A Horse With No Name, America, Desert, equestrian, horses, Songmeanings.com, Wikipedia

Desert/Horse/No Name

Every destination needs a theme song. Unfortunately, a trip to Palm Desert, CA has unearthed memories of the most inane desert tune ever written. Like a sandstorm that just won’t quit, the melody howls  through my days and nights–making me wish for shelter from the storm. The song’s reference to a horse makes it all the more difficult to escape for the horse-starved traveler.  I’m referring to America’s 1971 hit ‘A Horse With No Name.’

I apologize if the song pops into your head as well, because it’s one we’d all like to forget.

Desert vista, minus horse

Desert vista, minus horse

In the interest of research, I went to songmeanings.com (who knew there was such a thing!) and learned that there’s been much controversy as to whether or not the ‘horse’ in the song referred to heroin. Really? It’s hard to believe anyone with half a brain would come to such a conclusion…or care.

It’s also hard to believe that there’s a Wikipedia entry about ‘A Horse With No Name.’ However, they nailed it with the following description: “The song has also been ridiculed for its banal, oddly phrased lyrics, including “The heat was hot”; “There were plants, and birds, and rocks, and things”; and “‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain.”

Wikipedia also notes that there is speculation that band members were intoxicated with cannabis while writing the song–which is more believable than the heroin reference (above).

The chorus is as absurd as the rest of the song, but has that unfortunate ‘sticks like glue’ quality that only really bad songs have. Following are the lyrics that linger, including the ‘la la’ (actual lyrics, I’m not making this up) which goes on for far too long. Sing along if you like–at your own risk.

“I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name

It felt good to be out of the rain

In the desert you can remember your name

‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain

La, la”

At week’s end I’ll return to Bend, with hopes that the taunting tune will remain in the desert, where it belongs. Perhaps the sight of a real horse—with a name—will make it go away.

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dressage, equestrian, lunge lesson, riding lessons, stirrups

My Stupid Legs

Today’s lesson was about my stupid legs.

Acting independently from my brain — who is supposed to be in charge — my legs pinch or pull up and my feet dangle in the stirrups. Rising trot is fine. Sitting trot, bleck.

I love sitting trot. I bounce along in motion with my horse, happy with or without stirrups. In fact, happier without stirrups – because they point out the problem.


I discuss the issue with Natalie at the start of our lesson and she says, “It sounds like a good day for a lunge lesson!”


Continue reading…

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dressage, equestrian, Menlo Circus Club, Silicon Valley

Silicon Horses

Silicon Valley is known for monster companies like Oracle, Facebook, and Google – monuments to technology. Homes have jaw-dropping price tags. And I’ve never seen so many Tesla’s in my life. I am out of place here.

Still, there’s something to enjoy in almost any city, and just a mere mile from our hotel is Menlo Circus Club. This is a wacky name for a historic facility that houses a fantastic equestrian center.

Melo Circus Club Equestrian Center

Melo Circus Club Equestrian Center

The dog and I wandered over to gawk and breathe in the scent of horses. (Although this place was so tidy, even the horse scent had been sanitized. I’m not sure where they put it. Skittles was sadly disappointed that there were no horse ’snacks’ left lying around.)

I watch a few rich people warm up their horses in a gorgeous outdoor arena. Jumps are stored in the middle but no one is jumping. Too bad! Watching jumpers warm up is really only entertaining if someone is misbehaving.

I'm shocked that board is only $850/month!

I’m shocked that board is only $850/month!

The temperature is perfect for riding. Of course. The horses shine with show-ready polish and everyone behaves. Skittles is bored.

Continue reading…

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Chick Flick, dressage, equestrian, Vegas, world cup dressage

Chick Flick

Last night I sent my husband out to drink beer with the boys. I was feeling run down and just needed a little time to myself.

As I heard the car pull out of the garage, I turned to a guilty pleasure. Something I wanted to do alone. Uninterrupted. Free to laugh or cry as I pleased. World Cup Dressage 2015, courtesy of my laptop.


I’d heard the stories, seen the clips, but this was my time to get up as up close and personal as one can get with youtube. Squeals of joy. Tears of wonder.  Add a glass of wine and a bowl of popcorn and I was in heaven.

While the performances were grand, what moved me most were the horses.

Continue reading…

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beer, dressage, equestrian, horse husband, horses, Tumalo Coffee, world cup dressage

Barn Babes in Vegas

The barn is nearly empty this week, as most of the barn babes took off for Vegas to (supposedly) watch World Cup Dressage and (as documented on Facebook) drink cocktails in hotel bars.


I am sooooo jealous! But at the same time, having the arena all to myself is almost as good as a chilled Lemon Drop, a drink I appropriately first sampled in Vegas, many moons ago.

Wanting to practice my dressage tests for next month’s schooling show, I had no one to enlist but Al, my engineer husband. Al knows nothing about dressage but is a quick study. No matter what, I knew it would be entertaining.

I showed Al the USEF test booklet, gave him a quick explanation of dressage movements, made a drawing of a dressage arena (markers and all) and gave him a beer … a crucial element in marital negotiation.

Next up, using a small ceramic horse in the fictional arena, we went through the test. I wanted Al to have an idea of a) where the letters are and b) how much preparation a rider needs in order to go from one movement to the next.  I’m not certain Al can tell one gait from the next, which can only make things more interesting.


Call this prep work for the next day’s outing to the barn, where I asked Al  to read my tests. What a guy! As a stereotypical analytical, I expected Al to have lots of fascinating questions, and he didn’t disappoint.

Continue reading…

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canter, dressage, equestrian, flying changes magazine, horse shows

Better Than Monday Night Football

With my first schooling show of the season less than a month away, it’s time to not panic. Sure, we just (today) managed a canter lengthening but it is, after all, just a schooling show – and we’re only supposed to do a few lengthened strides.

Each week I read through the tests and ask my trainer to help me with something I’m struggling with. There’s plenty to choose from.

I’ve also taken to watching youtube videos of real people riding the tests. It’s way more fun than Monday night football (or football any night, really). In addition to helping me to learn the tests, the videos help me keep a sense of perspective. These riders are mere mortals, just like me!

I see uneven contact in the bridle and want to tell Rider A to use her outside rein. She could also prepare her horse a little more for the transitions. He seems surprised.

Rider B is annoying her horse through the leg yield. I’m not sure what she’s doing wrong but he’s clearly pissed. I laugh out loud at his expression.

Rider C’s horse looks like a pistol but hangs in there through the entire test, even though the show grounds are directly under an airport – the sound of planes taking off is deafening. I’m proud of these two for keeping their focus.

Three cheers to this pair for  maintaining their focus, despite the show grounds being just under the flight path of the local airport.

Three cheers to this pair for maintaining their focus, despite the show grounds being just under the flight path of the local airport.

Unlike the videos of professionals riding perfect tests, I’m reassured by the humble efforts of these riders. They help me maintain my sense of perspective, when my stomach rolls at the thought of showing for the first time in six years.

In my finer moments, I’m looking forward to hanging out with the rest of the barn rats and giving it a good effort. Regardless, it’ll be more fun than football!

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