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The Rosette Nebula – who knew so much gas and dust could be so gorgeous!

The Rosette Nebula (NGC2237) is a cloud of gas and dust, about 130 light years in diameter, lying approximately 5000 light years from our Solar System, in the direction of the constellation of Monoceros. The mass of the nebula is estimated at 10 thousand Solar masses, even though it is just a small part of a much larger region of gas and dust spanning the entire constellation. The Rosette would appear

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OMG! Australia and misc. musings….

The OMG part is in regards to the fact that tomorrow….I’ll be on my way to….Australia!  I can’t believe that it’s time already and I am sooo looking forward to it!   It will be a long trip but what a fun and exciting thing to get to do.

I’m going to be attending the Functional Hoof Australian Conference where I will be speaking about endurance riding and management of my barefoot horses.  I’ll also

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Astro Photography: M42 – the Orion Nebula

I just added a new page to my site.  The link is at the top and is called Astro Photography.  To see the more detailed descriptions on each of the photos, click on the Astro Photography category in the left hand column.   If you enjoy seeing Dave’s photos, please take the time to leave a comment on the new Astro Photography page.  Enjoy!

The Orion Nebula complex (M42, NGC 1976) is the

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My Longevity List

When I shared my endurance horse longevity post on FB, a friend asked this question:  “Karen you obviously have WONDERFUL horses – but what thing or few things have you learned thru the years that have helped your amazing record? I bet I know most of them but would love to hear from you what you think are the top 5 most important things you think you have learned to help longevity of your

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Endurance Horse Longevity

I wanted to share this post from Mike Maul that was posted to the AERC members list.  It has to do with longevity in endurance horses.  A topic that is near and dear to my heart.  When you ride a lot at some point you have the face the reality of what it is exactly you want to do.  What do I want out of this?  What does it all mean?

For me, it is more about the journey….taking the time to see the scenery and smell the roses.  Versus the more immediate satisfaction of going out and winning a ride, or getting best condition.  I’ve done it both ways.  Nowadays everybody thinks I ride slow, and that is a fair assessment as I am now a pretty conservative rider.  I have learned that if I go at a conservative speed well under 10 mph that my horses will stay sound.

It seems so simple.  Only it’s not really.  It takes a lot of determination to be able to constantly focus on rating a horse.  It is so much easier to let them go a little faster than it is to reel them in and keep them steady.  Why the 10 mph speed?   That’s the magic number, it seems.  When I keep my horses at 10 mph or slower while moving out they have few problems.  Having fewer problems is important.  It means that I have less vet bills because we aren’t trying to find and then fix a problem (most likely caused by riding faster).  I also don’t have to sit out many rides because I’ve always or nearly always got a horse to ride.  If I don’t go to a ride it’s usually due to other reasons but almost never horse related.

I have won several rides, been first overall at multidays, overall BC, won national BC awards and have also won the West region.  One year I believe that I top tenned (most top 5’d or better) 19 rides on Rocky and won overall 1st in my region.  I eventually came to the realization that was the dumbest thing I’ve ever done.  So what.  Who cares?  Who remembers?  I am now of the mindset that once I have become attached to a horse that I enjoy riding that going fast only shortens their career.

Years ago, Dave Rabe once said to me something along the lines of if he had ridden his beloved horse Port more conservatively that he would have been able to have ridden him longer and that no amount of wins made up for the difference.   We can all savor our dessert, and for me anyway—the taste of victory has more to do with longevity than with racing or going fast.  My horses are still doing the miles, just in a way that minimizes the wear and tear on them.  We are fortunate enough to be able to smell the roses, see the view and enjoy every moment.  That’s not to take away at all from those that do choose to go fast — I certainly enjoyed every moment of the rides that I rode fast on and completed in the front of the pack.

These numbers really jump as the mileage increases. I think I’ve been very fortunate to have had some nice horses.  My first endurance horse, Dream Weaver made nearly 6300 miles.  My second horse Rocky made it to 7600 miles.  My third horse  – Granite Chief has made it to 10,700 miles and is still going.  I have learned  a lot.

Turns out that Chief is currently the 10th highest mileage horse in AERC, and 5th highest mileage Arabian.  :)

This is from Mike Maul:

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Death Valley Ride Report 2010

Day 4 of DVE. Karen and Granite Chief. Photo by Steve Bradley.

Getting to and setting up camp.

We stayed longer at Jackie’s helping Annie get stuff together.  We drove stuff over to camp and set up some water and dropped the portable toilets and horse trailer (for crewbags/pulled horses) off.

While on those trips Annie had to pull a couple of rigs out of being ‘stuck’.  It wasn’t that it

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The Flame and Horsehead Nebulas Together

This is a wide field photo of the area around the star Alnitak, the easternmost star that forms the belt in the bright winter constellation of Orion the Hunter. It contains the Flame Nebula and the Horsehead Nebula, both of which I took close up views of last winter.

Photo by Dave Chaton

I want to be an XP rider…..

by Karen Chaton

I wrote this in early 2001, printed it out and put it in my binder for the ’01 XP ride and I don’t think I’ve seen this since then, till last night.   My grandmother is now gone, so reading that part was really hard.  Her father (my great grandfather) rode a horse from Oklahoma City to New York and back twice, and from Oklahoma City to San Francisco, CA.  Grandma’s family

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Death Valley Encounter Day 2010 Ride Photos

Karen & Chief – Day 2. Photo by Steve Bradley.

Here are two albums of photos.  The first one was from the 4th day of the ride – New Year’s Eve.  Hence the red party hat that Chief is wearing.

The second album includes photos from the first three days of the ride. As you can see, we were really fortunate with the weather again this year!

I love being able to go

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