Wednesday, June 27, 2012

June 27th - 8:37pm

Still sick. Though today was definitely more miserable than yesterday. In the barn at 5:00 to get the 6 horses ready for the show at Equus. Got there before daylight again and our first horse, Navratilova, jumped around right as the sun was coming up. Rodrigo rode Georgia and I rode Lion right after so we could take his truck back to Rancho Pampa to finish riding. I think Georgia was good for him and Lion was really good for me. This time went significantly better than last week despite a tougher, twistier course. I rode better and Lion went better as a result. Now if only I could actually remember my course! Ive never been one for remembering jumper courses. Always have to walk and walk them. Then study the posted course. Then watch some rounds. Then franticly try to find someone to tell it to just prior to going in. Just in case. You don't get that much babying here. Learn the course, watch a rider or two then go get it done. I thought I had it despite missing watching Georgia and Cylene do it (with Martin) but apparently not. Came off jump 10 and thought it was jump 9. Which wasn't good because I knew 11 was the last fence with the water. So instead of just doing a nice right roleback from 10 to 11 I did a lovely left roleback looking for 10. Yep, Im a genius. Got a lecture for that one since it is such a stupid, fixable mess up. Won't be doing that again.
Came back to the barn to ride everyone left at home after Rodrigo and I finished at Equus. Most of the horses were good though honestly I don't even remember the specifics of any of the rides. That's how I felt today. Just one horse to the next and don't think about how you feel. The afternoon was spent wrapping things up and getting the last couple ridden. Another show tomorrow at the Hipico with the Series 2 horses plus some extras. Praying I feel better so I at least have a chance of having fun! Have to be up at 4:00 again tomorrow and feel vaguely like death right now so off to bed early!  

June 26th - 10:05pm

If there is one thing I hate more than anything, its being sick. And not sick enough to have a legit reason to just go back to bed. Just sick enough to make the day miserable. And that was exactly my day. Been treating the young horses for a bug that they're passing around. A cough, runny nose and general icky-ness. I looked at them all today and knew exactly what they all felt like. And treating all 8 of them is certainly a task. 8 pills each, twice a day, ground up, made into a paste and syringed into their mouths. Thankfully they have all been very nice to me so far despite being so young. Praying their generosity continues as they keep getting medicated or it could really become a chore.
Rode Buck, Lion, Pastrocito, Jour and Nixon today. Plus warmed up Luli, Benito and Puccini for Martin to ride with Mono. All were pretty good though and Martin was happy with at least one thing on each horse which might just be a record for me. He's a very precise/exacting teacher and doesn't give compliments easily. In the afternoon we worked on matching up the newly branded foals with pictures we took at Pringles to figure out what foal went with what mare. Got to have everything right for their registration! Took a bit as all are bay and most are colts. Had to go by face/leg markings which could be difficult as some where fairly similar. Got it done though.
We're headed to Equus again tomorrow for another schooling show thing which should be fun. Im taking Lion again but not Herodes because someone is trying him. Im going to be totally out of it though because we have to be in the barn at 5:00 and Im totally wired right now at 10:00. Made the mistake of deciding I wanted something hot to drink with dinner and forwhatever reason coffee struck me as a fantastic choice. And it definitely wasn't. I think Im going to be having a lot more coffee in the morning to get up! Oh the things you learn living alone.
Anyway we lost power again last night for a few hours so the internet went out again. Not a clue when it will be back. Definitely learning to amuse myself in other ways than surfing facebook, pintrest, COTH or talking to friends/family. Though I do miss talking to my family when the internet is out. Been at Rancho Pampa almost two months now which would be the longest Ive ever been away from home/my family. The people here have become like a second family and the guys can certainly drive me crazy like my brother can but I miss my family sometimes. Thank goodness for books and my ipod (thank you FCF!!!) or Id probably be going to bed at 6:30 for lack of other things to do after work! 

Monday, June 25, 2012

June 25th - 8:30pm

Back to work after a very fun weekend! Rode Buck, Justinian, Pastrocito, Herodes, Lion, Jour and Twilight. A pretty simple day riding wise after everyone had Sunday off. Had to move quickly though to leave the afternoon open for foal branding!! Which I don't think anyone was actually excited for but trying to at least sound optimistic about it. Mostly I stayed out of the way and did my treatments/whatever else needed to be done while the guys handled the foals. Rodrigo stayed over into the afternoon to help and thank goodness he did as it was a little wild. First each group of foals had to be brought out, tied up and sedated. Which wouldn't have been bad if the foals didn't only know us as crazy creatures who make them go places they don't want to and stick plastic on their heads (nylon halters). And the sedative had to be given IV. After that Martin took DNA sample and implanted the micro chip so he can register his foals and enter them in the data base. Which is actually a really cool idea. I have never dealt with micro chipping horses but it definitely seems like a good idea. No more horses ending up places and no one having any idea about who they are. One scan of their neck and you know. Very interesting. And I like that, at least in our case, the owner could do it himself. Definitely something to look into. After the micro chipping came the branding. And here it is hot branding. Metal shaped into numbers and stuck in a fire. Definitely not fun stuff. Each foal got branded at least twice. A number on the left that is the year they were born. Today that was a #1. Then a number on the right that is what number the foal is. With the two foals at Baral branded as #1 and #2 we did 3-15 today. So those last 5 foals got three brands. And Martin doesn't do the hip brands that mark the horses as Sillio Argentino (Argentine Saddle Horses) or they'd have gotten a nice round 4 brands. Im not sure any of the foals were exactly well behaved for the process despite the sedation but some were still better than others. The fighters were still fighting and the ones that gave in pretty quickly since arriving here gave in pretty easily again. They're different temperments are interesting. Makes me wonder which type makes the best competition horses/which Id like the best. The ones who fight some or give in quickly or whatever. After the branding the foals were left to wake up some before being put back in their stalls. Some of the foals just flat out laid down which was kind of amusing. One even had to be branded laying down as he just gave up and laid down while they were doing the micro chip. Needless to say he was one of the easiest to do.
So as always life at Rancho Pampa is nothing but interesting. Riding the crew again tomorrow morning and then who knows what!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

June 24th - 1:47pm

I love my job but I reallyreally like my day off as well. Yesterday was a mix of very good and very bad which of course meant it was one of the most educational days. I had a pretty good ride on Buck over fences followed by an incredibly good ride on Jour. Martin helped me work on his canter and by the end he was going to a totally different, more powerful frame. Started to really get the art of seperate the horse up top and on the bottom to get a strong adjustable canter. The horse up top stays balanced, together and up while the horse underneath can shorten and lengthen. Always an upward bounce to the canter though. No matter the length. I was suppose to show Herodes and Lion to a client after and despite starting out relatively calm, I managed to have a minor freak out and totally blow it with Herodes. Stopping all over the place and dropping rail after rail. All on a horse Ive ridden a ton of times without major issue. Im incredibly bad at riding under stress which is something that definitely needs improvment. After who knows how many stops I finally just told Martin I couldnt do it. Which sucked. I hate messing up, doing badly and disappointing people. Above all, though, I hate giving a horse a bad ride so asking Martin to finish showing them Herodes was the best option in my opinion because that ride was getting no better and I was only freaking out more. Stellar move right? Martin still had me get on Lion and I figured it would just be to warm him up while he finished with Herodes but should have known Id never get off that easy. Spent the whole time I warmed Lion up debating in crying or being sick from nerves. 100% hoping Martin didn't notice. But even if he did, he still told me to take the warm up fence off the left. Either had to pull it together and ride or really make the day a lost cause. And somehow I pulled it together. My riding wasn't perfect (then again it never is) but I got Lion around without major mishap and hopefully made him look good. The clients seemed to like his looks and I spoke to them a little in Spanish. Mostly Im just really happy I was able to pull it together and get a good ride despite starting out on a less than brilliant note. Hoping Martin was happy with his decision to have me keep riding. Cant thank him enough for not letting there be an option of not riding. Thats exactly what I need to get over my nerves. Somewhat forced to keep going when everything starts falling apart.
After the clients I rode Twilight, Justinian, Luli, Cylene, Mauro and Virtoso. Luli and Mauro are rapidly becoming favorites of mine. Love the hotter type horses. Mauro was especially fun since I distinctly remember not having the easiest time with him when I arrived. Now, though, with Martin's training and my improvements with riding he's become a lot easier and very fun. Might end up butting heads with Mono over who wants him more! Mauro is a favorite of Mono's as well.
After work I went out with Rodrigo and some of his friends which was definitely a trip. Rodrigo's English is pretty bad and my spanish not much better but compared to his friends we're absolute master's of each others language. Spending the night out with people who don't speak my language is definitely very different but fun never the less. And only got a minor headache from trying to follow along with their talking! Hoping to get the chance to hang out with them again before I leave! And the new working student will arrive in 8 days (Walter is counting down and making sure he's here when she arrives!) so we'll be able to hang out some as well! Very exciting stuff here in Argentina at Rancho Pampa! 

Friday, June 22, 2012

June 22nd - 10:01pm

Picked up my tablet to write a nlog post for today and suddenly 50+ messages from Facebook and WhatsApp came through! Our internet/phone connection has magically been restored! Kinda weird that it just randomly happened but hey Im not complaining!
Today started at 6:00 with my first ride on Buck before daylight. Watched the sunrise off of her and had a really good ride. Im figuring her out more and more each day. She's coming back from an injury and on a limited work out schedule which means she's never tired and always a little fresh. Despute the name she has zero buck and as Martin pointed out, a horse with no buck has a spook. And she has one of those. Keep her mentally occupied and she'll be one of the nicest you sit on all day. Rode Justinian after before throwing Benito, Puccini, Virtroso and Cylene in the trailer to take to the show. Virtroso and Cylene were just there to get out but Benito and Puccini had their Series 2 class. Benito did really well but had one cheap rail. Puccini was fabulous in the warm up then slightly less than stellar in the ring. Eight faults for him.
Packed up and headed home to school Herodes and Lion over fences with Martin. Clients are coming tomorrow to look at the both of them and Martin is having me show them. Can you say nerve wrecking? I know I can do a good job on both of them so will be doubley frustrated if I dont do so well showing them off. Best I can do though is ride like Ive been trained and hope for the best! And the last two years Ive had some of the best training available (thank God for good trainers who want working students!) so should do ok at least. Very excited to have Martin think Im good enough to show horses though! Jumped Lion up to 3'9" as well which was very fun. Jumping and riding all of these horses are helping me feel strides in a way I never have before. Specifically the length of the strides. Like Herodes' average canter step is a solid 12' step. Lion needs a little more jump to his step to get those 12'  despite being significantly larger. And Jour needs to lengthen, run and pray to make the step. Which is something Im hoping to work on with him. But getting on all these horses and feeling the natural length of stride will help so much as I start to get better at it. Wont need to jump that first line and then realize my horse doesnt have enough step. Ill be able to feel it right off. Love little riding break throughs/realizations like that!
Helped the guys wrap up in the barn and then climbed up on Jour. Had a really good ride on him again and felt improvements from even my last ride on him. He's a super fun, smart horse (despite Rodrigo's opinion of him!) Finished up my day watching the sunset off of him as well. Definitely a good day when you can watch the sun rise and set off of two of your favorite horses! 

Photos from the show today. And the flag day celebration. And the La Puerta horse's cooler. Puerta is door in spanish and it makes me laugh whenever I see these horses. Some have coolers that say La Cuadra which is another word for barn. The cracks me up as well.

June 21st - 8:05pm

Today was one of those days where from start to finish I felt at least 10 steps behind and totally scattered. Woke up not feeling so great and it wasn't till late afternoon that I started feeling better/more on top of things. Not sure what the deal was but hoping its a one time thing. Still got Jour, Pastrocito, Buck and Justinian ridden. Plus Nixon longed. Jour was really, really good. We had a hard dressage school with Martin the other day and it really helped both of us. Im riding better on the flat then ever before and he's going better for me than he did before. The horses from yesterday had the day off so it was a decently light day with riding. Martin pulled out three right before lunch to show an eventing client but it went pretty quick. I think its just the American clients who drag the process of looking at a horse on for hours. After lunch, we worked with a different set of foals then finished with my ride on Jour and helping the guys wrap up with the barn.
Headed to the Buenos Aires Club tomorrow to show with Benito and Puccini in the Series 2 class so got to be in the barn at 6:00. If all goes well with them they'll go back on Sunday to do the 1.20 class. Fingers crossed for good rounds!  

June 20th - 7:55pm

What a crazy day! Started in the barn at 5:00. Left with 6 horses in tow at 6:15. Rode all 6 at Equus then packed everything back up to be home by 11:00 for lessons with Mono. The show was really just open schooling but it was exactly what I needed. Did Herodes and Lion at 3' and 3'6" which was fun but showed a lot of places where I need work. Primarially with pace. Either not having enough or running in an attempt to find my correct pace. At 3' they're both good enough horses to compensate and cart us both over it when I mess up. At 3'6", I need to ride a bit. But we survived and had some stellar moments right in with our "I hope Martin didn't just see that" moments. I'm still pretty novice-y at 3'6" having only done it with one horse who is a total rockstar that I knew inside and out after 7 years with him. So regardless of what David might have to say about poles coming down, I am happy with today. Obviously I would have loved to magically ride far better, gotten all my distances, carried the right pace throughout and left all the poles up but thats for another day. All the rounds today are on video as well and Ive asked Martin to go over them with me sometime this week. Thinking it will help to have him point out what needs to change so I can see it for myself. We've got another horse show Friday and maybe another Sunday though so it might end up being pushed to next week.
After the show we shot home to get Benito and Puccini ready for the lessons with Mono. Both were were very good and hopefully will stay very good for the upcoming shows. A quick lunch then onto leading and tying lessons with some of the foals. Group #1 was a dream despute being three foals. Group #2 was only two foals but one was the creature that was incredibly difficult about the halter origionally. And he's still anti-halter. Though at this point Id bet he's one of those that's just kind of anti-everything. Praying he comes around or at least I'm not the primary one working with him.
After foal handling Martin gave me a jumping lesson on Nixon which pretty well. Started to get big step in controlled frame intead of big step as apart of long and stung out. Not sure why thats so complicated for me but it is. If Im going to figure it out anywhere it will be here thought. Can test, tweak and work different ideas and feels out on each horse I ride. And ten rides is maybe what Id get in a week at home. Here its one day. Such an amazing way to learn to ride! Another full day tomorrow of riding, foal handling and getting things together for the show Friday! 

June 19th - 7:31pm

So very close to having power for a whole day! It just died and I have a feeling it will stay out for awhile. Between the internet/phone disconnect, the lack of power on a fairly regular basis and the broken water pump Im certainly learning to appreciate little things that work without thought. And the pump being broken just means you have to plug it in each time you need water and unplug it right after. Cant just leave it plugged in throughout the day. Not a huge deal but certainly a pain. Not that it really matters at this moment with no power but still. And Im just waiting for the day the power goes out when Im in the shower. It happened to Pez before she left and just praying it doesn't happen to me!
Anyway rode Buck, Luli, Lion, Jour, Herodes, Pastrocito, Justinian and Twilight. They were all really good and I uncovered even more things I need to work on! We're going to a schooling show tomorrow and taking some of the non series horses. Martin will be riding Skyline, Navratilova, Luli and Nixon. And I am taking Lion and Herodes. Two of my favorites here and two I know pretty well. Its all of our first shows in awhile so it could be interesting but should be a ton of fun. I haven't shown a jumper in probably close to a year. Definitely miss it.
On a totally different note, though, Hernan left today. Which is actually really sad for me. He was the first of the guys to really try to talk and make friends with me. Im sure Ill see him around at some point but it will be sad to not see him almost everyday. And Ill have no one to sing with! Hernan always thought it was hilarious that I knew the words to American songs. Id walk down the barn aisle infront of the wash racks and he'd turn up the radio really quick and see if I could sing along with whatever song it was. Not that I sing well but he thought it was fantastic I knew the words. Now I have Walter to sing with. But Walter sings and dances to the songs in his own head more than the songs on the radio which makes things a little tougher! Hes a nice guy though. Hernan was as well. Gonna miss him.
Anyway with the horse show tomorrow and no power here anyway I'm headed to super early. Nineteen years old and regurally going to bed at 8:00 or 9:00pm? Craziness. But wouldn't trade my crazy life and schedule for the world! Fingers crossed for good horses and clean rounds tomorrow! 

June 18th - 8:39pm

Most of the day here was spent without power which was certainly interesting. As Martin said, "Welcome to a third world country!" Lost power around 10 and it came back on at 5:45 or so only to go back on and off a few more times. Which made an already busy Monday last even longer than usual. And still waiting on the internet to get reconnected!
It was a pretty good day though with the horses. I rode Buck, Luli, Jour, Lion, Herodes, Justinian, Cylene and hopped on Geologo for a vet check. Everyone was pretty decent despite everyone having Sunday off and some having Saturday and Sunday off. With an older trained horse, two days off is no big deal. With our young ones, it can make for some interesting rides. Nothing overly interesting today though since everyone minded their manners.
Martin has started having me work on/in a dressage type full seat position. Obviously most of my riding as a jumper/hunter is in a light forward Caprilli style seat but learning a correct full seat is a useful tool to have. Its definitely very different for me but I can see where I could use it to improve a horse or course. Its also a lot harder to correctly hold a full seat than I would have thought. Got some good work out of the two we really worked with it on and played with it some on the others. Just got to keep practicing to get the feel. Another busy day tomorrow but hopefully one with power! 

June 17th - 9:08pm

No internet at the farm again due to a power outage two nights ago. Like everything in Argentina it will be fixed when someone gets around to it. Maybe. Or if it magically starts working again. Nothing gets done very quickly in this country and you just kind of have to learn to deal.
Anyway, today was fathers day here (I think in the US as well...?). Martin and Rachel had an esado (definitely spelled wrong) here at the farm with Martin's family to celebrate. It was a bunch of fun with his dad and brothers. Cooked over the big grill again and spent all afternoon just hanging out and eating. The food was really good as always when Martin cooks and Rachel made brownies for dessert. Def need to find out how she does them because they are perfection. Im honestly suprised Im not sick from dessert overload. Some of the food in this country kind of freaks me out but Im a fan of desserts pretty much anywhere. Blood sausage and large parts of hogs cooking over coals has never been and will never be my first choice of food but amazing brownies and chocolate cake are always good. (And yes mother I did eat something called blood sausage and do continue to get made fun of for my attitude of trying absolutely anything. I know you're still shocked). During dessert and coffee time we all got together and played BlackJack and Texas Hold 'Em. Lots of fun and joking around. Took me awhile to catch on to poker as I'd never played before and explinations were coming from a variety of people in both in English and Spanish. Definitely did significantly better playing BlackJack! 
Back to work tomorrow with another busy week ahead. I think were doing a local schooling show during the week with some of the non-series horses. Plus working with the foals. And now Im studing some spanish riding books. Just a basic "this is a horse/this is a saddle/ect" but it is 100% in spanish. Hoping doing a little bit of reading, translating and studying every night will improve my speaking skills. Plus its fun to learn all the basic stuff I know backwards and forwards in English in a different language. Already know things like saddle, bridle, mare, stallion and whatnot but this book has parts and descriptions. Hoping to be able to read at least part if it before I leave! Want to learn the language so bad!! Halfway through with my stay here and have learned a ton but not near as much as I'd like to still!

June 16th - 11:05pm

Usual schedule for the day: Up at 6:30. Start chores at 7:30. Get on first horse at 8:00-8:30. Ride for 30 minutes or so.Bring horse back to barn and give to guys. Get next horse. Ride. Back to barn. Next horse. Repeat until 2:00. Break for lunch. Treatments. Finish riding the rest. Help with barn chores. Close up shop at 6:00. Eat dinner and shower before falling into bed. Busy, busy days.
Today's a bit different with the derby this afternoon but still spent till 1:00 riding. Was on Buck, Luli, Jour, Herodes, Lion and Pastrocito. Everyone was super, super good. Like amazingly so. Luli, Buck and Lion especially ended up soft, light and stretching forward. Good way to finish the week. Hopefully taking a few of the non-series horses to a local show next week so fingers crossed everyone starts next week like they finished this one.
Went into town and watched the jumping derby in the afternoon. It was super fun. A bunch of lovely horses with fantastic riders over a challenging course. Alexis, the rider that won the FEI Grand Prix, went in first and laid down a gorgeous, fast, fault free round. Only clear round of the class. He also took 4th on his other mount with one pole down. Im in love with his riding. Just gorgeous. One of these days I want to ride as good as him. Or even half as good. Also want to do a derby like this. They're doing classes all day tomorrow from .85 meters up over the same course and I so wish I could do it. Obviously not the same but that course looked so fun. Might have to steal Herodes and ride down to the Aleman tomorrow! And no someone riding down the side of the highway on a Sunday morning would not be the least unusual. But I do want to ride in a real jumper derby sometime. After we killed some time in Capitol then went back to the Aleman for another auction. Honestly I dont remember much of the horses besides one who had some interesting markings. Bay with 2 high socks in the back, a stocking upfront and then a stocking type marking that went hoof to elbow. One solid white leg. Really cool. Should have paid more attention to the horses but it was cold and once youve seen free jumping for the 100th time its considerably less exciting to watch. The food at this auction was more normal though. Little sandwhiches, empanadas and whatnot. No where near as strange as the Tatabra auction!
Crazy long day to cap off a long week but tomorrow's my day off! Get to sleep in!!  

Will post pictures of the derby tomorrow!

Friday, June 15, 2012

June 15th - 10:06pm

Cold, damp horse show day. The horses were all pretty good though especially since most of them went into the big main ring without having seen it before to jump around. And as always with the young horse series, the fences were higher than last time. Justinian put on his game face and started the show day with a lovely clear round (or maybe one time fault?), Mauro put out an especially lovely course and Benito finished our day with another clear round. Then back home to ride a few more, do the treatments and get the last set of halters on the foals. Or potrillos. Which I just learned how to spell thanks to google. One of the many spanish words I now use in a daily basis without having any idea how to spell them/what they look like. The word for 'there' would another one. Just sounds like asha. So its probably alla. No guarentees though. My spanish is getting good enough that I can now have a decent conversation with Rodrigo and can follow horse related conversations pretty decently. The show steward today proved that I still have a lot to learn though. Poor guy followed me around while I was on Benito trying to tell me something and I didn't even realize he was yelling for me nor could I understand him once someone pointed him out. I totally tune out the background spanish I don't understand. Thankfully one of Rachel's friends who knows I don't speak spanish was nearby and translated for me real fast. Going to try to set up my TV in the new house to watch American shows with Spanish subtitles. Think it will really help me to match up words in English with written spanish words. Hoping so at least. Not a big TV person but trying to read the newspaper here is more frustration than its worth. Need books a little easier to start with!
Another riding day at the farm tomorrow with the derby at the Aleman in the afternoon! The deby includes 30 fences in the jump course set at 1.40m, ditches, banks and water. And afterward there is an auction. Exciting stuff!!

Photo from after dinner with Martin and Rachel. Not sure who's more tired: Pampa, Martin or Hunter!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

June 13th - 9:54pm

Mono was out again today to work with Martin and the horses. And he is without a doubt crazy. Good rider but crazy. So the morning was spent riding Buck, Pastrocito and Twlight then warming up Vitroso, Puchini, Benito and Mauro for Martin. Pretty low key morning all things considering. The horses were all good. Especially Buck who has a tendency to be one of my tougher rides. Im definitely sorting her out and learning how to keep a busy minded horse focused and attentive
Then after lunch it was foal time. Martin and I had to get 6 halters on 6 unhandled 9-10 month foals. Holy bejezus. Id be really good not doing that again. No matter how slow you go or how patient you are they will spontaneously combust and just freak. Some were easy and mostly just stood there. Some were not so easy. 7 more tomorrow and I think at least a few of them have my name on them. Its all about timing and patience which at this point Im starting to get the hang of. Fingers crossed it goes well! 

June 14th - 8:24pm

Prob going to be another short post as genius me cut the tip of my thumb with a knife cutting an onion for dinner (which ended up not being very good anyway). And since Im on a tablet, Im only using by thumbs to type. And down to one at the moment.
We've also got a horse show tomorrow so everyone will be arriving to the barn bright and early at 4:00am to groom, pack and load everyone. Fingers crossed this trip goes better than the last one! Rode a bunch today as always and got a few more halters on unruly foals. Thankfully less theatrics from the group today. The three that have ended up with names for the moment (Scarface, Tadpole and Black) were in this group. Ive been bribing them with grass whenever I get a minute in hopes they'll be nice a friendly towards us (ie. Me). A few of the brave ones came right to the window to check me out and after a bit took the handful of grass. Some of the others though are still very aloof. They'll get over it eventually though and come around. All the horses here are friendly as a result of the care so it will just take time for them to get with the program.
The guys today were hilarious though. Don't know what started it but Walter spent most of the afternoon making up short hilariously funny but not always complimentary descriptions for everyone. Rodrigo was malo, loco, feo (and he only protested over the feo part), David was malo, gordo, feo. And I got to be loca, rubia, linda. Or mala in place of loca depending on how recently Id  threatened to whack him with something. And this was all just after he got down on his knees to beg me to stay at the barn past August. He got David in on it too. Carlos just called them all crazy and Hernan laughed hysyerically when I turned bright red. He thinks its fantastic that my face turns red when I blush or get sunburned. He likes to tell me I look like an apple. I managed to distract them with the news that a new working student is coming soon though. First three questions: is it a girl? is she single? is she pretty? Some things really don't ever change much! Hope the new WS find their antics as funny as I do because really, theyre priceless.
Early morning and long day tomorrow so off to bed early!

Photos of Walter in the stripes, Hernan with Bellini, the guys at lunch with David in the middle and Carlos hiding off to the side, the guys usual mid morning snack of bread and dulce de leche. Finally, Walter and Hernan: together forever! ,

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

June 12th - 10:23pm

Mono was out again today to work with Martin and the horses. And he is without a doubt crazy. Good rider but crazy. So the morning was spent riding Buck, Pastrocito and Twlight then warming up Vitroso, Puchini, Benito and Mauro for Martin. Pretty low key morning all things considering. The horses were all good. Especially Buck who has a tendency to be one of my tougher rides. Im definitely sorting her out and learning how to keep a busy minded horse focused and attentive
Then after lunch it was foal time. Martin and I had to get 6 halters on 6 unhandled 9-10 month foals. Holy bejezus. Id be really good not doing that again. No matter how slow you go or how patient you are they will spontaneously combust and just freak. Some were easy and mostly just stood there. Some were not so easy. 7 more tomorrow and I think at least a few of them have my name on them. Its all about timing and patience which at this point Im starting to get the hang of. Fingers crossed it goes well!
Went to dinner after work with Martin, Rachel and Martin's mom at an American resturant named Kansas. Definitely interesting to go to an American resturant as an American. The food was really good though! They had french fries which I have definitely missed! Tomorrow is more riding, finishing up foal wrangling and packing for the show Friday! 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

June 12th - 6:36pm

Blog post for the day: Estoy cansada. Thats it. All I have to say.

Was on Buck, Geologo, Herodes, Luli, Lion, Cylene, Mauro, Justinian, Virtroso, Benito and Jour today. And I feel like Im missing one from the list but maybe not. Flat out ran out of time for Pastrocito. Jump lessoned on Lion, Herodes and Jour. It was just a nonstop day. But I can tell that all the work, riding, training and critique is paying off. I can feel my position getting stronger and have a better feel of each horse I get on. Going to a fence I can tell whether the distance is going to be good, bad or ugly on just about any horse I get on. Now it is just a matter of learning to find the correct pace for each horse and be able to see the distance far enough out to make a correction. But Im seeing it. Which is something I had struggled with when I started riding different horses. Baby steps. Getting better with using my two point to adjust the horse instead of just being something I do over fences as well. In our lesson there were four 3' verticals in a row with one stride inbetween each and a difficult turn off the rail to the first. You had to feel if you needed more leg over the second or needed to encourage them to slow in the air over the 3rd. Was decent with Lion and a little better with Jour despite him being a slightly tougher ride. By Herodes I had it though. It finally clicked. Definitely a great feeling.
Headed to bed early again tonight since it'll be another long day tomorrow!

Monday, June 11, 2012

June 11th - 8:43pm

We have internet back! Apparently it just kind of came back this morning. It's certainly been a little different living without internet (though Im happy to say it didn't change my life that much) but it is nice to be able to talk to friends and family.
Today was another long full day at Rancho Pampa. I rode Buck, Lion, Luli, Pastrocito, Jour, Cylene, Herodes, Justinian and Mauro. Also longed one if the 3 yr old colts and the young grey mare who's name I still can't say. Also did the treatment horses and cleaned almost all the bridles/equipment for all the horses worked today. Needless to say, there was no sit down time. Lunch was quick with horses waiting in the walker to go. Everyone was good though despite most having an extended vacation while we were at Pringles. Most of them got longed Saturday but besides that had Friday and Sunday off. Almost took a header off of one when she spooked, jumped and then slammed in the breaks. All the practice on sitting tight and centered paid off though. Was able to stay in the middle, regain my seat and send her forward without theatrics. Love when what you work on pays off!
Tomorrow we're running on the same schedule as today (plus trying to get to the breeding farm we didn't get to today I think) so headed to bed plenty early!

Im not sure we used enough tack today! And that wasn't even all of it! Then Walter wanted his picture taken.

June 10th - 10:39pm

NNot sure what made me think the day would be over when we got home. Cause it wasn't. The three mares and 7 foals from yesterday were loose in the free jump arena and had to be moved to stalls. Then the 6 babies and the one mare in the trailer from today. Moving the ones from yesterday was decently easy. The foals followed their moms and then it was just a matter of getting 1-2 other foals to follow the mare as well to a stall. Lead the mare in, wait for the babies in the back corner with the mare and try not to get squished getting out of the stall. Then the trailer arrived with todays horses. Next job: getting 6 feral babies and one basically feral mare out of a stock trailer. Then into stalls. Holy bejezus. That job was made all the more difficult by the fact the foals only traveled with one mare. So grabbed poor S (babyless black mare) out of a stall and used her to bait them off the trailer bit by bit. Along with plenty of baby butt prodding through the trailer windows. Then just the simple matter of herding them to the barn and down the aisle into boxes. Somehow we got it done without any injury to foal or people and without having any foals running loose around Rancho Pampa. Martin said I can now put foal breaker onto a resume but I think thus far the only thing Ive mastered is Foal Containment 101. This week will mark the start of Feral Foal Halter 101 which will hopefully conclude with Foal Leading and Halter 202 toward the end of June. And all that in addition to the usual riding, treatments and training. Ive never done quite this varied of work with horses before but I love it. Long days that make you feel like you got something finished. Plus its with horses and you can never go wrong with horse work. Its always fun work.
Martin fried empanadas for dinner which were amazing and we (mostly me) finished off the cake Rachel made. Good end to a good weekend!  

June 10th - 4:48pm

Currently on the way home from Pringles. The second day of foal wrangling ended at about noon today with the remainder of the foals and one mare in the trailer. Today was a bit more exciting than yesterday since it was all of the foals and mares who didnt want to be caught yesterday. Plus with only one mare to bring home the babies only had one mare to follow in the front with none to push from behind. Seperating the mares out was a tad more difficult as one of the foals adamently refused to let mom go without a fight. Even if it meant trying to scale the gate. With me and a different mare inbetween the gate. Thanks buddy. Thankfully the reaction he got from me was enough to make him rethink that idea and not try a second time but my foot will definitely hurt tomorrow where he stomped it. The first attempt at loading everyone resulted in two foals (the one from earlier plus a friend) opting out of going through the chute toward the trailer. Instead decided to go up over the 5' solid sides when the first foal in line stopped and refused to go. Rounded them back up (though not before they each made an attempt at clearing various fences and gates) and got them back through the chute into the trailer. All in all not a difficult morning but one Im good not having a repeat of again for awhile. Watching all the babies and their mothers as well as interacting with them gave me a different, clearer, view of the pressure/release system we use to train horses. At one point a couple of foals pressed against the mare I was holding. She was literally at a 30 degree angle very calmly leaning back against them. The more they pushed she more she sat her weight against them. Not enough weight to move them but enough the foals weren't gaining any ground or moving her. When they finally moved away she didn't keep leaning. Just calmly returned to standing straight up. Ive always been taught and have experienced the whole they can't and won't pull/lean unless you do. But seeing it in action like that gave it a visual component as well. The mare didnt need to lean until pushed and when the pushing stopped she quit leaning. Didn't phase her either way. Herd lesson #1: Don't get in a pushing match cause you wont win. The foals are bigger than me and didn't phase her so no way I can with brute force. Then with the foal that wanted to jump me and the fence, a quick desisive thwack in the face with a fist showed him that I was to be respected and got me a heck of a lot farther than just threatening yesterday. Didn't have to repeatedly threaten and hope he didn't try anything. Like the mares disiplinging their foals and maintaining the herd order, punishment is swift and hard but consistent and fair. In a split second I proved I was serious and all problems with him jumping me were solved. Herd lesson #2 solve whatever problem there is quickly and directly then move on. Then keep the problem solved by not wavering in whatever punishment it is. The mares don't let the babies crowd or push them. Or lower ranking mares do the same. Everytime one tries a quick bite restores order. Not once did punishment move beyond a bite or kick and when the horse was out of their space all was back to normal. The punishment was always the exact same for each infraction and every single infraction of the herd rules brought a punishment every time. Corrections/punishments should happen to maintain order but need to be short, consistent and everything goes back to normal after. Both things are lessons taught to every rider but seeing it like that put more meaning to the words.
We're an hour or so away from the ranch with the babies right behind us. Its going to be a busy week with them to deal with and a championship show Friday. Plus we've got two other farms to visit Monday and Tuesday. There is a jumping derby Saturday with an auction that night as well. Craziness in Argentina! Starting early tomorrow at 6:30 am to get everone ridden before an afternoon on the road! 

Sheep, hogs, the pampas and one of the old farm hands houses.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

June 9th - 7:00pm

Probably should have known it was going to be a long day when I start the morning off nearly getting attacked by a wild cat. No kidding. Were staying at Martin's uncles house in town and they have two cats that they rescued when they got hit by a car as babies. Last night one came out and I played with it for awhile. Super friendly and playful but you can definitely tell it really a wild animal. Much thicker and a little bigger than a house cat with a different shaped head and eyes. Well hes also black. And enjoys sleeping on the dark carpet in the dark hallway at 6:45am. And guess who stepped on the wild cat? He was not thrilled and Im suprised the whole house wasnt up with how loud he screamed at me. Wild cats don't like being stepped on anymore than house cats and are significantly more frightening when they're pissed. Breakfast was crackers with butter and a really yummy homemade quince jam and coffee.Never had or even heard of the fruit quince before but it was very yummy good.
So we ended up in the truck to the farm at 7:30 with the temp sitting at a lovely -1.5 degrees C. Once we got to the farm it was another couple mile drive to the 90 acre mare/foal field. We did get to see an amazing sunrise and a super rare forest cat which is somewhat related to the wild cat this morning. Once at the mare/foal field, we unhooked the trailer and set off across the pasture in the truck. I wanted to take pictures of the horses so somehow ended up riding in the bed of the truck while Martin showed off his driving skills hearding the 30+ mares and foals toward the pens. I was actually really impressed with his driving considering the land is flat but rough and hearding the horses requires going really fast, then slow, then fast, then backwards, then fast. While driving stick. After bunch of horses. But we got them all cornered in the first big pen we moved them into the smaller rounder pen. Then the smaller channel. Then a smaller one. Then through a chute. Then out of the chute to the original pen. We pushed everyone through the chute once to deworm the mares then backed the trailer up against the opening of the chute and started the foal harvesting! Pushed everyone back into the round pen then the foals and mares we wanted into the first channel pen. Then the second. Then started pulling out the moms back into the first channel pen. Ended up with 7 foals and 3 mares in the final smallest channel. Got one mare in the chute first to go on the trailer and held one in the back to bring up the rear and started sending them forward. Was pretty straight forward but seperating mares and foals is never easy and these foals are feral. Never been handled before. Ever. And besides smashing a finger in the gate and one if the foals thinking about jumping over me I hadn't died.
But since this had to be one of those days, we realized after they were all loaded that we had a flat on the trailer. And the ground we parked the trailer on had borrows from gopher like animals and was somewhat rapidly breaking up under the now loaded trailer. And any attempt at using a jack to push the trailer up to change the tire just pushed farther into the ground. And the truck wasn't strong enough to pull the loaded trailer out if the hole it had sunk into. Thank God for Martin's nephew Marcel. We tied our truck to his and were able to get out of the hole then sent him off the the flat tire to getting it patched and get a new one. We went ahead and started seperating the mares and foals we needed for tomorrow out of the group to speed up tomorrow. Back through the chute with the ones we needed to the right and the ones that could go back free to the left and out. About 4:00 David arrived with the little car and shortly there after Marcel with the fixed tire and a new spare. David took off with the horses toward home as soon as the tire was fixed. He's got to drive 6-7 hours back to Rancho Pampa then back here to take the second load home tomorrow. We came back to the ranch house to find a big fire and food after a cold, windy, long day. We'll be spending the night here and will finish the rest of the foal harvesting tomorrow. Though with the warm fire, good food and internet Im perfectly happy here!

Photos of the wild cat checking everything out last night (after he opened my door by himself). The sunrise this morning with Martin was taking pictures as well. Some of the babies and mares in the big pen. Martin and Rachel infront of fire #1. And Rachel infront of fire #2. All the pics I took of the round up from the bed of the truck are on Martin's camera but will post some eventually. Hoping some turned out good!

June 8th - 11:30pm

Today has been the definition of crazy. Had you asked me yesterday how I thought today would go it would have been "up early, horse show, back home to ride a few more maybe, unpack, dinner, bed". So far the only thing I would have gotten right was up early. Got up bright and early at 3:00am this morning and got everything together for a horse show. Loaded the first six and set out. Then blew a tire thirty or so minutes from home. Which we then didn't have the tools to fix. So Martin and David had Rachel pick them up to go track down parts. Which left me in the truck with Rodrigo and Carlos. For 6 hours. For the most part Carlos slept while I made an attempt at sleeping and/or reading. Rodrigo, however,  made it his mission to fill in for my younger brother and spent the majority of the 6 hours poking me. Eventually Martin, David and Rachel came back with the stuff we needed and got the tire fixed. Rodrigo and I piled into Rachels car with her while that all happened and, of course, Rodrigo passed out right away. Typical. On the way back home Martin asked if I was game to spend another six hours in the car to which I somewhat sarcastically replied "only if I have Rodrigo and Carlos to pass the time with!" Probably not my brightest answer. I wouldn't be traveling anywhere else with the guys but I would likely be spending 6 more hours in the car as we were going to Pringle's! So we went home, unloaded all the horses, ordered pizza and basically got unwound. Rode Buck, Corlit and longed one of the babies. Then tossed an over night bag in the truck and headed out with trailer in tow. Thus far the trip has been pretty uneventful. Saw some 'civil unrest' in the form of people lighting logs and tires on fire in the road but thankfully they hadn't blocked our side of the highway yet. Ate dinner at a gas station which had suprisingly good food and then back on the road. Think were about an hour away from our destination. We'll be staying till Sunday and bringing 13 foals as well as 4 mares to Rancho Pampa split between a couple trips. David is helping with the driving and will be arriving tomorrow. But even with him, its gonna be a crazy weekend. Definitely a different sort of day and its currently going on 20 hours long. Not sure how Martins still upright. Ive gotten to sleep a bit in the various cars and am still tired from just the length of the day! Going to be a fun weekend though!

Pic of Rodrigo in the car. Driving me insane.

June 7th - 7:30pm

I love my job. It was a positively lovely -1.5 degrees C this morning and I still love my job. Just have to say that. Rode Buck, Lion, Herodes, Luli, Pastrocito, Cylene, Justinian, Jour and Buck again in the afternoon. Buck is in the last stages of recovering from a soft tissue injury so her workouts of getting split. 10-15 min in the morning and 10-15 min after lunch. Hoping to get her back to jumping x-rails next week or so! Anyway, I got to jump Jour and Luli over a couple of small fences (2'6"ish) and they were both fantastic. I really like Jour a lot and on Luli I realized just how much my riding has improved since arriving. When I got here cantering Luli was a struggle. She's a different ride than any Ive even been on before (very quick both mentally and physically with a big step and huge jump). Getting the position, aids, timing and feel all correct to get Luli and I over each fence is tough but rewarding. She's a super sweet mare to work around as well with very cool markings. Will have to get a picture sometime.
Anyway tomorrow we're taking all the Series 1 and 2 horses plus Skyline and Twilight to the Aleman to show. Getting up at 4 to be in the barn by 5 to hopefully leave with the first load by 6. Have I ever mentioned Im not a morning person? At all. And I think it will be in the negatives again tomorrow. Probably. No scratch that. Definitely a good thing I love my job. 

June 6th - 10:15pm

On the way home from Martin's moms house now. Once again dinner was fantastic. With Paz leaving today the cooking at Rancho Pampa is about to go back to very remedial so it was super nice to eat a really amazing dinner (and dessert of chocolate ice cream!).
The weather was pretty miserable today with temps at 4 degrees C most of the day. Suppose to get down to -1 tonight and be even colder tomorrow. I can do flat out cold pretty well but today was very windy and rainy as well. Still rode though. I was on Buck in the morning and afternoon, Jour, Skyline, Cylene, Mauro and Luli. Just did flatwork since everyone jumped yesterday. Herodes and Pastrocito just got the day off as riding was miserable. The young horses got a surcingle put on for the first time which was certainly exciting to watch from a distance. Depending on the horse they either trotted a few steps then started bronc bucking or went off right away. They all settled into it pretty quickly though.
Paz left at noon and once work was finished for the day I ended up moving apartments. The loft is getting a bathroom added to it so I have to move into Goyos old appartment during construction. The new appartment is four rooms. Two upstairs bedrooms and a kitchen and living area downstairs. The exciting thing about this house though is the rooms are smaller so it will be MUCH easier to keep warm (the loft is pretty much constantly cold) and it has its own bathroom!! Ill move back into the loft once the bathroom is finished but they might be prying me and my little heater out of the new apartment during July. Gonna be cold. Im a big fan of cold/winter (which is good because Im basically doing a whole year of winter with this trip) but I still dont like freezingfreezing.
Anyway were on the way home now. Still not internet despite Rachel's calls to the company. Hopefully it'll be back soon. The few minutes of internet at Martins mom was just long enough to let my mom know Im not dead (only 6 "are you dead?" messages) and post the last couple days of posts. I like my daily facebook and texting fix though!  

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

June 6th - 9:21pm

Still no internet at the farm. In town at Martins mothers house for dinner and hijacking someones wifi. Hopefully will have internet back at the barn soon!

June 4th - 8:23pm

Rode Justinian, Lion, Luli, Jour and Herodes today. Feels like I rode more though. Probably just feels like a lot because I spent longer on each horse. Really trying to put together the hundred things you have to pay attention to on a baby into one train of thought. Remembering the things Im suppose to be working on while keeping a constant focus on the big and little picture with each horse is tough. At least for me. Takes thinking back to how the last ride(s)/lessons were while riding what you're on at the moment to decide if improvement is being made for the future. Martins trying really hard to help me get "it" but Im still struggling at times. With one horse at home I had it down pretty successfully. With the however many Ive sat on since getting here I tend to loose track and have rides where I get off and am like "....what even was that?" which isn't good. But all the thinking, riding, training and discussing is good because Im learning a ton. Not just how to ride but how to think and train. And I can feel the difference in my horses when I get it right. They relax and soften on the bit because they're working from behind not because Ive drug their heads down and put them there. I love the ones like Lion, Luli and Jour because they're just tense enough naturally that when you get them to relax its obvious. And a great feeling. Had an afternoon lesson (though really every ride ends up having instruction in it) on Herodes after we went to watch some young horses free jump at Windcrest. A couple of cute ones but no stunners in the group we saw. Still fun to get out and see the different barns and people in Argentina. We drove past some big polo farms as well which was very cool. Another day in the saddle tomorrow and who knows what else going on!

And we just lost power which means no internet so likely not posting this till tomorrow AM. Fun stuff. And when there is no power it is freaking BLACK in this loft.

June 5th - 8:47pm

The power went out last night and it did something to mess up the phone/internet service. Not entirely sure what but either way, there's no internet. Sure my mom thinks Im dead since I haven't replied to texts (or facebook messages or emails that Im sure followed those texts). But still alive. And doing quite well.
Today was a really good day as well. All the horses I rode were good and we did three lessons through the grid working on position and being a good, effective passenger. I rode Skyline, Pastrocito and Jour. All three were great and Im really starting to get the feel of staying tights over my leg in the air and over the middle of the horse but right there to support left, right, forward or back if necessary. No tipping back or forward and staying with whatever happens. Plus working on my bad habits that negatively effect my position. I really like to ride with my elbows out a touch, my left hand turned over, my right heel slightly up and too little connection to the saddle through my thighs. Doing one or two things at a time Im great at. All at one aboard a green horse I haven't ridden much or jumped before? A touch more difficult. But every time through the grid got better and with every horse I could feel my body naturally moving where it was suppose to go.
In between the early lesson on Skyline and the lesson before lunch with Pastrocito Mono came again. And his nickname is Mono like monkey. Not Mona. Which makes way more sense. Still think he's a little crazy though. Good rider but a touch crazy. He liked my hat though. Its a pretty brightly colored winter hat with a great big pompom on the top (which all the guys threatened to cut off). But it is slightly ridiculous. Mono thought is was from Bolivia. Which its not but maybe I need to go to Bolivia if they have more hats like that. Its a great hat.
Anyway Paz and I are off to bed somewhat early. She's having to leave early due to school so tomorrow is her last day here. Which is really sad because I like Paz a lot. The fact that she is fluent in spanish and pretty good a english is really nice too. We were suppose to go out with Rodrigo and Walter (Goyo's replacement) this Saturday which was going to be very exciting but probably not anymore. Kind of tough to go places with friends who speak a different language than you! But anyway Ive loved having Paz here for the week she's been able to stay. Can't wait for the next working student to get here even if she only speaks German and English. She cooks as well (!!) but as Im figuring out more I think Im going to do a lot better food wise after Paz leaves than before she got here! She's given me a bunch of pointers and ideas.
Suppose to be another good day tomorrow weather wise (even if the mornings are COLD) so excited for another day at Rancho Pampa! 

And just realized I switched back to labeling everything as May. And it is most definitely June still. Oops.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

May 3rd - 5:58pm

First month at Rancho Pampa drawing to a close and what an incredible month it has been. Have learned a ton about horses and riding. And have learned even more about Argentina and its culture. So very different from home but so interesting. The language, the food, the people, the lifestyle. Definitely feel like Im settling into a routine here with a more definite idea of whats going on.
Its been a relaxing day with sleeping in till late, reading and eating a late lunch with Rachel, Martin and Paz. Martin cooked pork and beef over coals on a grill type thing (it has a name but I cant remember it!) along with salad and bread. A very typical way of spending time eating with friends in Argentina. Definitely a little different from me. I can certainly see the appeal. The only thing missing was mate. Like everything here the food is shared with everyone taking what they'd like and just enjoying the company.
We're all back to work tomorrow though with another full week of riding and work. Can't wait!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

June 2nd 2:50

Light day this morning with most of the ones from the show yesterday off. The schooling show went well with Benito moving up to the 1.15m classes and everyone else putting on good rounds. So we rode the rest here at home with lessons on Paz and Rodrigo having a lesson on Justinian and Jour followed my the three of us doing a lesson on Pastrocito, Herodes and Georgia. Herodes was good but my riding was pretty subpar. Dunno what it is with me the last two days but Ive definitely not put out some of my more brilliant efforts over fences. Just have to keep working on it on every horse. Right now the big thing is managing a sharp turn and staying directly in the middle of my horse. Not too forward or too far back. And be ready to woah/support/push/whatever is necessary but don't do anything until it is needed. Tough for me at least. Then finding that perfect balance over fences when the distance I find is deep or long. I can easily get where I need to be when we get a good distance. Bad and I tend to get too far forward. Which I then try to correct and end up too far back. Its the hips that go back not the shoulders (and Im sure Martin would like to beat his head against a wall he's demonstrated that so many times). But I did get to ride Luli and jump her over a cavaletti some which was really fun. She's a super fun very sensitive mare who can turn on a dime and probably clear anything. Martin rides her mostly but every so often I get to get on. Guess Im not doing quite as bad as I feel like if Im still allowed on the sensitive green ones. Worked on basically the same thing with her. Getting down the system/idea of jump, balance straight, lead change then turn in balance. Not let it all jumble together and hope for the best. Tough for me when you've got a limited number of strides before the fence to get it all done. And Rodrigo proved not doing it correctly doesn't work. He got dumped off Georgia at the fence to all of the guys amusement. Apparently he owes breakfast pastries?
We're not going to get the foals at Pringley's this weekend afterall since it rained last night and will again tomorrow. The two mile dirt road there is apparently impossible to get down with a trainer if its muddy. So thinking we'll end up going next week or the week after. It sounds like an adventure whenever it happens! So Paz and I are spending the afternoon watching Martin longe the new babies for the first or second time. They're pretty cute as they try to figure out what theyre doing. Just helping out in the barn after! Then tomorrow is our day off! We've already decided we're sleeping in as late as possible. Exciting plans I know!

Friday, June 1, 2012

June 1st - 6:43pm

Not even 7:00pm and Im headed for bed. Up early this morning with a horse show at the Aleman with 6 horses. Then back to the barn to ride 2 more. Then longing with the new 3 yr olds. Pez and I decided it was a draw on who rode worse due to being tired. As Martin said fresh horses and tired riders rarely make for a good time. Very true. Riding again tomorrow AM here at the farm. Depending on what's going on we may make the drive to Pringley's (6+ hours with a horse trailer) tomorrow afternoon. That would leave Sunday to load up 13 unhandled six month old foals into the trailer and drive home. Welcome to Foal Harvesting!