wildfillysama: “Look, no hands!” Or, riding without a bridle

Horses do not always require bridles, halters, or other pieces of string on their face in order to be safely controlled. However, unless certain steps are taken beforehand, this can very quickly prove to not be the case.

I have recently started working without any kind of headgear on an 8-year old ex-racehorse mare. One year previously, this horse was extremely spooky and reactive, prone to rushing away, with a particular fear of bits and nosebands. Nowadays, she is much calmer, has excellent brakes and a much better relationship with people, but still demonstrates evasive mouth behaviours when confused by new work. Bridleless work for her is a good way to build trust and have fun, continuing her rehabilitation.

These steps are as follows:

1. Ensure that you have a safe, calm, enclosed area in which to ride. If everything goes wrong, you want to make sure that the horse will not be able to go off on a rampage. You don’t want anything too stimulating or frightening in the area either.

2. Groundwork. Does your horse have a good working relationship with you on the ground? Does he or she yield away from pressure, reinback when asked, move easily and without argument when asked? Does he or she know basic voice commands? If not, then you’re taking a big risk in working without a bridle. You want a horse who is responsive and attentive, who understands what you mean when you use your voice and gentle pressure cues.

3. Practice riding around with no rein contact. Go about on a regular ride, and try dropping the reins entirely, then asking the horse to move forward or slow down with your legs, seat and voice. Ask them to turn using only your seat, legs, and body weight. If your horse is confused or unresponsive, pick up the reins gently to show them what you’re after. Slowly reduce how much rein contact you need in order to get good turns and transitions.

4. Introduce a neck rope. A lead rope with a knot at the top, tied at the base of the horse’s neck and shoulders, is a good cheap option. Start introducing the neck rope as part of your regular riding cues for turning and braking, so that the horse can associate its different pressure with normal instructions. This is intended to give you a fallback plan in case of emergencies. A correctly tied neck rope can sit on the horse’s neck without flapping or slipping around, so is a good set of emergency brakes or steering if something unexpected happens.

5. Start with something simple. Don’t expect perfection straight away. For example, the horse with whom I’m working has excellent reinless transitions, but is less proficient at turning. So for our first ride without a bridle, I kept her on the arena track and focused on just getting walk, trot and canter transitions.

6. Praise frequently. Keep your horse’s attention trained onto you and the entire situation as stress-free as possible. You are in a more vulnerable situation without a bridle, so don’t take risks or ask for anything that your horse finds frustrating or difficult too early. Be easy to please – give pats and voice rewards often, and use bridleless riding as a final exercise to a normal ride. For example, ride as normal in a bridle for the first 30 minutes of a session, then remove the bridle while staying in the saddle, and perform simple cool-down exercises bridleless for 10-15 minutes.


Here are two excellent examples of just how good bridleless communication can get. Don’t expect perfection, and don’t rush either yourself or your horse – just enjoy the slightly surreal feeling and have fun!






Back on the Farming Train

Or: Diablo III is fun once again.


Not terribly much to say, apart from slaying countless thousands of monsters in search of better loot has consumed a lot of my free time. Reaper of Souls is a solid expansion pack, and patch 2.0.3 has made the game into what it should have been on release day.

Rolling up new characters and powerlevelling is actually fun once more, which is excellent.

In other news, wizards and monks be ballin, yo.


Stay angry my friends.

Friday Free-for-all: Amazing Anime and Nostalgiavision

All of the Alpha Nerds were introduced to Kill la Kill a few weeks ago. The general consensus after nine episodes is THAT IT IS AMAAAAAZING. A few of us (lorekai, wildfillysama, EbolaBooze) have seen all of the episodes so far (SPOILER: IT KICKS CLOTHING TO THE CURB AND GOES BEYOND THE IMPOSSIBLE).

EbolaBooze’s favourite character is Senketsu. Accept no substitutes. He is the most moe.

wildfillysama’s favourite character is Iori, the captain of the sewing club. A sewing-focused Goku uniform would make last-minute cosplay modifications and despairing hair cuts a thing of the past!

lorekai’s favourite is Ira Gamagori, because he is awesome and ridiculous and just amazing. An honourable mention goes to the teacher guy who keeps losing his clothes due to how hilarious he is.

anit the Flea shares her favourites with lorekai but coming in very close are the main character and her weeeeeird friend Mako ūüôā I look forward to learning more about the other elite four!

marsy is unsure whether she likes Mako or Gamagori more, but she knows that they are both amazing. Still recovering from the trauma of Gamagori’s fight with Ryuko, but these things happen. Also impressed by the equal-opportunity nudity.

windfyre is enjoying the whole thing, but choosing characters are so hard for a person who has trouble remembering what he had for breakfast.  His favourite would have to be the guy who Рspoiler Рcuts out his own eyes to get more hardcore.  Respect.

In addition, we played Spyro: Year of the Dragon – a game that some of the angry alpha nerds played years and years ago, and to which other alpha nerds have only just been introduced. Much skateboarding was had. EbolaBooze revealed his so-far unknown talent for skateboarding with a small dragon (marsy’s helpful instructions of “do a gnasty gnorc!” were actually followed. Accidentally.) . Many headers were taken off cliffs. So much button mashing. So little button responsiveness. Panic and break stuff. EGG THIEVES INSPIRE HATRED. anit the Flea touched her very first playstation controller (it was magical) and her name became synonymous with failure.¬† All in all, the Alpha Nerds of the past would kick todays Nerds around the block.¬† More to come.

lorekai: Final Fantasy X HD Review

First and foremost before I begin this review, I finally won the first blitzball game! It’s only taken me almost 10 years, apparently the secret to it¬†is to give up all hope of ever winning, completely ignore¬†the match, and¬†browse tumblr while¬†pressing X occasionally. Blitzball aside, this is an excellent remaster of an excellent game, my complaints are minor and I’ve been having a lot of fun playing through it again.


The Good:

The graphical enhancements made to this game are excellent, even on the Vita version, for the most part gone are the sudden ethnicity changes from gameplay to FMV, and the environments are even prettier than before. The character models for the main cast have been greatly improved, which is both a good and bad thing, as with updated models you can see a great many details of their designs which weren’t previously obvious. The downside however, is that because they are so greatly improved, the scenes which involve the less updated minor characters can end up looking quite strange due to the rather large contrast in models. Aside from that, the inclusion of a quick heal function and the option for shorter summoning scenes were nice little surprises. Another good thing this game does, though not really applicable to me or anyone else in the PAL region, is that it includes the additional content from the international version, which is great for those who have never had the chance to play it.

The Bad:

I have very little to say in terms of negative things about this game, but, possibly the worst thing to included in the remaster would be the bonus audio drama, if you’ve got the game and haven’t listened to it yet, do yourself a favour and don’t. It’s bad¬†fanfiction levels of bad, half an hour of your life you won’t get back, that ignores pretty much all pre-established characterisation and introduces some horrendously stereotypical new characters, the only positive thing I have to say about it was that the voice acting was decent. Aside from that the rest of my complaints about the game are very minor, there are some small graphical glitches, and occasional frame rate drops, neither of which affect the gameplay, making them only minor annoyances, the only other negative thing I have to say about the game is that I wish they had included an option to skip scenes.

The Indifferent:

I was very fond of the soundtrack in the original release of the game, and when I heard it was being remastered for this one I was somewhat concerned. Fortunately, while the remastered soundtrack doesn’t quite live up to the old one, it is still very good, excluding some of the¬†battle themes.


If you never played Final Fantasy X, or even if you have, and have access to a Playstation 3 or Vita, I would definitely recommend picking this game up, I’d even go as far as to say that it’s a must have game for either system.¬†Thanks for reading.

marsy: Another uneventful week

It’s been another quiet week for me. I played a lot of video games, bought a lot of stuff online. Working at another convention this weekend. Not much to say really.

I bought 30 brandy snaps today. I lack self-control. Haven’t eaten them all yet. Guess I still have some self-control. Today was a pretty good day.

Here’s a random picture.


wildfillysama: Poets and What They’re Good For – 3

This week I will look at some poems by the very successful proponent of the Imagist movement, Ezra Pound (1885-1972). Pound has been alternately celebrated for his extremely adept poetics, and condemned for his fascist politics and often very condescending approaches towards female subjects in his poetry as well as in reality (see his interactions with Hilda Doolittle (H.D.) for example). Pound also had a fascinating approach to poetry translation, which sometimes equated to not translating the original poem at all, but writing a poem about what he “felt” that the meaning of the poem happened to be, drawing on the original images for detail.

Things that Pound likes: Brief, clear images and language. Engaging with contemporary poets, rewriting Chinese and Japanese poems, and not using traditional poetry styles. Likes to like musicality with imagery, rather than traditional rhythm schemes.

Thing that Pound dislikes: Rejects the artifice of Georgian and Victorian poetry. Doesn’t like abstraction, too many adjectives or inverting word orders, or anything else that obscures clarity.

Things that are cool about Pound‚Äôs poetry: Despite its sophistication, Pound’s poetry is extremely accessible even to an infrequent reader of poetry. His strictness with word counts and descriptions means that his images are almost always extremely proficient as well as efficient. Even his longer poems are easy to read all at once. His experimentation with ancient Chinese, Japanese and Greek poetry, to name a few, also gives his work a sense of history, despite using a very new style at the time.

Some good poems:
One of the best-known examples of Imagism’s efficiency is “In a Station of the Metro”, a tiny fragment poem. “Further Instructions” links classical poetry motifs with modern concerns, reflecting cynically and self-depreciatingly on his own work. “Ladies” highlights Pound’s glaring issues with women, but also shows some excellent uses of description and engagements with the ancient Greek poet Sappho as a counterpoint. The speaker in “Middle-Aged” laments about his increasing age with a parallel to an entombed pharaoh, surrounded by uncomprehending “tourists”, not for his impending mortality, but for his increasing distance from his creative drive and activity.

In a Station of the Metro

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.
Further Instructions
Come, my songs, let us express our baser passions.
Let us express our envy for the man with a steady job and no worry about the future.
You are very idle, my songs,
I fear you will come to a bad end.
You stand about the streets, You loiter at the corners and bus-stops,
You do next to nothing at all.

You do not even express our inner nobilitys,
You will come to a very bad end.

And I? I have gone half-cracked.
I have talked to you so much that I almost see you about me,
Insolent little beasts! Shameless! Devoid of clothing!But you, newest song of the lot,
You are not old enough to have done much mischief.
I will get you a green coat out of China
With dragons worked upon it.
I will get you the scarlet silk trousers
From the statue of the infant Christ at Santa Maria Novella;
Lest they say we are lacking in taste,
Or that there is no caste in this family.
Four and forty lovers had Agathas in the old days,
All of whom she refused;
And now she turns to me seeking love,
And her hair also is turning.

Young Lady
I have fed your lar with poppies,
I have adored you for three full years;
And now you grumble because your dress does not fit
And because I happen to say so.

Lesbia Illa
Memnon, Menmon, that lady
Who used to walk about amongst us
With such gracious uncertainty,
Is now wedded
To a British householder.
Lugete, Veneres! Lugete, Cupidinesque !

Flawless as Aphrodite,
Thoroughly beautiful,
The faint odour of your patchouli,
Faint, almost, as the lines of cruelty about your chin,
Assails me, and concerns me almost as little.
‚ÄėTis but a vague, invarious delight
As gold that rains about some buried king.

As the fine flakes,
When tourists frolicking
Stamp on his roof or in the glazing light
Try photographs, wolf down their ale and cakes
And start to inspect some further pyramid;

As the fine dust, in the hid cell
Beneath their transitory step and merriment,
Drifts through the air, and the sarcophagus
Gains yet another crust
Of useless riches for the occupant,
So I, the fires that lit once dreams
Now over and spent,
Lie dead within four walls
And so now love
Rains down and so enriches some stiff case,
And strews a mind with precious metaphors,And so the space
Of my still consciousness
Is full of gilded snow,The which, no cat has eyes enough
To see the brightness of.