Show Experience

Kasane and I have our first dressage show in two weeks at a local venue. We’ve ridden dressage tests before at schooling shows sponsored by our local awesome horse club. This is a schooling show that will not be a test where you know everyone. This is a Show Experience.

I used to show a lot when I was younger. We did Arabian breed shows with most of our horses, primarily halter classes since most of the horses we had were younger or breeding stock. I had fun and I’m thankful for the experience of learning how to gracefully handle competition.

All I really wanted to do was ride. Halter was nice but it was too much like work to get the horses cleaned and primped before their classes. There wasn’t a sense of joy of a good partnership (at least not for me) when showing in halter. It was work.

Riding was work too, but at least it could be fun. We could enter the trail class, a traditionally Western class, while wearing English attire. My mare and I did barrel racing in a hunt seat saddle. We didn’t expect to win: we entered to have fun. Prize loved those classes and she taught me to love them as well.

I still get nervous whenever I think about showing. Slight hand tremor. Edginess. Except I know that Kasane can do these things and do them well. We’ve ridden the walk-trot test Intro B for years. We could do that in our sleep.

Which is why I chose to ride the Intro C test and throw some canter into the mix because why not? We can canter. We need a goal to force us to work towards something greater. A few strides of canter around a circle and then shifting back down to the walk isn’t that hard.

The trick is that we haven’t done much canter work at all in years. I had to learn to deal with a lot of my own fears and issues around cantering (and having a horse land on me a few times at a canter) before I could canter with Kasane without giving her mixed signals. She’ll canter when I ask, but we’re stiff and out of whack. We aren’t smooth and practiced like we are with a trot. We just need to work on it. What better motivation than a deadline and a show?

Two weeks.

I know the test now. I dream about it almost every nice. I can feel how Kasane moves when she canters when I visualize it. I dream about where my body position needs to be when I ask her to pick up the canter and when we transition back to the working trot. I know we can do this.

During my lesson on Saturday, my instructor asked me if I was sure I really wanted to do the test. Honestly, our canter work during the test was pretty gross. But it got better during the lesson. We made progress.

That’s the whole point of riding: to make progress in riding and understanding how you and your horse work as a team, to love your horse, and to have fun.

Warhammer resources for game masters

Even though Fantasy Flight Games have officially stopped developing Warhammer Fantasy Role Play 3rd edition, the players have continued to develop new resources. I recently found a new-to-me site, Daily Empire, a blog about all things Warhammer. The site has links to some fan-developed adventures, GM resources, tools, and more.

I found a new 120+ page adventure I might run my Warhammer group through: The Queen of Embers. It is geared towards players who are in the middle of their second careers, which is exactly where my players are.

Daily Empire also had a link to an expanded character module from the Winds of Chaos site. While this is really geared towards second edition WFRP, some of the rules and traits can easily be adapted to 3e to make character creation a little more detailed.

Stun to Strike is a fan forum for all things Warhammer. It seems to be a much livelier place than the Fantasy Flight WFRP forums.

Gitzman’s Gallery is a great place to find character sheets, link to Reckless Dice podcast, and the super huge detailed map of the Warhammer world.

Position, posture, and riding

Ever have so many posts in the backlog that you just never get around to catching up? It’s been like that. Many good things (and a few annoying things) going on!

Good things first. I’ve made a lot of progress in riding, just in time for horse camp this week. Yay horse camp! There will be blogging from camp if I have internet access.

Earlier this year, I started feeling frustrated with my riding. Kasane some times responded to my aids, and other ties didn’t. Some times she would roll into a canter when I was asking her to leg yield at the trot. Kasane is a very compact horse. If I lean forward just a little, she goes faster. Looking down at her shoulders to check her canter lead is enough to cause her to change leads.

We went to two jumping clinics in one weekend. One clinic on Saturday my friend Sylvana taught and the Sunday clinic was sponsored by the local Horsemaster’s group. Both were excellent and helped me overcome my anxiety about going over jumps. Kasane gets excited about jumping and rushes. She loves jumping. Part of the many things I learned from those clinics is that her rushing is in large part because of my position.

I grew up riding hunt seat, which means I lean too far forward and have my hands too low when I ride. Many years of ballet also mean that a natural turnout when I’m riding. My toes some times look like they could be wings. (When you ride any style, your legs are supposed to be against the horse. Turning your toes out shifts where your legs make content and minimizes the area.

I took a month worth of riding to focus on sitting back, so I could retrain myself to not lean forward. The trick is to teach myself where it feels right when leaning back. Lots and lots of walking to get that before I moved on to trotting. If I was leaning too far forward by even just a little, she would roll into a canter (usually on the wrong lead).

When I am riding in the correct position, with my legs flat against her and my upper body not leaning forward, our communication is improved. My aids are lighter. She lifts her front end, her impulsion improves, her headset is freer. She uses herself better because I’m not in her way.

It’s been enlightening and exciting. Yesterday the barn owner helped me re-learn a dressage test for camp. She still had to remind me to lean back but it’s less frequent than it used to be. She said that my riding had made huge strides in the past month.

Some times focusing on the basics has repercussions all the way up the chain.

I was so tickled with Kasane. My riding instructor gave me home work to help with not leaning forward and to improve my leg position: lots of riding without stirrups.

Plumber fixed the drip

The tub is no longer leaking. My neighbor said that the build quality on these houses isn’t very good and I believe him. This was the second time the tub had to be repaired because of a drip. One thing I did learn with these old Delta faucets: the springs have to be elongated just a little bit with a gentle squeeze from a pair of pliers. Otherwise, they are a little too short and don’t seat properly.

Kitteh likes water drip

I turned off the water to the house when I went to work and during the day over the weekend. I turned the water back on overnight so the pipes wouldn’t freeze. I was upstairs looking at the faucet, and BrieBrie decided to try and help me.

Help from BrieBrie means her investigating each tool and playing with anything that might move. BrieBrie had her back feet on the ground and her front feet on the tub rim. Just too cute.


For size comparison, here is a picture taken a few minutes after the first one. BrieBrie is sitting on the tub edge and Phaedra is on the floor near the tub.

2015-02-15 23.47.08

Leaky bathtub faucet

A few months ago, my upstairs bathtub faucet began to drip. Just a little at first, but over the months it became a constant background noise. I couldn’t stand it and found a video on how to repair the Delta faucet. It is an older faucet, with a push-button diverter and a single knob that controls water amount and temperature. I took apart the faucet handle, replaced the inner rubber seals and springs. The leak stopped.

A month ago when the dripping started again. Just a few drips. If I moved the shower knob down and to the left, then the dripping would usually stop. The dripping went from a few paltry drips to a continuous stream.

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Nothing I have tried stops the stream of water. It’s hot water, too. Since it’s been warm, I shut off the household water when I went to bed last night and have called the home warranty place. They are going to send someone out on Monday to look at it.

Resume help

I’m helping a friend with a resume tonight so I’ve been reading through links on the latest and greatest in writing resumes. Most of the techniques I’ve used are still valid. The format needs to be updated but the general items that are included are the same.

It’s interesting that the idea of a professional “landing page” is now popular. A landing page used to be what you ended up on after clicking through on a banner ad. I suppose I’d rather see the term professional site or page instead of “landing page.”

When we were creating my friend’s resume, we used a bunch of different articles and sites for inspiration and information on current trends in resume writing.

Here are the links I found to help her tackle writing a resume:

Resumes for people with substantial experience

What if you are at the opposite end of spectrum and have a resume that is packed with many years of experience? If you have a resume that is too dense, will a hiring manager even read it?

Here are some suggestions for these situations:

Newer trends also seem to be suggesting using Helvetica instead of old standbys like Times New Roman. The Bloomberg article on fonts and resumes is an interesting read.

Update on kitties

BrieBrie and Phaedra have settled in and are doing incredibly well. BrieBrie has got her full Maine Coon on and has blossomed into a furrball. Phaedra is a cuddle cat: she has started sitting on my lap and purring. The little scaredy-cat has turned out to be pretty brave.

My parents were down for Thanksgiving and stayed in my room. This was the first time the kitties had to deal with people other than me staying in my room. Mom came in and they immediately loved all over her legs, purred against her, and were just so happy to be petted. They weren’t sure what to do when Ed came in. They did come out for him eventually. The kitties even slept on the bed with my parents.

Phaedra and BrieBrie have come so far from when I brought them home at the end of March. Every time I open the door, the kitties come running and greet me. They sleep with me every night. When I’m downstairs, I can hear them galloping upstairs like a heard of miniature elephants. Some nights, like tonight, they are quiet.

To show how much they have changed, here are some comparison pictures. Here is a picture of when I first met BrieBrie at Cat Angels.

BrieBrie on the chair at Cat Angels

BrieBrie on the chair at Cat Angels

Here is BrieBrie over the weekend, with her long haired heritage showing. She’s such a lovely cat.

BrieBrie, Thanksgiving weekend, Nov 2014

BrieBrie, Thanksgiving weekend, Nov 2014

BrieBrie Thanksgiving weekend, 2014

BrieBrie Thanksgiving weekend, 2014

And Phaedra, hiding under the chair at Cat Angels, on the same visit when I first met her. She was so scared, poor thing.

Phaedra, hiding and not very social

Phaedra, hiding and not very social

She is now an aggressive cuddle cat. She’s hysterical when she plays. The laser light is her friend and she goes after it with a frantic passion.

Phaedra looking very cute

Phaedra looking very cute

Phaedra in the sink 2

Phaedra in the sink 2

Phaedra by the food bowl

Phaedra by the food bowl

And finally, BrieBrie and Phaedra in the early morning curled up with me. This is probably one of my favorite pictures of them.

Morning with the kitties

Morning with the kitties

Kenya came up lame

My Mom’s lovely mare Kenya came up lame today. (Kenya is Kasane’s sister by the same sire.) Kenya’s back right leg was slightly swollen above the fetlock. We had the vet out and it turns out Kenya had an abscess. It cleared up shortly after about a week of bandaging… but she’s all better now.

BrieBrie had Horner’s Syndrome

This past Friday evening, I noticed that BrieBrie was holding her left eye closed a little. I didn’t worry about it because I figured she had gotten into something. If it still didn’t look right in the morning, I would call the vet.

Her eyes were noticeably different on Saturday morning. Her pupils were dilated unevenly: the right one was almost fully dilated open while the left was a slit with the still-droopy upper eyelid. Her behavior, demeanor, playfulness, and appetite were normal. She had no trouble seeing: she chased the heck out of the laser pointer light.


I called my vet at Piedmont Animal Hospital in Hillsborough and was told to come in immediately. BrieBrie was so good for the vet. No fussy, no struggling, just curled up quietly and let the vet look at her eyes.

BrieBrie’s eyes looked perfectly normal structurally. No apparent damage any where, whether externally or internally. The vet said that usually the symptoms will resolved in a few days and that there wasn’t a chance of going blind. (I was worried about stroke or a neurological issue because of my experience with other animals.) I’ve attached a picture from Saturday morning and a picture from Sunday afternoon. Her eyes started looking more normal on Sunday and today they look back to normal.


The vet said that BrieBrie has Horner’s Syndrome, a issue that can come up for no evident reason and go away on its own.

I have been so proud of her and Phaedra. When they go to the vet, they are so good. No fussing, no hissing, just quiet and patient. They are both gentle kitties.

Update June 2015: I took BrieBrie back to the vet when she had another episode of what I thought was Horner’s Syndrome. Horner’s actually effects the third eye lid, which isn’t affected when BrieBrie has her episodes. My vet consulted with the local vet college and thinks BrieBrie has an issue with a spastic pupil instead of Horner’s.