Here there be dragons...

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

Back to Basics

Yeah so this is definitely a GRS blog post that is being written here cause I'm on such a high from my lesson I don't have anything else to write about!

Was seriously the most amazing lesson ever today. For the rider that is, not the horse. Reminded me of my first lesson ever w/ Marg :) hahaha I was pretty impressed by that one too. So first of all, I was thrilled to discover Sienna was sound when I got there today. Stunned (my backup plan was to borrow a student's horse, and I def had her groomed and ready to go too in case I had to make a quick change! Just as well I didn't though cause she had an amazing lightbulb ride herself! Woohoo!) Anyways back to my story. She can write her own >;-P C lunged sound so I got on, fully expecting to feel what I couldn't see... But no -- she felt sound. Which of course left me doubting my judgement -- but honestly I'm usually pretty good at feeling that and tend to be far more likely to deem a sound horse unsound than the reverse. So I trusted myself and kept riding and when my coach got there the first thing I said was something about "question of the day -- is she sound?" I *might've* said hi first, but hey - he's a horse person, he gets it. Says yes she looks sound, why does she feel off? Nope -- feels fine, I just expected her to be off cause she got kicked on Tues and has been off since. hahaha

So decision is promptly made that lesson will focus on the rider rather than the horse. Last lesson also at least involved the rider (as in he told me when I was doing something dumb and I tried to fix it) but significantly more horse (things like rhythm, balance, bend etc... All those fun details :). This lesson -- well let's put it this way: I rode for an hour and we never made it past the trot. hahahaha We *did* jump -- but even that was in the trot!

We start at the halt where my position got thoroughly shredded and very carefully put back together. N of course I just laugh when I hear "well this is very good but . . . " cause of course that's my standard line :) Eventually after much stretching and repositioning we graduated to the walk (C was loving this lesson "so, I just hang out here and you guys chat huh? Ok..." Just like w/ Zel -- amazingly well behaved when they realize being quiet means not being asked to work. Like a child who doesn't want their parent to realize they're up past their bedtime!) Gotta admit though -- the walk we got was brilliant. Eventually graduated to the trot. Wasn't pretty -- but def fell under the whole 'break a few eggs to make a cake' analogy cause I could feel the difference! N when it clicked, even for a second, it was pretty amazing. Seriously though -- trying to do dressage in XC saddle -- way less than good! However -- he managed to fix leg, shoulder, elbow, pelvis position all in one go. (yeah when I said take it all apart and put it back together again, I meant *all* :) Was the first time in a looonnnggg time that my little brain was absolutely spinning trying to remember everything I was supposed to be doing at once!

The other thing I really liked is that even w/o the crazy positional corrections he asks questions that actually make me think. Where being able to rhyme off the standard text-book answer isn't going to cut it. And that, as much as anything, will help improve both my riding and my teaching. And I'm pretty excited about that :)

When it came to jumping we were just doing a single fence w/ placing poles on takeoff and landing. Focus on "let baby figure it out" and "fix rider's position" -- to the millimeter. It was amazing. HUGE difference. Now I just need that every day for the next 6 mths and I'll be set >;-P hahaha ah well have to settle for the once/wk and "coach yourself" versions. Did get invited to crash the XC school next week so definitely booked that off work *g* hahaha priorities eh? Fingers crossed the weather holds!

Ok enough of that -- off to teach now :)

Completely Useless Knowledge for Today

Edward Bear is the real name of Winnie the Pooh.

There now -- don't you feel better for knowing that?

The best kind of alarm clock is the purring kind. ~Alexis F. Hope

So my cat earned his breakfast this morning :) Not *only* can he tell time, he knows and understands about snooze alarms. He gets that the first time that strange box starts making noise is *not* the appropriate time to try and wake me up. But what impressed me is that when I accidently hit *off* instead of *snooze* he woke me up at exactly the time the snooze alarm would have w/ an appropriately timed meow. hahaha n yes I realize this only worked cause he hadn't been fed yet but still. I was thoroughly impressed. N I got into work on time too. Best alarm clock ever :)

So I have to say, I bitterly resent weather headaches. Not only is it miserable out, but has to make it that much worse with incessant pounding is just not right at all :( Usually I find they go away once the storm actually hits -- but yesterday there was no storm to clear the air. Horrid. Pounding didn't end till like 9:30. Booooo. Today's miserable out too but obviously no storm coming cause my head's (thankfully) not pounding.

Yesterday I was supposed to take Sienna and a student's horse to Glen Arden to school their stadium course in their very nice arena.... But when I got to the barn, it was to discover Sienna had been kicked and was definitely not sound. Boooo again. So load up student's horse -- txt other students whose horses are between our barn and GA and say "whoever answers first gets to come". hahaha ended up taking Nea and Rye (of Gorstella fame). Awesome job. Students were a little frazzled having not jumped actual courses since *last* summer. hahaha but other than that the world was good. Nea, for whom everything is a first -- got braver and braver as she went along! Superstar. By the end even the corner jump was no problem at all. Woohoo! 2 in a row, gates, flowers, everything :) All no problem. And for Rye, this was a great game! He was having more fun than his rider anticipated *g* But once she learns how to apply the infamous half-halt* she'll be set. Even navigated the very scary chevron. Woohoo! Overall not half bad :)

*A half-halt? What's that? "The half-halt is a hardly visible, almost simultaneous co-ordinated action of the seat, the legs and the hand of the rider, with the object of increasing the attention and balance of the horse before the execution of several movements or transitions to lesser or higher paces. In shifting slightly more weight onto the horse's quarters, the engagement of the hind legs and the balance on the haunches are facilitated, for the benefit of the lightness of the forehand and the horse's balance as a whole." hahaha no problem! Sheesh when that's how the FEI defines things it's no wonder people get frazzled by it! The most complex and yet often most subtle of movements and by far the most powerful aid available to the rider. And one that's almost never well taught and that DQs make very scary by definitions like the one above! Really people -- it's half a halt. That's all there is to it. The only trick is that it has to be half of a *good* halt (ie balanced!) not just a cliff-stop. (as in oh-my-god-we're-going-off-a-cliff-STOP!) hahaha I'm afraid it's one of those things that falls into the "simple but not easy" category. And since people really have trouble accepting simple-but-not-easy they take the simple out and make it exceptionally complicated; then their egos are less bruised by the fact that they can't do it. hahaha psyc101 eh?

On a completely different note -- at work I'm searching for trivia questions for "Canadian Music Hall of Fame" (yes I have the most random job in the world -- but some days it's rather entertaining). Anyways -- if anybody knows where I can get (purchase even) some of these would be hugely appreciated! And if you have an interest in Canadian Music and feel like creating some trivia for us it'd be more than welcome :)

Gotta run!

XC Weekend -- the best type there is :)

So GRS riders spent the weekend schooling XC. Hahaha and what fun it was!!!! And of course lends to lots of blogable material :) Stories on GRS blog. Pics as soon as I have a few mins @ home!


So who else is amused that "Sienna's first jump school" came *after* "Sienna's first XC school"? AND for that matter, after her first SHOW. hahaha if that's not a classic Laur move I don't know what is :)

For the curious, thoughts on the Caledon Clinic are on the GRS blog. Since that's entirely coaching related I'm not reposting here...

N I would just like to announce that they fixed the AC! Woohoo. At least for the moment. They've *fixed* it twice before, so I'm not holding my breath, but right this min it's all good :)

Fun and games XC this wknd. Hope the weather holds!

Sienna's first jump school

I'm usually pretty impressed by the dedicated people I see running through High Park in the mornings -- but have to admit the one I saw today who was smoking *while* he was running just made me laugh. There was just something so wrong w/ that.

Alright so... Had a jump school at 8am this morn (once again grateful for an awesome boss who's kewl w/ the whole flexible schedule thing hahaha "ummm my jump coach says this is the only time he can teach me, can I come in 3h late?" Sure. :)

So anyway -- tack up while Sienna's munching her hay and then take thoroughly annoyed horse out to the sandring to w/u. "Ummm HELLO?!?!? It's Breakfast time. Did you miss the memo??? Sheesh." Fortunately after a few disgruntled calls to her friends still in the barn, C settled down to the whole work concept. Warm-up went reasonably well -- helps that she was at least a little tired from the last few days (finally!) Just as I was starting to wonder if my coach was going to arrive, I lost C's attention rather dramatically -- sure enough, coach had just walked into the ring n I was totally oblivious :) Says to me "I was watching you warmup while I was stuck in traffic over there" hahaha gotta love being on a main road eh?

One of the first comments "so she's really skinny..." *sigh* gave the background n then things were ok. Yes I know she's skinny, I'm doing everything I can to fix that. Man I wish *I* had that problem!!!! >;-P Anyways - HAVE to get more weight on her but running out of ideas.... Suggestions??? Currently on F&F, Finishing Touch, Oil, BeatPulp, hay cubes, grass, and all the hay she can eat (which is basically all day). Any one of those items should fatten her up, yet still *sigh* She's been thoroughly wormed and her teeth are fine. She IS still gaining, so I guess it's just a process...

Lesson was very much split half and half between flat and jumping. Totally kewl w/ that. What I was very impressed by was that the flat was *dressage* -- as in long leg, get her back up, bend, straight, solid through transitions, etc etc etc. As opposed to w/t/c around the ring to w/u muscles to jump. It was very much a lesson in itself. AND even better -- it was a lesson that followed very much along the same basic things my DQ coach focuses on. Can't remember the last time I had a j coach and a dr coach who actually agree w/ each other! hahaha not exactly the same of course, n obviously not as in-depth as in my actual dr lessons, but basic premise the same and, much to dr coach's amusement, jump coach says "you need to do more dressage to build her strength". hahaha yeah like I haven't been hearing that forever. N, for the record, we DO do dr fairly regularly. I may mutter about it *g* but it DOES happen. hahaha And again, focus on relaxation first (yeah! "without that you have nothing to work with") and from that rhythm, suppleness, contact (hmmmm any of this sounding familiar?). And very close attention to the million and one ways my horse can evade being straight. hahaha man I miss the mirrors! And yes I can feel it (C's not exactly subtle in her evasions!), but it's just so much easier to be able to see.

Anyways -- got some reasonable w/t transitions (they're starting to get more consistent), n while t/c *is* getting better, it's still in the "please don't watch this" stage of things. hahaha ah well -- have a month to fix that. No problem >;-P Really.

So then (now that as far as C's concerned she's finished her quota of work for the day!) we could begin jumping. 1 fence, np. 1 fence w/ a pole in front of it? Still np. Then the games began :) As we worked our way up to two and then three fences in a row -- w/ all sorts of poles in the middle and on landing. He feels the rushing/hollowness I was concerned about is entirely due to lack of strength -- which is why one fence at a time it's not a problem. Hard to put muscle on a too-skinny TB. Anyways -- jumping was some work on my own position and mostly just letting her figure it out. Obviously she's never seen anything like this in her life, but he built it up slowly so it was all good. Some hesitation at times but she gave everything a good shot. Had a tired pony by the end of it! Coach tried to give her a mint and she wouldn't have anything to do w/ it *g* Very poor PR Miss C! hahaha "awwww she doesn't like me." Sheesh. ah well. I do know she doesn't like those kind of mints though -- yes I *would* have a horse who differentiates between what kind of mints she eats! Chestnut TB mare remember? >;-P

Anyways -- basic assessment was horse has good natural movement, albeit a little "TB-downhill" but workable. Great attitude and work ethic. No strength and underweight (no surprise w/ either of those). Good basic form over fences but no real idea of where to put her legs *g* hahaha so there is hope :) Not too bad for my 1$ pony eh?

Down side to starting work late is *ending* work late. The afternoon is just dragging on and on and on :( Boooo Ah well -- such is life.

Killing 30 seconds

So the wheel of death, hoofprint game, and random speedbumps did their job. Pony jumped around beautifully afterwards.

Loving summer! Hating that the air con doesn't work @ work. Brutal. If I'm going to be hot, I'd just assume be outside!

Fun lesson teaching last night. Hopefully even better tonight.

Def time to go ride!


In summer, the song sings itself. ~William Carlos Williams

First Sammy's run of the year yesterday! Woohoo :) That means it's summer :) From snowsuit to summer in one day -- not half bad.

Had a ride n a half yesterday. C (as I've been told I should spell Sienna's "short" name, since that's how I pronounce it :) was ummmm enthusiastic... Yeah that's the right word. Not even really high or spinny just *really* wanted to run... N if running included flying over a few fences, so much the better! Rode, and I mean *rode* for an hour n a quarter. Normal 20 min w/u but then pretty well all the rest wavered between extended-canter and hand-gallop which would be fine on XC -- less good in the stad ring. She was jumping a little hollow which concerns me since she's never been caught in the mouth so there's no reason for it, but I think it's prob cause she was going so freakin fast! When I finally got her back to a nice show jump canter and could keep her balanced, she jumped properly. I figure that means there's hope. Will be lots of poles and possibly a wheel of death involved in today's exercises in hopes of reestablishing some basics b4 our jump school on Fri.

On the plus side -- she did her first in-and-out. And while it wasn't entirely graceful, she did accomplish it and wasn't toooooo frazzled by it.

On the down side -- I rode all winter w/ Denny and was never sore the next day. ONE serious ride on Sienna toasted me entirely. N the longer I sit at my desk the more stiff I'm getting. Clearly need to go muck some stalls or something.

GRS XC schools @ Gorstella on Sat am and Checkmate on Sun pm; if anybody has any interest in joining in, let me know!

Another ROM field trip @ work this morn :) Always fun. N learned some kewl photoshop tricks from my boss that will I'm sure be put to good use this summer *g* Down side to the field trip is being outside, seeing how amazing it is out and having to come back IN. Boooo on that!

Superstar Sienna

So the short version – Kerri and I took Sienna to her first show today. In the torrential rain. She was an absolute superstar! :) Couldn’t’ve asked for anything more! Ended up coming second – not half bad eh? Hahaha For the longer version of that story (read: small novel) check out the GRS Blog. (oh comeon, you had to know that was coming)

Zelli was also there – riding immediately before us. That was an emotional swing. On the one hand I was glad she was being so good for her very novice rider (his first show *ever*) on the other hand, man I miss that horse. She just has so much personality. Ah well – time to move on right? Was good to see her taking care of him though. Did stop and chat w/ them for a while – super-nice people.

Anyways – I’m zonked. Off to dream Rolex dreams (hmmm not *that* big a step from pre-entry surely???) Night!

Change is good :)

So new layout again :) I don't like it nearly as much as I liked the tree one. *Really* liked the trees. But I couldn't make the date stamp work there, and Jen found it hard to read *g* Not @ all sure this one will be any easier to read, but at least it has the date stamp!

There are a few things I don't care for w/ this one (omg is working at a design firm rubbing off on me??? :) so I can't imagine it'll stay for long, but it'll do in the interim.

Let me know what you think!

“Adults are always asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up because they're looking for ideas”

So took Miss Si for a dressage lesson yesterday. First time to M's farm and *windy*. Like hurricane windy except bright and sunny out :) Took her off the trailer and she was bouncing. So we went to graze for a bit (amazing how food can take the edge off :) and even then it was nibble-nibble GIRAFFE nibble-nibble GIRAFFE hahaha. Tacking her up was an adventure and a half. Wind was so strong I was having a nightmare of a time getting the saddle pads organized, and then once I was set, getting them on the spinning horse (cause on driveway now, no grass) was another challenge. hahaha eventually basically just plopped it all on however and then manipulated the pads etc w/ the aid of the saddle weight holding them in place.

There was a lesson going on in the indoor that I didn't want to bring Si into in spinny mode so we lunged in the outdoor ring for a bit first. Well "lunge" in the run-around-in-circles sense of the word. On the plus side, she couldn't care less about the white-fence-of-doom. On the down side, the judge's platform (not actually a 'booth' in this ring, but same general concept) was clearly housing demons. Could be that we ride our test on Sat in the 10x30 ring in an attempt to avoid either a - jumping OUT of the ring, and b - the scary judges. hahaha but we shall see :)

Anyways when I finally got her to the point that she was both a -- properly tacked up and b - calm enough to trot we went into the ring. The ring that has giant mirrors along the short side. hahaha gotta admit I LOVE those mirrors. Insta-position fix. Or "oh god I just can't watch" as the case may be :) It was interesting to see just how contorted my little horse could make herself to avoid going straight. Kinda impressive really. Right back to story -- meeting the mirrors was pathetically undramatic. She grew a little and looked but it didn't even rate a snort. hahaha ah well. The fact that the pony trotting around clearly couldn't care less probably helped :) Lunged her in a half-hearted fashion "just-in-case" and she just trotted around on speed. Very ADD but not bad. N I know from experience this doesn't go away on the lunge line so got on her. And she walked. WOOHOO! Months of tediously boring *always* walk when I get on seems to be paying off. It was the kind of walk I'd *like* to get in the dressage ring. hahaha if only I could get it w/o tension.

Trotting around at the start was ummmm well the word "inattentive" was used *g* Mostly we were back on the track. Turn the short end see the LOOONNGGG path the the other end and GO! hahaha but, in her defense, she did keep it to a trot so significant improvement over a few mths ago. Ignored the big mirrors at the end but felt the need to check herself out in the short side mirror every time. hahaha classic.

Got the "Don't let her be a baby" lecture which I've certainly heard before and was entirely warranted. Cause sure enough, while green, she's NOT a baby. She was not shying at anything or particularly concerned, just high. So why shouldn't she work? This is a big part of why I go for lessons :) So somebody can remind me not to be an idiot. Sure enough very quickly after *I* smartened up and actually asked her to do something, she settled and worked really well. Mental note made. Right up there with "ride the horse you *want* to have".

hahaha at one point we were just using one end of the ring n M made some comment about how circles don't traditionally have corners (can just see her rolling her eyes -- eventers *sigh* -- hahaha she's remarkably tolerant w/ us :) when it occurs to me that while I was just hovering at one end of the ring, she was actually expecting me to be circling. oops :) Something got lost in the DQ=Eventer translation. Gotta admit I forgot that a couple more times throughout the lesson, but in general I did make an effort to actually ride a circle as opposed to just "stay at this end". N we only crashed into the wall once. >;-P Yeah, that wasn't one of our better moments. *rolling eyes*

In general though Miss Si was great. She tried really hard. Our transitions are still ummmm a *little* dodgy hahaha as in "please don't watch this" (I'm pretty sure I actually said that :) but it will get better. W/T was coming by the end. T/C still pretty iffy. hahaha ah well - just 2 marks right? I personally was thrilled just to have the right lead -- but again, part of why I go to said lessons (and esp jump lessons); I need the outside view of what she *should* be doing. Something being good "for her" is not good enough anymore -- we're at the point where it has to just be good. No qualifications. But I still mentally see the spinny, starving, OTTB of 6 mths ago and so am ecstatic about almost everything.

Have to admit, much as I absolutely loved riding M's superstar horse the last time I took a lesson there, this one was a whole lot more challenging. N therefore entertaining :)

Alright -- now to take the better parts of the lesson and apply them this wkdn. hahaha sure, np.

I'd rather be riding!

Nothing is more frustrating than being bored when you have a million and one things you could and should be doing. Ugh.

Ok end of rant.

So my jump lesson tomorrow got cancelled. Booo. But such is life -- and prob so much the better as it'll give me time to do things like, oh I don't know, braid *g* Perhaps even clean my tack? Maybe properly groom my horse? hahaha sure. And there was a huge pot of gold at the end of that double-rainbow too. No more likely is I'll sub an extra lesson in there, find out my start times are first thing Sat AM, and generally arrive at the show in an end-of-season level of "it'll do". But we'll see. I can also totally picture Sienna being the type to take out all her braids overnight, so may have to redo them in the am anyways.

Anyone want to place bets on how long it's going to take me to get to Guelph @ rush hour, pulling a horse trailer today? hahaha have to be there by 6... What are the odds?

Ugh I am so bored right this moment. Doesn't help that my internet connection is basically non-existent so no FB, no banking, no researching, can't even see what the weather's supposed to be this wknd! Very weird though cause about the *only* site I can get on is blogger. Not sure what that's all about but may as well take advantage of it!

First GraduateRidingSchool XC school next Sunday :) Woohoo! Still confirming location, but will be one of two good locations :) If you want to come and haven't let me know yet pls do so soon! Weather permitting, we'll probably be going out the Sunday after that as well. Tentative list of future dates on the GRS blog.

Ok off for now. Only half hour left to kill!


There'll be lots of time to sleep when I'm dead...

Time to update the blog eh? Too busy *living* to update the blog! hahaha GRS is just about to the point where I won't be able to accept any more students -- how hard is that to turn down work for a business you desperately want to grow??? I am insanely busy, but loving it. The only catch is finding time for stupid things -- like taking my car in for service or getting somebody to turn the Beast's check engine light off!

hmmm is it a bad sign when your project management software rejects the project manager? Methinks this is not so good. Argh. Everybody can get in but me! hahaha and yet amusing at the same time.

For some reason today any site that has multiple images is simply not loading. Do you have any idea how useless the internet is w/o images? Sheesh. This after they "fixed" our connection yesterday. Blah. I thought maybe FB had just been blocked, but no it's everything... Ah well.

So got on a student's horse last night and was quite pleasantly surprised to discover it's a much nicer horse than one would think on first glance :) hahaha going to be a fun summer after all :)

Been planning the summer schedule -- should I be concerned that I have something on literally every single day between now and Oct? I could possibly sched a wk off in Aug -- might have to do that for the sake of my sanity! hahaha Took a note from Paula and colour-coded said schedule -- it's very pretty now *g* And somehow less scary that way :)

Sienna's been a superstar lately. First show on Sat -- X your fingers for us :) hahaha if we survive the w/u ring all should be well with the world! First jump lesson on Fri... Could also be interesting *g* We shall see. Gotta run!

2000 miles and one left turn...

So Bev and I headed out to VT for the wknd. Was a really nice trip... Fri drove down, went over to Tamarack to pick up everything I left there and chat w/ everybody for a bit. Good to see everybody. Somewhat disconcerting how nothing has changed -- I could've picked up as though I'd left yesterday no problem and yet it's so far removed from my life at the moment. Used to feel the same way coming home after uni -- everything was exactly as I left it . . . except me. Comforting in some ways, disconcerting in others. But such is life eh? Both Denny and May seemed pretty happy w/ the pics of Sienna, so that was good :)

Sat we went exploring. Great hike along Quechee gorge -- so peaceful. Perfect weather. Almost no other people. Really nice way to start the day :) The last time I went it was stunning w/ the leaves changing but there were hundreds of people there too. This time gorgeous in a different way and we had the whole thing to ourselves. Then we drove around a bit; dropped by a random gathering at Dartmouth College. hahaha I love the uni scene -- still haven't outgrown that.

The B&B we were staying @ was the same one I was @ once before, down the road from Denny's... Old farmhouse (property has apparently been in the family for 6 generations) that had a ton of character :) Spent part of the afternoon sitting out on the porch watching a rather large storm come in... Was pretty impressive. Even more impressive was the double rainbow after it!

Drive home was no too bad -- although I admit I slept large portions of the way, so def had the easy job! Only iffy thing was when Bev killed a poor, innocent, pillow with her mighty Murano. The victim of a tragic road-rage incident. The chicken and the turkey escaped, but the pillow... Well it just was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. We buried it with all due ceremony in the garbage at the next rest stop *g* hahaha otherwise, the return trip was rather uneventful.

So that's the short version cause, well, I have no time for a long version!

hahahha omg just had to share -- got off a call w/ a client repairing pieces of the world that fell apart while I was away on Fri, which he ended w/ "well you are queen of the universe after all" hahaha sorry Bev -- apparently I stole your title. Love it :)

Be yourself. Everyone else is taken!

A friend sent me this in an E and I thought it was worth reposting...

The following is the philosophy of Charles Schulz, the creator of the 'Peanuts' comic strip.

You don't have to actually answer the questions. Just read straight through and you'll get the point.

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.

4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.

5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.

6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.

2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.

3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.


The lesson:

The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials. The most money ... or the most awards. They simply are the ones who care the most.

Show Names?

So looking @ some of the pics of Sienna jumping XC (, it was recommended to me that her show name should be "Hang Time" hahaha and while I agree theoretically, I just didn't really like it for her... But then I was thinking -- how bout "Just Hanging Out"? She's super chilled, so more often than not applies, n really, why shouldn't one "hang out" three feet above the fence??? hahaha so that's what I'm thinking for the moment. Other thoughts? Suggestions? Got some time before we have to decide (she's just going to be "Sienna" at Foggy River) but I'd like a name for whenever the first HT is...

Was thoroughly impressed by a student's attitude towards riding the other day, so figured I'd share :) She was mounted on a very athletic and exuberant horse who spent a good portion of it bouncing around the ring. When she eventually got a nice, civilized trot all the way around the ring, we called it a day. Now anybody who's dealt w/ babies or really high horses will understand entirely how "baby steps" can lead to a renegotiation of where the bar is set (how thrilled was I the first time Sienna *walked* around the ring?!?! :) Back to that whole Plan A, B, W thing... But this rider hasn't done a lot of that -- she's ridden spinny before but not quite baby-step level. So at the end of the ride she's cooling her horse out and says to me (still in a good mood) "well, if trotting around the ring is good just think of how far we can go!" N it just totally struck me -- not how far we HAVE to go as in "ugh when can we get to something fun?" but how far we CAN go as in "this could be an entertaining challenge, and each baby step counts." And who knows, I may've misheard or made that up entirely -- but I liked what I imagined so figured I'd pass it on :) Must remember that while Si and I are doing PE! It's not the destination but rather the journey eh? So therefore all the much better when you can see the journey may be a long one...

On a completely unrelated note -- came across this @ work today and thought it was sort of interesting (or @ least the first 2 paragraphs were :) so reposting: "My focus as an architect has always been to consider what I’ve called the “software” of space (sounds, smell, light, temperature, electromagnetic fields, social relationships, etc.) rather than the “hardware” (floors, walls, roof, etc.) as it has traditionally been considered. The image (below) really sums up why I think this is important. It’s the same piglets, in the same box, but on the right hand side the temperature has been increased. This small change in how the space is “programmed” has dramatically changed the way the ‘inhabitants’ relate to each other and how they relate to their space. This approach to architecture became my challenge: how to translate such strategies into the general architectural discourse and how to bring into reality such possibilities for the construction industry."

Link to the rest of the article is

Never teach your horse something you want her to forget!

Sat went to school XC at Gorstella. My pony was a superstar. We only technically jumped one fence, but just for the get out, hack around, up and down hills, and through water, all with other people riding around -- she was amazing. And she did canter poles for the first time ever in the stad ring so that was good too (albeit a little dodgy, but she figured it out). We got fairly rained on though and eventually gave up and decided to go home for the day.

Fast-forward to Sunday when I had a lesson booked w/ Bob Holman @ Grandview. Invited Shannon to come along too so she could get her horse out to school before Will O Wind (and, realistically, cause it's way more fun w/ another person AND cause it helps for a greenbean to have a friend -- so really a triple win there :) N I have to say that while I'm not as fit as I'd like, it turns out I'm not nearly as unfit as I'd feared! hahaha calves are quite tight today and I laughed so hard my voice is shot, but other than that, no ill effects :)

Now doing the project management thing @ work, one of the things you're always supposed to do is recap a project with "Lessons Learned" -- so here are the Lessons Learned from yesterday:

- Stirrups usually remain where you left them -- and if you left them perpendicular to the ground you still have a chance @ surviving!

- The 8 second rule applies in XC just as firmly as at the rodeo. We're recommending it replace the "penalty zones" of the past (who else misses those days??? :)

- Someday's Spot just doesn't want to be found. He's a trickly little beast and can hide w/ the best of them; alternately there are days when he's wearing a nametag, barking and jumping up and down and *still* isn't seen! Or worse -- is seen by one half of the pair and not the other! hahaha At which point he generally goes off for a walk, tired of being ignored -- when you get to this point, it's time to move on to another fence.

- You can get a lot of thinking done when you're hanging out 3' above the fence you're supposed to be jumping.

- Never teach your horse something you want them to forget.

- Horse shows are a BLAST when you go with a couple good friends and no responsibility.

This is the summary of yesterday's XC school. For the novel version check out the GRS blog! hahaha there will be pics up once I get the rest of them from Shannon.

From one of the women at the show yesterday: "you really need to get your own farm." hahaha yes, yes I do. Am sort of amused that other people are picking up on that now too though! Where is that winning lottery ticket when I need it eh? Will admit I had *almost* as much fun hanging out at the show yesterday chatting w/ everybody who I haven't seen since LAST show season as I did on XC. Almost. It really was fun to get caught up on all the winter gossip though :) Esp being there with absolutely no pressure. Only had one student with me and she was helping and taking pics so really, making life significantly easier rather than work :) Did have to laugh though -- there were people circulating a petition and they were talking to Shan and Steph so I of course wandered over to be nosy -- which, of course, wanting more names this person was more than happy to have me listen in on what they were talking about n asks me to sign before doing a double take with "oh, are you 18?" hahahahhaha LOVE it. Particularly love it as I don't think they even asked Stephy who IS still 18 (if only for a couple days :) Classic. Somehow though when you're flattered that they ask, people backpedal really quickly *g*

They're replacing one of the rather large windows @ work today -- so definitely watching that out of the corner of my eye. hahaha the things I get to learn on this job :) hahaha at Marg's I had like a million job titles that all merged into one job -- here I have one title that encompasses a hundred different jobs :) It's an interesting change.

I'm starving. Off in search of food! Cheers :)

“There cannot be a crisis today; my schedule is already full” -- Henry Kissinger

So it turns out I actually really like scheduling things. I'm such a geek >;-P

But seriously it's one of the more entertaining aspects of my job -- both of them. How to fit in all the pieces, in the right order, in a reasonable amount of time -- particularly challenging when you don't HAVE all the pieces or enough time. hahaha For GRS it's how to fit in all the lessons and the shows and the schooling sessions, and preferably all at times when people can actually get to them AND when I don't have to be at my other job. Tricky. And of course how to reschedule things when the weather gods get snarky. hahaha Life's not a box of chocolates; it's a giant puzzle. And some people play w/ more pieces than others *g*

hahaha I remember when I was doing my coaching prereqs one of the things I was supposed to be evaluated on was my ability to have and implement "Plan B" -- and how hard I laughed when I saw that. Plan B (or C or D or W) is all that *ever* gets implemented! hahahaha I can only dream of the day when I go to teach a lesson and the stars actually align well enough that I can teach the lesson I intended. Private lessons occasionally get to do plan A, but group lessons? Yeah right. Plan to teach a particular course, and then get there and discover that one person's horse wants absolutely nothing to do w/ fence 3; another rider can't for the life of her ride a 15m right circle (so that roll-back is simply *not* going to happen); while a third pair has no breaks. All of a sudden the lesson becomes restructured to flat work -- let's learn to turn and stop before we jump shall we? and how to train scared/confused/difficult horse to go over what he's pointed at. This SAME group might've been perfectly ready for this challenge yesterday (hence why it was Plan A) but simply *because* it was Plan A it's guaranteed not to be appropriate today. And honestly, it doesn't matter *how* simple you make it, Murphy says Plan A never happens. I remember a beginner lesson (w/t/indivd canter) for which the planned topic was walk/halt transitions (it really doesn't get any easier than that) being entirely destroyed by an unintentional dismount (oops) that led to a mental meltdown that restructured the lesson into getting on and eventually walking unassisted. We never *did* get to the walk/halt transition that day. The trick is to make sure that while Plan A is guaranteed to help the student reach goal in intended amount of time, so do plans B C and M. Cause really, they're the ones you're going to be using :)

Ok back to my scheduling games now. Wish me luck :)