Here there be dragons...

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

Kristen Bell's Sloth Meltdown

This made me laugh and laugh.  Right to the end.

There are a few people in my life who experience everything that dramatically -- I sometimes wonder what that'd be like, but suspect it'd take WAY too much energy on a daily basis *g*

Play day :)

So still pretty sore today and not amused.  By the time theory was over I was very cold, mostly sore, and not the least bit interested in riding.   But I had arranged to ride both Athena and Lissy and Chelsea had come prepared to w/u Lis so I figured I should at least make an effort.

Got on Athena and all was ok at the walk.  But when I started to trot by neck screamed.   Booo :(   Stupid puppy injury :(   But by now I'm warmer and actually on, so not about to quit.  Ok well easy solution - want to remain still on horseback, 2 point.  Done and done.   Any thought of proper dressage schooling abandoned for playing over fences.  hahaha and I survived the ride and she was great and we both had fun.  She also managed to make some turns that a month ago there's no way she could've made, so pretty happy about that.   Had a couple minor disagreements, but nothing tragic.  And in the end got some decent work from her.   Pretty stoked about that.

Then did follow up and hop on Lissy for a bit -- that's all about strength building.  Need to get her a bit more thoroughly through and strengthen her back so she'll be ready for show season this summer.   Super willing little horse - riding her just makes me smile.   She just keeps trying.

Anyways - always good to have a good ride when you didn't want to ride in the first place.  Sort of reaffirms why we do this :)

Have to teach Sasha a trick for puppy class next week.  No idea what to teach her.  Everything I'm interested in is either too complicated or not suitable for class (ie - she's pretty good at "go teach" which means go to the arena from wherever we are, but that's not exactly going to work there!)   She does *not* want to roll over.  Does the weave between the legs thing reasonably well, but I don't want to put a whole lot of effort into that since she'll be too big soon.  So hmmmmm....  Suggestions?

My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am.

So Monday I managed to get myself bucked off my horse; minor difference of opinion.  I lost.  I won the next round.  Nothing injured but my pride despite serious air time and gravity kicking in in a big way.

Then today I'm in puppy class, doing nothing but standing still and somehow managed to wrench my neck and make everything hurt.  Moving, standing/sitting still, whatever.   Thoroughly not amused.  Sheesh.

But other than random injury for no apparent reason, puppy class went really well.   No failing kindergarten for us today!  Go Sasha :)  hahaha it def helps to get there early and give her time to settle...   But yeah, she was pretty pro today.  And has been at the barn the last few days too :)  Super Puppy!!!

Last night there was a video I wanted to watch but deemed it would make me to late and I should go to bed.  All good right?  Yeah - except then I ended up on FB *way* later than the vid would've kept me up *sigh*  I should know better by now...  Sheesh.

I never did a day's work in my life. It was all fun. -- Thomas Edison

(stolen from GRS blog)

So much fun at the barn today.  No real reason -- nothing spectacular happened, just a fun day.   Cold.  Very cold.  But other than that all good.

Showed up and my wonderful working student Rebecca had things well under control.  Always a good start.  First lesson was Steph and Nick - but when she got on Nick he was *high*.   Are you as stunned as I was??? hahaha that's right - Nick and high in the same sentence.  So she dismounted and I lunged him for a minute or two.  All good, but Steph didn't look entirely convinced so I hopped on him for a few minutes first.  Made quite the picture let me tell you -- I was def dressed to teach not to ride.  And it was -17.5 according to my car so I was *bundled*.  My "teaching boots" that are too massive to be good for anything but standing still but are at least warm, so many layers I start to have the Michelin Man look going on, and massive puffy mits.

Sooooo - first challenge - get giant boots in stirrups; they almost kinda fit.   But are so heavy that riding w/o was really hard on my ankles so I sort of stuffed them in.  Took off the giant jacket but had at least three pairs of pants on so flexibility was ummm limited *g*   And bare hands.  Yikes.

But Nick high is actually a lovely ride.   Floats along on the bit with no effort required.  Usually if I decide I want to get Nick to actually work, it's as much an effort for me as for him but today not so much.  So that was sort of amusing - almost wish I had pictures :)   Mental note - ever want to get your students to keep their hands still?   Simply have them ride in ridiculously cold weather with no gloves.  Frozen hands don't move.   I gave up and rode him around for a bit with my hands in my pockets.  hahaha I love school horses.   And Steph then got on and rode beautifully so was a good conclusion.  That lesson was followed by little Rebecca (as opposed to ws Rebecca) did her first jump!  Woohoo!  Those lessons are always fun to teach :)  She and Bella were great.  My working students were next up and tackled a "simple but not easy" cavelletti exercise that was just a *little* beyond what they're usually asked to do and both pulled it off.  I was pretty happy with that :)

Theory lessons went well -- the novice students mastered the quick release knot and ventured out in the cold to practice catching horses in the field.  Then the higher levels did intro to conformation -- I had intentions of combining two lessons into one but that didn't happen.  Turns out one lesson at a time is a good plan.  Imagine that. >;-P

Rode Athena after.  Was fun to ride with other people in the ring -- I don't get to do that all that often.   She was awesome.  A *little* high when I got on but settled nicely.  Actually got two and a half strides of through, round, self-carriage in the canter.  Woohoo!!!  And your reaction to that sentence will tell you if you're a horse person.  hahaha 2.5 strides?  So what?  That'd be one who *hasn't* been there...  hahaha you'll be even more amazed to hear we've been working towards these 2.5 strides for like 3 months.   I was almost starting to lose hope.  But she did it.  Perfectly.  And where there were 2.5 strides (and yes, I'm counting that .5!) there will some day be three.  Then 5.  Then 100 :)   THEN we can consider competing.  And the horse people are there are smiling and nodding and thinking of all the times they've been thrilled at equally small baby-strides.

Then this evening playing with Sasha -- my brothers and  my dad discovered she's terrified of Angry Birds.  hahaha we have a stuffed one that makes noise when you squeak it.   Funniest reaction ever.   Ranging from attacking to running away.  So now Angry Bird is guarding the room Sasha's not supposed to go in.  Far more effectively than any puppy-gate ever did.

So yeah - for those who think I was slightly insane to give up my reasonably paying day job for being broke and working 18h days 7 days/wk -- well you may be right.  But when have you ever had this much fun at work?

100 Years

Too much war and destruction, but some good shines through too:

Kindergarten Fail

Definitely failed puppy kindergarten today.  Oh my.

Sasha could do everything we were supposed to do -- easily and then some.  But focusing when there are *PUPPIES* everywhere????   Yeah that was *not* going to happen.  Oh my.   Absolutely ridiculous.

Not like I've ever had any *other* young animals who were interested in everything but what they were supposed to be doing *g*  hahaha thus I'm not too concerned yet...

At the intro class they warned people that the puppies will learn to behave in class, but unless they practice at home won't behave outside of class -- attempting to scare them into doing their homework I guess.  I *would* have the puppy who behaves beautifully outside of class and is a complete disaster IN class ;-P   hahaha but by the end, if she can do it in class, with puppies and children around, she should be an absolute superstar at home.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it :)

Went to Ikea this evening.   That was a challenge and a half :)  We find the aisle we need at the very END of the store.  Trek all the way to the end and yet our number doesn't appear.... hmmm look around a corner -- the aisle continues in a spin-off aisle stuffed in this tiny section in the middle of nowhere.  Classic :)   Did eventually get all the requisite pieces and escape though, so all good :)

And your video interlude for the evening.  Very impressive, although I suspect if I had this much free time and this many books at my disposal, there'd be a lot more reading and a lot less filming happening.  But I'm boring that way *g*  Enjoy!

Cute puppy moment of the week

So yesterday I was done the barn super early (made up for it by being super slow today!) and had all sorts of ambitious plans for the couple hours I saved. Plans including going and picking up some much needed supplies, riding my horse, etc. But instead, the idea of a nap planted itself in my little brain and prevailed.

So I have my wonderful new office now that I absolutely LOVE. And it has exactly two items in it as of this point -- a heater (yeah!) and my comfy chair. Said comfy chair is a takeoff on a papasan chair. Not actually particularly good to nap in but I'll take what I can get. Esp after being late on Wed night.

Sash was pretty tired so I figured she could come have a nap too. I took two of my puffiest saddle pads and her stocking and brought them to the office for her. Knowing that I prefer the temp to be significantly warmer than she does I put her "bed" next to the window, figuring it'd be a little cooler there. I left her with her toys and curled myself into a ball in my chair.

Those of you who are familiar with this type of chair will realize that means I could not see anything Sasha was doing -- but literally the only non-puppy friendly thing in the room was the heater so I wasn't too concerned. And I could hear her moving around and fussing a bit, but she seemed ok and eventually I snoozed.

Sort of like this, only to sleep I tipped it down so it looked like a bowl with all the sides equal height...

Woke up about 20 mins later to silence. Get up carefully in case Sasha was actually under the chair or something like that and look around. Sasha has taken both saddle pads and brought them over directly next to my chair, and was sleeping on them using the stocking as a pillow. Really wish I'd had my camera. I guess company is better than comfort :)

Needless to say none of the ambitious projects got accomplished, but it was too cute -- kinda made my day. No napping available today -- just as well since Sasha was *spun* all day. She's pretty entertaining when she's like that though, so kept me amused.

Desperately needing more hours in a day!

Really felt like riding when I was done teaching tonight. I've always been a night person, and teaching energizes me, so this is not a surprise. But what really sucks is the basic reality of being an adult :( I did the basic time arithmetic and decided that if I chose to ride tonight, it'll make tomorrow absolutely brutal. Finish teaching at 9. Ride till 10 (yeah for being able to tack up in almost no time at all). By the time I finish cooling out unclipped horse (who lives outside so must be dry) and do evening chores it'll be at least 11. 12 when I get home. 1 by the time I go to bed. Which is perfect except for the 6 am alarm. Boooo. Can't wait till the business gets to the point that I can hire am staff! hahaha Then if I want to work noon to midnight I can :)

So I didn't ride and I'm already regretting it. Some days you just have to forget about being an adult! Sheesh. Esp as now I've come home, on time, and promptly spent an hour on FB. Really - that could've been 5 minutes to answer messages and the rest gone towards riding time. Sheesh. Next time, sleep gets put off in favour of riding :) After all, nobody looks back on their life and fondly remembers the nights they got plenty of sleep!

Ah well - tomorrow, in the midst of the insanity that is Tuesdays, I'm sure I can find some time to ride. Right ;-P

Did at least have fun teaching tonight. One of my fav exercises and the girls pulled it off really well :)

And on a completely random note: "If you never chase your dreams, you'll never catch them" -- has nothing to do with anything, but just came across it and liked it so thought I'd share. Know a thing or two about chasing dreams. Highly recommend it.

Off to dream some new dreams to chase...

Entertaining start to the year's lessons...

Fun lesson this am :)

So let's preface by saying Athena and I have not been getting along entirely well since the move.  With both of us highly stressed by it all, it's been a not-so-good combination.   To put in perspective - last week we never made it out of the trot.  And even then it was never particularly brilliant.

And we've been at the new place for a month now.   So I was starting to say goodbye to my show plans and trying to accept *another* sideline season.

But this week all the rides have gone well; still a disturbingly long way from show quality, but significantly better than they have been.   She's almost seeming rideable.  Sweet.

But then I was too busy to ride yesterday, so began to have doubts as to the likely success of this week's lesson.  Nonetheless, I gamely texted my coach for instructions as to what to build (thereby suggesting that I thought not ONLY would we get past the trot, but far enough past to actually *jump*  AND jump something worth building).   *Might* be pushing it a little, but hey - you're not new here.  Type A, remember?

Alright so 8am lesson.  Intend to be on by 7:30 and have a nice long warm-up/tire-out period before the lesson starts.   Good plan right?   Did we miss the part about me not being a morning person?  And living an hour from the barn?  And having 16 horses to feed before I can even consider riding?  Suffice to say 7:30 was not entirely realistic.  7:30 is *never* entirely realistic.   Usually it's about 7:59:55 that I get on.   Today I *was* better than that though and got in about 20 mins before my coach arrived.   Sweet.

Did not venture into the canter in those 20 mins though.  Hahaha baby steps.

Coach shows up and drills us a little on last week's lesson.   "You've been practicing"  Ummmm you think?   hahaha since we weren't even CLOSE to being successful the week before and now it's reasonably consistent...   Generally pretty good about doing my homework -- especially when things aren't working AND there's no good galloping options available *g*

But since we now have something that vaguely resembles a balanced trot it was time to move into the canter...  Drum roll please...

And all that drama for nothing.   She was awesome.  No kicking, bolting, motorcycling, nothing...  And I'll tell ya - she's capable of all three at the same time.  Tons o fun there.   But no, this was a totally sane, normal canter.   At times it was even balanced.  Who knew?

Alright then -- time to jump.  Can count on one hand the number of times I've jumped since we moved in.   So starting to feel rather deprived.   So instructions said oxer at B or E with verticals two strides on either side and a variety of ground/placing poles.   All good except I ran out of poles, so some of the ground poles got left out.   We start with the oxer as a tiny vert with placing poles on either side.   This is  a pretty standard exercise for us -- as in *almost* every time we jump we start with that.  Tends to chill us both out. And each time we jump back and forth it gets bigger - ending around 3'6 or so.    She was noticeably stronger off the left rein than the right, but other than that pretty good and listening reasonably well.  Sweet.

So jump gets shrunk back down to a baby square oxer.  Except I'm not new here - as soon as he started building it I was thinking hmmmm if that gets as high as the vert did it's going to be a very big fence for Athena on a tight distance.   But we shall see...   At least it was starting out baby sized.   So trotted back and forth over the oxer a couple times.  First time she misjudged entirely -- started to jump it like a vert and realized about the second rail in the air.   Defied some laws of physics there to stretch out and clear it.   Second time she knew what it was all about :)

Then it came time to add in the verticals on either side.   An easy 2 strides -- meant for a trot approach from either side, so the landing one after the oxer rides tight both directions.  So first attempt...  Trot in, register extra fences, panic, nose dive, throw self over fence, squish in two strides, leap oxer like a deer, halt, trot, stumble over vertical.   hmmmm ok less than brilliant.   Halt at the end of the line, turn around to try again.

Well we're not making *that* mistake again.   On the return trip, one stride out of the vert, grab bit in teeth, bolt, stride and a half, stumble over oxer, ONE stride, vertical.

Well, *slightly* better.  *sigh*   Turn around and try again.   Oh, and while we're turning around, the oxer grows.  "She needs to respect it."   Since I actually agree with that, was all good - but just sort of amused me that when things were going horribly wrong we fix it with making things harder.  Sheesh.

So on this trip she sees the slightly bigger oxer and completely demolishes the vert.  Like doesn't even attempt to pick up her feet.   Grrrr.   Less than acceptable.   Coach resets fence and we try the same direction again.

Well she rarely makes the same mistake twice.   Flying LEAP over the vert, one stride, handstand, mini conversation: horse - "we can't possibly jump from here"  rider - "don't care, do it anyways"  horse - "if you're sure...", cat-leap over the oxer.   Land with zero impulsion.  horse - "and I'm done."  Rider - "no you're not."  Trot out over the vert.  That one was a ride and a half.   I got bonus points for determination there *g*   Prob not so much for eq >;-P

Oh boy.   Ok turn around and try again.  Trot approach with impulsion but control.  Sweet.  Vertical  perfect.  Sweet.  Even two strides to the oxer.  Still sweet.  Then, somehow, for some reason, in  Athena's world, the oxer suddenly doubled in width.   Hmmmm tricky.  Esp on a tight distance.   Yup.   Did it in one. Cleared the vert and cantered away - a little on the forehand but not out of control.   Actually would've looked beautiful if you didn't know enough to realize what we were *supposed* to be doing >;-P

Turn around -- and get the two to the two.  Finally.  Turn back.  Two to one.  *sigh*   Try that one a few more times till we get a messy two to two (not sure why we need to way over jump the oxer only in one direction, but sobeit).  Then a slightly less messy two to a two.   I think by this point my coach had given up hope of anything resembling "good" happening this direction so when we got to "passable" we left it.

Then went back to the slightly easier direction and bigger fences.  And the pieces all came together.  We finally had a good approach, in balance, with impulsion but not speed.   A lovely two to the oxer, which we jump with the bascule in just the right place, and easy two out and a balanced, no-fight halt within about 3 strides.  Ok.  Much better.

"I'm sorry what?  Again?"   Apparently there was some thought this might have been a fluke.  hahaha although I suspect not too much because if he *really* thought it was a fluke, we would've ended on it.   I've taught enough of those lessons to know all about the quit while you're ahead theory.

Yes we were able to repeat it.   And land balanced.  And pick any gait I wanted for departure.

And THAT is when you know you've finally accomplished something.

So yeah, it might've been one of those "break a few eggs to make a cake" type rides, but I was quite happy that A - we made it past the trot! and B - things eventually got good :)

And we had the *best* cool-out trot ever.  Round. Through. Floaty. No need to call out chiro - apparently all you have to do is bury your horse in a 3' square oxer so they crack their back jumping out of it and you're good to go.  Sweet.   ummmm that advice is worth exactly the amount as the paper it's written on.   Keep that in mind :)

Woohoo - finally.

Best ride I've had in a very long time today -- actually first good ride I've had since the move.  Maybe that means I'm finally getting settled?

And this I found really kewl:

Guy travels the world and shoots one second of footage in each location:

Bring on 2012!

So my mum has suggested my new year's resolution should be "no major life changes" this year.  hahaha  Sounds like a reasonable plan to me.  Of course we all know how well new year's resolutions stick. Yikes!  Maybe we'll make that one a Jan 2 resolution.

Last year...  ummmm wow.   Today is the official one-year anniversary of GRS.  Woohoo.  Yeah us - and thanks TONS to all the people who've been involved since day 1.  It's been amazing.   And then just as things were getting settled and organized we relocated to the new place.  So now starting all over again.  Insanity.  But tons o fun.   And of course adding Sasha to the mix just made things that much more interesting :)

Trying to clean Sasha up after her barn adventures

Started out this year learning a few things about loyalty and friendship.  On both extremes - the wonderful and the highly disappointing.  Was an interesting contrast to see both at the same time though.

Feeling quite sick (stupid cold) but still had fun teaching today.  That's got to be a sign I'm in the right career :)  And as stressful and insanely crazy as the year has been - it's also been absolutely amazing.  And the worst day at the farm is still better than the best day at the office.  Especially at the new place :)  LOVE our current farm.

The last two years have been almost surreal -- I can't wait to see what 2012 will bring!