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The Horse Lover's Blog

Learning From My Own Book

This is the blog post I wrote for Storey Publishing's website--and paging through my own new book to find the reference page numbers was so much fun. I keep finding all these cool things I discovered for the book--and with nonfiction, it feels easy to tell people about it. This isn't me--it's stuff I found, and you'll want to find it out too.

Rhythm Beads for Robin
I wrote about rhythm beads in Horse Crazy! (314) but I'd never tried them. The first step was to find a bell. I had in mind a brass sleigh bell (241) with a beautiful sound, but downtown Brattleboro at 5:45 in July is no time to find a sleigh bell of any kind.
What I did find was a shelf of small brass bells from central India in a neat store called Brilliance. I stood and tinkled for a long time before I decided which was right for Robin. (Robin is my three-year-old Morgan filly, and it doesn't surprise me that her bell would be exotic; she's a princess, and she loves pretty things.)
I wanted to try it immediately, but we had to take it slow. First I hung it up, and clicked her for ringing it (Clicker Training, p.100, 219). Then I hung it around my neck and groomed her. (Hung it with what, you ask? Baling twine--p.292 )
Next I hung the bell around Robin's neck, and went out and lunged her. I was very focused on her not being afraid of it, but within two sessions I realized that it's better than that. She seems to really like it! She's more relaxed, moving with a lot more energy on the lunge, and her ears are forward.
Now for a more beautiful cord, and some beads. I bought a few at Beadniks (including turquoise, because it protects horse and rider (275)), and I'm going to make some i-cord out of some gorgeous nylon ribbon yarn I have left over. (I-cord is short for "idiot-cord"; it's really easy to make.) Robin and I will have matching neckwear!
I loved going out to buy jewelry for my horse. It reminded me of King of the Wind, (191) and the amulet Sham wore around his neck. It reminded me that I'm horse crazy (ital) and there's no point in pretending to be all sensible about it. What's next? Maybe I'll crochet Robin a full set of halter pads (322) out of angora, or baby alpaca wool...
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