There are some things that take you by suprise even when they shouldn't. The sunset over Rancho Pampa. The beauty of Virtuoso and the other horses hanging their heads out the windows. The crispness in the air after a warm day that tells of fall at last. The early hour of said sunset confirming that.
I always wondered how I would spend my final days here at the end of April. What plans would I make, who would I see and the like. Today would have started the real countdown. Today would be 49 days until my return stateside. Bound to be an emotional time but sure to be filled with memories. The auction, Picaro, Camilla, Rodrigo, Martin, Rachel and everything that has come to make up Rancho Pampa. Plus the new memories that were set up to be made. New horses arriving, Emma, tango dancing. For reasons I cannot begin to fathom I no longer have to decide how to spend my last week here. It has already passed me by. And perhaps that is best. Tomorrow night I will board the final plane to take me home. Hopefully it will be possible to do without tears as I am about done with those after today. Leaving it two months earlier than expected is hard. Leaving this country without being able to say a real goodbye to the people that have befriended, helped and influenced me is tougher. Knowing the last horses I will ride for many months were the three I sat on last Monday is painful. Incredibly painful. I have come to this country become so attached to this country and these people due to these horses. They have been my lifeblood for so long that the thought of going any length of time without swinging a leg over is terrifying. But I'll do it. Because not fixing this means forever carrying it as a weakness and shortening my future as a rider. It's got to be done and I'm finding that knowledge makes it easier to walk away. Or rather gimp away as that's about all I am doing now days.
Regardless of this outcome, however, I would do this whole adventure again. It has been an incredible learning experience with an amazing group of horses and people. Cannot ask for anymore than that. The experiences I have had here will shape my riding for years to come. I suspect one could find Martin's influences in my riding, teaching and horse management for the rest of my time with horses. And that is certainly not a bad thing. Not a bad thing in the least. He's opened my eyes to a lot. Held my hand when I needed it and kicked my ass when I needed that to. Thanks Martin (and yes, I'm sorry and it is all my fault). Don't even remember when that joke started but it still makes me laugh every time. It's the little things like that that have made this experience great. The horses, the reason behind it all, get featured almost every day on this blog. They're a huge part. But it's those little things. Those little stupid things that make it or break it. And here, they certainly made it.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
There are some things that take you by suprise even when they shouldn't. The sunset over Rancho Pampa. The beauty of Virtuoso and the other horses hanging their heads out the windows. The crispness in the air after a warm day that tells of fall at last. The early hour of said sunset confirming that.
Monday, March 11, 2013
Not the result I wanted or prayed for but it's the result I expected and recieved. Have torn two ligaments in my right knee and they will require surgery to heal. I will be headed home in the next week to take on this new challenge. Devestated at the moment but will find the silver living soon. My time at Rancho Pampa has been cut short but it has been an incredible, incredible experience. Nothing can change that.
Spent Tuesday in the house with pretty limited mobility. Wednesday and Thursday propped up painting jump standards. Have a knee brace with metal inserts that allow me to get around pretty decently which is nice. Can't stay upright for long though. Would kill to be on a horse but I'm off for awhile longer.
Mono came on Wednesday and apparently all of the horses jumped well with him. Kir Royal, Invasor, Picaro, Virtuoso, Geologo. I missed jumping Puccini and Picaro but know Martin can do a far better job than me. The auction horses were filmed that afternoon as well. Thursday was an easy flatwork with turn out day. Today the auction horses just went to the walker while Martin took the crew he jumped with Mono to Equus.Apparently Picaro was pretty happy for his first outing out in awhile but put out good work. The others did great as well. Sad I missed it but that's life.
The open house is tomorrow and I will not be riding in it. Hoping it goes well and I can help out in some way. Pretty heartbroken about it but nothing to be done. Just going to hope for the best news possible from the doc on Monday. We'll take the MRI results and see him to get the final on what is wrong. I'm praying for an easy "quit being a baby, you're fine, go ride." Not ready to give this up yet. Not ready to give any of it up. Hardest week at the farm by far this past year. Fingers crossed.
Monday, March 4, 2013
Needing some prayers, snaps, good juju and thoughts at the moment. Took a mild tumble off my third horse of the day and seems I may have reinjured my knee. Afternoon trip to the clinic got orders for x-rays and an MRI. X-rays looked good and getting an MRI scheduled to see what is up. Praying it is nothing major and a day of rest will solve any problems. One can hope...
Friday, March 1, 2013
Slept in and enjoyed every second of it this morning. From the lack of noise during the night I make the assumption I was the only person in that little second of rooms. Or everyone else was freakisly quiet! Either way, it was greatly appreciated.
Got breakfast at the hostel before heading out to meet Camilla. It was a bit chilly and breezy at first but warmed up to a perfect temperature. We went to the Buenos Aires where I met Skipper and some of the ponies try use for lessons. We sat and drank mate watching instructors teach young students and talking nonsense. I work 6 days a week in a barn, live in a barn and yet on Sundays can be found in the barn. Sitting on a tack truck, feeding apples bought for cheap and enjoying friends. Did have the bizare moment of being recognized though. Camilla introduced me to a friend and she immediately knew who I was from the auction videos. Very strange feeling!
After we headed up toward china town where I bought more peanut butter and wondered with Camilla over all the random stuff for sale. Things I never even knew exhisted were there. Definitely some place to check out more! Ended up parting ways at the grocery store Disco since she had to get home for lunch and I had to grab a few things for the kitchen here. Headed home early since it looked like a storm was on the horizon but thankfully it stayed away. A good day in capital though. Realizing more and more how much I am going to miss the freedom I have here to just come and go. Plus going to miss all the incredible people I have met and spent time with. 7 weeks left and intending to make the absolute most of them!
A new one was posted today of me on Puccini as well. I've watched it more times than I can count and hit up several friends for critique. I've gotten better but I still have so much left to learn!
The rain arrived during the night and dashed any plans of doing an open house at the farm. The ring returned to its state as "Lake Rancho Pampa" and we spent the day doing inside jobs. All the horses went to the walker, got their noses trimmed and were cleaned up. Manes were braided over, bridles changed around, tails were rebraided and stall doors relabled to round off the newest change up of stalls. Maybe I'll figure out where everyone lives by the time I leave. Maybe. And that was just the morning.
The afternoon was more cleaning, organizing and painting. In 10 days a new family will be moving into my house which means the loft must be finished within nine days. In 11 days the new working student will be here so the loft has to be set up as well. Lots of painting, cleaning and fixing has gone into that project and I'm hoping it wraps up nicely this next week.
After work I took got my stuff togethe and headed for another night in town. Waited for the bus to Palermo for an hour before giving up and getting on the bus to Once. Had no idea where I was going but told the driver I just needed to be near 9 de Julio. Ended up in a huge plaza where two subway lines meet. Too bad the blue line going directly to 9 de Julio was closed. So ended up taking the yellow line toward Cordoba and switching to the red line to the Obelisco. Figuring out the public transportation in this city is always a bit of an adventure but I'm figuring it out pretty well.
Once at the Obelisco I headed to the hostel to put my stuff down and got the pleasant suprise of a free upgrade. Last time I split a 4 person room with two other girls. Small and with bunk beds. This time I ended up in a private room with a double bed. Awesome because it's a private room with a double bed. Not so awesome because its easier to get to know people that you're staying with. Even if it is just for a night. Ran into one of the girls I stayed with last time and we ended up gathering some of her friends together and walking down to Flordia to check out Fusion. Fusion is a small club/bar that is available to people staying at one of the three hostels only. So lots of people there hanging out and meeting new people. Talked to some great people from all over the world before headed back with Cris and friends to the hostel. Definitely going to have to check that place out in more detail in the future! Also got the names of four places to try tango dancing in the city! All are more open to novices and three are very close to the hostel. Super excited to head to one those soon!
Monday, February 25, 2013
How the heck is it already March!?
Cannot believe I have been living in Argentina for 10 months now. March 3rd will start the beginning of month 11. Which I am sure will be one of the most action packed so far. A new working student, the auction, the possibility of new babies. The list goes on. But even while so much has changed, much has stayed the same.
Started off the day on Cor Lit, Picaro and Justinian like I have so many times before. Just quiet hacks to finish off the week. Then brought out Kir Royal for Martin before switching over to longing. Normally the auction horses get Fridays off but since we're expecting some heavy rain tonight and tomorrow, the open house has been tentatively cancelled. So the auction horses went out for a bit before starting their two day weekend. All of the were quite good having fallen into the rhythm of our work. Holandesa left today as well so we are down one more. For the first time in a very long time there are empty stalls at Rancho Pampa. Hard to imagine that after this auction we will loose even more. The next group is already being put together but I will miss several from the current one. We have some incredible horses here. Extremely grateful for the opportunity to ride and work with each and every one of them.
We have internet even if the connection is somewhat inconsistent. A bit frustrating but definitely could be worse. And it certainly didn't stop me from staying up too late talking to friends and family. Which included sending entirely to many photos of Picaro to various family members. Rode him today and he was a rock star. Also hacked Cor Lit, Puccini and Holandesa. Did a brief jump school on Justinian as well. Free jumped the auction horses in prep for Saturday's open house and spent the afternoon doing more prep. Tomorrow should be a light riding day as well with all the auction horses having the day off. Busy afternoon braiding manes over, cleaning up horses and doing that type stuff. Plus keeping fingers crossed the rain that is expected for Saturday holds off. We've been lucky so far with sunny skys and beautiful weather. Just a few more weekends please! Hard to believe we're narrowing in on the last bit before this auction. Time is flying by!
I got to jump Picaro in a lesson with Mono!
I though my life was complete when I rode Nacar in a lesson with Mono a few months ago. Then downright awesome when I got to school Puccini with him last week. But today topped all. Picaro was happy to get out and Rodrigo was laughing at me as I tried to get the two of us going to same direction at the same time. I think Martin was significantly less pleased but we got it together. First a low vertical. Then a bigger one. Add in an oxer a few times and finally through the in and out. Nothing big just 3'-3'3" or so but still had a blast. I adore jumping that horse. Really though I just flat out adore that horse. Currently taking donations if anyone would like to see him come stateside with me? Dreaming big without a doubt but might as well.
Jumped Piccini with Mono as well but it wasn't as good as last week. A little slow and I struggled to get him really infront of my leg. Ended better but I should not have allowed it to start off weak. Besides those two, I hacked Virtuoso, Cor Lit, Justinian, Karin, Kanti, Quarz, Quantum, Bellini and Holandesa. It was my first time on Kanti and she was quite good. Straight forward and nice to ride. Quantum was a total rockstar like usual. He and Picaro remind me a bit of each other actually. Super nice horses. Really and truely, they were all fantastic. Ended up schooling Holandesa without stirrups since my knees were bothering me and I haven't done it in awhile. There is some dedication right there. School 10 horses then ride the 11th stirrupless for kicks. She didn't mind though and it was good for me. That mare is coming along really nicely as well. Working on cleaning up her downward transitions and they're not only improving but she's easier to ride in each gait as well. Super fun stuff. Tired, sore and lacking in internet but still a good day. And the weather is still incredible.
I am in love with the weather at the moment. Nice and cool in the morning then waeming up into the 70s during the day. Did learn a valuable lesson today though. Just because it is cool does not mean it is not sunny. Some what sunburned. Ok, very sunburned. Great day hacking horses. Started off tge morning on the "big" stallions. Picaro, Geologo, Kir Royal and Virtuoso. All of them, especially Picaro, were rock stars. Followed them up by taking Justinian, Karin, Orly, Ojiva, Quantum and Casia out to work. Nothing terrible exciting. Little bit of longing then lots of transitions and some lateral work. Typical day. Hard to believe that riding 10 horses has now become a totally typical day. Not sure if I'll be relieved or sad when Emma gets here and the ride list gets cut down. Thoroughly enjoying spending all day in the saddle even if I'm crawling into bed at ridiculously early because I'm done being active for the day. Staying up entirely too late again though talking to friends and family. Miss them but not painfully so. I hate being homesick. Hate it. I just feel miserable and then start feeling worse because I know I can't do anything to change it. Feeling good now though. Enjoying the busy schedule, the amazing weather and my last two months in Argentina.
Barely crawled out of bed this morning. Love getting out on the weekends but hate waking up like I haven't actually slept. Thankfully a light day of riding though. Hacked Cor Lit, Picaro, Virtuoso, Invasor, Kir Royal, Justinian and Holandesa. Not sure when riding seven became a light day but somehow it has and for that I am appreciative. The weather was significantly cooler than it has been the last few weeks which was incredibly nice as well. Love the cooler temperatures.
Spent the afternoon grooming horses, helping the vet out and the usual afternoon stuff. Quiet, easy day. Exactly what I needed.
As of today, however, we are down to less than a month until the auction. Cannot believe it. Feels like it was not long ago we were remarking that there was less than 100 days and that was crazy soon!
Sunday, February 24, 2013
4:00 in Uruguay at least. But considering that's where I am now, it works. Had a fantastic night at the hostel. Briefly met the girls staying in the room with me which was nice but definitely wish I could have hung out with them a bit. Woke up before my alarm clock like usual and headed out right on time. The walk to Buquebus was short but wet due to rain. Definitely a different crowd on the streets than normal at that time of morning. Had to be at Buquebus at 7:30 so left the hostel at 7:00. Plenty of time to walk the 10 blocks but wanted to be on the safe side. Only had a little bit of trouble with a guy on the street wanting to check out how closed up my backpack was but he bolted the second I turned around on him. Hate, hate, hate people like that. I was steeming for quite awhile after that. But besides that, easy peasy.
Getting checked in, through immigration and onto the ferry was also quite easy. They stamp your passport to exit Argentina and enter Uruguay at the same time so it is a pretty quick, painless process. The ferry ride was incredibly quick as well considering the wind, rain and river were at odds. The boats are huge but they can flat out move. Ended up talking to a couple different people in straight spanish. Definitely come a long, long way since I arrived. Very happy about that.
Once I arrived in Colonia de Sacramento I picked up a small map, picked a direction and started walking. Went up the hill through the newer part of the town before cutting left toward the river. Then followed that to the old neighborhood that is the huge tourist draw. The nasty morning weather morphed into stunning afternoon weather. Saw some gorgeous cobblestone streets, went through at least five small museums, walked down on the beach, climbed to the top of the light house and took more photos than I know what to do with. Ended up having a quiet lunch in a side street shop which was lovely as well. Was up walking almost the entire time I was in the city. Easily walked several miles. If it looked pretty or interesting, I went and checked it out. Spoke to a decent amount of people, translated at one point for some Americans and generally had a great day.
Made my way back to Buquebus right on time and sitting on the ferry now. On a different ferry than the one I came over on so going to check this one out. Getting a few things from the duty free store as well. My own back pack for one! Staying at the hostel was way, way to easy not to do again. A tango show/lessons as well as a night out with the other people in the hostel are definitely in order! Now just to get back home before I fall asleep. Been a crazy couple days!
Saturday, February 23, 2013
What. A. Day.
We got started off right away with the horses that are not in the auction. I was on Picaro, Virtuoso, Invasor, Kir Royal, Geologo and Justinian. Then Puccini and Cor Lit for quick hacks just to get out. Picaro was feeling good today and was super fun to take over the little cavalettis. He was jumping them like they were 2'6" or so. I miss jumping that horse. He just feels so great. When I jumped Quantum a few weeks ago he showed me what power can feel like. I had no idea how to even ride it though. None. When I jump Picaro I can feel how big of a jump he has but it doesn't throw me at all. Easy to seee a distance, easy to stay with and rideable. We terrorize each other some times but in the end, I reallyreally enjoy him. Such a nice horse.
Once the morning horses were finished I jumped in to help Camilla (yay Camilla is here!! And she brought diet coke!!) and the guys get finished. Everyone was working hard so there really was not a huge amount left. A few horses to clean up, some organizational stuff, sweeping and then lunch!
Just after two the first clients pulled in and over the next hour, at least 20-25 arrived. Unlike last weekend, none of them wanted to see any horses in particular so we pulled them all out. A bit of an under taking but hey, thats the job. Everyone jumped well in the free jump when we started with the whole bringing horses to the ring process moving a lot quicker. The under saddle portion went just as smoothly. I ended up riding a decent amount of them plus Karin for the first time! Once again, something I probably would have freaked a bit about when I first arrived. Riding a green horse I've never been on before infront of clients? Today though, no big deal. Rode Puccini over fences as well and made an active attempt at keeping my weight in my heel and leg under me. I feel like it was better than last week and hopefully the photos will show the improvement. Love photos.
After Martin, Rachel, Federico, Camilla, Martins dad and I hung out for a bit just chatting. I may not be able to add much to the conversation in spanish but I do a lot better at following than I use to. Martins dad was kind enough to offer Camilla and I a ride into town. Thank goodness we were able to go with him. About halfway to capital we saw the 57 bus broken down on the side of the rode. Awesome. But we got to Palermo in no time at all. Then just a quick ride on the subway to 9 de Julio and the hostel! There was a guy on the subway who played the violin and was just fantastic as well. Normally I try to ignore the people asking for money but this guy could play. Figured if he could make me smile I could afford a few dollars. And since I didn't have any small bills in pesos I actually did end up giving him a few dollars. Got a bit of a funny look but he cracked a smile as well. Finding those little things.
Once off the subway, I found the hostel again no problem, got my keys, checked out the room and promptly headed back outside to walk. One thing I can say about big cities is those night light are just gorgeous. Didn't go anywhere in particular. Just wandered checking out the sights Ive come to know so well in a different light. Trying not to stay up too late in the main room at the hostel but honestly, its tough. So fun to just be out. Love it. But have an early morning tomorrow with a trip to Uruguay!!
One of those days where I'm not entirely sure who all I rode. Just flat out lost track. The ring was still pretty wet when we started so the first four were just walking. Schooled halts, transitions in the walk, some lateral things and walked over cavaletti. Nacar, Orly, Quarial and Uxmal were all good for that. By then the end of those three the ring had dried up enough for some trotting so took Montana, Picaro and Cor Lit out. Same type ride for them but with some trotting on the dry parts thrown in. Kir Royal wrapped up my morning rides and by the time I got on him it was decently dry. Was able to do some big figure eights and the like while avoiding the larger wet spots. He, like everyone else in the morning, was very good. It's been a rather inconsistent week of work for a group of horses that are use to going out just about every single day. They all are staying just like normal though.
After lunch Martin had me take Cardona out for a trot. It was my first time riding her and she was great. Settled right in to working despite the building going on in the ring and who knows what going on on the other side of the fence. Not a care in the world. Super nice to ride as well. Forward but not hot and pretty well balanced for such a large young horse. Getting on her brings the list of horses still to ride at Rancho Pampa down to three. Not bad considering most of the horses here weren't even broke 6 months ago. Some (like Cardona) have barely been broke two months! Thus far I'm really enjoying the young ones. Prior to this job I had not worked with them much but learning a ton and I like them. Sometimes they can be silly but these guys are all pretty solid and improve every single day.
After Cardona I took Justinian and Holandesa out a bit. Walk, trot, canter and all that jazz. Suprisingly, Justinian was the most rambuncious of the day! Both he and Holandesa finished well though. Once the riding was finished there was still about a hundred things left to do for tomorrows open house. Got most of it finished but at least there will be a bit of time tomorrow to wrap it up. And Camilla's coming!! Can't wait to see here, show off the horses in the open house and head out for my first night in Capital! Busy day!
More rain last night so a quiet day today. Cleaned up Invasor for photos, day two of the dewormer and a hundred other little things. Really would rather be riding but that's life. The ring still looked really flooded this afternoon so just keeping my fingers crossed that it will good to ride on tomorrow. We have an open house Saturday to prep for!
No internet at the moment since it was unplugged today for a bit. Debated on walking to Petrobras but with the roads as nasty as they are decided not to so a quiet night at home to cap off a quiet day. A bit grumpy and homesick at the moment but pretty sure it's just restlessness. Just need to get in the saddle and work tomorrow. Hoping I can! Then just praying for a clear day Saturday and Sunday for the open house and Uruguay!
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Great day at Rancho Pampa today. Started off the morning hacking Picaro then all the auction horses did a jump exercise. Vertical,three stride, vertical, two stride, vertical, two stride vertical. If the first time through was good then the last three jumps became oxers. Every single one of those horses that I saw went through without batting an eye. Just went. First time they've ever seen that many jumps in a row and not a care in the world. Martin let me take Nacar and Uxmal through. Just took each of them through twice since both were great but took the time to work on my position over fences a bit with Martin. Leg under me not infront and weight balanced in my heels. Staying light with the horse infront of me without tipping my shoulders to get behind or ahead. Both horses were super good though. Also warmed up Ojiva, Orly and a few others for Martin to jump through the line.
After Mono came for us to school some of the older horses with. I ended up getting to do a lesson on Puccini! Very exciting stuff. Mono had me work on staying closer to the saddle before and after the fence with my hands a bit higher up. Both things worked really well to improve my ride on Puccini. Did a bit of course work at 1.10-1.15m or so and I felt like it went pretty decently. Got thumbs up from Mono as well so hopefully he thought it was good too. Puccini isn't always my favorite to ride but that horse can jump. Everything felt a fair amount bigger than it actually was which was cool. Don't think we had any rails either even with an interesting distance here or there. All in all, he was really a good boy.
After I hopped on Cor Lit, Justinian and Montana for the rides I usually do right off in the morning. All three of them were good as was Cardona who I longed afterward. Then treatments, wrapping, dewormer and all the normal afternoon stuff. Dinner with Martin and Rachel finished off the day. A busy day for sure but a good one! It's raining at the moment and looks like it is going to keep on most of the night and tomorrow which is a shame. Hate being stuck inside!
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
The rain that has been on the radar since Saturday finally made its debute today. Rained on and off most of the morning. Thankfully so we should be able to ride tomorrow. Had a productive day inside though. All the auction horses cleaned up for Saturday (ears, noses, legs, ect). They've all gotten pretty good about the clippers with all the trimming we've been doing. Certainly makes life easier. Besides that, lots of grooming, tack cleaning, boot scrubbing and the like. Fingers crossed we're back in the saddle tomorrow though!
Photo of Kanti playing in the water running off the roof. Super cute.
Monday, February 18, 2013
<p>Never thought there would be a day when an "easy day" consists of only doing flat rides on 8 horses. Was on Cor Lit, Picaro, Justinian, Montana, Puccini, Invasor, Kir Royal and Holandesa. Everyone was good with though really it wasn't much more than the usual w/t/c/transitions work. Nothing over difficult for Monday morning.
It was a beautiful morning though. The forcast has been saying rain for awhile now but so far just cooler and cooler weather. So nice. I feel like I could ride for hours when the weather is cool. Hours and hours. Love it. Brought more pasteries this morning too. Lost track of how many times I have fallen off but I've brought a dozen pasteries 4 times now so getting there. Or at least starting too!
Tomorrow will be a busier day for sure. Fingers crossed that the weather stays nice and the horses are great!
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Up too late once again writing blog posts and talking to friends but oh well. Had a great day today. Slept in as late as I could (9:00) then took my time waking up, getting my stuff together and finally getting to the bus stop to head to town. It looked like rain was on the horizon so was keeping my fingers crossed not to get poured on but due to the incoming rain, the weather was fantastic so had to get out. Actually got a seat on the bus into town this time too! My goal for the afternoon was check out Buquebus about the ferry to Uruguay and to check out some local hostels. I have been wanting to go to Uruguay for awhile now (beyond needing to get my visa renewed) and finally figured out a way to do it. To get to the closest city in Uruguay (Colonia) you have to take a one hour ferry ride there. The best place to get the ferry is Buquebus which is at the end of Puerto Madero. Getting to Puerto Madero is about 2 hour adventure from the farm. More time if the bus system is not working like it should. Less if you catch some luck and everything moves quickly. So I've been debating the ways of how to get from the farm to Buequbus for the ferry (have to arrive an hour early for that), take the ferry, see the town then repeate to get back. While staying in day light hours. Was thinking I would take a remis but that's a bit pricey so was looking into other options. A mix of my ideas, reddit and random wandering in that area brought me to the idea of staying in a hostel in the city Saturday night. So googled it and came up with two that were quite close with fairly high ratings. If I stayed in one I would be able to take the earliest ferry to Colonia, not have to stress about the bus that early, not have to hire a remis and potentially meet some cool people. Plus trying something new which I'm always up for nowdays. So I had the address for on on Corrientes Ave and one on Flordia Ave along with the one for Buquesbus and a plan. Always a good thing.
So bus to town, subway to 9 de Julio and quick walk to Corrientes. The hostel there looked great and the people in reception were very nice as they answered all my questions. Also learned that Buquebus was only 10 blocks or so from there which was much closer than I thought. Grabbed a taxi to Buquebus anyway since I was a bit worried about the rain and wanted someone who knew how to get there to take me the first time. Literally took about three minues to get there. Badgered the poor information lady and ticket people in bad Spanish for a bit before buying a ticket to go to Uruguay next Sunday!
Walked from Buquebus to Puerto Madero then up Corrientes toward the hostel. Some gorgeous buildings, views and places in that area. Once I got to the hostel, I booked a room for Saturday night! Opted to split a room in the girls dorm just to see what it's like. I figure it can't be much different than splitting the house here and it's only for a night. So as of right now I have everything set for next weekend! Incredibly excited though wishing Megg, Alice or Camilla could be there with me. Part of the fun of an adventure is sharing it with someone but either way, I am incredibly excited! Saturday is going to be a long day with another open house but still looking forward to it. One more thing to cross off my list!
Also picked up some post cards of my favorite places in BA while at Buquebus!
What. A. Day.
It's a late night with Martin's birthday party (his birthday was Friday and friends/family were invited to stay after the open house) but wanted to take some time to write a post about my crazy day.
Started off the morning like usual on the horses that aren't in the auction. Justinian and Picaro. Then Cor Lit, Montana and Puccini for a light hack to stretch their legs. Then it was onto the finishing touches before clients were to arrive for the first open house! Making sure the barn was clean, horses spotless and everything organized. Which, weirdly enough, is one of my favorite things to do. I love the final half crazed moments when everything finally comes together. As long as it comes together. If it doesn't, I hate it as much as anyone. But today, it did!
Quick lunch then onto bringing out horses for clients. The way it is set up, anyone can come to the farm at 2:00 and request to see a horse. Or horses. We'll pull them out and show them in hand to whoever is interested. Once we finish with that, then those horses are shown briefly in the free jump and finally brought out to go undersaddle. At that point either Martin can show them over fences or a client can get on and jump them a bit. Today they wanted to see Nacar, Puccini, Uxmal, Orly, Quantum, Quarz, Quarial and Casia. Everyone jumped incredibly in the free jump. Easy to handle, did their jobs and were just fantastic. After they came back out and continued to bring it by being rock stars under saddle.
But, the craziest part for me was that I actually shows Nacar and Puccini over fences for everyone. I was warming horses up for Martin so I was riding them till the horse before was finished them then switching. We do that quite often with lessons, schooling, shows, whatever so not unusual. But when I went to get off Nacar Martin was like "Do you want to jump him?" Im not sure what my face looked like but he was like that is a yes or no question, do you want to jump him. I made the snap decision to just do it. And it actually went really well! Not perfect but considering how I was a year ago about showing horses to people, it was incredible. We just did one jump that the guys kept building up so not a bunch still the fact I was able to do it was super exciting! Finished at 3'-3'3" or so. Got off and was on cloud 9 for pulling it off. A few horses later I was on Puccini and got the same question. Now Puccini is not Nacar. I've been riding Nacar for about a month shorter than he's actually been broke. I know him about as well as I know a horse I personally own. At this point I think I've been on him as much if not more than Martin. So jumping him, while stressful due outside circumstances, is not overly nerve wracking because I just know him. Puccini is one that I had been on inconsistently until recently and one I have not jumped a ton. Poles a lot, little stuff sometimes but definitely not like Nacar. I could barely ride him when I got here. Just had no idea how. But with the confidence boost off Nacar I again decided to just go for it. Since Puccini is an older horse he needed to be shown around a real course at a decent height. Not the simple, inviting jump on the diagional. The whole thing is a bit of a blur but jumped the course once. Did a 7 in the 6 from over woahing but made it out of the two stride after. Then the jumps were put up to 3'-3'3" (don't think anything hit 3'6" but maybe). Did the course again, fixed the striding and got it done! Photos after showed my position left a bit to be desired but honestly, I'll take it! Just have to keep in mind that when I'm nervous I tend to let my leg get infront of me. Have to work on keeping it back under me more.
When I got off Puccini I was literally shaking from the rush. When I say I could not have done that a year ago I am not joking in the slightest. Horse shows, clients and all that would reduce me to a nervous (probably crying) wreck. I would just freak. Totally loose it. But today, I didn't. After when I brought out the last of the horses some of the clients I know (Mono and some others) were super complimentry and kind. I know it wasn't perfect and there was a lot I would have changed but sometimes, it's just nice to take the compliment, smile and know it's all paying off.
Photo of me on Baral Nacar. And Camilla somehow found peanut butter and brought me some! Yay!
Friday, February 15, 2013
Spent the morning at Equus with Invasor, Kir Royal, Virtuoso and Geologo schooling. All four were super good with the two young geldings being total rock stars. It was their forst adventure out as riding horses and they were both great. Well behaved, easy to work with and totally chill. It did mean a hot morning out in the sun though. But apparently the heat should slack off in March. Which is sad because we're not their yet and great because we're less than half a month away. The afternoon was cleaning, organizing, helping Fernando and getting ready for tomorrow's presentation of the auction horses. I should be getting to bed early since it's going to be a longlong day but obviously, I'm not.
Staying up too late listening to music and talking to friends. Missing home tonight. A lot. I keep thinking it should be easier to be away after being gone so long. But it doesn't never easier. The lack of other girls here really is hitting hard too. Just someone to chat with during the day. To share breakfast or dinner with. It's far too early to be saying it but I'm pretty ready to be back stateside. For awhile at least 70 days until home. I've got this.
It's been a hot, busy week here getting everything ready for tomorrow/the auction. Hoping we can hit the routine of prepping each week and it will get easier. Cause right now it's stressing me out and its not even my auction. Everything is pretty well put together at this point though so just a matter of getting the last bits together. I'm sure tomorrow will be pretty crazy since it is the first time doing an open house but hoping for the best. Fingers crossed!
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Valentine's day! I refrained from posting it on facebook so there you go. Busy day today though at this point, that should not be a suprise. Rode Justinian, Picaro, Montana, Kir Royal and Virtuoso to start off the morning. Jumped Virtuoso and Kir Royal over the little course. While they were both excellent I rode like garbage. Couldn't see a distance, couldn't find a rythym and it was just bad. Even Martin commented that he knows I can do better and I just couldn't. Don't know why but it just wasn't happening. So frustrating. Especially since I usually love jumping Virtuoso. It was my first time jumping Kir Royal and I wish I had just done better since I have really been looking forward to riding him. He's really fun and feels great. Probably won't get a chance to jump him for awhile since today was less than fantastic. We got around, did the striding and did the job but it just felt slow. Like everytime I needed to make a change I would realize and do it about 10 strides too late. And it showed. Frustrated to say the least.
After we free jumped the auction horses in prep for Saturday. Everyone looked good and jumped well. Hoping the rain we are expecting Saturday holds off. Would be a bummer for sure. Got Montana all clipped today for it. We're taking a few over to Equus tomorrow to school but after we're spending the afternoon scrubbing horses. One thing I haven't had the chance to do in awhile! Actually kind of excited about it! Probably not riding a bunch tomorrow or Saturday but they should be good days never the less.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
For whatever reason, my alarm clock did not go off this morning. Set just like normal and nada. Woke up at 7:10 and nearly killed myself shooting out of bed. Im suppose to give grain in the morning before 7:30 so over sleeping like that is not good. Somehow managed to scramble into clothes, into the barn and get everything that needed to be done by 7:30 done by 7:30. New land speed records may have been set though. Definitely not how I like to start mornings.
Was on Picaro first for a short hack. He's been off work for awhile so today was his first day back. He was very good. Then was on Montana followed by Justinian. Longed Kir Royal and Cardona while waiting for Martin to get back from running errands.
We got on all the auction horses and jumped them around a bit. I ended up jumping Cor Lit, Puccini, Nacar, Casia, Quarz and Holandesa. Flatted some of the other but can't remember who at this point. Everyone I jumped was good and Martin had some really good points about setting standards. Basically when you walk in you've got the standard that everything usually happens at. If you walk in each day and start low then eventually get to acceptable or good then there is no improvement. You have to build each time and push to raise the standard or it will never happen. If you know a horse likes to come in weak and stall a bit then just dont let it happen. Dont wait till the last time around to push and get there. Do that the first time so the rest of the ride you can push different things. Not the same thing over and over again. On a similar note if you have a horse that usually goes around at a 6 speed, you can lower it a bit or raise it a bit. But going from 6 to 3 to 8 does not work. Changes to 5 or 7 work. Nothing drastic. Especially with the young ones.
All in all a decent day. A busy one for sure. I was tired by the time lunch rolled around and there was still a lot of day left at that point. I don't know how Martin does it as I feel like I could use several days of straight sleep at this point.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Any hope I had that the heat was gone for good has been dashed. It even rained Sunday night and Monday was still hot. The ring was flooded yesterday so just a lot of mane pulling, nose clipping and cleaning up inside. Didn't feel it warrented a whole blog post.
The ring was somewhat rideable this morning so we took everyone out for a trot. Not a big work out but enough to stretch their legs and get the edge off a bit. I was on a fair amount as usual. Justinian, Cor Lit, Uxmal, Quarial, Casia, Montana, Puccini, Pastrocito, Orly and maybe one more. Honestly, they all run together a bit after while. Everyone was well behaved which was very nice since it is going to be a hugely busy week. Horse show Friday and people to look at the Auction horses Saturday! Camilla is coming to help on Saturday though which is super great. I miss having her around! Did get an email off to the girl coming in March though. She seems very nice and I'm excited to have someone else here (even if it is still quite a distance off!).
Now if only this heat would let up...
Monday, February 11, 2013
Any hope of sleeping in this morning was dashed when I had to open the gate for Walter and then could not get back to sleep. Laid around like a bum for a bit then got my stuff together and headed into town. Going into BA has gone from being a near insurmountable task to an every weekend thing. If I don't go into town I feel like I have been a far bigger bum than is really acceptable. So made the walk to Petrobras and caught the bus to town. Then had the lovely experience of hanging out on the side of the road as when the bus ran out of fuel. Got to love a bus driver that lets a PACKED bus run out of gas on the side of the highway. In 30+ degree heat. So we stopped and waited for another truck to bring us the fuel we needed. Thankfully we were not held up long as it was incredibly hot on the side of the road and I was getting fried. One of the joys of being pale. I go through sun screen like it is going out of style and anything that does not have sun screen is bright red.
Eventually made it into town and after cooling off in Starbucks for a bit I hopped on the subway and headed to Plaza de Mayo. Always nice to see the gorgeous buildings in that area but I was actually headed to the bus tour on Flordia (yes, a street name). The bus tour does a huge loop of the biggest/best sights in BA. It goes for about 3.5 hours and you can get on/off the bus at any stop to see more. You listen to the presentation in one of 10 languages and they have someone on the bus to answer any questions as well. A really cool idea in theory and I have heard the tour is pretty good. Today, however, I believe they were experiencing some problems. There was a decent sized line waiting for the bus and unhappy people in the little ticket place. Opted to just watch what was happening a bit before getting my ticket. Definitely a good idea there. There was suppose to be a tour starting quite frequently according to the sign and website (every 20 minutes) but for whatever reason there was a hold up. The next bus wasn't coming around for another hour and a half. Maybe. Ended up skipping on that for the day and wandering down Flordia. It is a pedestrian road with different shops off it. Talked with some people, looked in the stores and checked things out. Not bad considering the big temperature sign said 34 degrees. Awesome. Eventually headed back to the subway to get back to the bus stop. Super proud of myself there because I ended up being asked how to get out of the subway by a stranger and could tell him! In his defence, there are four lines that all meet at Plaza de Mayo and it is not always easy to navigate. But I could tell him!
Got off a stop before Plaza Italia to walk next to the botanical garden and pick up the pasties I owe for falling off. Ive lost track at this point how much I've come off but I figure if I buy some every Sunday I should be good by the time I leave. And this place had really good looking pasteries. Definitely a place to head back too!
Caught a pretty empty bus back to Moreno which was incredibly nice after making the ride the last couple times standing on a crowded one. Then the not so nice rain started about half way home. Which meant a long walk in the wet. Which ended up being an even longer walk when what looked like a short cut got me totally turned around. God watches out for kids and stupid people though so found my way somehow and ended up home without too much trouble. Thank goodness for the big tower (not entirely sure what it is there for) next to the farm though. You can see if from a decent distance and it sits right next to the front gate. Managed to make it home right before the real rain, thunder and lightening hit which was good.
Headed to bed at a decent hour since it is sure to be an insane week. First open house for the auction this Saturday!
Saturday, February 9, 2013
Busy day today! Thankfully one where I felt much better. Started off helping Rodrigo then switched gears to filming some of the young horses for Martin. Both the young horses Rodrigo and Martin were on were quite good.
After all that I hopped on Justinian and started the riding for the day. After Justinian was a jump lesson on Puccini which finished well. Had to do a five stride to a one stride followed by a second one stride. The first jump was 2'6" or so with the one stides set at large cross rails. Took a couple tries and some help from Martin but we eventually got it. The one strides were short and we kept bouncing the last one. Got it done though and that's what matters. Martin also commented that I have gotten a lot closer/tighter to the horse which allows me to react to what they do much quicker. Definitely a good thing. After it was flat rides in Virtuoso, Geologo, Montana, Nacar, Orly, Casia and Invasor. Everyone was well behaved and finished off the week well.
A good day for sure but I will admit even after the ridiculously early night yesterday, I was still tired crawling off those last couple. Just thankful it isn't as hot as it was last week! Maybe the intense heat really is gone!
And in just one week we start the open houses for the auction! People will start coming next Saturday afternoon. Can't believe it!
Friday, February 8, 2013
Short post and bed since I've been feeling crummy most of the day. Was fine for my first rides on Cor Lit and Justinian. Felt kind of icky coming off Montana. Then more so on Virtuoso. Cut my ride on Geologo short because the light headed/naseua feeling was rapidly getting stronger. Ended up longing Puccini and that was it with the riding. Once I got inside the barn I felt a bit better but anything that had me in the sun for even a bit was not fun. Don't know what caused it since I haven't had any problems with the heat thus far. Hoping some water, sleep and cooling down will help. And that tomorrow is better!
Thursday, February 7, 2013
I think if I had a job or anything that was not horse related that consistently had me nearly unconscious before 10:00 everyday Id be miserable. But I'm not! Exhausted but happy.
Rode Justinian this morning. Just a flat hack. Then jumped Cor Lit around the new course Martin built. Can definitely tell we have both improved because when I first got here I couldn't have jumped him around that course with all the distances and on stride. It just would not have happened. But today, we did. After it was on to young horse filming. Martin was jumping each of them around the course we had set up. For many of them, it was their first course which was super exciting (for me, they didn't care a bit). I sat on most of them to warm up so by lunch time I had been on a ton of horses. Oficiala, Casia, Ojiva, Quarial, Nacar, Uxmal, and Orly. After lunch climbed onto Puccini, Geologo and Montana for a flat ride each as well.
Definitely one of those days I likely should have gone to bed much, much earlier but enjoy staying up talking to friends and family. Hopefully a less busy day tomorrow or Im not sure how much movement I'll be doing on Sunday. Was hoping to catch a bus tour of the city! Always something going on around here!
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Morning started off helping Rodrigo with the young horses. Then helping Martin warm up horses for his lessons with Mono. Was on Puccini, Invasor and Geologo for that. Hopped on Cor Lit after and jumped around a little bit with him. Just small verticals and x-rails. Was suppose to get on Justinian after but ended up getting side tracked showing Holandesa to some clients. She was very good for them and I was super happy with the fact I didn't get nervous at all. Would have been ridiculous if I had but I probably would have been when I first arrived. Everything went well though and I was able to hop on Justinian after. Followed him with Orly and finally my favorite Nacar! Quick lunch then onto riding the last two of the day: Quarz and Quarial. Both were good and everyone seems to be ready for tomorrow! More filming for the facebook page! It was Marcus' last day here (my diet coke is now safe...) so he headed home tonight. One more thing getting back to normal around here. It feels like there are a hundred projects going on here right now with guys going every which direction. Normally I think of Rancho Pampa as being fairly closed and quiet. Well, not right now. It's non stop something right now. But hopefully the projects will start wrapping up soon with a completed loft, gazebo and new roof on the outdoor barn!
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Busy and long day today. Jumped Cor Lit first off this morning then helped Rodrigo with the two young horses. Then rode Invasor and ended up doing a little jump school on him with Marcus' lesson. After that it was Oficiala, Quarial, Orly, Nacar, Puccini and Justinian with flat rides. Nacar was my favorite of the day hands down. Martin changed his bit and schooled him all last week which he was going super nicely. I've always liked his gaits and temperment but as he comes along in his training I like him even more. He never quits, never says no and just keeps getting better. Super good pony! Not that anyone today was bad though. He was just my favorite.
Ended up riding until decently late in the afternoon and then had to switch gears to showing Casia and Ojiva to a client. Which was suppose to happen at 6:00. Since they're clients and this is Argentina, they didn't show until almost 7:00. Joy. Both mares were super good though especially considering they have never been ridden that late AND have never been asked to jump that high. Not always a fan of the way people try horses here. Very little on the flat and lots of jumping over big fences. I try to keep an open mind but still not how I would try horses or want mine tried like. Im sure I will be seeing a lot of interesting horse trying in the coming weeks though. As of next Saturday we are opening the farm up on on Saturday afternoons for people to come see the auction horses. I have no idea how it's going to go but the sheer thought of preparing 19 horses is daunting. You have no idea which horses people will want to see so just have to have everything ready. I'm use to getting 3-5 ready and shown to people but 19? Hoping for sanity. All the horses are going super nicely though so at least my only worry is getting them ready. Could be a lot worse!
Hopefully some of the videos I have ridden in will be posted to facebook soon so I can see them! Maybe post them here too. Except the one with Quantum. When we took the video I had never jumped him and only been on him a handful of times. Whenever he put power into his jump, I had no idea how to stay balanced. As Rachel put it "You had some fabulous neck riding there on landing". If you cut the video off when we're actually in the air it looks fine. Once he flips that hind up though, Im on his neck. Really want to study the video some to put together how to ride that jump. A lot of times watching video helps me a lot. Plus its just fun riding for the camera on super nice horses! Hoping for more good riding tomorrow!
Monday, February 4, 2013
Happy birthday to the best (and only) little brother I have. He's 16 today and spending his birthday working at WEF down in Flordia. Like me he's a working student with big dreams for his riding. He's well on his way to achieving a lot of them too. Hoping he had a great day at the show.
I ended up having a pretty great day here as well. Stayed up far too late last night and had to drag myself out of bed this morning but once I was up life got better. Turns out we had two new guys here to ride. One is here from San Luis and is just staying until Wednesday as a clinic/lesson thing. The other will hopefully be taking over Camilla's job of grooming/preparing horses. She helped the barn run a lot smoother while she was here. Just with being able to step in pretty much where ever necessary to help. Both the guys seem really nice and are about my age. They only speak spanish so communication is a bit slow but that's life. My spanish is a lot better than it use to be but it's still pretty terrible. Maybe this new influx of spanish only people combined with the lack of english speaking people will change that.
It ended up being a pretty quite/easy day all things considering. I rode Uxmal, Invasor, Virtuoso, Justinian, Cor Lit and Puccini. And we jumped almost all the young ones in the free jump. Everyone was well behaved and looks like the week is off to a good start. Plus, the weather was AMAZING yesterday and today. Looks like it will stay that way all week too! Hopefully!
Slept in late today. Well overslept really. But it was still super nice to do even if it wasn't exactly how I was suppose to be spending my morning. Hurried out of Rancho Pampa, caught the bus and headed into town to meet Camilla. She'd had a bunch of stuff here so left some with me to bring when I went into town today. Due to some miscommunication and bad internet I ended up hanging out in Starbucks for awhile once I arrived in town but honestly, I cannot complain one bit about that. Hung out, read my book and enjoyed the change of scenery. Once I met up with Camila we walked down through Palermo where she lives to another bus stop which we took to the Buenos Aires riding club. She wanted to show me the horse she use to lease but sadly enough he wasn't there. Most of the club school horses get turned out in the country during the summer and that's where her Skipper had gone. So we picked up her stuff that was stored there (pretty dressage saddle, bridle, polos and the like), caught a taxi and brought it all back to her house. We met up with Joy there, went for a walk around the neighborhood and finished with ice cream at a fantastic little store. Absolutely incredible ice cream. Don't know how they do it in this country but it's so good. After I caught the bus and headed home. Not sure why but the trip ended up being longer than usual so didn't get off the bus to nearly dark. Then had the walk home. Usually it takes about 20 minutes to get from the bus stop to home. Im pretty sure I did it in about 13 minutes. I don't live in a neighborhood where walking after dark (especially alone) is anywhere near a good idea. Got home safely though and headed to my very clean house. I went nuts yesterday after work with bleach and windex. Everything is clean and spotless. Hanging out in my room now talking to friends and staying up too late. Definitely going to regret it tomorrow but I'll live. Hoping for a great week!
Sunday, February 3, 2013
Didn't get a post in yesterday since it ended up being an incredibly late night with Martin's dad's birthday party. As always it was super fun to spend time with Martins family. It is kind of weird, however, to realize Ive been here long enough that I have met most of his family. Hard to believe in some ways. As always, great food, awesome people and a lot of fun. Camilla and I bailed just after 1:00 while everyone else was still going on with the party. I dont know how they do it. Especially Martin. Cause I had an easier day than he did and I was still half dead. Pretty much over this heat. Makes everyday feel like you've about killed yourself even after doing minimal work.
And for me lately, today was minimal work. Rode Jour, Bellini, Montana, Virtuoso, Cor Lit and Quantum. Light hacks all around since we needed to be quick with Rodrigo not riding today. He had an accident with one of the first horses of the day and took the rest of the day off. So rode some of mine then helped Martin film the young horses over fences just before lunch. Didn't get through them all so had some for after lunch and it was HOT. Not quite as bad as Thursday but still not fun. Thankfully though it did rain last night. The lightening started just before dinner and then toward the end the skys absolutely opened up. And then the hail came. That was a shock for me to say the least. And not just a little bit of hail, an insane amount considering it was so hot earlier. So much wind, rain, hail and lightening. Never seen anything like it. That did pass quickly thank goodness. But since it did rain last night, today was a lot cooler. It is probably too much to ask for but I do hope that was the last of the really hot weather. As a result of the rain, it was a quiet inside day today. No riding, just barn stuff. It was also Camilla's last day here. Very sad stuff. It is so weird to be the only person in the house again. And not just for a night or two. Craziness. There is a new girl coming some time in March. Mid March I believe. Not sure if there will be any new additions between now and then though. Always a suprise of who ends up here!
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Hot today but not nearly as bad as yesterday due to the cloud cover. Thank goodness for that. It has started to look like we will be getting some rain though. It sprinkled a little bit today at 6:00 but not much. We could use some to cool everything off a bit though. Don't want to complain too much since poor Megg in Canada is experiencing RIDICULOUSLY cold weather (-35 C and colder) and really has something to complain about but not a huge fan of really hot weather either. It was cooler today though. Camilla and I even had the energy to walk down to Petrobras and Frahels for diet coke, yummy snacks and ice cream. Its fun to get out a bit, chat with Camilla (as if I don't do that all the time anyway) and just hang out. Really going to miss her when she leaves. Hopefully we'll stay in contact like Megg, Alice and I have. After spending nearly 24/7 with a person you get to be pretty close friends. Hoping all the friends I have made in Argentina last longer than my stay here because they've been fantastic. Definitely one of the best parts of this stay.
And another fantastic part of this trip, the riding, was also quite good today. Helped Rodrigo with the two young ones then rode Cor Lit, Invasor, Montana, Oficiala, Quarial, Ojiva, Quantum, Orly and Jour. Ended up schooling a short crossrail course with Orly, Quantum, Oficiala, and Ojiva. Ojiva was my favorite of the day. She's fun to ride, sensitive without being stupid and super careful. A tiny bit like Luli was I think. It was my first time riding Oficiala and she is definitely one of the greenest horses I have ever sat on. She was backed for the first time in mid December. Super sweet horse though with a lot of try. Figured my way around the course with her with just a few bobbles and we improved a lot the second time around. Martin was pretty complementry as well. He said when I first arrived I would not have been able to ride her let along climb on, work on some flexion issues and then take her around a course. He said my eyes just would have popped out of my head. Hoping that is a bit of an exaggeration but either way glad to know that improvement has been noted. Though honestly Im sure sure I could have ridden any of these young horses over fences when I first arrived. Ive gotten so much more secure in the tack, confident in what I am doing and knowledgeable of how to ride different types. I can hop from a super green Oficiala to a powerful Quantum to a sensitive Ojiva with relative ease. Obviously still a ton to learn but at least progress is being made.
So another long, hot day at Rancho Pampa but can certainly write this one off as a good productive one!
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Sleepysleepysleepy. The heat just about kills any spare energy I could have possibly mustered together at the end of a busy work day. Camilla and I keep saying we'll go get ice cream since it's her last week here but so far we keep getting to the end of the day and just wanting a shower. A cold shower.
Today was a good day though. Rode Puccini, Cor Lit, Montana, Invasor, Quantum, Casia, Ojiva, Jour and Orly for a bit before Martin. Jumped Montana, Invasor, Casia and Ojiva over some small cross rails. Again worked on getting control of the shoulders, a bit on pace and some work with distances over poles. Martin reminded me of something Bernie Traurig said while he was here about being accurate to every pole/cavaletti/jump and only being happy when you do it just right. Perfect practice makes perfect. Not just practice. It was my first time jumping Montana, Invasor and Ojiva. They, along with everyone else, were very good though. A lot of fun to work with. Especially Ojiva. She is definitely one of my favorites to ride at the moment.
So in the end, a very good (if very hot) day. I can tell my blog posts keep getting shorter and shorter but by the time it gets this late, Im just flat out tired. The riding part of the day seems like forever ago and Im just ready for bed. A bit sore at the moment too with yesterday's fall. And for whatever reason my knee started hurting while I was riding today. Still a bit sore now after being off of it for awhile. Hoping nothing is up with it. Hopefully some sleep/rest will help it. Getting everything wrapped up and heading to bed asap!
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Hot, humid day here but a really good one never the less. Rode Cor Lit, Montana, Invasor, Casia, Orly, Puccini and Jour. Did a lesson of sorts with Cor Lit and Puccini. Was a simple exercise with crossrails set on the center line. Left canter and turn to the first crossrail, right turn to the second, good transition after. Both the turn to start and the turn in the middle were tightish half circles. With Cor Lit my biggest struggle was getting ahold of his shoulder where I wanted it while keeping the engagement from behind. Once I did that, the lead change and turn I needed were right there. Had an easier time with Puccini getting the exercise done. Initially some trouble with distances but got that sorted out. I naturally see a little bit longer distance and typically move up a bit to get to a better one. Puccini needed to work on waiting and getting the closer distance. Or at least not moving up to anything. When I started thinking about that I promptly added a stride infront of the fence. After an indecesive chip (hate those) we got our stuff together and jumped well. Ended up taking a header off Montana this morning as well but scrabbled up, caught him (good boy for just standing quietly!) and climbed back on. Was a good ride before the oops moment and continued to be good after. Its been a few months since Ive come off so guess I can be thankful for that! The big gist I got from today is I need to manage the engine of my rides while controlling their shoulders. If I can get that done, things like finding a distance, getting and change or just flatting well will improve greatly. One more thing to add to the "Needs Improvement" list!
All in all though, a good day here at the farm. Fun work, nice people and great horses.
Monday, January 28, 2013
Three months till home!
Didn't bother writing anything yesterday since it literally was a day of sleep. Opened the gate at 7:00 then slept till noon. Did some treatments on some of the horses, surfed the internet then slept till 6:00 when I closed the gate. The walked down to petrobras for diet coke and empanadas. Most quiet day ever. Definitely needed. Today was an ok day. Really hot. Feels like 98+ degrees hot. And humid. Rode Jour, Cor Lit and Montana in the morning. Both were good. Then we free jumped all the young horses in the real free jump behind the barn. All the horses were well behaved for that. They're all jumping better and better each time as well. Slowly getting the hang of things!
Afterward we had a quick lunch and then I hopped on Holandesa and Puccini. By then it was too hot to be anything but good. I'm from a decently hot area and this just feels too much like home. And apparently it is just going to get worse all week. Joy. Fingers crossed everyone stays safe and ok. And that I don't do something embarassing like faint. Totally something I would do. I am terrible at dealing with the heat. It has totally zapped my energy. Headed to bed in the next couple minutes. Beyond ridiculously early but so, so tired! Even with my nonstop sleep day yesterday.
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Wicked homesick this afternoon. It was a really good day with the horses, guys and Camilla. And then at 6:00, everyone heads home to their friends and family. Wish I could see mine. Without a doubt the hardest part of this job. The first couple months were no problem. Then time takes its toll. This is a fantastic job with some great people (and I remind myself of that daily) but I would like to go home on the weekends. Not even every night. Just on the weekends like Camilla. If this job was stateside and near home, you'd never drag me away from it. But the distance is harder than I ever thought it would be. One of my favorite songs has the line "Nobody said it would be easy but nobody said it would be so hard". And that is 100% exactly spot on. Exactly.
It was a good day here though. A little bit warmer weather than yesterday but still pleasant. I rode Geologo, Virtuoso, Puccini, Kir Royal, Bellini, Invasor, Montana and Cor Lit. Puccini was, suprisingly, one of my favorites for the day. He was super well behaved and right on point for everything I asked. Sometimes he and I have difficulty together but today was really good. Was riding fairly late though since we turned out each of the young horses in the "official" free jump behind the barn. It has been used as a paddock lately but looks like it is going to go back to being the free jump (as opposed to building one up in the main ring each time). So we took each of the young ones out, turned them loose and let them get aquainted with the space for when we use it in the future. Overall, another good day here. And Martin should be back at the helm Monday so everything will get back to normal at Rancho Pampa.
Friday, January 25, 2013
Today was a just about perfect day. The weather was INCREDIBLE. Sunny with a constant cool breeze through the day. High for the day way about 75 and had a jacket on in the early morning. So very nice. Rode Montana, Invasor, Cor Lit, Geologo, Virtuoso, Puccini, Uxmal and Nacar. Worked on trotting and canter poles/cavaletti and halting on a straight line with all of them. Nacar was a rockstar at it but everyone ended their rides super nicely. Plus all the stuff inside with the barn ran incredibly smoothly. Beautiful weather, lovely horses and great people. What more can you ask for? Not much.
But one thing I have been thinking about a decent amount lately is how much longer I have here (even on the great days like today). My friends have been laughing at/questioning the fact that I keep track of how many days I have until I am stateside again. Ive been doing it with some intensely mixed emotions. On one hand, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Argentina. Working at the farm, riding tons of horses, learning a bunch and generally living a life I'd previously only dreamed of. But on the flipside, living this dream has taken me farther away than I have ever been from everything I know. In the last 9 months I have learned a ton about this country and city. To the point I do not feel totally seperated from everything I am familiar with but after growing up and living in one area for so long, this will never be homehome to me. Just a temporary one. And I miss my home and my family. Missed them more than I ever thought I would and cannot wait to see them again. It will be so incredibly bittersweet to leave Rancho Pampa. It will be the end of one of the most life changing experiences of my life and the beginning of a lot of new and exciting things. Plus the ability to see my mom. Can't beat that. So the fantastic days like today remind me why I am so far from home and make being away so much easier. That being said, in 93 days I will be on a plane headed for Dallas TX for the last time. In the meantime, between now and April 28th (my last day) I want to push myself even harder to improve and become a better rider. I can do so much better. I also want to make a point to notice the tiny good things I tend to overlook while being in a hurry. Just slow down, breath and enjoy my time here a bit. Fingers crossed there will be plenty more days like this one!
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Rode Casia, Ojiva, Quartz, Quantum, Orly, Montana, Invasor and Cor Lit. Longed Puccini and helped Rodrigo with the two young ones. As this week goes on I have a feeling my posts are going to be getting shorter and shorter as exhaustion and lack of exciting news take hold. But that is how it goes. Having a lot of fun just cruising though the list if horses working on this and that with each of them. This is the first time I've consistently ridden any of the young horses. Usually I'm on a few one day. Then a few different ones the next. Nothing serious or consistent. But being on them like this I feel like I've gotten to know them a bit and enjoy them more. I'm learning and working with each ones quirks, strengths and weaknesses which is what I enjoy the most. So did just that today. Everyone was very good and all in all a busy but productive day.
Feels like a storm is blowing in at the moment which is kind of a downer. As much as I'd like for everything to cool off a bit, I'd rather be riding than stuck inside!
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
So. Freaking. Tired. Feels like its close to midnight and its not even 8:30. So this will likely be a very short post as I am very tired.
Both Kateb and Kaiser were super good for Rodrigo this morning. Followed by good rides in Montana, Invasor and Cor Lit. Cantered Montana a bit and LOVE his canter. So nice. Bellini (his half brother) had a similar canter. Just fun to sit on.
After it was onto the older horses. Geologo, Virtuoso, Puccini, Uxmal, Kir Royal and Nacar. Nothing terribly exciting with any of them but all were good. Camilla and I pushed really hard in the morning to get finished before the incoming rain. Got off the last horses just before 3:00. Then the rain that swore it was right on the way didn't come. But it did continue to heat up quite a bit in the afternoon so actually really nice to just be finished with that part of the day. One thing that did make me sad though was that doing 25-35 minutes on every horse with only a very (very) short break inbetween made both my knees hurt super bad. Normally they don't bother me much but today and even a bit yesterday, painful. Makes me feel old. And reminds me why I absolutely need that college education. This is a fun life but eventually, I wont be able to do 9-10 a day and be fine to do it again the next day. Still want to push my riding as far and as hard as I can. But know I need a fall back plan.
But after a good morning of riding, Camilla and I spent the afternoon helping the guys, doing treatments and getting the barn picked up. The rain moved in about 5:00 so we'll see how the ring looks tomorrow. Doesn't seem like too much has fallen though so may be able to ride tomorrow! Hopefully at least!
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
<p>So after last nights adventure with Camilla, pancakes and the bus system, I slept in somewhat late. Which means I was up at 6:30. Then 7:30. Then 8:30. And so on. Finally just got up around 10:30. Went downstairs, found Camilla, Joy and the other people from last night. We all hung out for a bit before heading to Carrefore to get stuff for the asado they were doing that afternoon! One thing that is both fun and highly annoying is that owning a car is not all that common here. As a result most everyone walks. Or takes the bus. Which meant we were walking to the grocery store. Not a bad thing at all but very different from home. It wasn't a long walk and the area where the house is located is absolutely gorgeous so it was fun.
After that excursion we came home and went swimming in the pool for a bit! It has been so, so long since I have gone swimming. I live in the land of summer swim teams and beaches but almost never go swimming now days. Always busy with ponies! After awhile the lure of food coming off the grill drug us all out of the water. Totally worth it though as the food was AMAZING. They had the usual choris and beef but the guy who cooked also grilled chicken with bell peppers or smoked ham inside. It was fantastic. So yummy. After the food we played this card game called Chanco Va (I believe - either way it means Pig Go). Silly game but a lot of fun when played in a group. Everyone gets four cards to start and the first person to get four with the same number wins. You change your cards one at a time by passing one to your neighbor whenever Chanco Va is said. Which starts out as a slow chant and gets faster until the cries of "PareParePare!" break out because cards have gone flying. Whoever gets four first puts their hand in the middle of the table and everyone else jumps to pile their hand on top. Last hand in looses. I won some by getting my four together first and didn't loose any which was good since looser was going to get tossed in the pool. After an hour or so everyone lost interest in the game so we stopped (and no one got tossed in!). I ended up heading upstairs to take a nap as I was exhausted. Love a country where afternoon naps are totally acceptable.
Slept for a bit then Camilla poked her head in to invite me to dinner with some of her other friends. So we ended up out seeing a dressage trainer/ride who has some horses at Campo de Mayo. She didn't speak English but she and her husband were both incredibly nice. Camilla and Valerie talked horses for awhile and I just listened and tried to follow. She appologized after for the nonstop spanish but honestly, I enjoy just listening. I pick up words and phrass that way without the anxiety of trying to work up replies.
All in all, the whole day was a blast. From hanging out with Joy and his family to swimming to dinner and everything in between. Such a great break from the everyday. We're staying the night here again and taking a remis to the farm in the morning. A little worried about that (dont want to be late!) but Im sure it will be worth it since otherwise we would have had to leave the asado early and missed Valerie. So early start tomorrow but hopefully a good day/week to follow!
Photos from my favorite pool side chair!
Have managed to get completely behind on writing. Amazing how it just takes a couple of "Ill do it tomorrow"s to get there. But since Im tired, don't have much else to do and want to get caught up, here we go.
Today was another busy, hot day. Started off again helping Rodrigo with the two young horses then got on Cor Lit, Invasor and Montana. They were all decently good. Cor Lit decided the roll top was supersuper scary despite it being the same as yesterday. After sniffing it and being made to trot by it a time or two he got over himself but had to laugh. Sometimes I wonder what these horses see that we don't.
After those three it was onto the young horses. Rode Quantum, Bellini, Casia, Ojiva, Quarial, Orly and I feel like one more. Either way, a full day. Everyone was super good. Really enjoyed Ojiva and, as always, Orly. Not doing anything terribly exciting with the horses. Just flatting. Lots of up and down, occasionally trotting or cantering over a pole. Just getting relaxed and forward. I'm still focusing a lot at riding inside leg to outside hand. Still taking thought and effort to get that one right. Also had to get on myself a few times for going back to my old habit of turning my left hand over. Not a clue why I feel so comfortable doing that! Its not a normal hand position!
After riding I longed Boss and Puccini to finish off the horses for the day. Then around the barn doing treatments, picking up and getting organized for tomorrow. All in all a busy day but a good one. Plus all the guys were here so once we got rolling the day ran nice and smoothly. Much quicker than yesterday thank goodness! Headed to bed soon since tomorrow is going to be much of the same, long and hot! Plus keeping my fingers crossed that this cough I have picked up doesn't turn into something more. I hate even the thought of being sick! Especially with this much to do!
Early morning today. Due to the length of the bus trip and the going ons of yesterday we decided to just spend Sunday night at the house and take a remis (hired driver) to Rancho Pampa in the morning. So had to be up early to make the drive back to the farm. Some definite perks to living on site. One of which is no commute to work. Which means getting to sleep in later. Something that is very nice. But despite the drive and my anxiety over being late, we got to the farm with plenty of time to spare.
Started off the day helping Rodrigo with two young horses: Kaiser and Kateb. They were both very good. Took Cor Lit, Montana and Invasor out for their hacks. Montana was great undersaddle. Nice, relaxed and just fun to ride. The other two were good as well if a bit on the lazy side. After that it was up and on today's set of "older" horses. While Martin is gone we've divided up the horses in full work into two groups. The "older" horses and the "younger" horses. Neither name really fits but it's the best we have. So today the older horses were undersaddle while the young ones went on the longe line. I rode Virtuoso, Puccini, Geologo, Kir Royal, Uxmal and Nacar then finished off the day by longing Bellini and Justinian. Just w/t/c with a bunch of transitions and going over some poles. I like to make up little exercises with transitions/turning/whatnot then work on them for part of the ride. Maybe a pole thrown in as a center point or visual cue to keep everything nice and even. A big thing I have learned here is disipline in my exercises. So if I have to make a 20 meter turn to the left due to the rail, make a 20 meter turn to the right even if the whole ring is open. Otherwise you work the horse unevenly. Which is bad. Poles, standards and the fence serve as good markers for me to help keep things even. Everyone was good with everything and my favorite of the day was Kir Royal. Absolutely love his gaits. Such a nice horse. I really like both the Picadilly Tame babies we have here actually. He and Ojiva both super nice to ride.
The day ended up being a bit long since we were working with only two guys inside. Being down a person slows the whole day up but Camilla and I wrapped up the last of the treatments around 6:45 so not too bad. Hoping everyone will be here tomorrow so the day will run quicker!
Monday, January 21, 2013
Overcast morning with scattered light showers. Started my day helping Rodrigo with two of the young ones on the line and ended up running inside for a jacket of all things. Quite chilly and windy as we started off the morning. Afterward I hopped on Montana and Invasor for their trot abouts then longed Kir Royal before starting on the auction horses. With Martin headed out to Flordia for a week we wanted to get some filming done so he could put some videos together while traveling. So we took video of almost all the auction horses over fences. I warmed up Bellini a bit before Martin got on to jump. Then warmed up and jumped Nacar, Uxmal, Casia and Quantum. It was a mix between some really terrible riding on my part and some that felt reallyreally good. I've jumped Nacar a decent amount so know him. Hardest part about him is that his stride just eats up the lines. I struggle to get him on his hinds so that we don't just canter down the line and jump flat. Just don't consistently get the hand/leg connection right so that we can jump out with power and enough room. Uxmal was good to ride and showed me just a hint of how powerful he can be. Took a lot to just stay with him and out of his way over a decently sizeable fence. He and Nacar did a meter or so (maybe a bit higher for Uxmal). After was Quantum who I rarely ride and have never jumped. He has got to be one of the most powerful horses I have ever jumped. Ever. Had a tricky time with managing his greenness and getting him to the fences how he needed to be ridden. But once he was there, wow. When the jumps were low I didn't have much trouble with his power but as the oxer reached a meter, I was getting tossed onto his neck by the force of his hinds. Such a freaking nice horse. Casia afterward was a totally different ride. Still powerful over the fences but more sensitive to the fences and easier to stay with. She's ended up being one that I quite like riding actually. Wrapped up the riding by taping Martin on Orly.
Overall a busy day with interesting weather but a good and productive one never the less. Camilla invited me to spend the weekend at her house so we're headed that way. Super excited to meet her boyfriend and friends as well as get away from the barn for a bit!
Sunday, January 20, 2013
So after work Camilla and I got our stuff together real quick and headed to the bus stop to catch the 57 to Palermo. Same bus I take to get to Plaza Italia. Caught that bus then got off and ran to catch another to take us from Palermo to San Isidiro where Joy's (her boyfriend) family had rented a vacation house for Janurary. We left the farm at 6:30 and arrived at the house at 9:30. Not even half an hour after we arrived a friend of Joy's younger brother got in from San Pablo. Apparently he had l driven to the airport, flown to BA and been driven to the house in basically the same amount of time it took Camilla and I to get to the house by walking/bus. The joys of advanced transportation!
After a quick meet and greet, the five of us headed off the grab dinner somewhere. On Camilla's rather insistent suggestion, we went to a pancake place. Turns out they make pancakes with just about anything on top. Sounds strange but honestly, they were fantastic. I don't even know all what was on mine but it was so good. Then Camilla and I split a dessert pancake with a TON of chocolate on it. And strawberries. So. Stinking. Yummy. Was incredibly fun to just hang out with a group of people near my own age as well. Miss that so much! Joy, his brother and the friend from Brazil were all incredibly friendly and welcoming. In addition to the people, it was also really nice to be around people who spoke English as well so even though it wasn't the first language to be used, I could laugh and joke along. Everyone there spoke Potugese as a first language (which is an absolutely beautiful language to hear) which was a new one for me. Back to understanding pretty much nothing! But English was pretty frequently used for my sake and for that, I am very appreciative. After dinner we came back to the house and just hung out for a bit. Talking, chilling and just enjoying old and new friends.
A long day at the barn is sending Camilla and I to bed fairly early (for this group!) but that is life. Very excited for tomorrow since there is going to be an asado, swimming in the pool and generally enjoying what will hopefully be a beautiful day!
Added some photos of the bus stop in Moreno. With its collection of dogs.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Ended up having dinner at Martin and Rachel's house last night which made it a bit of a later night. Came in, chatted with Gala for far too long then absolutely crashed. Which is exactly what is going to happen here in a bit too. You can tell the end of a long week is here because I am flat out tired.
Missed writing yesterday but not a big deal since nothing too exciting happened. It poured rain the night before so the ring was flooded. Gala and I had a blast running outside and closing stall windows when the small rain shower turned into a cold, windy downpour. Was wetter after that than I had been 20 minutes earlier after a shower!
So spent the day cleaning up horses in the front barn, clipping noses/ears of the horses that needed and doing any odd jobs/things that we usually run out of time to do. A productive but quiet day.
Today was back on with riding. The sprinklers got left on so the ring got re watered this morning ontop of the rain. Limited the riding space a bit as some spots were muddy/slick. The guys were also hard at work building the gabezo in the ring as well as taking down the tree of thorns so it closed off the ring even more. Some of the horses were a little freaked by the commotion but most just took it all in stride. I was on Cor Lit, Kir Royal, Montana, Boss, Orly, Casia and Bellini. It was my first time on Bellini today. He was pretty good undersaddle and had a great canter. Martin is leaving for Flordia tomorrow so for the next week I'll be the primary rider on all the young horses. Definitely a crazy thought but I actually feel pretty comfortable on almost all of them. And a few I really enjoy riding despite the greenness. Going to be busy next week! But for now, just wanting to get ti bed and have a good last day of the week tomorrow! Possibly spending Saturday night at Camilla's which will be super fun. Love seeing new places and meeting new people!
Started off the morning longing horses for Rodrigo. Everyone is pretty use to the routine so it went by pretty quickly. Two of the young ones needed me to hold the line for the first couple minues of the ride and have a hand on them when Rodrigo got off but besides that, everyone was good/easy. Got on Montana afterward followed by Cor Lit for flat hacks. Then got on Puccini. Flatted him a bit then went through the six stride bending line to the cavaletti that Martin had set up. Too much stride the first time through and almost put a five in. Too little second and almost did seven but after that got the six right on every time. After we did a little cross rail course. Pretty straight forward jumps but the turns, layout and movement in the ring made it a little more difficult than the average cross rail course. Puccini and I, however, still got it done. I was actually ridiculously happy with it (and getting a "good job!" from Martin). Sometimes I can get so frustrated with my poor riding that I have to work at not being like "why do I bother?". But then I realize I couldn't get anything out of Puccini when I arrived let alone a good course. And that I am starting to make good and correct changes while on course without thinking. Raising this hand, opening this rein, pushing with my knee/leg here. A horse can try to pop a shoulder out or things can go wrong and I'm able to deal with it better. And without conscious thought. Big improvement. Took a quick break for lunch then I hopped on Casia. We ended up doing the same exercise and course with her. She is a heck of a lot younger and greener than Puccini though so I was even more pleased to pull it off quite well with her as well. She's not one I have ridden much either (this was my second or third ride I believe) so to be able to get on a young horse that I don't know and get decent course work out of her is a big accomplishment. Never would have been able to do that before I arrived here. Could barely get it done on an older horse I didn't know. Or a green one I did. After Casia, I jumped on Boss and the other girls and I ended up doing a lesson over the same exercise. As I was listening to Martin teach I realized another thing that I ride into my corners better and more consistently now. I hadn't even realized I was doing it until I wasn't getting corrected for not doing it. The jumping with Boss was decent but not great. Mostly because I spent a big part of the time reminding myself to keep my elbows by my side. Which promptly made everything stiff. Apparently I cannot touch my elbows nor put them anywhere near my body without forgeting how to ride. Joy. But if there is one thing today proved, I can improve and will improve before leaving here. And after that, the sky's the limit!
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
So after last night, this morning came far, far too early. But at least I felt better when it came. Last night was pretty miserable and still not 100% but marked improvement.
Was on Montana and Cor Lit first off this morning. Then Quantum, Orly, Quarial and Uxmal before lunch. Just flat rides all around. After lunch I was on Boss. Got help from Martin with getting him put together and working correctly from the back.
Nothing terribly exciting and pretty tired so this post is going to be ridiculously short. Hoping for a good day tomorrow and fingers crossed for some lower temperatures!
It has ended up being one those days. Started off pretty decent with rides on Kir Royal and Puccini. Then Camila and I took conformation photos of all the auction horses. They were all really well behaved for the whole process. Only three took some work to get stood up correctly and once they were, they stood right where they were suppose to.
After lunch we did a brief lesson on Jour, Holandesa and Boss. I got Boss and worked on the half circle changes of direction on the rail. Up, down, change bend and all that jazz. As always, I really tried to make sure I was riding back to front and inside leg to outside rein the whole time. Boss was a little looky at first but settled into work after a bit. Finished up really nice.
After the riding was finished we free jumped most the auction horses. I videoed, closed/opened the gate and attempted to keep the footing level. All the horses jumped well but as the afternoon went on, I started feeling pretty icky. And it kept getting worse. Chest hurt, nausea and just bad. So took some advil and attempted to go to bed early. Absolute no-go. Not happening. So after a couple hours of no improvement, I went over to Martin and Rachel's to see if they had any suggestions as too what to do. They had a few, which we tried but end result was next to no improvement. So headed off to the clinic. Which is where I've been for the last couple hours. They don't seem to think its anything serious and gave me some medication that seems to be helping. Hoping for the best! Looks like it's going to be a late night though.
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Back to staying up entirely too late. I had hoped to sleep in a bit this morning but as usual, was awake at 6:05. Made myself go back to bed but my 9:30 I was flat out awake. So got up and decided to spend some time in the city today. Took the bus to Plaza Italia then the subway to 9 de Julio. Walked on 9 de Julio for a bit before heading over to the opera house. Ever since I saw the opera house I have wanted to see the inside and go on a tour. So today was the day! Bought my ticket ($110 pesos compared to $30 if I was a resident!) for the english tour and did checked out the buildings nearby while waiting for the tour to start. The justice building, an old school and some other beautiful buildings were in the same plaza so wandered around and checked them out. Took a lot of photos too!
The tour was great and the building as beautiful inside as out. They had done a resturation a few years back that took six years(!!) for the main building (and is still going on at the lower levels) so everything was stunning.
A few random things of interest:
There are three lower levels and all are larger than the top one. The extend under 9 de Julio.
All the outfits, scenery and the like for the operas is made on those lower levels.
The design has a lot of French inflence with some places looking exactly like opera houses in Europe.
Three different designers helped built the place so at various places the design changes. Like the columns on the first and second floor.
I spotted 5 different types of marble in use. But honestly there are probably even more types there.
It is one of 5 opera houses in the world with almost perfect acoustics.
To get to the stage you have to pass through three sets of curtains.
The floor can be moved up or down. Same with the musicians pit.
The statue of Venus and Cupid is carved from one block of marble and absolutely no one knows how it ended up in the opera house. Origionally done by a German artist.
Im sure there are more interesting tidbits but that is all I can remember right now!
Afterward I walked around a bit more then grabbed some lunch. Then the subway back to Plaza Italia and bus to Moreno! Hung out at Petrobras for a bit enjoying their AC and diet coke before heading to the farm. All in all a good day. Now to get some sleep and tackle a busy week next week!
And I took a TON of pictures today that I will upload tomorrow. Going to take some time ti do that.