Friday, April 25, 2014

Blogging from #AtoZChallenge - Virgules and Venesza

I originally planned to discuss verb agreement - but how boring! And we all know verb tenses should agree with the noun form. Since my V horse is Venesza (yes, pronounced Vanessa, but what can I say, she's an arab, and Polish at that.) So when I saw the word virgule [vur-gyool] in the index of one of my grammar books, I knew this was the word of the day!

A virgule is a forward slash. The forward slash can also be called a solidus or a diagonal. It does have a function in writing fiction, although somewhat limited. But it is often misused.

The purpose of the virgule is to show alternatives. Like "or." But many people use it for "and" or to show something is functioning in multiple ways (like owner/operator which is more correctly owner-operator.)


Other uses of the virgule is for dates (4/25/2014), ratios (5/16th inch wrench), and something we're all more familiar with - internet addresses (

Can you think of other terms whose usage has changed with technology? Drop me a comment below and leave a link back to your blog and I'll be sure to visit and comment when I get back from my endurance ride this weekend.

Now back to Venesza. She was my first endurance horse. I'd broken my back the year before I got her, getting tossed off a cranky Quarter horse that missed his burro buddy (he was a cute burro). After this experience, I was a little nervous about my next horse. My boss raised arabs, and I bought a yearling colt (Sudan, who sadly didn't make it to the Challenge) because I wasn't afraid of a horse too young to ride.

On a horse forum, someone mentioned the sport of endurance and that arabs were particularly suited for it. I'd always loved arabs, so I Googled "arab endurance Colorado" and found an endurance trainer within an hour from me.

My mom and I visited and (somewhat stupidly) fell in love with a bay mare. She was 7yo and very, very forward. And spooky. Probably not the best choice for a novice rider dealing with fear issues. But I'd never enjoyed riding in the arena, and I had no idea endurance existed before this. Basically, I wasn't thinking.

However, Venesza and I did quite well. I'm a bit of a control freak (yes, by definition people who enjoy grammar and critiquing are control freaks, and I also held a job as a software tester) and I laid down the law. Venesza wasn't allowed to trot or canter unless I gave permission. And I didn't. I didn't take her to a competition until she learned to walk a single loop around the round pen (it took a year). At our competitions, I didn't allow her to canter. At all.

But she could walk or trot as fast as she wanted. And boy did she!

I eventually gained a lot of confidence on her. She spooked, but I always knew when she would and in what direction, so I never went off. We never cantered much because her gaits were rough. I would need another horse, Kit, to improving my riding skills beyond hanging on. But I was good at hanging on (heck, I could ski black diamond slopes in CO when all I knew was snowplowing - I am strong and controlling!)

Venesza is 24 now and still going strong. We call her the locomotive.


  1. Vanesza is very pretty, great pics! I did not know the info on virgules that you shared or even what they were actually called even though I use them often. Great tips!
    Shawn from Laughing at Life 2

    1. Haha, this one definitely goes in the category of useless knowledge to impress (or not) your friends at a party!

  2. Beautiful mare. I've never broken my back riding, but I did have a horse fall on me and my fear issues developed from there. How wonderful that you got past yours! (I did break my back in three places in a boating accident, and not surprisingly, I have a fear-of-boats issue, too.)

    I had never thought about / having a name (it's just a slash, you know), so "virgule" was new to me. I love learning grammar-related things I never knew before! Thanks!

    1. It absolutely took the right horses to get me past my fear issues (but I'm still a careful, controlling rider). Sometimes people hang on too hard to a horse that isn't helping them move forward, not wanting to give up. But sometimes that horse can go help someone else and another may be waiting around the corner to help the fearful rider. I'm glad I moved on from that horse - I didn't connect to him, but he was great for someone else.

  3. It has a name! Who knew! I thought it was always called "forward slash." LOL. The only example I can think of is the "period," which I've seen used for phone numbers in a more contemporary style, like 1.800.222.1414 as opposed to dashes.

    Maui Jungalow