Site Update – Gold Cup

I was at a horse show last week, and didn’t get a chance to get much reading done because I was having too much fun eating and hanging out. Oh, I rode a couple of times, too!  Here are some pictures from the show.  I will be adding more over the next few days.  My goal is to get back up to speed with reviews by the end of the week.  Until then, enjoy the pix!

Canterwood Crest: Take the Reins by Jessica Burkhart Novel Review


Title: Canterwood Crest: Taking the Reins

Author: Jessica Burkhart

Publisher: Aladdin MIX

ISBN: 978-1416958406


May Contain Spoilers

From the back of the book:

When Sasha Silver and her horse, Charm, arrive on the campus of the elite Canterwood Crest Academy, Sasha knows that she’s in trouble. She’s not exactly welcomed with open arms. One group of girls in particular is used to being the best, the brightest, and the prettiest on the team, and when Sasha shows her skills in the arena, the girls’ claws come out.

Sasha is determined to prove that she belongs at Canterwood. Will she rise to the occasion and make the advanced riding team by the end of her first semester? Or will the pressure send Sasha packing?

This was a quick, unchallenging read.  Sasha begins her academic career at exclusive Canterwood Crest, an elite school where she hopes to realize her dreams of becoming an accomplished equestrian.  The school has a highly competitive riding program, and Sasha is eager to begin working hard to hone her riding skills.  But first she has to prove that she deserves her spot on the team, and with rival Heather and her followers dogging her steps, that’s not going to be easy!

This book piqued my interest because it’s about horses.  Yeah, I am pretty one-dimensional.  I like comics, books, horses, and video games.  Simple.  Sasha gets to live a dream of mine; her parents are willing to foot the bill to send her and her horse to school.  I had to wait until I was old and gray to take riding lessons, and even now I have to scramble to keep my ponies feed.  How lovely it would be to have someone else worry about covering all of the bills for me.  Next life, maybe.

Getting back to Sasha, she and her horse, Charm, are hunter/jumpers.  This was interesting, because I ride saddleseat, and don’t really know all that much about leaping over standing obstacles.  Since my bones are brittle, it just doesn’t sound like a good idea to go barreling over fences.  Sasha and Charm are fairly good at it, and Sasha has dreams of competing on an international level. That would be exciting.  I know that competing at the World Championship show in my discipline is thrilling and I work all summer just to compete in Oklahoma.    Right off the bat I understand Sasha and share her ambitions.

Take the Reins skewed a little young for me, though, and I had some difficulty finding some of predictable plot points intriguing.  Heather and her friends set out to make Sasha’s life miserable by playing pranks on her and setting her up to get in trouble with the riding coach. Which brings up another disappointment; all of the adults are either dumb or clueless or both.  Mind games are part of any competitive sports, and riding is no different.  If you can intimidate your opponents before they even get into the ring, you have created a huge edge for yourself.  Heather loves to play mind games, and Sasha is at first taken aback by these cut-throat tactics.  Mr Conner, the riding coach, would have seen intimidation tactics in action a hundred times in the past, yet he comes across as being oblivious to, and even a little surprised by, all of the team infighting. 

I liked the book enough to place a request for the next volume at the library, but I was still a little disappointed with the cookie cutter plot.  I was hoping for more horsey stuff and less of Sasha studying to keep up in her classes.  I am still enamored with the thought of actually getting to take a horse to boarding school.  I wonder if I can take mine to the nursing home?

Grade: C+

This book was rented from my local library.  Support your library!

Out of Town for the Weekend

I am out of town for the weekend in beautiful Ludington, Michigan and probably won’t be able to update until next week.  I’ll be trying to fit in time at the beach with the pile of manga that I brought, but so far, sitting around and enjoying the breeze time has been sadly lacking.  The sand dunes ride was awesome, though!

Off-Line for a Bit

I am out of town at a horse show this weekend, so there probably won’t be any updates until Sunday evening.  Yesterday was horribly hot and muggy, making hanging around half ton furnaces extremely uncomfortable.  Hopefully we’ll get a break in the weather today and it won’t be so humid. 

More Alike than You Might Think

After spending the weekend at a horse show, I suddenly realized that anime cons and horse shows have a lot in common.  Far fetched though it may sound, here’s proof beyond a doubt that equestrians and otakus have more in common than first meets the eye.

Cos-play – Just as anime fans feel the need to celebrate their favorite series by spending hours crafting the perfect costume, cos-play abounds at horse shows.  I’m mystified as to why it’s necessary to dress up like fox hunters or plantation owners in order to ride a horse, but it’s generally required to wear these outlandish costumes in order to participate in the festivities.  Driving classes demand fussing up in dresses, which makes about as much sense as wearing flip-flops to either show.  Besides getting nasty blisters walking around the dealer hall at a con, who knows what you’ll step in at a horse show.

Gender bending – Gender bending doesn’t only exist in manga!  Check out the local saddleseat show for proof that it happily exists in real life.  Look at all of those women decked out in their Sunday finest.  Wait, why are they all wearing suits?  And ties?  Like many an anime series, this ritual makes little sense, but it sure gives you a feeling superiority knowing that your Double Windsor looks so much neater than everybody else’s!

Really bad expensive food – This is another reason to eat a healthy breakfast.  Like you’ll find at anime conventions, the food at horse shows is over-priced, and just plain bad for you.  Full of empty calories and not especially appetizing, the day is much too hectic to strike off in search of cheaper, better options.  Trapped at the fairgrounds, or the convention center, you’re a sitting duck for the greedy food vendors.

Lack of sleep – Trying to catch another anime episode or hit that late night panel?  Horse shows are jam packed with too many activities as well.  Getting up at 5:30 in the morning to help wash tails or braid manes, the day is just crammed with too much to do!  Even after the last class of the evening, there are still horses to be worked into the wee hours of the night.  Catching a catnap while waiting around soon becomes a necessary art at both events.

Constant schedule changes – Just missed that panel on cel collecting because of an unexpected schedule change?  Did the arcade not open until two hours after the official posted time?  Just like the frustration at anime cons, the printed schedule at the horse show is just about worthless.  Class run over because a horse threw a shoe?  Was there a hold between classes because of a necessary equipment change?  These unexpected schedule delays at anime cons and horse shows are one of the major reasons that we are forced to eat the really bad expensive food!  You’re taking a gamble if you count on the schedule running smoothly and try to actually make plans around it.

The need for soap – And you thought only otakus needed to be reminded to shower!  While most participants at the horse show do start the day off with a liberal application of soap, wearing a three piece suit in 90 degree weather soon makes that shower a distant memory.  Since many of us only have one costume, we are stuck wearing that smelly thing the entire horse show.  Phew!

Well, there you have it.  Anime conventions and horse shows are just flip sides of each other.  Can’t make it to a major con this year?  Don’t worry!  Just trot over to the local horse show!  Just don’t wear your flip flops!

The Other Hobby

Taking a tiny break from the manga blogging, I was at a horse show this weekend.  If you’re interested in a Manga Maniac’s adventures at the horse show, please click here.  I even managed to read Vs. Versus #3 during the excitement.  Review to follow shortly.

OT – Random Riding Lesson – Are We There Yet?


Last night I took a riding lesson with Roxanne and Krystal way out in the boonies. I raced from work over to Karla’s after wolfing down a package of Thai noodles, and then we drove for an hour to arrive at the barn, just in time to wait because the lessons were running late. *sigh*

Roxanne went first. She is catch riding at ASHAM next weekend, so she rode the horse she’ll be showing. Her lesson was only about 20 minutes. Yeah! I was really tired by that time and just wanted to get on a horse and then go home.

Krystal was next. I thought we would be riding in a group lesson; I was disappointed to find out we weren’t. The arena is about half the size of DHS’s, but there is an observation room with a bathroom. The barn was clean and well kept. Overall, the farm was nice, but it’s so far away!

They brought out a paint while Krystal was still riding, and I hopped  on. The horse’s name was Vinny, and he’s a country pleasure horse. That means he doesn’t have a lot of forward motion, and doesn’t trot very high. He had a nice head set, though, and I didn’t have to fight to keep his head up.

Vinny was a lot of work! It was rather warm last night, and I soon worked up a sweat. He was a notch lazier than Harley – argh! The entire time we worked at the posting trot it was sit, kick, up, sit, kick, up. I can’t believe how quickly I became tired! The canter was the same – stride, kick, stride, kick, and he still kept falling out of it! I was able to get the correct canter leads every time he took off, though.

After the lesson, we went out for a bite to eat. The Tomato Kitchen was right by the freeway, so we stopped there. It was ok, but it was so far past my bedtime that all I wanted to do was go home and sleep! I didn’t get home until after 11, and I have to get up at 4:45!!