Worldbuilding, story structure, and here’s a saddle

Just add a horse.

The Houston Writers Guild conference was a great experience. I taught the workshop on worldbuilding that I taught in Austin in February and I think it went well. I felt more disorganized than the first time, but the attendees asked good pertinent questions and I think they got good stuff out of it. If you took either worldbuilding course, let me know if it was helpful for you.

Hung out with the writer John Oehler in the bar (PS. John, I started Aphrodesia and I’m really liking it), sold a few books, ate dinner with the other attendees, and then took a walk around the Sugar Land town square enjoying the beautiful weather and people watching.

Saturday morning I went to half of Tom Vaughan’s workshop on screenplays and story structure and I was taking notes like mad. I couldn’t stay for the whole thing because I had to be back, but it was so worth it. If you have a chance to ever take one of his workshops, do so. The structure stuff is STORY, not screenplay-specific, although he approached it from the screenplay vantage point.

I was riveted.

I was so glad to be home, not just to see the family but because the huge box in the living room indicated that my saddle arrived! I found this on and bought it on a whim. The offer was too good to be true — saddle, bridle, stirrup leathers, girth, reins — seriously, what? All for $150?

Turns out the saddle is made in India (as Ben said, of what? I know, right? But I guess that Muslims would be able to work in cow leather?) and the workmanship looks good, but what do I know? I’ll bring it in to the stable tomorrow and have the experts look at it.

Oh, and it was a day for horse stuff, because I stopped off in South Texas Tack near Brenham and I bought a halter.

All I need now is a horse to fill all of these things.

Riding lessons — DUMPED

Rode Chocolate the mare again, and this time we did canter and sure enough, she dumped me. We were in the small round pen, and I had her head up, and we were doing fine, and then all of a sudden her head disappeared and over I went.

The instructor, Laurel, said I was doing really good up to that point. My hands were holding her head up high, my seat was good, and then boom.

God, how I do hate falling. I get all shaky and faint and it sucks. I lay in the dirt for a bit and then got up, and limped over to the porch to regain my composure. In the meantime Laurel ran the snot out of Chocolate in an attempt to take some of the edge off, and then I got back on and we walked and trotted some more. I wasn’t frightened, strangely enough. I would have thought that after that fall, so soon after restarting lessons and while I am still getting my abilities back, would have really made me apprehensive. I will say this though, that my next week’s lesson will be on a different horse if we’re going to canter.And I hope we do. I’m improving a lot faster than I thought, and I want to move on.

And also, it’s official: Chocolate may look like Mojo from Gordath Wood, but she’s got the heart and soul of Allegra.

I am right now sitting on a bag of frozen edamame peas (no loss — — they were a purchase made out a misguided attempt to eat more healthily).¬† I’ve taken Advil and well, we’ll just hope for the best tomorrow. I will probably do some very gentle stretching in the morning in lieu of my usual vigorous morning walk.

The other dream come true

After many long years, I have finally set up riding lessons again. I am so pleased and excited. I will be riding at Spicewood Farm, with Shari, and I am just so happy.

My first lesson will be an evaluation lesson, for 30 minutes and then after that I will be taking  full hour lessons. Note to self: stock up on ice and Advil.

The plan is to start with lessons, then move toward shareboarding a horse, and then perhaps finally owning a horse of my own. I am naturally risk-averse, and I don’t want to get into something that we find we can’t afford, hence I’m not going to be riding for six months and then try to find a horse to buy right away. But shareboarding, in which I would take on half the costs of a horse’s care, is most likely doable.

Oh, the things I must do to get ready! A new helmet, because although my old one is Pony Club approved, it is old and it’s like a bike helmet — it’s brain protection and I shouldn’t skimp. I may go ahead and buy breeches, because jeans aren’t as comfortable. I do have gloves somewhere, and will need those to prevent blisters (also, to improve hand position and keeping the reins the right length).

I am so happy and excited! Woo-hoo!

Riding again after so many years. English riding (sorry Western fans, it’s just that there’s so much saddle — it gets in the way).