dressage, horse blog, horseclicks, horses

An Unexpected Award

Earlier this year I started this blog, ‘Dressage for Mere Mortals,’ in my usual, trial-by-fire method of learning. After months of reading about blogging, the only way for me to really gain ground was to jump in with both boots.

I am still very much a beginner, as humble of a blogger as I am a rider. Which is why it was especially surprising when I received a message from horseclicks.com that they’d awarded my blog a Top 50 Horse Blogs Award. How did they find me? What was their criteria? I’m pondering those questions with a smile on my face. It’s lovely to be noticed.


Blogging has been a fascinating experience for several reasons:

1.  Setting up the initial format took a little work. Fortunately, I had  two experienced bloggers to help. Technical I am not.

2.  I love writing short format and having a weekly deadline is good discipline.

3.  Connecting with readers and other bloggers is fun. They share their stories and lives and I share mine. There’s a sense of community.

4.   I can never quite predict which blog posts will get the best response.  My two snarkiest posts (‘My Stupid Legs’ and ‘Dressage Show Rant’) generated the most comments thus far, which was entertaining.

5. There are technical aspects I’m still learning about: increasing readership, tags, categories, etc. Still trying to figure out Twitter.

As always, thank you to those of you who read my blog, take the time to comment, and share bits of your life with me. It’s so rewarding to receive your input and support.


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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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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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cantering, dressage, horses, riding

Going to Great Lengths

In the past few weeks, my canter work with Micah has undergone a significant transformation. With a schooling show right around the corner, that’s good news.

Originally, Micah’s canter was on the forehand and felt like more of a ‘careen’ than a canter. Although I had basic steering, it certainly wasn’t power steering. I didn’t want to mow down anyone in our path — which is why Natalie kept us on the 20 meter circle for what felt like ages.

To clarify, with a better rider on his back, Micah was/is fully capable of a beautiful, balanced canter. The learning was on my end.


Micah accepts a sugar cube, in payment for a job well done. He’s not worried about that cow in the background & is also ignoring that fantastic view of the Cascades.

Unable to resist playing tricks on the rookie rider, Micah enjoyed pulling me forward, out of the saddle. At the same time, he’d ease the reins out of my hands, making sure he was in charge. I’m quite sure he kept score and gave himself a bonus point every time he outsmarted me.

Continue reading…

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bucking, canter, dressage, equestrian, humor, raku, riding

Thanks, Chief

A raku pot sits on my dining room table, a reminder of the little quarter horse I owned for a year. My mother made the pot and had it raku-fired with some hair from Chief’s mane and tail. It’s lovely.

Unfortunately, by the time I got the pot at Christmas, I’d given up on Chief (more on that soon) and sold him. Fortunately, selling Chief was one of the best things I could have done – despite the fact that I dearly loved him.

What does a raku pot have to do with Chief? The dark lines in the pot are made by tossing horse hair into the kiln, when firing.

What does a raku pot have to do with Chief? The dark lines in the pot are made by tossing horse hair into the kiln, when firing.

Chief had been trained Western but I thought he’d make a good dressage horse. He had nice enough movement and was willing in the initial (key word) stages of our work. He liked change, going new places, and mixing it up in the work. He was a confident, excellent trail horse except …. Continue reading…

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dressage, equestrian, horses, humor

The Ugly Duckling

Micah’s not vain about his looks. Probably because he’s a manly sort of horse, who revels in rolling in the dust and strolling about the pasture as if he owns it.

He does own it. Micah manages to assert himself as herd boss with merely a glare and ears pinned in warning. He rarely lifts a hoof or bares his teeth to back up his superiority. He clearly thinks that looks are for sissies.

I’m the one who frets over Micah’s disheveled appearance. He’s a truly handsome horse hidden under a a seriously shaggy winter coat.


Continue reading…

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