Logan's Redemption by Cara Marsi

This story about a bad boy from the wrong side of life is anything but typical. Cara Marsi embroils Logan and Doriana in a twisting, intriguing plot that keeps the reader propped up in bed with a penlight long after everyone has tucked in.

From family squabbling to industrial espionage, this is a story about how way goes on to way, how each choice we make in each age of our lives -- each lover, each fear, each time we turn away from someone or reach out a hand, each right decision -- how these things change us personally and change the rest of our lives and our families lives.

When Logan and Doriana meet again, they know they can't go back ... and as the plot unfolds and tangles, mixing old unhealed hurts, hard heads, broken promises and unspoken lies, it seems impossible that they might have a future.


If you heard the sound of gunfire in North Texas this last weekend, it was the Texas-Oklahoma Border Wars in full swing. Two Cowboy Mounted Shooting clubs, the Texas Smokin' Guns and the Red River Rough Riders, converged at S&S Arena in Terrell, Texas to shoot it out in two tough days of back to back competitions.

Jared and I were packed and ready by Friday afternoon and early Saturday morning, we loaded Beri (The 'Berinator') and hit the road. Terrell isn't too far for us, a couple of hours, and we made it in plenty of time, with no wrong turns. :)

Saturday and Sunday both went better than could be expected. Of course there are usually issues of one kind or another at any kind of event, but real problems were wonderfully conspicuous in their absence over the weekend. Beri and I had a few harsh words for each other Sunday morning when she cussed me out and embarrassed me for not knowing the pattern (don't you hate it when they're right!) but she worked like a dream for Jared all weekend and they pulled their first win on Sunday.

The funny thing about mares - for the writers out there - is that a really good lead mare will try to run your life. Beri hasn't been a lead mare, but she's fully mature now, eight years old, and really coming into her own. I think the traveling and competitions have helped -- she's seen a lot of the world and done a lot more than the stay-at-homes. Patricia Briggs wrote a wonderful mare by the name of Lass (The Hob's Bargain) who reminds me so much of Beri that I giggle all the way through her parts of the story.

What happened Sunday morning is that I rounded a barrel too soon in the pattern -- that didn't matter, just cost us a few seconds, but I had to round the barrel (again) *after* shooting all the light colored balloons, and so we had to go around it a second time. She knew I had screwed up and she made sure I knew she knew by stopping and sulling up for (it seemed like FOREVER) but I'm sure it must have only been a few seconds.... before she would go on and finish the pattern. Of course, she ran it beautifully for Jared during his class, but - again - that's a mare for you. He doesn't try to boss her and run her the wrong way around stuff like I do .... *sigh*.

here is a snapshot that Jared took of Beri. Anyone who knows her will find it funny because it shows her "very Beri" attitude .

and to show that some things never change, a photo of them when she was just about a week old:

here are a couple more ...

...to see how far these two have come makes me think I must be doing something right.

And I have to back up a little and say what a fantastic job the clubs did running this event. Everything ran smoothly and on time, any hitches were taken care of and transparent to the participants. Kudos to the clubs, the management and especially the organizers and volunteers for these events.

Also to S&S Arena. What a fantastic facility!! It's absolutely beautiful *and* functional. Many, many thanks to them, not only for the use of the arena and barns, but in going above and beyond with their hospitality -- Sunday during the awards presentation, they presented very nice western headstalls to each of the kids that rode in the wrangler division. It's a wonderful surprise, in these days of hard-lines with the tightening economy, to find a business with a heart, but S&S showed theirs this weekend. If you are looking for a place to host your event - be sure to check them out. You won't be disappointed.

***added: Jim Arnold got this wonderful shot of me and Beri on the second day. He's local to North Texas and does a wonderful job with equine event. Check out his website and give him a call if you need a photographer for your event or a photosession for your farm. He does good work.

Chicken Dance

We have chickens again! .... of course that's totally not horse or writing related, but what the heck. :)

They are in a pen for now, but once they get used to the area we'll start letting them out. I got my first chickens a few years ago for natural fly control. They scratch in the horse poo -- that kills the fly larva and it breaks the cycle so we have less flies in the barn. They really do a better job than anyone can imagine that hasn't had free range chickens at the barn. (So see! ...this post is horse related, and writing related as well if you're writing about horses that would be in a barn.)

And the eggs! We were totally spoiled with fresh eggs and have been missing them terribly. These girls are young but have started laying already... and, yes, I'm already licking my lips... fried eggs, scrambled eggs, egg salad sandwich -- yumm!

We won't mention that they were delivered to me in a dog crate at the Last Hoorah endurance ride... or that one immediately escaped ... or that me, my son, and Thomas were running around chasing the chicken at the ride camp...

oh no. we won't tell any of that because silly (stupid) crazy stuff like that never happens to me. oh no. not me. *sigh*

The Last Hoorah Endurance ride

We (me, GWAIHIR, GLAMDRING and Lucy) had a wonderful ride this weekend. It was especially fun for me because it's a trail that I help put in years (and years!) ago and have ridden a lot, but I've always managed the competitions there and so this was the first year for me that I got to compete over those trails. - and I loved every minute of it.

I took off work Friday and the youngest son went to camp with me and help out with the horses. He's a great camper - he loves to set up camp and cook and just hang out. I saddled up and rode each for the horses for about an hour and even though I knew they were going to be excitable the next morning, I thought we'd have a pretty good start.

One of the funny things about horses is how they almost seem to have a collective energy - and so morning camp at an endurance can be a pretty exciting place.

We lunged ours for a few minutes before we got on - and then just walk walk walked around, being nice and quiet. We let the front runners go when they opened trail, and we stayed back until most of the pack had rounded the first turn in the trail and then walked out. We walked for awhile and once the horses settled, we picked up a trot and jogged and loped the rest of the day. This is a wonderful fun trail, but somewhat technical and it's difficult to do fast.

I knew the horses weren't conditioned to do a fast ride, especially in the tricky combination of rock and slick mud we rode through, so we started out with the plan to ride back of the pack and stuck with it all day.

The first loop was 15 miles with a 'trot by' where the vet quickly checks the horse, then another ten miles. So we did the first half of the ride in about four hours, and the second half in about the same so I'm pleased with our pacing. Eight hours is a good, solid back of the pack pace that gives you a full day riding without getting too long. The horses looked good at the end, not too tired - and they both had good vet scores.

I'm having a little trouble with GWAIHIR, I think it's related to his blind spot. (he has a corneal scar from an injury that clouds the front half of his field of vision on the right side). He wants to travel crooked, with his head tilted so he can see more forward with his left eye and while it's not hard to correct him, it takes a lot of consistency on the part of the rider. I have a bad knee and ankle on that side that aches when I get tired and exacerbates his crookedness. He stepped on his heel bulb and cut himself (all on the right side) and he was sore in the back on that side. See how the issues cascade?

This could be an excellent issue to use to escalate conflict for a western or fantasy hero that I've never seen used. We're going to go back to doing more dressage type exercises in the arena to try to keep his muscling even and go from there.

The Blue Arabian Horse Catalog

What is it and why do I keep talking about it? (and why don't I finish the FAQ I started last year for the sidebar?)

It's a catalog of horses, a list, that was compiled in a blue spiral notebook in the 1950s and published by Miss Jane Llewellyn Ott as The Blue Arabian Horse Catalog in 1961. ...and I'll quote a couple of snips from the "Purpose of the Catalog" page, the first paragraph and the last.

The Blue Arabian Horse Catalog is published to encourage the preservation and increased production of the type of Arabian Horse originally found in the possession of the Bedouin tribes of Arabia, and bred in other countries by breeders whose foundation stock was drawn entirely from those tribes. The Catalog is devoted to those bloodlines which it's sponsors believe to be suitable for that purpose, and is designed to help the American breeders identify those animals still living.


The Arabian breeders of earlier days could afford to throw the last of their stock into the new types, for they, or their grandchildren, could always trek back to the desert for a fresh supply of the original breed; but when our grandchildren trek back to the desert they will be offered a fine assortment of used cars. And that will be that.

..."that will be that" always hits me hard. The reason is that even with all that's been done, it has not been enough. We still have these horses, but for how long? The numbers are dismal, only about 150 available as breeding stock. Our grandchildren may be able to enjoy them, but it's likely their grandchildren will not.

Why is that? It's because they are dying without being replaced by progeny within the group. So many times, the typical human response to that statement is to question - if they aren't being bred, is it because they aren't worthwhile? And the answer is a resounding "No!". In a horribly convoluted way, it's because they are so valued....

People don't understand -- let me try to explain. Because of the thousands of years of linebreeding, hard use and intense culling at the hands of the Bedouin tribes, the 'Blue' horses' blood is prepotent for a range of qualities. Riders, both families and professionals, love them for a very long list of reasons. Breeders love them for the ability to pass those reasons to their offspring, but at some point there seems to be a disconnect or a misconception about who and what they are, and why they can do what they do, not only as themselves, but in adding those qualities to other types and breeds of horses.

The Blue Catalog makes an analogy of the horses to coffee that I like. Consider horses to be coffee. The Blue horses are like black coffee. They are the source. If you want to drink coffee, no matter how you like it, you start with 'straight' coffee. If you want an Arabian horse, you start with a Blue.

Many people like a little milk and sugar in their coffee. It's even popular these days to drink it with caramel and whipped cream.

But the problem is, once you have added anything, you can never take it back out. If you start with a cup of black coffee and add milk and caramel, when someone comes along that wants it with sugar and cream (only), it's not available. They have to take a cup with milk, caramel, sugar and cream. They'll probably be okay with that, but when the next person comes along that wants a cup of pure, straight, strong black coffee - there isn't any.

So what a reasonable coffee brewer will do is keep a pot of black and pour out what is needed to mix the specialty drinks.

My other favorite analogy is the color pallet. You start with the primary colors. With those few colors, an artist can mix an endless rainbow, but if they don't keep a pool of the base colors, they can never go back and recreate them. If the artist mixes and stirs and paints, and mixes some more until they end up with anything from fluorescent purple to muddy brown - they can never get back to the bright, clear, simple red, blue, green or white.

So why don't breeders at least replace the Blue mares they love? I don't have an answer to that. It is possible that they don't understand what they have or why she produces so well. It's possible they don't understand how few of those mares are left. I don't know how to reach those people.

I didn't mean to go into all that, but, to get to my point in my typical round-a-bout fashion, it's important to understand where we stand and how invigorating it was, last weekend, to have a group of concerned riders and breeders sitting around a table and talking about how to raise awareness of these horses.

Tornado Season

People joke about Texas only have two seasons, hot and hotter, but with that description they miss talking about our typically violent spring weather.

Spring is busy enough with the horses' schedule and the unpredictable weather always has to be considered.

and yes, the storms hit us last night. We have some moderate damage. A window broken in the house, two trees down and a couple of fences that need repair, but thank goodness it's all stuff that can be fixed. And the sun is out now, it's going to be a beautiful day. Somehow it always happens that way, almost as if Mother Nature is apologizing for what she's done.

These last few weeks have really flown by -- We went shooting last weekend and BERI is continuing to come along well as a shooting horse. John Adame came and took photos on Sunday. I'll update BERI's webpage with some, but I found this one funny because she looks like she's just floating along like a carousel horse rather than cantering.