Month: February 2013

Back in the Saddle

I finally got back in the saddle last Saturday and do you know what? It felt wonderful!

I was a little nervous going in for my lesson, not because I was unsure of the horse but because I was worried my back would hurt afterwards. To me that would have signaled a failed trial and I dreaded hearing that I would have to wait longer to take more lessons.

The worry started to ebb away while the manager, a super guy, helped me refresh my memory on using western tack. For the most part I remembered  how to do the basic brushing, fitting the saddle, and putting on the bridle (though this time around he did that for me). The bit on the bridle was not one I was used to but I remembered reading about the effects of different bits in a western riding book.  I could still lead on foot and the round pen didn’t feel like a trap. As soon as I was seated in the saddle I felt this strange calming sensation, as if I was being cradled in a warm hug. The shifting of the horse under me, the feel of the saddle, and the height were all caressing me with a big “welcome home” that is difficult to quantify into words. It just felt so good to be riding again, to be learning!

I had some difficulty getting the horse to go exactly where I looked at first and he didn’t like to stay on the rail. Apparently he was my instructor’s go-to horse but he’d been stiff in the shoulder recently with the cold weather when his arthritis flared up. As the lesson progressed I became more comfortable and I actually managed a seated trot! I remember having difficulties with the seated trot before – the same with keeping my heels down but I was either very stretched out beforehand or I was just more relaxed than I thought I was.

On the subject of a seated trot here are a few tips:

  1. sit deep in the saddle (usually this just means sitting a little further back than when you’re riding normally)
  2. try to feel the movement of the horse and let your hips drop and flex in tandem. It’s a bit easier to do this either bareback or with a bareback pad.
  3.  my instructor actually had the perfect suggestion and this worked very well for me: keep your posture and imagine your weight pooling in your legs. Let it rest heavy and relaxed and just move with the rhythm.
  4. take belly dancing lessons, haha!

You can post in western riding if you like but after trying both I like the seated trot better.

There’s a rule of thumb when working with horses: you look where you want to go then Ask your mount to go. After that you Tell, then Command. Ask with your voice and body language. Be gentle and try to use nudges. If that does not work, Tell your mount with both your voice and a firmer command, perhaps a tap of your heels. Command is, of course as firm as you can be. For most of the lesson I was asking and perhaps that is why I had difficulty making the mount go where I was looking. I say this because towards the end of the lesson when he would not listen I immediately took a firmer tone. As soon as I started employing the firmer tone the more this horse listened to me. By the end, the cool down, he was close on the rail and only needed a slight touch of the reins to go just where I was looking. Granted, we had to move to the arena because he kept coming into the center of the ring of the round pen where the instructor was. Sometimes a horse will do this, thinking the instructor will be talking to the student, giving instruction, and therefore it means he could stand still and not work.

This coming Saturday I’ll be up in the saddle again! My instructor says we’ll probably use a different horse though I would not mind trying again with the same mount. I prefer learning on a stubborn horse – albeit with a little assistance.

Before I bore you to death with riding details (I could – I take notes after every lesson I’ve ever taken), I finished a lot of artwork this week. None of it is related to the Green Book but there is a short written piece that I’ve also put up for free on my art account which you can get to by clicking on any of the images below or via a link located on my “About” page.

Until next week, happy trails!

StarWars RP original character

quick update

Hello, lovely people!

This week’s update is rather short and in fact consists mostly of an illustration of a scene in my larger work. I won’t be writing much for my blog this week as I’ve been spending a lot of time recently writing in said large work. I will be finishing revisions on my next Kaleidoscope series story in the next week or so, which means “New Grounds” will be coming out March 15, 2013! I may also then be able to set up the stories on the Amazon store for viewers to download at that point. Cross your fingers for me!

And here is your picture for the week!


Click on the image to see it larger on the original post site.

This image is of the main character in the Green Book. Where I am now in the book she is about fifteen but in this image she is about two decades old. This scene was written when I was still in college in an alternate version. I’ve since picked apart that version and this is one of the sections I’ve decided to keep. The robe is something gifted to her in her childhood which has a measure of significance, though as you can see it isn’t practical to blending in during her winter travels in the north. She does bring it from home for a reason, however. Besides, it’s a warm piece of clothing and she’s from the desert empire – she’s not used to the cold!

Next week I will have something longer in the works for you – maybe even something equine related! Until then I hope everyone is feeding their spirit with positive vibes and light, whether it be in the form of spending time with friends, letting out anger, or working hard to pursue your ambitions.

Happy Trails!

Over Consumption – art piece

I’ve been busier than usual this week with appointments for my back, scheduling a two part MRI, working on art (illustrations), and a ton of other nonsense I’m sure would not be very interesting. Instead, enjoy this concept piece I sketched in my sketchbook and colored in photoshop:

over consumption

I’d been watching a show called “What Happens in Kavos…” for work and was rather repulsed about how people enjoyed destroying their bodies and offending their stomachs with shots of piss and other unmentionables. The concept for this was a basic burning-up-from-the-inside. Honestly I enjoy drinks, though I’m in more for the flavor than getting drunk, but there is a point where you should listen to your body. Chances are it’s trying to save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

A quick note on the Kaleidoscope series I write and publish on Smashwords: The next installment, “New Grounds,” was supposed to be released the day after Valentine’s day but due to my messy schedule it is being delayed until March 15th instead. As always I will keep you updated about it.

Ta ’til next week, guys and gals~

Vest Project – side buttons

The title describes all there really is to the post this week, guys and gals. There may be more next week but I’m digging into a plot thread for my Green Book so writing is currently sparse. Instead, I have a few photos of a vest I made and a little text about it.

Illustrations of my characters are rather fun and sometimes, when I am feeling particularly inspired, I end up drawing a piece of clothing that I would love to wear myself. However as I did not have much proficiency with a sewing machine before I lacked the obvious ability to make said items when I could not find them in shops. Now, however, I feel relatively comfortable altering items, copying patterns of clothes I already own, and making up a few easy patterns of my own. The vest below fits into the later category.

The front piece is left over from a cosplay I used the previous year. All I did was shorten the front and add the back panel resulting in the halter-neck vest I now wear over button down shirts. I’ve always loved the way this style looked and after fiddling with the front from last year I decided what the heck, if I can’t find it in a store I’ll just make the bloody thing.

Click on the picture to go the post of it on my deviantArt site where there are links in the description!

There are loops on the left side under the front panel that hook over the buttons. I wish I had a better detailed shot of the buttons because they have an inner design to them. It’s a little rumpled in the second picture but for the most part it’s a smooth fit and it feels comfortable.

It’s not form-fitting exactly and it doesn’t exactly curve with every bit if you but I may try a few different styles in the future. For now I’ll just try to recreate this one and try to sell a few in the future.

Until next week, happy trails!