Back in my Leaving Cert days studying Hamlet was the biggest mental block that I have experienced.... that is until now!
My latest block is figuring out what to do after my time here. Here in the US at this moment, I would be deemed as a professional. Horses are my profession, my job, my life etc. At home somehow I think it would be different. I often wonder could I see myself doing horses as a career at home or is that a silly notion?
Or am I better to keep horses as a side earner for myself and work part-time?
I had a chat with Mam and Dad when they were over. I will be nearly 28 when my visa expires ( I know everyone says that is still young! ) BUT I do not want to be still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up when I will already be grown up!! I need a plan. Now mind you I am not freaking out about this just yet but as ye already know I am a procrastinator - hence my lacksy-daisy attempts at keeping this blog afloat. A vague plan would be nice. :D
I do know this much, whether I will make horses my career or not I will get myself a great horse that I can get to FEI level. My Dad said to me that I am very demanding which I was horrified at! I said am I that much of a b***h??!! He said "Of course not! I meant that whatever you want you will make sure that you get it for yourself, not in a deceitful way but in a hard-working way". Basically whatever I put my mind to I will make sure I make the best out of it, for myself.
I guess he is right? I know that this will be a long road. What was the mean age of all the dressage riders at this past Olympics? Forties. So I have some time yet. Not that I am saying I want to aim for the Olympics. Some CDIs in England would suffice!! I know my limits.
Ugh. Growing up is difficult.
On a lighter note, the horses are going great here! I am riding Bernie a few times a week which is amazing. I do the 'physical therapy days' where I have to learn how to get him more through, listening to me and ON my aids. Not easy! This week was a great learning curve, Pam told me how to get it and left me alone. She said I needed to figure it out for myself. Day 1...I got him pretty good but it took quite a while. Day 2...YURT!!! I got it really good and quicker too.
LC had a hard week, our contact has been getting much better. The weather was quite nice and mild so we worked outside for a few of the days. That was a big issue for us for a while as she was originally quite shy and easily bamboozled so I could barely get her around the arena. Then she got quite bold and attempted to stop and try and buck. Difficult as I had not got the control of her shoulders, couldn't get my legs on her etc! Now that the contact is much better this week was brilliant. No major issues outside except turning! Her paces are HUGE. We can cross the short side in 3 canter strides!! The contact was an issue because she is part thoroughbred and TBs tend to need a trusting, solid contact where they have to ride forward and take the bit forward. Because she was still growing, not able to control her own legs and getting to know herself I was finding it difficult to keep it all together! My lower back was in bits boi! But this week it all came together...yaytimes!!
Here is a video of us in action....bear in mind she was tired and I was booting her around the gaf
Hope my riding has improved!!!
Oh lord. We dressed Mischa up. Oh lord. I am a cat lady :'( Crap.
Sooooooooooo excited to be celebrating Halloween here. Like you have no idea. Van Guard Stables is the home of the Behind the Mask theatrical troupe, where one of our amazing clients (Katherine Dow) teaches, rides and competes and part-takes in the troupe. check this out...
So Van Guard are having THE biggest party tomorrow night. Pictures will follow for sure! The Party is called Van Gore! They have the indoor decorated with a fire pit in the middle manned by skeletons. their viewing room is actually transformed into a viewing room....
So while I finish this post, I am also writing a last minute list for any garb needed to finish off our costumes for this partay....
Friday, October 26, 2012
Saturday, October 13, 2012
I am officially inept at keeping this going. It is now mid October and I have been here in NH since early April. Fail.
These past 6 months have been the sun, moon and stars to me. I have laughed, learned, roared, had tears in my eyes, aches all over my body and I am still up for more. I have went from a basic elementary level rider to one who now knows how to ride PROPERLY!!!!!
I am still struggling with the concept of owning it, riding every stride, taking no prisoners and knowing when to stop. It is the most difficult thing for me. My parents came over to visit me September 18th. They got to see me ride Bernie, Pam's Inter II horse. Dad could not believe how much I have improved and for him to actually say that to my face made my year! He was always the one to push me at home, but I guess it is hard for a close relative to say to you, "Cop the F**k on and ride! Do something instead of just sitting there poking and praying!!" Pam, sound for calling me out on this!! "You are going TO ride not GO FOR a ride!!"
That yell will forever ring in my ears.
Back in May, a 15yr old Morgan owned by an adult amateur came for what was only supposed to me a mth....he is still here!! Kelly was so pleased on how he was shaping up she wanted him to stay for an agreeable lengthy eductation. I was the proposed jockey. He has turned me inside out. I have learned how to ride a tricky moving breed and the main part, I have learned respect. One day he was going great, and Pam said do some walk-trot transitions. Sure not only did I do some, but I tore the arse out of the poor horse doing them because they were so good! He started acting up as he is temperamental by nature, so I was hard on him. Pam called me on it, "He can be only good for so long SJ, remember that!! He can be bad all day of he wants because it is easier for him to be that way. Working good is so hard for him. Know the god damn difference!!!!"
Filion being hand grazed
I believe it is so important to be an open book when being taught. Before I would have taken serious offense emotionally to being yelled at in such a way. Now it happens 20times a day! Would I have learned all I have thus far if I closed myself down?? Nope, I guess not.
In June the horses Pam bought from Denmark were to be shipped here. The 2 mares had to go into 2week quarantine for CEM tests. They have to have 3 clear CEM uterine swabs before being released. Ziggy, the only gelding was able to be picked up straight away from the animal import centre in NY. Guess who the proposed jockey for this boyo was? Moi! Nearly soiled myself at the thought because riding young horses under someone else's instruction other than your father is a daunting thing. Not knowing what she wants you to do and when etc. All that aside he is a super star for a 4yo. Easy to do in everyway. He can go outside on his own and hack around. When riding young horses and breakers at home I was always just asking for the bare minimum, if they did it without a hassle I left it be and didn't push for anymore. Now I see how bad that was!! How else are you going to improve them if you are not the teacher?
Ziggy being led out of quarantine in the NY Animal Import Centre
He wanted my ice cream!!
Can you see here my trend? I am not riding and asking enough of the animal I sit on. I need to be more on the ball as the saying goes. But I think I am getting there. I have relapses quite often. You can ask Pam that!
So my current mounts are UVM Filion ( the morgan) and the 4yo Danish mare Lucienne that Pam imported. Quite often Bernie too, as of late. He is a great one to learn ownership on! Today for example, he took over on every diagonal I rode, which I had intended in doing tempis. He is an arse on them anyway Pam says. But all the same, we went through easily ten mins of HALF HALTING and riding him forward so he got the picture that I am not one to mess with. I had to be on the ball every stride, otherwise if he was given just 1 stride, I was back to square one. Pam said that she rides EVERY STRIDE! Whats the point in just half halting and not kicking forward to the bit? He falls on the forehand and goes out behind, kicking me in the arse and ignores my leg aids to change. Guess what?? Half halt him and RIDE him forward and all peace will be restored! I had to change my t-shirt after this lesson. Whew.
LC is a chestnut beauty. Very sweet girl, but shy unlike Ziggy. She always tries to be good even if she is scared. She has thoroughbred in her, so she is fast when she wants to be. My major worry about riding her was that I was too slow. I guess I would have to learn huh?! Oh yes I did! She has been growing all summer so to ride her varied from day to day. She has the most unbelieveable hind end I have ever seen. So much so we have her nick-named Spiderlegs. She can't get her front legs out of the way quick enough at times! She is very strong but in a good way, once you have that right side you can do anything. As we are getting into winter and she has stopped growing the ante has been upped now that she can take it. She has to accept the contact and stay on the page. She still is a little young to stay inside the lines, but we will keep asking more of her and see how it fares out. I need to be more stern with her, her shyness is leaking away.
The summer has came and went, the trees are turning and talk of returning to Florida is a hot topic. Still have enough time to get LC where she needs to be before FL and Filion is set to go home at the end of this month. But he has been booked in here as soon as we get back from FL. I can see him becoming a regular fixture :)
6.30 AM Autumn Sunrise with my beloved Kobota ;)
How amazing is this? I am riding up to 3 and sometimes 4 horses a day, all under constant instruction. I work with amazing people, amazing clients and amazing animals. I never have regretted making the decision to leave Ireland for a few years to learn more about riding, dressage and myself.
Next post won't be so philosophical. Promise!