Early Spring in Texas

I know that most of the country is under ice, but we've been having beautiful weather and with the Horse Mistakes book out and the DFWWW Conference done, and looking forward to next year, I've been able to get back in the saddle. I've had wonderful rides, a trail ride yesterday and shooting practice this morning. I'm hopefully going to shoot on Saturday, so I thought I'd better practice at least once!! I won't admit how long it's been ... I will say "much too long".

I'm planning to take BERI for my son and me to compete on and MIREE to 'hang out', so I rode them both this morning and shot a few rounds off each off them. I didn't really expect any trouble, but I was really pleased with both of them and I'm looking forward to shooting with the Texas Smokin Guns, which is having monthly LOCAL shoots. Local is so much easier to do these days, not just arranging to be gone, but do I need to mention the price of gas?

It's been a good week overall. TELPE had follow-up x-rays on Monday, which gave us wonderful news. She partook in a kick-fest in the first week of November which resulted not only in a fractured leg but a severe surface injury. I call it a "surface injury" because it's a mess of a thing that's much more than a cut but nothing else more specific ...

So 16 weeks later, the fracture is healed very nicely, but the surface injury is still giving me grief. It's pretty and pink and small, but still not closed. We've been keeping it wrapped, changing the bandage 3xs weekly this entire time.

There is always a chance, in these cases, of a bit of dead periosteum or a bone chip. (either of which would go necrotic) The wound is not obviously draining, it doesn't smell bad (yes, I sniffed - and so did the vet - both the removed bandage and the wound itself, it's something horsemen do.) and she hasn't been lame, not even the first couple of days. So we *thought* that there probably wasn't a problem brewing, BUT when I had left the bandage off for several hours last Friday, it had swollen up and looked like both a "bandage bow" on the tendon and some bizarre blood filled swelling above the still open cut (which was by that time bleeding). So I called and made Monday's appointment.

You have to understand about TELPE.

Some people say that horses have an insight to God's Plan, know that they have an appointed time to die and spend their lives looking for it. Telpe, we've decided, has heard a whisper that she'll live a long and fruitful life and so has no fear of situations or circumstance.

We've also decided she's fallen in love with my vet and does want she can to get to see him. Early last year, she hung her eyelid on something and ripped a "T" shape in it that required delicate stitching and some relatively long term care with several follow-up visits to her favorite vet. So in the last 16 weeks since all this has been going on with her leg, she's seen him on a regular basis - not only for the leg, but for escaping her stall and getting in the feed barrel. And once she even went so far as to dig in the coals and singe a patch off hair off her leg.

But, for today at least, she's sound and whole ... and hopefully will stay that way for awhile.

DFW Writer's Workshop 2008 Conference

All of you who missed the DFW Writer's Workshop Conference in Grapevine, Texas this weekend missed a real class act. Although it was a first annual conference, the DFWWW group is anything but new on the scene. They've been around since 1977 and have a tremendous store of expertise and knowledge to draw on - and it showed clearly this weekend.

They had a full line-up of knowledgeable, informative and engaging speakers, yes, including yours truly :), and a solid contingent of volunteers who were at every turn making sure things ran smoothly - and they did. The only thing that really drives me crazy about a well-run conference with such a fantastic schedule is trying to figure out which speakers to attend and which ones I'll have to miss. The attending agents were professional but friendly, easy to talk to and easily approachable. They represented a wide variety of genres - which is always appreciated.

Candy Havens spoke during lunch on Saturday, her key note address was so unabashedly heartfelt and so emotional there couldn't have been a dry eye in the room.and, if I can say it without sounding cliché and trite, she's one of the most amazing people I've ever met. It seems impossible for a individual to do as much as she does in a day - but she never pulls back. In spite of keeping a daily schedule that would drive most people insane, she still makes time to give of herself unstintingly. In spite of being wildly successful, she never loses touch - she's not someone you can admire from afar because she pulls you in, sits you down, hugs you and then tells you to get your butt in gear and get writing. I've found her to be the epitome of tough love, truly tough and truly loving.

Writing Horses

I'm inordinately excited for HORSES to be Writers Rescue #1 in a new series hosted by Holly Lisle, The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About..."


We've all heard it and cringed…

"…book made me so mad I threw it against the wall"

Don't Be THAT Writer....

There are a reported two million horsemen in the US alone. Wouldn't it be great to be able to write as if you've spent a few years in the barn?

Some misconceptions regarding horses are so deeply entrenched in literature that writers take them as fact without researching and it drives horsemen nuts.

Don't Alienate those Two Million Readers…

This book covers many mistakes that even experienced writers tend to make about horses, including the details that are so often glaring in their absence.


So your hero jumps on his horse and – what?

When was the last time you galloped through the woods? …charged the enemy, sword raised? …got bucked off, stomped on or had a peevish mare tell you where to stuff it?

- For me, it was probably last week.

I've spent my professional life helping new riders work through mistakes and old riders avoid mistakes in new sports. And I've made my share of screw-ups. I know where things are likely to go wrong.

I understand the common misconceptions inside and out. I've seen them a thousand times in the arena, on the trail – and in far too many books. Don't write so horsemen snort and snicker or groan when they read your horses.

If you want to keep those horsemen reading, "33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About Horses" can be your best friend.

"Show don't tell." How often have we all heard that?

What if you could include a scene where readers understand your horse is a stallion without you having to mention his dangles? Wouldn't you love to be able to define your horses through simple characterization instead of tired, old labels?

Imagine being able to write riding as if you'd been doing it all your life. It's possible to give that illusion by knowing a few simple details to slip in, replacing the old clichés.

Ø Know when your hero needs to rest or feed his horse.
Ø Give your horse gender-specific characterization.
Ø Know the difference between proper terms and colloquial lingo.
Ø …and thirty more simple yet important points.

Regardless if you are writing contemporary, western, historical or fantasy, this book covers the most important things you need to know about horses.

Let me help you avoid common mistakes from inside my world. Use my experiences in your writing so when a reader who's a rider settles back with one of your books, they'll smile, nod and keep reading.


33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About Horses is currently available as an e-book in the HollyShop


Freeze R Burn '08

Anyone who's been reading along for very long knows I'm always up to take someone for a ride. There would be no way to count the number of people I've mentored before or through their first endurance rides, but it's something that will never get old for me. And not just that first ride, but in seeing them come along over the years.

Over the last months, Sonya Cassella has been riding with me and last weekend was her endurance début. Her ride story and photos are here: "Don't Walk" and also (for your viewing pleasure) is the BeriCam and the GlamCam! Actual movie footage of an endurance ride.

You'll notice toward the end of the BeriCam the sideskip away from the sniper in the woods. Of course, I didn't see the sniper, but BERI assures me there might have been a sniper and her argument that we are, all of us, safe, sound and unsnipered, is irrefutable. Unfortunately.

I do have to admit that because I didn't see the sniper doesn't mean he wasn't there.

BERI has a fair number of miles by now and while she can still be pretty strong at the start, she knows her job. It's a real joy and satisfying to see these young horses growing up, going down the trail and doing so well.

It has been a long haul for me, but considering breeding and raising horses is a lifelong commitment I know that only ten years into it, I still have the rest of my life to go. And I'm absolutely looking forward to it.
BERI and GLAMDRING are paternal siblings and they had another sister there as well, ZUZU, ridden by a Junior rider, also in the 25. GLAMDRING had a third sister, Eowyn, on his dam's side who finished 2nd in the 75 mile competition in great shape. For these guys to be doing so well, and so obviously loving what they do - to me, that means that I'm doing something right. That all the agonizing over pedigrees and photos and the hours of watching horses move in the pastures - that has all been worthwhile and it makes me even more excited about the young horses still in my pasture and the little dream-horses scribbled in my notebook.

GLAMDRING did his first ride last fall, at the Road Warrior, so the Freeze R Burn was only his second time out. He handled it like a real trooper, moving easily down the trail, eating and drinking like an old pro. This photo is from the fall ride at about 45 miles. It was a hot day for November but we were glad for it.