha’s dam Annie had a show record of her own, but more importantly she was an extremely protective mother who would bellow at any horse led by her stall, so I had to limit my look to keep Annie from getting too agitated. I can’t remember if I helped lead Mocha in after Annie after a day’s turnout but I’m sure I did–she would not have been the only young one I did that with at that barn.

Memories of Mocha over the next few years are sketchy. I led her to and from turnout, but for the most part since she was supposed to be the barn owner’s personal horse, I didn’t handle her much. Then things changed slightly when Mocha was four. I realized she was up for sale, but wasn’t in the market. If I had been, I probably would have bought her older half-sister who was for sale at the time, Erika, a lovely dunskin mare who had gone through cutting and reining training down at Oregon State. But I was also just starting a teaching position, and wasn’t in a space where I could buy a horse. I do remember leading her in from turnout one day, and murmuring to her as I pulled off her halter “I wonder who you are for?”

A year later, the answer was ME. Circumstances changed. I went to the barn owner with a price range and told him I was looking to buy and what did he think about these possibilities I’d printed out from Dreamhorse? He offered me Mocha, with a price right smack in the middle of my range.

I’d forgotten she was for sale. So the next barn trip, we did the trial ride. I later found out that I was the first person up on her in ten months, ever since the last rider had dropped a rein and Mocha stepped on it, nearly cutting her tongue off. Nonetheless, she was docile, listened, and I enjoyed the ride. She was five and a half years old. Pretty green, but by this point I had been in lessons for a while and was actually looking forward to being able to leave my own impression on a horse rather than schooling rehabs or tuning up school horses.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that while she had strong opinions, she also enjoyed working under saddle and had a lot of energy. Her canter was erratic and I decided to spend some time working at her in walk and trot to build up her muscles–after all, she was coming off of a ten month layoff while her mouth healed. We started in a regular jointed snaffle, but I soon moved her to a French link and then later to a KK Ultra bridoon for snaffle riding. I bought a cheap Western saddle that fit me, figuring that I could buy a really nice new saddle later, once she’d had enough time under saddle for her back to muscle up. At some point, I bought a nice used Collegiate Senior Eventer saddle and started her going in English tack as well. Six months later, I bought the Crates Reiner I now use for her in Western.

One reason for buying the English saddle was that I decided it would work better for getting her into a better quality canter. We spent that first winter working on building up her hind end, and in the spring I started asking for lope. It got better. At the same time, we were in weekly lessons. Once I bought the reining saddle, we started working on reining work.

A few years later, things were such that I was ready to take her to a schooling show, and an opportunity opened when one of the other boarders wanted to take her horse too. The show was at a facility a few miles away from the barn. When we got there, we unloaded the other horse first. Mocha started trembling with excitement and I remember the other horse owner cautioning her husband to watch out as I turned Mocha and led her out, thinking that she would leap out.

She didn’t.

It was a huge show. We got a stall, and Mocha started calling to other horses and fretting. Eventually she settled, but she was still pretty wound up. I took her into the warmup pen because the show was proceeding pretty slowly. We rode around the pen in the crowd until she settled, and then I parked her on the edge so that she could watch what was going on in the arena. Right away she showed a lot of interest in staring at the other horses. This big show even had a couple of saddle seat classes with some high-stepping Saddlebreds, which made her sharp and alert. But the show drug on forrreeeevvvver, and it was late when we finally got to warm up in the big arena. I can’t remember if we scratched without ever getting into the arena or if we made it into one class, but nonetheless it had been a good experience for a first show.

We went on to do 1-2 shows a year for the next few years. I didn’t have a trailer so going was dependent on what other people were doing. Mocha started needing hock injections at age nine–to be expected with the extreme sickle hocks she has which are great for reining competition, but not so great for potential arthritis. These went on for five years at about nine month intervals. Nonetheless, even with only 1-2 shows a year, by our last big show she had the show ring routine down to the point that we left a three-day show with mostly first and second place ribbons.

Then disaster struck, about the time that hubby and I decided to buy a retirement place in Wallowa County, in Mocha’s fourteenth year. I went to the barn one day to find Mocha barely able to move around her stall. It took me at her head and the barn owner supporting her hindquarters to get her out. Her right hind was sore (we never did figure out why), and there was a HUGE hole in her left front hoof. Not an abscess hole, but in the white line between sole and hoof wall. The farrier was due in a couple of days. When he came, he shook his head.

“White line disease. That’s what killed her mama.”

She ended up going through a hoof resection, and having nearly a third of her hoof wall cut off. Support was provided by an oval-shaped bar shoe. She had to wear a bell boot over that shoe at all times, and for six months she was unable to leave the stall unless she was attached to a person. I could ride her with a bareback pad, but only at a walk. Toward the end of the six months, I ended up riding her in a short shanked curb with double rings that I could rig up as a Pelham, with snaffle and curb reins. Riding her bareback at that point was like riding a coiled spring. When she was finally able to go into turnout, she went crazy that first day, bucking and kicking and running.

I thought it was over. But it wasn’t. For the next year and a half, until we moved her to Wallowa County, I played whack-a-mole with that damned white line disease. It would get better, only to erupt in another hoof. I ended up buying a special soak called White Lightning to fight it and reinforcing gallon freezer bags with duct tape because that was cheaper than buying the specialized bags. Mocha was patient, but it was also obvious that she was tired of all this stuff. At one point, the barn manager pulled me aside to tell me that I needed to know that Mocha was severely depressed when I wasn’t around, that she perked up and would show less pain when I came. I knew that she looked for my arrival. Her stall was right by the barn door and she clearly knew the sound of my car. Many times I would either get a nicker or see her standing in the middle of her stall, ears forward, looking at the door. At this time we stopped the hock injections because the inner joints had fused, and the outer joints were getting too tight to easily inject.

Then we moved her to Wallowa County. For fifteen years, she had lived in a stall with occasional turnout and regular riding. She went from that to living in an outdoor pen 24/7, with broodmares, stallions, foals, and PIGS around her. It initially did not go well. She fretted and fussed, pacing her pen. She didn’t eat well. She was distressed. She lost far too much weight, to the degree that the new barn owner and I feared we might get reported. She colicked once. She had a minor case of laminitis followed by huge abscesses in both front feet. But…the white line was retreating, even though everything else was problematic. And then we x-rayed her feet, to discover that she had old rotation (i.e., not from the laminitis), and that the angle that she had been shod and trimmed at for years was wrong. She’d lost about a quarter inch off the tip of both coffin bones in her forefeet.

Thank God for good farriers, vets, and barn owners. We tried pads on her feet, but she hated them and wouldn’t move. I got frustrated about her not moving in the pen and being sore as a result. Movement, and she was less stiff and sore. I’d get her moving good, then put her back in the pen…to come back to a sore horse. By this time, the hay pasture had a handful of horses as the barn owner was moving the herd back home slowly from the various pastures around the area where they’d been living. I asked the barn owner if she thought throwing Mocha out into the big field would hurt her–after all, she had a lot of experience being the rehabilitator of last resort for injured horses who might get better on pasture. She said “turn her out.”

For three days, at feeding time, Mocha would come to the gate and call for hay. Then something clicked, and she realized that she had food 24/7, and all the grass she could eat.

Things got better from there. We learned that Mocha developed intense attachments in a herd setting. That Mocha grew a very thick and warm coat, so she didn’t need blanketing. That this little stall princess THRIVED in pasture life 24/7. After a year of pasture life, she made it known that she did not, would not, happily stay in a stall any more, thank you very much.

And then she did things like adopting an elk yearling as her baby.

About a year ago I started noticing that the strength she had maintained up until the white line struck had returned. Over the course of the last year she’s gotten stronger and stronger. We’re able to do things we’ve not done for a while. And she came out of this winter fat and sassy–a tribute to the good management she experiences.

On April 30th she’ll have completed her fifth year in Wallowa County, in better shape than she was when she came here. And she made it to 20 years, when five years ago I wasn’t so certain she would last a year.

Happy birthday, Mocha. Here’s to another lovely year ahead.

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Riding log days 23 and 24

I’m getting a bit lazy about keeping up with these things. Nonetheless, riding is happening.

Day 23–3/16/2020. Western saddle and short shank curb, pasture ride

Today we rode with a couple of other people. I didn’t do much schooling and Mocha was full of herself, snorty and energetic. But we did two track at all three gaits, practiced getting over the making of faces and pinning of ears at horses coming up from behind her, and general light riding.

Day 24–3/18/2020 Western saddle and short shank curb, road ride

Somebody was a little snot for the farrier yesterday while getting the first hind shoes of spring, so today was an attempt to start working her a bit more covering ground. And to celebrate her 20th birthday. She was on her toes and full of herself today, and even after four and three-quarters miles that included trotting and then walking up a steep hill, she was still energetic and full of herself. I have thoughts about her birthday, but that’s a different post.

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Riding log in the time of pestilence…day 22

3/12/2020. Western tack, pasture work.

Another bright sunny day, though the wind was sharp, indicating that we’re going to be getting a colder turn of weather this weekend. Mocha’s shedding has slowed down after the first application of the shedding blade. That’s probably a good thing. She’s drowsing nicely at the hitching rail while I groom her, though again, the PIGS did something to set both her and the mare on layup off.

She definitely moves more confidently through the mud with Western tack on. I’m not sure if that’s due to the distribution of weight by that evil, evil Western saddle* or if it’s the back cinch. Either way, it’s a distinct difference that seems to show up in mud.

*I just left a dressage group on Facebook after going through a round of “reining is evil, Western saddles are horrible, and the horse in that video is horribly abused” (based on a liberty video that was clearly a retired older horse that hasn’t been in regular training and has something going on, whether it’s navicular, hocks, or PSSM-2 variant). Of course, I guess that “classical dressage” or at least that brand of “classical dressage” can’t tolerate any variant from a certain type of horse and particular aspect of riding discipline. When the guru of the group chimed in with how evil reining is, welp, that was the handwriting on the wall and I left. Thankfully, I know that these people aren’t the end-all, be-all of the world of dressage, though I’m sorely disappointed because I had a lot of respect for said guru. That’s diminished now thanks to the closed-mindedness demonstrated by said guru who jumped right into the bashing.

So anyway, we did serpentine work in the Evil Western Saddle!!!! and Evil Short-Shanked Curb!!!!!. Mocha was moving a little short in her right shoulder at the jog, but a spell of working serpentines at all three gaits seemed to bring her out of it. She’s still full of beans but is listening and not pulling, which is one of her habits when she starts feeling that spring goodness. Flying changes seemed to be NBD today, even the left to right which can be problematic when she’s stiff. But then, by that point she wasn’t moving short at the jog, either. We also did two-track at walk and trot, backing in a figure 8, and bowties. Then there was a stretch of transition work. She’s getting sharper at transitions again, now that we’ve been schooling them, and she’s moving off the seat and leg better.

At the end I let her gallop because the footing was pretty good. She stretched out more than she has for a long time, still accelerating as we approached the fence. I think she tends to run harder in the Western saddle.

Oh, and I found my lost phone. No idea if it works yet. Unlikely since it’s been buried in a snowbank for a couple of months.

Anyway, at the end we did a few spins. Mocha gets pretty excited about those now that we’re doing them at the end of the ride. Oh wait. I forgot. We did the EVIL SPINS!!!!! (yes, the Guru and the followers were ranting about how ugly spins looked, how awful they were, and of course they are unnatural unlike canter pirouettes) and she was excited about doing them. Yeah, I guess I’ve got her all routinized and brainwashed and programmed. Never mind that this horse is a seeker of patterns (a mindset I think is pretty common amongst any Western pattern horse) and that once we start doing something like serpentines or other pattern work, she starts anticipating the next move. Of course their dressage darlings never ever do anything like that….right? I’ve brainwashed my horse…hah! I still remember several sessions when she decided that she knew better than me what we were supposed to be doing, and blew through leg, seat and hand to go in the opposite direction from what I was cueing her to do…yeah.

And then we did tight serpentines on our way back to the gate because my brainwashed horse was still energetic and raring to go…. yeah, well, I’d been getting diminishing returns from that group anyway.

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Riding log–day 21

3/1/2020. Western saddle, curb bit, pasture ride.

Still bouncing back from being sick. But today was the first hot date of the season with the shedding blade, and the attempt to answer the eternal question…”is it a Quarter Horse or a big Shetland Pony?”

I got two big piles of hair off of Mocha, enough to make up two rabbits worth–and American Standard-sized rabbits, no MiniLops or Holland Lops. She enjoyed the scratching of the blade with half-lowered, blissed out eyes. Although at one point the mare on layup decided that the PIGS had done something snort-worthy, which set Mocha off as well.

All the same, after I shed the jacket because hey, today it’s spring, we set out through the mud in quest for some decent footing. Spring mud is not a novelty; the old barn had a drippy roof with slick spots so we’re both used to it. But it’s easier to deal with in the Western saddle, at least right now. We did a lot of serpentines at all three gaits–first time at the lope for a while. But hey, we had flying changes (kinda sorta a couple of times) and no irregular weirdnesses on either lead.

Mostly, though, we worked at a jog. Mocha’s back to being pretty catty in tight turns at the jog so the shoulder appears to have gotten through the worst of the winter without flaring too badly. We also worked in the bowtie at the jog, did two-track at walk and trot, and the forehand haunches turn lines. We also worked on transitions, and ow, ow, ow. They need work. Both of us need tuning up when it comes to that. OTOH, that seems to be a common March issue, so…I’m figuring things will improve as we work. They did as we went through the ride.

I’m still not pushing myself real hard with the recovery part. But it felt good to be breathing fresh mountain air, in the shadow of snow-covered peaks. Mocha is settling nicely into regular work again, which is nice to see. I’m very happy that we’re back to the type of work she was doing before the white line disease. Maybe I should have asked for it from her sooner, but somehow I just don’t think she was really ready until last year. Well, she was sick for a while, there, and had joints fusing. It makes sense.

In any case, it was a lovely spring ride and at the end of it I decided that she was more Quarter Horse than Shetland. Which works for me.

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The catching up riding log post–days 18, 19, and then sick before day 20

Yeah. I kinda slipped there after the first post after coming back from RadCon and the flying trip to Portland. I was going to write up days 18 and 19, and then bam! Got knocked flat on my butt with what I think is the flu but who knows?

Anyway, day 18 was 2/24/2020 and day 19 was 2/26/2020. Snaffle and English saddle, road rides, and the dragon was snorting. The roads are wet and soft right now and were better footing for work at trot and canter than the icy field. She was full of herself and wanting to go. I had vowed to myself that the next ride was going to involve the Western saddle and the short-shank curb. Someone was going to get her little brown rear end ridden off because she was full of herself and raring to go.

Yeah. Excellent plan. Except that when the next riding day rolled around, I was flat on my back sick. Fever and chills, headache, bodyache. Some mucus production in my nose with lovely post-nasal drip. I lay in bed for three days straight, sucking down as much water as I could, taking Tylenol and Tylenol-3, running the diffuser with OnGuard oil, and occasionally checking my temperature before the next Tylenol dose. At one point it got up to 102.5 F, and I was taking sudafed as well as hitting the asthma rescue inhalers to keep everything clear. When something like this hits, I’m team keep the passages clear as possible simply because a.) congested sinuses in me leads to a nasty circle of infection/allergic reaction to infection/infection etc, etc etc (I am allergic to upper respiratory bacteria) and/or b.) secondary bronchitis infection. So I don’t muck around with it. And I keep track of hydration and temps with my personal criteria of “okay, at this point I go to the doc.” Didn’t help that the news about COVID-19 kept getting more and more dire as I got sicker.

But after three days the fever broke, and then it was pretty much post-infection sucky post-nasal drip, cough cough cough, probable allergies flaring from something as well (I am using inhaled nasal and lung steroids as well as taking Claritin right now, yeah, I got this). Then it was a matter of clearing the brain, which took another two days before I could brain well enough to write.

The last “getting back to semi normal” piece was reminding Miss Mocha that yes, she is an owned horse, and that happened today.

So. Day 20, 3/8/2020. Short shank curb and Western saddle, in the pasture. I got the “who are you” treatment not only from her but the whole herd. Tribute of apples and carrots reminded Mocha that she was an owned horse, though when I tied her to the hitching rail, her head shot up and she stared off toward the pen where there are now, yep, her ultimate nemesis, the PIGS.

Now I already knew about the PIGS because the barn owner had posted pictures of their arrival, complete with a disgusted expression on the face of their neighbor the sheep. Trust me, the sheep let me know of its disapproval of the new neighbors when I arrived, along with sheep’s neighbor, a mare on injury layup who was staring at the pen with an expression matching that of the sheep.

However, grain and then brushing served as a sufficient distraction. I groomed a bunny’s worth of hair off of her, then took her out to the truck and tacked her up, whereupon she once again heard (and smelled) PIGS. She danced out to the field and started blowing big roller snorts. I laughed at her but was damn glad I had the Western tack today. Climbed on, put her on contact right away, and we headed out.

I did not have ambitious schooling plans for today, but with the antics, it was clear than light serpentine schooling at the walk needed to happen to get focus and all. So we did some easy walk serpentines, then crossed to the other side of the field and did a lot of slow jog serpentines and such. Two stretches of easy lope because the footing’s mucky, the line of haunch and forehand turns, and then spins.

A couple of miles shorter than our usual rides, but I’m not pushing. The cool air was good for my cranky nasal passages, and for all that Mocha huffs and puffs like a dragon, after a couple of coughs I think she got the idea that maybe I wasn’t up for big energy. Gotta love a smart mare.

I’m not as wiped out as I feared, but I’m still on the tired side. Gonna be a little sore tomorrow, too. Oh well. Slow and steady. We’ve been through this before, with all the years I spent teaching and picked up various respiratory bugs. There was one time when my cough was so bad she would stop dead while I hacked up a lung–and she was greenbroke at the time. So yeah. Good horse, even if she is a cranky and opinionated old mare.

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