Here there be dragons...

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

Now would you please stop raining on me?

Pilates today was sort of entertaining.  For reasons I don't entirely understand, our superstar trainer decided it was Boot Camp day.  Holy Frig.  I'm going to be some sore tomorrow!  hahaha oh well.  But what made it entertaining was there were a group of girls there about my own age who are clearly long-term workout buddies.  It was the pilates version of me teaching Steph, Paula and Kirby together *g*  For those who haven't experienced that -- there's a lot of giggling, a fair amount of decent riding, and a generally good time.  And whoever else happens to be in the vicinity seems to enjoy it even if they don't have a clue what's going on *g*  So I was definitely on the outside of this circle -- it's rare for me to say more than a word to anybody here, but I was still highly entertained.  And it made the brutal workout just that much easier.

So I went to the trophy store today -- did you know there are trophy stores?  hahaha of course there are - that just makes logical sense - but it's one of those things I've never really thought of before.  I was looking for a trophy for our show series champion and potentially one for the barn that can have a name added to it each year.  When I was looking through the selection of horse trophies I have to say I was appalled by the equitation of the riders jumping *sigh*  Clearly the artist's work wasn't vetted by a pro before the molds were made.  Even though the horses were great, I couldn't give an example of horrible riding as a reward for excellent riding!  hahaha so those were rejected, but I eventually found one I could handle.  However, in that search I found an *amazing* big one with excellent eq *g*  It was meant more as art than trophy but I'm convinced it could work for our in-barn trophy.   They're trying to figure out how to mount it that way, but hopefully at some point, we'll be good to go :)

It just amused me as one of those things I never thought of as being part of the job :)  One of my favourite things about running my own business has been learning all the non-horse-related odds and ends...  Sourcing ribbons and trophies (the stores for most of which don't have decent websites btw -- what century are we in???  Sheesh!), mastering the art of social media marketing, minoring in old-school marketing and flyer design *g*, accounting (omg shoot me now), functioning for weeks on a couple hour's sleep (oh wait, I actually learned that in uni! I *knew* there was a reason I went there! :), sourcing team clothing (for she who hates clothes shopping), psychology (starting to think my uni degrees would've been more useful to me in my current job if I'd gone that route -- I sometimes think $700 Pony's "Trainer/therapist" title is fairly accurate),  basic photography and photoshop 101 (yeah for previous career :), delegating (theoretically so easy but ridiculously hard for me to do sometimes!), learning to ask for and accept help (even harder than delegating!), carpentry (I still have a *long* way to go on this one!) and and and...  hahaha but it keeps life fun and interesting.

hahaha anyways - after some more running around and several phone calls (one for fun -- happy birthday Kerri!!! and the rest for work - possibly my least-favourite job requirement) and other odds and ends it was social hour :)   Amy, Steph and I met up at the movies to see Beautiful Creatures.  After some confusion as to *which* theatre we all made it in lots of time.  We stocked up on junk food and headed in -- to discover we had the whole theatre to ourselves!  Woohoo!  hahaha way to feel spoiled.  We could laugh and comment and put our feet up and be all kinds of at-home with no worries of spoiling somebody else's experience.  So much fun!  And it helped that the movie was much better than I'd anticipated :)  I'm really not picky about movies; I'm pretty good at suspending reality for a while -- but always nice when you expect nothing and get something *g*

Oh and the subject line?  Quote of the night :)   Although there were several good one-liners in that movie.

Music silliness

*Such* a good ride today :)  My little pony was a superstar -- even connected at the canter a bit.  Woohoo!  And the trot afterwards was absolutely amazing.  hahaha yeah!  Short ride -- when everything is lovely with a baby horse, it's a good time to stop *g*  But fabulous.

So the show last weekend was a blast :)   Check out the GRS blog for details.  So much fun!

Was entertained the other day -- listening to the radio as I was doing stalls and Dad had his ipod on.  Radio was tuned to current top 20 type pop and ipod to 60s music.  And for whatever reason my brain, instead of focusing on one station, chose to merge the two.  And with the choruses of both I ended up hearing "I don't want to kiss goodnight...  I want candy!"  Frig.  I used to sort of like that first song in a mindless fashion, but now I just can't take it seriously because I *always* hear the other one interfering with the chorus *g*   I really wish I had any audio editing software so I could snip those together and the song could be forever corrupted for you too, but since I don't . . .

The first line of:

followed by (start at 38 seconds):

You can't unhear it. You're welcome ;-P

Oh and along with music corruption.  Ever since I saw:

I start giggling whenever I hear this one (start at 42):

This was particularly funny when that song was stuck in my head during a particularly disastrous lesson last summer and all I could think was "I can't afford to be any smaller!" hahaha oh dear.

Ok so that's enough of that for tonight :)  Have a good one!

Current Standings

It's a tight race in our overall show standings.   Here's the latest:

Olivia S - 41
Rowan - 40
Amy - 24
Eve - 22
Kennedy - 22
Rebecca - 22
Chelsea - 10
Emily - 9      
Kirby - 8
Olivia P - 7
Ashley - 6
Cassy - 6
Nicole - 6
Alison - 3        
Lesya - 2

Amazing show!

So. Much. Fun today :)   Haven't laughed that much in ages.

Sadly a few riders who usually join in the entertainment weren't able to attend today due to exams, work, or transportation, but those who were here had lots of fun and a few personal bests.
Olivia and Louis
So let’s see. Dressage was more entertaining than it’s technically supposed to be. Hahaha Nicole and Athena interpreted “halt” as “dance around from side to side” – which resulted in her giggling too much to actually resolve the situation. Ah well – it’s supposed to be fun, right? :) Similarly entertaining was Amy on Nick who was determined to get a forward trot, which Nick continually interpreted as canter. I didn’t see their test sheet, but I suspect the word “broke” is probably on it a *few* times... The highlight of dressage was definitely Kennedy on Jack – they put in a fabulous test! Totally boring – circles were round and the size they were supposed to be; no interpretive movements at all. Gaits were distinct, forward and rhythmic. Horse was bent the direction he was supposed to and obedient. No drama at all really. Hahaha - Awesome job! Olivia and Louis won the award for fastest test ever. Clearly trying to get it over with so we could jump. To the best of my knowledge nobody got lost or went off-course this time and there were fewer “use of voice” faults. So things are definitely progressing!

Nicole and Athena
Nicole’s giggling set the tone for the day as Amy followed it up in equitation – laughing so hard by the end of the course she couldn’t even see where she was going! Fortunately, Nick doesn’t really need a pilot and they jumped clear. He even *over* jumped a fence or two. Really! Nick’s other pilot Eve took it a little slower and trotted a first place finish in the novice division. Rowan was on Bella again and their eq round went quite nicely – fences at that level are a reasonable size for a pony. Even one who does jump as enthusiastically as Bella does. Nicole redeemed her less than spectacular dressage conclusion by putting in a really civilized round with Athena. Kennedy and Jack had one of the best rounds going ever until Jack unfortunately objected to one fence. Rebecca who rode him next learned from what she’d seen and *really* rode that jump. It worked though – she convinced him to jump clear! Woohoo. Emily and Lissy were having a challenge getting their timing together. Lissy helped her over the first several but eventually had enough and let Emily jump the scary fence alone. Fortunately nothing bruised but pride and she gamely hopped on and continued the day. Olivia and Louis put in a good round – he was landing from most fences cantering, but not nearly as speedy as his dressage had been! Good to see :)
Rowan and Bella on their way to first place in Eq!
And then onto the mystery round... ohhhh, ahhhhh.... hahaha the jumper class of the day was the 6-Bar Challenge. Which, being indoors and having a couple horses who’d have to go more than once, we changed to a 3-Bar Challenge :) Rules are simple – jump three fences in a straight line, in any gait you like, without stopping or knocking any of them down. Easy right? The thing is – the fences grow each round till there’s only one player left. Riders also have the choice to stop at any point – particularly for novice riders, the horses can often jump way higher than their comfort zone, so we always install an escape clause :) Both our judge and I also have override authority if we feel for sake of horse or rider they should not go any higher, they’d be excused. We started with the novice and intermediate riders with the poles on the ground. We had two lines set – one on pony striding and one on horse striding so the riders could pick which line they preferred. They all chose well and the world was good :) Eve and Nick got to her current height record of 2’6” – where they jumped the big fence beautifully but unfortunately pulled one of the little ones on the way. Olivia and Louis got slightly higher to a new height record for her. They were awesome to watch! Louis was all for this game. Emily chose to stop at about the 3’ mark. Totally fair given their earlier challenges and, I thought, a great way to end the day. Rebecca and Jack as well as Nicole and Athena were both having good days – but then Athena did as Nick had earlier and pulled one of the speedbumps on the way to the big one, ending the competition with Rebecca in first. Woohoo!
Eve and Nick
Then we moved on to the last group. Bella, who’s usually the superstar of this game, wasn’t as interested in playing today. She stopped at about the 3’ mark – well below her usual end point. But then, Rowan can probably count on one hand the number of times she’s ridden that pony so it’s not as though they know each other all that well. But then the other two – Kennedy on Jack and Amy on Nick. That was fun to watch. Nick, my lovely walk-trot beginner horse, came to life. He’d turn the corner, rock himself back on his haunches, and you could just see the “I’ve got this” in his expression. And with perfect hunter form, he’d hop through it. And then always toss his head around and play after the fence. “Did you see? See what I can do???” hahaha soooo cute. And the *grin* on Amy’s face. That’s was pretty cool to see. Whereas Jack was not nearly as confident, but Kennedy told him he could do it and he did! “If you say so....” Very impressive horsemanship. Jack and Kennedy got a little over 3’6” – a height record for both of them! At that point though he was struggling so even though Kennedy was willing to keep going and riding beautifully, I stopped them there. And she’s enough of a horsewoman that she understood. Amy and Nick tried the 3’9” fence (I think a height record for her :) but unfortunately he just tapped it ever-so-lightly with a hind foot resulting in a tie.

Amy and Nick
What a great end :) It was so much fun today. Excellent to see so much good riding, and even better to see how much fun the riders were having. Woohoo. And I haven’t laughed that much in a while :)  Thanks to all who helped make everything flow so smoothly!  My dad for harrowing the ring and helping with stalls.  Rebecca, Emily, Steph, and Amy for helping with afternoon chores.  Bryn and Steph for being ring crew.  My mum for taking over secretary duties and helping me get organized this am.  And of course our amazing judge, Amy, and scribe, Steph.   Hmmmm anybody notice how often Steph is mentioned here?  hahaha thanks soooo much!  What a great day!

Rebecca and Jack

Staying motivated in February

So since I've been feeling the February blahs, despite a few good rides, I decided to see how other people keep going and posted on the GRS FB page: "A true athlete is made in the off-season training while everybody else is comfortable at home. When you get to the barn alone in the cold and the dark and have to force yourself to tack up. Only to get on and have that amazing ride. It's at that moment that you realize nothing will get in the way of your dream.

How do you stay motivated through the February blahs?"

Just thought it was interesting -- well except for Jael, she's just evil ;-P   Notice there was not a single case of "I ride in February because it's fun".  And of those who do choose to keep working during the winter, the vast majority do so for competitive goals.  Admittedly a very unscientific study, but still thought it was sort of interesting.  We're an odd breed us horse-people.

Forever grateful the powers that be decided to make February shorter than all the other months...

So Monday I was going to ride Lexi and R was just finishing up with her horse as we entered the arena.  Instantly *all* of Lexi's attention was on the other horse -- as if I weren't even there...    Ummmm ok.  So decide the lunge line might be a good idea.  She's power booking it around the circle, trying to keep her head turned toward the other horse the whole time.  hahhaa pretty funny.  But she was at least listening -- I could pick the gait for her to be in - it was just always on speed.

They left shortly thereafter and I decided to keep lunging for a bit since Lexi was fairly certain the world would end without her there anymore.  But we got some good lunge work so even though I only had about 15 mins left before I had to get ready to teach, I hopped on.

And she was So. Much. Fun!  Hahaha that forward carried over under saddle.   It was a little giraffe-on-crack-ish admittedly, but still super fun.  And the first time she's ever actually been really forward.  So I was pretty excited about htat.

Then the next day I got on her and she was definitely feeling the games from the day before a little, but she was still forward!  Woohoo.   We even jumped a few "jumps" hahha of the not-qutite-2' could-actually-walk-over-them variety that will someday be nothing but for today was exciting :)

So since both excellent rides followed extensive inner-lecturing to get me on the horse in the first place, I decided to see how other people keep going and posted on the GRS FB page: "A true athlete is made in the off-season training while everybody else is comfortable at home. When you get to the barn alone in the cold and the dark and have to force yourself to tack up. Only to get on and have that amazing ride. It's at that moment that you realize nothing will get in the way of your dream.

How do you stay motivated through the February blahs?"

Just thought it was interesting -- well except for Jael, she's just evil >;-P   Notice there was not a single case of "I ride in February because it's fun".  And of those who do choose to keep working during the winter, the vast majority do so for competitive goals.  Admittedly a very unscientific study, but still thought it was sort of interesting.  We're an odd breed us horse-people.

So speaking of avoiding work, today I had a whole list of things to do but then realized it's the last day in Feb I have for my new year's "1 day/month" of nothingness so enjoyed a day of no real commitments.  The only errand I couldn't get out of I combined with getting junk food for lunch so all good :)  hahaha So I deem 1/6 of my yearlong goal accomplished *g*   Spent part of the day doing organizational type stuff and all the rest veged in front of the fire with a book :)   Pretty decent day all-round.

Now...  To write a FridayFlash...  hmmmmm  Could happen :)  But I think not tonight...

What do you do to stay motivated?

Today was one of those days where it was particularly hard to motivate myself.  I love my job and I really enjoy my horse...  But there's the odd day when I'd really much rather stay in bed.  And today was definitely one of them.  I seriously considered resetting the alarm and going back to sleep and not getting to the barn till it was time to teach.

But then I considered all the clinics coming up in the spring and the fact that I *really* want to show this summer and that got me out of bed and to the barn.  After all, I won't be able to compete if my horse isn't ridable...  And the only way she'll become ridable is if I actually *ride* >;-P   And she was really good.  It was one of those days where I actually felt I could see some sort of progress.  Kinda made it worth getting up :)   Now XC season needs to arrive soon!  What do you do to stay motivated in the cold miserable weather...?   Esp if you're working with a young horse where your sessions are short and, on a good day, boring?

And in your product check moment -- last week my photos all disappeared from my camera.  I clicked "move" to transfer them from camera to PC and while they left the camera they did not make it to the PC *sigh*  Not in the recycle bin, not on the camera, nowhere to be seen...   So I googled and the first product that seemed highly recommended I tried.  It found all the files, said they were viable, and yet when I transferred them none of them worked.  Boooo.   So a sister product to this one exists and was even more highly recommend.  I tried it -- and it didn't even install properly.  Frig.  When Google didn't give me a fix in 30 seconds or left, I abandoned that effort.  The next two I tried installed correctly but couldn't find any files...   Although since the very first one had, I still had hope.   Then I found one that not only found the files, it showed me previews of them!  Woohoo.  And *that* one was able to rescue about 90% of them.  Woohoo!  So if you need to rescue your photos from the void, check out Recuva.  It's free and it works. You're welcome :)

As for the photos?  They were of Louis, Jack and Sasha playing.  So much fun :)

Of puppies and ponies

Yesterday Sasha went to agility class.  I can't believe how much fun it is.  I'm not surprised *she* loves it -- I am surprised how much *I* enjoy it.  hahaha We're still practicing the teeter-totter, now with more speed which goes much better.  But everything else is starting to be put together.  We got to do some courses and it was highly entertaining.  Puppy did everything she was asked to.  Passed with flying colours.

Her handler otoh...  Oh dear.  Off course two...?  three? times.  Omg.  You'd think after the, what?  Couple thousand courses and dessage tests I've memorized over the years an eight-obstacle course would be fairly simple.  And tbh the order of the obstacles wasn't even remotely an issue.  But running the course I'd get pointed slightly the wrong way and send Sasha off to never never land.  And this is why we walk our courses *sigh*   You'd think I'd know better by now >;-P   Not that I didn't know where we were supposed to go, but I didn't manage to convey that info to my wonderful puppy.  hahaha but since *she* didn't get to see the course map ahead of time she still got rewarded and play time.  After all - she went where she was told, it wasn't her fault I didn't tell her to go where I actually wanted her to.  My coach is quite good with the details of how my body alignment directs Sasha and when I can implement them all it goes reasonably well.  hahaha I think that's part of why I'm enjoying it so much -- firstly because it's a lot of fun to play with Sash, esp when she's clearly having a blast.  But also because it's actually an entirely new challenge to learn.  I didn't really expect that, but it is.  So entertaining.

And with the critter I *do* sort of know how to direct, my  lesson this am was somewhat bemusing.  Since my horse is not fit enough to really work for an hour and, quite frankly, doesn't have the attention span either, I don't warm her up before my coach gets there like I usually would.  End result is that if he's early, I'm still tacking up.  So was the case this am and we chatted while I was getting her ready and I put her on the lunge line for a few minutes -- all good.  He put some poles down for her to go over.  No problem.  So I stopped her and was going to turn around and go the other way but I guess paused just a little too long and my coach came over, took the lunge line from me, "let me help with that..."  hahaha oh dear, you know it's been a rough day when...  In what three years?  Four?  I'm not sure exactly but a long while, he's taken over exactly once before (although in that case it was riding rather than lunging).   But since my hands were blocks of ice at this point and I wasn't entirely functioning well I just handed her over and exited the circle.  hahaha warmed myself back up, set a few poles, and eventually when he was done lunging her I got on to ride.  Get less than half way around "are you okay today?"  hahaha I must've been in quite some state.  I know it's been a long week and I'm tired but I didn't think it was *that* bad >;-P

Ah well - I redeemed myself and Lexi chose to behave herself and in the end we had a reasonably good ride.  Still mostly working on forward.  Seriously basic.  Taking me way longer with this mare than anything I've ever started.  Esp as I didn't even really start her - she'd been backed and had two n a half gaits before she came home.  But it is getting better now.  And I suspect when the light goes on, it's *really* going to shine.  But for now three gaits, two directions and zero meltdowns is pretty much all I'm asking for.

This has been....  Quite the week.