Horses, Life, A Touch of Geek


Artwork by Alyssa of Four Mares. No Money. When an unexpected vet bill zeroed out her horse show money, Well That is One Way to Start the Year, she offered to paint horse and pet portraits to build her fund back up. From an handful of links, she totally captured Rodney’s look. I suspect she is still taking commissions.

The framing was done by the brilliant Craig Zernik at Four Corners Gallery. While he was mostly working off the background colors, the resulting frame suits Rodney’s … um … range of emotions.

As I’ve said [Framed!], I have a slight framing addiction.

May I also say that as I write this, I am following updates on Presto, who is sadly a very sick foal, the $900 Facebook pony: Say hello to Presto!!! As a result, I am wrapped up in the lives of two women I may never meet. The blogging world is both magnificent and weird.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

The Downside of Driving

Driving Thursday

That’s a lot of tack to clean.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Graduating From Sam

Saddle Seat Wednesday

Sam has made it clear that the time has come for me to seek fresh fields and pastures new, or at least a different lesson horse [Looking Forward SSF].

In December, I sent Coach Courtney the following email:

I need to move past the Sam safety net. Therefore, my motto for the upcoming year will be to Embrace Challenge. You may need to remind me of this. Often.

Be careful what you wish for.

During Winter Tournament, I rode Robert [Forward, Photo]. Some shows went well [Reports]. Others, less so [Report]. Currently, Robert is being leased by a munchkin at the barn for the move to suit. It is an excellent match, but it means Robert is no longer available for Academy.

My new dance partner is Desi, an adorable little sports car of a mare. Have I mentioned that I prefer to drive a truck? She has the hyper-alert Saddlebred ears that have bothered me from day one [Sam I Am]. Upright ears make me think the sky is falling. In this case it’s not, but tell that to my gut. Plus, if she bounces around and my feet are on the ground, sure, fine, whatever. If she bounces around and butt is in the saddle, sky is falling. We are getting along better each time, but it’s taking longer than I’d like.

Furthermore, Desi is cute and sweet and for sale. I predict that one of these shows, she will go home with someone else. It would be good for her. She’s a one-owner kind of horse. But then I’ll have to go through all of this again.

It is good for me to ride other horses.
It is good for me to ride other horses.
It is good for me to ride other horses.

See the divot on the toe of the boot? That’s from Sam stomping my foot on the way into his stall a few months ago. Fortunately, this is not my first rodeo, and I was able to curl my toes back fast enough. Yet, since it was Sam, all is forgiven.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

Milton Gets Hitched

In which we declare … victory?

Milton did so well with the walk-alongs [Milton Gets Shafted] that we decided to hitch him to the practice cart. Yes, we could have done more successive approximations, but the time felt right. As with backing a horse, you can lean on the horse all you want. At some point, you have to put your leg over and see what happens.

With suppressed trepidation, I connected the various straps, stood back, and watched Greg lead off. Absolutely no reaction. Shafts, traces, breastcollar, crupper, whatever. Milton plodded along peacefully. Milton was tied to a piece of equipment! The practice cart is so light that he wasn’t pulling much, but he was pulling something. Milton was tied to a piece of equipment! Milton was on his way to earning a big, bright, blinking gold star.

Then, the cows next door stampeded. They live there. Rodney and Milton see these cows all. the. time. In Milton’s defense, they were thundering and mooing and crowding the trees next to our pasture. The noise was epic.

Milton had a spinning hissy fit. Horse everywhere. Cart everywhere. Greg retained control of the front end. During a lull in the action, I was able to distract Milton by rattling a peppermint. I then shoveled peppermints as on conveyor belt. This localized Milton long enough for me to unhitch. Greg walked around until pulses stopped red-lining.

We are almost (almost!) completely convinced that the problem was the cows, not the cart. Usually the cows are at the far end of their pasture. When they are close, or when anything else needs investigating, Rodney takes point and Milton bravely guards from the rear. With his bodyguard chilling in the barn after work, Milton was not pleased to be left alone with feral, rampaging cows.

Cow Pastorale. The cows usually hang out far way (blue circle). On this day, they started up next to the fence (red circle) and ran to the right along the fenceline. The bare spot is Rodney’s observation post.

On one hand, Milton was not bothered by the practice cart, even when it was slinging around behind him. On the other hand, it’s hard to be happy with a schooling session that ends in hysteria.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

I expected this.

I got this.


I’m not delusional. I knew I couldn’t waltz back into the ring and pick up where the lesson left off [Dressage]. However, I had expected status quo ante. Not so much.

Rodney has always had a strong ratchet response. Whenever he climbs a hill/works in the ring/jumps in hand, he expects the next hill/work/jump to be longer/harder/higher. We must drop back to little hills/essentials/crossrails until he winds down. I accounted for this. Or, I thought I did.

In the days before the lesson, I was entertaining the possibility that – eventually – Rodney and I might be able to venture out unsupervised. This went poof. Rodney was tense and quick at the walk. Ducking his head. Gnashing his teeth. Was the knot in his brain from having worked hard? Was the knot in his body from moving in a new way? Is there even a difference for this horse? We also had a cold snap, and Rodney has always been the opposite of Discworld troll, i.e. his brain works better in the heat [The Weather Outside Is Frightful].

On the positive side, 1) Rodney did not regress completely, say, 75% for quickness, but only 25% for head & mouth gyrations. And, 2) he continued to nail his halts [February]. He was able to come into the middle to get loved on and relax. There was a day he would not do that.

So, Rodney will make me pay for every step of progress. Rationally, I know he will come around. Emotionally, despair is not going down without a fight. Yes, my mental state is directly related to how my last ride went. This is not news.

Sigh. Slow progress is still progress.

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

48 books by Dick Francis
10 Lb. Penalty Banker Blood Sport Bolt Bonecrack Break In Comeback Come to Grief Crossfire Dead Cert Dead Heat Decider Driving Force The Danger Enquiry Even Money The Edge Field of Thirteen Flying Finish Forfeit For Kicks High Stakes Hot Money In the Frame Jockey’s Life Knockdown Longshot Nerve Odds Against Proof Racing Man’s Bedside Book Rat Race Reflex Refusal Risk Second Wind Shattered Silks Slay Ride Smokescreen Straight The Sport of Queens To the Hilt Trial Run Twice Shy Under Orders Whip Hand Wild Horses

Not including the posthumous books by his son.
Front Runner
Triple Crown

Publication sequence, Dick Francis
F Posts
Forsyth, The Unknown Unknown [What I Want From My Blog]

This Year

[E is for Endicott]
[D is for Doty]
[C is for Cooper]
[B is for Brown]
[A is for Anderson]

This Letter


Past Years
[2016 Alphabet] [2015 Alphabet]

Project explanation [AlphaBooks 2017]. Open to recommendations for the remaining letters. Which books would you choose?

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott

“Behind The Scenes: Nicho Meredith, Announcer”
USDF Connection
March 2017
United States Dressage Federation


A short interview with a horse show announcer.

©2017 United States Dressage Federation. Used by permission. Reproduction prohibited without prior written permission of the publisher.

Previous Posts [Behind The Scenes]

Thank you for reading,
Katherine Walcott