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.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

November 19th - 9:41pm

Typical Monday at the farm today. Everyone but the horses that showed Saturday went out for a nice hack. Nothing terribly challenging. Just a get out, get moving, remind them about transitions ride for each of them. I was on Picaro, Puccini, Holandesa, Pastrocito, Boss and Cor lit. I feel like there was one more but since I cant remember who its probably just a figment of my imagination. And it was a bit of a hotter day today so everything felt like way more work than it was. Not my favorite weather but since I know its only going to get warmer trying not to think about it. Summer isnt even until December 21st!
We finished up riding before lunch though and spent the hottest part of the day inside the barn. Shortening manes, helping the guys and getting the day wrapped up. Since we did a ton of manes/noses/ears one rain day a bit ago. Now, a few weeks later, theyre all growing out at about the same time. All of a sudden almost every horse in the barn is starting to look like a mountain pony (maybe not truly like a mountain pony; theyre incredibly hairy!). Some got trimmed up for the show at Equus and the Aleman but with 35 horses, those couple feel like barely a dent! Well be doubling timing it in the afternoons to get everyone back looking spectacular!

Monday, November 19, 2012

November 17th - 8:42pm

KLast day of a long week. Got up early and packed up Nixon, Justinian, Virtuso and Benito to go to a schooling show at the Aleman. As usual, my job was getting on and starting the warm up process. Just walk/trot with transitions for the most part. I ended up on Virtuoso while the .70 class was warming up and it was just a tiny bit terrifying. Small warm up rings in general make me a little antsy. Just so many horses in one little area moving at different speeds and directions. But that ring with all the small kids on way to big of horses can probably go down as one of the worst Ive been in. At least when you warm up with professionals most everyone knows how not to get killed. The little kids though are death defying. Swerving across the ring randomly, galloping around cutting between other horses, using other horse's butts to stop and generally scaring the bejezus out of Katie. But Virtuoso was very well behaved and handled the craziness without a problem. Thankfully after the small classes were over the sanity in the warm up ring.
Once the show was over we quickly loaded up and shot over to the Hipico to watch Cylene go in the dressage show. Martin had dashed over and seen Twilight go already with a good test. He finished 2nd and Cylene finished 4th against some tough competition. Including National who use to live at Rancho Pampa. I rode him a few times at home before he sold and he looked great with the new owner. So a good day for current and old Rancho Pampa horses.
Once we got home I had Geologo to ride to help Megg finish up for the day. He was quite good as usual. Which was very good considering the ring held some more excitement (as if I needed more after the warm up ring). Rodrigo is breaking some fillies for the Peruvian police force and has been working with them on the ground for a couple weeks now. Today was their first day undersaddle. And it was accomplished in a slightly different method than with the up and coming jumpers. He got his gaucho friend with a criollo horse to pony each of the fillies around the ring without a rider until they would walk, trot and canter following the other horse. Then Rodrigo would get on and they'd do the same routine. Most caught on really quick and by the end of the afternoon all of them had completed their first rides undersaddle. Definitely a different way to do it than Ive seen but it seemed to work well enough! Rodrigo said theyll be going around the ring by themselves come Monday. It was definitely a bit interesting to ride around but Geologo couldnt have cared less so I just had the job of staying out of the way. Significantly easier than avoiding the children this morning! Good last day of a long week though. Off tomorrow and headed to see a polo game or two!

Friday, November 16, 2012

November 16th - 8:50pm

Today was Alice's last day at Rancho Pampa. Needless to say the last two days have been full of emotions. We rode yesterday morning, spent the afternoon trimming horses up then went out to dinner to celebrate Alice's last night. Dinner at Kansas was, as always, fantastic but I definitely would have been quite content for it not to have been her last hurrah with us.
Today was riding in the morning again. We tried to take a group to Equus to school but ended up having tire issues that turned us around. So we jumped them all around at home. I was on Nacar and he was a good boy. The jumps ranged in height up to a meter and included two combinations, two related distances and a triple bar. My first course was lacking in rythym and enough forward which resulted in two rails. Plus my nasty little habit of trying to lay out to take a nap on their neck over fences doesnt help him get his feet out of the way. Martin keeps saying if he painting Nacars neck Id be covered in paint after a few jumps. And hes right. I did laugh out loud the first time he said it though. Especially since I consistently get made fun of for gettin paint all over me when Im actually painting. Let alone getting it all over me from riding. I felt the second course was better even with the taller jumps. One rail at the first but clean besides that. Didnt feel like my riding was at its best but thats all on me. The second I get in a ring with eyes on me and a course to ride, I freak. Then have to spend time/energy I should be putting toward preparing for my ride into calming down. Dont know why I get so stressed about it but I do. It has gotten significantly better in the last year but I can definitely tell when Im out of practice. Forcing myself to go and deal with the stress/anxiety makes me better at handling it. Just have to get myself in a position to do it more often. After our little "show"/course/thing I was on Geologo, Picaro and Jour. They were all very good. We got finished a bit early so we set up a free jump arena in the ring to send some through. Garufa, Quantum, Invasor and Kir Royal were all sent through and jumped quite nicely. Garufa in particular was incredible to watch. He and Quantum are in a free jumping competition next weekend so fingers crossed they do well at that. I think they will though.
Spent the afternoon doing the freee jumping then clipping up the series horses for the show tomorrow. After that was finished it was time to drive Alice to the airport to leave. Im so happy for her that she gets to go home, I know shes missed it but life at Rancho Pampa wont be the same without her. Weve been together basically nonstop for almost five months. The fact we can even stand each other let alone hug and cry at the airport is incredible. But we did. Some of my favorite memories here in Argentina are with her and it will not be anywhere near the same. She's probably just now boarding the plane and Im already missing her like crazy. My partner in crime, my basically sister, my mommy Alice and my best friend. Gonna miss ya love!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

November 14th - 9:31pm

I guess I just like making myself suffer by staying up far later than I should. But enjoying my last few days with Alice so it is worth it. I can go back to my early night routine after she leaves. I am going to miss her so, so much!
Today was a good day at the farm though. Started off with an early morning jumping lesson on Nacar. We turned a one stride combination into a figure 8 jumping pattern that required riding staight lines and accurate turns. Not the easiest thing on a young horse with a tight pattern but he was very good as usual and I was happy with my riding. Definitely some room for improvement but overall, I was happy.
After Nacar I was on Holandesa and Cor Lit for a flat school. Once they were finished,Mono arrived to do some jump schooling with Martin. I warmed up Justinian and Benito for him to jump. Neither are horses I am on frequently but both were good and jumped well. After lunch I took Picaro out for a hack then spent the rest of the afternoon inside finishing up barn work. Fernando came to check on some horses as usual but besides that, it was a very typical and quiet day.
The weather has been fantastic for working the horses lately as well. Praying it holds and stays nice!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

November 13th - 9:12pm

Day started off with a jump lesson on Holandesa. We did course work with a timed initial round and jump off to follow. The jumps on course ranged from cross rails to a meter. Quite a spread. Megg, Alice and I had rearranged the ring a bit yesterday so it could be more thoroughly drug and had set up a variety of heights for whatever schooling would occure. Didnt think we'd be jumping a full course but I made one up and we went with it. Bizare heights and all. My first round was fault free and came in at 1:25. Megg went next and had a steering issue that resulted in time and four faults. Alice went last and put down another clear round at 1:28. I was first to jump off. Ended up not understanding what direction we were suppose to be jumping one vertical so went off course. Alice won with 12 faults in her jump off. Martin let me take a second go at it and we went around without time or faults. Pretty fun lesson.
After that it was a flat school with Nacar followed by a short grid school on Uxmal, Mauro and Nixon. Just trot poles set to a gate. Everyone was good through them and in the warm up. I ended up on my butt in the dirt off Nixon in our canter warm up. Got up, retrieved him and was able to participate in the lesson without fruther incident. Twisted my knee a bit and definitely going to hurt tomorrow but Ill live.
One cool thing we did get to see today was the reproduction vet collecting from Virtuoso. It was his first time doing anything with breeding so took him a bit to figure out exactly what he needed to do but got it done and the vets got what they needed. Definitely a side of the horse business/industry I dont know much about so very interesting to be here with breeding season in full swing. The repo vets have been out at least once a week checking the mares for awhile now and I guess now it is drawing close to when they will all be bred! Always busy here at the farm!

November 12th - 8:45pm

Perfect day for riding today. Warm enough to ride in a polo and a breeze to keep everything cool. So nice. Just hacked them again today. I was on Mauro, Nixon, Nacar, Picaro, Pastrocito and Geologo. Maybe one more. Gets to the point some days when I have no idea who Ive been on without asking the other girls. Just a constant string of putting horses on the walker and taking them off again. Everyone was super good though. Especially Nacar and Mauro. Really enjoy getting on those two.
The afternoon was spent longing some of the young ones who were not ridden this morning as well as moving the jumps around the ring. This included moving the liver pool which was filled with water. I think Alice and I provided some quality entertainment as we tried to empty the water out to drag it somewhere else. End result was the liverpool in a new spot and one of my super nice alpargatas ($30 peso shoes) falling off in the water. But it was retrieved and hopefully will survive the incident. Definitely got laughed at for loosing it though!
All in all a good day. All the horses ridden before lunch, a new course set and all the barn work done by 6:00. Not bad for a Monday. Even if it totally feels like Tuesday! We did make a quick walk to Petrobras to get connected to the internet after work only to find it was closed. Super dissapointing. But it did mean we had time to walk around the corner to buy some things for Christmas gifts back at home. Got some alpargatas for friends and checked out the prices on some other really cool things. Knives, belts and the like. So excited to be going home for Christmas!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

November 11th - 9:07pm

Its actually kind of sad that I now consider any time after 9:00 incredibly late. Rodrigo makes so much fun of me for it but its true. Definitely enjoy the sleep and need it to be functional here but it is ridiculous. Going to go home and have some major readjusting to do. And speaking of going home, as my mom's Christmas gift to me (and herself she says) Im flying home for Christmas! So excited I can barely stand it! I love this job and have truly enjoyed being here but as of late Ive been finding myself missing my mom/home more and more. Im not ready to go home for good but Im so excited to see everyone! Leaving Argentina December 18th and returning December 28th. Thinking it will be just enough time to see my family/friends and just chill for a bit. So excited! Already planning a lot of stuff Im going to do when I get back. Mostly just riding my horse and seeing people I havent in 7 months. Cant wait!
But thats still a long way off and today was actually a fairly busy day. The ring was still somewhat wet from the downpour last Friday but thankfully good enough for some light riding so we took everyone out for a 15 minute trot. I was on Puccini, Nacar, Benito, Mauro and Virtuoso. Obviously didnt get to do too much more than school bending and transitions but they were all still very good. Especially Nacar. Hes getting to be a lot of fun to ride. Love him!
The afternoon was spent doing the usual tack cleaning, horse grooming and clean up. Nothing terribly exciting. Megg and I ended up walking to Petrobras to check in with family and hang out. One more Argentine thing I didnt do much of at home. Hanging out in gas stations. But this one is actually pretty nice and the girls that work there are fun. Im sure they think were weird as anything but theyre still nice to us. Oh the joys of being foreign!

November 10th - 10:35pm

So going to regret being up this late even if I was able to sleep in (somewhat) this morning. Helped Rodrigo a bit with some of the new young horses then we headed to Capricho to watch the Nations Cup class and the Speed Derby! We ended up missing the Nations Cup class due to getting turned around for a bit and got there just in time to see the awards. The US team won with Canada in second! I so wish Id gotten to see the riding but Im sure I can look the rounds up on Youtube at some point. Milano de Florin (probably spelled wrong) and his rider who competed in London were back on their home turf riding for the Argentine team which took third. Even though we had missed the Nations Cup, the Speed Derby was still a go. We were able to watch all of it. Mostly Argentine riders (including Mono!) with a few from other South American countries thrown in. The one rider from the US, Charlie Jacobs, went in fairly early in the class. He laid down one of two clean trips of the day and ended a full two seconds faster than the other rider for the win. Apparently last year he won the Speed Derby and Grand Prix as well. In each of those classes, the prize is a car so at this point, he's won 3 cars while competing in Argentina. Not a bad job. It was so much fun to see the Americans there competing with all their finery. They looked so great in their matching jackets, ear bonnets and everything. The Canadians looked quite good as well. It was also fun to see the difference in riding styles between some of the different countries and Argentina. Definitely some noticable differences. After the show we headed toward home. Stopped to grab a quick dinner then back to Rancho Pampa.
All in all a very good day. The weather was much cooler, the show was gorgeous, the horses incredible and just so many great things going on. Hoping for a good week since its Alice's last here. Cant believe my partner in crime and basically adopted sister is leaving! Going to miss her so much!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

November 9th - 10:45pm

We started the day off at 6:30 to try to get all the horses ridden before the rain was suppose to start at 11:00. First ride was on Nacar with a jumping lesson. We worked over a 5 jump course that was basically a big four loop serpentine. Lots of emphasis on effective turning, pace and balance. Not an easy job on a young one like Nacar but for the most part I think I got the job done. A few jumps actually felt incredibly good where we had a good canter, found the good distance and had a strong jump with me in the correct place as well. One thing Ive been working really hard on is not jumling ahead over fences. Just staying soft, in the middle of the horse and folding. It changes the feel of the jump so at least I know when Im doing it correctly. After I hacked Uxmal around a bit with some of the best canter work Ive had with him. Soft, relaxed and balanced. Then was the highlight of the day, I was on Pastrocito and Megg was on Herodes. We warmed up and Martin asked if we were ready to jump. We said yes thinking itd be a little lesson or something. But Martin called Walter out to set the grid from earlier in the week up. We were doing a prussiance type jumping work out! Megg went first with some rubs but no rails. Pastrocito jumped cleanly though. Jumps went up. Again both Megg and I clean through. Jumps up. Again clear. Up again with the middle jump at 3'6" and the last jump at almost 3'9". Meg went through clear and I followed with Pastrocito. First two were clear but got too close to the last jump and took out the front rail. We put the last fence up to almost 4' and Megg and Herodes went through clear! Martin even grabbed the camera to take a pic of Meg standing with Herodes next to the decently sizeable oxer. Needless to say, I got a lot of abuse for loosing from the guys but honestly, I was happy with Pastrocito. Ive never seen him jump that height and he really put forth the effort. I know in the show ring it only matters who wins with no second chances but a lot of the time, Im quite content with a good try from horse and rider. Obviously I would have loved to win but we made it close to 3'9" without touching a pole. If we'd dropped one at 3' I would have been annoyed because I know I have done better with him. But for right or wrong, at that height with that horse, Ill take it and be happy.
After I got a quick hack in on Mauro before the skies positively opened up. Wind like crazy, rain going sideways, the whole nine yards. And it continued most of the afternoon. As a result, we painted flower boxes. Incredibly exciting stuff really. Got to use white and everything! The rain also meant the Nations Cup qualifier at Capricho got moved to Saturday. Sad because we'd hoped to go after finishing riding. But then Martin offered to switch having Sunday off for Saturday so we could catch a ride with Rodrigo to Haras Capricho to watch the Nations Cup class and the speed derby class. So we've got tomorrow off and Sunday on the job. Going to throw my whole week off with the days! But it will be fun to see. Going to be a good weekend though. Hung out with Rodrigo for a few hours after work which was a good way to finish a fun day. The language barrier is becoming less and less of a big deal which is fun. We can almost have conversations without someone being totally confused. Sometimes. Definitely an interesting way to learn the language!

November 8th - 9:49pm

What a day! Totally busy from start to finish! Rode all morning like usual. Was on Picaro, Uxmal, Nacar and Jour. Plus warmed up Justinian and Nixon for Martin to school with Mono. Had a flat lesson on Uxmal which was challenging but fun. We set a cavaletti down the middle of the ring so that you cut the ring transversally to go across it then made two 30 meter wide imaginary rectangles going off of that. Started out trotting next to the cavaletti then turning right to do one rectangle. Then trotting past it again to do a turn left and do the other rectangle. Then we threw in a walk transition next to the cavaletti. Then back to the trot for the rectangles. Finally we picked up the canter and cantered the cavaletti. Lead change through the walk if necessary but continuing with the rectangles. The goal was to get him to wait for the cavaletti to come to him instead of trying to chase it a bit. After a time or two around, he did just that. Without changing anything about his canter, we did the rectangle then cantered over the cavaletti with zero change of pace. Definitely a challenge for me to keep the rectangles the same size with their straight lines and 90 degree angles plus keeping a big young horse put together. Since we didnt have to do it a hundred times, I assume Martin was happy enough with our work. Hoping he was since, for the most part, I was happy with it.
After the morning riding I got Cor Lit to clip. Usually we switch off on who clips but I cut a deal with Alice that if I could ride one in thr last set (there were only two) that Id clip. So spent the afternoon de-hairing Cor Lit. He was pretty good and doesnt look like a pumpkin thank goodness!
Just as we were wrapping up a client called and said he wanted to check out some hunters we have. So we pulled out Virtuoso's stuff for Martin and called it a day. I immediately got in the shower after we were finished since I was covered in Cor Lit hair. About five minutes in I get Meg yelling in the bathroom that Martin wants us in the ring. Somehow less than five minutes after that, I was in the ring setting jumps. Clients called to say they were almost there so Meg and I bolted back to the barn and got Virtusos ready. Then ended up getting Benito, Montana and Bellini ready to show as well. Finally at 8:00 and in the near dark, we were all wrapped up. Then up to Martins for a quick dinner. Fingers crossed the clients liked some of ours!
Were expecting big thunderstorms tomorrow afternoon so starting the day a little early. Hope we can get everyone finished by the time the storm moves in!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

November 7th - 8:47pm

It is just a tiny bit hot outside as of late! Reached the 90s today. But besides the heat it was a good day. Was on Mauro, Luli, Nixon, Picaro, Uxmal and Nacar. Some were just warming up for Martin, some were flat lessons and some were just hacking. More working on staying in the middle and getting to horse working properly under me. For every time I get it right I feel like their are five Ive got something totally wrong. Working on lowering that five to just flat out having nothing wrong. Thatd definitely be a great ride. I know Im improving because origionally Id almost never be right. Now Ive got it sometimes. Just have to work om increasing the frequency of how often Im right!
On a different and sadder note, today was my last ride on Luli. She's leaving Friday. Definitely a very sad moment as I realized that. I love riding that mare and she's taught me so, so much. But thats a sale barn. Just like Buck, Lion, Twilight and the others, the trained ones go and the new crop of young ones comes in. Going to miss that mare so much. She was one of my absolute favorite rides here at the farm.
The afternoon was spent finishing up clipping Virtuoso and the usual chores. We also cleaned up all of Martin's fillies for a photo shoot for the website. They were all rockstars about standing for the photos. Some took a little more explaining than others to get them to stand how we wanted but everyone got it eventually. Hopefully some turned out nice. And fingers crossed my grubby self who was holding the leadline stayed out of most of the photos!

November 6th - 10:03pm

Heck of a busy day. Rode Uxmal on the flat followed by grid lessons on Nixon, Holandesa and Nacar. The grid exercise was a pole on the ground, short five to a cross rail then right turn to a short three, swedish oxer then normal two, swedish oxer, a second normal two and a final swedish oxer. Lots of oxers! On Nixon I worked on holding my body and not leaning at the jumps. With Holandesa who's a bit more forward it was even more about staying still on top so she can jump without interference. I have a tendency when I feel horses get forward to fences to brace my leg forward/heel down, get my butt back in the tack then over release up front. Manage to get a bit behind and a bit ahead all in one motion. Staying light, on top and in the middle is something I have to continually practice. Nacar, my favorite five year old stallion, was just as good as always. Got him round and stretching down on the flat then was perfect to the fences as well. It was his second time through a grid ever and this one did not at all lack in the intimidation factor. Lots of very colorful rails. He was such a good boy though. By the time we got off the last horse is was a lovely 33 degrees Celcius in the ring.
All in all a good morning. I wasn't thrilled with my riding. Particually my work over fences with my position but as Martin pointed out, when I first got here I was not able to ride any of these horses. Let alone jump a line and sizeable grid on them all. Which is true but still going to push that much harder with my riding tomorrow. Dont ever want to come out of the ring feeling like I could have done better.
The afternoon was spent driving to Haras Baral to check out the new foals (Invasor babies!) as well as see some older horses in the free jump. I think Martin had planned to bring one back to the farm but ended up with an almost full load of 5 new colts. We headed home, unloaded them then turned right back around to grab dinner at a grill down the road. Quick, but yummy, meal then home to bed. Literally got in at 9:50. Which, by our standards, is incredibly late. Bed as fast as possible since tomorrow will likely be no shorter of a day!

Monday, November 5, 2012

November 5th - 8:47pm

The rising temperatures are definitely starting to stick around. Got up to the high eighties today and summer here is still over a month and a half off. Going to be a hot December/Janurary for sure. Hopefully soon we'll push the riding to earlier in the morning so we can get finished before the real heat kicks in. At this point, its just mildly uncomfortable but it will definitely get worse. As someone who comes from an area with high heat and humidity, I know the drill. Even if the time of year is reversed.
But besides the heat, the day was pretty good. Started off longing a couple for Rodrigo then moved onto riding. Was on Mauro, Nixon, Nacar and Cor Lit this morning. The first three were just flat schooling while Cor Lit's ride wrapped up with a grid exercise. As always, there is something about jumping that I just love. Just makes me smile.
Spent the afternoon clipping Virtuoso which is always an exciting adventure when it gets warm enough that theyre sweating a bit just standing. But he was good and think it turned out well for the most part. A bit more to finish up tomorrow I think along with all the usual work and riding!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

November 4th - 9:14pm

We had a busy day yesterday with the horse show at the Aleman and then home for a final lesson. I rode Pastrocito in the lesson (gridwork) and felt it went pretty decently. No major critiques and he jumped well even as the heights went up a bit. No bigger than probably 3'-3'3" but a decent height for him. A good way to round off the day. Plus Id almost had the chance to jump Nixon in the warm up at the show which was awesome. I say almost because when Martin said to I stared blankly at him for a bit before making a move toward the jump. By the time I got around to the vertical it had been put up so had to pull up. But it was very exciting because Ive never been asked to jump a horse in the warm up at a show. Ever. Hence the blank stare for a bit. Next time Ill be waiting for it and not loose my chance acting like I dont understand. I do take it as a sign Ive gotten better though!
After a busy week, the girls and I opted to stay home a chill today. We laid out in the grass for awhile just enjoying the sun then walked down to the gas station and ice cream place. Got diet coke in a can(!!) and more amazing Argentine ice cream. A very quiet day but a good one never the less. So going to miss these girls when they head home. Alice has less than two weeks left here and Meg has a month more but it feels like were running out of time so fast! Martin was talking about new working students coming and I the brief selfish thought of "I dont want new people... I want Meg and Alice!" But everyone has stuff they have to do and other things going on. Cant just hang out in Argentina riding with me forever. And Im sure whatever new people will be great but still. Makes me a bit sad to think of my friends leaving! Going to do whatever I can to enjoy the time I have with both of them these next few weeks though! Its going to be amazing!

Photo of the show ring at the Aleman. And one from on top of the bridge we cross to get to the gas station/ice cream!

Friday, November 2, 2012

November 2nd - 7:26pm

Early morning today. We packed up the trailer and took Nacar, Cor Lit, Boss, Uxmal, Luli and Skyline to school at Equus. I hacked/warmed up Nacar and Luli. Was on Cor Lit for a bit too but it was just walking waiting for Martin to get on. Ended up getting some help on the flat with the two I did ride though. Luli and Nacar both carry their heads a little higher simply due to their build. As a rider, it is my job to get them rounder and put together so they can work through their topline. Pushing them with my inside leg to the outside rein. Allowing them to stretch down into the bridle by relaxing my fingers and tightening/putting pressure back when they stray out of that place. I was having some difficulty figuring out what Martin wanted and how he wanted it done until he said something to the gist of "you need to decide what you want and then come up with a way to just make it happen." Once I quit fussing about what he wanted and decided what I wanted, everything suddenly started working so much better. I wasnt concerned so much if he thought they needed to be corrected and was able to react quicker when I thought they needed to be corrected. Which, at the end of the day, is roughly the same time since we had a common goal. Making it my goal, however, made the whole action/reaction process so much faster though. When I decided what exactly I wanted I was better able to develop a method of dealing with unwanted behaviors and therefor returning the horses back to where I wanted. Which is where Martin wanted them. Came up with a goal, developed a method, made sure to deal with every infraction and got a result. Right back at the method/disipline lecture a few weeks back.
Came home and employed the same thought process with Nixon. Had more success working him than I usually do so something must have been working like it did this morning with Luli and Nacar. Set a goal, came up with a pattern and ended with a good result. After was Virtuoso and it was the same with him. I have a harder time coming up with a goal on Virtuoso though because for the most part, he does exactly what you want. Maybe one downward transition was abrupt. You school it a few times and its better. I dont feel I know enough to really push him. All the things I normally hone in/pick up on/can school he just does. And does very well. Definitely want to get on him as much as possible to learn how to school him though.
After lunch we did a group flat lesson. I was on Picaro and we just worked on ring figures with some cavaletti thown in. Definitely good for me because I feel like the terms used to describe certain figures vary. To me, there are two ways to do a half turn. A half turn in reverse or a half turn and reverse. Two different things. As a result if someone just says half turn, I dont really know what they want. After some confusion, I have realized that here, we only school half turn and reverse. On the flip side, a transversal change of direction means next to nothing to me. After the lesson was over I had a much better idea of what was what and how it would be asked for. Not sure how Ive lasted almost six months without having a super distinct idea of the different ring figures but I have. Go figure.
All in all a good day though. Headed to the Aleman tomorrow for a show so another early morning and long day ahead!

November 1st - 9:22pm

Staying up a bit talking to friends and getting eaten alive by a mosquito. Probably going to regret this in the morning but oh well. The ring was dry enough to go back to full work so thats where we were today. I was on Rodrigo duty today so spent most of the morning longing. All of them were very good though so its not too much trouble working with them now though. Some of them I actually enjoy.
After it was two jumping lessons. One on Boss and one on Herodes. We worked on correcting an unwanted drift on Boss. Im not sure how much I was actually able to get accomplished but the ride did bring about a conversation with Martin that had some good points (as usual). As a rider, learning the feel of what is going on with the horse and understanding what needs to occur. Creating the correct action/reaction with a horse which in turn creates a horse that will carry itself independently. Which then allows the rider to control their steps in the most subtle of ways. And that subtle control is what turns out the best rounds. The winning Maclay round, the winning USHJA derby handy round and the rounds that go into an Olympic gold. Herodes was more of the same. Feeling out the horse, creating the actions/reactions you want then riding that out in a successful course. With Herodes we also worked on my position. Apparently Ive started riding somewhat back/defensively with my body to the fences then scrambling a bit at the fence to get to the middle then ending up ahead (old habit). Once he pointed it out it took a few tries but I got it corrected a bit. Lighter infront of the fence, staying in the middle and not collapsing on their withers/neck after. The feel was definitely a bit strange on the landing side but every change, good or bad, feels weird at first.
Im sure there was more to both those lessons and other important stuff Martin said that I just cant think of at the moment. But Im way tired snd weve got an early morning tomorrow!