Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Mom was sick on her birthday. So the birthday dinner I promised her morphed into an unexpected early Thanksgiving. My husband and I invited over Mom, my brother, and friends.

I cooked:
- I roasted an 8 pound chicken. I let other shoppers fight over the turkeys.
- Mashed potatoes with gravy
- Carrots
- Green and white asparagus
- The last fall beets I saved from our local farmer
- And for desert: Yellow cake with chocolate cream frosting and ice cream. ...I admit I bought those.

I also picked up every barn girl's favorite fashion accessory. New muck boots for Mom.

Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mom's birthday

Today was my mother's birthday. But I shouldn't say which. Anyway, we planned to ride and then I'd make dinner at my house.

"Hi, Mom. Happy Birthday. Are we still getting together tonight?"

"Uuuuhhhh.... I'm... siiiiiiiick...."

"You're sick...? Did you catch the flu?"

"I've got to go, Honey.... (Burp)... Bathroom..." *click*

So much for our plans.
"I have a lot to do at work. I can't catch swine flu..."
What's a daughter to do? Same thing I do any time life presents a quandary...

I went to the barn. I pulled Huey out and rode. Then after I got him untacked, Huey put on his "treat face".

"Wait here, Huey. I have an idea." I got his treat. And my phone.

"Hi Mom."


"Huey got the phone. He said he had to call you to say, Happy Birthday. Here he is." I held it up to Huey's ear and gave him his treat.


"Mom, don't make him deaf."

Huey looked puzzled. He turned his head sideways. He nickered quietly in his throat as he inhaled his treats. I suppose that is horse for "Happy Birthday."

Friday, November 13, 2009

Training: Spinning in circles

...dizzy, tizzy circles!

Continuing our bending work. Our trainer has challenged us with more circles, loops and some lateral work in the mix.

New Exercise: Lazy B
This can be done on either side of the arena. You can also reverse the direction. Walk or trot.

1) Go down the long side. (Optional: in shoulder-in)

2) At E circle left 10m

3) Leave circle toward A. At A, turn right. Go back up long side toward E. (Optional: in shoulder-in)

4) At E circle right 10m

5) Ride toward C. At C turn left. Repeat.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Training: Bending a sausage

First session! Worked on bending and connection today. Armani is like an overstuffed sausage. In lateral work he tries to shuffle with his body straight. So our instructor challenged us to bend through the body more.

New exercise: Sidepassing down the wall

(Now, I'm not one to split hairs over linguistics. Technically this may not be called "sidepassing". Basically the goal is to stretch and bend.)

I stand facing his shoulder. My right hand holds the bit. My left hand holds the reins by the saddle and a whip. With the whip I tap his right-hind over. We move down the long-side of the arena. My right hand asks him to soften and bend. His right hind should step under his belly. We proceed down the wall at a brisk walk. He is bent toward me, and away from the direction of travel.

Switch hands and go the other way.

Armani grunted and groaned a good deal during our session. Our instructor encouraged us to practice on our own. Which we did. It felt easier the second day.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Our new assignment: official dressage training

I've taken a lesson every other week for years. And Armani has had some professional schooling. But this month we are officially "in training" together with my instructor, a Grand Prix rider. We'll both be riding him and she'll show me techniques. Armani and I will both learn. I've been saving a while for it and I'm pretty excited. Armani is not so much.

My goal is to be showing 1st Level next year and maybe 2nd Level. I'll chronicle our progress.