Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

I have not failed. I've simply found 1000 ways that didn't work!

So it's been a fun and exciting few days... Which means this post may be somewhat long so consider yourself forewarned :)

The Graduate Riding School is now official. Yikes! Realistically all it means is more paperwork, but still kinda makes it more real. I guess it's that jump between talking about doing something "someday" and actually committing to doing it. The scary part is it means now I could fail (such a harsh word) instead of just "changing my mind". So I guess I'd better make sure I do it right eh? Go hard or go home :) And on the fun side of things -- I have my new barn clothing too :) hahaha and I'm thrilled with how the jacket worked out! Will need a warmer one for teaching, but for riding it's just about perfect. Anybody who wants one, just let me know :) And lessons are great! Coaching during show season is always a blast. In general waaaaayyyy more exciting than scary. I'm still grinning when I think of it :)

So I didn't embarrass myself swimming last night. No not because I've suddenly become a superstar, but rather because I went and chilled w/ a friend for the eve instead. hahaha so bad. Might go tonight instead depending which pools are open. Or there's always next week *g* The prob w/ the other pools is they actually HAVE deep ends -- which means I actually have to make it to the end to stop. Which is very bad when you do the "one more lap" thing and then realize you don't really have it in you to GO one more lap. Oops. hahaha ah well, not as though I couldn't always flip over and float on my back -- but somehow that seems like cheating (and yes I realize that standing up is also cheating, but I think of that more as a time-out :)

I gotta admit one of my favourite things about training a young horse is watching their confidence grow. From weave up to the fence, hesitate, then throw self over to calmly trotting/cantering around w/ no hesitation seems like such a little thing but really makes all the difference in the world. Or even smaller than that -- being willing to stand quietly in xties instead of spinning in circles to watch everything going on. And every time I get bored doing the baby thing over and over and over again I just have to remind myself that those kinds of breakthroughs are directly related to said patient reiteration. And sometimes it really is worth it.

Like last night. When my little horse finally learned how to jump :) I'm ecstatic! Still grinning and it's the next afternoon. And just in time since we're going XC this weekend *g* hahaha But omg it was amazing. Related distances, scary fences, jumping out of both trot and canter. Everything. And about half way through she started scanning for what the next fence might be and focusing on it. Like an old pro. AND even over the scary fences she didn't feel the need to clear them by three feet each *g* Just took normal size jumps; directly correlated with that is she has learned TO jump over them -- we weren't scattering poles everywhere (or anywhere actually -- every one stayed up). Now this may not seem like much, but compared to the "brilliance or disaster" theory we've been working on until now this was a huge lightbulb moment.

Now as far as scary fences goes; the last event barn I taught at I used to *suggest* that we should have some pinwheels under the jumps. Somehow nobody liked that idea >;-P Instead there were lots of fake flowers around. Now fake flowers are scary all in themselves, and since they tend to be used to decorate two if not all THREE phases of eventing it really is important that the horses come to realize they're generally harmless. However, yesterday I saw by FAR the most entertaining jump decoration. Fake flower pinwheels! hahaha seriously! I just had to laugh when I saw them. Became particularly exciting when I lowered the jump to Sienna height, which meant the pinwheels were touching the pole, which meant they made a buzzing noise as they spun -- and spinning they were since the sandring's in a wind tunnel. hahaha plus side to that is my horse isn't highly reved by windy days anymore. Downside is that edge is always there. Anyways back to the scary noisy pinwheel flowers -- brilliant. I jumped her over this on the lead first so I didn't have to ride the first really excessive jump. Cheating or intelligent training? Could swing either way :) But it worked in my favour cause when I went to jump her afterwards we had a reasonable jump which meant a positive experience which meant the rest of the day lead to the brilliant jumping of the rest of the ride :) I'll tell ya though, while she'd jump it flawlessly any time I asked, do you think I could get her to walk or trot near it w/o shying??? hahaha Classic.

Ok off for now :)

Don't worry what other people think -- they don't do it all that often.

Some days my job is fairly entertaining. Today I learned all about dinosaurs. Seriously could've used the assistance of the average 7 yo boy. hahaha The ROM has dinosaurs. They also have videos about said dinosaurs... The people I worked for designed and implimented the touch screens which display said videos. Still w/ me? Ok well the time has come that these very exciting dino vids need close-captioning. So guess who the lucky person is who was doing that??? hahaha no, not Fred. Yes today's job was to take the script, cut it into CC sized pieces, and set the timing so the right text plays w/ the right commentary. Funfunfun let me tell you :) Actually though it was sort of entertaining. One of the video presenters was *very* into his subject. hahaha And I learned all about how the captioning software works (and how it *doesn't*... *sigh* as I had to redo one section after learning you can't undo. Oops).

So neither my Beast nor my horse were sound today :( That part sux. 28 deg and sunny and I couldn't go riding. Booooo :( Ah well. Si @ least should be good tomorrow when she gets shoes back on *fingers crossed*. HAS to get her shoes back on so we can go school XC! hahaha Priorities after all.

Definitely skipped spinning class. Just too nice to sit on a stationary bike inside. Tried to corrupt J too but she's more dedicated than I *g* I ended up just going for a walk instead. Mondays are soon going to be taken up w/ teaching so figure I may as well enjoy this one! Tried for "my chance to win" the Galapagos Adventure from Jepoardy -- but only valid in the US. What's the point of having a Canadian host if we can't win the contest? Sheesh.

Rider testing the other day went well. Decent kids who were actually testing at levels appropriate for them, so that was good. Cold and rainy all day then nice just as I finished work and could go ride my own pony -- not too bad :)

hahaha "there's no place for truth on the Internet" -- from the Big Bang Theory. It's amazing the things you stumble upon when you're not running around like an insane person.

Got this in an E -- it's been around before but as it applies to a good majority of my friends, I thought I'd share. Enjoy:
"Women have strengths that amaze men. They bear hardships and they carry burdens, but they hold happiness, love and joy. They smile when they want to scream. They sing when they want to cry. They cry when they are happy and laugh when they are nervous. They fight for what they believe in. They stand up to injustice.They don't take "no" for an answer when they believe there is a better solution. They go without so their family can have. They go to the doctor with a frightened friend. They love unconditionally. They cry when their children excel and cheer when their friends get awards. They are happy when they hear about a birth or wedding. Their hearts breaks when a friend dies. They grieve at the loss of a family member, yet they are strong when they think there is no strength left. They know that a hug and a kiss can heal a broken heart. Women come in all shapes, sizes and colors. They'll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you to show how much they care about you. The heart of a woman is what makes the world keep turning. They bring joy, hope and love. They have the compassion and ideas. They give moral support to their family and friends. Women have vital things to say and everything to give. However, if there is one flaw in women, it is that they forget their worth."

Yeah so I'm bored -- can ya tell? Apparently a *whole* night off w/o something good to read is just not right (although I'd fight for it if I had a good book waiting). Of course none of the things that have been waiting for me to have "just a few minutes" to get done (fun things like laundry, paperwork, etc) just didn't happen. Ah well -- maybe next time I have "just a few minutes" hahaha or maybe not.

"Like a lot of rules, there are times to follow them and times to not." <-- more TV wisdom. hahaha sheer brillance that (we're on to "How I Met Your Mother" now...) And as amused as I've been, this evening has reconfirmed that I'm def not missing anything by not being home in the evenings. hahaha And yet, something *else* keeps coming on so I keep sitting here watching... Starting to see how an entire culture has disintegrated >;-P Disturbingly addictive.

Feels just like summertime...

AMAZING weather today :) Wow.

The rabbit got a bath today. Why? Cause I wanted a reasonably useful excuse to be outside :) hahaha whatever it takes eh?

Went for a really amazing hack. Tied Sienna to the trailer while I was tacking her up. I know she ties reasonably well, so I figured it was worth a try -- and no better location than one where it's quiet and she's comfortable. N you know what? She was kewl w/ it. Tested it out briefly n then while not quite "school-pony-snoozing" relaxed, she was reasonable about it. I'm not as stunned by this as I could've been, I think I'm being spoiled by her superstarness, but I was still *very* impressed :) The "new thing" on today’s hack was water. Real water. As in a reasonably wide running stream (river? I don't know -- what's bigger than a stream but smaller than a river?). hahaha she wasn't terribly impressed w/ the mud before the water, but was pretty good once she was actually in the river :) My little superstar! N of course, we happened to hop over a couple XC jumps on our travels. hahaha I can't wait till she's ready for show season.

Had to laugh though as we were trotting along and she was trying oh-so-hard to lead, but our trail buddy is very much the dominant mare and did NOT want to give up her spot. So I'm holding Si back and holding Si back and she keeps trying so hard to pass n then all of a sudden all the tension goes out of her, she completely chills out and drops back to a normal distance to follow at. Huh??? All I can think of is she finally clued in that it's *not* a race. She really doesn't have to be first. Anyways, after that she was awesome.

It's looking like it could be a fun summer :)

Sometimes I really wish common sense were more common.

Ok so when the OEF says "the exams are on the cd" is it *really* so unrealistic of me to expect the exams to be on the cd? Seriously -- I didn't think it was that much of a jump. But now that would be logical. Fortunately I do happen to have hard copies I can go from, but I really didn't want to spend all night scanning and photocopying. Sheesh. 3h later for what should've taken 1/2h at most.

Ugh. Ok end of rant. Problem is solved now, but did kinda kill my wonderful night of nothingness. Ah well.

And, to be fair, any time I've contacted anybody at the OEF for help w/ anything they've been beyond amazingly helpful. If they could only learn to make their publications as useful they'd be set! hahaha

Looking forward to hacking tomorrow!

Aleviating boredom one post at a time!

So I've been somewhat amazed lately by the variety of people I've discovered are reading this.

There are, of course, my friends who, horsey or not read this because, well, they're my friends and friends DO thing's like that *g*. I think it falls under the whole support category >;-P hahaha my mum is in this group too -- even though she usually already knows the stories I'm telling; now *that's* dedication.

Then there are the horse people: students, former students, future students (?perhaps?), coaches, former coaches, friends, competitors (sometimes many of those options together!), random people who stumbled upon this while I was riding with Denny and amazingly stuck around after I came home and had no new Denny stories to tell, and so forth. This group makes sense to me logically given that Here There Be Dragons is more often than not Here There Be Horses *g* I actually hope some of this group ALSO follows the GRS blog (yeah sales pitch! Hey it's my blog I can write whatever I want! And on that note -- see GRS for Sienna's first real dressage lesson!)

This is followed by the group that totally bemuses me -- the frienimies. hahaha you know who you are! The two who are right now fuming and sitting down to write me very carefully crafted albeit scathing emails >;-P N lets be honest, this paragraph is included solely because I came across that word and was entertained that it made it into the Urban Dictionary and wanted to oh-so-subtly work it into conversation. hahaha While I am bemused by them, I do actually understand this group (albeit pity them a little) because there was a time when I was too immature to know any better that I too lurked the writing of one whom I would never grow to tolerate; until I grew up enough to realize it was both wasting my time (of which I *never* have enough to waste!) AND giving her an audience. hahaha and THAT was the end of that! But hey any are welcome to read if they wish :) And as far as I know, this group is tiny; n if you happen to know better, please keep that knowledge to yourself and allow me to enjoy my ignorance (it really IS bliss! :) hahaha

The group that I can't get my head around and am totally stunned and honoured actually take the time to commit to give me an audience, are those from the suburbs of my life :) Thsoe who aren't actually bound by friendship, loyalty, or an addiction to all things equine. Recently I've realized this is a much bigger group than I ever imagined (n I have a fairly vivid imagination :) and have been somewhat overwhelmed by it. It includes those such as high-school friends that I haven't seen since high-school, spouses of those who are bound by friendship, distant relatives like the cousins I've never technically met (really have to remedy that soon!), guys I considered dating but never actually went out w/ (should I be concerned that that's plural? hahaha I clearly need to get a life! But then I'm having way too much fun living the one I've got!), other bloggers far more skilled with a keyboard than I could dare dream of, FB and Nano friends -- some of whom I've actually met, most of whom are amazing writers, none of whom have ever actually ridden a horse (to the best of my knowledge :) But hey -- I read about a lot of things I'll never do too (Hogwarts rejected my application), so maybe I can understand that. hahaha and the list seems to continue. And I'm *always* stunned when I discover someone new. I found out about three this week and I'm soooo excited by that :) hahaha little things in life eh?

So anyways -- thanks all :) You totally made my day! Regularly! And please DO feel free to comment. Just because you now know what's going on in MY world doesn't afford me the same privilege! Feel free to share :)

Was going to end it there, but I have to wonder now how many of you are looking at this wondering which group you're in??? hahaha pick whichever one you like best!

---

edited to add: so I got an E from one in the "close friend" category alerting me to a rather HUGE category I missed :) She feels there should be the "stuck at work and bored out of my mind category" -- which I feel just *may* encompass all of the above! hahaha and quite frankly, I'm proud to be the one to alleviate your boredom :) If only for a moment. Good luck w/ the rest of your day!

Jasper has traveled to the Rainbow Bridge :(

On a very sad note, my friend Jane's long time four-legged companion Jasper (of the canine variety) has left us after many years to go play at the Rainbow Bridge. I know there's nothing that can be said to make things easier, but know that he's pain-free now. *hugs*

For those unfamiliar w/ the reference: http://www.graduateridingschool.com/fun/rainbow.htm

In happier moments, I made the horse-person's semi-annual pilgrimage to the Greenhawk Sale today. hahaha yes it IS worth taking a day off for :) Anybody who questions that is clearly NOT a *true* horse-person >;-P

I definitely brought a list. And the only thing I added from the "mental list" (you know, those things you can't justify putting on THE list but that are in the 'check the price justincase' place in your mind) was treats for Sienna -- who definitely earned them (see GRS blog :) so it's all good! Now part of the trick to sticking to the list is to make the list all encompassing -- when it includes everything you could want or need you're set :) The other way, which I applied this time, is to simply go broke. If you only have X amount of $ you kinda have to stick to it -- makes deviating from the list less likely. hahaha oh wait, I mean... it was straight willpower! Yes, that's it. Willpower. No, better yet - Laurpower! hahaha omg I need help. Sheesh. N's response to my FB status made me laugh :) Yes you'll have to go look :)

So part of the fun of the GH sale is running into people you never get to see :) And those you do, but can never see to much of! hahaha was great to see everybody today n get caught up on what all's been going on! I'm sorry to those who I saw in the distance but didn't get to chat with! Will catch up at the shows. And I was *very* excited when K agreed to play hookey to come play :) N bumed when work got in the way of D doing the same! The nerve of some clients expecting her to actually work while the GH sale is on. Sheesh. hahaha

Also picked up some new students today (albeit not at GH -- oh if only it were so easy. hahaha "new int students, aisle 1; new adv students, aisle 3", so pretty happy about that! If you're reading this, welcome :)

Sienna wore dressage tack for the first time ever today -- n I was pretty thrilled to discover it fit her just about perfectly. Which of course led to me realizing how poorly it had fit Zel! Poor girl. Yup, you guessed it, the saddle that was thoroughly scorned and all-but-banned (only barely tolerated cause I had no other option) is now entirely acceptable and not doing stupid things to my position. Always good when tack actually fits eh? Sometimes the pieces fall into place. And sometimes they get shoved there *g* Laurpower again :) hahaha ok I'll stop now.

Have a good one!

The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail. Travel too fast and you miss all you are travelling for.

(ok this one is def a cut-and-paste of the GRS blog today; so if you've already read that one consider yourself forewarned :)

So Sunday once again dawned bright and sunny (if a *little* chilly) so of course that meant it was a good day to go riding :) Kerri and I hit the rail trail w/ our ponies -- Iroc the superstar, who was *bouncing* at first cause he figured he was going home >;-P hahaha and Sienna who's done exactly 1 trail ride in her life.

Well it was brilliant. I ended that ride in *such* a good mood. But I have to admit to being rather bemused by my little horse. She is SO different from any horse I've trained before that I'm never quite sure what to expect with her :) Except that I'm rapidly learning that it'll be opposite of what I expect!

hahaha snow, we know, is very scary. Since I tend to agree w/ her on that we just steer around it :) No snow on XC, so I'm not about to make an issue of the random snow patches on the trails. No problem there. But other things puzzle me. For instance -- cyclists are no problem at all. They zoom right by and she doesn't even blink. But the two (incredibly patient) cyclists who very kindly stopped to avoid spooking our horses and waited while we approached them -- well they were terrifying. hahaha she wanted nothing to do w/ approaching these scary creatures. After all, moving cyclists are *clearly* already chasing some other poor beast, so there's no concern to her, but *still* cyclists -- well they're just waiting to POUNCE! hahaha n it probably doesn't help that her rider was too busy laughing at her to provide any reassurance. Poor girl.

Now the last time Kerri and I did this particular trail (I was riding Zel at the time), we got to this one place where they breed great danes. Now for those who don't know, these are BIG, LOUD dogs. And all 11 of them caught site of us at once and charged the fence barking. Now Zel's immediate response was "I'm outta here!" and she left. N since quite honestly I agreed w/ her, I was all for it (who'd really believe that tiny wire fence was really going to contain 11 big riled dogs???). Ker apparently agreed w/ me, but her superpony knew better and was trying so hard to calm everybody down -- nickering to Zel as she flew by and standing calmly while the dogs came to an abrupt (if no less noisy) stop at the fence. Zel was, by this point long gone. hahaha when we did eventually stop we came back part way to meet up w/ Ker and Iroc again. So fastforward to Sunday. I have my supergreen TB who does *not* come with breaks installed and we're getting near where I remember the dogs. Kerri tells me that people ride this trail all the time and apparently we're the only ones who've ever seen the dogs out -- odds of it happening twice are clearly non-existent. You've been reading this blog for a while -- you *know* my luck doesn't work like this. But Kerri's ever the optimist :) Sure enough, we cross the street and DOGS! But one advantage this time -- they saw us, and we them, before we got to the property. And there were *only* five this time (ever seen FIVE great danes at the same time who've decided your pony might make a good afternoon snack???) Sure enough they come charging up barking... N Iroc of course wants to make friends, n Si... Well... She did @ least deign to glance @ them, but then returned to her far more important study of the tires that were lying in the field on the *other* side of the trail :) After all, Iroc was between her and the dogs, in the herd it'd be HIS job was to worry about things on that side of the path and he clearly wasn't concerned. HER job was the other side and the very-scary tires. Sheesh. N yet I strongly suspect even if she'd been on the dog side she wouldn't've been particularly interested. Certainly there was no high-speed escape this time. Still shaking my head over that.

So on this trail we tried both trotting AND cantering (through both Sienna was the brave leader of the pair -- and pretty much everything afterwards since Iroc deemed himself too tired to lead :) and I was very pleased that while the trot was on speed, it did remain a trot until I said otherwise and the canter was actually under control. Woohoo! By the end of the trail she was even chilled enough that I could take pics (here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=244264&id=823765365&l=faa2881fa7) I'm really starting to adore my pony. There's admittedly something to be said for easy. I keep waiting for the "teenage years" to hit. hahaha


On a still horse related but not MY horse related note -- one of my friends sent me this link: http://ca.video.yahoo.com/watch/4151278/11181740 You'll need sound to view it; if all race announcers were like this I'd be watching a lot more racing :) hahaha I love the line about the cars :) Enjoy!

It's important to always know where the true threat lies...

Ok I've decided I have to stop watching things "based on a true story" cause let's be honest, reality generally sux. I watch movies entirely to *escape* from anything that resembles reality. I *like* happily ever after. I like it even more if they pull it off in a way that makes it seem like happily-ever-after might actually be a feasible solution. So this whole "real-life" ending of "she made due with what she had and then died" is just not cutting it.

Ugh. Ok end of rant.

On the plus side -- my pony went hacking both yesterday and today and was absolutely amazing. She even jumped her first XC jump ever today -- and did so WAY better than she ever jumps stadium fences. Was like an old pro! hahaha Amazing. So I'm kewl w/ taking her out on XC now hahaha just not too sure about the OTHER two phases!

Had to laugh though -- she was grazing next to the barn, and a pigeon scampered out of the eavestrough (making a reasonable amount of noise) and flew away. Well Si clearly looked up just in time to see the scary noisy bird attacking. But she didn't get *what* exactly was attacking her -- she put it down to... no not the guilty bird, or the barking dog, or even the other horses... It was the EVIL TREE STUMP! hahhaa Couldn't get her near it after that -- snorting and dancing away. Cause we all know tree-stumps often throw pigeons at unwary victims. For the entire rest of the time we were there Si kept a very careful eye on the scary tree stump and was VERY careful not to get tooooooo close.

So I've been planning my show schedule for this year -- both the "wish list" version and the "oh-yeah-my-horse-doesn't-know-how-to-jump-yet" version. hahaha I suspect I'll end up somewhere in the middle :) Is *very* nice not to have to worry about hiring somebody to trailer me everywhere now though, gotta admit :) Still have to find people to drive my students of course, but that's a whole different issue. hahaha I can't wait for show season!

The best laid plans of mice and men. . .

Ok so I had good intentions of updating my GRS site... But then I spent several hours playing on this one instead (that whole sugar rush thing again!) And that's with a template I *found* and just had to modify a little. Sheesh. A few things I haven't figured out yet (such as how to display the DATE for each post -- anybody know offhand how to make that work?) but basically I couldn't do blue anymore cause GRS is all blue and really, enuff is enuff >;-P I was looking for a fantasy template but couldn't find anything that really suited (or they suited but I couldn't customize enough to make it useful) -- but this one I liked and for the most part could work with so.... here it is :) Like I said, still a few things to clean up, but it's now significantly later than I'd planned to be up tonight so I think I'd best turn off the machine now... hahaha

This has also taken much longer than it should because both my cats are being super-social tonight for some reason? Maybe hiding out cause the bunny is out of the cage? Sheesh.

Ok it's definitely time to turn the machine OFF now. Night :)

"Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves.” - James Barrie

Gotta admit I *love* the current weather! Rode Sienna this aft around a group lesson of novice adults that was more than slightly chaotic since few (if any) of them understand ring rules and the instructor had lost her voice so was having a bit of a challenge keeping everybody organized. But hey -- good practice for the w/u ring eh? Si was good about being cut-off and asked to turn rather abruptly to dodge those who randomly stop. She still doesn't much care for being passed, but as long as she's not cantering @ the time it's not tragic... She's ok w/ the *quiet* horses but the loud ones (think draft-cross) still cause her concern. hahaha guess there weren't too man of those on the track eh? :-P

So I definitely invited myself to a friend's farm to go hacking tomorrow and enjoy what's supposed to be *more* amazing weather. N I'm sooooo excited! hahaha like a little kid again. Will have a hard time focusing @ work waiting to go :) Is-it-time-yet? Isittimeyet? Can't wait :) Gorgeous property too. Wooohoo!

GRS blog of the day: "Up Down is not just for beginners" hahaha And for the curious -- the *reason* I have two blogs now is because the blog seriously increases the search-engine rankings so I want the business one active, but I want it to be strictly riding school related... This one often ventures there cause, well, let's be honest -- it's the part of my life I'm usually most excited about :) But I *am* trying to keep them different now... And there IS a comment section on that one too for those who are so inclined. If anybody's actually reading it >;-P

I'm on such a high from the nice weather! Or maybe it's the excessive amount of pop I drank today >;-P hahaha see the problem w/ being good and limiting sugar intake is that when you splurge, you get serious results!

My bunny is having way too much fun in his round-pen... Super cute to watch :) I definitely have the kewlest pets. hahaha

Ok so one of my students alerted me to the rather disturbing fact that the Rules are not posted on the GRS website... This is definitely a problem that I am off to remedy now!

Later :)

ps -- just as a side note and a mini-rant -- I've never seen a more useless spell checker than the one that comes with Blogger. Occasionally run it just for a joke -- it didn't even question "isittimeyet" -- seriously what dictionary is THAT in??? Or various other words that I spell randomly cause it amuses me to do so -- you'd think it'd at least be *aware* that these are not traditional spellings... But alas, it fails miserably. Ah well - if *that's* the only rant of the day, have to admit it's been a pretty awesome day!

Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades...

So just as a suggestion in the "learn from somebody *else's* mistakes" category, I'd recommend not inhaling when one's face is still technically under water. hahaha almost to the surface just doesn't *quite* cut it. Who knew?

Ok so I'm thinking all the coaches out there should go pick up a random other completely-unrelated sport. Why? So you can truly appreciate where your real novice students are coming from. I'm generally patient w/ beginners; I understand that it's an insane amount to grasp all at once. Or I thought I did. Today it really sank in:

Lauren learning to swim: "bend your elbow, straighten your arm, keep your body straight, exhale entirely underwater, straighten your legs, remember to bend your elbow, hey I said keep your body straight! Breathe in rythym, inhale only when you're ABOVE water. Yes the details matter. Straight legs, rotate your body with your arms. Too much! Keep your body straight. How-am-I-supposed-to-do-all-this-when-I'm-just-trying-to-get-enough-air?!?!"

Sounds an awful lot like what I hear from my new students: "Stand up/sit down. Ok I can do this. Oh wait - with the RYTHYM of the trot?!?! (yes details matter!), and while I'm at it, I'm supposed to keep shoulders/hips/heels in line, heels DOWN (what in line isn't enough?), hands still, eyes up, how-am-I-supposed-to-do-all-this-when-it's-all-I-can-do-to-stay-on??? And then ohmygodthehorseisgoingwaytooFAST!" as the horse breaks to walk and the rider's momentum tumbles them slightly up the horse's neck... Ok so maybe I've never technically *heard* somebody say that, but I know they've *thought* it >;-P Yes that little-advertised skill of mind-reading comes in handy when coaching :) It's how I know what you're doing even when you think I can't see you >;-P

Anyways I've been fairly amused by this and it does renew my appreciation for what beginners go through :)

So following on the "complete beginner" topic -- I was looking for somewhere that has adult-beginner-Irish-dance lessons. Yeah ok I'm insane. No I've never been capable of ANY form of dance. But that one's always struck me as interesting, AND it looks like a fairly good workout, so I thought it was worth a look. But I have to say, as a group, Irish Dance studios have THE worst websites I've ever seen (and coming from the equestrian world that's definitely saying something)! I swear, we got sucked back to the very start of the web -- complete w/ horrendous backgrounds and colours. Very scary. And useless -- I never did find any useful info. Might have to give in and *shudder* call somebody. hahaha or maybe not. Not as though I actually have any TIME for new hobbies. But hey, minor detail right?

Ok off to sleep! That's ONE hobby I intend to keep!

Absolutely pointless babble

So honestly when it's 15deg, sunny, and no wind, there's really nothing better to do than ride :) Miss Si was beyond amazing -- one day (if I can stay on long enough!) she's going to be an amazing jumper. hahaha more on that in the GRS blog *g*

On my way to go swimming shortly. That's always an adventure and a half. Have been reading about proper form -- we'll see if I can apply it. hahaha ah well -- always good to start w/ theory right? It's good exercise if nothing else :) Gotta learn to breath. After years of passing out @ jump 4 on the first XC run of the year from not breathing you'd think I'd've learned that lesson but evidently not. N apparently it applies to all facets of life. Who knew?

So Sat is supposed to be perfect riding weather... Where to go? That's def the question of the day :) Suggestions?

Ok well there was originally a point to this, but I've long forgotten what it is, so I'm gonna go hit the pool and see if it comes back to me.

Later!

Rome didn't create a massive empire by having meetings; they did it by killing all those who opposed them!

hahaha ok so Miss Sienna IS a bit of a princess -- where it comes through is when she's *tired*. Awwwww Poor girl wanted absolutely nothing to do w/ me yesterday. Pinned ears, nasty mare faces, just generally thoroughly grumpy. Amazing how when I took her out to graze instead of tacking her up the attitude disappeared entirely. Classic eh? I have a teenager! hahaha ah well -- can't really blame her on that one either. So she'll prob have today off too (given that it's always the-day-after-the-day-after when you're really sore from exercising) or just a stretchy walk day. I was impressed though, legs were clean and no sore spots on her back; while I'm sure she's muscle sore, at least all the obvious parts are still good to go :)

Gave in and got myself a new jump saddle. Still a little stunned about it, but pretty excited :) Was crazy on sale (thankfully!) N here I was all proud of actually having saved a *little* bit of $. Sheesh :( Ah well -- I've known since fall that this was going to be a necessary purchase so when it dropped into my price range kinda had to take it then.

So while meetings are all well and good for meeting new people, having some interesting conversation, and sometimes getting out of the office, I have to admit they make it very hard to get any actual *work* done. Argh. Getting to be just a little insane. Sheesh.

Freaked somebody out with the white lines on my fingernails today *g* Here I thought that was just normal -- but then when have I ever done normal? So I had it vaguely in the back of my mind that that's a sign of a mineral deficiency of some sort so good ol Google to the rescue. Yup - iron. Yeah there's a shocker >;-P hahaha but what *was* sort of interesting was to read about some of the *other* colour lines you can have and the scary things they can mean.... I've always had white so didn't think anything of it, but what about blue, red, black??? Black is bad. Even in nature evidently.

I need a nap. Wonder if I can schedule *that* into my calendar?

Off now!

Hope the bunny was good to you!

So for the long version of Sienna's first hack take a look @ the GRS blog (link on side of page :) -- for the short version, let's just say I'm very glad we don't do XC in the winter. hahaha But really, my horse was a superstar. The ride was amazing. Although I suspect she'll be *very* tired today. Poor girl. She was seriously on a mission the second half of that trek! Was def the pro of the group :)

The Easter Bunny came to the barn. Thought that was pretty cute. Carrots and chocolate :)

And on that note, I've got to run or I'll never get done everything in time for spin class. Cya

Happy Easter!!!

I figured with my other site being all blue, it was time for this to be a different colour :) hahaha

*Amazing* hack along the rail trail today :) Woohoo! N after trailer-training yesterday Sienna just walked right on :)

Gotta run. Hope the bunny was good to you!

Somedays it's all worth it!

So my horse was a pro-star today. Couldn't believe how good she was. After the minor-meltdown yesterday in response to being asked to actually consider engaging her hind quarters (something she clearly feels is *not* in her contract) today it was like she'd been doing it for decades. Not that I asked for much of course -- was supposed to be a relax and play day because I figured she'd be feeling yesterday's workout, but soft and responsive on the flat and an absolute superstar jumping. She actually did a course. At canter. Even on the right lead. With related distances. Cavelleti sized of course, but I was still super impressed.

hahaha just had to share :) And for the record, this is the first post that I wrote for GRS and then copied over here rather than the other way around :) hahaha

Don't wait for your ship to come in - swim out to it.

Ok so I woke up this morning feeling all sorts of new muscles... Why? Swimming! hahaha seriously. I'm phenomenally bad at it, but I am enjoying it and it's a workout n a half :) Yesterday was the first time I tried it w/ goggles -- wow. Haven't been able to see clearly in a pool since I was like 10. Was actually kinda disconcerting at times -- n then I had to laugh at myself for finding it so. Anyways -- since I could actually put my face in the water w/o coming up blind each time, I could focus a little more on form/style/etc. N while I was going, I could hold my own in the "medium" lane -- hahaha you have to understand, last week I couldn't even manage the turtle lane so this is huge progress -- the issue is that I could only maintain that for all of one lap. By the second lap I'd have to go back in the slow lane (not that I ever really left -- just made a mental leap over the dividing line when I noticed I was passing those people -- ah the competitive side shines through again). Def need to figure out the whole breathing rhythm thing though. Wow. It's exhausting when you do that wrong (who'da thunk it eh?) Once I figure that out I suspect (hope!) my endurance will increase exponentially. Cause really one lap and a half is pretty sad :( Particularly for she who considers herself reasonably fit. Was thoroughly impressed by the couple guys in the fast lane who def didn't belong w/ the rest of the "recreational swimmers" in the pool. hahaha Maybe by *next* winter. Or next decade >;-P We'll see.

So I was entertaining my spinning instructor the other day -- doing a nasty hill climb and she announced the need for more resistance, which was, naturally, met w/ good-natured groans of dismay. To which she laughs and says "yeah, well I know Lauren will be smiling -- she can't help herself." hahaha done in *again* by smiling when I'm so far beyond challenged there's no point. She comes up to me afterwards and tells me that in all the years she's been doing this she's only ever known one other person who smiles when their spinning. hahaha BUT that means I'm not alone!!! Woohoo :) When I had a trainer @ the gym he was often amused by the same tendency. I think it's really the whole "laugh or cry" thing -- n I have a much better chance @ surviving if I pick laugh! That or I'm actually just insane, n w/in a few years I'll be wandering the streets of Toronto singing my happy song all to myself. hmmmm >;-P Ah well -- normal's boring :)

Went on a road-trip @ work again the other day. To EarthRangers. This'd be a kewl place to work -- the idea is ecologically responsible/sustainable/etc etc etc. But in w/ all the special heating/lighting/design etc are animals. Real ones. A little disturbing that the first I noticed was a rather large snake (I do *not* do well with snakes). But they also have several very impressive birds (falcon, hawk, owl, etc) n a bunch of random critters (lemur, opossum, etc) and of course, the creepy crawlies (snakes... *shudder* big snakes.). Anyways the person we were there to meet w/ noticed my distraction after the meeting as we were leaving the building n I kept wandering over to the various animal areas -- he promised to arrange an animal tour the next time we're there :) hahaha it's an education centre (as you might expect) targeting everyone from 8 through highschool. Well I was amused anyways.

And as far as horse related goes -- Anna sent this to me and I had to share: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1168459/Pictured-The-hilarious-utterly-pointless-horses-hair-extensions.html
As the url suggests, it's utterly pointless -- but then sometimes the pointlessness of an exercise is the entire reason for doing it.

Ok and I would just like to state that I can't believe pointlessness is actually a word??? Sheesh.

Alright well off to work with me :)

Wasting time

Ok so I have nothing to blog about. Consider yourself forewarned. I'm sitting @ work -- about 12h now -- long done what I need to do for the day, but waiting for somebody *else* to finish their work so I can do the next piece. N in the meantime I'm stuck and killing time. Prob won't get to ride my horse (who's been beyond brilliant lately!) because of it. Blah. N, oh, it's snowing out. N I have friends on vacation in Mexico and the Carribean this week. You bet I'm jealous >;-P But I am glad they're having fun! It's always amazing when you go away just as the horrid weather hits. At least SOMEBODY gets to enjoy it!

So there is a TON of stuff I could be doing for my own website -- except, of course, I don't have it here to work on. Blah.

On the plus side -- I got Girl Guide cookies! Woohoo! Now this is even MORE decadent since my mum actually got me some cookies from somebody at work a couple weeks ago. But seriously, how can you say no to two smiling kids at the door? N really, when there're cookies involved, why would you want to?

Got offered a teaching job the other day. N even considered till I realized it's more than an hour away and I'd spend more time driving than teaching! hahaha but it was fun for a moment or two.

Ok well other person got to the point that I have something to do again so back to work with me. L8r

No hour is wasted that is spent on the back of a horse...

A friend of mine moved barns recently, so last night I went to watch her lesson w/ her new coach (who was amazing!) n as she also has a greenie they were doing exercises very similar to what Si needs to do (now don't get me wrong, her greenie is a superstar and way beyond where we are, but at least at a point that we could realistically get to). So I leave, in a great mood from hanging out w/ a friend I don't see often enough and having met some new interesting people and head to see my horse.

Now by this point it's a lot later than I usually ride so there's only one person there -- and she's legging her horse up to go TO the track. Now she's not doing anything wrong or obnoxious or anything; just going around and around and around in endless laps of the track at trot. No problem. But Si saw this -- I don't know *what* it was she saw cause the horse was just trotting -- maybe the jockey style riding? (way up high etc) -- but she went right back to track-mode. hahaha couldn't believe it. But she did settle quickly enough -- was never *quite* convinced she wasn't supposed to race, but didn't have a meltdown either. I was pretty happy @ that. It's amazing how the bar gets lowered for some horses eh? Not "she did amazing things" just "woohoo she didn't have a meltdown!" Ah well. Anyways -- after watching the other lesson I was all inspired so poor Miss Si had to actually work *g* Had to grow up @ some point eh? Well let me tell you, we worked and worked and worked, and by the end we had half-halts in the canter (you have NO idea how excited I was at this -- we're still way downhill, but at least for a stride I can get her butt under her), jumps on a *straight* line -- even if that line was an angle, and both trot and canter poles. Now our "jump" was all of 1'. Literally *sigh* The kind of baby X where even the sides of the X are low *g* hahaha but that's not the point! The point is she did it, w/o the hesitation phase, in both trot and canter, every time! N of course all this was in like half an hour since that's all she's fit enough for @ the moment.

So many of my students are familiar w/ the "wheel of death" exercise -- one (or sometimes two) jumps on a circle that you go around and around and around until it's well... perfect :) Easy right? Then you do it again. hahaha But today I met a new wheel-of-death in, of all places, the office. Yes that's right -- it's the Mac version of the blue-screen-of-death. The pretty little multi-coloured wheel just kept spinning and spinning and spinning and succeeded in completely monopolizing my machine until I gave up and unplugged it. Sheesh

Is it sad that I can't wait till Si is ready to tackle the wheel??? hahaha Perhaps we should master the 20m circle first eh?

Had a great suggestion for the quotes at the top of my new website (which, btw, is www.graduateridingschool.com if you're interested) so will prob be spending the wknd making that happen. hahaha ah well.

Ok off for now. Soooooo glad it's Friday!

If you haven't found something strange during the day, it hasn't been much of a day. <-- Kellett

So my little superstar has been a bit of a chestnut mare lately. Carried a dressage whip for the first time yesterday. Didn't use it of course, but just the fact that I can carry it now is HUGE -- when I first got here even anybody ELSE carrying a crop of any sort was enough to send her spinny. Now she was aware of it, but she let me pat her all over with it while I was sitting on her and didn't have a meltdown so I was pretty excited about that. N in a strange twist of events, it turns out Miss Sienna is *significantly* more confident jumping out of a canter than a trot -- the only problem, of course, being that she doesn't have the strength to do that. hahaha ah well, now @ least I have hopes :) All we need to do is build up her flat work till she *does* have the strength to maintain the canter and we'll be set :) woohoo! It's amazing how such a tiny glimmer of something good can entirely re-vitalize my dedication. hahaha

So I've bought swim goggles -- the idea is to try swimming again tonight. Or it was. Until my boss returned from France bearing croissants (yeah I def had to spellcheck that) and chocolate covered almonds. mmmmmm Now I just might *sink* if I try to go swimming! hahaha yikes. My last attempt was seriously disappointing, but I put at least part of that down to losing my contacts every time I put my face in the water! That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Of course I have no idea if the goggles actually *fit*. That's what happens when you buy them off the shelf. But we'll see.

Still pretty excited about the new website. It would be up by now if I didn't have this whole day-job going on. hahaha the nerve of work to interrupt life. Sheesh. Soon soon soon! Today's little addition was *finally* making the favicon work (amazing what a difference a simple \ can make! Sheesh). hahaha ok so it's an entirely minor detail, but it was annoying me that it didn't work.

Ok well back to work with me.