Horse Camp

Oct. 18th, 2010 10:05 am
coraa: (me an' pandora)
So after Sirens, [livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija and [livejournal.com profile] sartorias and I got on the road and traveled to Camp Lipizzan.

This is our third collective trip to horse camp (and my fourth trip total; I came on my own in May when I really needed to get away), and it's been delightful every time. It's a peaceful and productive time during which we can sleep, write, eat well, and play with (as our host puts it) "hot and cold running Lipizzans." On an average day at horse camp, I roll out of bed between eight and ten AM, get some breakfast, write, get some lunch, write, go out intermittently and say hello to the horses, write, have dinner, and then have great conversation after dinner. [livejournal.com profile] dancinghorse is a wonderful host, providing delicious food, a comfortable bed, and wonderful surroundings, and letting us work in peaceful solitude—and then providing fascinating evening conversation about books, writing horses, you name it. On this trip I drafted one short story (in which I solved my usual problem with plotting by dropping a snowstorm on a protagonist) and half of another, planned a third, and created a strategy for revising the pigeon book.

And, of course, the horses.

In addition to the long, peaceful bouts of writing, we got plenty of time with the horses. On Tuesday, after I drafted most of the gryphon-and-snowstorm story, I got a chance to ride Pandora (one of the lovey white mares) in the arena. I've had several lessons on Pandora, but there's something very different about just getting on Pandora and noodling around together, enjoying the evening.

I don't have any pics of me riding Pandora this time, but here's one of her saying hello )

Then on Wednesday, we had yoga with horses (or possibly horses with yoga)! What happened was that we went out to do yoga among the horses, as the name would suggest. I am stiff and not very bendy at the best of times, and after a lot of car travel is far from "the best of times," but the movements were all things I could more or less do. But the best part was the way that the horses interacted with us while we were doing yoga.

And now, with pony illustrations! Note that the pics are all via [livejournal.com profile] tcastleb, aka ComposerLady on Flickr; they're on my picasa account for ease of posting, not because they're mine. All credit for the lovely pics goes to her!

Yoga with Horses )

After we were done with the yoga, the horses lost interest and wandered off... although some of the attention hogs (hi, Khepera!) stuck around for scritches and generalized worship!

The rest of Wednesday was writing and relaxing and talking and eating, and it was totally wonderful. Then on Thursday there was a lesson, and Friday a thunderstorm and dancing (muddy) horses—pictures later!
coraa: (princess tia)
This is my fourth (fourth!) trip to Horse Camp, and it's my first experience of a real desert thunderstorm.

First we had the dust storm that precedes the thunderstorm; strong winds that blew suddenly cold out of a warm afternoon. Then we saw the big clouds rolling in, deep greys and blues and purples:

From Horse Camp, October 2010


And the roll of thunder that came louder and louder and closer and closer.

Between the clouds, long shafts of pale light, bright as benedictions:

From Horse Camp, October 2010


And off in the distance, the pattern of light and shadow on the mountains making a path of light:

From Horse Camp, October 2010


And now, the rain has started—blowing almost sideways—and the air is full of the smell of a storm.

EDIT: The wind and rain set the horses dancing, which I saw from the window. I'm staying inside where it's dry (I may be getting photographed later, and I want my hair to stay non-ratty), so no pictures, but I did get a great view of Tia's impressive airtime.
coraa: (me an' pandora)
I rode Pandora!

I wrote most of a short story!

I ♥ Horse Camp.
coraa: (princess tia)
I'm taking my afternoon hermit-break (part of your balanced breakfast con schedule!), and so I wanted to finish up about horse camp while it's on my mind

Day 4, very image-heavy )
coraa: (inspiration)
On the second day of Horse Camp, we went out to Mission San Xavier del Bac to do some sightseeing.

Read more... )
coraa: (me an' pandora)
Yes, I'm back already—this time for a solo camp. I'm here for the horses and writing as always, but this time the other motive was to get me some quality quiet rejuvenation time so I can plunge back into wedding planning and other such things. [livejournal.com profile] dancinghorse is a terrific hostess: great food, a comfy bed, hot and cold running Lippizans, plenty of quiet writing time, and wonderful dinner conversation.

It's been beautiful—hot, but beautiful. I'll take some desert pictures today, but just to describe it, the air is hot but perfectly dry, which is fine by me. (I'm pretty tolerant of heat as long as it's dry heat, and as long as I remember to drink plenty of water.) The sky is bright clear blue (except at night, when it's absolutely black with a crescent moon and a hojillion stars) and seems somehow higher than it does in other places. Though the earth is the red-dusty of dry ground and stones, the trees and cactus make it surprisingly green—but a very different green than the dark lush wet-green of Seattle: it's a bright, pale, stubborn yellowy-green, like the plants are saying, "We're going to hang on here despite you, sun, so there!" And when I went out earlier to say good morning to the horses, I could smell the distinctive smell of a warm desert morning, when the slowly-rising heat wakes up the scents of all the plants. It's not the moist green smell of a more temperate forest or meadow, it's a light woodsy, fragrant scent, as though everything was dusted by the contents of a good spice shop.

Yesterday I had a riding lesson, which was a lot of fun. I rode Pandora again, who I love very much. The first time I rode her in October, she was very placid and gentle and did what I asked even when I didn't ask correctly. This time she was much more difficult. At first I was worried: had I somehow got suckier in between then and now? But the trainer, Stacey, told me that it was a sign that Pandora had decided that I didn't need babysitting anymore and that it was time for me to learn to do it properly, which was heartening! Humbling, but heartening. She's a good teacher, Pandora is. (And so is Stacey.)

Pictures beneath the cut, taken by the wonderful [livejournal.com profile] tcastleb!

Me on a horse! (image heavy) )

I also got to see [livejournal.com profile] tcastleb and [livejournal.com profile] dancinghorse's lessons. [livejournal.com profile] tcastleb was riding Khepera, aka the Evil Gelding, and the two just looked beautiful together, physically perfectly matched. I got to see Khepera walk, trot and canter a little, and he has the smoothest and most beautiful gaits. [livejournal.com profile] dancinghorse was working with Camilla, who is a world-class Lippizan who had developed some fear of trainers (for good reason), but they worked through it, and my goodness, she's a beautiful horse and a beautiful mover.

I can't wait till I get to tour Raflyn Farm in Seattle and sit in on a lesson. Hopefully they'll work out for me and I can start riding regularly up there!

Today we're going to visit a mission, which has a very old and well-preserved Spanish church. I'll also get to see, sometime this weekend, what it's like when [livejournal.com profile] dancinghorse works with Ephiny, a young horse who's getting ready to start under saddle. And tomorrow and the next day, lots and lots of writing.

And sleeping. And relaxing. And being peacefully hermity in beautiful surroundings.

Hurrah!
coraa: (princess tia)
I finally uploaded my pictures from Horse Camp. There are more pictures, courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] tcastleb, that are very lovely, of me and Khepera playing together, that I will post later with her permission. I warn you that I am grinning so hard in them that it looks like the top of my head might fall off.

But these are just of the horses, not of me.

Gorgeous dancing white horses beneath the cut. )

You can see the rest of the pictures on my Picasa page:

Horse Camp, March 2010


I'm too much of a grey-and-green Seattle person to move to Tucson (I thrive in the rain), but I swear, if I could afford it, I'd fly down to Horse Camp one weekend a month. Love, love, love.

horses!

Mar. 10th, 2010 05:56 pm
coraa: (etna <3)
Today, I rode a horse!

This is the part where I get embarrassingly dribbly about horses, because I am one of those people who never grew out of her 'horse period.' It's also me trying to capture the way it feels to be with the horses now, while it's fresh in my mind, so it's probably a bit self-indulgent. If someone being dribbly about horses is going to bore you, this is the part where you're invited to skip on by. ;)

(I also took pictures of the horses, but since I forgot to bring my USB upload cable, those will have to wait until I get home.)

Cut for length )

home again

Oct. 10th, 2009 09:53 am
coraa: (Default)
I am home! Home and well-rested, and, though I would have happily spent many more days at Camp Lipizzan, glad that I ended the trip on the beginning of a weekend rather than the end. Now I have the weekend to decompress, post, unpack and do laundry, clean the fridge, and maybe write some more.

Seattle welcomed me home with some quintessentially Seattle weather: grey skies and green foliage, mist and rain. When we went to see Dar Williams in concert last week (something I didn't have a chance to post about before I left, but that was awesome), she was telling an anecdote about how, in the... 90s, I guess, her group of friends consisted of a lot of New Yorkers clad all in black, but that her one friend from Seattle dressed in the colors of the Pacific Northwest: "lichen and lattes." I like that. Lichen and lattes, that's how I think of Seattle. (Of course, right out the window there's a holly tree, and since it's coming up on that time of year, the holly tree has the beginning of very red berries in clusters. So some color, too.)

And it was wonderful to take a break from lattes and lichen and visit some other, truly spectacular climates. Vail, Colorado was chill and vivid: brilliantly blue sky, hills carpeted in alternating swaths of deep green pine and absurdly brilliant gold-and-yellow aspens, purple-grey snowcapped mountains on the horizon. It was crisp and cold; it snowed one day, though it didn't stick. Vail, Arizona had just as blue a sky, but a lot more of it, from horizon to horizon -- and the mountains that ringed us on all sides were purple at dusk but dappled red-gold in daylight. The land itself: burnished brown-bronze with the dramatic shapes of desert plants, fat spiked cactus and the slim, reaching arms of bushes. The air was cool in shade and warm in direct sun, and absolutely dry -- and dropping to cold at night. Lovely.

(I didn't take pictures, though I'll link you to other peoples' pictures as I go along. You'll just have to make do with word pictures from me, I guess.)

Anyway. So much happened in the last week, and it was so fantastic, and I met so many people, that I'm not sure where to begin (except, apparently, climate). So with the next post I'll begin at the beginning, with Sirens.
coraa: (etna <3)
I now have my hotel room booked for Sirens Con! Hooray.

Now I just need to arrange my flights for that and Camp Lipizzan and I'm golden. :D

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