A Brief Check-In With The Main Charcaters

Horse Training

Awareness of the outside world. I am declaring it to be December. That’s it, just December. Another month on the calendar. I have nothing against Christmas itself. The Whos singing Dahoo Dores always chokes me up. It’s the red and green ramp-up that is getting to me. Unless something really grabs me, the blog will henceforth ignore all major holidays that occur in December. We can all find plenty of Christmas glitter elsewhere.


Horses doing fine.

Working daily and getting good reports.

Not the stuff of gripping narrative.

Horse training books should come with one exercise and then 100 blank pages to reflect the amount of time and repetition it takes to make solid progress.


Jasmine and Rose, Meet The New Dogs


Awareness of the outside world. My nephew. “Party like it’s 1999, Warriors Cap perfect season with 34-28 SuperBowl win,” Local Headline News: Sports Page, Wakefield Daily Item, Kelly, Dec 6, 2022, front page. LHN: Perfect Season, jkeating624, Dec 5, 2022, team photo. YouTube: Wakefield Football Super Bowl (2022), highlight reel.


To tell this, I have to start with sad news. My mother-in-law passed away last week. JBD: Priscilla Walcott, Legacy: Guest Book

Many years ago, my mother-in-law was approaching an age when she thought she might not have any more dogs. She was worried about leaving them behind. Back then, Greg told her that she could have dogs for as long as she wanted and we would take them when they needed a home.

Et voilà.

The intro pics from when the dogs were informed of the change in management. Rose, top. Jasmine, bottom. I will work on making model shots.


Female, liver & white Basset Hound, 2012.


Puppy pic. “Mother-in-law needed a ride to pick up her new dog.” [Spotted in Boston]


Female, liver & white Basset Hound, 2011. One eye has been removed due to disease.

Full name, CH L’Ile De Feu’s Lady In Red; call name Jezebel. This is a photo of a piece of paper we found at the house. It seems to be a printout of a webpage.

Caption: CH L’Ile De Feu’s Lady In Red, a/k/a “Jezebel”, being awarded Best of Winners under Mrs. Janet Leslie Buchanan on 6/21/15. This is a Major win and finishes Jezebel’s Championship. Congratulations Jezebel!!!

This is all we know. The address at the bottom of the page, liledefeubassets.com/Recent_Wins, goes nowhere. The LDFB website appears to be gone, out of reach of even the Wayback Machine.

Good Dog: L’ile de Feu Bassets

The Canine Chronicle: Mid-Hudson Kennel Association – Sunday, June 21, 2015. I believe this is the show in the photo.

Info Dog: Worcester County Kennel Club, Saturday 12/01/12, where she showed in BASSET HOUNDS. Bred by Exhibitor Bitches.

Name Change

She came to us with the name JEZEBEL,

Which got shortened to JEZZ,

Which is less common and harder to pronounce than JAZZ,

Which sounds a lot like JAS,

Which got lengthened to JASMINE.

The shift was unconscious, but I’m not unhappy with the result. Jezebel can be a slur in the Madonna/whore duality or a reclamation of the term. Either one is a heavy burden to lay on a dog. Plus, she has more of a flower personality.

She responds to the new name as well as she does to the old, as in, not at all. So, mox nix.

Onwards! But quietly, while we all get used to being in a new place.

Other People’s Horses


Awareness of the outside world. The hard news appears mostly the same, for the moment. I have noticed a rightward drift in the opinion columns. The Mary Sue: CNN Is Truly Just Fox News Lite Now, Kane, Sep 5th, 2022. Vox: Why billionaire John Malone’s shadow looms over CNN, Kafka Aug 26, 2022.


I had a snit. [That Noise Is Me Stomping My Feet]

Doesn’t mean I was wrong.

Other people’s horses may not be the way to go.

Back in the day, I had wonderful times on other people’s horses.

I went to the fancy Indoor shows on other people’s horses.

I jumped big jumps with other people’s horses.

I had a blast cross-country with other people’s horses.

Now, not so much.

It’s a different time and a different place.

Times change. Riding is more of an organized activity these days. More cross-country schooling; less cavorting around the countryside. More paid horse show staff; less ‘Hey kids, let’s put on a show!” More organization means fewer horses wandering around looking for riders.

Places change. The hunter/jumper industry around me is kid-focused.

In a local show series in the Mid-Atlantic (WBTA for those who remember), there were enough adults riding that the kids showed one day, the adults showed the next day.

When I moved to Alabama, adults would come to a hunter show not knowing if they would be able to show. If there weren’t enough adults, the class wasn’t held. The association finally combined the 3′ Adult Hunter with 3′ Childrens so that the adults would have a class to ride in. This was years ago. I haven’t seen that things have changed much.

My friends in the horse world have always been other adult amateurs. Fewer compatriots means fewer people willing to fling the reins at me for a class or two.

Places change. The hunter/jumper industry around me is trainer-based.

There are tons of backyard horses in the area, over a dozen up and down my road alone. All of them Western or trail riding. Local dressage has both training barns and some folks who keep horses at home and gather for clinics. Local hunter/jumper is all training barns. Not just boarding, but in a program with a trainer. Not sure about eventers. The few that I know board their horses.

The point is that if you are at an all-inclusive barn, with your trainer taking care of your logistics, you are not casting around for interesting things to do elsewhere.

Situations change. My horses are at home instead of at a boarding barn. No barn mates to offer me rides.

That leaves me paying to ride other people’s horses, which means school horses.

I am strong in my admiration for schoolies, but there is only so much you can do with one. Some of the ASBs had fabulous show careers. Not so much anymore. They have settled into a more chill existence of teaching young riders. I can do Academy all season long. Fancy styling is off the menu.

Over in jumperland, the point of jumping beginner fences with school horses was to practice for my own horse. Now, I’m not even riding my own horse. [What Is Now]

The conclusion I’ve come to is that it’s not going to work with other people’s horses, as currently constituted. If I want to get anywhere with riding, I need to get my own horse and figure it out. Even if our two sudden turn a corner and became stellar sport horses, it’s good to have the next generation coming along.

Which means buying a horse. Which means horse shopping. Which means sorting out my issues with that project. [Status Of The Horse Hunt, Needle Pegged at Overwhelm]

In thanks to all the marvelous horses I have ridden over the years and the generous owners who let me do so.


Hay Taste Test


Awareness of the outside world. A Descent into Madness. A friend has started a blog. If you feel so inclined, click over & check it out.


At the moment, we have a small selections of different types of grass hay in the barn. We are running a survey to see which ones they will eat.

Orange plastic string with flag. Local. Most convenient in that store is open when others aren’t. Inconsistent quality. Sometimes they eat it; sometimes they don’t. This lot has already been rejected. Seriously, when I came back after breakfast, both servings were in untouched flakes.

I am not going to force the issue. One does not play food brinkmanship with a 23-year-old hard keeper. Milton will be offered this as an amuse-bouche in addition to his regular meals. Seems unfair to make his entire meal unpleasant just because he eats well.

Orange plastic string. Local. Convenient. Inconsistent. Have not served yet.

Green twine. Local. Convenient. Inconsistent. Seems to go in runs. Great for a while, then they suddenly turn their noses up at it. This batch meets with their approval.

Blue plastic string. What we have been serving. Store has consistent quality and has hay when others don’t. Not convenient. [The Feed Quest Becomes an Exercise in Perception, Store T]

Of course, nothing is as good as shredded money, excuse me, alfalfa. Expensive. Convenient. Everyone always has it, probably because it is expensive. Super palatable. Milton will ignore yellow hay to demand green hay.


The Illustrated Month, December



D – The light returns.

E – The year rolls over.

C – The cold weather comes. (Northern Hemisphere)

E – Holiday

M – Cold Moon [timeanddate: Full Moon Names.]

B – Dec = 10. Tenth place is light blue.

E – Holiday

R – Turquoise Birthstone

Last Month [The Non-Illustrated Month, November]

Archive [The Illustrated Month 2022]


What Is Now, State of the Blog


Now is hard.

Having trouble figuring out how to approach the Now page. [State of the Now, New Feature, Same News]

If I write about Now as in ‘right this moment’, that’s no different than a regular blog post.

If I recap of the previous month with a list of links, it’s a rerun. While I am not above recycling material, doing it so soon sounds boring even to me.

If I say how I feel on a standing page instead of in a daily post, the whining lasts all month.

For example, the current Now page, “Horses taking the winter to investigate progress that can be made with ground-driving.” [Status Quo Equine, State of the Now]

Greg is long-lining/ground driving both horses. I am helping to get them ready. I’m thrilled that the horses are gaining strength & confidence. I’m not thrilled to be sidelined in my own barn.

Yes, I could learn to work horses from the ground. Will do so eventually. For now. 1) Greg is way better at reinwork than I am. 2) Milton does not like me working with him at all. 3) We are trying to get Rodney to relax into his work. Causing relaxation in others is not my forte.

Anyway, the point is, how much of this should go onto the Now page? I chose none. Didn’t want to sound grumpy all month, again.

Also, to follow up, on last month’s Now page I said, “November has a few possibilities.” Did not pan out the way I was hoping. Did not mention on this month’s page. Another example of not wanting to sound grumpy all month, again. [Losing the Light]

I aimed for overall trends, hoping the result wasn’t too vague.

[STOB Archives]


Status Quo Ante, State of the Fitness

Fit To Ride

Tai Chi

Have added tai chi back into my exercise mix. Had stopped when I torqued my ankle. [I’m Bored Already]

The online group I virtually attend does the first third of the form three times and then the entire form twice. For now, I am doing the three intro pieces and then signing off.

I am starting small to rebuild the habit. No matter how unmotivated I feel, I can do 10 minutes, right?

It’s not me being lazy. Or, not only me being lazy.

The point of a form is to know the pattern so well that you can flow through the movements with your body while your mind relaxes and centers. This does not happen if you are spending the entire time thinking, ‘You put your left foot in. You put your left foot out …’

I was having no luck learning the entire form. So, biting off one chunk and learning that.


Daily mile most days. One new place, Coach Kate’s gorgeous backyard, complete with water feature. Otherwise in pasture with Rodney.

5K for November was Magic City. Walk done. Walk report scheduled for next Friday. Spoiler – I finished.


I didn’t even last a month. I had resolved to walk without obsessing over the details. [Rearranging the Admin]

When I started drafting this post, I was annoyed that I couldn’t say for certain if I’d walked anywhere other than the pasture and Whip Hand Farm.

So. Back to keeping track. Keeping it simple. Where? How far? If pasture, did I walk by myself or with a horse? Not worrying about time or tenths of miles.


Virtual Miles [Biking and Walking Virtually, Mississippi River, Part One] Minnesota

Last Month [Rearranging the Admin, State of the Fitness]