Tuesday, December 26, 2017

How do you solve a problem like a fat, smart horse?

It's been a long while since one of us posted here.  It's hard to keep up when you're working for a unicorn with a busy social calendar!  Anyway I thought it would be time to start posting again.  So what's to say?

Well, life's good, work's good, Chase is....FAT!  Waaaay FAT, fat to the point where I'm really stressed out and concerned.  I jokingly told the vet recently "Yeah, he's probably a 10 out of 9!"  She said I wasn't far off.  But a 10? out of 9?  How do we actually quantify a horse's weight without weighing them on a scale?  (Most people do not have access to a large scale that can be used to weigh a horse).

A commonly accepted method is the Henneke Body Condition Scoring System.  Body Condition Score (BCS) ranges from 2 (extremely thin/poor) to 9 (extremely fat).  So when I said 10, I was being funny but really it wasn't far off.  A BCS is determined by a series of somewhat objective observations by sight and feel.  Below is a good chart that summarizes the different scores.

Body Condition Scoring - From: http://www.foxvalleyequine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Body-Condition-Score-1080x675.jpg
All joking aside, Chase probably scores somewhere around 8 to 8.5 on this scale.


How'd he get this way?  The same way most of us put on a couple of pounds...overeating.  You see, Chase likes grass, he like's grass A LOT.  The pastures at our barn are very good; full of grass for Chase to vacuum up for the better part of 24 hours everyday.

The most common way to combat a horse that overeats is to use a grazing muzzle.  So I tried using one of those on him, as I've done in the past.

Chase's former standard grazing muzzle.
Now...in the past he would occasionally get the grazing muzzle off somehow, but generally kept it on.  This year though...he declared war on the things.  Here are some pix of the aftermath:

Chase really does't like wearing a Grazing muzzle.

Even when he didn't break them...or when i used a stronger muzzle, he STILL took it off.  Everyday I'd come to the barn and find it somewhere else in the field.  I had no idea how he was taking it off, because the breakaway straps were intact, and nothing would be broken.  Then one day...I watched him slip the front of the muzzle under the fence and pull upward until POP...it slid off his muzzle, leaving it hanging over his neck.  Or stuck on the fence, as I found it one day:

Taunting me....

So that was one way he'd take his muzzle off...the other way, as I learned when I finally caught him doing it was also interesting.  (Side note: i "Finally" caught him removing the muzzle because usually he'd wait till he thought I was gone to go about trying to take it off.  So I'd put him out in the field and then 5-10 mins later he'd start trying to take it off).  Anyway...video time:

So he had two main ways he'd take his muzzle off.  Slipping the head strap over his nose or pulling the nose down till he could get it over his mouth.  I thought i could just tighten the straps more...but he still tried...though it didn't work out too well for him:

Note that it's stuck IN his mouth. 

Chase: Um....a little help?
Me: No, I'm going to make you think about what you've done and also take pictures though, cuz this will be funny for a while.

So tightening the straps evidently wasn't going to stop him.  Nor was my next trick: braiding a loop of paracord into his mane and carabinering that to the strap on the muzzle.

That'll show him!!!  No way he'll take THAT off! 

Riiiiiight.  Nope...he's far too smart to be defeated by something so simple.

So I solved the pulling it down over his nose problem by getting him a special muzzle that prevented him from pulling it off the front...note the V strap running down the front of his muzzle and attaching to the lip of the grazing muzzle.  It took a while to get this muzzle though, because it was backordered and there were supplier issues...so like a full month went by with him still slipping muzzles off.  Letting him get fatter and fatter while I didn't have it.

Best Friends Muzzle - Front View

Best Friends Muzzle - Side View

So after having him slipping his grazing muzzle off every day for basically the entire summer, I eventually decided to take drastic measures.  I modified his muzzle to add a throat latch.

Throat latch from the side.

Throat Latch from above
This seemed to solve the problem.  For a few days.  Then he decided to stress test the metal buckles I used to make his custom throatlatch.  I think you can tell where this is going.

Annnnd Broken!  Left is his handiwork.  Right is what its supposed to look like.
So finally I solved this problem with a leader strap that had a proper buckle:

Leather strap throatlatch = SUCCESS
I'm happy to report that as of December he's been wearing this thing without taking it off since I made it in October!  So finally, success!  We've been working to cut his weight down since then with some success.  That has included lots of lunging and riding up hills in the fields.  It's a slow process but we're getting him back slowly!

More to come on that in future posts hopefully...soon?  I guess my goal should be to update this blog more frequently than the gap between Rick and Morty seasons.  Anything longer is somewhat shameful!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Chase Update - July 2016

It's been quite a while since I last updated this blog, and I want to "Get back on the horse"" so to speak.  I want to do some longer form things but for now, just a quick update to get back into the swing of things:

Chase has been doing quite well.  He's as healthy as well...a horse.  He's been at the same barn for about a year and a half now and he's very happy with it. 

2016-03-17 - Golden hour with the Pony

He and I train 5-6 days a week, working on any number of things.  His conditioning is getting better (so we can train longer and work on exercises and movements that are more physically demanding).  Chase is also learning how to use his body more effectively (yet another vague reference that I should describe in more detail in another post!)  A short answer to the question "what the heck does "more effectively" mean is: he is developing more of his power from his hind end and his balance is starting to get better.  These are all basic staples necessary to succeed in dressage

2015-07-31: A solid Performance including 1st in Intro B, 2nd in Intro C, and  Reserve division championship.


All of this training helps to further my goals of progressing through the levels of dressage and doing well at the occasional schooling shows we compete at.  I don't show (primarily) for any personal gain or benefit (Though winning a competition and getting a couple ribbons once in a while sure does feel nice).  One reason I show is a mission I set for myself of showing that a rescued horse is as good as any other horse.  Many times rescued horses have an unfair (and incorrect) stigma associated with them.

Last year Chase and I did fairly well together, with a number of high 60%s scores (and a few low 70%s).  We even took home two Reserve champion ribbons for Introductory Division.  (This includes the tests Intro A, B, C)  We also started showing the next higher level tests, Training Level.  We showed Training 1 two or three times last summer/fall.  If there was one thing I think Chase and I need, it's more consistency.  On any given day he can go out and have an amazing day or a kinda crappy day.   It sort of depends on how he feels.  Also, during a test, he will have absolutely brilliant moments, then some not so brilliant ones.  Alas, I am not alone in my struggle for consistency.  It is a struggle many dressage riders face.

2015-11-08 - Intro C: A decent moment, though a bit behind the bit. (head tucked in and down, Poll is not the highest point as it should be)
 You are probably wondering what the heck I'm talking about when I spout off test names like Intro A and Training 1.  Well you can see the Intro Tests on the USDF website and everything else on the USEF Website.

My main goal for this show season are to master the training level tests (1, 2, 3).  I'll do Training 2 for the first time early in July.  If that goes well I will look at dropping Training 1 and substituting in Training 3 by Mid August.  I'll measure success as consistently  attaining high 60% scores on our dressage tests.  My stretch goal is to show a 1st Level Test (the next level above Training) by the end of this fall and score at least a 60 on it.

I am going to try to update this blog more frequently from now on...Equus still has many things to say..tho his social schedule is quite busy, as one might expect for a unicorn.  But I'll ask you, what else do you want to hear about?

Sunday, March 6, 2016

What Is Equus Wearing?!

When a unicorn goes out, he usually wants to look his best.  That said, I'm frequently asked what I'm wearing.  So let's break it down.  I've got a number of different outfits that you might have seen, each of them has an origin and purpose.

 First, the formal attire:

My coat is called a shadbelly.  This type of riding coat is worn in a couple of different situations but is most often seen in higher level dressage competitions.  Around my neck is a white ascot.  An ascot is much like a your hewman ties...just...classier.

Around my waist, a loincloth because...why would a unicorn wear pants?  (Well, there are a few reasons, we'll come to those).  The loincloth was handmade by my hewman handler, AgMane, and consists of red cloth, gold piping and white satin backing.  He did a fine job with it despite this being his first major sewing project (though I'm told he had help patterning it from a friend).

And in my hand?  A dressage whip.  Both AgMane and I are practitioners of the art of dressage.  A long whip like this is traditionally used in dressage as it allows usage without taking ones hands off the reins.  While I refrain from using it whenever possible, it is, as I said, traditional to carry one, and also serves as a motivator just being in my hand.  Chase most assuredly knows what it is.

Now, when I choose to go for a ride or just feel like mixing it up, I'll go for a bit of a different look. First of all, Let me just say, I've heard people refer to me as a "jockey."  I am most definitely not a jockey.  A jockey will generally wear strange, non-traditional colored tops and much looser pants.  Furthermore,  racing is...beneath me

We'll start with the boot.  It has laces on the front of the ankle that ensure flexibility of the ankle as I move.  Traditionally this type of boot is more of a jumping boot, due to it's increased flexibility in the heel.  Dressage (or dress) boots do not have laces.  I have a pair of those but prefer the field boot I have right now for actual riding because it is far more comfortable.  The top of the boot is interesting as well.  One will notice that the outside of the boot is higher than the inside.  This is what's known as a Spanish top.  It's a purely stylistic note, but I think it looks quite good.  Moving on up past the boot is a pair of white britches or 'habits.'  These tight pants offer me greater contact with the horse/saddle, allowing me to better feel what's going on underneath me.

Finally, the top.  Traditionally when one is in a dressage ring (as I was a few moments before this picture), a blue or black blazer (or shadbelly as mentioned above) is preferred.  If you are in the military, you may wear your military uniform.  The red top is an approximate reproduction of a 19th century British cavalry uniform and thus suitable to be worn. Of course, in the equestrian world, a red blazer is more often associated with a fox hunt and I do love a good fox hunt!  However, the real reason I chose a red blazer because is one of my favorite colors and it goes well with my horse's fine dark coat.

That will be all for now.  In a future post I will talk about equine tack elements and their purposes.   


Saturday, January 2, 2016

A horse named Chase

My best friend's name is Chase.  He's a horse - my horse; and I want to tell you all about him.  Be forewarned, this will be a fairly long post.  Please stick with it.  If there's one single thing that I'd like people to read on this blog, it's this.  He's so incredibly important to me; it means a lot to tell you about his story and our journey together.

Chase at Gentle Giants - May, 2012.
 Chase came into my life in fall of 2011.  My previous horse, Trooper, had just been adopted so I found myself without a project horse to work with at the Rescue.  The head of the rescue asked me if I had time to go up to our off site trainer and take a look at a horse.  She mentioned that the horse had some issues with mounting and seemed more comfortable with a male trainer than a female trainer.  Seeing as I didn't have a project horse I agreed to go take a look at this horse and see what I could do to help.

The day I was going up to see Chase for the first time I stopped at Gentle Giants first and was talking with one of the barn managers there.   They caught me off guard when they said "You're going up to see Chase?  I hear you're his last hope."  At the time I put it out of my mind.  Deep down I knew what she meant but I didn't think she was serious.  More on that later though.

With that I drove up to the trainer's place in Frederick, MD.  The first thing she said was "Here's Chase's halter.  He's that black horse with the white blaze out in that field.  Go get him and bring him back down here.  You probably won't be able to catch him, he's named Chase for a reason."  With that challenge laid down, I walked across the field -  right toward the black horse with the white blaze.  He was grazing and popped his head up when he saw me and gave me a look, but he didn't move otherwise.  I walked right up, put the halter on him, and walked him back to the gate. The trainer was standing there watching and remarked "You just made a liar out of me." 

I brought Chase down to the barn and tied him outside so the trainer and I could groom him.  She described him, helped me groom him a bit.  I could tell Chase had some serious trust issues.  I could barely touch him without him stepping away from me.  He was headshy - I couldn't get a hand or a brush near his head because he'd pull away.  He also didn't like people behind him.  If I tried to walk behind him he'd spin away so that he could see me again.  I could definitely tell he had some trust issues.  After I spent a few minutes getting to know him, we brought him to the round pen and the trainer showed me his mounting issue and how I was to get on him.

Chase while at the Trainer's farm.  December, 2011.
I'll digress from the narrative portion of this story for a moment to describe Chase's issues and backstory in a bit more detail.  When I met Chase I knew very little about him.  I was told he "had trouble with mounting."  In reality, he very clearly had a bigger issue with trusting humans.  Also, as I'd later find out, he disliked mounting blocks.  He was very smart and knew exactly what they were, and would not stand next to one.  When a person tried to get on he'd bolt out from under them in that split second when it was impossible to not sit down in the saddle.  And by the time you sat down, he'd be running with a full head of steam who knows where.

Chase running in his field at Gentle Giants.  August, 2012.
Where did he come from?  Well I got him from Gentle Giants.  Two other people had adopted him before I met him but they returned him because of his issues; which would diminish but then flare up again (mainly because people were likely lazy and didn't work with him properly or often enough - in my opinion).  Gentle Giants bought him at New Holland auction from a guy who had bought him off another person.  He was almost certainly destined for the kill pen if Gentle Giants had not bought him that night.  He caught their eye because he rode through the auction very nicely.  They only learned about his issues after they bought him.  His life before New Holland is a black hole I have no details on and likely will never have details on.  It's clear he was abused, likely struck, whipped and beaten.  My theory, based on what I know about him and his issues is that someone beat him after he stepped away from the mounting block one too many times.

December, 2011.
Back to my narrative.  After I groomed Chase I took him over to the round pen (enclosed circular area that prevents a horse from hiding in a corner) so the trainer could show me a little more about his issues.  This was the moment that changed everything for me.  I can say in all honesty that I'll never forget this moment.  I had always told people I would never get a horse.  I'd said I would always help them and always ride them, but I didn't want the responsibility of owning one for myself.  I also said I didn't want to be 'Horse poor' as I put it.  But standing outside the round pen, watching the trainer show me more about his issues and watching Chase standing in the middle of the pen changed me.  I saw real fear - in his face, in his body language.  That's what changed me.  Everything I saw in him told me something terrible had happened to him.  A horse doesn't act and react the way he did without some major traumatic event.  In those few short moments, I felt a compassion I've rarely, if ever, felt before.  This seemingly innocent creature had had an experience with humans that made him completely terrified of them.  I knew I had to try and help him.

Our work together started the following day.  Again, I groomed Chase for a long time.  I truly didn't know much about making an abused horse trust me, and I really didn't consider myself a very good trainer at the time (and still don't know).  What I did know is that Chase was very sensitive to any touch, anywhere, and hyper-aware of where I was in relationship to his body.  As I said, I couldn't easily walk behind him because he'd swing around and try to get his head pointed at me.  With all this in mind I decided to just start touching him and petting him all over as I walked around him slowly.  I would rub the middle of his neck and crest, occasionally moving up to scratch his ear (he didn't like that at first).  I would work my way down his shoulder to his forelegs, and then work my way down them as well.  Then I'd slowly work my way backwards, continuing to touch him and rub him all the way back and around to the other side of him.  I reasoned that this would help desensitize him to me being in certain places around him and also help him realize that I was a "good" and wouldn't try to hurt him.

From there the trainer showed me how I needed to get on him.  There were "procedures."
  1. Stand on his left side (mounting side) and pull his head around to me.  - This was so he couldn't bolt forward when I went to get on (he threw me twice because I didn't do this)
  2. Jump up and down a little bit to get him used to that idea. - Let him know I was there beside him and so he would pay attention to me.  That way he wasn't surprised.
  3. Stick my left foot into the stirrup (From the ground) and immediately get on him from the ground.

Here's a pretty good video that shows all of these steps. It is a good example of what we did over and over and over and over again.  The key to any successful training is repetition. 

Note that isn't me in the video, it's the trainer's friend who was working with Chase briefly before I started with him.  Also, Chase appears very calm because he knew the guy very well.

It didn't take long before I was on Chase and riding a real dream of a horse.  He was just an absolute joy to ride once I was on his back.  It was the getting there that was difficult.  My goal was to fix the mounting problem so it wouldn't be dangerous to try to get on him.  We worked hard day after day to make it better.  I'd drive all the way out to Frederick and back an hour and over 50 miles each way, just to work with him.  I was really dedicated to fixing his issue.  I used to tell friends "Look, I don't drive 100 miles round trip for just anything."  Helping Chase was important to me.

At some point the trainer took me aside and said "Listen, I know you're stressed about the end of the month coming up.  I'm not going to charge Gentle Giants for him being here next month.  There's something very special about this horse and I want you to be comfortable with him before he goes back."  Eventually we took him back for a trial run, so that I could see how Chase would react to doing the same work we'd been doing, but in a a different environment.  It went ok but I wasn't comfortable enough to have the trainer leave him there.  We tried again the following weekend, again it went ok - not great, but ok - but while I was working with Chase, the trainer and head of the rescue talked with each other and decided that it was time for Chase to stay at Gentle Giants.

Lunge work with Chase while at the rescue.  We would do this every day we worked together.  January, 2012.

This was a very hard moment for me.  I was scared because he wasn't fixed yet.  I couldn't get on him without 'the procedure," and he was still really bad about the whole getting on process.  I thought I was going to fail.  I said to myself "there's no way I'm going to put in the time and effort to fix him."  (I used to go to the barn just on weekends to volunteer.  That wasn't going to cut it...he needed nearly daily work and contact).  I didn't think I'd have the patience to fix him but Chase taught me that patience.  I wanted to do right by him, regardless of how long it took.

Chase definitely regressed after he got back to Gentle Giants.  The second time I worked with him after he stayed back at the rescue someone using my camera with rapid fire mode caught one of the best series of photos I have of me training a horse.

We had a bit of a...disagreement. At Gentle Giants.  January, 2012.
This was one of those moments where I really questioned everything.  Was I doing the right things to help him?  Was it even possible to help him?  Was it worth the risk of injury to keep trying with Chase?  I didn't have any answers.  By that point though I was committed to continuing.  I knew him - he knew me.  Neither of us was willing to fully trust each other yet, but we both really wanted to.  

The people in charge at Gentle Giants seemed to think I knew what I was doing when it came to training and helping horses.  I'm not sure why, I rarely ever feel like I have "the answer" that will fix a problem or train a skill.  The truth of the matter is there really is no single right answer.  Something that works for one horse might not work for the next.  So for me, training a horse is a question of trial and error.  Eventually you find something that works and you go with it.  That's what Chase and I did.  Trial-error, Trial-success, repeat, repeat, repeat.

This video was taken after he came back to Gentle Giants.  It's a good quick example of what I had to do to get on him initially.

Our work continued after he got back, and little by little Chase calmed and accepted new things like me getting on from the mounting block or taking my coat off while I was riding.  There is so much I could talk about, but for the sake of a shorter post, I won't here.  Perhaps, if there is a desire, I can talk more about specific things I did to make him comfortable with different things.  As I said before though, it's all just trial, error, and repetition.  I have so many little anecdotes and stories I'd like to tell about Chase.  I'll write a follow up post eventually.

Chase returned to the rescue in January of 2012.  I worked with him and rode him there multiple days a week until May of 2013 when I, along with 3 good friends, adopted our horses from the rescue and moved them to private farms not affiliated with the rescue.  Since then Chase and I have continued to work together, taking lessons,learning from each other, and just being good friends to each other.  .  He is completely comfortable with me, and I've even gotten him to the point where he is comfortable with other riders getting on him.  This was a very difficult thing for me to allow, but he's proven that he can trust someone else enough to let them get on his back.  This means that if, god forbid, anything were ever to happen to me, an intermediate or advanced rider could safely get on and work with him almost immediately.  This is why rescues say that proper training is the best way to save a horses life.

We also occasionally compete at local dressage schooling shows.  We are a great team and we manage to do well at shows when we go.  Judges love him and always tell me what a great mover he is.  Right now we are at a tipping point between Introductory Level and Training Level dressage tests.  (I'll talk some more about that in a later post about dressage, what it is, and why I do it).

First place, Intro Test C.  Would you expect any less from a unicorn?  (and yes, I competed that way.)  October 25, 2015 - By Chance Farm.

You can fault the rider for second place and reserve champion.  I lost out in a tie because I didn't push him through into a wide enough canter circle. Oh well, you live and you learn.  Celebration Farm, July 31, 2015.
I like to say that Chase is the first horse that's ever truly humbled me.  As I mentioned earlier, he threw me twice when I first started to ride him because I was cocky.  He was a horse that had issues and no one was willing to take the time to fix them until I came along.  Two people had adopted him prior to me meeting him.  If I hadn't fixed him, he likely would have been euthanized because he was too dangerous for anyone to work with.  (Note that this is an extreme outcome only reserved for very very extreme cases.  It is not a routine thing at all for the rescue).  I found out later that people didn't think I'd be able to help him.  They thought he was too far gone to be helped; but Chase and I did it, together.  It was certainly a learning process.  One that continues every time we are with each other.  I couldn't ask for a better horse.  He is kind, good-natured, and willing.  Chase taught me that I could emotionally invest myself in my work with horses.  Until meeting him I was just kind of riding for the sake of riding.  After meeting him, everything changed.  Someone once said that Chase "gave [me] a heart."  Truer words may never have been spoken.

Equus with Chase at his current farm.  September 26, 2015.

Chase is a gift.  I am truly grateful to know him, to care for him, to love him with my whole heart.  He is one of a kind.  He has changed me as much as I've changed him.  We're still on our journey together, learning as we go - as we always will be.  The important thing is that we are together.  So to Chase, thank you for being the best horse I've ever met and thank you for trusting me.  I'll always be there for you because you're always there for me.  We are a good team.

A good team.  Forever.

Monday, October 19, 2015

One Year, One Unicorn, Many Places - Part 2

As I mentioned before, over the past year I've been to many places and seen many cool things in this world.  In part 1 we finished up at FurTheMore, one of those furry conventions in Tysons Corner, VA.  Shortly after that I accompanied Agmane to San Diego.

2015-06-04 - San Diego, CA
While in San Diego, Agmane broke the news to me that he wanted to go to Califur, a con in Irvine, California.  I reluctantly agreed when he told met that there would be other unicorns there.

2015-06-06 - Irvine, CA -  Califur
While at Califur, we shared our room with a most delightful donkey.  I insisted he join us when I wanted to go to the beach.

2015-06-05 - Newport Beach, CA

Walking around in my true form was no big deal in the City of Angels.  The ignorant hewmans all thought I was a play actor from one of their "moving pictures."

2015-06-07 - Los Angeles, CA - Union Station
I was told this was Dan Aykroyd's private car.  Unfortunately he has no time for unicorns.  *grumbles*

2015-06-08 - El Paso, TX
 After a hard night of serving dinner to my fellow passengers, I felt the dining car staff could use some rainbows in their lives.

2015-06-08 - TX
Unicorn Says: Always Maintain 3 points of contact when moving about the train!

2015-06-08 - Somewhere in TX

Our next stop was New Orleans.  I found this vacant plinth near Jackson Square.  I think a unicorn would look quite good here.

2015-06-10 - New Orleans, LA - Jackson Square
I'm always willing to imbibe upon the different concoctions you hewmans come up with to intoxicate yourselves.  I was told that this place specialized in a signature drink called the hurricane.  I quite enjoyed it.

2015-06-10 - New Orleans, LA - Pat O'Briens, Home of the Hurricane
After our long road trip, I took some time off before heading to another one of those furry conventions with Agmane.  This time we headed to the world's largest convention: Anthrocon in Pittsburgh, PA.

2015-07-12 - Anthrocon - Pittsburgh, PA
Some say unicorns are as tall as we are so that we are able to reach the top shelf.  This is clearly incorrect as a proper unicorn never has to reach for anything!  The fine staff at The Brewers Art certainly met this standard of service.

2015-07-17 - Artscape - Brewers Art - Baltimore, MD - Taken By SeikoLiz
The City of Baltimore was kind enough to clear the streets for my visit.

2015-07-17 - Artscape - Baltimore, MD - Taken By SeikoLiz
This "street art" is such a refreshing change from the money driven gallery scene.  Ephemeral works painted by the people, for the people.  I was so impressed I immediately purchased these walls and am having them transported to my estate.

2015-07-17 - Graffiti Alley - Baltimore, MD - Taken by SeikoLiz
Owning a professional sports team seems like mighty good fun.  Of course they will have to have a proper equine theme unlike this burd related team in Baltimore.

2015-08-08 - Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD
These "pony" enthusiasts (Agmane calls them "Bronies") make a mockery of all equine traditions!  Of course their heart is in the right place so I reluctantly entertained their requests for photographs.  Oddly enough the fake pony hewman on the right reminds me of an eclectic fellow I met several centuries ago.

2015-08-08 - Bronycon - Baltimore, MD - With Derpy and Doctor Whooves
I was invited to the United Kingdom by a very special zebra furry person who I very much enjoyed spending time with.  He and a deer friend of his were nice enough to accompany me on a walk through London.  I quite love London (and the UK), they properly respect Unicorns there.  As they should, of course, since we're one of the two creatures on their national seal.

2015-08-29 - London, UK
Finally, some hewman accommodations worthy of a Unicorn lord.  

2015-08-29 - London, UK

One of my hewman guides helped me recreate the scene from the Queen Elizabeth gate. Raaar he says. *smirks*

2015-08-29 - London, UK

A week after returning to North America, Agmane and I traveled to Philadelphia to attend a "tailgate" party (a confusing name since none of the participants had tails) supporting the local sports club known as the Eagles.  Apparently a hewman spiritual leader called the pope was also in town to support the same team and he and I were able to exchange pleasantries

2015-09-20 - Philadelphia, PA - Sports Complex
Agmane has failed to explain to me why there is a hewman atop Philadelphia's city hall instead of a unicorn.  After all, equines originated in the new world!

2015-09-20 - Philadelphia, PA
Agmane invited me along to the beach with some of his friends.  Of course, there was an potential hurricane headed our way.  I talked to my people and got that fixed. ;-) , although there was nothing they could do about the wind.   Still, a good time was had by all, except for when some dog and his emo companion showed up to interrupt my wind-walk. 

2015-10-03 - Stone Harbor, NJ
Finally, one year to the day I arrived in this world, I returned to the Maryland Renaissance Festival.  Not all hewman children are sticky little gremlins.  :-)

In the past year I've traversed the US and made an appearance in the lovely city of London, where they love unicorns!  I've had such a good time meeting you hewmans, especially the furry ones.  They are quite entertaining, even if I think pretending to be a fake-animal-person is a bit daft.  ;-)

To close it out, nearly geographical bookends (if you don't count the UK!)  Newport Beach, CA to the West, Stone Harbor, NJ to the East.