Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"Puppy" Play Time

Indy is my current dog and second Sheltie. Lacey, my first Sheltie, adopted me at the Oregon Humane Society and was such a sweetheart I fell in love with the breed. Regrettably, due to illness, Lacey was humanely euthanized a year ago and was placed in the OHS columbarium with our other dogs.

I went Sheltie shopping last fall and was directed to a woman who acted as a liaison between northwest Sheltie breeders and potential dog owners. She connected me with Indy's owners who were seeking a good home for him. It seems he already exceeded the AKC height limit for Shelties at one year of age. Their loss was my gain. I thought I wanted another female, but Indy has proven to be such a character I'm glad he came my way. He obviously had a more loving and stable beginning than Lacey had, as evidenced by his utter lack of concern when under foot.

Horse people are typically dog and cat people, too. I'm not much into cats, although I do love the Critter Control Staff at Canby Equestrian Center (Moe and Romeo). Dogs often accompany their people to the barn and wait patiently while their people "waste time" with the equines. When it is safe to do so, we've started letting our dogs have play time in the arena.

Our current play group is comprised of Indy, Abigail (a cocker puppy), and Breeze (a 5-year-old rescue greyhound). They are hysterical as they run around the arena. Breeze goes into race mode and frequently mistakes Indy for the mechanical rabbit that she once pursued. I think he's finally figured out that he can change direction faster than she can and, when his "cutting horse" moves fail, Breeze runs right past Indy if he stops to sit or lay down.

Today Abigail and Indy had the arena to themselves. Abby is growing like a weed and becoming more sociable and braver as she gets older. She is all over Indy and they take turns chasing each other, although Indy has more stamina at the moment. Abby had us in stitches today when she stalked Indy as he paused to catch his breath. And we were surprised and amused when Indy jumped nearly three feet over Abby who unexpectedly stood up just as he made his leap.

Eddie and Charlie, Jewel & Steve's mini dachshunds, have yet to join the puppy play group at the barn, but we can imagine the dynamic the little "hot dogs" would add to the mix.

As they say, no outfit is complete without a few dog hairs. Or horse hair....

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Gone with the Wind

Whew! It was such a windy and blustery day, none of us rode our horses.

I arrived at the barn first and just felt happy that I wasn't blown off the road on the way. I decided I did not want to deal with the rattling barn and arena from the saddle. I was going to be a whuss and longe with side reins. Turns out it was a good decision. I had all the excitement I needed when Phantom got loose in the arena while I was trying to attach the side reins.

I had longed him first without the reins to get the "piss and vinegar" out of his system. He took off a couple of times when the wind slammed into the end wall of the arena and I just let him race around me. Well, the wind shook the arena again while I was occupied with the side reins and he bolted. At least he's contained in the arena, you say. Um...well...our arena doesn't have a gate. So the first thing I did was run to the open gate and block it. Fortunately, Phantom had no intentions of leaving. One trip around and he was willing to let me rescue him from the "bogey wind."

We returned to business and Tracey the trainer arrived well into our longe session. She didn't want to ride either! Just when the lull in the wind lured one into relaxing -- whoosh! -- it shook the end wall again. By the time I was ready to leave, another boarder had arrived and she, too, decided against riding. She had Cody rigged up in surcingle with side reins.

Funny how we all decided we could wait until the storm blew through to return to the saddle.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

$ for Words

I got a brief writing job last month and received payment. Whoo hoo!

The job was related to my environmental writing experience, and may lead to future work. Now, my writing goal is to write and publish fiction. But being recognized for my writing skills and receiving money is delightful for any writer.

Writing is a job done in isolation and requires confidence in your abilities and chosen project. That confidence waxes and wanes. The trick is to keep on keepin' on.

So -- even though my recent job wasn't in the fiction arena, it was still an acknowledgment of my writing abilities.

Speaking of fiction:

I got a bee in my bonnet and have been sidetracked doing background work on a new story idea. I'm such a Gemini! Bouncing from one project to the next, leaving behind a trail of unfinished stories.

But...I will finish the current project. I have a first reader who wants to see it and that's incentive to complete the "Crappy First Draft" and render a much-edited second draft (or more) for review and comment.

Write on.