Here there be dragons...

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

Time to move to Spain?



Given that he was holding hostages, there's very little doubt of guilt in this case. Can you imagine the outcry if this was done here? On the one hand, too much power can be a very bad thing - we all know how it can be unjustly abused. (How long has "absolute power corrupts absolutely" been around?*) But on the other, if responses like this in clear-cut cases were acceptable, perhaps there would be fewer cases like this.


*ok - I'm a geek, we know it. And I was surprised by the answer - I was thinking one of the great philosophers but not so much... "This arose as a quotation by John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton (1834–1902). The historian and moralist, who was otherwise known simply as Lord Acton, expressed this opinion in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887: 'Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.'" There ya go - learned something today and it's not even 6:30am.

If you want the rainbows, you have to put up with the rain.

(from GRS blog)

So today started out pretty badly. Miserable windy rainy blah weather. I get to the farm and there's garbage blowing around everywhere. *sigh* Put my garbage out and collect the rest that's flying around. N then mine, despite my clever weighing down, blows away too and I get to start all over. One of those things that you try to laugh at but honestly, I'm not a morning person, this kind of start to the day is not good for me. So finally get it all together and the girls from the other barn are dragging their stuff out and between us we got everything stacked in such a way it was likely to last till the garbage truck got there.

Since the other girls were having the same sort of morning I was we all deemed it break time and hid for the weather for a bit chatting about life, the universe and everything. But mostly just avoiding the weather. So while that was helpful as far as my mood went, it was less good for getting chores done. Esp as I had to be done by 10.

So eventually went back to work - by this point acknowledged that riding wasn't going to happen and got everything else done. And then Kerri and Laney came over. Woohoo!!! MUCH better day instantly! :) And we set off to the Greenhawk sale.

Now on the way to the sale, I intended to pick up some Tims for my very hardworking personal shopper who is a little excessively busy at this sale. Easy right? Ok so the first Tims I passed had an insanely long line - like unsafe, out on the road, long. Sok, there are lots more, we'll skip that one. No problem right? This is Canada - there's one on every corner. Ok except that 90% of the drive is on the highway. hmmmm slightly trickier. But there are still TWO between the highway and my destination. Sweet. Pull into the first one, drivethrough lineup again insane, but this one has parking so park and go in. All good. Except they're out of what I knew she wanted. Blah. Ok drive to the next one, pull into the parking lot and CHAOS. Like cops directing traffic in the parking lot chaos. Was absolutely insane. My brilliant powers of deduction given the mass numbers of people walking in one direction and the other people walking the opposite direction carrying bags led me to believe there was a sale going on in one of the buildings that shared the parking lot. A very big sale. I gave up and took the first route out of there. So yeah, my plan to be a good friend and deliver Tims was a horrible fail :( Booo.

So I get to GH and of course parking there is always an adventure. First parking lot guy tells me "there's a little-car spot down there." Sweet. Yeah, he lied. Cruel and unusual. So I drive around past the warehouse entrance heading for the other side figuring I'll be parking somewhere near the old location. Roll down window to be polite to other parking lot attendant. "Where should I go?" "Well.... There *might* be something that way..." he says, pointing vaguely to never-never-land. Great. "But if you want, you could just park here." Seriously? hahaha he points to a random curved curb 2' away. Totally and completely illegal on all counts -- but looking around, legal parking clearly wasn't a consideration today. And did I mention it was rainy and miserable? And this curb is about a 45second walk to the entrance? Done! Day is looking better already :)

Go in and meet back up with Ker and Laney and discover there are no carts to be had. Really? And the place is PACKED. Seriously packed. Within about 30 seconds we run into an old friend who we both knew from a stable we once worked at so we chatted with her for a while and somewhere in there I managed to snag us a cart :) While snagging said cart I ran into somebody else who was *way* more successful than I at delivering treats to our seriously-swamped friend :) So that made my failure slightly less tragic. hahaha and chatted with her for a bit.

Eventually K and I started out shopping but we quickly split up -- mostly cause her list was much shorter than mine and she knew she'd have to escape to feed L at some point... Fair enough :) I, otoh, had quite the list going. I have also come to the conclusion that for horse people the GH warehouse sale is sort of a social event. We all live in our own little planets so much of the time, this is where everybody converges. Which means almost every aisle I ran into somebody new to talk to :) Most of whom I haven't seen in entirely too long. And a whole variety: people I used to ride with, people I show with/against depending on the day *g*, people I clinic with, friends with their own farms, people I used to teach with, people I used to teach, people I currently teach, parents of people I used to or currently teach... AND every single person who spoke to me, I recognized. hahaha *that* is a serious improvement over previous shopping experiences *g* Although there were a few people I usually see who I didn't get to, and a couple who told me after that they were there that I would've liked to have seen. But such is life I guess. I still had fun.

And somewhere in all the gossiping, I managed to complete my shopping list. My rather long list. BUT - it all fit in one cart and it all fit in the trunk of the rabbit. So it wasn't *that* excessive! hahaha Only three things I missed. One apparently doesn't exist, so really not much I could do about that, one was already sold out, and the third I found and it was a good price but it was too awkward to carry so I decided we could live without it for a little while longer. My poor new visa is screaming. Ah well - had to be broken in some time!

So through the magic that is cell phones, Ker and I managed to reconnect an go for lunch. Fast food so L didn't get huffy but still super nice to sit and get caught up :) Which had me back at the barn just in time for afternoon chores. Alright so no riding for me but everything else was good.

Taught all the lessons and was done reasonably early. AND it was still reasonably light out (have I mentioned recently I LOVE summer?) And the flip side of not being a morning person is that I AM a night person. I was wide awake, high from teaching, and it was no longer windy or rainy. Sweet - clearly time to ride.

So I tacked up Dixie superfast. I started riding her two days ago, bringing her back from her mini-vaca. And she's been, ummmm, a little high. So instead of riding her inside, I of course choose to go outside, alone, at night. Sweet. hahaha but she was great. Had a few moments of silliness but even those were completely undramatic. She's feeling fit, sound and happy and would rather run around looking at things than work - who can blame her? I will admit we never actually got a walk, but by the end our trot work was pretty spectacular. That's got to count for something right?

Anyways - it meant my early night was no longer early and now I'm way too up to sleep (will make getting to the barn in time to feed and be on and warmed up for 8am tons of fun tomorrow!) but it occurred to me that any day that can start out that miserably and end up with me smiling has to be worth recording. So I did :) Night!

Horses lend us the wings we lack...

So your word of the day? Enthusiate. Ok so I'm not convinced it's in any dictionary, but it's an important one and much better than the word I should've used instead; in fact, "enthusiate" works so much better that I think I'll continue using it :) Enthusiate, of course, being the new verb form of enthusiasm. Because enthuse, the traditional usage, just didn't work for me so I made a new one.

Proper usage? Well consider jumping Apollo: "Enthusiate him before the jump." Make him enthusiastic. Enthuse just doesn't work nearly as well :) So there you go. Work it into conversation at least once today. Have fun.

So in case you haven't seen it yet - our new logo:



Kewl huh? hahaha sometimes the simplest words are the best :) So I have to admit I'm pretty excited about it. I had asked for a logo appropriate for university/grad school type setting. Totally impressed. Thanks TONS to James Wilson at Overdrive Design.

How did we get here? Well it started with my old logo totally offending the designers that I worked with at Overdrive who were rather appalled by it. So James decided to help fix it. Awesome. I wasn't about to turn that down :) The first round had 2 versions - one pegasus and one dressage. But the dressage one, while gorgeous, screamed DQ so was abandoned. I wasn't sure what I thought of the pegasus idea... Too cliche? But then I decided while it may or may not technically work for the business, it suited *me* particularly well on all sorts of levels - and that has to count for something *g* And I figure we fly over horses, so why not have wings?

I also noticed he incorporated the three phases of eventing into the three steps, which was a minor detail I quite liked. And totally nailed the academic/formal concept.

The first version though the wings were much more in your face... I wasn't sure how to explain what I didn't like about them or how to fix them, but James called me back with "do you want them more anatomically correct?" ummmm sure. N I'm thinking, how do you know what is anatomically correct for a pegasus? hahaha but the result totally and completely eradicated my concerns cause while *I* may not know what's anatomically correct for a pegasus, he clearly does. Because the revised version was perfect.

By far the best comment came from Paula: "that's right, we're so good we get to ride horses with WINGS. ya right you're allowed to do that at YOUR barn..." hahaha I laughed and laughed. It's going to be a fun summer :)

There is just as much horse sense as ever, but the horses have most of it.

I love long weekends :) Esp sunny ones!

So Friday everybody rode during the day, and Stephy did stalls for me (thanks Steph!) - which meant I was done at dinner time and it felt very much like a Saturday. And since it was nice out everybody rode outside and were jumping like superstars! Lots of pics of that in the FB album (thanks to Amy and Steph for photos - http://www.facebook.com/media/set/fbx/?set=a.142797425779088.26755.133019356756895&l=f0eb5ee467 :) So today, Saturday, which felt very much like Sunday, none of my usual Saturday people were there adding to the confusion! But I filled most of those spots with other lessons and good to go - and again with the super weather and outdoor riding :) Sweet.

And now I get another Sunday tomorrow :) Hopefully with equally perfect weather (yeah I know, not entirely realistic, but I can hope!)

I am always amazed at how much time I can kill at the barn. Under the "time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time" category :) I was done teaching at 2:30 (everybody away for Easter). All I had left to do was bring in, feed, and turn a few back out again. That doesn't take more than an hour on an exceptionally slow day (think 3 ft of snow). Yet somehow at 5:30 I was still putzing around doing minor chores. hahaha classic. I *did* at least take a chunk of that time to ride Sienna and enjoy the gorgeous weather :) So that's legit. But the rest was definitely just chatting with people, continuing the never ending battle with the hoses, cleaning tack, refolding blankets (yeah - a little ocd there, I know :), silly little odds and ends that manage to eat all sorts of time...

Horse stories

Reposting from GRS blog mostly cause I feel I haven't been posting here very often lately *g*

Just wanted to share a couple fun moments from this week :)

Nick earned the Giant Molasses Carrot Award the other day for shining example of a school horse taking care of his rider :) His beginner rider was trying her first canter. And she did an awesome job, getting the hang of it by the end of the first long side (mostly managing to get the rhythm and stay in the saddle), being ok around the turn, good down the long side, but sadly centrifugal force kicked in on the final short side (really a record run for a first try to begin with! Usually it's only 1 straight side :) Anyways, horse made the turn but rider really did not and was getting some serious air-time and off to the side. We've all seen it, and it usually doesn't end pretty. But our superstar Nick saved the day. Not only did he very gently bring himself back to a walk (a walk, not a bouncy trot) - and kindly enough that she wasn't catapulted forwards which definitely wouldn't have helped! - But as he did so, he also sidestepped under her and literally caught his rider. It was one of those moments that's just incredible to watch.

And Lissy... Well I think we know that Little Lissy's always going to be a special favourite of mine. Yesterday she hacked me out of my grumpiness (BEFORE I had to teach anybody anything, or even talk to anybody - key really :) but today was sort of amusing. So figured we should actually attempt some work today after goofing around yesterday. And it was raining, so indoors. She was quite good on the flat - she's slowly getting more and more consistently through and the canter is becoming much closer to balanced - and decided to jump a bit. Little trot gymnastic (maybe 2'6") with fairly short take-off and landing poles. Idea being not high, but reasonably technical. Get in tight, use haunches, and get a good arch - no jumping 8 miles past the fence (Sienna's favourite game!). So we did this a couple times each way n she's quiet and focused and doing her job. Also working on the departure (she approaches on auto-pilot but tends to figure her job is done as soon as the front legs hit the ground :). But mostly just fun and easy - for both of us. Except that she relaxed a little *too* much and decided to have a poo break while jumping. This in itself would be ok but she got very lazy with it so I rode her fairly strongly forward to counteract. Alright, no worries. Come around again. Same approach we've done half a dozen times by this point. No hesitation or rushing on Lissy's part. And then she clears the standards. Out of a trot. With possibly the best bascule I've ever sat on. Didn't touch either ground pole or miss her striding. But I swear it felt like riding a beachball. hahaha and one that had been tossed high enough up I could've changed the lightbulbs >;-P O.M.G. And what caused this extraordinary jump? One of her poo-balls was dead-center on the top rail from the last trip around. Yup, wouldn't want to touch *that*. hahaha Repeated the jump a few more times; a little less dramatic but still with significantly more height than required and *amazing* form for each. Was so much fun :) I love my little pony :)

Winter blahs

Woke up this morning super-grumpy. No reason for it - lessons went really well last night and I slept better than normal. I never enjoy mornings but today just ugh.

So turning out horses and Jack, who usually a child could lead, has a complete meltdown about the *gasp* hay next to the manure pile. Manages to trample both Apollo and I in his attempt to get free. N to think I was in a huffy mood to begin with. So banish Jack to a stall, turn Apollo and Bella out. Feed the others. Take Jack back out a little better armed and have the "thou shalt NOT run over people" discussion. And yes, I'm definitely scarier than the hay. But it took longer than I anticipated to get that through his little brain (Jack's usually a get-it-on-the-first-try kinda horse).

Ok well problem solved. But mood still, ummmm, less than great. Two horses on today's list: Lissy and Sienna. Have to say I discarded the idea of riding Sienna in less than a heartbeat - it's never a good idea to get on a fit TB when you're in a mood to pick a fight and NOT in the right state to deal with the resulting disaster. Horsemanship 101 - never make things worse. So Sienna gets the morning off and I tack up Lissy instead. Sunny but cold and even though the footing was pretty wet, I couldn't deal with going indoors (esp as it's supposed to rain more later), so Lis and I rode outside. She was tentative, given the slick footing, but gave me a solid effort. And while I wasn't riding brilliantly (tension and riding don't mix real well >;-P), at least it wasn't horribly bad either. N let's be honest, part of the reason we *like* Lissy so much is she doesn't require brilliance *g*

So we get warmed up, and she's going as nicely as she can when she has to think about where to put each foot, and my options are - continue dealing with slick footing and random puddles and basically ride for exercise rather than training OR go inside and school properly. Uh huh - didn't like either of those options.

Option 3 - hacking :) Thought about that for, oh less than a second after it occurred to me. Took me significantly longer to get the gate open than to decide I was going for a hack instead of working. hahaha so hop back on my rather confused little horse and head out. And it was soooo nice. Quiet and relaxing and Lis was a superstar. It's the first time I've had her out there alone, so you never know - but she was totally kewl with it. Eventually hop off in an area with good grazing to loosen her girth and let her graze for a bit - n *then* she has a minor meltdown. hahaha one of very few horses I've worked with who is significantly more confident with a rider on than being led. But eventually she chilled and realized grass is a good thing and no monsters are going to get her even if her person is on the ground.

Anyways - thanks to my awesome little horse and lovely hack, mood is significantly better - just in time to teach :) As to Si? Well she may get ridden this aft... We'll see :)

Spring Fever :)

So I have to say, I love any season that's not winter >;-P Horses are happier, riders are happier, chores get done in like half the time with a lot less muttering, just all around good thing.

On Monday I decided to rig up the hoses so that I didn't have to haul water any more (now that they're not freezing at night). Looked at the hoses that were left out all winter - a few cracks and one fatal split. Trip to TSC for hose fix-it gear. Fix fatal split, np. Apply duct tape to the cracks. Spend a reasonable amount of time getting hoses off the ground so horses can't trample them. Turn water on.

Right. Did you ever play the game Leaky Pipes as a kid? uh huh. Reminiscent of that. It turns out there are some things beyond even the power of duct tape. Who knew? I tell ya, I was sorely disappointed at that discovery.

Alright fine. Give in the inanimate objects and head back to TSC, returning with more hose-repair equipment and, more importantly, new hoses. So THERE inanimate objects. Fight me and be kicked out >;-P Pull out old hoses, rig up new ones. Get smarter and test that they'll actually work before going to the effort of tying them all up off the ground *g* It's only stupid if you make the same mistake twice. hahaha and these ones worked just fine. Get them tied up. Attached diverter so can send water to both paddocks without having to continually attach and detach and we're good to go.

Taught through the windstorm on Mon night. That was fairly entertaining. Horses were all remarkably well behaved though, which is always good :)

Tues the farrier came in the am - which is great, but it meant I didn't get to ride. On the plus side, Si's shoe went back on since she removed it on Sat, and Nick's abscess (that he came with) was deemed entirely healed. Sweet. So finish off all the chores - made significantly easier by new hoses and warm weather *g* Got rid of my two least favourite chores at the same time. hahaha but yet, feeling tired and moderately guilty for not riding Si. And Jack's pbr was there getting him ready n it was nice and warm and sunny out. Sobeit - tack up my horse and go out to ride with Jack.

Did I mention Si *loves* Jack? Every time we ride with him in the ring, she's a saint. So I decide we'll jump a bit. For the first time in almost two months. Yup - absolute superstar. She was a little confused when I pointed her at the baby gymnastic the first time, but she did it eagerly and happily. Over jumping a little, but quiet and civilized about the whole thing.

Ok so figure we'll go for a hack - first real hack of the season for both horses, so we walk out part way n then dismount and let them graze and relax and enjoy life before walking the rest of the way around the field in hand. Horses come back happy and cooled out and all drama is avoided. Perfect. We can create drama later - I want calm and quiet first!

Put horses away and, since we now have full-time water outside, turn the boys back out. Their first night out :) Apollo was a little confused about why he was going outside for a third time (am turnout, in for a lesson at lunch then turned out again, and now once more???) but went willingly enough. Jack was all for it.

Teach some more - my first lesson under the lights :) Rider got to do some more jumping than she has in the past and did a great job of it. Extra hands dropped by to help with night chores. Not half bad.

Alright, still with me? Wed go to the barn - look out and Apollo is flat out in the field. Now this is pretty normal for him, so I wasn't terribly panicked, but still - first time out overnight... So I pick up Bella on the way by and turn her out and then go check on Apollo. He stays flat out till I'm within 5' of him and call his name - at which point he grudgingly looks at me and then gets up. Felt like telling him it was ok, he could go back to bed, I just wanted to make sure he was still alive! hahaha

Feed horses and ride Si - figure we'll do some more of that nice quiet jumping (we're talking like 2'6" here; this is not stressful) Yeah. Forgot we didn't have Jack with us. Also chose to ignore the fact that it's *always* day 2 that's exciting. Trots up quietly as can be, jumps a solid 3'9" and lands in an fairly frantic hand-gallop. hmmmm less good. Took a long while but by the end we had "walk up, jog over, canter quietly away, circle like a civilized horse" down. Actually trotting to fences can be tomorrow's challenge. Cantering - next week :) So we go for a hack - she was higher without Jack there, but not bad. Again went part way around and then hopped off and let her graze a bit. Also took her to investigate several of the xc jumps so I can figure out exactly what we need to repair. Found a water jump between the two hay fields that I didn't know existed, so pretty excited about that. hahah Si was pretty sure I'd lost my little mind ("ummmm Laur, that's *not* the way home!") but followed me around willingly enough, if a little high.

Chores super fast with two horses having been outside all night. hahaha feels like cheating. Go out in the eve to find Apollo asleep on the roundbale. Not only is he passed out flat-out, but he's got hay covering his hindquarters like a blanket!



hahaha so knowing this is his thing I went back and got my camera and snapped a few photos before calling to him. He's gotten smarter though - "you woke me up once already today lady; I'm not getting up unless I have to!" He deigned to acknowledge my presence and come up into sitting position, but he wasn't about to get up unless he had to. *g* Apparently boys night was pretty tiring last night!



And tonight? I'm actually taking off. Off to Just for Laughs :)

:)

So today was just one of those days that leaves you smiling.

It was cold this am, so I was a little bitter as I was turning out, but by the time I fed and had Sienna tacked up and was heading to the ring, I randomly decided that 3 deg C was more than warm enough to ride outside. Outdoor footing was about perfect and the bitterly cold wind had disappeared so why not? Now an intelligent person might mention that yesterday was the first time in several weeks I'd ridden her (I'm determined to get her back on the schedule :) and that she hadn't been ridden outside yet. And that she might be a *little* high. But sadly we didn't have such a person around. I did lunge her first - I was at least pretending to be responsible! And she was good with it so I hopped on and had an absolutely superstar ride. I was soooo happy by the end :)

So I take her in to untack and who should come through the other door at the same time? Kerri and Laney! Who I haven't seen in *months*. Made. My. Morning. So they kept me company through morning chores. So much more fun that way :)

Then this afternoon's lesson braved the cold as well to ride outside - more fun teaching out there too :) And the cat came to supervise, which is always somewhat amusing.

Rest of the horses were well behaved. I even managed to leave less than an hour after I had aimed for :) Such a fun day. The type that makes me really happy I made the decision I did. And since my super-star working student Hailey is doing night check for me tonight, I'm totally planning to completely and entirely take the night off. Finish some emails, return a couple phone calls, and I should be done by 6:00 :) A new record!

Your opinion???

Soooo the time has come to submit an entry for Best of #FridayFlash Vol 2. I would *really* like to be included in this one, but am somewhat useless at judging my own work. :( Only one entry is allowed. I've narrowed down my top three... If you have a couple minutes, could you read them and tell me which one you like best??? (can e lauren@graduateridingschool.com or fb me if you prefer :). Comments, suggestions, editing, all welcome :) Thanks tons!!!

Life after death: http://laurencude.blogspot.com/2010/03/flash-fiction-29-life-after-death.html

Ransom: http://laurencude.blogspot.com/2010/06/fridayflash-41-ransom_25.html

Facebook Friends: http://laurencude.blogspot.com/2010/08/fridayflash-45-facebook-friends.html