In which the Bad Idea Fairy rides with her Favorite Junior

So, people online were asking about Juniors at endurance rides.

I'm the Bad Idea Fairy.
Nobody asked for my opinion, but I'm going to give my opinion anyhow.   I may be 5,000 years old, but I was a young Fairy once, and  I haven't forgotten how the Senior Fairies brung me up right!  

Rules for Juniors Who Want To Ride with the Bad Idea Fairy:

Forget what your momma said about nutrition.  Camping is a great time to discover what 3 meals a day of Skittles and Mountain Dew can do for your ability to concentrate.  And hey:  bonus time to play games on your phone if you're too wired to sleep the night before a ride, who doesn't love that?Honey, that raincoat might be comfortable, and it might keep you warm and dry when it dumps down sleet, but there are gonna be photographers out there, and that outfit totally clashes with mine.  Functional is for other people.  We are here to look fabulous.We're goin' my speed, and that's final.  If you want to choose a pace base…

In which the music in my head this morning is inspired by the cat

Fortunately, the Talking Heads provide a nice, rhythmic internal soundtrack for trail trotting.

In which I give tools to readers to evaluate endurance books

"Fake news" isn't always about politics. Sometimes it's about horses.

I recently wrote an article for Endurance News magazine that included a list of books written about long distance riding.  (I will publish the list here after EN prints the April issue), and was surprised at the number of books that have been published in the last few years.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised.  When we were shopping Endurance 101 out to publishers in 2011 and 2012, this was the way a book got made:  a publisher bought it from the author, and then published it, and then sent (some) money to the author.
Late in 2011, things began to change.  
As a result of the economic downturn after 2008, mainstream publishers were buying fewer books.

At the same time, self-publishing suddenly got easier.  Amazon and others made editing software readily available, and gave authors a platform to distribute work to the whole world.  

There has always been a strong stigma attached to "vanity pres…

In which we hit the target and spend three hours trotting in sunshine

Three hours or fifteen miles, whichever happens first. That was our riding target today.

After her splendid vet check on Thursday with Doctor Dear,  it was time to rev the ol' standardbred engines a bit more.

Today we had temps up to 64*F at home on the north side of the house (that's where the weather station is mounted) and it was nearly that warm on the trails.

 I started the day in two shirts, a warm vest, and polarfleece tights, and had stripped down to the bottom layers by the time I mounted up at the trailhead.

Season transitions are tricky around here--the sky might be blue and clear, but a north wind can bring temps down fast.  Or the sky can be heavy and overcast, but as long as the rain doesn't fall, it's a pleasant day.

Fiddle would have preferred another horse to go along with us, and she gazed wistfully at other horses when we met them on the trail.

 But nobody we saw on the trails today was travelling at Dragon Speed.

So we were solo all day.

I'm gonn…

In which the weather has slowed us down, but we are moving forward now

I took Fiddle out for a 10-mile trot in the pouring rain this morning to see if she would show any lameness.

As normal prep for ride season each Spring, I haul her over to Pilchuck Vet to have a chiropractic evaluation (and adjustment) and to get her vaccinations up-to-date.

Ever since her stifle injury in 2016 I've been ultra-paranoid.

Okay:  even more ultra-paranoid than before, which was pretty ulta-paranoid.

And so it's become routine for Fiddle and I, before each chiro checkup with Dr. Fehr (aka "Doctor Dear" because spellcheck just cannot handle our vet's surname) to go out and apply a little stress to the system.

Today, the weather was not very cooperative.

Rain is, of course, always preferable to sn*w.  And I have excellent rain gear.


So. Much. Rain.

Once we were wet and tired, we loaded back into the rig and I hauled Fee over to the clinic for an exam.

Doctor Dear says:

"No baseline lameness"


In other words:  the Dragon looked goo…

In which cabin fever probably won't kills us, but why take a chance?

In the world of teen librarianship, I have recently gained about 10,000 XP. Or at least, a bunch of street cred.

Comic Con was a blast. 

But it turns out that spending a day indoors surrounded by fabulously costumed nerds and geeks -- after spending nearly 3 weeks mostly indoors because of uncooperative weather -- makes me even more wild-eyed and even more desperate for some time in the woods.

Finally the weather (and the trails) cleared up enough to get out.

It's been almost 3 weeks, it feels like much longer.

We walked almost the entire route, so I took a lot of photos.

We were out for under three hours, but in that time we saw a huge variety of terrain

and also big changes in the quality--and quantity--of light.


In which I finally got to ride, but first here's a really cool horse

lytha over at the horse crazy american blog has been investigating  conformation issues in Arabian horses (and how flaws are disguised).
It's a fascinating topic...and led me down a complicated rabbit hole, trying to locate similar breed standard sketches and photos for Standardbreds.
*sound effect*:  crickets
Turns out, Standardbred breeders don't give an overweight rodent butt cheek about cute little dishy faces.

Standardbred breeders are striving for a horse who goes faster than the other horses, preferably for a long time.
They all want a horse like Foiled Again.

In 2013, 10-year-old Foiled Again was Standardbred racing's richest pacer.  He'd won more than 6 million dollars.
But wait, there's more.

Foiled Again is now 14 years old.  And he is still winning.  He's now earned more than 7.5 million dollars.

Foiled Again has just one more year before he hits the mandatory retirement age for standie racing.  
And he needs just one more win to hit 100.  
The oth…