Here there be dragons...

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

1/2 way to a new beginning

So I got my OCD side under control and left before 9 this evening.   That's only 12h at the barn today.  We got a LOT moved -- HUGE thanks to Paula (who looked after my horses AND helped move), Linda (spent all  day helping move, clean, drill, hammer, etc...) and my incredibly wonderful parents who for some strange reason are STILL sticking with me :)   Wow.

I am so excited to be at the new place.  Everybody there has been so incredible.  What a great environment to be coming in to.

Tomorrow the horses come to their new home!

1/2 way to a new beginning

So I got my OCD side under control and left before 9 this evening.   That's only 12h at the barn today.  We got a LOT moved -- HUGE thanks to Paula (who looked after my horses AND helped move), Linda (spent all  day helping move, clean, drill, hammer, etc...) and my incredibly wonderful parents who for some strange reason are STILL sticking with me :)   Wow.

I am so excited to be at the new place.  Everybody there has been so incredible.  What a great environment to be coming in to.

And I fear I am past the point of no return with sleeplessness.  I can feel my IQ dropping by the second.  My body mostly still does what it's told, but not nearly as quickly as it's supposed to.  And my vocabulary seems to be disintegrating by the second - making both writing and speaking a bit of a challenge (at least writing has a delete key!).   But we're getting there.

And it'll be soooo worth it in the end!

Countdown is on

Well...  After yesterday, today was positively easy :)  hahaha

Taught for a few hours before going over to the new barn to discuss some changes with the landlords (all good!) then returned to do afternoon feed.  Evening was mostly paper/web work...  Somehow that never seems to end???  Ah well.

My mind just seems to be spinning constantly with all the things I should be doing and that I *want* to be doing.  Getting packed, moving, figuring out what should be done when, setting up the new farm, planning for the puppy, planning theory lessons and march break camp (that's going to be so much fun :), trying to sort out scheduling changes for after the move, figuring out where to get new clients and business to replace those who can't drive quite that far,  sending a dozen emails to a dozen different people about a dozen different topics, and on and on and on...  All while working the usual 70-hour work week.  No problem :)

3 days :)

Today definitely used more than 24 hours.

1000 bales of hay stacked.  Need I say more?  Of course:  Huge THANKS to everybody who came to help out!!!

This evening my coach hosted a mastermind group (not that he actually called it that, but it's exactly that) and an absolutely amazing supper for a variety of horse pros in his circle to meet with each other.  A live social network - imagine that *g*   As he pointed out, the online version doesn't include wine.  hahaha

Admittedly little awkward and very quiet at first as everybody met each other informally and attempted the obligatory new-person small talk over very yummy appetizers while we waited for everybody to arrive.  When all were present (including the next generation -- possibly the most social baby I've ever met) we gathered around the table and did more formal intros.  In the group we had a few eventers (focus mostly on training and competition), one jumper (focusing on bringing up babies), one dressage rider, a couple freelance coaches, one schooling barn, one who offers lessons for those with challenges (everything from non-verbal autism through to abusive home situations - she did *not* pick an easy route, but one that I imagine must be very rewarding in the end), and of course my coach and me.

After everybody had some idea who they were sitting with we started in on the amazing food *g*  Things got quiet for a while then cause all were busy eating.  hahaha but at least the awkwardness was gone.  After that things ranged everywhere -- it's amazing how long horse people can talk horse-stuff.    Topics included a wide range of things.  Consider everything from:
- how to have a life while living this career (apparently I'm not the only one who finds that a challenge),
- uses of social media (apparently I am the only one who does that),
- the pluses and minuses of breeding programs (I paid close attention to that conversation!),
- prevalent attitudes at horse shows and within the industry and how they vary by discipline
- the general evilness of ponies
- buying/building a farm vs leasing
- transporting horses across the boarder and/or flying them in from Europe,
- to coaching at home vs coaching at shows.

And a whole bunch more that aren't at my fingertips right this second (remember - 1000 bales of hay this am >;-P)

Anyways - was a really interesting conversation and great for an industry where people are notoriously guarded about their business.  And the food.  Omg.  The yummy yummy food :)

Hay Day

So the overwhelming challenge of the move has been MET.   We not only managed to load and transport all the hay from the old barn to the new, but ALSO stack another 600 or so bales.   Np for GRS superstar volunteers!

Thanks tons to Margaret and Amy who spent all day hauling and were still smiling at the end :)  You girls are awesome!

To Vic who not *only* helped move an excessive amount of hay, but also designed my new office for me AND relocated my sign (it's not up yet, but at least it's in its new home) AND built me some jumps!  Wow.  Really, thanks is not enough, but it's all I can come up with at the moment :)

To Jael, who gets the almost unbeatable title for farthest-distance-traveled - coming all the way from BC just to stack hay!  hahaha well work might also have played a minor role, but my version of the story is more fun.

To my uncle Doug, cousins Dylan and Daniel, and their friend Austin - a HUGE thanks.  Athletic and strong, these guys made a huge difference in getting things done.    Austin thoroughly showed everybody up with his abilities to be not only in the right place at the right time to help where help was most needed, but also to *still* be taking two bales at a time at the END of the day.  hahaha most of us don't even do that at the beginning.  Dylan and Daniel also burned off some excess energy with some fairly impressive acrobatics inbetween stacking sessions.   If we could bottle that, we'd all be rich!

To my incredible parents, who despite having done hay once before and *knowing* what they were getting into, gamely participated ALL day.  I'm still fairly amazed at that :)  Esp as Mum was helping me with yesterday's hay games too!  How did I get so lucky?

And to Steve and his friends who made the whole thing possible by providing hay trailers and helping load and transport said hay.  I dread even the *thought* of what it would've taken to do that all with the Ram.  O.M.G.

So yeah, we are *done* and can now get on with the rest of the move.  Only four days left at the old place!!!   Not that I'm counting or anything :)

Does this count as a nanoblomo post?

So I actually managed a Friday Flash.  Might regret that when the alarm goes off in 5h, but it was kinda fun.  Weird.  Very weird.  I freely admit.  Kinda curious to see what, if any, comments it gets *g*   But we'll put that down to exhaustion.  I always used to write my most interesting papers when I was beyond exhausted - maybe the same applies to fiction?  ummm somehow doubt it, but we shall see.

A week today and my horses will be waking up in the new place!  Woohoo!  (yes waking up - it's after 12, therefore technically Friday *g*)

Not that I'm counting or anything :)

#FridayFlash 57: When a warm wind blows

A warm wind blew on a cold night right before I died.

It was time. I'd lived long enough to see the rise and fall of an empire. Or four. I'd learned a dozen languages, traveled around the world and through time. I'd even managed to fulfill my childhood fantasy of being a princess. Ugh, what a mistake that was - let me tell you girls, there are much better fantasies out there! Tiaras are just not worth the publicity.

My life was, and I say this in all humility, the thing of stories. I kind of wish somebody cared enough to write it down; it would make the kind of epic tale that would gain a cult following from the fantasy types and puzzled disdain from all the normal people - but it would definitely stir up talk.

The problem, as I see it, is that I've always been a secondary character. And nobody writes about secondary characters - not even me.

I was born to the Aldmere family; ever heard of us? Yeah, I thought not. Like I said, secondary characters. And I was the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter -- I know, cliche right? But it's a cliche for a reason. The whys and the hows were lost before they were ever known, but the end result is the Aldmere family are chroniclers. We provide an unbiased report of all items of importance throughout time -- albeit the definitions of both unbiased and importance are ummm sometimes open to interpretation. And in return, we live long enough to experience things worth recording. Some, like my cousin Agyfen, follow the rise and fall of an entire culture. He did his job exceptionally well! Academics still discuss his work. But sadly the anglo-saxons cared little for the names of their scribes, and so he remains anonymous. Then there are others, especially more recently, who live only long enough for a specific event. And then there are the sevens - of which I'm one. We are to oversee the greater picture - or so I was raised to believe. For me though, the picture's always been rather fuzzy - like those first black and white tvs. So I've always felt I had no real job to do. All the important details had their own chroniclers - cousins of mine mostly. Every time I found something exciting to chronicle it'd already been claimed. And while sevens are overseers, we also only get to write that which goes unclaimed.

To be honest, the only thing I've done that I felt worth recording, was dying. Now *that* was interesting. And I still don't entirely understand how it happened. It was night - the kind of night that's so dark you cannot see your hand in front of your face. No matter how wildly you wave it around in front of you! Not that I did that of course. And it was cold - appropriate for winter. But what was disconcerting was the wind. It had a Caribbean warmth to it - and I was far too far away for that to make any sense at all. I remember wondering if maybe it was a time storm; I'd experienced one of those as a teenager (volatile emotions and all that) - was how I came to know Agyfen. But my brother was three years ahead of me and he claimed story rights to time storms so I couldn't even chronicle that. Not that I'm bitter or anything - just letting you know how it came to be that in an entire life dedicated to telling stories, I have yet to write a word.

Anyways - it wasn't a time storm. I was way too old, and I didn't end up somewhere else in time, so clearly that was not the issue. Wasn't even a storm - no rain, sleet, snow, hail, or anything else. Just the eerily warm wind.

I was there - muttering about the folly of being out without a light - and then... I wasn't. The simplicity of it astounded me. Other chroniclers have covered death before; they come out with stories of bright lights and feelings of love. People love those stories. Some of their names even get remembered! Have to admit, I've always been slightly jealous of those who star in their own stories. I think I'd hoped to do that with the princess stint, but I got covered by a pop-fiction chronicler. It was a sadly embarrassing moment.

But right - exciting death's been done, so a seven cannot repeat it. But I really don't think my death, or any like it, has ever been properly recorded. Just going about the minutia of my boring day-to-day life and then suddenly I wasn't. And there was something reasonably exciting about that. I certainly wasn't bored anymore. And I no longer had to stress about what I was supposed to do with my life. But now, through my death, I know exactly what purpose my life has served. I was supposed to be a below-average quasi-failure... The running joke of the family really. Because, let's be honest here, fifty percent of us ARE below average and usually their stories do not get chronicled.

I, the ultimate secondary character, was supposed to chronicle the lives of secondary characters. A perfect fit really. Obviously I didn't figure it out in time to do anything about it, because as soon as a secondary character gets written about, well then they're no longer secondary and thus somebody else's job. A vicious cycle that. And death's already been done.

But there's one part of my story that to the best of my knowledge has never been chronicled. And from that I leave you with one simple warning:

Beware the warm wind.

You're welcome.

I'll just sit down till the insanity passes...

For the adult ams out there (and the pros training said adult ams :) - I stumbled upon a new blog you may enjoy:   Have fun!

Today's challenge was to get the hayloft at the new barn into a state ready to receive the mountain of hay we're transporting there on Saturday (to those helpful souls among you, please note the change of date.  If you wish to be loved forever, consider showing up Saturday am - 10:30 at the new place.)   The landlords had done a reasonable job of organizing so it wasn't nearly as nightmareish as I'd feared, but still...  There's only one not-so-huge me and a rather large mountain of hay to be dealt with.   I'd say I made it about 3/4 of the way through before I crashed *g*   No problem - except that in about 5 minutes I have to go out and teach for the evening. Let's just hope there are no "can you show me" requests tonight.   Thurs night is mostly teens - very rare to hear that from them :)

As I sit here in my nice warm office, too physically tired to do anything productive but mentally still awake, I'm actually inclined to attempt a Flash Fiction Friday for the first time in entirely too many months...   However, we'll see how I feel when I get home after teaching and night chores -- I have a suspicion that feeling may have passed by then!


I got to meet my puppy!!!!   She is sooooooo cute :)   And I'm *very* excited!  hahahaha can you tell from the excessive exclamation points???

Puppy, whose name is tentatively Zoe, is absolutely adorable.  Climbed up into my lap and made herself comfortable :)  Sooooo cute :)

Of course when I got home Sherlock (the cat I've had since uni) was *very* suspicious about the new scents *g*  It's not as though I don't come home smelling like other animals all the time, but this one definitely had him concerned.   Might be an interesting few days when Puppy comes home...

As far as the barn goes - starting to get very stressed about the hay :(  Getting it all there and stacked - every time something gets organized something changes.  Booo.   On the plus side though, most of the other stuff is slowly getting there :)

Name that puppy!

So *finally* got some actual packing done today!  hahaha mostly because Emily came out to help :)   But whatever the impetus at least it got done :)   Or started anyway.

Charlie was a superstar yet again -- now both his potential part boarders are looking forward to summer and cross country!  hahaha can't get here soon enough!

And tomorrow I get to go meet my NEW PUPPY!!!!  hahaha yup you read that right :)   I'm not bringing her home from the breeders till after the move (I'm only *mostly* insane :) but I'm still super-excited.  Name suggestions???

She's an Aussi Shepard -- currently 8 weeks old.   Have two names I'm currently debating between, but open to other suggestions :)

Bits and pieces slowly coming together...

(from GRS blog)

Got a fair amount done today.  All the boring behind-the-scenes type stuff, but it's a start.   Trying to find a decent snow-removal place for the new farm.  Talking to a couple companies, but so far nothing seems terribly likely (too random a location evidently).  Argh.  But I'm sure we'll find somebody :)   The trick is to find them BEFORE it snows!  hahaha

Hay is arranged for Sunday - anybody who feels like a workout, we'd love your help!  Have to relocate the 450ish bales in the current hayloft to the new hayloft as well as getting 600 new ones (hopefully those can be stacked with the tractor though!  Fingers crossed.)

Absolutely cannot WAIT to move. hahaha soooo excited for the new place!

Charlie's first ride at his new home :)

So when I got to the barn this am Charlie was alert and happy and clearly wondering why he was inside and not outside playing.  All good signs, but I didn't want him going out till I was prepared to stay and supervise...

Taught a couple lessons and then decided to ride.   Decent weather for November, so figured I'd ride outside.  Despite the crazy wind.  hahaha well Charlie came out very high - gigging beside my walk and looking at everything.  Fair enough - no turnout, new place, horses running around in adjoining paddocks.  Not exactly a calming scenario.  But I promised Hailey she could ride him tomorrow so I wanted to make sure he was ok first!

So I walked him around a bit and while high, he wasn't actually doing anything wrong.  And not in the least bit spooky.  So while I was contemplating lunging him, I just got on.   Now some of you will be familiar with the feeling...  The feeling that you're sitting on a coiled spring waiting to explode - in any potential number of directions.  Anybody who rides babies, esp tb babies, will have felt that at some point :)  And having ridden a few who could seem calm on the outside and explode with the best of them (ahhhh memories of clearing the w/u ring at Glen Oro with an overly dramatic green-bean *g*) I'm well attuned to that power.

And yes, that's exactly what I felt when I got on.  hmmmm So thinking 'must go forward - horse going forward doesn't go up' and ride on fully prepared to be going any number of directions at any speed.  Well we didn't really get a good forward, but impressively we didn't get anything that even remotely resembled threatening to go up.  He is SUCH a sweetheart.  He was full of power and nervous energy and yet he tried soooo hard to do what I was asking and didn't even attempt to expend any of said excess in any of the multiple options available.

I was pretty excited about that.   And while I won't say we ever actually got to relaxed, he def chilled out fairly quickly.  And just kept trying.  The kind of heart you just can't train.

I think Hailey and Paula are going to have a lot of fun this summer :)

GRS welcomes Charlie!

So our latest addition, Charlie, is a little superstar.  A slightly unfit but well fed (YEAH!) and healthy TB.  His dressage is properly installed and he's very eager to jump.  A little *too* eager at times which is why he won't be in novice lessons unless or until he chills :)   Kind though, with an excellent attitude.  He's got training level eventing experience, so knows his job very well and will be a good teacher for those wanting to move up through the eventing levels.

He settled really quickly when we brought him home - an excellent sign :)  And tomorrow he'll get to go out and make new friends.

Horse shopping adventures are over! For a long while at least :)

So lessons today went well and were followed by a horse shopping expedition.  Hailey and Emily and I traveled out to Mount Albert to look at a potential int/adv schoolie.  And we found one :)

Charlie's a little superstar.  Slightly unfit but well fed (YEAH!) and healthy.  His dressage is properly installed and he's very eager to jump.  A little *too* eager at times which is why he won't be in novice lessons unless or until he chills :)   Kind though, with an excellent attitude.  He's got training level eventing experience, so knows his job very well and will be a good teacher for those wanting to move up through the eventing levels.

He settled really quickly when we brought him home - an excellent sign :)  And tomorrow he'll get to go out and make new friends.

Nice evening out rounded out the day beautifully.  Especially fun that I don't teach till noon tomorrow so might even get to sleep in.  Woohoo!  hahaha the little things in life right?

Climbing on soap box

ok so mini-rant today.   Why is it that parents feel the need to DRIVE their children to the bus stop???  Seriously people, it's suburbia and primary school -- meaning it's not more than about a 5 min walk at the extreme.  I understand given the dangers of modern society wanting to go with them, but do you really need to drive?  

Several times I've been stuck in a mass of cars all parked along the street waiting for the school bus -- even in summer with perfect weather!   Unbelievable.   One lady I got stuck behind drove home afterwards -- an entire SIX houses away.  O.M.G.

Argh.  Ok end of rant.

oh - and another rant, while I'm all the way up here on my box.  One of my (previously) favourite radio stations is ALREADY playing 24/7 Christmas music.  I've banned them till Dec 26.  *sigh*   Really people?  Can we not wait till at least December?

Ok end of rant two.  Aren't you glad you signed in?

On the plus side - I'm getting along much better with my new phone now :)   Still not super-proficient with it, but at least not the huge frustration of the first few days.  Texting is TONS better than on my own phone, but using it as an actual *phone* is a rather huge pita *sigh*.  Fortunately I text way more than I phone so suppose that's how it should balance out.

Lesson Cancellations for the move

In order to facilitate the move and give the horses time to settle into their new home, there will be several days with no riding:

Practice rides Wednesday November 30 will be rescheduled to Sunday December 4.

Lessons December 1, 2 and 3 will be cancelled. There are five of Thurs, Fri and Sat this month so we will run lessons the week between Christmas and New Years so that everybody gets all four lessons.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Thanks for understanding!

It's official!!!

The lease is signed!   Woohoo!   Which makes me soooo excited and entirely terrified :)  hahaha but really - that's a good place to be.  Life's never boring that way *g*

Now two weeks to do two months worth of stuff.  No problem!  Things are starting to come together though.  Really can't wait till the move.  15 days :)  Not that I'm counting or anything *g*

Entertaining lessons

Stolen from GRS blog just cause I don't really have anything *else* to post here for today...

Crazy lessons this evening but everything went really well.   Super high from teaching though which might put a dent in my goal of eight WHOLE hours of sleep in one night *g*

The beginner girls navigated 3-loop serpentines without anybody crashing into anybody else :)

The middle group, usually advanced but today three different levels in one with makeups.  A bit of a challenge to teach but highly entertaining.  The novice rider survived going faster than her comfort zone AND jumping two fences in a row; the intermediate rider successfully got the very lazy and short-strided horse jumping well on a normal 12' stride; the advanced rider jumped higher than usual in perfect rhythm :)   Sweet.

Then the later group was working on feeling which leg is moving when (without looking!  No cheating allowed!) And every one of them was getting it consistently by the end.   Woohoo.

So on a different note - I'm seriously contemplating breeding Dixie... hmmmmm of course I know nothing about breeding - but that's only a minor technical detail right?  Fortunately I have lots of friends who know more than enough for all of us  AND they seem to be willing to put up with my million questions.   As another friend put it when I mentioned that hesitation "You're a pretty type A person - if you want to breed you'll learn what you need to pretty quickly" - hahaha yeah she's probably right.  Sometimes your friends know you better than you do.With the move, we'd have a safe location to raise a foal.  And the main thing holding me back other than those *minor* details is that Dixie's old to have a first baby -- until I found out she's already had at least one already.  Sweet.  

So yeah, as though moving farms and running the business weren't enough to do - now I have a whole new realm of horsemanship to master.  No problem.

At least life's never boring :)

New toy :)

So having been "qualified" for a new free phone for a while now (Telus really wants me to renew my contract) - I finally got around to going in and getting one.  hahaha alas my flip phone that I loved oh-so-much is gone.   But instead I've got a slide phone which is equally kewl.  Now I just have to spend the next week moving contacts over.  You know - in all my spare time!

Have to admit, I'm already LOVING the keyboard.   But the thing I find slightly disturbing is that I still double/triple key letters.  hahaha So even though it's a normal qwerty layout, if I want an L, I'll push it three times -- it's *that* ingrained in me from too much texting on a numeric keypad.  Now it's not as though I don't touch-type on a qwerty keyboard all the time.  But I think it's cause I'm thumb typing (keyboard isn't big enough for 10 fingers!) - and in my little brain, thumb-typing requires multiple hits for certain letters.

What started out quietly turned into an insanely busy day today.  Tomorrow is *supposed* to be insanely busy, so maybe it'll be quiet and relaxing?   Hey, I can hope right!  Turn about's fair play.

A day in the life...

(stolen from GRS blog :)

So fun horse-related day today.

Started off with nice enough weather to teach outside - woohoo!  And Hailey, my wonderful working student, riding particularly well for the second day in a row, so I let her play Really Big Jump day.   She set a new personal height record of FOUR feet.  Wooohoo!  Go kid and pony >;-P   hahaha always a fun start to the day.  And Bella was her usual "ummm ok, I'll clear it by as little as I need to" self.   Not the least bit concerned or stressed by the fact that the rail was well over her head.  Somebody forgot to tell her she's little.  Methinks we could all learn from that :)

Then a lunge lesson (she asked for it - literally.  Some of my students are as psyc as I am :)  I don't know if she'll be able to walk tomorrow, but she had fun.  And an assessment with two girls I quite enjoyed, so I hope they'll join us.

Next we did chores on speed to make it out in time for the open house.  I was thrilled at the turnout!  Thanks tons to all who came to visit our new home!!!   I can't wait to make the move.  Better for us, WAY better for the horses, and everybody there has been so friendly and so welcoming.  Just amazing.   They even came out to join in as soon as they got home.  Very kewl.

Then Aileen very kindly took care of night check for me so that Hailey and I could go look at a potential school horse.  It turned out to be not suitable for what we need in the school, but always fun to go ride other people's horses occasionally :)   If nothing else, it makes you appreciate yours.

After that home to do some paperwork *yawn* but once I got through that I started going through some of the videos Nicole sent me from the summer and that was fun.  There were also clips of Athena from way back at the beginning which served to remind me how very far she's actually come in a short time.   It's easy to get frustrated when things only improve in slow motion - esp if you happen to be fairly goal motivated.  But looking at those clips reminded me of where exactly we started this game.  It's like sitting watching the grass grow -- if you stare at it intensely all day, it never seems to do anything.  But if you go away for two weeks and come back, you'll have to cut it again.  Sometimes you have to have distance to appreciate growth.

So got a few things accomplished, but each one of them spawned several *other* projects -- and so the list continues to grow.  Ah well - at least I'm never bored :)

Shakespeare invaded Poland...

So went out with Jen tonight to watch the Complete Works of William Shakespeare - Abridged (yes I'm a geek).  hahaha 37 plays and some sonnets covered in 97 minutes by 3 people.  Not half bad :)    Have to admit I've seen it a few times (for that matter J and I went together several years ago) but it's still funny every time.   If you get the chance and you have even the slightest interest in the Bard, take it.   See for more info :)

Or better yet...


And yes, it's *slightly* possible that the last time J and I attended this performance I might've ended up on stage... Sheesh >;-P

Could I please have a 48h day? Thanks.

Fun day today but super long.   Got lots done though so that's always good.   And was at the new place showing a friend around, so once again highly psyched about moving :)

Athena went really well this am.  Pieces are slowly coming together.   And she's really trying, which is super nice!   Was *not* amused that we got SNOWED on during our cool-out hack.  Sheesh.

Lessons fun this eve.  Mostly dressage with the odd speedbump thrown in.  All good.

Mostly though everything in my world these days is about the move.  Slowly starting to get the details organized.  Some of them anyways :)   That and of course the changes and things I want to do differently at the new place.   And the clothing orders.  And, and, and...  hahaha ah well - it keeps life interesting anyways :)

Skip this post

Very long and not particularly productive day today.  Boooo.  How is it that you can be insanely busy all day and accomplish nothing?   Sheesh.

Did some bareback lessons tonight so that's always entertaining.  All the girls did really well though :)

Does that count as enough babbling for a Nov blog post?   I never promised they'd be interesting!

You were warned...

Note - if you want to read a *good* albeit sad blog post, read Wrong Ending.


Sooo much fun at the Royal today.   Yeah.

Stephy and I went after morning chores were done -- got there around lunch time :)   Wandered around, explored the shopping options (not nearly as much fun as some years), watched a friend ride, got a reasonable amount of junk food (mmmm apple blossom...) and settled in to watch the afternoon show.

First we had the jumpers, most with their greener horses.  One was definitely schooling as he jumped around the jumper course like a hunter.  Flawlessly done, but nearly double the winning time *g*  One started out competing but after a bad jump switched his ride to schooling -- that was good to see.  Fun class to watch, but very short.

Followed by dressage which was very LONG.  hahaha One horse I absolutely loved, one I sort of wondered what they were doing there, and everyone else was somewhere in between.  By the end of the class I have to admit I'd had enough of dressage and was ready to go back exploring...

Dressage was followed with SUPERDOGS!  hahaha so very much fun :)  And really quite impressive to see the very obvious bond between the dogs and their handlers.

Had just enough time after superdogs for a little more shopping/daydreaming and some dinner (and of course more junk food... mmmm cinnamon...)

Then back to the big ring for lit dressage -- could've been absolutely stunning, but I found myself distracted by the fact that the back pair just couldn't get their act together.  Front pair was good, but the back pair was never in sync.  Very pretty though.  They turn out the arena lights and the horses are draped with little star-lights, so they appear to float around the ring.

After dressage was more jumpers -- the course seemed to be eating people, but in the end 7 made it to the jump off, so that was fun to see.   Some *very* nice horses :)

But really most of the day was just about seeing horse people I don't get to see on a regular basis and having fun with those I do outside of the barn :)   Drooling over phenomenal horses and tack and toys under the "lottery win" category.  And lots of socializing :)

Ok now to answer the day's mountain of emails and try to get things a little back to normal tomorrow!

A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do. - Bob Dylan

So that was definitely at least two days in one today.   Fortunately two GOOD days, but man this morning seems an awfully long time ago!

Had an awesome ride this morn on Athena (and can I add, I LOVE that I'm riding outside in November :)   I think maybe she heard a rumour about the clinic cause she was all sorts of amazing today.   Things we've been working on and buttons that've been missing were suddenly all there, installed and fully functional today.   Made for a pretty sweet ride.  And then we went for a hack where she behaved like a grown-up :)  Which she technically is -- just doesn't hasn't recently chosen to demonstrate it.  hmmmm can't say I blame her come to think of it!

Teaching was a blast tonight.  A few brilliance or disaster moments, but in the end everybody pulled off something successful :)   We also let Bella jump a bit which is always fun to see *g*   And Hailey stuck around afterwards which just always makes life more entertaining :)

Afterwards though I was so high I figured I'd do stalls tonight instead of tomorrow am (well other than the occupied ones of course).   I am SO much faster at night than in the morning.  I've known that for a while but I do it so rarely it really hits me when I do.  Really kinda wish we could uninvent mornings *g*  I think that'd be a good plan.  Ah well, some day I'll be able to hire am staff.   It's good to have dreams right?

Royal tomorrow!  Woohoo!

Quick update

Day 2 of the clinic was excellent.  Particularly amazing to watch Mark get on and ride some of the horses.  Wow.  Will post clinic notes sometime this week -- foolishly left them at the barn tonight :)

Teaching was fun tonight -- did some course work and everybody was reasonably successful  :)   I *love* watching Jack figure it all out.  hahaha smart babies are fun.  Most days.

On a bit of a sugar high right now, so sitting and being focused enough to type... ummmm well less successful.  Think I'll leave this till tomorrow.


Learning from the best!

Mark Todd clinic today.  As much fun socializing too :)   Tons of people here I don't get to see regularly so break times were fun.   Details on the GRS blog though - too tired to copy it all.  Summary:  look where you're going and every transition counts!   hahaha amazing how I can condense 8 hours into 8 words.  Go English degree go!

hmmmm think that'll do for tonight.   Cause really, the long version's already typed.   And my brain is rapidly turning off...

Mark Todd Clinic - Day 1 :)

Day 1 of the Mark Todd clinic was really interesting and lots of fun :)   Who's Mark Todd???  Well among other things, he was rated Rider of the Century by the FEI.  So basically as good as it gets.  From wiki:
 Mark James Todd, CBE (born 1 March 1956) is a New Zealand horseman noted for his accomplishments in the discipline of eventing, voted Rider of the 20th Century by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports, (Fédération Equestre Internationale.[1]
He won gold medals at Los Angeles (1984) and Seoul (1988) Olympics, the Badminton Horse Trials[12] on four occasions, the Burghley Horse Trials[2] five times, and as a member of New Zealand’s Eventing team he won gold medals at the World Championships in 1990 and 1998 (Rome), the European Championships in 1997, plus 20 or more other international events, and numerous other international individual and team titles.
In New Zealand he has been honoured with the 1998 Supreme Halberg Award[3] as New Zealand Sportsperson of the year and inducted into TheNew Zealand Sports Hall of Fame.[4]
Todd and fellow equestrian Andrew Nicholson, are the first New Zealanders to have competed at six Olympic Games.
On 25 April 2011, Todd completed a fourth Badminton victory riding NZB Land Vision, becoming the oldest winner of the event.
For more info, Google is your friend.   Anyways...  He stopped clinicing in North America more than ten years ago, so when I heard he'd be here for the Royal and this clinic, I was pretty excited *g*

The facility hosting the event is stunning.  I don't think I've ever seen an arena with windows like that before :)  Wow.  And had a blast walking the xc course at lunch -- looks like so much fun!  hahaha

All the levels did the same exercises -- the only differences were the heights of the fences and the degree of perfection expected *g*

At the very beginning they went into lateral work in walk and trot.   Overly exaggerated as the goal was to stretch and supple the horses to jump, not aim for dressage perfection.  They started with leg-yield, first to/from the quarter line and then across the short diagonal.   Then it was into shoulder-in down the long side followed by counter flexion on the short side.  The more advanced groups also did shoulder-in to traverse transitions.

This was followed with some pole work -- three poles down the long side.  Canter them first 4 strides to 4 strides, then 5 to 5.  Then 5 to 4, and for the more advanced horses 4 to 5.  The focus here was accuracy and straightness.  Riders that had trouble with their horses swapping leads, quickly found once they got straight they held the lead.

Then the jumping began.  The next two exercises were done in alternate orders but seemingly not due to experience so much as temperament of the horses in the group.

One exercise was a 3 loop serpentine with jumps as you cross the center of the ring, half way between the center-line and the wall.   Jumping into the wall to back the horses off.  Focus on getting close to the base and accurate lead changes.  The greener horses also had poles flat on the ground to switch leads over.

The other was cavelletti on a circle - five canter bounces.  Focus on maintaining the bend and rhythm.

This was followed with an interesting gymnastic.  Off the left in trot, pole to and X, one stride to an oxer.  Land on the right lead.  Canter two strides on a bit of a diagonal to the right.  Switch leads over a pole and straighten out.  3 strides to a vertical.  Land left and continue around the corner.   Nobody had an issue with the jumps, but there was all sorts of problems with the leads.   Mark didn't make a big deal of it, just had them keep asking each time and eventually the horses got the hang of it.  Concept being to jump and keep paying attention.

The next gymnastic was a straight line, vert one stride "scary" oxer 4 strides easy oxer.   Idea being that often in competition they'll put an airy vertical followed by a scary fence (this one was scary because it had barrels under it :) so the horse's attention is drawn straight to the scary fence and they pull the vertical because they don't even acknowledge its presence.

Then some courses incorporating any/all of the above along with a random oxer either just off the wall or jumping into the wall.

Ok so points of the day:

- EVERY transition counts.  (ummm we don't want to consider how long it to A to knock that into my little brain, but I'm happy to say it's there now so I was pretty excited to hear it from the Master himself :)

- LOOK for your fence. Earlier than you think you need to. 

- Obedience to the leg is absolutely non-negotiable; this should be established in the lateral work in the w/u

- Horse, esp if hot, should end each activity in his "happy space" relaxed and chilled.

- EVERY transition counts.

- LOOK for your fence. Each one, one at a time.

- You must never rely on your hands for balance.  Corollary - hands should be soft and following - esp through gymnastics.

- Find and fix problems over poles before ever jumping (ie straightness, obedience, rhythm, etc)

- if the horse is arguing with your hand, fix it with the leg

- horse should reach for contact; avoid a "fragile" connection

- EVERY transition counts.  Even the "oh thank god we're done" one.

- LOOK for your fence.  Seriously.

- "oi" command.  As in, sit up and listen to me NOW.

- focus on outside rein and riding forward through turns.

- EVERY transition counts.

- LOOK for your fence.

Can you guess which points were stressed repeatedly?

Fun day - looking forward to tomorrow :)

Cowboy Rules

Very long but very productive day today.

Just got back from the new place and can I just say I can't wait to move!  hahaha  Next few weeks will be a *little* chaotic, but soooooo worth it in the end :)

Mark Todd clinic tomorrow!  Woohoo :)

Cause it sort of amused me (particularly like #5) and my brain is spinning too fast to type anything coherent at the moment:

The Cowboy Rules:

1. Pull your pants up. You look like an idiot.
2. Turn your cap right, your head ain't crooked.
3. Let's get this straight: it's called a 'gravel road' I drive a pickup truck because I want to. No matter how slow you drive, you're gonna get dust on your Lexus Drive it or get out of the way.
4. They are cattle. That's why they smell like cattle. They smell like money to us. Get over it. Don't like it? I-10 & I-40 go east and west, I-17 & I-15 goes north and south. Pick one and go.
5. So you have a $60,000 car. We're impressed. We have $250,000 Combines that are driven only 3 weeks a year.
6. Every person in the Wild West waves. It's called being friendly. Try to understand the concept.
7. If that cell phone rings while a bunch of geese/pheasants/ducks/doves are comin' in during a hunt, we WILL shoot it outta your hand. You better hope you don't have it up to your ear at the time.
8. Yeah. We eat trout, salmon, deer and elk. You really want sushi and caviar? It's available at the corner bait shop.
9. The 'Opener' refers to the first day of deer season It's a religious holiday held the closest Saturday to the first of November.
10. We open doors for women. That's applied to all women, regardless of age.
11. No, there's no 'vegetarian special' on the menu. Order steak, or you can order the Chef's Salad and pick off the 2 pounds of ham and turkey.
12. When we fill out a table, there are three main dishes: meats, vegetables, and breads. We use three spices: salt, pepper, and ketchup! Oh, yeah ... We don't care what you folks in Cincinnati call that stuff you eat... IT AIN'T REAL CHILI!!
13. You bring 'Coke' into my house, it better be brown, wet and served over ice. You bring 'Mary Jane' into my house, she better be cute, know how to shoot, drive a truck, and have long hair.
14. College and High School Football is as important here as the Giants, the Yankees, the Mets, the Lakers and the Knicks, and a dang site more fun to watch.
15. Yeah, we have golf courses. But don't hit the water hazards - it spooks the fish. 

Last Friday night we danced on tabletops, took too many shots, think we kissed but I forgot...

ummmm yeah or maybe that was Friday night a decade ago.  Someways it seems so recent and someways it seems a lifetime ago.    But sadly *this* Friday night I'm essentially exhausted and really disinclined to write.  So you get a few random disjointed thoughts and then I'm off to sleep.

Two new students today who I think will both fit in really well, so that's always exciting :)

Riding outside in November - also exciting :)

Seeing people posting on fb that they're done their xmas shopping?   Well now really that's just a little excessive.  When I think of all I have to do between now and xmas I can't even begin to contemplate shopping.  Sheesh.  If they could bottle that free time and sell it, they'd be rich!

Mark Todd clinic this weekend - super exciting.

Royal with friends on Wednesday - can't wait!

Out of town friend visiting on Friday - always fun :)

Finally managed to book a dinner date with a friend I haven't seen in ages -- about time!

Crossing off the first thing on my to do list: write to do list.   Well that'll be a good thing when it happens.  Wish me luck.

Hot bubble bath before bed...  Well now that's a way better idea than writing a blog post just to write a blog post.   And who am I to pass on a good idea?


It's still Thursday :)

Right so it's 11:00 -- sure I can type something to still qualify as today's post before midnight.  Well I can if I ignore Facebook and email for a while.

So the news of the move is official and public now!  I am sooooooo excited.   Esp when things I'm not happy with at the current place cause grief (ugh, teaching in the dust-bowl tonight.   Counting down till we move :)   Photos and a map on the GRS fb page if you're interested.

For those I don't see in every day life -- for a wide variety of reasons I'm relocating my school.  The new place is a little west of the current place, close enough that almost all of my awesome students are coming with me.  Woohoo - pretty stoked about that.  hahaha and basically everything about it is an improvement.  Grass turnout, big stalls with mats, little to no mud anywhere, gorgeous indoor ring with excellent essentially dust-free footing, nice heated viewing lounge for parents, 95 acres of land (xc course to come!), heated wash stall, professionally built dressage ring, grass jump ring, awesome landlords -- everybody I've met has been super nice.  And it's private -- it'll be just us.   About the only thing I expect to miss at the current place is some of the people.  I've made a couple good friends there and that's always hard to leave.  But this place comes with good people too :)

But yeah the to-do list is growing about as fast as I can think...  Prob time to start writing some of that down.  And then maybe actually doing something about it.  Yikes.

And even with fb open I'm still going to post in time.  >;-P    (ummmm not sure who that's directed at; just seemed appropriate somehow)


Hey, that's a great idea! ummmm or maybe not...

I wonder if "physician heal thyself" applies to other careers?

hahaha so when I bought Athena she was starving and unfit and unhealthy.  Now she's a good weight, very fit, healthy and happy.   Yet somehow in my mind, she's still starving and unfit...  So when the weather was nice on Monday so I'd go for a hack, I didn't think anything of it.

Despite the fact that the weather's been crummy for weeks so she's been stuck in the arena.  AND she hadn't been ridden for two days.

Now if any of my students had told me they were going to do that, I would've either stopped them, or told them to go ahead but be prepared (depending on which horse and rider combination it was :) -- but for me?  oh no, out I go without a second's thought.

*Almost* worthy of a "stupid should hurt" moment, but fortunately I clued in fairly quickly and as a result did *not* have to make the walk of shame...

hahahah well it all worked out ok in the end, but let's just say I had to wake up fast >;-P  Our nice walk hack very quickly changed into a jigging sideways trot, which morphed into a *very* up canter...  Eventually I got her down to the plateau where there's at least some room to work; schooled till she was quasi-rideable and then jigged our way back to the sandring to burn off some steam on safer footing.  hahaha never got anything *good* that ride, but had a lot of fun.   And eventually did get to go on our lovely walk hack to cool out.   But even that was on a mission.

It just amused me my brain arguing with itself as she first started jigging.  The one side surprised and "hey, this isn't like you" and the other side "you idiot, what'd you expect?  She's fit, healthy, and hasn't been out in ages..."   Fortunately the third part -- the one that knows how to ride -- dealt with the situation while the other two argued it out.  hahaha

So today we had equally good weather so we went out again.  Still slightly out of control (next spring is going to be fun :) but at least this time I was prepared for it.   Walk/trot hack only to w/u.   Back to sandring (rather than plateau) for our actual work.  And then another w/t hack to cool down.   And you know what -- I *actually* followed it.  hahaha didn't even pretend to let her gallop.  Although I have to admit that's more because the footing wasn't safe and I have absolutely no intention of setting her up to fall then because I was being overly responsible *g*

And I would just like to announce that it's November and I got to give my horse a bath today.   Best. Weather. Ever.   Would really like this to stick around for the winter :


So it's November first, time for Nanowrimo!

Let's see - already on this month's agenda...

Normal 70-80 hour work week running the school and taking care of the horses
Back and forth to the new place showing people around, planning, organizing etc  (I can't wait - every time I go there I get more excited!)
Mark Todd Clinic
Clothing orders
Plan and organize the move  (this is proving to be more complex than I originally anticipated!)
Actually move

hmmmm so given that, I'm afrid I have to acknowledge that there is absolutely no way I can handle Nanowrimo this year.  Booooo.  Simply no space left for 50,000 words.  So instead, I think I'll give the blog version a try.  I can't guarantee interesting, or even coherent *g* but I'll attempt to post something daily this month.

And if you're a writer, a wannabe writer, or somebody who ever thought "maybe I'll write a book some day" -- now's your chance!  Go to and have a blast :)   I've done it a few times -- last year's story is even in the works of being published.   And they provide plenty of procrastination options too.  Enjoy!