Here there be dragons...

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

Green on green prepares to bring home red...

So I taught one of those lessons last week that leaves you stunned, thinking “I can’t believe I just saw that happen” even hours later. Now there’s two ways that can happen – stunned good and stunned bad. Fortunately for me I tend to experience the former more than the latter, but neither is common. This one was of the stunned good category. N I went home and emailed the story to a friend who I knew would get it, cause, well, some things have to be shared :) I thought about blogging it, but my school’s small enough right now that I couldn’t blur the details enough to protect the innocent so debated whether that was a good idea... Finally occurred to me to just ask relevant student (who I’m pretty sure still doesn’t have a clue how impressed I really was – although she might be getting one right about now ;) if I could write about her lesson n she was all for it.

Alright, so we all know that green on green is not generally a particularly good idea. Now in this case the combination of green horse – The Jackasaurus, who is the always tricky combination of both incredibly smart and very athletic. And green rider – his part boarder who is also very athletic, and only a pale shade of green... She’s right on that level I find so entertaining to teach – has the basics of w/t/c/jump down but comes from hunter world and has really very little concept of flat/dressage/seat/contact/etc. Not for lack of trying, but she’s only just at the point where she’s ready to learn it.

So usually in their lesson we do basic flat and basic jumping and it’s well within both their comfort zones so green on green is a non-issue. But it was “dressage day”. Oh my. Student has never so much as sat in a dressage saddle before, and I can count on my fingers the number of times Jack has been schooled properly. As I’m planning out my lesson, I’m thinking it’ll be more of an intro-to-position type lesson. How to sit, how to ride with the longer leg, proper balance, etc. Very necessary, very effective lesson that generally gets good results, but does not, in-fact, require anything that actually resembles dressage from the horse. Thereby easily eliminating one of the greens from the equation and putting us back in good-to-go status.

So we play that game for a while and student gets bounced around a bit trying to figure out how to sit. And Jack of course decides this is the perfect time to show off his power trot. Typical :) So I let them canter around for a bit to take a bit of the edge off and then went back to working the trot. So we do some work on rhythm, and a whole lot of bending, all the while working on that whole sitting idea when all of a sudden Jackasaurus became WarmbloodJack – my “beginner weight carrier draft” (yeah, that worked out real well) is suddenly floating around the ring, totally through and connected and powering from behind in this A circuit dressage worthy wb trot. And green on green is off to the Olympics. Hahaha yeah ok so that’s a *slight* exaggeration, but at least they won’t be laughed out of the dressage ring at the horse trials. If they can pull that off in competition finishing on their dressage score should end them at the top of the pack.

Had a good laugh though because as anybody who’s ever taught a horse to come through before is aware, when they first start learning to carry themselves properly, they can’t multitask. Which means you have through and connected OR you have gas/breaks/steering. But rarely both at the same time. So she had this lovely walk happening and couldn’t for the life of her get him into a trot. I can honestly say that’s not something I’ve ever had to explain to a rider who’s just learning feel before. Usually it takes a made horse (at least ONE of the pair should know what they’re doing!) for a rider to learn that skill. N Mr Jack was trying his heart out and not understanding what ELSE she could *possibly* want from him.

It was really amazing to watch. And has me pretty excited for them for show season :)

It's just like flying a plane...

Alright so this week's lesson learned was how to use my ocd/workaholic tendencies to my advantage. hahaha.

So the background... I've been having real trouble finding time to ride my own horse - because, unfortunately, she's rather low priority, and by the time I get to her, I'm exhausted (I know every bo/bm out there is nodding along with this). So I had a lesson last week that was pretty disastrous, essentially because my horse had been ridden exactly once in the week preceding, 4 days earlier, and not by me. And she had no friends in the ring with her and it was early morning and she was feeling pretty good. Well let's just say control was ummmm negligible.

Now financially and time-wise, realistically my lessons should be put on hold for a while. But the thing is, I know way too many people who've burned out in this job precisely because they did exactly that. And stopped riding. And it became all work. And soon enough started resenting their clients. And so on and so forth. So knowing that the lessons are the only thing making sure I ride at least occasionally, I've kept them in. We'll use the business argument of improving my skills is good for business :) And the fact that I really enjoy them, which puts me in a good place to teach others also makes for a worthwhile expense. And it sometimes provides fodder for amusing blog posts :) Which is, of course, an entirely justifiable reason.

So lessons stay. But in order for the lessons to be useful, the horse has to be ridden essentially every day. And I wasn't about to have a repeat of last week's fiasco (my coach was very patient, but I'm not sure how long I'd get away with that...). But up till now, I either fill all day doing other stuff, or by the time I have time to ride, I'm too tired for her (I could hop on Apollo and have a good giggle, but Si I have to be a little more with it ;)

And here's how the ocd/workaholic comes into play. The work will get done, no matter how I'm feeling about the situation it's not in me to leave stalls undone or buckets filthy or arena unraked or horses not properly cared for. But it's easy enough for me to say "Sienna doesn't need to be ridden today, that can wait till tomorrow." So I changed the order around a bit. Horses get fed and turned-out and *then* Si gets ridden. Before stalls are done or barn is cleaned or anything else. Which, I have to say, is ridiculously hard to leave the barn a mess to go "play" when there's soooo much that has to be done. But now my pony's getting ridden every day and is much happier with life, and since I'm awake and energized when I do chores, they're actually getting done *faster*. Sweet bonus there! hahaha As in I'm done working at the same time every morning as I was before I started riding in the am, but now getting to ride too.

Don't know how long it'll last. And I definitely feel moderately guilty "sneaking out" to ride when the barn's not done yet. But for the moment it's a system that's working for me and both Sienna and I are happier with it sobeit -- just don't visit before noon and you'll never know the difference :)

That being said, lesson today and for the first time Sienna was her normal self alone in the ring. No spinniness or silliness. Only slightly higher than she is with friends (which is where I like her to be - w/ friends she's tooooo quiet :)

So my coach shows up and acknowledges that we're in a much better place than we were last week *g* Schools us on the flat for a bit (oh was Si ever not happy with him at one point *g* Let's just say there was lateral work, a wall, and a lunge whip involved...), however - the end of which my tiny totally downhill OTTB is floating around the ring uphill as though she were a giant wb. The most incredible trot I've ever had from her. Even coach had a slightly stunned look on his face. hahaha. We didn't get to canter in the flat portion of today's activities :) Quit while you're ahead type moment.

And then it's time to jump. And I explain the issues I've been dealing w/ this week (jumping out of a trot = hunter school pony. Jumping out of a canter = wingnut frantic ottb. Less of a good game). Ask if we can do some trot gymnastics or something (my theory being, she's approaching calmly in trot but then jumping fences out of a canter). "What, you just want to do easy stuff?" "Well, I want *her* to do easy stuff," I clarified... "you can make it as hard for me as you want. Wouldn't be the first time!" hahhaa so we had a good conversation about that as he's moving stuff around in decidedly not gymnastic fashion *sigh* - I should know better by now.

In the end we ended up working on the wheel of death with poles on each of the quarter tangent points. Trot and canter w/o losing our little brain. Now last summer Si was doing this with all jumps (including 2 bounces at one point) so this IS a huge step backwards. But last week cantering a 20m circle was a challenge, so compared to that it's good. N once a quiet rhythm was established, just playing w/ stride length and line (everywhere from 3-6 strides between the poles) etc. But mostly just reminding her over and over again that there's no need to run. So not terribly exciting and definitely not impressive, but really after the flat work what more do you want? >;-P

What amused me to no end today though were the analogies. I always feel that the stranger the analogy, the more likely it is to work. N I know I've thrown some rather unusual ones out there at people (squeaky toy?) in the past. N I've stolen some great ones from other clinicians too (love Pat's "sit on the couch and grab your glass of wine" for jumping position). So today was all about the mental aspects of riding. Riding is like playing cards - you have to work with the hand you're dealt, and each hand is different, but each hand can win. (this was as we were discussing Si's current mental state compared to where she was 6 mths ago. That horse is all about the mind - she can jump the moon, but keeping her brain between her ears is sometimes a challenge). Ok so fine, I can go along with that.

But the one that really made me laugh was when she's playing a little and he tells me to remember that riding is really like flying a plane. And I start to nod wisely like I entirely understand this, n then think wait a sec, I've never flown a plane. hahaha not that I wouldn't love to learn, but I kinda figure one exorbitantly expensive hobby is enough (haven't learned to sail for the same reason). So telling me to ride my horse the same way I would fly a plane is, well, somewhat less useful. N while I'm puzzling this all out and wondering if he's ever flown a plane, I get the second half of the statement -- "you may occasionally hit turbulence, and you need to ride it out and come through the other side safely and under control." Alright, I'll give him that one. But now every time for the next 6 mths or so that I'm sitting on a horse who decides to be a dork I'm going to be thinking "the captain has turned on the seatbelt sign. Please return to your seats and fasten your seatbelts." But hey, it'll make me laugh, which'll make me relax, which'll make me ride better. Which is essentially the whole point of lessons to begin with. No matter how it's accomplished *g*

So now I'm off to fly a plane :)

What day is it?

I was a little tired when I woke up this am, moving a little slowly. And my brain asked "is it Friday yet?" and answered itself with some calculations that "no, it's only Tuesday" and found myself disappointed. I'm sure we've all had this conversation with ourselves - but what made me laugh is how deeply ingrained it is. Because for me, now, the only advantage to Friday is that everybody *else* is in a better mood *g* My easiest day these days is Wednesday. That's the closest I come to a weekend, which means today IS, in effect, my version of Friday (sweet!)

hahaha did you follow that? Just amused me how ingrained the concept of Friday is...

So along with the days of the week holding no special significance, the world continues revolving entirely without me. hahaha now no surprise there obviously, but what was a surprise was how quickly I moved into my own little bubble without the rest of the world. That war between Iceland and Canada could *actually* break out and I'd be completely oblivious (well, until somebody posted it on Facebook!) But really, I'm at the barn all day every day. No tv, no newspaper. I'm sure there's news on the radio occasionally but I rarely catch it. It's a little disconcerting to have absolutely no idea what's going on in the world. So my home page has to become a newspaper so I at least see *some* news when I sign in :) That's my current solution.

And now, off to my bubble!

Scottish Sobrity Test

I'm sure somebody will be offended by this, but I found it amusing :)

A horsey moment...

So I think somebody told my horses about this morning's post...

They were all super-high when I turned them out this am. Ok, sobeit. But they settled to their round-bales quickly enough. But then about 2h later I came out and the four who are out together (Jack, Apollo, Nick and Sienna) were just tearing around. Sure enough - in exactly their style...

Sienna was showing off and being ridiculously athletic. Seriously impressive to watch. And motivating all the others to continue their games. Any time one would stop, she would goad them into joining in again.

Nick was nearly matching Sienna for athleticism, but doing so off in his own corner, away from all the others.

Jack was trying to play with Nick (who was ignoring him) and Sienna (who was encouraging him) but being unable to match their athleticism, made it more entertaining by doing things like jumping over the hay and u-turns in the shelter.

And Apollo (who, let's be honest, is more likely to sign up for chess club than the basketball team) cantered (that's the extent of his athleticism) gamely after them trying really hard to join the game. Then would stop and look at them all puzzled as they bucked or reared or spun or jumped and wait till they did something he understood again (like run in a straight line) and then join in all happy to be part of the group.

Then off next door we have Lissy who so very much wants to play with the big kids, doing a reasonable facsimile of Sienna and Nick's movements all on her own. Running her own circles when they did and doing the same acrobatics that they did - just in her own playground.

And Dixie? Dixie watched this all with a martyred expression before reminding them all "hey guys, we have HAY. Priorities!" They, of course, ignored her. So she stood and supervised, nibbling occasionally, but mostly just making sure nobody caused any real trouble.

I will admit, it kinda made my morning.

Carrot, egg or coffee?

Didn't write this and don't know who did, but thought it was sort of interesting...


A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and
how things were so hard for her She did not know how she was going to
make it and wanted to give up She was tired of fighting and struggling.
It seemed as soon as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with
water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the
first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last
she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without
saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished
the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and
placed them in a bowl.

Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning
to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me what you see."

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots.
She did and noted that they were soft.. The mother then asked the
daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she
observed the hard boiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The
daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked,
"What does it mean, mother?"

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the
same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. . The carrot went
in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the
boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile.
Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after
sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The
ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling
water, they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks
on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong,
but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes
with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup,
a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and
stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and
tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot
water, the very circumstance that brings the pain.. When the water gets
hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean,
when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation
around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest,
do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity?

Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

This time last year I was searching for a hot place to visit...

Brilliant but cruel advertising:

Current temp of -20 and a photo of beach and palm trees. And a price even I can afford? Effective cause if not for the farm, I'd be gone. Cruel because I know that and can't follow through on it. Yet *g*. In a couple years hopefully I'll get a warm escape. For now, I know I need those extra layers again this morning...

So as every horse person knows, all horses have their own personalities. But when you buy a bunch all at once, sometimes it takes a while to get the hang of them... I'm starting to get there now. How many of these types do you recognize?

Sienna - if you've been reading the blog for any length of time, you'll know this one already. She's the egotistical sports star. Super calm and athletic most of the time, but when something she doesn't like happens in her little world she'll have a complete drama-queen meltdown and never quite get over it. And really, she'd prefer it if everybody just stayed out of her bubble until she chooses to invite them in. She lives at the end of the barn so as to only have one horse beside her and is quite happy with that scenario. Even if it does mean she gets fed last (which she tells me every day is not acceptable!)

Jack - is the kid who was smarter than the teacher in every class and knew it. But not the geeky one, this is the one who was friends with everybody. The type of class clown who amuses the class because they're bored. Super smart, reasonably athletic, and very personable. That last trait has saved him more than once!

Dixie - is the much older sister. Everybody else is still in highschool and she's finished university and got a job she's good at. Been there, done that, handed down the t-shirt ages ago. When she doesn't like something she lets it be known, but in the professional manner of filing a report with management.

Lissy - wants to grow up to be Dixie. And would prefer never to be apart from her. Lissy is mentally the youngest of the group (although not in years) and really thinks her entire job should be to run and jump and play. She's the little kid who had too much sugar and *really* wants to play with the big kids. That being said, she has enough maturity to turn it off when her job is to look after a new rider -- for them she stands quietly and walks and jogs like a 30 yo school-pony.

Apollo - is by far the most personable of the group. He adores people, horses, cats, dogs, anything that enters his bubble, he wants to be friends with. He's the kid in class who was always bouncing with their hand in the air "pick me! pick me!" May not always have the right answer, but tries super hard and always wants reassurance that he's doing it right and somebody loves him.

Nick - is too cool for everything and everybody. He's the only horse I know who can roll his eyes. Knows his job and is very good at it - if the boss is watching. But if he doesn't have someone telling him what to do, he's going to do the least amount possible and even that with a big sigh so we all know what an effort he's making. Couldn't care less what the other kids are doing -- or even if they're there. Equally happy alone or with others, Nick is fully confident with who he is and what he's doing.

hahaha well that was fun procrastination, out to the cold I go now :)

The brits do technology

This made my morning :) Enjoy!

Morning babbling :)

Driving on the 401 is not fun at the best of times.
Driving on the 401 in rush hour traffic is worse.
Driving on the 401 in rush hour traffic after dark is still worse.
Driving on the 401 in rush hour traffic after dark when you're tired is... you got it - worse.
Driving on the 401 in rush hour traffic after dark when you're tired with snow/rain/freezing rain compounds the worseness factor.
Driving on the 401 in rush hour traffic after dark when you're tired with snow/rain/freezing rain while in the Beast and towing Murray -- definitely worse!
Driving on the 401 in rush hour traffic after dark when you're tired with snow/rain/freezing rain while in the Beast and towing Murray with a horse on board who does *not* want to be there and is big enough to make the both Beast AND Murray move a couple feet...

Well let's just say I was *very* relieved when we made it home. And credit to Murray for still being in one piece! McBride definitely makes sturdy trailers. The drive up was much easier - nice sunny weather, daylight, no traffic... Except I followed a snow plow for almost an HOUR at a whopping 20km/h. Was not amused at that :( Esp as there was no snow to plow (the road ahead looked very much like the road we were driving on and when they left there was no discernible difference other than speed!). I have great appreciation for them *when it's snowy!* but have to admit would rather not follow them when the driving is good. (I assume they were salting or something but still...) All in all, a ridiculously long day spent on the 401.

So yes I did pick up another horse :) For those who knew Moe, he's a clone :) Not in looks but in general life philosophy. BIG lazy tb who can do everything (experience list kinda like Dixie's) but takes some convincing. As he gets fit it should take slightly less convincing, but I think he'll always choose "slow" as his gait of choice. Feels like he'll be able to jump a reasonable amount though and certainly enjoys that part of things.

For those of you who had weight loss or get in shape as new year's resolutions - have I got the plan for you! hahaha all you need to do is open a farm! No problem. Also the solution for anybody who doesn't sleep well. Before this month I can't remember the last time I slept all the way through the night. Now... 5 mins after I lie down I'm out till about an hour after the alarm clock starts beeping. Oops. On the plus side - sweet! On the down side - mornings are still as hard as they've always been. Ah well. hahaha and all it took was total and complete physical exhaustion. I'm hoping I still get to sleep as well once things settle a bit and my body gets a little more used to its new regime...

Ok off to feed the ponies!

Winter Hacking

Ever scan through your junk-mail folder in hopes there might be something good in there that got overly filtered? It’s a smaller version of the moment before you find out the winning lottery numbers don’t match yours... Ok, random. I know. But I caught myself doing that today and it made me smile.

So Crisper, the little cat I adore so much that I kinda inherited the first day I moved in, has learned the bunkie’s heated. Hahaha yesterday he followed me in and was soooo comfy and sleepy when I went out to ride that I left him alone. Later that eve I had a mouse issue so I went and got him. He was not thrilled at me waking him up and far less thrilled when we had to walk past the coyotes (me too admittedly) – although brave little kitty was growling his heart out at them. He settled as soon as we were back in the barn, dealt with my mouse issue, and when on about his kitty business.

But then this morning he wasn’t there following me around supervising the way he usually does. I was starting to get a little concerned that maybe he’d revisited the coyotes after I’d left. But then I had to pop my head in the bunkie to get something and when I opened the door to go back out I see Crisper beelining it from the barn to the open door. Waited half a second for him to get there and let him in. When I came back an hour later he was quite at home. I’ve seen him explore the couch and the tables, but he’s clearly decided the chair is HIS. Which is not necessarily the best life decision since he blends rather well in said chair and just may get sat on! Hahaha But it amused me how fast he figured out where warm and comfy was. So now he hangs out here unless I need him to catch some critters *g*

So a few days ago Rebecca was here helping me out – or more accurately being useful while I sat and watched *g* and we decided it’d be fun to go for a snow hack on Sunday. No lessons that day so the horses should be up to it. All good. So Sunday rolls around, and by the time it’s time to go hacking it’s bright and sunny and that kind of stunningly gorgeous that you only get a couple times of year. Why do you only get it a couple times of year? Well because it comes with the bitter cold. Like -20 cold. Brrrrrr. But being both determined and dedicated (those are the words I choose to use, although I will admit stubborn and insane were suggested) we bundled up and out we went.

Started our ride innocently enough in the arena. R had never ridden Jack before so I thought we should see how he’d behave and I wanted to work on Apollo’s canter a little (it’s his least confident gait). Well warming up I discovered A is incredibly one-sided. If it weren’t for the fact that he’s about 3x the width of the average TB and 1/3 the speed, I’d think he was off the track. Hahaha ok so that’s good to know, I can fix that. As to the canter, it’s there and it’s incredibly smooth. Sweet. Just what I was hoping for. R’s doing fine with Jack, although seems to think he’s not going to be her next EQ horse for some reason. Can’t imagine why >;-P (for those who might not understand that, R’s smaller than I am and Jack’s roughly the size of a small truck. Doesn’t make for the most traditional combination. Kinda like me on Apollo for that matter!)
So we head out on our hack. Jack’s being a little looky – and at the things he sees every day! Like his own paddock *g* hahaha but not bad, just looking and growing a little taller than absolutely necessary. Apollo’s wandering along, not terribly quickly, but not phased by much. All is well.

Then we get to where I turned Jack around the last time he was out here and he’s pretty convinced that’s what we should do again. Besides, there’s a SCARY THING up ahead (read xc fence :) . Fortunately Jack brought along a mac truck for safety, and with Apollo carefully placed between him and the SCARY THING, Jack was good to go. And seconds later in the lead again.

So we head down to the plateau. Navigating the hill was no problem at all – both horses come from backgrounds where hacking is part of life. My thought was we do a lap of the plateau and then head back. Partially cause it was stupidly cold but more because I woke up sore from hiking in the snow the day before so figured should take it easy on the horses. It’s deeper than it looks!

Our lap went well. R even took some photos! But of course the lap ends us back at the far end of the field where we started... And I kinda wanted to go up the other side. So figure we’ll just walk back to the other side of the field and head home. No problem right? After all, they’ve already been there.
Uh huh, you’re not new here... What *was* a surprise was which horse lost his little mind. That’s right. Apollo. Sainted, bombproof, husband horse had a complete meltdown and bolted. Now this wouldn’t have been a big issue in itself – after all, I can ride as fast as he can run. And let’s be honest – he doesn’t run all that fast! Hahaha and really, I almost doubt you could fall off him if you tried. The problem was that he was in such panic mode that he wasn’t focusing or paying any attention to where he was going – all that was going through his little mind was RUN and we were rapidly running out of space. And I had no steering. I dropped my dressage whip just-in-case that was exaggerating the situation, and while most of me was trying to figure out how to make Apollo turn or stop before we hit the fence (which I’m quite certain we would’ve gone through), another part of me was worrying about R on Jack. Cause if Apollo left, I was pretty sure Jack would’ve too. And R’s a great rider, but being quite happy inside the ring, she’s not quite as used to the random gallops as those of us who event...

So Apollo’s going as fast as he can, completely oblivious to the fact that he’s going to crash, when at the last second I get him turned. He’s still going, but now he can see Jack again and stops. Poor guy, I could feel his heart pounding rapid-fire. N he’s on super-high-alert mode. R, who had Jack well under control (me doing the concerned friend thing for nothing – I should know better :), comes over. “Ok now, everybody just breathe.” A was still having trouble with that idea. Jack has the horse version of an evil grin on his face. Apparently he too had gone for a run when Apollo left, but there was no fear in his, more of a “well if he gets to play, so do I!” mentality. R also lacked steering, but got him back to her fairly quickly. N really, Jack’s the smoothest thing on four legs, so all good. Just a little disconcerting when it’s not asked for! I think when we do actually ask him to gallop it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Well we’re now at the side of the field I wanted to leave from, but of course can’t take them home from that. So we had to go around again. A was super high the whole way. Started to go again a couple times, but I’d learned his signs and could stop him before he really started. He sort of does a couple quick steps with the hind legs first and then goes – needs to get a running start! Well that and I doubt he’s ever gone that fast in his life. He was probably just a *little* tired, although still running on adrenaline. He didn’t really come back down to his normal self till we were back near the paddocks. Jack was a superstar. Did the odd “can we bounce now?” move, but when R said no, he listened. As I’ve said, smart pony. Very smart pony. He led the way back, even stopping on the hill to let A catch up. Earned his carrots :)

So that was the fun and games of A’s first and J’s second winter hack :) Slightly more exciting than anticipated, but tons o fun and worth repeating next week *g* By summer they’ll both be xc pros!

Pics on the GRS FB page. Will put here later if I get home at a reasonable hour :)

There was once potential for this to be a fun post...

So I signed in here almost 2h ago with plans of writing a (potentially entertaining?) post of R's and my adventures this afternoon "just as soon as I finished paperwork" - well now I'm done paperwork and so tired my eyes have given up focusing... So I'm abandoning the blog idea in favour of sleep... Maybe tomorrow?

Busy? Yes. But I have a job that doesn't feel like work, so busy's not a bad thing :)

So yesterday it was time to school Jack. N while I adore Jack, he's a very physical ride, which some of you may know is not usually my first choice *g* And I was feeling somewhat uninspired. Till I walked out to get him and realized how warm it was in the sunshine. And how said sun was glinting off the snow... And how hacking through the snow is great for both fitness and mental state. hmmmmm didn't take long for the pieces to fit together and Jack and I went for a snow hack. hahaha soooo much fun. He was super good. He's going to be a blast XC :)

Today had a lesson myself (woohoo!) and Si was a superstar. Of course :) hahaha

So "the list" of things to do never seems to shrink. And I admit I've been kinda doing the ostrich thing of "if I don't look at it, it's not real" *g* I pick one or two things each day and ignore the rest of the list. But a huge part of me doesn't really believe that, hence why I'm getting home at like midnight every night. Today though happened upon "the list" from last week - that seemed so completely impossible and thus started the whole ostrich theory. And as I read through it, I realized every item on that list was done. Sweet! So while the list does indeed keep going, at least things are getting checked off it at a fairly regular rate. And the things being added are less intense now. Once I find that last school horse, things should be able to settle and organize fairly quickly. A couple interesting leads -- just have to find time to go see them! Ah time... Once upon a time I believed in your existence... Now, not so much *g*

Ok off to be a little more productive then sleep... For a second or two :)

Time mysteries

Practice ride night tonight - no lessons. So I had great intentions of getting all sorts of paperwork done and riding/lunging a couple horses. hmmmm. So I *did* make it to the bank (step 1 for said paperwork). And then all the rest... Well the hours somehow disappeared. I swear, they were there at the start of the day and then they were just gone!

Let's see if we can find them shall we? So some were eaten up with unplanned for but useful discussions with people. One about photos and marketing, one with the hay guy about round-bale delivery (trust me, the horses consider that a serious priority. Should've seen Lissy's eyes light up when she found a new roundbale in her paddock! Poor Dixie was still scrounging for scraps in the snow but Lis was right in it), and a quick chat with a girl I've been playing phone tag with whose horse may be the final schoolie...

Then it was time to bring the horses in. Seriously. Don't know how that happened, but it did. Brought them in, went to feed, and discovered a mouse helping himself to the buffet in my feed bin. Not amused. Even more not amused to discover the only feed he evidently likes is the most expensive one. Sheesh. But now I find myself with the issue of scared mouse running around trapped in my feedbin. Emptied all the feed in hopes it would see its way out the hole it evidently came in. Yeah, not so smart this one. Trying to figure out how to get him out of the box when I feel something brush against my leg... Yup, my favourite barn kitty who almost always follows me around when I'm in the barn. Picked him up, let him look inside the feed box. And approximately half a second later my mouse problem was no more. Although I have to admit I got a fairly good laugh when 5 min later the cat returned looking all proud of himself and hopped back in the feed bin (which was still open as I was cleaning it out) and looked around for round 2... So this minor drama made feeding take far longer than it should've.

Then there was some rabbit and beast shuffling to allow the plow to get the last sections of the property. Not a big deal, but ate some time. Then driver of said plow offered to use his tractor to bring in hay for me from the loft - as this is pretty much my least favourite chore I gratefully took him up on it! But again, more time...

Next I randomly decided I absolutely couldn't tolerate one particular pile of stuff that hadn't been unpacked yet (why that pile when there are half a dozen piles? No idea. But it was instantly critically important that it be dealt with.) So it got unpacked.

So then I decided it was too late to get paperwork done (I need several hours uninterrupted) so may as well drop that off the plan altogether. And only 2h left till night check and so much that needed to be done, may as well skip riding too.

First I had to try Jack's blanket on Apollo to get an idea of size as my wonderful personal shopper is going to bring one for me tomorrow. Yet another small time eater. And then I couldn't handle Apollo's dreads anymore so I pulled him out in crossties and got both mane and tail detangled. That was a slightly *larger* time eater, and arguably low priority but it was necessary for the sake of my sanity! I couldn't pull the mane yet because, well, R needs to see it before I do *g*. And of course as I was doing this I felt the need to locate all his own brushes and fill up his "tail spray" bottle and and and... And by this point I wasn't tired or cold anymore so suddenly decided I really *should* ride. hahaha

So I tacked up Lissy and took her out. She was an absolute superstar. From the beginning she's been the nappiest of the group and the most nervous of being alone, but she was a pro. Boot camp's paying off for her too :) Now we just need to fix that dressage and do some basic gymnastics to improve her jumping and she'll be set! hahaha one thing at a time (yeah right - have you read the last few paragraphs???)

And suddenly it was time for night check. Chat for a bit with some random people then close up and head home. Haven't even *looked* at said paperwork. Most of the horses were neither lunged nor ridden. Didn't teach anybody anything. Yet somehow I was still busy all day. Classic.

So I bought myself a god...

And if I'd thought of it earlier, all the horses would've been named after gods :)

So Apollo is... HUGE. hahaha and a sweetheart. I wanted to give him a day or two to settle and then start riding him for a couple weeks before putting him in lessons. Right - best laid plans of mice n men... Or something like that >;-P

I moved Apollo in and Dixie took immediate and dramatic dislike to him. So I switched her and Lissy so she wouldn't be next to him and all was fine overnight. Turning out, she clearly still wanted nothing to do with him, so she and Lissy got their own paddock (Si's still out with the boys since she really doesn't like the mares. I could comment on that, but maybe shouldn't :)

Ok so the day goes well. Apollo gets along well with everybody else n seems quiet and happy. Except when Dixie came in she had one eye shut and goopy :( Boo. Scratched it and had the typical TB overreaction. Sheesh. (follow up - she was perfectly fine the next morning)

So Apollo gets drawn into the lesson. I had picked up a saddle for him that am, so no problem right? It even fit! (well I cheated and picked up two -- of course the more expensive one is the one that fits. Sheesh). Problem? No girth. The 56 barely reached half way up his belly. Hmmmmm Tried a bunch of things fiddling and sorting out -- got a bridle that fit over his ears (with some extra holes punched) but the noseband and throatlatch didn't even pretend to do up. So they got banished -- hardly necessary items anyways *g* His perfectly-normal sized bit came with him, so no problem there. Ok so after some scrounging of still no girth I went the lateral thinking route and put Jack's dressage saddle on him. And it fit! Sweet. Those billets are super-long so figured I could put a pony girth on and be good to go. In fact a giant sized dressage girth actually fit! Sweet.

He tried really hard. Was a little confuzzled by the whole canter idea, but had walk/trot and cavelletti down no problem. And indeed super-quiet. So much so that I used him for a novice lesson the next day :)

More on the lateral thinking note - as I exerted more energy than I knew I had trying to push the two 10L water buckets UP the snow-covered icy slope in the wheel barrow to water the horses (never seemed like much of a hill till today!). And I look over and see kids going tobogganing. Lightbulb! Tomorrow the wheelbarrow is being ditched in favour of a sled :) hahaha if it's gotta be winter, I may as well use the winter toys eh?

Off to feed. Late. Oops :) Good thing they're enjoying their round bales. Nobody's likely to care *g*

Week 1

So it's been a week... That is completely unbelievable. Because on the one hand, it still seems completely surreal and entirely new, and on the other hand I feel like I've been there for years. A good thing I guess, but just sends me spinning when I think about it...

The last two days chores were done in a reasonable amount of time, so that leads me to think things are slowly getting organized :) I'm not trying to do 18 things at the same time -- down to about 7 now! So all good.

Next week's goals are business and advertising. So much less fun than unpacking and organizing the barn, but methinks arguably even more important. Need new students and preferably some boarders sooner rather than later! Well that, and hopefully buying the "last" school horse. We'll see :)

And speaking of buying horses - yes I bought another one :) Apollo is a Jack-sized paint. Super quiet. Was actually broke western so doesn't jump and will need some extra training, but bought him for his attitude. He was having a nap when I walked in -- and really wasn't disturbed enough to get up till his rider told him he had to :) He was a husband-horse (in the literal sense) bought by wife and sister-in-law who both ride so husband could join in, and he apparently babysat hubby like a pro till hubby decided this game really wasn't worth the money and decided to sell him.

Place was sort of interesting - drove down through suburbia. Nice row of houses -- not the clone types of houses you see in new suburbs, but different ones close together. Thinking I must be way wrong, but the directions were very clear... hmmmm Sure enough - house at the end has a paddock in the back yard. And far enough back a barn and more paddocks. Kewl. No arena, so we rode outside in the snow. She rode him around a bit and then I got on. After a few strides it was evident he was quiet as could be (but would keep going -- not lazy, just quiet) so I flapped around and pretended to be a pony kid and he was still a superstar. So I brought him home :) I think owner was a little surprised by that, but all good :)

So yeah pretty excited :) Only down side -- not enough time to write! hahaha well that and I have little-to-no Internet at the barn. Tricky. Well that and I think I have to sell Sienna :( Boooo. No students ready to ride her and can't really afford to have one just for me at this point. But riding all the others has made me appreciate her soooooo much more! Classic eh?

Alright - back to work :) Hey - that smilie typed itself. How often do you see a smilie after that sentence? That must be a good sign.

Just noticed the calendar changed...

So 2010 was an amazing year that disappeared somewhere in all the chaos! Let's see, Cuba with Kerri in Feb, Banff with Mum in August, and *finally* getting a home for my school... Yup, gonna be a hard one to beat! But 2011 has so far been fairly entertaining too :)

Still here :)


Those three letters sum up the last few days pretty well. I am so far beyond exhausted I have no idea if I'm even coherent anymore -- so consider yourself forwarned! hahaha but that being said I'm having so much fun with it :)

Horses are all moved, settled and happy. Sienna's even been less of a grouch! I'm looking to buy 2 more this week. Lissy and Dixie have proven themselves to be superstars while Mr. Jack has found a fun new game that's gotten him removed from the school and sent to GRS Boot Camp *g* It's a good thing I adore him so much!

Unpacking and organizing continues -- I'm at the point now where I have to hit up Ikea or Lowes or somewhere in search of shelving and organizing. In order to put stuff away, I need somewhere to put it!

That being said, my new tack boxes are AMAZING!!!! I'm so excited :) Ok so it's the little things in life, but really - they're pretty much exactly what I wanted.

Believe it or not, I have been riding. Not a ton, but have hopped on a horse a couple times while supervising first practice rides :) That way I can be there without coaching *g* Kinda.

I tell ya, it's a lot trickier organizing timing for things (like horse shopping) when you have to keep coming back to feed etc *g* hahaha I suspect I'll get better at it, but for the moment I'm just spinning to get everything done. Each day is getting easier though as more and more stuff gets found and unpacked. And I relax as things get organized so it's getting better. And my computer and printer are all hooked up now, so I'm getting closer to getting business stuff done too :) Of course it's all sitting on the floor for the moment. Baby steps *g*

I gotta say though -- when I walked in the barn the other day muttering because it looked like the lights were on and I *knew* I had turned them off when I left like 7h before only to discover they weren't on, but the angle of the rising sun flooded the barn with light and then the horses nickered for their breakfast... Well that was a pretty good moment. Later that day I decided the stalls could wait half an hour or so (cause really, who's going to care?) and took my camera for a walk :)

So yes, I have been taking a minute here and there to play with my new camera. Which I love. And will love even more when I know how to work it! *sigh* Haven't figured out how to tell it what *I* want to focus on - so I see the picture in my head, know this camera is capable of making it happen, but don't know the inbetween steps to make the magic. Have still got some great shots even without that though, so pretty happy about that. Some day maybe I'll even have time to upload them *g*

Speaking of uploading, I haven't forgotten about the nanonovel -- just dropped way down on the priority list. The finished version will go up. Probably some time before June since that's the last time I can get my free printed copy *g* Can't wait till the first week I'm organized enough to have time for Flash!

Anyways - it's definitely time for sleep. Those of you who are getting one word responses to emails please forgive me - I AM reading and enjoying them, but at the barn I have the slowest internet connection since 56K dial-up and no time to type a real response... Feel free to drop by though -- you know where to find me!