Monday, December 31, 2012

Janurary 1st - 1:35am

Happy New Year! Spent the evening/night with Rachel, Martin and Martin's family to celebrate the new year. Definitely a very fun time. Dinner was great, the people were awesome and the celebration fantastic. At midnight tons of people in the city started setting off fireworks. From the docks, the tops of buildings, in the street. Everywhere. Across from Martin's mom's apartment is a resturant calles Kansas. They have an outdoor patio where they were playing music. We all went out on the balconey, watched the fireworks and danced along with the music. Just a great time. I would have loved to be with my family but this borrowed one was pretty great as well.
Plus, in addition to the celebration, it was a better riding day as well. Justinian was good as always. Got some pretty good work out of Puccini with Martin's guidance as well. Hoping I can continue what I was doing today with the same success on my own. That's my sign that I have actually learned something. Doing, checking and correcting without someone verbally telling me. Just the horse's reaction and my feel to go by.
After that I was on Oregon. Had a little bit of trouble with him at first but got it all sorted out with Martin's help. And by the end of the ride, he was actually pretty fantastic. Forward and responsive with clean and easy up/down transitions. Defintely a good feeling there. He's a horse that challenges my riding a bit but I think that's mostly a four year old green stallion thing. He's really a pretty neat horse. Cor Lit followed him for a quick hack out as the rain started to move in. Jour basically did the same with some serious cracking down on his down transitions. He's nice and easy off the leg but doesn't always have the cleanest down transitions. By the end he was quite nice though. When I got off of him the wind was howling and the storm clouds were rolling in. Absolutely poured for about five minutes. Then stopped. By late afternoon, I think the whole ring was dry again. How's that for summer heat. It put a stop to riding for the day though. So spent the afternoon helping the guys. Sweeping, grooming, tail braiding, organizing the blanket shelves and the like. Then off the the new years party! All in all a good day here at the farm!

Views from the apartment and fireworks!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

December 30th - 6:59pm

Short day today with work finishing at lunch time. Probably a good thing too since it is hot, hot, hot outside right now. Hot inside too. But it was a pretty decent day to finish off the work week with. For the most part, non auction horses finished up their week yesterday so today was just hacking a few and then filming the ones for the auction.
I was on Puccini and Justinian to start the day off. Mostly just schooled transitions with Justinian. Up, down, up, down. Again worked to get Puccini really put together and round. Getting an idea of what the correct work is suppose to feel like which is making it easier to achieve. Knowing the words that make up a definition does very little for me if I dont know and understand what it is suppose to feel like. Ive known for years that horses have to push from behind to get any sort of contact up front. But until this last year, it was little more than words. Now Im feeling that a horse has to push and what it feels like when he really is. Not perfect at it by a longshot though. I still accidentally allow them to get behind me, ride front to back and make more mistakes than should be humanely possible but Im better than I was a year ago. Which, I am having to tell myself quite frequently right now. The last couple rides, particually jumping, I have come off frustrated with myself and my riding. Making the same mistakes over and over despite trying to fix them. Came into the exercise on Uxmal and after Nacar with no pace the first time. Bad distances, bad jumps, bad news. Came around a second time feeling like I had gotten them more forward, balanced and together. Same thing. Bad distances, bad jumps, bad news. Repeat until Martin gets on and fixes the problem. I feel like Im doing it correctly, I sure as anything want to do it correctly, and then epicly fail time and time again. Like yesterday with Boss, I should be able to do this. Its not rocket sience. Its not even like Ive never done it before. I do this job day in and day out on these horses. I know it, I know them and yet its not working. So incredibly frustrating.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

December 29th - 11:49pm

<p>First full day back at the farm. Decent weather, well behaved horses and busy day. Its good to be back. Was on Justinian first for a light work out followed by Puccini then Oregon. Worked on really putting Puccini together and pushing off the hinds. Oregon more working on relaxing, stretching and building the smooth, elastic, consistent contact. Same with Boss and Nacar afterward. I jumped Boss over a few cross rails and it was just bad. Not riding the canter well enough then scrambling to find a distance. Just gross. So hard not to get discouraged after rides like that. I know that right now I have to be riding better than I ever have before and still cant jump a cross rail with any sort if consistency. So frustrating. But the horses were good so all I can do is be frustrated with myself.
Feels like I rode more this morning but guess not. Funny how that works. The afternoon was spent riding Jour, free jumping a few horses for clients and longing Quarielle. Written down it doesn't look like all that much but Camilla and I didnt wrap up the barn till close to 7:00. Long, hot day.
Tomorrow is Sunday but we're working part of the day since everyone is having Tuesday off. Going to be a bad morning though. Stayed up playing scrabble online with a friend (loosing at scrabble mostly) and it is now far too late. Least I can probably take a nap in the afternoon! The joys of half days and zero other responsibilities!

Friday, December 28, 2012

December 28th - 11:03pm

Arrived into Ezieza at 10:00 or so this morning after an all night flight from Miami. Had a huge hold up in immigration due to the computers I believe. Apparently they have switch from allowing people to pay for entry at the airport to having people pay for it prior to arrival online. Problem is no one recieved that memo. Thankfully I had already paid for my entry back in May so once I got to the desk I was on my way quite quickly. Onto bag pick up and customs. That process went fairly quickly thankfully but I was still a good two hours getting off the plane to the actual exit. Thankfully Rachel was still there and waiting for me so was able to get started on the final leg of the journey without delay. Arrived at Rancho Pampa right as everyone was sitting down for lunch.
Despite being pretty tired I opted to spend the afternoon riding/working. Figured it would be better to stay tired and head to bed early then end up staying up half the night with the slight time change. Though apparently Im staying up half the night anyway. But was on Uxmal, Nacar, Invasor and Jour. All four were very well behaved and it was nice to get back into the swing of things again. I missed Rancho Pampa and everyone here but it would definitely be a lie to say Im not even a tiny bit homesick. There is something so comfortable and easy about home. I will get over that though. And for right now, I am excited for these next four months in Argentina and cannot wait to see what they will hold.

Miami from the plane at night and in the airport late enough that no one is here besides the janitor. More airport/airplane shots.

December 27th - 6:48pm

This is without a doubt the longest Ive ever gone without writing a blog post of some sort since my first day in Argentina back in May. Partly due to the craziness that is families and the holidays but mostly because this is suppose to be about my time in Argentina at Rancho Pampa and not my quick holiday trip home!
I did, however, have a fantastic trip home. Was able to see my family, barn family and friends. Went swing and contra dancing which was a blast as always. It has been a long time since Ive done any formal dancing and it showed for sure but whatever. When I get home Ill be able to get back to dancing for real. Christmas Eve consisted of two great meals with each side of the family followed by a lovely Christmas day. As usual, we headed to the beach after opening presents. Not many places you can do that, but my hometown is one of them. Having it be about 60 degrees with gorgeous lighting from the sun didnt hurt either. Took some fun photos and had a good time with family.
Since Christmas day it has been a whirlwind. So much I want to see/do/go and so little time before my flight! Did managed to cram a decent amount in though and enjoyed seeing everyone I did. Plus spending even more time with family (can you tell I missed them?).
Spent today, my last day home till April, making a last visit with family and to the barn. Hugged everyone good bye and wished them luck with the upcoming show season. Definitely a sad moment. Mom took me to the airport and we hung out until the last possible moment before I went through security. A short wait and then onto the plane. Currently sitting on the plane waiting for some seating to get figured out. We were suppose to have a 52 seater but it got stuck in the north east with a ton of snow so we got bumped to a 44 seater. Which means 8 people have no seat. I cant spend another day home due to my connection so just chillin until we get down to the right amount of people. Fingers crossed for an easy and safe flight to Miami.

Barn and airport photos.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

December 20th - 11:59pm

First full day back home! An attempt was made at sleeping in but was awake at about 7:00 anyway. Had breakfast with my dad which was great. Hung out, got caught up and had fun. Then to town center to pick up a few things before heading to the barn. And as always, had a great time there. Rode my horse who was pretty good considering he hasnt been in demanding consistent work in awhile. Hoping to use some of what Ive learned in Argentina to get him back in a program and leave my brother with a plan he can use to get Jazz back going well.
Rode in my new boots today as well for the first time. I brought a pair of Volants to Argentina with me and they positively fell apart. So in a round about sort of way, I got a new pair for free. Trying to break them in as fast as possible before I go back to work and get to spend alllll day in them! Not too bad today though. My lower leg likely wasnt stellar but thats how it goes with new boots I think. Theyll break in soon though. Hopefully. After the barn a quick run to my parents horse was in order to get changed for the annual barn christmas party. And have to say, that was a blast. Got to see almost everyone from the barn and catch up with all the stories. I adore my barn and everyone there so it is sosososo great to see the. Incredible. A ton of great food, a beautiful slide show, a fun gift exchange and then just general being around fabulous friends. A little bit of a late night but oh well. Worth it for sure! Up early tomorrow with another very full day. Riding, seeing people, contra dancing! So excited!.

Photo of my christmas tree at home!

December 18th - 10:03pm

Sitting at the airport now while the first group of people board the plane I am on. I am so, so excited to go home and see family. But as I told Rachel and Martin in the car, Argentina and Rancho Pampa has definitely become a home for me. Already I am looking forward to getting back to the farm and I havent even left the country yet! But still, in 12 hours or so, Ill be home. And for that, I am veryvery thankful.
Today was a good day though. Spent the morning on the ground filming the young auction horses. They did a small course this time and most absolutely rocked it! Hopefully we got some good photos and video. Everyone needs to check (and like!) the Rancho Pampa facebook page to keep updated on the goings on of the auction horses. And all the horses really. I keep my blog going but hardly do the horses justice.
The later part of the morning and afternoon were spent riding. Hacked Justinian around for a bit then got on Picaro. Ended up doing a jump school with him and he was a rockstar. Jumped up to a meter or so (maybe 1.10) and he was incredible. Lovelovelove jumping that horse. So much power in there. The feel over the fences is one of the greatest Ive ever been on. After short break for lunch, it was onto Virtuoso. We did a quick jump school with him as well which was a ton of fun. He, like Picaro, is an awesome horse. Great to ride, great feel and incredible jump. So priviledged to be able to ride such nice horses everyday. My problem with both of them today was keeping up the pace and rythym to each fence. Keeping it absolutely consistent and strong. Felt like I did better than I did on Saturday but still a lot of room for inprovement. In a place where I have the opportunity to improve though so cant ask for much more. Just have to keep at it and try as hard as I can to learn. Jour was the last ride of the day and was pretty good considering Rodrigo was doing ride number two on the young horses. This time Oscar was on the criollo horse helping him out. Never seen Oscar ride before but hes really pretty decent in the saddle. Got the job done at least! Once I was off Jour, it was to the house to toss a few last minute things in my bag and head out to the airport. Managed to pay for my overstayed visa, get checked in, through security, past customs and here to wait for the plane in and hour and fifty minutes. Left exactly ten minutes to chill before loading. Cutting it a tiny bit close but oh well, Im here! Fingers crossed for a safe flight to Dallas then home!

December 19th - 6:57pm

LMy goodness what a last two days! Its been a rush. The flight from BA to Dallas was long but decent. No real complaints there. Ended up sitting next to a very cool guy from Panama so the trip passed by a lot quicker than the origional one down. Hes living in Santa Fe studying medicine at the moment. Coming up to the states for vacation/do something different for a bit. Definitely understand that sentiment!
Landed at DFW with a quick turn around to get on the plane from home. Took some rushing but got it done. Got stopped in customs since Ive been riding/around horses while in Argentina but thanks to a nice guy there got all my boots recleaned and back on my way pretty quickly. Getting released into the general airport was also very cool. Waited in line, got my stamps to re enter the country and whatnot. As I walked away the guy at the counter was like "Welcome back ma'am." Ive learned to love Argentina and the people there but being back state side is so very nice as well.
Practically ran from that check point to get to checked back through security for my next flight. And not going to lie, I was incredibly dissapointed with the airport. A flight from a spanish speaking county not a single person on the plane, in customs, security or anywhere spoke spanish. I have a basicbasicbasic knowledge of the language and I was trying to help translate. While I was at Ezieza in BA, every single place had someone that spoke at least two languages. Heard Portuguese, Italian and French as well being spoken by employees at the airport. Stateside? Nothing but english. At one point someone in security who was checking boarding passes and passports started screaming at people for not having both things ready. Not cool even in a group of people that understand but ths was to a group of people who spoke a variety if languages. Half the people she was yelling at only spoke a bit of english and had no idea why she was freaking out. And even if they spoke some english, its impossible to understand when youre being screamed at. Pretty ridiculous in my opinion. But made it past crazy lady with security only having a mild go to pieces about the fact I was carrying a saddle. Im pretty sure each check point held my bag to rescan it. But, made I through in the end which is all that matters.
Then a short plane ride to home where my family, minus my younger brother, was waiting for me at the gate! So fantastic to see them after all this time! We all headed to lunch for a bit (Mexican - one of my favs!) and then I wanted to go out to the barn to see my second family there as well as my horse. Everyone seems to be doing well which is super exciting and my horse is fat and happy. Should be able to ride him tomorrow and cannot wait! After it was home to chill for a bit before a quiet dinner at my grandparents.
A big day for sure considering the lack of sleep but its all worth it to be able to be home for a bit to see everyone. I already miss Argentina but 100% enjoying home while I am here!

Photos of the airport, my plane, the sky as we left DFW airport and finally the intercoastal water way from the plane. Dont know if you can see the bridge over the water from the picture but it is there. Cried a bit when I saw it because that bridge so completely means home.

Monday, December 17, 2012

December 17th - 11:03pm

Twenty four hours from now I should be on a plane headed home! Both very exciting and very stressful at the same time. I hadnt traveled much prior to this little adventure (ie not really at all) so traveling, especially by plane, is just a bit intimidating. But veryveryvery excited to see my family. And friends. And barn. And horse. Very. Plus I get to go contra and swing dancing! Maybe blues and salsa too! Going to be a great couple days home!
Today was a good day here though. Set up the free jump for some of the young ones this morning. Theyre catching onto the drill and getting better each time. After is was onto riding Justinian then Virtuoso on the flat. After I got to hack Ojiva for a bit. I havent been on her much but I actually like her a lot. Super sweet mare. Quick break for lunch then onto riding Puccini, Cor Lit, Nacar and Uxmal in the afternoon. Just flat rides with lots and lots of transitions. The ring was a little interesting to ride in at times since seven horses Rodrigo has been working with got backed for the first time. They did it the same way as the last group with the little pony and argentine cowboy. A few in this group werent quite as cooperative as they could have been but by the end, everyone walked, trotted and cantered around the ring. Definitely a learning expierence though. For more than just the horses.
Spent the afternoon packing for home and getting everything sorted out. Hoping I havent forgotten anything important! Now just to clean my boots tomorrow afternoon and then onto the airport!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

December 16th - 9:51pm

<p>Kind of in one of those blah moods at the moment. Dont particually want to write anything anything but will because I should. Told myself I would write everyday and already skipped yesterday. And if its one thing I try very, very hard to do is to stick ti my word. And usually I like writing the blog since what I do here is fun and I enjoy it. <br>
Usually most of the days are better than Saturday. Felt pretty crummy most of the day for whatever reason. Probably a combination of long week, heat and summer ickiness. Longed Invasor and Quantum plus rode Puccini, Uxmal, Cor Lit, Picaro, Justinian, Nixon and Nacar. Did jump schools with the last two and it was some pretty inspectacular riding. I was really dissapointed with my riding but couldnt pull it together to get vaguely past ok riding. Couldnt see a decent distance to save my life and couldnt get to a decent pace either. Felt like Id just back tracked 8 months. And I can tell myself all day long that 8 months ago I couldnt ride these two horses but it doesnt matter. Today, I should be able to ride them. And thats it. Really frustrated. Ended up out with Rodrigo and his parents for a bit that night for dinner a whatnot. Pretty decent night considering dont speak spanish. Mangled my way through it though.
Today was pretty quiet. Helped Rodrigo tack up the horses he's breaking at the moment so he could get finished quicker this morning. Went to the mall to hang out for a bit then onto the Hipico to watch the finals for the 1.50. Some really good rounds and kinda scary round but thats how it goes. Nothing worse then some poles and a run out of two. Alexis and Parforce Cooper came out on top again. They had a a geat year this year. Hes an incredible rider. Once of my favorites in this country. Trying to find a picture of him after the win to post but cant at the moment. Either way, it was fun to go see. Then back home early to pack for the trip. Dragging home a saddle as carry on so actually having to bring a bag to get clothes home since I brought pretty much everything I have here! Hate packing but super excited to see family soon!

Friday, December 14, 2012

December 14th - 8:23pm

All the young horses that jumped for the video yesterday got the day off today so a pretty quite day here. Was on Cor Lit, Puccini, Geologo, Boss, Jour and Nixon. The first four were just flat rides. Got to jump Jour and Nixon a little bit. It was a bit different than usual because Martin just said to take them over two small fences and feel/check the whole time to get it done well. I dont think Ive ever repeated a phrase more to myself than that one in both those rides. Feel, check, feel, check, feel, check. Both were quite good though. Felt like I kept a good canter, jumped some good jumps and overall had a productive ride. Definitely a good feeling.
Spent the afternoon resetting the course in the ring, helping show Oregon and Ojiva to their owners and getting the barn picked up. A full day but also a good one.
Also realizing as I type that I said it was a quiet/easy day here and I was on six horses. That is probably one thing I will never be able to say after this job. Of which I only really have four months left of. Positively cant believe it. Time has absolutely flown by and in the same instance, I feel like Ive been here for a very long time. Regardless of how I feel though, each day goes by and its one less here. Definitely a sad feeling. On the flip side, however, four days from now Ill be at the airport to start my christmas adventure home!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

December 13th - 10:16pm

<p>No matter how many times I tell myself during the day that Im going to bed early, it never happens. Always end up staying awake too late writing, reading or talking to someone or another. Cause today was definitely one of those days that going to bed early would have been a good idea. Late night last night and early morning meant about four hours of sleep. Some people can handle that fine, I do not. I like my sleep. And hate mornings. As Ive stated more times in my life than I can even begin to count. <br>
But today was a pretty good day despite the lack of sleep. Rode Cor Lit first off then set to work helping Martin make jumping videos of the auction horses. Set jumps, run to video camera, film, change jump, run to camera, on repeat. Definitely fun to watch the young horses get worked though. And to see them figure out the jump each time it changes. Its all still so new for them, their reactions are very obvious. If they knock a pole they dont just pick their feet up another inch or two more, they get them a foot higher up to clear it the next time. Martin let me ride Nacar for his video/photo op as well. Super excited about that. Hes such a fun horse to work with and around. Green but a good boy. After that I warmed up Uxmal for his video time then onto riding the rest of the horses. Picaro and Geologo for light hacks after getting tried and jumped hard Monday. Took Puccini, Nixon, Justinian and Jour out as well. Havent been on Puccini in awhile so took me a bit to get him back working but the other three were all pretty decent start to finish. A long hot busy day at the farm though! Sure tomorrow is going to be the same!

December 12th - 11:59pm

Another late auction night with Martin! This was the Elite Auction which has Gama horses and some other Haras. La Negrita for one. San Maria? Need to get the names of each of the barns off their catalogue. It was at the Hipico this time which is always a fun venue. Watched some great horses jump and hung out with some very interesting people. One stallion sold to some Americans for $43,000! We didnt stay the whole time since it got late but definitely had a good time. Before heading home, we stuck some of our auction catalogues under the windshield wipers of cars in the parking lot. Not going to lie, that was pretty fun. And there are a lot of different types of windshield wipers out there!
As for the actual day at the farm, I rode Nacar, Justinian, Uxmal, Nixon, Jour and Cor lit. Just hacking on the flat. Longed Quarz, Quarial, Kir Royal, Quantum, Bellini, Casia and Ojiva for Martin to get on after the break with all the rain. Everyone was very well behaved. This was the first time Ive paid much attention to Quarial and have to say I like her looks. Cute, easy to work with and good mover. Might have to start making an appearence onto the list of horses I really like here (a rather inclusive list I must say but oh well!). Super late night tonight and early morning tomorrow! Just want to get home and to bed!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

December 11th - 9:38pm

Ring was too wet to ride this morning so it was a quiet morning of putting horses out to walk, cleaning up and getting organized. Nothing overly exciting. A client called partway through the morning wanting to look at some horses though so we got Geologo, Picaro and Virtuoso ready, popped them in the trailer and headed to the Hipico. Use to I thought of San Martin as our barn away from home when the rain hits. Now, its the Hipico.
Got them all there, settled in and ready for the clients no problem. All three were good from what I saw but admittedly that wasnt much since it was rapid fire getting horses ready to go to the ring. Fingers crossed they liked at least one though. All three of those horses are super nice so any would make a great jumper for someone. After that it was just a matter of packing everything up and heading home. A quick dinner up with Rachel and Martin finished out the afternoon. The day passed super quickly since we were at least somewhat busy from start to finish. Can hardly believe its almost 10:00 already! Headed to bed soon since tomorrow is going to be a full day of riding for sure. I may not be in love with this heat but it certainly dries the ring out pretty quickly!

And a week from now Ill be at the airport here in BA to start my adventure home for the holidays!

December 10th - 9:28pm

<p>Fun morning here at the farm. As I mentioned the other day, Rancho Pampa is hosting an auction of horses in training in March. As a result, the next four months are going to be packed full of young horses and auction maddness. It would be a bit of an understatement to say Im somewhat excited! Going to be crazy but Im thrilled to be able to be apart of the expierence. Today was one of the first days of video mania. Made a short walk/trot/canter video of a bunch of the horses in the auction. I got to ride Nacar, Justinian and Uxmal for the camera. Im pretty sure none of my footage will make it anywhere except Martins hard drive but it was still fun. And all three were very well behaved. Got both flying changes out of each horse as well which made me really happy. Ive had a mental block with lead changes for years now Im hoping the time spent here just riding, riding, riding will improve that. I think it has some and with just over four months left, still have time to get even better.
After those three I longed Casia and Ojiva for a bit before Martin got on. Once he'd schooled them and done the work for the day he let me get on and hack them around a little bit. I had never been on either before so it was very cool to be able to climb up and go for a bit on these horses Ive been around so much. Both were very fun to ride. Picaro was next on the list and I managed to get him out before the rain hit. Like everyone else today he was very well behaved. A little lazy which is suprising for a Monday morning but Ill take it!
Spent the afternoon inside helping Oscar out since he was the only guy here today. Grooming horses, giving water, cleaning tack and the usual working student stuff. It actually got a little cool with the rain as well which is beyond a blessing. Im from a hot area and I still dont like the heat here! I liked going from winter to winter. Now its going to be summer to summer! Keeping my fingers crossed the summer sun will dry us out pretty quick tomorrow so we can get back to riding. Not holding my breath though as we got a TON of rain. Ive never seen so much rain in my life as I have in this country. Craziness!

December 9th - 7:28pm

In 10 days, I will be in Charleston. Hard to believe. The time is both going by entirely too slowly and insanely fast. If this is anything like what my last month will be like, I dont know what Ill do!
But along the lines of last days, I said good bye to Megg today for the last time. Spent an incredible last day/night with her thanks to her father. Dinner at Puerta Maderno, hotel and then a day in San Telmo shopping at the various vendor places in the street/checking out the antique market. Bought some stuff to give to people for Christmas. A belt and knife to go along with my alpargata purchases! As well as the saddle and polo for my brother. Hes definitely coming out pretty good in this deal.
It was a great day though. Megg is one of those people Id likely never have been friends with due to age, life, circumstance and the like but we've become fast friends while in Argentina together. Even yesterday and today after three months together we still found things to talk about. Mostly horse related of course but the fact we could still go on and on after so much time is crazy. Shes been a huge part of what has made this expierence so great and Im so sad to see her go. Whether it be crazed conversations over apples after work, fantastic lessons or adventures in town, we almost always had fun. We'll definitely keep in touch though so even if she's gone, she wont be forgotten. Not a chance. Miss you already Megg. Hope y'all have a safe flight!

(ps. "ya" is not an acceptable way to spell yeah, polo boy is 23 years old, it really was just a fly and so, so many other things)

December 8th - 7:05pm

The morning was every bit as bad as I thought it might be. Im not a morning person to start with and once you throw in a late night, the morning is not even worth seeing. At all. But made it up, out and to the barn. Got Virtuoso and Cor Lit ready for a video for a client. Warmed each of the up a bit for Martin to help speed things along since he had to go. After I was on Justinian, Nixon, Picaro and Geologo before stopping for lunch. We had a decent amount of longing to do with the young horses so Camilla and Rodrigo started that before lunch and I helped them finish up after. Longed Montana and another whose name escapes me. Both were good as were the horses in the morning. The rain causing two days off can often lead to some happy horses but most everyone I worked with seemed pretty much unaffected.
Once the longing was finished Camilla and I got on to finish riding the last four. I was on Uxmal and Nacar and they were beyond good. Both young and green but always super nice and fun to ride. Even though it doesnt sound like a bunch of work it ended up taking a lot of time. Its amazing how riding can take like thirty minutes but getting the horse ready, untacking after and all that makes everything take forever. So wasnt finished until after 6:30 but everything got finished so Im happy.
Now to get ready to head into town to see Megg one last time. Were having dinner one last time together with her dad and Rodrigo. Then Im staying at the hotel so we can hang out tomorrow some. Im sure it will be a blast but I wish we were having dinner for some other reason. Megg and Alice have definitely become two of my closest friends and to say goodbye is definitely not fun. But I appreciate the time we got to spend together at the farm. Im going to miss her like crazy but wish her all the best in Canada!

Friday, December 7, 2012

December 7th - 11:59pm

Amazing how a road over 7,000 miles from home can look exactly like one I know from driving so many times. Not sure what it struck me tonight so hard but it definitely did. Maybe its knowing Im so close to seeing home. Down to the last 11 days before my flight. Beyond excited to see everyone and everything. For me, its been a very long time to be away. Longest ever actually. Ive learned to love Argentina and will certainly miss the job/horses/people while I am away, but itll be quite grande to get away.
The ring was still flooded from the rain this morning so no riding still. Martin, Camilla and I still had a productive morning though. All of the young horses that were just broke got their own bits, bridles and girths. So all the bridles were changed around, given new owners and fitted to those new owners. Its so strange to walk into the barn tackroom now. The whole back wall of bridles is all new horses. Before I could say Id basically ridden everything broke to ride in the barn. Now, I havent even ridden half! New ones keep going undersaddle everyday. Its definitely going to be different for a bit with Megg gone and all the new horses to get on but Im excited. Most of Rancho Pampa is very repetitive. Each day the same routine and really only rain, clients or a show causes it to change. Not a bad thing at all but definitely interesting to be there through the change. Actually my second big change of horses here but this one is a bit more noticable since its not just a bunch coming to be broke. Its a bunch to be ridden. Fun stuff.
Camilla and I spent the afternoon cleaning the kitchen top to botton then helping Martin with the passports. The Argentine Equestrian Federation uses passport books to keep the records of each horse registered with it. The coggins test, immunizations and the like are all recorded in there. We have to present them at every show to enter the grounds just like a coggins test sheet at home. Well with the new influx of horses now capable of going places, we have a brand new stack of passports! The passport covers are paper and as one can imagine, they can get destroyed quite easily with all the wear and tear of dragging them around. So we put plastic sheets over the covers of each passport to help keep them nice. Almost like laminating them but with sticky plastic instead. Were going to have some more to do at some point since not all the horses have passports yet but I think we got a fair bit accomplished.
After work, everyone (Megg, her dad, Rachel, her parents, Martin, Camilla, Rodrigo and I) went to the Henry Jota Auction at the Aleman. It, as always, was an incredibly fun event with some gorgeous horses to see. The group of amazing people there didnt hurt either. We didnt stay through the whole auction since they were selling 40 horses and it got pretty late but still fun. I believe the highest selling horse of the night was 22k? Somewhere around there. Ive got it all written down downstairs somewhere. Its ended up being a fairly late night (not even close to being in bed yet) so Im sure tomorrow is going to be interesting. Fingers crossed for good weather though!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

December 6th - 6:59pm

The rain Megg's praying held off arrived today. And it was the rain for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. In one day. It has positively rained buckets today.
Started off the day switching some bridles around, getting some of the young horses out fitted with their own bridle/girth/breastplate and relabeling things. Martin got a call from a client wanting to see some hunters though so we ended up packing up Cor Lit and Virtuoso to take to the Hipico to show them. The Hipico is home to the largest covered ring in South America and is so nice to ride in when the sky has opened up. Due to the not normal amount of rain this year, we've brought horses there a lot. Normally it is a fairly routine/easy thing. The downpour added a bit of difficulty to everything though. Both of those horses are bright chestnuts with stockings. Not an easy task to keep those stockings clean when EVERYTHING has turned to mud. We tried though! Both horses were well behaved though and I think the clients liked both. Its so hard to tell though. Just have to keep fingers crossed.
Since its still raining Im doubting well be riding tomorrow either but we'll see. Either way, the Henry Jota auction is tomorrow night! Cant wait!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

December 5th - 9:25pm

<p>What a day. First and foremost, it was Meggs last day at the farm. Ill see her again before she leaves Argentina but she's no longer a barn rat with me. Hard to believe Ive been here through 4 working students now. Paz, Alice, Meg and now Camilla. Definitely had a blast working with each of them and miss them all. Going to take some readjusting and getting use to but we'll make it work here. Always do!<br>
Meggs dad arrived in Argentina today so we started work a bit early so we could take the afternoon off to do an asado with him and Rachels parents who got here last night. As always it was super good food and company. And with the early start, we got all the horses ridden before lunch! Definitely an accomplishment with this many horses here. Megg counted the other day and there are 48 horses here. With about 40 in work. <br>
Started off the day on Cor Lit. Jumped a fence or two on him. Then was on Uxmal. Had a short jumping lesson on Picaro to follow. Again, not my favorite to flat but so, so much fun to jump. Feels like he could clear absolutely anything. Didnt do much, just up to 3' or so but it was still fun. After Picaro was a flat lesson on Jour. Did some pole work with striding. Adding a stride then taking it out. It was set as a 9 stride with the add 10. Regardless of how many Martin wanted you had to ride correctly and forward in. Then make any changes early enough in the line you could still ride forward to 'jump' out over the last pole. Martin made it so you had to make any changes early by making us raise a hand straight in the air when there were only three strides left. Had to know exactly where you were and have the control of the horse to get in correctly, adjust, see how many were left and raise your hand in time (but not too soon!). I actually got it pretty well my last time though and was pretty happy. Definitely an exercise I would have struggled with on that horse when I arrived. But now, getting it right. <br>
After Jour I got on Nacar to warm him up for Martins lesson with Mono. Most of the series horses are on break for the summer or will be soon so Martin is riding some of the younger horses in the lessons. Today was Kir Royal and Quantum as well. So got on Nacar to warm him up. Moni arrived and they chatted a bit then Martin told me to follow Kir Royal with Nacar. So trotted around behind him and followed him through the exercise with Mono watching. Ended up doing the whole jumping execise. Had a little bit of trouble understanding him at times but get it worked out eventually. Not all the jumps were perfect but I didnt make the same mistake twice and Mono seemed to like Nacar. Said he was good with his legs over the fences. Again, not sure why I like that horse so much but I just do. Hes come so far since Ive gotten here and I love getting on him each time and feeling improvement. Or where there needs to be work done. Either way, I was super excited to get to ride for Mono. Hes one of my favorite people in Argentina and a really good rider on top of it all.
After Nacar it was onto Nixon. Ended up having another jump lesson with Martin that ended pretty decenty as well. My trouble with Nixon has always been getting him infront of my leg. He falls behind or I get too farward and then Im off for something stupid. Riding him as frequently as I have been however, I starting to sort him out. So we jumped and once I really pushed him forward and got him moving, it went well. He's got a fun kind of jump and when I get him moving he's fun to ride as well. Just have to keep figuring him out. The jump today probably got up to 1.10m or so. About the same height as my last lesson on Nixon but the fact I rode forward better this time meant the jumps were better. No stalling feeling, jumping to the side or anything. Just exactly what was suppose to happen did. Im sure Ill still struggle at times with him but definitely feel like Im learning more about how to ride him and his type horse. Never, ever a bad thing.
So fun, productive (if very hot) morning and great afternoon. Cant ask for anything better!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December 4th - 10:41pm

Megg's last full day at the farm. So sad! Her dad is coming to see Buenos Aires/the Argentine Polo Open so shell be here another week but not with us! Super sad but also exciting she gets to show him everything. Hes arriving tomorrow and we're doing an asado. Definitely excited. But it means we have an early start tomorrow to try to get everything done in the barn. Worth it though.
Today was another hot, long day. The heat seems to be a pretty consistent theme at this point. It was suppose to rain though so will definitely take heat over rain. Was on Geologo first followed by Picaro. Then Uxmal. Did some work with Martins help over some poles with him and he was a very good boy. After was Nixon with more pole work and Nacar to finish off the morning. Nixon and I had a better ride than usual and actually ended pretty well. Nacar was also a little rockstar today. Dont know why I like that horse so much but I do. The afternoon consisted of a ride on Jour then on Quantum. Jour was a little fresh since he hadnt been worked since Friday but quickly settled into work. I played over a pole on the ground for a bit and definitely the realization of how much better Ive gotten since arriving. Had a little bit of it on Nacar when we were able to canter around and throw some lead changes in without a problem. On a green horse that I use to not be able to do any one. Yes he's gotten older and better trained but considering lead changes use to blow my mind, thats a pretty big accomplishment. Anyway with Jour, I was cantering over the little pole and remembered something Bernie Traurig said my first week here. He was getting on Andrea for missing her distance to the first cavaletti in a line twice in a row. He was like "how can you be happy with that!? If someone told me to get the distance Id make sure I did it every time even if they wanted me to do it a thousand times!" At the time I thought that would be crazy to be able to canter the cavaletti and every time get the correct distance. Not just a couple times but a thousand. Today with Jour I must have cantered that pole at least 20 times and without making any big frantic adjustment, got right there. Saw it out of the corner and just rode forward right to where I needed to be. Not a single bad scramble to the other side. Definitely not something I could have done that consistently when I arrived. Let alone ride Nacar or Quantum, my last ride of the day. This job definitely isnt easy. The days are long, hot and not always fun. Things hurt, sunburn happens (despite liberal applications of sunscreen) and the horses arent always perfect. But rides like those where I realize how much Ive learned make it all worth it.

Monday, December 3, 2012

December 3rd - 9:57pm

I know Im from the south but sometimes the heat still manages to surpise me. Like right now when its almost ten and Im in bed almost sweating. Not fun. It wasnt the hottest day Ive gone through here but it definitely was one of the most humid. Hot, humid and a lot of work to do.
Rode all morning straight through. Was on Geologo first then Virtuoso, Justinian, Cor Lit, Uxmal and Nixon. Thirty minute hacks all around. The afternoon was hacks on Skyline and Herodes with Nacar, Invasor and Casia on the longe line. Definitely a pretty productive day. Everyone was well behaved and good to work with. Since Meggs arm is still bothering her she didnt ride. Better fir her but meant we didnt quite get through everyone on the list. Got pretty close though. Keeping my fingers crossed she feels better soon so she can spend her last couple days at Rancho Pampa riding and not just tacking up horses. Though at this point just keeping my fingers crossed that well be riding at all would be best. Suppose to rain tonight and through tomorrow. Then Wednesday and Thursday as well I believe. Not fun stuff at all! So keeping my fingers crossed about a lot of things here! Though regardless if the weather, tomorrow marks two weeks till my flight home. And I positively cannot wait to see everyone!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

December 2nd - 10:45pm

Spent yesterday morning taking pictures of all the young horses we trimmed up Friday. Took about two hours but got head shots of all the horses for the auction catalogue. Hoping they all turned out well.
The ring was still wet so we spent the morning putting horses on the walker, trimming up the handful of horses left and helping the vets. The repo vets came to check a decent amount (if not all) of the mares being bred. The radiologists were also here doing xrays of three new horses that Rodrigo is working with. It somehow managed to be a pretty busy morning even without riding. Part of it is the sheer number of horses. I think were up to about fifty or so with more on the way. Im not even sure what half of the new ones are called either. Walking down the back aisle is about the same as walking into a totally new barn. So many horses I dont recognize!
By the afternoon, the ring had dried out a ton so Camilla and I were able to ride some horses. I took Nixon, Boss, Skyline and Nacar for hacks. They were all good though it was super weird to be riding that late in the afternoon.
After work Megg and I got cleaned up to go out. Its her last weekend at the farm so had to have some fun. We went to Rodrigos for dinner then out afterwards. Even though Megg wasnt feeling her best I think everyone had fun. I did at least. The late night, however, meant I spent most of the morning in bed sleeping. Definitely not a bad way to spend some time though. Going to be another long hot week here so probably not a bad idea to just chill one day. Though I did end up hanging out with Rodrigo for a bit this afternoon which was fun as always. Its getting to the point that the thought of leaving everyone here forever is strange. Never been anywhere but home long enough to really get to know another place/a large group of different people. Definitely going to miss people like Rachel, Martin, Rodrigo and the guys!

Friday, November 30, 2012

November 30th - 9:02pm

Hard to believe its already the end of November! Feel like this months just started. Yet Alice left 2 weeks ago already and Megg is leaving the farm in just five days! Honestly cant believe it. Heck I head home for Christmas in 18. It was a good last day of Novmber though. The storm that has been blowing in for the last couple days finally hit last night with tons and tons of rain. Needless to say, the ring was flooded and we were not riding today.
So the process of getting horses on the walker to go was started. And very quickly stopped when the power went out. And stayed out. From about 8:15 or so until a bit after 1:00, we had no lights, no water, no internet, no walker, no nada. Super fun stuff. So we went back to work on ears, manes and noses. By the end of the afternoon I believe all but a handful of the 40 or so horses in work were trimmed up. I dont even know how many ears Ive done today but its been a lot. Probably about 20. If not more. Rodrigo would hold them and Id snip away with my little sheep shearers. Still really bad with them though.
The lights came on during lunch though so we were able to put them all on to walk for a bit in the afternoon. All but the new ones who arrived late last night and dont know how to use a walker. Theyll go on the list to be taught soon enough. In the mean time, theyre getting a crash course in being a tame horse. Spent their first night inside last night upon arrival. Poor guys are probably beyond shell shocked but theyll catch on quick enough!
The sun we had today should mean the ring is dried out enough to walk and maybe trot some tomorrow. Hopefully at least since were almost out of manes and noses to do!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

November 29th - 8:20pm

Think Im finally going to manage getting to bed at a bizarely early hour like normal. Could tell today that the later nights earlier this week have been taking their toll during the day. But despite that, it was a good day here. Warmed up Geologo for Martin first off in the morning. Then had a brief jump school on Picaro. I go back and forth on whether I like riding that horse or not (just not a type I typically enjoy) but I have to say I loved jumping him. Picaro is a 1.30m horse and I could definitely feel it. So much fun and a great feel in the air. Just did a cross rail to a three stride with a vertical (eventually oxer) out. Simple but very fun.
After Picaro, I got on Uxmal for a short work out since hes just coming back into work. He felt super good. Then Nixon on the flat. He was actually very good as well and got some much welcomed encouragment from Rodrigo when I was on him. Once Nixon was finished I took Quantum out for another hack and once again rode around grinning like an idiot. Today was Rodrigo's day to make fun of me though since Martin wasnt there to watch. I cant help it though, I just like him! We took a quick break for lunch then I took Nacar and Jour out. Both were quite good. Nacar managed to take a shoe off in his stall the other day so with the show Saturday and rain last week it feels like its been forever since I rode him last. Was fun to be back on him. For whatever reason he's one of my favorites to ride here. I just like his attitude, gaits and everything a lot.
Once again we had a lot of wind today but no rain. Keeping everything I have crossed it stays that way. The wind actually isnt half bad since it keeps everything cool. Just praying it doesnt drive in the rain! Im enjoying riding! Not to say I am not tired after a full day in the saddle. Definitely might end up asleep by 8:30. Which would be beyond sad but hey, its the result of a good, long day.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

November 28th - 9:59pm

I got to ride Quantum today! He was such a good boy! Definitely one of my favorite of the young horses to work around. Ghandi and Invasor being the other two. I had Puccini out trotting him around for a bit and after we'd finished I was walking him out. Martin called Rodrigo over and had him switch horses with me. He took Puccini and I got Quantum. I was a bit suprised but wasnt going to worry to much about the what/hows/whys of it all if it meant I got to ride him. He was a rockstar. Walk, trot, canter with two perfect flying changes. Martin even laughed at me I was smiling so big after. He was so much fun though. Such a nicw boy.
After I got on Mauro for my last ride on him for a bit. He leaves for the campo on Friday to spend the rest of the spring/summer there. Benito is leaving as well to go with him. So did my thing on Mauro. Then was on Nixon. We did a little jump school on him which was fun. Definitely not my best riding and not sure why I couldnt get my crap together a ride. But it is what it is to a point. I know when I first got here I couldnt have ridden him let alone schooled 1.10-1.15 with him so going to find my happiness there. After Nixon I had Jour who was just out for a flat hack.
In the afternoon we had another flat lesson. I was on Holandesa this time and we worked over cavaletti at the walk, trot and canter. At the walk and trot we were pretty decent about keeping the working pace and only putting one step between each pole. At the canter I struggled the first two times to find the working canter but once we got it the work was nice and easy. Im enjoying having the afternoon flat lessons with Megg and Camilla. Meggs on her last week riding here so already getting sad that shes heading out. Going to miss her a ton and keeping my fingers crossed she has a great last couple days.
It was pretty windy at a few points today. Thankfully not bad enough to start scaring horses but enough I, at least, had trouble hearing a few times. Keeping my fingers crossed the wind is just wind and wont blow a storm in here like usual. Would definitely be a downer on Meggs times. A girl can wish!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

November 27th - 11:20pm

Im going to regret staying up tomorrow morning but Im over being behind on the blog! Plus its super hot upstairs and the chances of me sleeping are about zero at the moment anyway. So finished Saturdays blog, wrote yesterdays and am now onto today's! Awesome stuff.
Started off this morning showing Camilla the ropes. How the horses get tacked up, how to use the walker, who takes boots in the back, who gets wraps and the like. There is a lot to learn but she caught on pretty fast. Im sure she'll have it all memorized pretty soon. First off I was on Geologo and Picaro warming them up for Martin. Then took Cor Lit, Mauro, Puccini and Skyline out to work. While I was riding the guys set up another free jump in the ring and before lunch we sent some of the fillies Rodrigo is working with through the chute. It was their first time doing it so a bit interesting at times but I think theyd catch on if we did it a time or two more. Or at least not jump out quite so often.
After lunch we did a flat lesson with Camilla. She was on Herodes, I had Pastrocito and Megg had Boss. Since weve mostly been using english to speak to Camilla, Martin decided to make us use our spanish by teaching almost the whole lesson in it. For the most part I understood what he was saying even if I struggled to reply back. Had to stiffle a laugh at a few points though when he reverted back to english to get on me about something I wasnt fixing quick enough. Mostly it was position stuff with some work on creating/maintainging a contact. I was decently pleased with myself though. Got to serve as the correct example for sitting the canter. And somehow managed not to struggle with the exercise of making a big circle with my arm from my shoulder. Im sure its cause Ive done the exercise while riding more times than I can count. But as Martin also pointed out, it is a bit like a swim stroke and Ive did a bit of competetive swimming as a kid so I know the feeling. Either way it was fun. The spanish and the lesson. After I hopped back on Mauro to trot him for a bit then was on Jour for the last ride of the day. Like everyone else he was a tad fresh after several days of light work but he worked out of it after a bit.
All in all a busy but fun day. Lots of horses ridden and a good lesson to top it all off. The forcast says its suppose to rain for basically the rest of the week though. Praying its not true for both Megg and I sake. Would so much rather be riding than stuck inside! Though after one more night of staying up entirely too late, I might not mind a quieter afternoon one of the days. But please no rain!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

November 26th - 10:04pm

<p>Have to quit putting off writing blog posts on Saturday and Sunday. Hate missing days because I really do want to cataloge every part of this trip from the beginning to end but something about those weekend days gets me. Always fall behind on them! Which means I start off behind on Monday. <br>
Today was a rainy day so I was kind of hoping there wouldnt be much to say and I could just lump Sunday's polo game and Monday's rain together into one post. But no. Way too much happened today!<br>
Started out as just a normal rain day with horses being groomed, walking on the walker and getting trimmed up. Then the leather guy game. I think he works for Pessoa making saddles, bridles, martingales and the like. In his spare time he makes the same stuff and sells it. Really the only difference is one thing is stamped Pessoa and the other is just stamped his brand. My brother is in the market for a new saddle though so took the risk and basically bought him a knock off Pessoa XP saddle. Hoping he likes it but even if he doesnt, it was super comfy and I could use a new one too. My poor one at home has holes in it! Im thinking it wil be good though. Martin has his saddles from that guy (or one like him I believe) and they are actually really nice saddles. The Butet is my favorite but the others are still good.
After the saddle guy left we found out that another girl is moving in with us and would be here soon! A little bit of a hurry scurry to get a bed made up for her but got it all figured out. Hopefully the three of us have as much fun as Megg, Alice and I did! Though with Megg leaving in a week it will be down to the two of us quite quickly. Such a sad thought! But in the meantime, I hope we have fun. Her name is Camilla and she's from Brazil. She speaks Portuguese, Spanish and some English. Her english is far better than my spanish so mostly were communicating with that language. Im sure it will switch quite frequently though.
The afternoon had another curve ball thrown in it as well with clients coming. We took Holandesa, Herodes and a new trained horse San Jorge out for a trot/brief school since the rain kept them from really being ridden in the latter part of the week last week. All three were good if a little fresh at the beginning. Then it was back inside to polish them up for the clients. Nice saddle pads, tails unbraided, ear bonnets and the like.
San Jorge was the first to be tried and was a rockstar for the girl. Jumped everything like a champ. Holandesa was next and was well behaved but not quite the right fit. I didnt see them try Herodes but I believe they liked him as well as Jorge. Fingers crossed one of them gets sold! Or maybe we'll get lucky again like with Twilight and Cylene and they'll want two!
So all in all, a long day if not a tiring one. Not much riding but a lot of jumping from one thing to another getting stuff done. By the end of the afternoon the ring had almost completely dried out so hopefully well be back in the tack tomorrow for Camilla's first full day!

November 25th - 11:07pm

<p>Polo game today! Meg and I slept in a bit which was beyond incredible. I was still up at the usual time but was able to make myself go back to bed for a few hours. We headed out with Rodrigo to go watch the games. The first one was both teams weve seen before. Two different teams from La Agueda (spelled so wrong) but with different sponsers. It was a great game that was neck and neck the whole time despite one team being a 33 goal team and the other a 38. At the end of the 8 chuckers it was tied so they went into overtime and have to say it was the craziest playing Ive ever seen. Everyone played so hard and both teams fought hard. I dont remember which team it was that won in the end but they had orange polos. It was super sunny in the stands despite the day starting off looking like rain. Im sure I am so sunburned from it but whatever. It was worth it.
Between the games I went over to the La Dolfina tent with Megg to get a polo shirt for my brother for christmas. Turns out the guy that invited us back to their team area last week was there again this week. Somehow he remembered us and told us we had to come back after the second game this week since we hadnt last week. So got the polo shirt then headed to the other field to watch the next game which was Ellerstina vs La Natividad. It cooled off a bit so the weather was awesome and then the game itself was incredible. Ellerstina really showed off what a 38 goal team can play like. Some of the shots they made were just amazing. The force of the hits were also demonstrated as a ball was hit and shattered on impact. Still went flying though! A decently close game but in the end Ellerstina came out on top. It will never cease to amaze me how good these guys are on the horses. The stick and ball skills in and of themselves are incredible but the things they can do with are horse, amazing. And then to sit the spins, stops and runs they ask for without toppling off every other minute. Heck its not like they even sit anything though, usually theyre leaning half off the horse reaching for the ball. Craziness.
After the game we did end up going to the La Dolfina area to chill for a bit and it was quite fun. The guy's name that we talked to was actually Leo and he turned out to be pretty cool. He knew Martin and spoke english so we were able to chat for a bit. Definitely a very funny guy with some great quotes from the night. Apparently he use to work in the barns when he was more into playing polo but found the constant dirtiness a bit much "I want to be clean! And sexy!". He also said he asked Martin at one point if he'd ever played polo and apparently got the reply "I dont like games much, I like disipline." Not sure Ive ever hears a truer statement than that! So all in all a very fun day with some great people! A bit of a late night in but it was worth it. And a huge thanks to Rodrigo for driving Megg and I there and back!

If I ever move here, I want that apartment in the last picture behind the scoreboards!

November 24th - 7:42pm

Another long, but good, day to finish off the week. We took Benito, Quantum and Garufa to the show at the Hipico today. Benito was competing in a class for Series 2 horses that didnt qualify for the finals Friday. Though really the real finals are Sunday. Horses that did well Friday come back to do the last rounds on Sunday to determine the winner of each of the series. Both days are suppose to be on the grass field but the rain Thursday moved Fridays classes inside. That was the what Puccini and Justinian were doing yesterday. Benito jumped well in the "Last Chance" class over some very large jumps. He had two rails which was a bit dissappointing but it happens.
Afterward we had a decently long wait for the free jumping competition to start that Garufa and Quantum were in. Garufa was first to go in the 3 year old class. He was pretty unphased by the crowd and new area. Once he was in the chute, he trotted around it a few loops then they stopped him and built up the first jumps. He figured out quite quickly that all he had to do was go around, jump the jump then he could stop and grab a bite of hay that were around the front as decoration. Jump, eat, go again. Each horse got eight goes and Garufa's last one was incredible. Tight front end with a powerful hind. That style earned him a solid third place
In the four year old class next it was Quantum's turn. Quantum is one of my favorite young horses in the barn. Always so calm and just nice to work around. Plus he's a fantastic jumper. His first could goes in the free jump were good but not spectacular. As the jumps went up though he improved with each go. By the final times around the jump was up to a sizeable 4' oxer and he was jumping incredibly. With the first couple just ok jumps and the final two great goes, Martin thought he might have earned a 4th or so out of the 20 or so other young horses competing. As they announced the placings, however, 4th went to another horse. As well as third. And second. Turns out the last two incredible jumps were all it took. Quantum had won it! Great end to the show day!
After we packed everyone up super quickly and carted them home. Didnt get in till 9:00 or so definitely a long day. We went up to Rachel and Martins for a bit to grab a quick dinner of Thanksgiving left overs then right off to bed. Cant sleep the day away tomorrow! Weve got more polo games ti go watch!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

November 23rd - 9:09pm

Up at 5:30 for the horse show this morning. Meg went with Martin and they took Justinian and Puccini for the series finals at the Hipico. Justinian went double clear in his first round with a rail or two in his second at 3'9" (I believe). Puccini had a slightly more difficult day from the sound of it but not sure the details. But either way, today/this weekend marks the end of the series that has been going on since I arrived. Crazy to think about!
Since two horses do not require three people to tack up/groom/ride them I stayed home and worked the horses here. The ring was very wet so Rodrigo and I just took all the horses out on the road. I was on Herodes, Pastrocito, Nacar, Boss and Benito. All five of them were very well behaved and seemed to enjoy getting out of the ring. I know I did at least. Ive never been one to live 24/7 in the ring. I enjoy trail riding and even cross country schooling (gasp!) just to get out sometimes. So today was my day to get out. Super fun stuff.
The afternoon was kind of a whirlwind of getting all the normal stuff finished, getting horses ready for tomorrow and closing up the barn. Right before six though Martin called and asked me to get Holandesa and Herodes ready for the neighbor trainer to come sit on. So with almost everything finished I drug those two horses back out and threw tack on them. Im sure the guys thought I was crazy as I was frantically scurring around the barn getting them ready. Nicolas (I think thats his name at least) arrived just as I was finishing with Herodes. Hopped on and took him for a quick walk/trot/canter down the road. Then the same for Holandesa. Dont know if he was looking for something for a client or what but either way I believe the horses were good for him.
So with the last bit tacked on the end it managed to be a decently long day. And despite my promises to myself I was just going to take a shower and go to bed, I sat up chatting with Megg for a bit. So barely getting to bed before 9:30. Another show day tomorrow so another early morning!

Friday, November 23, 2012

November 22nd - 11:11pm

People have always told me that holidays away from home, family and friends are the hardest. To a point I agreed with them but mostly I thought it couldnt be much different from your average day away. Once again with this job, I was wrong. Totally wrong. Dont know if it was the weather (rainy), the lack of sleep (up during the night several times the last few days), Thanksgiving or a mix of all three but it was, without a doubt, a craptastic day.
Ive been homesick before in the time Ive been in Argentina. Anyone who is away from home is at some point or another but today was a whole other level. Even when Ive wanted to see family, I could push myself and come up with why I wanted to stay. If someone had offered me plane tickets home today, however, I would have been hard pressed not to grab them and run. Everything from working with the horses to trying to communicate with the guys took on a whole new level of frustration. Especially with Rodrigo. Hes a great guy sometimes but every so often his ability to constantly find fault with anything grates on my nerves. Add in the fact that I almost never understand what correction he's trying to make and it can be a recipe for diaster. Usually I can breath deep, try to understand and do what he wants but its not always easy. Today fell into one of those not always easy days. Somehow or another the day managed to come to a close with only a few tears thank goodness. Considering how I felt, that is a near miracle.
After work, however, the day picked up. Megg and I went over to Martin and Rachels for thanksgiving dinner. Its not an Argentine holiday but they celebrate it anyway. Some of their friends came over which was quite fun. Phillipe, Pampa's owner, was one of the friends and as always, he was hysterical. Definitely one of my favorite people in Argentina. He and Mono are tied in that at the moment. The food was amazing and the people even more so. It wasnt quite the same as being at my grandmothers house with my family but it was still very nice. Definitely not a bad way to end a day and it did serve to pick me up a bit. Two more work days this week with horse shows on both of them. Then the Argentine Open again. Just have to remind myself, as much as I might hate days like today that leave me sapped for energy both physically and emotionally, I am living a sort of fairytale life. I ride 6 days a week and spend my days off exploring one of the biggest cities in the world. Cant complain too much but I will be keeping my fingers crossed (and wishing at 11:11) for a better day tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

November 21st - 8:14pm

Another long, hot day. Definitely noticing a trend as of late with that. The cold days are long gone and the cool ones are becoming fewer and fewer. The hardest part for me is the nights though. It stays hot until fairly late in the night which can make sleeping a bear. General tiredness means Im sleeping anyway but not always the most comfortable thing ever.
Megg has been getting progressively sicker with some sort of bad cold and wasnt able to ride in the morning as a result. Looked a lot like death warmed over (as I told her on more than one occasion). She stuck around in the barn helping tack up and get horses to the walker to be ridden though. It was a big help since we're now down Walter and Carlos. The new guys are nice and try hard but theyve never worked around horses before and have no idea how to tack them up. Theyll learn quick enough but in the mean time, we're a bit slow with getting horses to the ring.
Today, though, I was on Picaro, Geologo, Benito, Puccini and Virtuoso warming them up for Martin. He had lessons with Mono today so the last three were for that. Tgey also free jumped Garufa and Quantum in preparation for the free jumping show this weekend. After the lessons were finished, I rode Skyline, Nixon, Jour, Nacar and Herodes. So was on 10 horses today. Not a bad days work. Nothing terribly exciting happened with any of them. Just flat schools all around. Tomorrow its suppose to pour from 8am to 8pm so we'll all be on the ground inside all day more than likely. Lots of ears/noses to clean up, manes to shorten and maybe a horse or two to clip. Not a huge fan of rain but fingers crossed it cools everything off a bit at least! I know it is going to get much hotter but for now at least, Im still hoping for more cooler weather!

November 20th - 8:24pm

Good day. Long, hot day. But good day. Warmed up Cor Lit for Martin. Then had a brief flat lesson with Benito. Flat schools for Nixon and Jour. To end the day we had two jumping lessons on Nacar and Holandesa. Martin set out a cavaletti then tree strides to an x-rail followed by 5 longer strides to a jump. The jump started as a small vertical then worked its way up. We were suppose to canter directly in, knowing the striding and get it done. For the most part, I was decently capable. Five strides, however, is just enough space to totally mess up a jump though. As always with riding, it was a matter of constantly checking and correcting to get to the last fence just right. Stop any drift, lengthen or shorten a stride if need be and any number of other things. Nacar was quite well behaved though and one jump in particular felt super nice. Gave the release he needed while holding my body over top of him and my leg. Usually I try to lay out over his neck for whatever bizare reason. Martin often tells me that if his neck had paint on it, Id be covered. But Im trying to improve and feel like I am slowly but steadily. Ended up at just about a 3'3" oxer with Nacar and about a 3'9" or so oxer with Holandesa. She has such a different feel than Nacar on the flat and over fences that sometimes I feel myself struggling to make the switch between the two. Shes a bit quicker to the fences with a slightly shorter stride and uses herself more over the fences. Eventually, though, I got some good goes out of her. Struggled a bit with her to get to my distances and power off the ground as the fences went up but think I know what to change/do differently for next time.  All in all I was decently happy with the jump work. Would have loved to have had more consistency through my work but I know that takes even more time and effort than Ive already put in. Just have to keep pushing.
We built a free jump up in the ring again for tomorrow. Going to be a super busy day with Mono coming and whatever free jumping is happening!

November 18th - 10:05pm

Absolutely incredible day today. We got up early and headed into town with Martin to watch Twilight do day 2 of the dressage show. He went well for the owner and I believe ended up 2nd in his class again. We checked out the Pessoa tack store, watched some other horses and then headed out to start the walk to the polo fields. This weekend was the first weekend of the polo games to determine who will play in the Argentine Polo Open in a few weeks. Super exciting stuff.
The weather was amazing so the walk was quite enjoyable. We went through a park with a beautiful pond and hung out for a bit just talking and people watching. Some of the trees were blooming blue and were truly breath taking to see in a group together. Just stunning. So we walked through the park then down Libratador. The polo fields were easy to find again but since we were about an hour early, we just kept walking till we found a little cafe where we had lunch. Super great place and a very nice waiter who didnt make fun of us for our rather interesting spanish skills!
After we headed back to the polo fields and got in line to pick up the tickets for all the weekends that Megg had preordered. While we were in line this random guy came up and offered us two tickets for free. We tried to tell him we had already ordered ours but it was pretty useless and we ended up with the tickets. We had the tickets for the cheapest seats in the stadium and the ones he had given us were for somewhere else so we figured we'd give his a try. Gave our tickets to two people outside the game and went in with his. And at this point I dont even know where to start describing the atmosphere. There were fancy booths set up with polo magazines, polo tack shops, a bar, resturant, mercedes cars for sale, team lounges and all sorts of other tents/pavillions set up by sponsers. I am dying to buy a polo shirt of one of the teams. I know Ellerstina or La Dofina are arguably the two best teams but I loved the hot pink polos. Definitely want to get one for me and maybe some for my brother. The matches themselves were even more incredible. Game 1 was Ellerstina (38 goa team) vs a 35 goal team whose name escapes me at the moment. Begins with A and wears orange. We had some awesome seats near center line as a result of the guys tickets. The level of stick and ball skills as well as horsemanship was incredible. Again what gets me the most is how the teams as a whole move. Without even looking, they know where their team mate will be and can shoot the ball back to them, gallop past it or whatever knowing a team mate is right there behind them. Just insane. One guy fell off in the match. Not a big deal and he was ok but his horse galloped madly back to the trailer and ran over a guy on the ground. He ended up being rushed out by the ambulance. About that time the rain started to go and once again we were treated to some incredibly kind people who offered us their umbrella to sit under. So nice of them. After the game  we hopped down to one of the resturants and had a glass of champaign with Rachel and Martin before the second match started. Then, in true Katie and Megg fashion, we got some ice cream. Truly amazing stuff in this country!
We headed up to find our seats at this point and got the true suprise of the day. The tickets the guy had given us were not only better seats, they were the absolute best seats in the stadium. The only seats under a roof (and it was still raining!), basically on centerline and up high enough to see all the action. Tickets for these seats are beyond pricey. Our ticket actually read "Not for Sale" and "By Invitation Only" so I can only imagine what they cost. But one of the people working at the stadium lead us up to the seats and there the guy was, just hanging out with his friend. He asked how we were, what we thought of the game and absolutely refused to let us buy him a drink or anything for the free tickets. Then at the end told us to have a nice day and left. Totally insane. But watching the game from there was incredible. You could see how all the plays worked out, exactly how the game was going and all the little details. Just incredible. Dont remember the name of the teams at the moment but one wore white and the other had green polos. Megg decided she wanted to cheer for one and I had the other by default. It ended up being really fun (and Im sure funny to watch) as we got into cheering for our teams that we'd never heard of before the match. But it was a great game. Meggs team (the white team) ended up winning which was actually pretty well deserved since they took some hard hits during the game. One player was thrown and stepped on while another was hit hard in the face. Both were patched up on the field and played through the pain (and copious amounts of blood loss in the second players case). It was a fantastic game to watch though. And from such incredible seats. After we went over to Martins moms house and met up with them their to catch a ride home. As always it was great to see his mom and just hang out for a bit. So today had a great show, great weather, a great walk, incredible polo games and everything inbetween. Definitely a day to remember for many, many years.