Friday, October 31, 2008

Ghost Story- Part Two Oooooooh!

This is part two of my "Ghosting It Forward" tag. To read PART ONE- CLICK HERE!!

This chapter is based on a real life experience that I had riding one day as a teen! (note the "based on")




McKay forest, its large looming cedars draped in dense moss, stood forebodingly over the trail. The needled boughs were strung so tightly together as to create a canopied funnel, channeling the two girls further into its depths. Here and there sunlight split through its tangled mesh to fall and touch the ground, creating a patchwork of dazzling colors across their path. Jess, with her spirited thoroughbred, Lilly, had jigged and danced for the first mile or two into the trail, squirting the bright spots and lunging over the black puddles. Jackson jogged contently behind, until both horses settled into a vigorous walk.

Here the air here smelled of wet and green things, of earth and cold. The horses’ breath pulsed from their nostrils in a constant beat like sprouts of steam from a locomotive’s engine. Here and there the skeleton of an old maple stood, its life long lost to the Cedars darkness; It’s long, twisted limbs were draped in lacey green fungus, like moldy cobwebs dangling from its outstretch hands. The forest was alive. Lilly's gaze rarely focused forward as the small creatures they flushed from the brush startled her as they ran by. The whites of her eyes flashed in the darkness as she looked in every direction at once. Jackson walked steadily forward but his nerves were bundled beneath Sarah, tightly wrought and ready to spring.

"Do you know where you are going?" Sarah shouted up at Jess.

"Of course! Her friend replied, " This trails goes in a loop around the old McKay homestead and comes back out at the road."

Sarah glanced over her shoulder. The trail snaked its way behind her, disappearing in just a few dozen yards, into absolute blackness. "I don’t know if we will have enough light to get through, it is so dark in here now, even though it is still full light outside of the forest. How long did Jacob say it would take?"

"No more than an hour. Worry wart!" Jess replied, turning in her saddle to look behind her.

Sarah wished that the trail would widen out so that they could ride abreast, being forced to trail behind left her back feeling naked and stiff with anxiety. Sarah swore that something was walking along just a step behind her. She could almost hear the step of his feet and the stir of the breath on her neck but each time she turned around there was nothing there but the brush and swaying shadows of the woods. Jackson's ears darted backwards and forwards, he too seemed unsettled. Jess confidently rode a head but for once didn’t seem to have much to say. Her long curly brown hair fell loosely down her back and swayed gently back and forth with Lilly’s stride. She glanced to her left and forced herself to look at the forest for its all its ghoulish beauty, to see the birds and squirrels, the furred creatures that made this forest their home.

"Ah, Sarah!!" Jess's voice trembled as she called out. Sarah looked forward and gasped. Ahead the trail turned and broadened, the cedars gave way to lighter ground and Cottonwood trees grew thickly in what was clearly and old pasture. They had reached the beginning of the old homestead but they were not alone.

"What are they?" Jess whispered.

"Eagles! They are all eagles! My god there must be hundreds of them!" Sarah gasped in astonishment. And there were. In every direction the girls looked, there, camouflaged in the high branches, were countless juvenile bald eagles. Lacking the bright white heads of the adult birds, and bedraggled looking with their brown and black speckled plumage in disarray, they were no less intimidating for the intensity of their gaze. The girls rode forward into their midst. Not one of the eagles moved but their disjointed heads turned to follow the girls as they passed. The menacing glare of their beady eyes, intently locked on the riders.

"Oh my God, Jess!" Why are they just watching us! Why don’t they move?"

"I don’t know. But lets GO!" Jess replied.

Both horses lunged forward into a hurried lope. Sarah fixed her eyes on the path, too terrified to glace behind her. Suddenly, she felt a wind beat against her back as a whirlwind of flapping wings lashed at the air. The eagles had taken flight. Sarah pressed herself against her pony's neck and rushed him forward to a gallop. She felt the gentle touch of a feather against her cheek, but ducked and kicked Jackson to go faster. Ahead of them the clearing broke and the cedars began once again. The girls charged into the hole created by the trails head and onward into the dark until they could hear nothing but quiet behind them.

Breaking to walk, the friends said nothing for a moment or two, both gasping for breath. Sarah's face was white as a sheet and her hands trembled so that she had to lay the reins behind the horn to keep from dropping them. Sarah heard her friend utter an oath and then for just a second, thought that she may be crying before the adrenaline infused giggles turned in to an all out cackle. Jess turned to look at Sarah. Her head was thrown back, eyes as wide as saucers and a stream of tears trickled down her flushed cheeks. Jess’s laugh was high pitched and manic sounding, but her fried was not smiling.

"Did you see that? That was awesome!!!" Jess said.

Sarah stared at the girl in front of her and wondered for the first time if her friend was perhaps a bit mad. Since the met each other, on the first day of high school, she had followed Jess blindly. New to town, being tall, insecure and gangly, a group of girls had seen Sarah as an easy target until Jess stepped in. Since that time not one person had bothered Sarah and Jess had made sure of it. Sarah knew her friend was wild and hot headed, but she was fun and exciting! So much different than the other girls that she had grown up with. Jess was pretty and popular, load and abrasive. Over the past year Sarah had begun to see that beneath all of that bravado lay a very needy and possessive friend that looked to Sarah to her follow her without question. Till this moment, Sarah had willingly done so. But there was something in Jess's eye at that moment, something…deranged and frenzied that unnerved Sarah more than the darkest parts of this forest. Sarah stared at Jess blandly before pushing Jackson up to a trot and passing her without a comment.

"What’s gotten into you?" Jess called out, still choked with giggles.

"Nothing” Sarah spitted back, “Lets get going. The faster we go, the faster we can get out of here!"

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tagged! Ooooh my!

I have been tagged once again! This time by my blogger buddy Leah Fry over at Barn Door Tagz and Ezra Pandora over at the Wacky and Wonderous World of Ezra! (who, btw, I just discovered has a blog now!! I have to get over there and get readin'!)

Here are the rules:

1)Grab the nearest book
2)Open the book to page 56
3)Find the fifth sentence
4)Post the text of the next two to five sentences
5)Don't dig for your favorite book, the cool book or the intellectual one,Pick the Closest
6)Tag five people to do the same.

I LOVE this tag! So I am going to cheat on the rules a little and invite anyone to join in!So, I received this tag and immediately went over and picked up the book I had just been reading (ok..I'll admit it...I was in the john reading!! Come on, you know you do it!) I LOVE Diana Gabaldon's Outlander Series so on any given day you can find two or three of them scattered around my house. I had a gut feeling that I might be in trouble for some reason though the books themselves would give me little cause for worry. The Gabaldon books are so rich with historical fact that some find them difficult to read. They are steeped in detail, with characters so deep and well rounded, that it is often difficult for me to remember that they are fictional! I simply adore these books, the romance and the adventure! Did I say, "the romance"... well! hmmm...

Does this book qualifiy as being "dog eared"... I think so! That title once read, "Drums of Autumn" by Diana Gabaldon.

So on to Page 56...

Wow... *blushing* I WILL NOT be reading it to you!! I could pick another book but how boring would that be! I'll offer you a few pictures and you can fill in the blanks... (I changed the photo from earlier to give you a little more of the details ;)

*Do real ladies read fiction like this? I think not. Do I? Ooooooh yah! *wink*

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ghosting it Forward- Part 1

I have been ghosted by one of my favorite blogger buddies Pony Girl (Rides Again)!
In the good nature of all things Halloween I am suppose to tell you a ghostly story and accompany it with a ghostly picture!! I hate to admit it but I am not one for ghost stories or scary movies! Actually, I am a total and utter chicken $hit about all things paranormal. So much so...that I had to cover my eyes in many of the Harry Potter movies. No joke. Don't look at me like that! What!!?? Those movies were scary!! They were! Goblins and evil sorcer! Giants and monsters!! Scary stuff! Whatever! *sigh*
I will warn you...this is a long one and only Part 1 !!! I decided to try use this as an opportunity to write a short story it in a preteen/teen style prose...but I don't know if I managed that or not but I tried.

So grab a cup of java or a big ol' mug of hot chocolate and settle in.

Sitting in the middle seat of her fathers pick-up, Sarah Harris looked out the window forlornly as the trees rushed by, the brilliance of the fall yellow, rust and red leaves, lost to the mulling of her mind and the churning of her stomach. She glanced over at Jessica Wright, her polar opposite and best friend, noting how relaxed she seemed, sitting in the seat next to her. Sarah ran a hand through her thin, flyaway, blond hair and tried not to fidget. Knowing how easily she blushed and unable to hold emotion far from her face, she had been trying to avoid the knowing gaze of her father since he had picked them up from school that afternoon to drive them out the barn.

Jess elbowed Sarah in the ribs and winked knowingly in her direction. Jess was oozing excitement and had been talking about today’s ride for the entire week heading up to Halloween. Sarah had tried to back out countless times but Jess would just goad her into agreeing to go once again. Though Jess, with her cherub like features, looked innocent enough, she could be ruthless and even a bully at times.

When the tall cedars of the McKay Forest ended, the Alder lined driveway of the old homestead farms began. As they turned between the two brick collumns that marked its entrance, Sarah felt a lump rise in her throat but just then she caught sight of Jackson’s bright bay coat shining in the long yellow autumn sun. Jess's mare, Lilly, stood grazing quietly beside him, the light glinting off of her dapple-gray hide. The sight of the two of them lifted her spirits enough that when her Dad dropped them off and said, "Pick you up at seven.” she was able to muster up a genuine smile, though it didn’t quite meet her eyes.

The wind was high and felt harshly cold after the warmth of the cab so that the girls both zipped up their jackets to their chins and jogged out to the barn for their halters. Jess chatted excitedly, high on the prospect of their adventure. The two walked side by side, Sarah 's yellow hair glowing and Jess’s rich auburn curls, bouncing along with stride. Lilly and Jackson fiercely munched the grass as they approached, hoping to steal just a few more bites before being dragged in.

"Hey there old man" Sarah said, as she threw the lead over Jacksons neck. Just as he was lifting his head from the grass, something in the distance caught his eye. He leapt sideways, spun his hindquarter around and flung his head upward. The old quarter horse stood stalk still but for the heave of his belly when he let out a sharp and rattling grunt. Jackson looked down his nose, and started intently at the forest beyond. Lilly, a young and flighty thoroughbred didn’t stick around to ponder the threat, she had galloped madly back towards the barn before Jess could blink and eye. Jackson hesitated for a moment before high tailing it behind her, cocking his head from left to right, glancing behind him, as he went.

"That was weird," Jess said huffily. "Jackson never spooks!"

"I think he saw something in the trees on the other side of the the forest there." Sarah replied.

"Must have been a squirrel or something" Jess muttered before continuing her story about how she had caught their grade ten heartthrob, Lane Hicks staring at her in P.E.. As they walked back towards the barn, turning their backs on the forest, Sarah couldn't help but feel like they were being watched. She glanced behind her but could see nothing in the dark recesses of the cedar trees. The cheery yellow of the Alder leaves seemed in stark contrast to the sinister depths of the forest beyond. Pulling her scarf a little higher across her neck, Sarah hunched her shoulders and tried to concentrate on Jess's story, rather than the chills that had just run up her spine.

Back in the barn, the horses stood quietly, nose to tail. Catching them both, the girls led their horses to the hitching rail and went about brushing and tacking them up. Jackson was not rooting her pockets or trying on his usual pocket pony tactics for finding the treats. Instead he stood high headed with his eyes fixed in the direction of the forest. Sarah reached up and stroked his neck. Strangely, trying to calm him down helped ease her own nerves As she attempted to heave the weight of the Wade style western saddle over the pony height of Jackson's back, her thin arms and bony elbows trembled. Not a pony, Sarah reminded herself, just a point above 14.2 hands, Jackson was indeed a horse, and her first one at that.

After many years of leasing, Sarah had been given the seventeen-year-old cow horse on her thirteenth birthday. He came with the tack of the old cowboy that had owned him. "He was a good hand in his day", the eighty year old cow boss had said, his hands and legs, bowed and crippled with years of hard use. "But he is sound, dead broke and solid minded." When Sarah and her father had gone to pick Jackson up, the old man had pulled her aside and whispered in her ear, "Young lady, if ever you find yourself in a pickle, you just give Jackson the reins, and he'll take ya home." She'd never had a chance to put that claim to the test but Jackson had a wise and kind eye that seemed to look straight through her at times. "Easy there" Sarah whispered, as Jackson danced around when she went to cinched him.

"What's gotten into Jackson today?" Jess asked, peering over Lilly’s tall and narrow back. "He's making Lilly hyper."

"Yah, right!" Sarah retorted her voice dripping with sarcasm, "Lilly!...hyper! Like as if!"
Jess smiled at her blandly, giving Lilly a pat and smirking to herself as she clipped up the buckles of her black Stubben jumping saddle. Lilly was known for being a bit of a hot head, kind of like Jess herself, but what she lacked in brains she made up for in athleticism. Jess had high hopes in winning some of the classes on this year’s winter circuit. She couldn’t help but feel bad for Sarah, stuck with that old nag and unable to do anything more than trail ride. Jess pushed the thought aside. At least Sarah's Mom and Dad where home every day and took the time to watch her ride. Maybe if she did well, her Mom would take time off work to come watch, Jess though to herself.

Sarah looked over at her friend and wondered where her enthusiasm had gone, Jess’s brows where nit together and her mouth was set in grimace. "You okay?" Sarah asked tentatively. "Sure" Jess snapped, "Just waiting on your pansy ass!"

Sarah blushed. She hated that Jess had seen that she was about to bail again. And so she swallowed the comment she was about to make, the one that suggested that they head on their normal route along the lake and through the cornfield. They mounted and headed down the drive. Jess looked at Sarah and smirked at her face, pinched with worry.

“What! I’m coming aren’t I!” Sarah said.

“You are now! But wait till you hear what I found out!” Jess replied. “I was talking to Melissa Wong yesterday and she told me that the legend of Jack McKey and his wife Elizabeth is actually true!

“Whatever” Sarah said, “everyone knows that! So some farmer went mad and killed his wife a hundred years ago. That doesnt mean anything. The ghost of Lady McKey is just something that all the stoners think they see when they go in the woods to have raves and smoke up. That’s what my Dad told me.”

“Then why have all those people gone missing?” Jess shot back.

“Because people are all high as a kite and wandering around a massive forest! Dah!”

“Well were going to find out!” Jess and Sarah turned down the well worn path leading into the woods, leaving the light behind them.

To be continued!


I am going to "Ghost it forward" to:

-My friend Stephanie over at The School Of Life With Horses. Always informative, well written and touched with humor! Stephanie has had a stroke of bad luck lately and so has not been writing as much as usual. I hope she is back to bloggin' steadily soon! Lets all send her good luck and best wishes for a speedy recovery! Steph- no worries if you are not up to writing a little ghostly story just yet! I just hope things are looking up for you!

-New blogger Natarojo over at Just Horsin' Around. I really enjoy her comments and hope that she will keep going with her new blog. Check it out! She has some great writing!

-The gorgeous photography and writing of Kate over at Chronicles of A Country Girl. Kate has just moved to a absolutely beautiful old colonial from the time of the Civil war. I would love to hear if she has heard any ghost stories associated with her new home!! Kate also has a lot going on in her life at the moment so she might not be feeling up to it at this time. I'd also like to send my best wishes her way and hope that things are looking up for this talented lady.

Here are the rules:

1) Have a Ghostly Image to pass along

2) Tag three people on your blog, with links to their blogs. Tell about what great folks they are, or offer to send them a Ghostly Treat.

3) Include a link to Ghosting It Forward in your blog.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Oh Man!

Today my mother and I were driving by a hotel in a small but growing town and noting all the ways that it has changed over the past year. As we passed a gray and run down hotel my mom commented, "You know, they have strippers there!" I replied, "Yes, I did know that, having friends that frequent it!" I didn't mention it at the time but thinking of strippers had brought to mind something that I had noticed back in my young and rowdy days. I had been to the local female strippers a time or two (its a long story, trust me) but only on one occasion did I have the chance to watch the Chip N 'Dales. What stuck in my memory more than their bulging biceps or rippling abs was that the "ladies" watching them had clearly gone crazy! They screamed! They shrieked! They tore at the last shred of clothing these poor men had left! They did not act like ladies at all! Men watch strippers with a casual eye as the sip their beer and contemplate the cosmos (or the score of the latest hockey game). Women...they go freakin nuts!!

This leads me to my question of the day (not that I frequently have a question of the day, but starting now maybe I will!) I have noticed that most, if not all my readers and fellow bloggers are women so I feel fairly safe in asking you this...."What is your favorite part of a man?" Now, lets keep it decent ladies! I am going to go with a really nice well sculpted shoulders!

**can you submit pictures? You bet you can!***

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pictures from the past!

Anyone who is familiar with my blog knows that I am a seasoned traveller on the well worn paths of Memory Lane. I have never in my life been "wordless" so the whole concept of Wordless Wednesday's is a little lost on me. Nonetheless, I am feeling very lazy today. I have a few dozen ideas for blog topics but just cant muster the energy to commit them to paper (so to speak). are some of my old pics... with a few words to go with them....

As proof that I did indeed date one or two rednecks in my day....
This photo taken on a rainy day looking outwards from the cab of a big ol' jacked up Ford. The sound of the rain drops hitting the roof top, the smell of sawdust, diesel and the unmistakable scent of man, a 22 pressed wedged against the seat and country music humming away in the background...little of that memory has been lost to time.

I have always loved this picture. I took it on a beautiful summer day inside the hay loft of the barn I boarded at when I was about 16. I remember the heat and the dust, the way the light came through the wooden slats and fell in yellow bands across the floor. I love the character of wooden barns, well weathered and warped with time. The smell of mice, old hay and the musky scent of mold. Something about this photo captured the essence of that old barn, locking a whole gauntlet of senses into a single image.
I have always had an affinity for Keep Out signs. I cant explain why. They speak to my rebellious streak, whispering their dares in my ear.... "Come on in!", they say. "We wont tell! You know you waaaant too!" While I am respectful of person and property by nature, I will admit to trespassing a time or two in my early days though I am by no means a thrill seeker. If I am going to be honest, I will also tell you that the sign in this picture came home with me and hung on my wall for a time. A rebel without a cause, I know!
All I remember about the day I took this photo was being freakin cold. Up until then, I wanted to work for National Geographic. But after freezing my ass off during one season as a self proclaimed photographer, and then damn near dying of heat stroke the next, I decided that being a corespondent for a Spa's and Retirement Destination magazines was a much smarter move. I am still waiting for the call back on that particular job.

Before I hung up my camera strap, I did snap one more winter shot. This is one of my favorite horses of all time, Rooster. This big red roan Quarter horse gelding was my dream horse and just happened to be the personal rope horse for a particular cowboy that I had my sights set on. I still have a soft spot for roans because of this sweet boy. Even though this photo is really too dark, I like that it caught the shape and impression of Rooster, his breath, and the snow capped ground.

The sweet sense of nostalgia I get by looking at these photos might be best summarized by their subjects. Horses, barns, pick ups and the rebellious thrills of my youth.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Stacy Westfall & Ken McNabb: My hope for horse trainers.

I am sorry that I have not been keeping up with my blog. This past weekend I spent the majority of my time at the Mane Event Horse Expo in Chilliwack, BC. I had the opportunity to watch Stacy Westfall and Ken McNabb in action. For those of you who don't know who Stacy Westfall is or what she does, here is a link to watch her bareback and brideless freestyle reining run from the Quarter Horse Congress:

I really liked Stacy's clinics. I was able to watch one on stopping, one on body control and one on spinning. I love that her methods involve breaking down a maneuver and making each part independently strong so that when you finally put all the parts together, they have a stronger meaning to the horse. She also seems to put a lot of work behind her horses and I saw nothing to suggest that she cram and jams on them. Stacy also gave you actual drills to do, which I really appreciate because sometime I get a concept but struggle to find a way to apply it. What I especially enjoyed was her down to earth manner. From what I can see, this girl has not let her popularity go to her head. I plan on buying her DVDs. I think she has a lot to offer and not just in how to train or improve your horses reining maneuvers.

I also had was able to watch Ken McNabb start a colt in the Trainers Challenge. This event is where three trainers have four one hour sessions to start a halter broke colt before riding their horses through an obstacle course on Sunday night. I was absolutely thrilled when Ken McNabb won! I didn't find anything dramatically different about McNabbs techniques, which I think was actually a good thing! He didn't try to be different for the sake of trying to sell himself. His methods were sensible, moderate, and straight forward. I found him very approachable as a person and enjoyed his humor, humility, and that he didn't seem like he was there trying to sell you something (the best salesmen don't!) A bonus was that he actually seemed to genuinely love horses!!! *gasp* Before the challenge started, Stacy Westfall suggested that when we watch the trainers this weekend, instead of trying to find how each is different than the other, try to find the common threads as these practises are the real "secrets"! I would like to learn more about his programs.
My personal favorite remains the same. A local trainer that is slowly but surely developing international acclaim; Jonathan Field. Here is a link to what he does:
The long version of his performance on Saturday night. (skip to the 4 minute mark if you don't want to watch the whole thing.
Last years performance with two horses! He is only riding with a string.
I always really enjoy the Mane Event and was really excited that we were able to get up such big name trainers. Here in BC we don't get RFD-TV so these popular trainers are not as well known up here and we don't have the same access to their programs. Now I just have to win the lotto so that I can afford to buy all the DVDs I want!
***Imagine my surprise when I googled images of Ken McNabb for this post and saw a picture of Pony Girl's My Boy! I guess in a blog entry she mentioned Mr. McNabb and a pic came up with a link to her blog! ****

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Chelsi's Rant on Beating up Punk Kid!

This past Friday I made a long drive South to watch my Abby mare run at a big reining show. With NRHA classes, it was big enough to attract some of the top names in the state. Oh yah, and....

I beat the living shit out of some punk kid that was trying to school (abuse) his horse in the warm-up pen. Why? I had been quietly minding my own business watching the other (adult) trainers beat up their reiners when this young testosterone laden punk comes into the pen with a shaggy, underweight and bug eyed buckskin mare. After loping a thousand and one circles, pulling her into the ground 152 times, yanking on her mouth, pounding her sides with his spurs, and basically beating the snot out of her in every which way from Sunday, he got really mad. I guess his pony was stopping a little too hard (wild eyed, open mouthed, and scared bejeezes was not a problem, but her feet getting stuck in the ground was). Grabbing the reins, he yanked hard upward and outward on one side and then the other. The buckskin mare opened her mouth wide but found no escape, she pressed her head into her shoulder but still found no relief, he hit her mouth with a tug over and over, and over again. That didn't provide the desired result. So he tried pounding her mouth while laying the boots (and spurs) to her sides. Over. And over. And over again. For 10 minutes this went on. His mother and father stood at the side rail, coaching him through it. His face became flushed and then went crimson red. His mother warned, "Getting mad wont fix it", his reply was, "Yes, it will!" and then drilled his spurs into her side ten times over all the while yanking her mouth in sharp jerks. His parents laughed. The "top" trainers in the industry stood chatting and watched, sending a smirk his way when his horse did something right, or wrong.

I had enough. Watching his parents, these trainers and the other non-pros ride on by as though nothing were wrong had me fuming mad. Was I the only one that could see this blatant display of abuse and torture? Why was no one saying anything? Stopping him? I stood up, climbed through the fence, and walked over to him. He looked down at me with a surprised expression, clearly confused as to what I wanted. I saw a flash of silver. Before I knew what had happened, I had reached up and grabbed his belt buckle. He pulled to the side in an attempt to dislodge me but had no place to go. My other hand reached for his shirt collar. It was red, or at least in my eyes it was. Clenching his clothing in my fists, I yanked with all my might, digging my heels in the dirt and throwing my weight backwards. The punk landed on me heavily, too startled to react. Before he could struggle to his feet I flipped myself over and on top of him. Sitting on his chest, I pinned his puny adolescent body to the ground; the brown dust plumed up around us. I grabbed his face and tried to hook my finger in the corner of his mouth. By this time he had got his wits about him and started to fight back. I madly spurred at him, feeling my heels make contact with the hard muscle of his thigh. He bucked and squealed under me. My hair was flying about my face and I could hear a high pitched scream but failed to recognize it as the sound of my own rage. Hands grabbed my shoulders and pulled me back. The punk was on his feet in seconds, his own temper raging in the face of such humiliation. I screamed, "How did you like it!?!! Huh!!" How'd ya like it! Bet them spurs felt good, eh! You little f@ck#r!! My words came out in a growl. He looked back at me with disdain. Spit flew from his mouth as he grunted and sputtered a few incoherent words, "crazy" and "bitch" being the few that I could make out. The last thing I remember, as I was being dragged out of the arena was looking back at the punk's buckskin mare. She was staying sprawled legged with head down below her knees. Her stomach heaved and breath blew gray from the flare of her pulsating nostrils. Her eyes were half closed and sweat dripped from her flank. She didn't know how I had fought for her, but I did and that was what mattered....except for....

that I didn't. I didn't get up and beat the snot out of that punk kid. I didn't even say a word to him. I sat in the bleachers and imagined that I had done what I just wrote. I seriously thought about doing it. But then I remembered that I was in a foreign country. That I didn't know who his parents were, if they had guns or if they would sue me. I remembered all the reasons why as an adult woman, alone and in a strange town, that I should keep my mouth shut and be smart. And all the other yellow bellied, sell-out, bullshit, rhetoric that makes me just as guilty as every other asshat that stood by and watched that kid beat up his horse.

What is really sickening is that he was just doing what he sees his heroes (the top reining trainers) do in the warm up pen. The same thing I watched countless others do. What is socially acceptable to do in public. Imagine what goes on at home? I bowed out. Maybe the violence I felt like doing towards that boy was not the solution. I doubt that words alone would have had any impact. This is a larger issue that needs addressed in a larger forum. But smacking that kid around would have been sweet. Sorry, nothing you say can disway me from that opinion. That kid needed his ass kicked. He needed to feel PAIN so that he could imagine for a split second the PAIN that he was causing his horse. What is even more sickening, is even that would not have long as his mentors continued to use the same methods. So long as it continues to be acceptable.

My trainer told me that after I left, she was watching a run and trying to figure out how to compete using fair, non-abusive training methods when everyone else had their horses damn near perfect (and morally afraid of screwing up). She watched a top trainer do his run. Watched and admired his twenty foot stops. Watched him spin like a top. Watched him execute a perfect lead change at a flat out gallop. Watched his horse finally break mentally and charge him straight towards the wall of the arena. Right up till that point, he was damn near perfect. Another man, another "big time trainer" came out. His run was nearly perfect. Right up till his horse tripped. Right up till he drove his spur into the horses shoulder and caught a vein. Right up until the blood started spurting out and pouring down his leg. Someone joked, "you'd better get a tourniquet! Ha, ha, ha!" His horse was scared shitless and bleeding. It was all a joke.

I feel compelled to do something! To smack some sense into these people that claim they "love" horses! To change the industry and draw attention to this madness. To make it stop. But who do I rage that war against? This exists everywhere! People + Money = Horse Abuse. What sport, equine or otherwise is devoid of it? What equine sport can you claim does not abuse their horses? Dressage? Jumping? Western Pleasure? We've all heard the horror stories. So who do I rage against? mare did not win her class. But she did come home happy, healthy and sane. We may have lost the battle, but at least morally, we won the war.

Monday, October 13, 2008

DB- Marathon Man Suppa-star !!!

I am SOOOOOOOOOOOO (yes, 12 "O"s worth) PROUD of my DB (Darling boyfriend). Yesterday, he officially qualified to run the Boston Marathon!!! Qualify? Boston? What!? You heard me! For those of you who dont know, the Boston Marathon is the creme de la creme of marathons- reserved for elite runners. In order to go to Boston, you have to run a "Boston Qualifying time " (under a specific time designation for age an sex )in sanctioned runs across the world. Only 1% of people in the world can run a marathon. Only 1% of marathons will qualify for Boston. My DB is one of them. DB has always been an athlete and an overachiever. I admire a thousand things about my man- his humor, intelligence, compassion and of course, his devilishly handsome good looks but most of all I admire his tremendous iron will. He has the heart of a lion. He radiates positivity and optimism. I admire his dedication and the supreme effort he put into training for yesterdays 26.2 mile run (that he did in under 3 hours and 30 minutes!)...hours spent running in the rain and sleet, in the hottest days of summer and the coldest days of winter. I admire that he put in 50+ mile weeks, and that he has logged over 1000 miles this year alone!

He has faced adversity, has had major setbacks but has endured. Marathoning is all about endurance, but not just of the physical body. It is a test of the endurance of your heart, will, and spirit. DB passed with flying colors. Twice in the past 3 years he has been set to qualify. The first time he was stopped short by a crippling foot condition called metatarsalgia. It took a few years for his foot to heal with the help of orthodics. His right foot is still not a 100% and nearly cost him the race yesterday, but he ran through the pain and got the job done. Over a year ago he was 3 weeks away from attempting to run a qualifier when he came down with a horrible bronchial infection that he just could not kick and that stopped him from running at all for months. Twice he put in months and even years of training, only to be held back right before he was able to put put it to the test. But his dedication endured and this year he qualified for Boston 2010!

When DB turned a "certain age" he set two goals. To run a marathon and to become a pilot. He accomplished both in under a year. He then set his sights on qualifying for Boston, getting his night endorsement (for flying after dark) and his commercial licence (to fly jets). You can put a check next to goal # one. I would be my last dollar that in Spring of 2010, he will fly us both, in a jet, to Boston. Because that is why my DB does best...he SUCCEEDS. The best part is that I get to come along for the ride and get credit for his work! lol He tells everyone and insists that "we" did it. My retort- "you did't see my fat ass running"! But I do help. I help him with his time trials, rub his legs at night and meet him at the mile markets with a smile, some Gatorade, gels or just a "You got this the bag Baby! or a "THAT'S my MAN!!!" "YAYAYAY!!!!"

Yesterday was Canada's Thanksgiving Day. I had a lot to be thankful for!- Thankful that I get to spend my life with such an amazing man; Thankful that I was able to be there, standing at the finish line when the love of my life accomplished such an amazing goal ! Thankful that I get to share in his joy, to cry and feel my heart nearly burst with pride. Thank-FULL.

DB- he's a Boston Qualified marathoner!!! He is a great man and my best friend. And...he is all mine.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

How I met the love of my life.

I am in the process of puppy shopping! Tough job, I know. Why is it that I feel like buying a puppy is like buying a lotto ticket? You may win or loose? I have very strong beliefs in what consistutes responsible breeding practises and so when I bought my purebred Australian Cattle Dog five years ago, I put a tremendous amount of time into finding the right breeder. I looked carefully at the other dogs that they had produced, their breeding objectives, health testing and puppy contracts as well as the pedigree, type and temperament of the parents. When I found the right breeder, the extent of the paper work, questionnaires and policies made me question if I could have adopted a child with less effort but in the end I found Hawkydog.....

The breeders, Brenda and Alice where nice people with a passion for their dogs. They asked me a thousand questions about what I was looking for. I wanted a big, dominant male that would have a lot of presence, could keep on the trail and would form a strong bond. They selected the pup that they felt has the temperament to best suit my needs. That pup was a male they named Rebel. They said that he was sweet and snugly but he was huge and like to use his weight to push around the other pups. He had a lot of personality and a ton of presence. They warned that he would probably go oversize and not make the show ring. When they brought all the pups into the vet to get shots and be weighed the rest of the litter was between 9 and 11 pounds while my big Rebel was a whooping 14.

The time came for me to make the 6 hour trip South to meet him and if all went well, bring him home. We arrived at a tidy little farm with a small rancher and big barn on the right of the drive and an agility course and small herd of sheep on the left. We parked the truck and knocked on the door. No one answered. We wandered back towards the barn, calling as we went to see if anyone was home. Behind the house was a small fenced balcony with a swinging gate and fibreglass awning. A "igloo" dog house sat in one corner and at the gate, looking up at me with big brown eyes, was the single cutest puppy I had ever seen. The desire to hold this little bundle of salt and pepper fur overwhelmed any reservations I had about walking into someone yard, so I slipped inside and sat on the back step, calling the pup over. He climbed into my lap, pushed his warm bulk into my arms and feel asleep. I strocked his downy fur and pressed my face into his belly, inhaling the clean and unmistakeable scent of puppy.

A few minutes later an older woman with a well worn and friendly face came out from the barn. She smiled and greeted me warmly and said with surprise, "I see that you have found your pup! How did you know that was Rebel?" At the sound of her voice a half dozen pups toppled out of the igloo and made their way to my feet. I felt emotion well in my throat. "I didn't!" I replied, "but I sure hoped it was because I think I am in love!" We made our way into Alice's house, taking Rebel with us. We met his mother, aunt and uncle, all fine looking and friendly dogs. We went over the contract and met the co-breeder Brenda. They brought in another up named Blizzard to show me and said that he was a show quality dog, with an even temperament and encouraged me to consider him. I politely declined. Alice and Brenda asked what we had planned on calling our pup. We told them how on the way down here we had spotted no less then a dozen Hawks in the trees along the highway. I mentioned how I had always admired the intense gaze of Australian Cattle Dogs and their sharp mind and felt that "Hawk" would be a great name, adding in my Canadian twang, "eh!". DB piped up (always looking for a laugh) that we could always call him. "Hawk-eh!.... Hawk-ey" *nudge nudge, wink wink* you know how Canadians love their "Hockey!" lol...and it stuck. Hawky-dog came home with us that day and moved straight into our hearts.

My puppy is the sweetest, cutest, smartest, love of all loves! He is drop dead gorgeous and I would not trade him for the world but he is a total mutant! Seriously. The breed is suppose to be small (under 50pounds). He is 75. They are suppose to be hyper. He is lazy. They are suppose to be protective and aggressive. He jumps in the pizza guys truck. He is incredibly smart and stubborn as a mule (true to his breed) but he is a goofy lug of a dog and certainly not your typical cattle dog. He is genetically tested to never go blind or deaf and both parents had good or excellent hips and elbows. He also has a degenerative spine disease that is hyper accelerated for his age and will limit his life span and ability to be used. He can not for trail rides with me or jogs with DB. He is on a daily anti-inflammatory and pain killer and will most likely wake up one morning, stand up to stretch and break his back. We try not to think about. We let him run and play and spoil him rotten. He is the love of my life (him and his "daddy"). Every single one of Hawk's litter mates is a finished champion. Blizzard is the most successful of all. If I could go back and take the other pup, I wouldnt. Not for all the tea in China.

So, I am a little nervous about buying a pup. I have considered different breeds but always come back to the ACD for the same reason I bought Hawk. I have considered cross breeds and rescues but my DB insists that we get a purebred puppy. I am up against a number of challenges. Purebred ACDs are not bred in mass quantities and so puppies are not readily available nor in my local area. Less breeders is a great thing, but it makes it harder to be selective about what puppies you buy, from what parents and by which breeder. I don't want to buy a pup sight unseen because I believe that you should feel a spiritual connection with your pup (as I did with Hawk). I am frustrated and over thinking (as usual) this whole thing. I will love any dog that I get but I really want certain qualities. I want a dog that is sweet and snugly, smart and trainable. I want a dog that is not too dominant and not to submissive, right in the middle. I also want a deterred dog, meaning one that looks tough and businesslike, unapproachable and is reserved towards strangers. Athletic and energetic, that can keep up on the trail or on runs but that has a good "off" button. I have a lot of wants. I want a pup that is physically and mentally sound. I want. I want. I want....*sigh*..... a puppy. I hope the right one will find me in time.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Misplaced fence posts and hind legs!

Two very nice MARES with a similar problem.....*ehem!* A problem I noticed twice in one day. The Knutson Family's post provided the second of the bay mare (as a reader mentioned in her comments!)


Once a week I travel down to my trainer in Washington state (just under two hours away) to take a reining lesson and see how my Abby mare is doing. I have really benefited from the lessons and have noticed a marked improvement in my riding. I plan to continue to take reining lessons and showing next year. My focus over the past 5 years has been on reining and while for most of that period I was unable to actually ride or show at it, I spent many hours developing an understanding of the principles of the sport, what judges look for, the breeding and recognizing the proper execution of maneuvers. My education level in the sport still does not match my ability to actually ride it, but I am getting closer and closer to being able to do what I have been visualizing for years. I am very serious about reining and trust my trainer to guide me to where I want to go. She has the style that I want to master and is an excellent instructor. My only problem is the distance that separates us. I want to start picking up a few lesson a week here at home but do not want to confuse the styles and methods of one reining instructor from the next. So, I have been contemplating taking some english dressage lessons. My focus and goals are based on improving my equitation. I have always wanted to take lessons on dressage because it deals with the same objectives as reining; body control, impulsion, collection and form.

I am concerned that riding in two different disciplines, with such different styles of equitation will actually set me back in both. But then I wonder if the fact that they are SO different will actually make it easier to separate the two styles.

I thought I would put it out there and see what you had to say. Do you think it is possible to learn two different disciplines at the same time? Without having one inhibit your ability to master the other?

Monday, October 6, 2008


Though I imagine it might be a total blogger faux pa to do this....and I certainly will beg the forgiveness of Cndcowgirl if it is... but....I just have to say one thing.....


Thank you!


Here is something that I have been meaning to post for a while now.

To All of The Kids Who Survived the 1930's - 80's....

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, bread and butter and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because we were always outside playing.

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms...we had friends and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate worms and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes, nor did the worms live in us forever.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all!

And you are one of them! Congratulations!

****PS- I have always love sunsets and sunrises. These pics are some of my favorites that I have taken over the past few years and were all taken within a few miles of home.****

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Pain in the A$$

As horsemen, I think that we all tend to forget that horses were not designed to be used for our purposes. In other species we have found a way to enhance or utilize what they naturally do in the wild. Herding dogs, for instance, use the basic principles of wolf pack hunting to gather and move sheep. Sheep naturally grow wool for protection against the elements. Cats naturally hunt mice, cows naturally make milk, and pigs naturally use their scenting ability to find food underground. We may have selected to enhance a certain quality, i.e, scent dogs, vs. herding dogs, but we still are merely utilizing and manipulating a natural instinct.

From breed to breed, the basic structure of a horse has changed very little, if at all, in the past 10 thousand years. While some were selectively bred to better suit the purposes of man; the drafts to pull; Thoroughbreds to run,; Arabs to travel extreme distances; no part of their structure was designed to carry weight upon their backs.

As my equitation has developed, I have learned to recognize the correct form and function of how we ask our horses to move, carry themselves, and the extent of their impulsion. While we do try to enhance the horses natural ability to jump, run, or even "flirt" (Have you ever seen your otherwise poky pony suddenly develop a hugely lofty, extended trot, with a beautifully arched neck and tucked under head all at the site of a strange horse walking alongside their pasture? (dressage horses)) we have added an unnatural burden to their natural abilities.

Ironically, I started writing this post last night and woke up this morning to read a great little story by BrownEyed Cowgirls on her experience with chiropractic work and expect to read in her next post, how it made a significant difference in the life and behavior of a pony she owned. I imagine there are thousands of horses out there that suffer from chronic back pain. Some may be stoic about it, while other may turn "bad" because of it.

The bottom line is that horses were not designed to carry weight on their backs and if you look at their structure, you can see how preposterous the idea of it is. Since I have learned to recognize the signs of a horse being "out" (having their back out of alignment) it seems that ever where I look I see horses with a serious problem. No kidding! I am not just being over zealous, I assure you. When we bounce around on them, ask them to bend in unnatural ways, jump, run or spin, all with our fat asses on their backs:) we are pushing and pulling on a structure that was intended to be straight and without the stress of weight.

Case in point- I know a lady who has developed a lucrative strategy for reselling horses. She has become an expert at recognizing horses with chronic back pain, the ones that other think are "problem horses", buckers or bad minded. She buys them for a song, takes them home and employs a really good equine chiropractor. She claims that in at least 7 times out of 10 cases, the horses "bad" behavior is completely eliminated within 2-4 sessions. Of the remaining three, two will take months of training to get over the habits they developed as a response to their pain, and one will be forever ruined. It breaks my heart to think of the last one...of a horse so tortured by years and years of chronic pain, of people trying to "fix" his issues without seeing the obvious, that his mind has been lost to it. Can you imagine?

I ride horses. I am not light. But I do try to remember, when I am asking my horse to spin like a top, or to bury her hind feet into the ground for a 15 foot stop, that what I am not asking her to do is not reasonable considering her design. I try to balance what I ask of her, by the care I give (or pay to provide) to her in return. I would encourage any horsemen, especially when they become frustrated with a horse failing to meeting the expectations of the their training, to consider the stretch, the leaps and bounds of faith a horse has already taken to do our bidding, against their inherent nature.

Bear Aware!

For all of you folks who worry about meeting up with a bear on the trail....

This footage was taken in a small town in Northern British Columbia where my Aunt and Uncle live!

(I love the way the news people call it a "GIANT" bear when in fact it is just a wee little yearling.)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Misery Loves Company

It has been a rough Halle and I have decided to stay in bed and be grumpy today. If you have time to bring us some tea, we would sure appreciate it!

Thursday, October 2, 2008


I have never been one to read my horoscope and hadn't much belief or understanding of astrology until a few years ago when I found myself with an hour to kill in Chapters. Wandering the aisle I was randomly picking up titles and thumbing through pages when I spotted a large white book with a bold astrological chart across the front. I had always been slightly embarrassed at the idea of reading "new age" or "self help" type books in public so as inconspicuously as possible, I picked up the book and quickly found the section for my sign (Cancer). I skim read the first paragraph and closed the book with a thud. It was as though the author had just skim read my deepest, darkest secrets and printed them for everyone to see! Tucking the book, cover side against my stomach, I causally sauntered off to find a private place to indulge. You'd think I was reading about the treatment of hemorrhoids, or "how to come out to you parents" or something. I cant say why I would feel shy about reading a book on Astrology, but I did. For the next half hour I was totally absorbed with the discription of my personality, likes, dislikes, insecurities, relationships, love, sex, booze, drugs and rock n' roll. Well, maybe not the last three, but you get my point. More than just pointing out the obvious, this book actually helped me address some of the issues I had struggled with most of my life and actually did help me better understand myself. How "new age" is that?!

My sister and DB are both Virgos. I would have said that they were totally different people with very different personalities but when I actually read the qualities of a Virgo, I realized that each of the traits applied, in different ways, to both of them. It made me wonder if perhaps the reason why I can understand my DB, live with him and relate to him so well is because I spent such a large part of my life living with another Virgo. While I appreciate that we are all individuals, astrology has left me wondering what aspects of our personality are related to nature vs. nurture and/or the date of our birth. Having so many of my close friends and family's astrological signs be a true discription of their personality, it makes me wonder why people wound not try to have children born to a certain sign. I wonder if you could "select" for certain qualities as we do in horses, dogs, etc.. There seems to be something "wrong" or against nature in doing so but it does make you wonder, doesn't it?

So, Did I buy that Astrology book? No. Why? I was too embarrassed. Having already read about myself, I at least understood why I was being so ridiculous, as that particular quality was listed as a trait of my "sign". I was not looking for excuses. As Mugwamp has stated on a number of occasions, it is important to understand why, but a mistake to use it an excuse. I don't believe that you can, to a certain extent, control what you feel. I do think it is your responsibility to control the way you let those emotions dictate your actions. As a Cancer, I am all about how "I feel". I struggle with separating my feelings from my actions. Other people have the opposite problem.

For those of you that don't follow astrology, I have written out a very basic description of the qualities of specific signs below. For those of you who don't, for religious reasons or otherwise, I would welcome your comments as to why as well.

Click the Sign or date for a link to the site where I found these descriptions....

Aquarius "I know" Jan. 20- Feb.18

Aquarians are interesting and attractive people. They can be shy, sensitive, gentle and patient or enthusiastic and lively with a tendency to be exhibitionists. Both types are strong willed and forceful in their own way. Very opinionated with strong convictions, they fight for what they believe in. They will argue vehemently for what they believe to be true.

These are farsighted people and innovative. They are generally without prejudice and quite tolerant of the point of view of others. They have an interesting side to their nature that allows them to see a valid argument even when they disagree with it. They are quite objective folk and never get waylaid by being too close to an issue or person.

Aquarius is truly a humane, human being. Known to be frank and outspoken, Aquarius makes for a serious and genial companion. Refined and idealistic, romantic but practical, they are personable and likable people.
Quick in mind and quick to respond, Aquarians love activity and are quite reasonable, though difficult to get close to. They cherish and guard their independence, and are a strange mixture of caring concern and cool detachment. They will go out of their way to help when needed, but never get involved emotionally.


Pisceans are the most malleable of the twelve signs. They possess a gentle, patient nature, but one that is in want of molding. They can be impressed by and completely absorbed into their environment.

Pisces adapts to their surroundings, good or bad. They are generous, friendly, good natured people with a true sense of kindness and compassion. They are sensitive to everything around them including the feelings of others. They are popular folk because of their easygoing and likable manner.They have an uncanny sense of perceiving what a person is in need of, and delivering it. They are not initiators, but rather allow circumstances and events to motivate them, and then they respond.

Pisceans are not practical people. They are too ephemeral for normal day to day living in the world. They are sensitive and instinctual rather than intellectual or mechanical.When, however, they do find the right container, they are capable of some incredible deeds. They will become completely absorbed in a chosen path, to the exclusion of everything else.


Aries "I am" March 21- April 19

Openness, enthusiasm and individualism are the main traits of the Arians. They are outspoken, alert, quick to act and speak. They prefer to speak than to listen. Arians are ambitious, with lots of drive and a strong will to lead. They are poor followers. Fiercely independent, they usually take the side of the underdog in any controversy. They are champions of lost causes and losing battles. This trait is due to a strong belief in their own abilities to turn any situation around.

Arian values are more intellectual than spiritual. Primarily people of action, they demonstrate little subtlety or cunningness. Frank and amiable, they make quick decisions, and grasp ideas very quickly. They are also quick to anger, Arians are known for their impatience, and are prone to be arrogant.

Arians have a strong self image, the ability to think fast and size up most situations in an instant. Arians calculate risks with lightning speed and make decisions accordingly. An adage that fits the Arian well is 'A straight line is the shortest distance between two points'. Arians don't waste time and energy beating around the bush, they come straight to the point, and leave the bodies where they fall.

Taurus "I have" April 20- May 20

Taurus is the direct opposite of the Aries character. Taureans tend to be slow, methodical, practical and reserved. They are also stolid, tenacious and determined. Possessing tremendous willpower and self-discipline, they are inclined to stick to tried and traditional methods. Their greatest satisfaction derives from results produced directly by their own personal efforts rather than by others.

Roots are very important to the Taurean. A sense of permanence, a feeling of security is essential. Generally an easygoing person, slow to anger, but once roused is known for a ferocious temper. Very difficult to deal with when angry. Usually set off by jealousy due to a possessive nature. Loyalty is important to a Taurus, and a true friend of a Taurean will speak well of their great generosity.

Honesty, integrity and dependability are notable Taurean characteristics. The calm, pleasant, and well intentioned Taurus exterior belies the volcanic temper that can erupt when sufficiently aroused. The bright side of the stubborn bull's nature is, they are incredibly and uncompromisingly loyal to their friends. Established slowly, a Taurus friendship can, and often lasts a lifetime.


Gemini "I think" May 21- June 21

The Geminis Interact with the environment, investigate, learn, know and exchang ideas. The intellect dominates Gemini, and all things intellectual are valued greatly by them. As communication is also of importance to Geminis, knowledge is never a thing to be hoarded. Rarely is a Gemini more entertained than in the midst of exchanging ideas with others of an intellectual nature.

Being the most versatile of the signs, Geminis are seldom what they seem to be. Chameleon like, they will take a stand, voice an opinion, decide on an option and then completely change their mind tomorrow. Nothing is ever written in stone by the Gemini. They are truly a free soul, driven by curiosity and a desire to know . They usually have several things going at once, and within such chaos, they thrive.
Geminis are bright, witty, entertaining and rarely get deeply absorbed in any one task. They prefer to skim the surface of many things, than to get deeply involved in any one particular interest.Even if they do become drawn into something, they always feel they are missing out something. Anything they haven't touched intrigue them the most.

Cancer "I feel" June 22- July 22

The Cancerian character is the most perplexing of the signs. Cancerians can range from the timid, shy, dull and withdrawn to the brilliant, friendly and famous. Cancerians run the entire gamut of human emotion.

Cancerians possess strong paternal and maternal instincts. Fundamentally conservative and home-loving by nature, they appreciate the security of a home-base in which to retire when the stresses of life become too much to bear.

Cancerians have an unemotional demeanor, appearing uncompromising and obstinate. This is the facade they use to mask an insecure nature. Their intimates, however, may see a different character, one with sympathy and sensitivity to others.In their personal relationships they are a mixture of toughness and tenderness. Emotional, romantic and sentimental on one side, and tenaciously possessive and loyal on the other side. Even when they have affairs, their first loyalty is to their partner and family.

They are rather close minded and opinionated.
They have a retentive memory, and rarely forgive slights and hurts. With a tendency toward chronic complaining, a Cancerian will never let you forget an error. They are driven by their emotional nature, and, in this respect, can be the best and the worst of friends.
The overall nature of Cancerians is deeply emotional. Although private and reserved, they possess sensitivity and sympathy. Rarely will a Cancer stand on pretense. What appears to be a front is nothing more than a protective shell. Within this tough armor often resides an intuitively compassionate individual yearning for a deep exchange of love and understanding.


Leo "I will" July 23 - Aug. 22

The Leo is a dominant, spontaneous, creative and extroverted character. They possess grace, dignity and an expansive personality. The lion is king of the animal kingdom, and an appropriate symbol for Leo who tends to dominate his environment. Ambitious, courageous, strong willed, positive, independent, self-confident are all words that describe the Leo traits.

Leos were born to lead and are most effective when in a position of command. Leos are straightforward and uncomplicated individuals who know what they want and pursue it with enthusiasm and a creative spirit.

They are not easily daunted, and will persist through the most formidable of circumstances.They tend to be stubborn, and will hold onto a belief, or stick to a course of action through thick or thin.

Because of their positive nature, they tend to expect the best, and when things don't turn out as they had expected, they react immediately and badly. Although, they may suffer from short bouts of depression when life doesn't meet their expectations, they bounce back quickly and move on with their normal cheerful and demonstrative nature. Leos walks forward always, head held proudly and face turned towards the sun.

Virgo "I analize" Aug. 23- Sept 22

Quietly reserved, Virgos are polite and soft spoken people. Unassuming, outwardly cheerful and agreeable, they can be sensible, discreet, wise and witty, with an understanding of other people's problems which they tackle with deftness. Virgos find their friends among those who can help them move up the social strata. They like to associate with achievers.

Both sexes have considerable charm and dignity. In marriage they can be genuinely affectionate, and make good partners and parents. They are meticulous planners, considering every detail and its effect.

There is seldom much room for emotional involvement because the mind is always engaged and dominant. What they lack in passion they make up for in preciseness.When confronted with obstacles, they stay calm and rational and work on finding a solution rather than loosing their cool. This calmness is sometimes seen as being cold and calculating. In spite of this, Virgos are friendly and outgoing people.

Virgoans are essentially tacticians, admirable in the attainment of limited objectives. They have a basic distrust in their nature, not only of other people but themselves as well. They project this mistrust to others and therefore make exacting employers. Although, they will never ask anyone to do what they won't do, it is still asking a lot, because most people will not go to the pains a Virgo will.


Libra "I balance" Sept. 23 - Oct. 22

The basic Libran nature is diplomatic and charming. Libras have an idealistic and generally peace loving nature. They are easygoing and sociable. Librans are considered by many astrologers to be among the most civilized of the twelve signs. Often good looking, they exude certain elegance, charm and fine taste.

As lovers of beauty and harmony, both in art and life, their nature is gentle and kind. Pleasure oriented people, Libras are intuitive and very aware of the power of image. They are happiest when socializing, and at the top of their social strata. You will find many Librans in local organizations volunteering their time and services and rising to a position of prominence. They are fence sitters and will not take a stand on an issue, but prefer the middle of the road, until they are forced to choose. They make good diplomats .

They are known to be objective and impartial in making judgment calls. They are more interested in making friends than enemies, and are willing to go along with others and do whatever it takes to maintain a relationship.

Very sociable, they abhor cruel or vicious actions, and shy away from vulgar and offensive behavior. They prefer to cooperate and compromise, and will give up, even when they feel they are in the right, rather than put up with the ordeal of an argument. Discord makes them totally insecure, and uncomfortable. They need and want harmony in their lives, and will do whatever it takes to have it.


Scorpio "I desire" Oct. 23 - Nov. 21

Scorpions are known for their intense and powerful natures. They are willful, proud and calm with an electrifying undercurrent of seething intensity. Purposeful and animated with force, they project a magnetic personality.Scorpio does nothing in half measures. An all or nothing attitude permeates their entire life. When fixed on something or someone, the scorpion perseveres. Scorpio never settles. Life is meant to be lived to the fullest or not at all. Scorpio will rarely be found in the center of activity, but will always know just what is going on of concern to him.

Their tenacity and willpower are enviable, their depth of character and passionate conviction admirable, but it is their deep sensitivity that makes them the best and most loyal friend. This same quality makes them the most treacherous of enemies.

When they harness their abundant energy constructively, their self-confidence tempered with shrewdness, and their ambition coupled with generosity toward others, they excel at whatever they undertake. Scorpios are demanding of others, but never ask someone to do what they would not do themselves. They can be fanatically focused and work till they drop.


Saigitarrias "I see" Nov. 22- Dec. 21

Sagittarians are positive people.They have a bright outlook on life, are enterprising, full of energy and vitality. Versatile, adventurous and eager to expand their range beyond the comfortable and familiar. They enjoy travel and exploring, and their minds are continually searching for new experiences. They are ambitious, optimistic folk, and nothing seems to get them down.

They are idealists, and this seems to keep them going even when thereare disappointments which smash their plans. They have a tendency to get over zealous when they are interested in something. They are believers, and what they believe in, they are willing to fight for. They are both loyal and independent at the same time. They manage to balance both traits.

Sagittarians are usually modest and often spiritual, with strong values. They like rituals. They are profound thinkers, and are gifted with foresight and good judgment. They are avid learners, love to initiate new projects and make great researchers.

They study quickly with keen minds. They have an expectant attitude and a penchant for new experiences, which may account for the fact that Sagittarians are noted for their longevity. They are often intuitive and original thinkers. Better at adapting than inventing, they work well in collaboration with others. A strong-will and good organization ability combined with their other talents usually bring any project they undertake to a successful conclusion.


Capricorn "I use" Dec. 22- Jan. 19
The Capricornian is generally a serious character possessing a wry sense of humor. Independent, steady as a rock, Capricorn reflects earthy qualities that range from clever to vacuous. Mostly cautious, confident, strong willed, reasonable and hard working, Capricorns are a rock upon which to build. They are often aloof, shrewd, practical, responsible and persevering. They are capable of great endurance Reliable in any profession they undertake, but lacking in originality, they usually excel in following up on what someone else has started.

Within prescribed areas, Capricorn is a resourceful, practical manager. These folks set high standards for themselves and others. They are self critical, and work well in a disciplined environment, demanding equal measure from their subordinates.

A careful, ambitious planner, Capricorn moves forward with quiet, deliberate persistence. They can be frugal, possessing the ability to achieve results with minimum effort and expense. Highly organized, they excel in managing several projects simultaneously.

Capricorn will often vie for a position of authority. Once attaining control, they are demanding and exacting in leadership. Although firm, they are usually fair to people they deal with. They value tradition.