Palate Cleanser

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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Between moving this  blog from Google's servers onto my own WordPress install and (somewhat ironically, I suppose) working through the process of backing up thousands of my old photos in my Google account, lately I am inundated with photos of the past. It is weird to see old shots of myself on Steen where both of us look significantly younger than we do now. This is possible because I've had him for a decade now.  Like, literally, in just a few weeks Steen and I will celebrate our 10 year anniversary. That is nuts. I don't feel old enough to have owned a horse I purchased after college for that long. I don't feel old enough to not actually look young anymore. [caption id="attachment_7665" align="alignnone" width="950"]Read more

The Great Outdoors

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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I definitely appreciate that having an indoor arena to ride in all winter is a luxury. But I have to say, for some reason, this year the indoor rides have been uninspiring. I think it's partly just personal malaise, and partly that Steen is so broke by this point, but riding in small circles is hard to keep interesting. It's not always bad. A couple of weeks ago, Brian and I arrived to find the arena freshly groomed. We celebrated by looping our reins around our horns and laying down a circle each, one on either side of the arena. Then we started mirroring each other and doing figure-eights with both halves. It was kind of ridiculously fun to be able to see the exact tracks we put down and challenge ourselves to be precise. But the arena is not usually freshly groomed. It's sometimes crowded. Pretty much always cold. Which was why it was so exciting when we got to ride outside, ...

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Please excuse our dust

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

Tipped Z - 3 Covers Learn More
I've been totally delinquent about blogging in recent years. I'm not sure why. One theory is that the way we've been learning has changed. It's hard to describe, exactly, but it's like we've left behind our period of beginner gains where it felt like every ride was revelatory in some way. We're still learning. A ton. But the gains are harder to quantify and harder to write about. I had a period of time where I felt everything I tried to say was taken and twisted into something I never meant. And this eventually made me reluctant to even post. Another theory is that blogging in general has become a bit old-school. Instagram and Facebook have largely replaced long-form style posting of personal content on a private domain. Yet another possibility is life has been pretty steady lately. With less change, there's less news. Posting about the same stuff over and over can start to feel...

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2018, Interrupted

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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We started the year with our traditional big road trip to Arizona and Texas. Coming back, we were determined to get into a better swing of things with the barn. And we have. Several times. And life has conspired to throw our consistency out the window again in every case. First it was the weather. Then it was other life weirdness. Most recently, we got sick for the first time in over three years. But it's okay. Winter is always difficult, between cold and conditions that sometimes make it impossible for us to even get to the barn. Despite all that, I've ridden all four of horses this year, including a couple rides on Nevada and a handful on Piper. And since I've been silent on this blog fo...

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Same Old

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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Well, here we are in September. I guess we're just reaching a point in life where things don't change as much or as often as they once did. Esti is two now, and pretty well settled in. Brian's job is good. Work is steady for me. Life goes on. Which is mostly good as, generally speaking, our life is pretty darn fabulous. But as far as the horses go, we're still a bit stuck. However, things don't feel as gloomy as they did last year.

Laredo

Back at the beginning of the year, we decided to sell Laredo. Then after dragging our heels on that for several months, we realized we really didn't want to. Since then we've had some success managing his cough. Brian's been riding him and things have been going well. He's just such a fabulous, solid guy at this point, we're loathe to let him go. He got a cut on his nose a few weeks ago that was right under where the hackamore sits, so ...

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Baby Steps

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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It feels like the horse gods frowned on us for pretty much all of 2016, but as 2017 begins we have been trying to forge ahead in the simplest way possible and just put one foot in front of the other. With so many horses manifesting special needs, we've honestly been feeling overwhelmed. So finally we decided to pick one problem, focus on that, and let the others go for a while. Right now, the simplest and most urgent of our issues is Laredo. He needs to live in an environment different from the one we can offer him, which sadly means he needs to find a new home. None of the challenges with our other horses are in any way time-sensitive. In fact, (fingers crossed) Piper seems to be getting more sound by the week, so here's hoping she stays on that trajectory if we give her enough time. So, Laredo. Our primary objective right now is to get him back into shape. He's very very broke, b...

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Another Year

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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2016 is well and truly over, which is a little hard to believe. And part of the reason for my silence on this blog is things have been tough going for us as far as the horses have been concerned for the last many months. Looking back at my stats, I spent only about 100 hours on horseback this year -- by far the lowest number ever since I've been keeping track. This was mainly because, of our four horses, three have been having major issues. Those issues have been pretty varied, but can be summed up quickly enough.

Piper

Piper still isn't reliably sound. We've got a good farrier who is working with us, and she's much, much, much better than she was. But we're coming to accept she just might not ever make it back to 100%. So we're trying to digest that and figure out what to do with regards to finding her a life where she can thrive as much as possible given her limitations. ...

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Writing about Riding

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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I find myself struggling with this blog lately. Not due to lack of material. We've got plenty going on at the barn lately. This week, we've gone out a couple of times after work. On Tuesday, I rode Buttercup and Brian rode Stormy. Yesterday, I rode Stormy. Brian worked with King and his owner.

King? Buttercup? Stormy? I have not mentioned any of these horses here before. They are not ours, but we're doing some work with them. Which is a bit ironic because we've never set out to position ourselves as expert horsemen. I know my level of skill at riding and handling horses is light-years behind the true masters of horsemanship I aspire to learn from.

And yet, it seems we frequently meet people who are struggling with their horses, and the things they struggle with are things we can easily help with. So we end up helping. And suddenly Brian and I both have multiple s...

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A Navicular Diagnosis

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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When I started Piper in early 2015, she was sound. However, as we moved past the first few rides and got going a little, at times I felt she was a little off at the trot. It was always really hard to pin down, or even be sure of. Some days it was maybe, maybe there. Some days it definitely wasn't. It was never anything as distinct as a limp or a head bob. It was just this feeling I had that her movement was mildly inhibited, or a little hitchy at times. I could always come up with a plausible explanation. She is small, and wasn't yet used to carrying a rider. The sand in our arena is a little deep and uneven in places, so she had to work harder in those spots. She can get tense in new situations, and that leads to choppy or uncertain movement at times.

Horse Wisdom: Taking What the Horse Offers

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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As much as I learn from people on a regular basis, it is always somehow the horse that provides the ultimate wisdom in the moment the lesson really solidifies.

Two rides on Nevada

I thought I had a great ride on Nevada last Saturday, but Sunday's left it in the dust. Nevada and I had the kind of day together that leaves me grinning the whole way home. In the outdoor arena, we got great work done at all three gaits, and also continued our work with lateral movements. The week was busy. We didn't get out to the barn again until Friday. It had rained, but the footing was ok in the outdoor arena, so we rode out there again. The herds had just gotten turned out into the big pasture, which is wonderful, but this kind of change often gives rise to a little extra energy. When I got on Nevada on Friday, she was the most distracted she'd ever been outside - really wanting to st...

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