Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"You're a mean one, Mr. Mud...."

You make white horses turn to brown!

You're as slippery as a lawyer,
You're as sloshy as my Soaps,
Mr. Muh-ud!

I wouldn't walk through you in...
Tall black rubber boooooots! (Oops, too late for that one)"


One of my favorite things about the holiday season: the Grinch!

First of all, some good news and some bad news about the farrier visit today.

The Good news: The mud is no match for Greta's hooves of impenetrable iron, apparently. The farrier said that they are probably the best he has seen on a barefoot horse, and he attributes it to her being raised on very rocky ground (the Illinois hills and then the Colorado Rockies, whoo!) and my putting Thrush Buster on her once a week. Apprently, I only need to put it on twice a month. Oops! Also, she was very good, and he didn't have to really push her to lift her hooves, etc. She was a saint. For him.

The bad news: She wasn't a saint for her Bre-substitutes (the parental units :D). She made it difficult for them to catch her - she just walked in circles though, no running away, as she really didn't want to leave her new boyfriends - and to lead her and keep her still while they washed off her legs pre-farrier. But during and after the trim, she returned to the saint I know she is!

I was able to go out today, as usual, and finally take pictures of der Greters. There was a random 2 inches of rain this morning, and it came in sideways, so all of the arenas and round pens are closed off now and Greta decided she'd give me twice as much work to do Thursday! Riding Buddy said she couldn't stand to have a white horse. I simply said that it means Greta and I have to spend more time together!

Also I saw some deer farther back in the pasture. Very cool.








Monday, September 28, 2009

These are a few of my favorite... riders

I was very excited to find three good riders in my area, that I had to blog about it!

So, recently I discovered a dressage master named Wolfgang May. He had shown my future instructor a technique to get a better flying lead change, and the upper level riders/eventers were practicing it last week. He sounded like a very good teacher, trained at the Vienna Riding School (which automatically biases my decision that they must be a good rider, but usually they are, so it's a fair bias) and then at the American Spanish Riding School in (Wellington, Florida?) and now he currently resides in *drumroll please* TEXAS! And not some place in Lubbock nine hours away, but at a place near San Antonio, three hours away! Still far, but it's crazy for me to think that there is an actual classical master in the "area"!

He also does many clinics in Texas, including some at the beautiful Double Diamond Equestrian Center in Borne, TX (near San Antonio) where I did my first show and the first world-class facility I've ever set foot on. It's amazing. I was fortunate enough to really have a need for the restroom, which gave me an excuse to leave the show for a a few minutes and go see the large indoor arena and stables, where the bathrooms were located. Luxurious. That's all I have room for. To describe it all would be another post!

Wolfgang May is also a very good rider, as are his students. I would love to spend a summer learning under him in the future.

There is also a trainer named Reinhard A. Dorsch somewhere in the San Antonio area who is another Spanish Riding School graduate, and toured with the Lippizaners for several years. He also appears to be a very talented horseman as well. He does a lot of work with Akhal Tekes, which I think is pretty cool. He judges the Fall Formal schooling shows for the Central Texas Dressage Society, and I would have no problem with him judging me!

Another trainer in the central Texas area, Micheal Vermaas. He seems like a very good rider as well!

Another competitive rider I recently looked more into is Lisa Wilcox. She had an article on thoroughness in Dressage Today and I was blown away by her posture and the look of her horses under saddle! Suhweet!

And long-time favorites will always be: Alois Podjhasky (I would have loved to meet him), the van Baalens, Phillipe Karl, Jolanda Adelaar, Gina Miles (yes, she is an eventer, but she is a very good horsewoman), Courtney King-Dye, and Jessica Jo Tate (she better be in the Olympics in 2012!). All very good riders in my mind and idols that I look up to.

All's well that begins well....

Yes, I've been MIA for a couple of days. Oh well, I have a life too!

Der Greters:
Greta's fine, and she just seems to be feeling better and better every day! The little cougar's been hanging out with "Cupid" (the bay youngn' with the heart on his forehead) and a new bay horse - affectionately called "Bay Boy" - who looks like he's fairly young too, both maybe 6 or 7. Greta's 12. She's a cougar. Rrrrawr!

They thinned out the pasture board herd, so it went from 15 to nine in the past week. That plus steady rain means lots of green grass! The big Belgian Wilbur and the big black Percheron Beau have both been moved to stall board, and the herd seems to be more at peace with everyone and everything it seems. I've even caught Greta rolling in the dirt twice now! And it's always been right before I go to get her! Maybe she has, like, "ESPN" or something (Mean Girls reference). In the mornings, when it's cool, she'll hang out under the thick trees at the far end of the pasture (and apparently the pasture goes back much farther than I thought, just with trees, though not insanely far, and there's even a few riding trails behind the pasture!) with her little gelding gang, and then when it's hot the horses move out into the sun.... I'm still trying to figure that one out...........

Oh, and she gets her hoofies trimmed tomorrow. I'm so glad that we will still have the same farrier!

Der Riding:
Riding has been going super-duper well. She had most of the week off last week too because of rain, so that would equate to about three days in the week instead of five....? I don't know. We've been doing a lot of walk and trot exercises, trying to get some basics back down, and we just canter for fun really! Her trot has become very nice to sit and she getting on the bit much more nicely. I've felt the beginnings of her trying to round out her back, and she's gone all the way when I'm doing something right.... That I am also still trying to figure out!

And then I lounged her yesterday just as a warm up and also to see how she looks overall. Her walk was lazy (but that's because I wasn't on her, and I know her walk is good already) but her trot looked beautiful and her canter has become more collected. There is a longer moment of suspension between each stride. I'm very happy! She's thrusting aside the polo world and coming back to her dressage origins! Though she still gets very excited over white objects on the ground and tries to cut in front of other horses. Not bad though. She never tries to take over. I get a kick out of it more than anything haha!

I NEED TO TAKE PICTURES!!!

Der Lessons:
We will be starting lessons October 18th: two private to see where our niche is, then group lessons from there on. I'm so excited! I love all the riders and I love the instructor, and they all love Greta! She's hard not to love :D

Der Gogo:
Get well soon Gogo! From what I read you were feeling pretty cruddy today. It all pull through, don't worry!

Und als Schlußfolgerung, Das Morgan Dressage:
In conclusion, I was very excited to see a Morgan in the Dressage at Devon as featured on Behind the Bit. Very cute Morgan. It's not a warmblood! Oh, and has anyone heard of the A-mazing dressage Saddlebred (the first and perhaps the only Grand Prix level Saddlebred out there at the moment...) Harry Callahan? Yeah, go check him out :D

What I was not pleased with though was the opening picture to the blog: the horse was clearly not round in the back and was being pulled into the bit. Quite clearly. The first video: the canter was really good as were the tempi changes, and I loved the music (eternal Disney Tarzan fan!) As for the second video: Um... more being pulled into the bit, silly passages and piaffes and half passes and trot work in general. I cringed. But then again he was apparently quite spooky that night, so he might not have been listening all the way? He was still broken at the third vertebrae, no excuse for that. Way to go half-a$$, modern dressage!

But what do I know? I'm just a lowly first level.... :(
lol

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What drives them.

What is the meaning of life? No. It is: what is the meaning of horses? What is the meaning of people and horses? What drives us to them? Yes, that is the question.

What drives us to the horse? Is something within them and about them that we wish to see within and about ourselves: elegance or power or grace? Perhaps we ourselves wish we could dwell in the illumination of the present and not the dim of the past and to never look back or look forward, but to simply be. Perhaps we wish to humble ourselves in the present of a creature far greater than us in speed and strength and social. Perhaps it is to feel a sense of risk in accompanying one so large and unpredictable, and to know that we trust them still.

Perhaps it is the longing for a bound outside that of the confines of humanity, and one that blends harmoniously within the realm of nature and all that civilization considers primitive and beastly. Perhaps, to ride atop a horse, we can achieve a glorious freedom we could only visit in the dusky world of dreams and the subconscious. We can laugh without fear of social condemnation, speak our innermost thoughts without an ounce of thought nor a thread of remorse, relieve our frustration before it turns to destructive inner violence. Perhaps it is to relieve our instinctual drive to love, trust, and care for without the unbearable hurt of betrayal that only the complexities of human nature are consciously capable of. For what we give to the horse, they will, without fail, return wholeheartedly.

Or perhaps, more cynically, one might say that some abuse this. Some use the horse as a means of control over their uncontrollable lives. Some use the horse as way to be looked up upon when otherwise they might have been trampled, to achieve something when nothing else was readily available. Some would wish to exploit the horse's unfathomable will and need to please by making them suffer for it in the torturous arms of neglect and abuse, whilst those who care can only stand by and weep. Or, perhaps, give them a chance to be strong and fight for the inalienable right to live prosperously that is bestowed upon all of nature's creations.

Perhaps, then, horses are our God-given purpose. Perhaps it is we - any persons who have been fortunate enough to be within and enjoy the company of the horse - who were blessed with such an opportunity to relieve our emotional faculties by simply feeling the warm breath on your cheek, and the velveteen muzzle brush your palm, and powerful muscles ripple beneath your body, and the gaze of multifaceted eyes connect with that of your own and know that you have achieved a nirvana of sorts:

Something, perhaps, that is truly unexplainable.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Eventing Andalusians

You heard it right, folks:

Yes, that is an Andalusian. Yes, they are schooling what looks to be (Intermediate Novice? All I know is Beginner Novice and Rolex, guys! The horse is 16.2, if that serves as a reference) cross country. And yes, that song is in French. Apparently they are in France, and apparently the French can rock ("French frogs: plan of action!" / "We surrender!" / "No, not that plan of action!") haha!





I loved that last one because of the backdrop! JEALOUS! Oh, and the jumping hehe. I'll be sure to check out the other videos! They look pretty talented to the dressage rider's eye!

Oh, and some dressage. It's looks pretty decent. The sorrel horse is a schoolmaster they had her practice on, as this was just away schooling in Combelles (ooh, sounds fancy!) not a competition:






Greta updates will be coming soon, do not fret!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Time for something sickly sweet!



Mmm. It's September, and it just went from a refreshing 80 degree weather this past week back up to 90 degrees today. Not bad, compared to this record-breaking summer, but with October and November and December drawing closer and closer, I can't help but thing of my favorite time of the year.

Sweaters and wool socks and quarter sheets and big winter blankets, and anything else snuggly you can think of. And feeling the crisp air fill your lungs while you take a morning gallop (which hopefully some of those might be coming when the winter breaks start!) and having your bum all warm when you ride your horse bareback in the cold.

You actually want the sun to come out and warm you up, and so you can see the spindly branches silhouetted against the clear sky. You want a helmet and tall boots on because they'll keep you as toasty as they can get (which for a Texan, won't mean much, because most of your riding apparel is meant for extreme heat, not cold!)

Being all cozy in the stable while you tack up, and warming your hands as you rub down your horse with a towel. And you get to make your horse look classy with a clip! (If you don't let them turn into a yak.)

Spending Christmas afternoon feeding a carrot or two, or three, or ten, while they breath moist breath on you, and taking walks through the bare pasture where you can see every hole and dip (no snow here!)

God, I love winter. It'll be Greta's first in Texas (big difference compared to Colorado winters, I'm sure).

No, we don't decorate Christmas cacti and have longhorns pull Santa's sleigh. Maybe in El Paso! But we do get poinsettias. So pretty!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

For All You Jumpers & Eventers

Particularly Sam....

You mentioned to me a few posts ago about how much dressage is involved in jumping. You told me that you once saw a rider perform something that was just about a pirouette in a jump-off round that saved the clock big time. Well, check this out:

The kick-ass tight turns don't come until the final round, but I was totally geeking out! Those were amazing!!! And her hands remained practically motionless! That is sooo cool! The first tight turn and then The ones where she lands after the double combination and immediately turn left me starstuck. No wonder this girl got first!

"And look: I'm trrrotting!"

Haha. I love the scene from Shrek 2 when Donkey gets turned into a horse. "I can whinny! I can count! And look: I'm trotting!"

So now that we are on the subject of trotting, Greta and I did a lot of trot work today. We cantered twice. The first was a twenty meter circle, and it was A-mazing! The second... well, she took off on me and just zipped through the center of the arena. So we didn't really canter after that. I needed to focus on trotting anyway (okay, I'll stop.)

I feel like I've had another epiphany today, and that is my seat! I kind of figured out how to use it to drive Greta onto the bit, and from the glimpses I saw in the mirror, we looked pretty good! The video doesn't do it justice. Greta reached some "Eureka!" moments for herself as well.When her trot was especially good, her poll was the highest point and her back was nicely rounded and she brought her hind legs further beneath her, and it was a dream to sit.

When I drove Greta onto the bit, I used my inner thighs and seat to sort of "squeeze forward"so to speak. It was pretty friggin' cool.

And then she got a bath. So now she's sparkly white until tomorrow!

I love that Greta girly.

So, now, video of our trotting heehee:

Friday, September 18, 2009

Go Gogo!

Get well soon, Gogo.

video





Greta did very well today! I actually had a "christening" of owning a first horse: I fell off! Totally my fault, I should've been paying attention. The shavings shed was being cleaned out and I kept having to coax Greta at a walk to just ignore the noise and go past it. Then I wasn't paying attention + a particulary loud noise + a sharp 180 = me on the ground with a loud "Oh!" haha! Yay!!! Instead of taking off, Greta politely stood still and looked back at me as if to say, "Um, Bre? You were supposed to stay on. Duh."

I felt quite embarrassed until I saw the look on the turkey's face. Cracked me up and totally made my day. Kodak moment!

And then sniffed me all over to make sure I was okay. I was flattered.

Got her to do a nice, swinging trot again, and I practiced sitting it. Absolutely lovely!

We will be starting up lessons again within the next few weeks. We will do some private lessons so we can get up to the same level as the group lessons and so my new instructor can see how we stand. I'm very excited! Don't know about Greta, though.... I know she was excited to get back into work after a week off! She deserved it.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Worried

Good news first: Thrush Buster held up amazingly for 5 inches of rain (TX weather is so random, one day is 100+ degree weather and we are in the midst of a drought and a few days later it's in the 70s with pouring rain like we live in Seattle!) so I would definitely recommend it to anyone now! The best deal I've found, surprisingly, is on Dover Saddlery.

Bad news: I've been anxiously awaiting and watching for Andrea and Gogo from Eventing-A-Gogo to see how they are doing in the Beginner Novice AECs. The showjumping round is blank and the final score is a big fat W. They withdrew. Now I'm really worried. I hope everything is okay.....

Oh, and some more good news, I found some AEC pictures of Sam and Val from Blue-Eyed Eventers on the AEC website. They look awesome!!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Genuine


So this is the final draft of my English essay. I am cherishing it because this is the only time we won't have to analyze some God-awful book (Great Gatsby and Death of a Salesman here I come!) and because it means a lot more to me (and is more along the lines of what we were supposed to write) than the original essay I wrote. I'm going to be taking that one off. Ick!

So, here it goes, my persuasive essay!

Genuine

It’s hard for many to understand a life revolving around horses. Some detest the smell, the dust, the manure, and sloppy lips slathered in feed. Some cling to their concrete jungle, and would not know what to do in an open space with fresh air. And as for just as many others, horses are simply not for them. But they are for me.

I love the smell of clean leather whisking together with the dusky aroma of shavings and the sweet smell of molasses and oats. I love the quiet of the stable, of the residents peacefully shifting in their stalls and munching on hay, only broken by a soft nicker or a shrill whinny. The sunlight gleams through the windows above the aisle and casts heavenly light down upon the dim interior. When I walk out to the pasture, the bright is everywhere, and it gives way to green fields and majestic oaks. Interweaving amongst them are the horses, shadows beneath the trees and swaying with the grass as they graze. And in between two chocolate brown geldings is the one I came here for: a silver sublime basking in the sun. My dream come true. After school, every weekend, whenever I can: I don’t go shopping, I’m not on the basketball team, I don’t waste time. No, I drive along country roads and past fields of green coastal and to go to a stable to see a mare, Greta.

We love to simply stand in the aisle, taking a pause from brushing, and listen. I lean against her, and she turns to look at me in her special way. It is special because of her big brown eyes and long white lashes that mirror her intelligence and knowing and personality. From the first moment I laid eyes on her, I knew she was something extraordinary. Shivers run down my spine whenever I think about it.

Many people claim to share a bond with a dog, or a cat, perhaps something as abstract as a goldfish or turtle even. Horses are not for everyone, true, but the few who are fortunate enough to see something special in the horse, and not simply as a beast of burden, those are the people who truly share a bond with the horse. There is something delightful about striding atop one, soaring across the arena. When you are in a Zen as you float before the judges in an airy trot, your body melding with the horse into one unanimous creature, and then the sincere clap of audience hands breaks you from your trance as you find yourself giving your horse a great hug from the bottom of your heart: it is then you can feel and know the bond with a horse.

There is something more magical than simply riding a horse. Looking into a horse’s eyes, you know you look to them for spiritual wholeness and they look to you for leadership and guidance. Some people never connect like this, and I do not pity them. Like I said, horses are not for everyone.

But, for those special few who can feel and understand the joy and freedom of riding, and the calm and peace it brings to run your fingers through a thick mane: I praise you. When you love your horse, like how I love Greta, you can look past the musky smell and the dust and the “mess”. After all, every pet has their good and bad moments. It is all a part of taking care of and loving an animal.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Mud and mold (no, not THAt mold)

On Greta

It has been very cool the past two days. Yesterday I was totally unprepared and was absolutely freezing (the school's air conditioner was still set for the hundred-degree weather we had only a few days ago!) and very cool outside. In the seventies! It was great! We also got some rain. I was better prepapred today. I actually got to wear a sweater again! I love my sweaters. They're so cozy and warm....

And we also got 2 1/2 inches of rain today. Very cool, but that means the stables had turned to mush. Especially Greta's pasture! When I got out there she was standing in this disgusting (and I rarely use that word when it comes to barn stuff) poo and rotten hay juice. The hay was what was left from the old round bale. She was still munching on it! Yeck! So her hooves are now purple with Thrush Buster. And so is one of my hands. It looks kind of cool actually....

Riding-wise... a dream! Sunday and Monday Greta was a saint. Nice and mellow, which had me kind of scared at first, but then I remembered how she became like this once she got used to the old barn. It was quicker this time since she is around a bunch of horses and does not have just one horse to obsess over, and her pasture mates aren't taken out often, save her. Also, I would like to think, because she sees me every day so I guess I'm something familiar.

Greta gave me the perfect trot both Sunday and Monday. So nice in fact, that I felt comfortable enough to sit it. It wasn't a "oooh, I'm going to be a pacer horse today!" sort of trot. It was smooth, swingy trot and she got on the bit very nicely. When I sat it I began to understand what is meant with the term "elastic seat". I relaxed enough to keep my seat sort of swinging in motion with her. I made sure not to cheat and tuck my pelvis, which would hollow out my back, and deepen my seat enough to go along with the ride. The slang version I've heard of developing an elastic seat is to, well, "pretend you're making love to the saddle."

I wouldn't know that quite yet, so.... I just had to develop my own.

It felt like my seat was wax and it was just sort of molding to the saddle. I wasn't a plastic figurine that you just tried to squeeze onto the plastic horse. I had been molded with the horse in the same cast. I fit! Greta's mouth was soft in my hand and she just carried herself lovely. It was pretty friggin' cool.

So that's my analogy.

And pasture-wise: Greta's been hanging out with the same two geldings for the past few days. One of them I call "Cupid" because he has a big star resembling a heart on his head. The other just shadows him. Both are handsome dark bays, and Cupid is a very lanky boy. He was just resting his head on Greta while I picked out her hooves.

Greta, you little coquette!




On Quarter Marks
This is soooo cool. I know Jolanda Adelaar likes to do a heart on Guus. So adorable! And they look so flashy and fresh! In the picture gallery, I love the first one with the kangaroo!

Quartermark Gallery




Lastly, on the AECs

GO GO GO GOGO AND ANDREA, VAL AND SAM!!!!!!! KICK SOME BUTT, EVENTING STYLE!!!!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

She's mine? Yes. Are you kidding me? No.

I stumbled upon the first video, and I just grinned. Then that video led to another, which led to another. Reminds me of when I came home from school that day in May and my grandmother said, "The x-rays looked good. She's yours."

I screamed pretty loud.

Enjoy.





You tell 'em boi! And extensions update...

If there were such thing as ghetto gangsta dressage riders, that's what they would say to Philippe Karl.

I know I'm probably a bit behind on this (this is, like, a month old, I think?) but oh my God it's about time! I have seen a numerous outcries about rollkur and other grievances of modern dressage - particularly from equine medical professionals, who's unfortunate tasks range from injecting the backs of very young horses because they've been pulled up into the bit (and they will probably need those injections for the rest of their lives because they've been ruined at such a physically tender stage) to having to surgically "snap" horse's necks back into place from them being broken at the tird vertebrae so they can be "supple" (supple, yeah right) - but this one is actually from a classical rider! Excuse me, a traditional rider. A very good traditional rider. It is these "old masters" such as Philippe Karl that I wish we had in places other than Europe or the East Coast or Rockies at some insanely high-end facility. But hey, these guys earned their high-end living. They didn't cheat their way to it.


This is a gorgeous piaffe. The horse is uphill and engaging his hind quarters.
Karl is
not pulling the horse up into the bit (notice the very loose lower rein and even how the top has some give) and the horse is not directly on the vertical nor is he behind it, but actually holding his head up himself and comfortably on the bit. Another huge tell-tail sign (pun intended) is how the horse's tail is nicely arched. I have heard from many an instructor that this is a sign of comfort. If a horse's tail is stiffly straight and out, they are not comfortable in the least bit.

I found the English version of Philippe Karl's letter on his website. Here is his very well-written letter to the German Equestrian Federation (which has been doing some major revamping, I believe, due the recent drug scandals. If only I could add "among other things").

The GEF's response

And then Philippe Karl's response back

The GEF (well, really, the abbreviation is FN, but that's in German so I'm sure it would make no sense to us ignorant Americans) agreed to a meeting to discuss the matter with Karl. Good!

Here is a bibliography of all the letters and responses, and how it's all going so far. I didn't want to spam this post with Karl vs. GEF links.

Ugh, politics.

At least this looks +positive+ so far....





Now, for a Greta-licious update! The indoor was about 3/4 dry - the covered end was dry and the uncovered end had dried, but the middle part was still sloshy and wet - and the outdoor arena was good. The round pens were still closed off, but we don't use those anyway! It was really humid outside, so we decided to ride in the indoor arena. Greta had a nice walk going on.

I'm working on driving her into in the bit with my legs, pushing her to reach for it, and so far it's been so-so. There are sometimes when she'll do it, and others where she'll sort of do it. I feel it's me more than anything. I probably did it right, then adjusted or stopped and she stopped.

The extended trot work went pretty well. It feels extended, though when I watched the video we looked really bleh. My chair seat came back! Noooooooo! And I am totally flapping my elbows around when sitting the trot. I look like a chicken! So for the rest of the ride I was obsessed with making sure that was in check. When lessons weren't going on in the indoor arena (we could only use half of it, so that constricted things a bit lol) I did go in and do some trot work until another lesson started up. I tried to collect up the trot a bit, and she did that wonderfully! I saw her in the mirror: on the bit and picking up her legs and tail had a nice little arch and everything! Oooh, I wish I hadn't put away the camera by that point! There's always tomorrow though. Labor Day is fun.

Two of the riders did say that we looked good together! That made me feel really good. And I noticed how "swingy" Greta's tail was at the trot. Besides being cute, from what I understand that is a very good thing! Afterall, it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing.



Feel free to cringe at our riding. Also, feel free to give critique!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Lots of Love

Because of the 3/4" of rain yesterday (finally!) all but the covered arena was closed off. So I went out and hung out with Greta. It was very relaxing outside, what with the cool quiet and the thunder off in the distance. Nobody was out there, except a boarder in the barn who was cleaning off her horse in the cross ties. But she was gone after a while. So it was just me and der Greters. It was really nice.

She was kind enough to humour me for some Bre+Greta shots, then she walked away like, "Okay Bre, you're going to have to humour yourself by yourself now. I'm gonna eat my hay."

She even chased me! She usually follows, but at a walk, and today she trotted after me! Until she realized that she could trot faster than I could sprint, so I was way behind her, and she veered to a halt and turned around as if to say, "Okay Bre, you got long legs. You can keep up, right?"

No, Greta....... I haven't done track since the 6th grade! You've done all the running for me lately.

Heehee. I love that Greta girly.

I've been so ushy-mushy-gushy lately, haven't I?


video

All pictures were taken today.

Friday, September 4, 2009

"Oh, rainy day, come 'round...."

"Some times I just want it to slow down."
-Rainy Day by Coldplay. Best band ever.

So, as the title suggests, it rained today! It poured! It was hurricane something-or-another! It was great!

So lemme put this from square one. I got out to the stable. Greta was great, she has definitely settled in and was grazing with the herd on the remnants of the round bale (which was brand new not even two days ago. Yikes!) Sock's rider riding Socks (found out his full name is Sock Monkey. Totally appropriate!) and Sock's rider's mother, aka future instructor, was riding her horse Fuhrst (?) in the indoor arena. It was very cool outside today, so I had no problem going in the outdoor arena. Greta, for a mare who just went into heat, was very calm today. Couldn't even tell that she had only been here for a week and was in heat!

I tried my hand at extensions. I wish I had some video! I watched a dressage lesson at the barn last night, and noticed how the riders put more thrust into their posting and softened their hands, and their horses enxtended! They collected up their horses by doing about the opposite. So i thought I'd give it a shot. What do you know? It worked! I need to do it in the indoor arena though, so I can actually see it in the mirrors. It felt very right though. Yayuh!

So then I take Greta back into the barn, and the lights were already on because of the overcast. I saw some rain way off in the distance, but I thought we'd be good for a while. As I was taking off the saddle, it began to sprinkle. And by the time Greta was ready to go out into the pasture, it was pouring. It was super noisy with the metal roof and the thunder right over us. The lights flickered on and off a couple of times and the lightning flickered into the barn from outside occasionally.

Greta did very well. I stood there and hummed and sang quietly - it was so loud all around us that I nobody would've heard me, and there were three other riders in there! - and Greta just stood patiently. She froze when it thundered, but she didn't flip out. After about an hour - yes, and hour - Greta started to get very anxious. So I waited until the rain subsided a bit, then we made a run for it all the way out to the pasture. In my leather boots. Of all days to forget my rubber boots, it was today.

Nonetheless, Greta made it out okay! I did too! My boots are just covered in mud right now. Oh well.

But boy I wish I could've seen those extensions and collections myself. It felt great to ride. Greta was just all-around great today. I can't wait until tomorrow.


This looks a lot like what the sky looked like today. Freaky. Picture taken near Amarillo.

BTW, some cool Swedish horsey names that I composed, just to humor myself:
  • Snowvitparla (snow white pearl)
  • Fjadraregna (spring rain / April showers)
  • Gretavinna (mix-up of "Greta" and "kvinna" which means "lady", or in other words "Greta girl" which is one of her many nicknames)
  • Virbina (after Greta's granddam "Viveka" and her grandsire "Urbino")

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Mål för September

Goals for September:

  1. Developing a deeper and more elastic seat, especially in sitting the trot
  2. Getting and staying on the bit
  3. Collecting and extending Greta's gaits (she can do, I know she can!)
  4. Keep my legs still when posting the trot
  5. Better steering (heehee)
  6. Confidence: for the both of us!

Some inspirational pictures. Greta's sire: Pehrsson! I can totally see where she gets her good looks from. I want us to look as good as the pictures in the next few years - regardless of whether or not it's in a show, I don't care, I'm really more into learning dressage than showing at the moment. Believe me, we can pull it off.




Pictures from Caduceus Farm website.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What's in Greta's name?


Okay, so Andrea on Eventing-A-GoGo had a cool posting on what the meaning was behind her horses' names. GoGo' name was wicked. Totally James Bond-worthy ("The name's Fatale: GoGo Fatale." Duh-duh-daaaaah-dum!) So I thought I'm post some past and pondering about Greta's name. Afterall, this is her blog. Our blog. Oh, I don't know anymore!

Greta's registered name is Penelope. She is by Pehrsson (a Swedish Warmblood, who sounds like he was quite the shi-bang in his career) and out of Mite Oh Been (a QH mare, sounds more like the English-type QH based upon her pedigree). Her former owner called her a very honest name: Goose. Goose because Greta has a long neck. And she's white. And also, I'm sure, because she's quite an opinionated and goofy lady. It was a cute name.

Though I still despise both names. Goose? Cute, but poor Greta! Identity crisis! And Penelope? Makes me think of that movie with the girl who had a pig nose. And it just sounds like a pig's name to me anyway. Maybe because I had a friend who had a potbelly named Penelope. Regardless....

I wanted something that began with "G", for familiarity's sake, and something more appealing to me. Greta is not a name I would have normally picked: when I first heard she was a mare, my initial names were classy ones like Elizabeth, Mary, Jane, Georgiana (I still like that one, "Greta Georgiana"). But that doesn't mean that I didn't like it. It was cute and girly. But not fahncy.

Upon meeting Greta though, those classy names I had in mind just didn't seem to fit. I now also had to urge to play upon her Swedish ancestry (yah, yah) and still find a names that began with "G". My grandmother suggested "Greta", but I was a bit unsure. Went home, did some research, and bam!

According to several sites, "Greta" is a shortened version of the other Swedish name "Margareta" which is derived from the name "Margaret," derived the from the Latin word margarita, supposedly from the Greek margarites meaning "pearl", likely ultimately a borrowing from Sanskrit (margriti?) Complicated, but perfect! Greta's white, like a pearl, and she is my wittle jewel! Plus, it's a pretty cute name. Greta it was!

So Greta is a definite, there's no changing that. But I've always liked to play around with show names (I have some pretty good ones, I think, if anyone needs ideas) so I've always considered some show names for Greta, if I didn't do just "Greta".

  • Greta Georgiana
  • Amalthea (since she reminds me of the unicorn from The Last Unicorn, one of my favorite movies and books)
  • Eidlewiess (pretty German name)
  • Elizabeth Bennet (from another one of my favorite books and movies, Pride and Prejudice)
  • Trésor ("treasure" in French, also the name of a nice-smelling perfume)
  • Yvaine (from Stardust, one of my other favorite movies... I think it's a book too)
Any particular favorites you see in that list? Any others you can think of? Anything related that doesn't have to do with Greta? (your horses are important too!)

Thanks to everyone for the comments. Do y'all find it annoying when I respond to everything? I just feel this obligation to do so.

And the top two pictures are from Saturday, when we moved Greta. I love the one of her dragging me around the place!! She hasn't done it since, which is good.