Memories

Memories of a sweet, loving friend

Writing Wranglers and Warriors

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Kate 2Kate Wyland
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We put down my last horse three weeks ago. Glory (officially Fallen Queen) was 31, mostly blind from cataracts, had Cushings disease and arthritis. I hadn’t ridden her for the past two years because her blindness caused her to stumble and, with her arthritis, I couldn’t take a chance on her falling. As long as she was in a familiar place her lack of sight hadn’t seemed to bother her too much until recently. Then things changed.

A couple of months ago, she somehow hurt herself in her stall, cutting her upper eyelid, and injuring her hip and front leg. Presumably she got tangled in a fence when rolling and had a hard time getting free. We had to have the vet out for her eye, but the other stuff healed quickly. She became jumpy and nervous after that, not understanding why she hurt and what…

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Dancing with Conscious Beings

Good article about something I’ve been aware of for years.

Tango with Horses

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Horses are sensitive.  They are cognitive, meaning they are capable of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses (Oxford dictionary definition). They are sentient.  They are conscious.  (There is an interesting philosophical history of these terms on Wikipedia should you be interested. )

On July 7, 2012 a group of neuroscientists met at Cambridge to discuss the overwhelming amount of research that has been done that proves that non-human animals are conscious in a way very similar to humans.  Witnessed by Stephen Hawking, these prominent scientists signed a document entitled The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness, stating:

“Convergent evidence indicates that non-human animals have the neuroanatomical, neurochemical, and neurophysiological substrates of conscious states along with the capacity to exhibit intentional behaviors. Consequently, the weight of evidence indicates that humans are not unique in possessing the neurological substrates that generate consciousness. Non-human animals, including all mammals and birds…

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A Magical Evening

I’m re-blogging this because I want to share this with everyone, particularly my horsey friends.

Source: A Magical Evening

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LitQuake San Francisco

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So excited! The @SVRWAChapter has a spot on Lit Crawl in San Francisco on Oct. 17. It’s where 10,000 people come out to hear literature over 3 hours and hundreds of different authors! Yeah for readers!

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Join bestselling and up-and-coming SVRWA authors for a deliciously decadent taste of modern romance, with readings that range from sweet to sexy to downright salacious.

Yes…I’ll be reading something sexy and fun!

So come on out — it’s FUN, FREE, AND FABULOUS!

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October 17, 2015
8:30 PM to 9:30 PM
Muddy’s Coffee House
1304 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA
Don’t go alone!

Invite your friends!

(Make enemies jealous)

http://www.litquake.org/events/it%E2%80%99s-getting-hot-here-silicon-valley-romance-writers-america

Categories: romance, Romantic suspense | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Alternative Care For Horses

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Today I’m talking about some of the changes in how horses are now cared for. In recent years alternative or complementary medicine has become as important in veterinary health care as it has in human care. Chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, etc. are now widely accepted treatments for animals and more and more techniques are being developed as we speak. The top equine athletes regularly use complementary treatments. But it wasn’t always this way.

Portia at 29

Portia at 29

When I got my mare Portia over twenty years ago, alternative care for animals was in its infancy and generally frowned on by traditional veterinarians. While I, myself, had tried acupuncture for a chronic bursitis, I wasn’t really that open to alternative techniques. But trying to help my sweet mare cured me of that attitude and introduced me to a new way of looking at life.

Portia was a beautiful, grey Anglo-Arab with wonderful gaits, a very willing attitude and a delightful joy in life. While she could be silly, mostly she was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, after I’d had her for about six months, she developed unusual problems that the vets couldn’t figure out. First, she started having trouble going down hills. Then she began tripping over things if we rode at dusk. Finally she began to stumble and fall to the ground. Now lots of horses stumble, but rarely do they go down. This was weird as well as dangerous. And I had the bruises to prove it.

We went through a variety of diagnoses. Navicular disease—but the x-rays and the lack of response to shoeing changes and medicines seemed to rule that out. Weak stifles—but injections and keeping her on hill didn’t change anything.

This went on for about a year and a half and I was ready to give up on her when a friend suggested trying chiropractic. I hadn’t heard of equine chiro before and resisted the idea for quite a while. Then I heard about a vet who did acupuncture and worked with a chiropractor, and I decided to give it a try. If a vet was supervising, maybe there was some worth to it.

The acupuncture to relax the muscles, followed by chiropractic treatment to correct the misalignments in Portia’s spine and sacrum, produced an amazing and immediate improvement. I was ecstatic! I would have my talented, fun horse back again.

The jubilation only lasted a few weeks, then Portia started having problems again. It turned out that the chiro put things right for a while, but didn’t correct whatever was causing her back to go out in the first place. While I continued to use chiropractic on all my horses, I now began a journey through just about every alternative modality that existed, in an effort to find a solution to Portia’s trouble.

Finally, I encountered a woman who was learning a new-to-the-USA technique called Integrative Manual Therapy. For the first time we got improvements that lasted. She was actually able get to the cause of some of Portia’s problems and many times fix them.

Jacquie’s main work is with people and she only occasionally works on horses. Both my husband and I have gone to her and benefited greatly from her work. Through her I’ve met several other manual therapists, most of whom also work both with humans and animals.

IMT is only one of many alternative techniques that have been more easily accepted in the animal world because the results cannot be simply discounted as a “placebo effect.” When a horse moves off better after being worked on, it’s not a trick of the mind. Something has changed.

Stem cell therapy is another “alternative” veterinary treatment that has led the way to acceptance in human medicine. While still considered experimental by insurance companies, it is used quite commonly on animals. Hopefully, it too will soon be standard in human medicine. (My knees would certainly appreciate that.)

When I began writing fiction seriously a few years ago, I thought it would be interesting to have a protagonist who was a Manual Therapist. The story possibilities were many, and I might also introduce some readers to alternative techniques. The result was my book FOREWARNING.

I’d love to hear your reaction to the heroine, Kasey Martin, and the work she does.

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Here’s a small excerpt from FOREWARNING, showing Kasey working on a horse.

Then she puForewarning Covert both hands on the horse and just stood there. After a minute she shifted position and again stood without moving.

“What is she doing?” TJ asked Billy, who had come into the barn too.

Billy glanced at Kasey and gave a shrug. “She’s listening,” he replied.

“What do you mean, listening?” TJ turned to the younger man with a disbelieving frown.

“That’s what she calls it—listening to the body, to figure out what needs to be done. I’m no expert. I just know she does some pretty amazing things. Watch.”

So TJ did watch while Kasey finished her initial assessment and stepped back to make notes on her chart. Then with a determined expression, she placed one hand on the mare’s spine and another low on her left hip. She kept them there for almost ten minutes while talking softly to the horse and Ben. As far as TJ could see, she was doing nothing more than lightly touching the horse.

All of a sudden, Doll let out a big sigh and visibly relaxed, dropping her head low and almost closing her eyes. Kasey stepped away, and tension seemed to flow out of her as well. A few moments later, with a much calmer expression, she moved back to the horse. She continued to hold her hands in different spots for varying amounts of time, changing their position after Doll sighed or yawned. Obviously, something was happening, but TJ had no idea what.

At one point Doll swung her head around and touched her ribs, just behind her front legs. Kasey nodded. “I know,” she said, and kept on with what she was doing. A few minutes later Doll twisted around again and touched her side a couple more times. Kasey smiled and responded. “I’ll get to it. I know it hurts. I need to take care of this first.”

TJ widened his eyes in disbelief. The horse is telling her where it hurts? At that point, he almost left in disgust to go back to the house, but hesitated when he saw how seriously Ben and Billy were watching. Pushing down his skepticism, he decided to wait and see how her treatment played out.

A while later Kasey finally switched her attention to the area Doll had touched. The mare bobbed her head up and down a couple of times, then let it hang in total relaxation. After spending a good ten minutes working on the area, Kasey stepped back.

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You can buy FOREWARNING on Amazon
Also at Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo and Smashwords

Categories: alternative medicine, animals, energetic healing, Forewarning, healing, Horses, Romantic suspense, Uncategorized, writing | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Conversations

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Since the title of my blog is Conversations With Horses, today I thought I’d talk to a couple of horses. Fictional ones, of course, featured in my book Forewarning. They are based on ones I’ve known and hopefully will give you an insight into horses’ minds.

grey horse 2The first horse to appear in Forewarning is Paris, a brash adventurous type, who finds a gate unlatched and decides to explore. (Unfortunately, a young filly follows along.)

So Paris tell us about yourself.

“My real name is Harrbit’s Parisienne. I’m a beautiful dappled grey Anglo-Arab. That means I’m half Thoroughbred and half Arabian—horse royalty. I was bred for Three Day Eventing and I loved to jump, particularly in the show ring where people noticed and admired me. Something bad happened to me before I came to live with Kasey; I don’t like to talk about that. Kasey fixed me up but I don’t get to jump any more. I miss all the attention and fussing and special things associated with showing.

What do you do now?

I alternate between having foals–oh how I love my babies—and being a trail horse. Dancer and I make really nice foals and Kasey lets me keep them for six or seven months and then waits until the following year to breed me again. After my babies are weaned, I become her trail horse and ride the mountains with her. I love exploring new trails. I get enthralled and walk so fast other horses have a hard time keeping up. But I don’t like it when things change on familiar trails. I have to look very carefully to be sure that big branch or rock slide isn’t something to run from. Once in a while, I’ll play games with Kasey and pretend to be afraid when I’m really not. She usually figures it really quickly and stops my fun. That’s okay, I love her and always run to gate when she comes.

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Now I’m going to skip to the most important horse on ranch—Dancer, Kasey’s regal stallion.

medium_2568292756“My name is Willow’s Sundancer and I am a chestnut Trakehner stallion. My breed developed in East Prussia in the 1700’s and were used as cavalry horses. It is the oldest of the European warmbloods. Like Paris, I was bred for Eventing too, but I also quite enjoy dressage. Kasey bought me as a yearling and trained me. We competed for a few years and I was very successful.  I had lots of admirers, which is why I am so popular as a breeding stallion. I have offspring all over the world,.

Now I have an even more important job—protecting the ranch. As a stallion, I must make sure my herd, which includes Kasey, is safe from danger. While I may romp and play, I never relax my vigil. I’m very aware of everything that goes on and ready to take action if necessary. Of course, I’m also quite interested in the ladies and wish I could live with the mare herd. Unfortunately, Kasey doesn’t agree. I definitely could do without the pesty geldings. They can be so ridiculous at times.

Hope you enjoyed meeting the horses. You can learn more about them and others on the ranch in my book FOREWARNING

If you have horses, what are they like? What kind of personality does your animal have?

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Grey horse: photo credit: *Chutor at 6 years via photopin (license)

Categories: foals, horse personalities, Horses, Jumping, Three Day Eventing, Trail riding | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Dancing Horses

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I’m back! My Forewarning Cover 2hiatus from blogging and writing lasted longer than I expected but I’m getting back in the saddle again. Today I’m starting with a short post highlighting some delightful equestrian performances.

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FOREWARNING on sale for $2.99 for this weekend only on Amazon and B&N

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The first is from the Equitana Hop Top Show 2015 and features Alizée Froment and her horse Mistral du Coussoul doing a lovely freestyle, performing high level (Grand Prix) movements, with no bridle.

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The next one is a Billy Ray Cyrus video of a horse line dancing to his Achy Breaky Heart song. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a You Tube video of the whole dance, so you’ll need to belong to Facebook to see more than this short bit.

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Facebook link:  https://www.facebook.com/BillyRayCyrus/videos/633553463445547/?theater

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At the 2006 World Equestrian Games the wonderful mare Blue Hors Matine surprised the staid dressage world by doing a marvelous freestyle to Hip Hop music.

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Hope you enjoy the videos and come back again next week.

Categories: animals, dressage, riding | Tags: , , , | 20 Comments

Riding or Equitation

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After some time off, I’m getting back on the blogging horse again. Recently someone asked me about a term for teaching riding, and that seemed like a good topic for today’s blog. When we talk about teaching the horse something, we usually call that training. The horse is in training or he’s training the horse. When we focus on the rider, it’s called equitation. This refers to much more than kicking to make them go or using the reins to turn or stop. It concerns the position of the rider’s body, legs, hands and head, how she handles the horse, and the effectiveness of her cues.

Most people are unaware of how much a rider affects the horse’s balance. A 150 pound rider equals 15 percent of a 1000 pound horse’s weight. Fifteen percent may not sound like much, but it is a significant amount, particularly when it is moving around. If you’ve ever carried a toddler in a backpack, you’re aware of how much their weight shifting can affect your balance. The same is true of a horse, though not to quite the same extent since they have four legs. Nevertheless, a lopsided load, whether human or a pack, will make the animal work to keep its balance, make it harder to do some things and may affect its soundness.

hack_eqIdeally, a rider sits straight and tall, but with a relaxed back to absorb the movement of the horse. His head, shoulders, hips and heels should be in a straight line, except for hunt seat (jumping). This applies across all disciplines, English and Western. The stirrup length may vary, depending on the type of riding. For jumping, the stirrups are shorter. In today’s show ring the stirrup length is long for dressage, saddle seat and Western. But for trail riding, most people use somewhat shorter stirrups to give themselves the ability to rise out of the saddle if necessary.

Hunt seat

Hunt seat

In addition to being straight, a rider must also be still or quiet in the saddle. Every movement she makes causes the horse to have an easier or harder time doing his job. Imagine how difficult it would be for the horse to jump a fence with a 150 pound weight shifting back and forth. Or, one of the common things we see, going downhill with the rider swinging side to side. Of course, some movement is required but keeping your weight centered is very important. In jumping, the rider moves up and forward to free the horse’s back, but still remains over the center of gravity. In roping, the cowboy swings his lasso and leans forward but keeps his weight even.

Being still implies quiet movements. A good rider communicates with his horse subtly, with few visible cues. A well-trained horse will respond to the lightest of aids and does not need to be jerked and treated harshly. The more invisible the aids, the better the equitation.

Recently I happened upon an old John Wayne movie, The Undefeated, which also starred Rock Hudson. Wayne knew how to ride, of course, but wasn’t particularly pretty in the saddle. Not so Hudson. He was playing a Southern Confederate gentleman and he really looked the part on a horse. Tall, still, elegant, he was the epitome of a cavalry officer. Look the movie up sometime, if you want to see an interesting contrast.

Hope this is helpful to those who are writing stories with horses in them and interesting to others.

Categories: animals, Cowboys, dressage, Horses, hunting, riding, rodeos, teaching riders, Trail riding, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Idea Hunter

Fun post on hunting up ideas. Useful for lots of things besides writing – including out-of-the-box training techniques.

Writing Wranglers and Warriors

PortraitThis post by Craig Snider.

There are typically two breeds of writers. There are the types who have lots of writing ideas. And, then there’s the kind who, well–don’t. For that breed with lots of ideas. We hate you. And, as such, you are not the topic of conversation today… So there. For the rest of us, how can we find an idea that inspires us to take up the pen and begin a story? Let’s see if we can try to find out.

Idea hunting is a skill passed down from our knuckle-dragging forefathers. It takes patience, skill, and yes, a little bit of luck. The first thing to know about idea hunting is that it isn’t an exact science. It is, in fact, something more of an art. Though, practice will help alleviate the level of difficulty.

To be a good idea hunter, you need a 

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Happy Holidays!

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Christmas tree

For my last post of this year I’d like to wish everyone a joyous holiday season.

Happy Holidays to all!

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If you’re looking for a fun read during the holidays, take a look at my two books. I featured Wyoming Escape last week. This time I’m spotlighting FOREWARNING.

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Forewarning Cover 2

 

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 When Kasey Edwards finds a badly injured man, she knows she has to take an action that terrifies her—to use her abandoned energetic healing skills to save his life. Following her husband’s suicide, she had closed her healing practice and retreated to her ranch. Now she is thrust back into the world she rejected and into unexpected danger. Her old friend Jim Bradley, who has long been in love with her, pushes her to return to her work. When criminals looking for her patient invade the serenity of her world, she must use her skills to save all three of their lives.

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Here’s an excerpt from when she is waiting at the hospital:

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With each step down the deserted hall to the waiting room, the band around Kasey’s chest drew tighter. The frantic desire to scurry back to her ranch, to run from what she had done, almost made her turn around. She suppressed the urge. She needed to find out if the man would be okay, to find out if she had helped—or hurt—him.

 

She stopped in the ladies room to wash the blood off her hands and clean up a bit. Her mother’s brown eyes and heart-shaped face stared back at her from the mirror as she dried her hands. But the auburn hair she smoothed and gathered into a low ponytail again was her father’s legacy, as was her empathic sensitivity. He possessed an uncanny ability to understand animals and deal with their problems and had been known as a “horse whisperer” long before the term became popular.

 

His ability to feel emotions extended to people as well as animals, for which Kasey was grateful. Her breath caught as she thought of his gentle love and support. He’d helped her understand and deal with her sensitivity, showing her it was a gift rather than a curse. How often during this past year she’d wished she could turn to him for help, as she had as a child. That wasn’t possible. He had his own pain to deal with, and she couldn’t burden him with hers.

 

Leaving the restroom, she continued down to the waiting area. Tonight was the first time she’d been to the hospital since Brian’s death, and the small, chair-filled lounge stirred up painful memories. Memories of the man who had been her life. To her relief, the room was empty, and she chose a seat in a corner where she wouldn’t be easily seen.

 

Exhaustion dropped her into the chair with unexpected force. She tried to focus on the television in the corner; instead the night’s events kept playing over and over in her mind. The blood on the man’s too-pale face. The raw, charred skin of his palm. Her hands focusing healing energy. Her hands focusing healing energy.

 

Her legs began a restless dance, so she jumped up to walk off some of the tension. What she really needed was to go for a run. Since that wasn’t possible, she returned to her chair and started a deep breathing exercise—in for four counts, hold two, out for seven counts and hold for two. Eventually the rhythmic pattern took effect. Her eyelids closed, and her head flopped to the side in a restless doze.

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Jim Bradley paused at the door of the waiting room and gazed at the sleeping woman. Damn, she’s lovely. Not that Kasey would agree right now, of course, given her mud-stained jeans, green rubber boots and ratty sweatshirt. To him, she looked wonderful. He let the desire he always suppressed when around her thrum freely through his body. For this moment, he didn’t have to be on guard. For this moment, he could just enjoy looking at her and contemplate a time when he could let her know his heart. Soon, he hoped. Soon.

 

Kasey shifted in her chair and Jim quickly brought his feelings under control, directing his thoughts to the surgery he had just completed. Now was not the time to reveal his yearning. She had enough to deal with tonight. He pulled his shoulders back and headed into the room.

 

“You’re going to a get a heck of a stiff neck if you stay kinked like that much longer.”

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I hope you enjoyed this excerpt and want to read more. FOREWARNING is available on

                   Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords

 

 

 

 

photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/pkmousie/6582801763/”>PKMousie</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;
Categories: energetic healing, Forewarning, healing, Horses, Mystery, Paranormal, Romantic suspense, suspense, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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