Friday, 30 January 2009

2010 Radio Show Episode 21 - Jumping into Vaulting

weg2006megansplitleapbybarwigs



We continue our "Getting to Know the Disciplines" series with our look at Vaulting. We are thrilled to learn about this exciting sport from Megan Benjamin, the 2006 World Equestrian Games Gold Medal Winner, and Sheri Benjamin, President of American Vaulting Association. Plus, there are a few announcements and a little news around WEG this week.

2010 Radio Show Episode 21 - Jumping into Vaulting:

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  • WEG announced a schedule change for the games. They moved both Vaulting and Reining around a bit. See the current schedule.

  • Five representatives of the FEI paid a visit to the USEF, the Kentucky Horse Park and the World Equestrian Games headquarters last week. See what they had to say.

  • Hear the complete interview with Eventer Boyd Martin on the Eventing Radio Show at Eventingradio.com.

  • Learn much more about the American Vaulting Association at americanvaulting.org.

  • Read about Vaulting at the 2006 WEG.

  • Hear is a video of our guest Megan Benjamin at the 2006 WEG, enjoy:



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Thursday, 29 January 2009

My Training Days' feedback from Henry XVIII !!

I guess the title might be a bit cryptic so let me explain. A month ago an actor turned up for a lesson with me in order to prepare him for a role of the young King Henry the XVIII. I asked him how long did he have and he said: 'A month'...!!!
So for the last several weeks we worked rather hard running the future king through a very condensed but very thorough riding education process.

I received a couple of thank you lines tonight saying the 'horse scenes' "went smoothly" :) Looks like the Training Days work as well for beginners as they do for more advanced riders!

All my February dates are now taken and I am starting taking the bookings for March so hope to hear from you guys out there!
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Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Twenty four hours in a drizzle

I think we entered rainy season on this non tropical island! It was raining ALL day today with not even a tiny break. Thankfully all my teaching and riding today was indoors.

Just a few pics from the day.

This fellow is coming back into work and is on walk and trot exercise. He was quite adventurous to ride a few weeks ago but was like a donkey today. An all important scratch after being ridden:

My other ride of the day, a blue-eyed lady who had me on the floor once but we are getting there and she made me work hard today (think our arena mirrors need cleaning ;):



And a short visit to my friend's youngster; he really did enjoy all the attention ;)

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Tuesday, 27 January 2009

When I grow up...

4pm ish

- So, P., did you enjoy your ride today?
P. looks at me intensely and there is an expression of deep thought on his face. He's 10 years old with lots of funny black curly hair escaping from underneath his riding hat, smart little kid who has been riding with me for a year.
- Yeah, I did - he pauses and glances up at the pony, then me again.
- What's up? Let's take your pony to...
- Miss - he steps in - when I grow up I am going to do what you do, I am going to be a riding instructor, as good as you...And I am going to have so much fun like you do.
That shuts me up for a moment. I can't help but smile. I look at my muddy boots, feel my hands getting really cold as I forgot my gloves, think about the hours I spent this morning to revenue & customs trying to sort out some update I need to file my self assessment online and which they forgot to make on my file, I think of the teaching hours still in front of me as I am doing late night tonight and I say:
- That's cool P., that really is great, you got to do what you love in life, then you will be mega happy. And now, let's take this dear pony back to his stable...
He looks up at me again:
- I am serious - and he smiles.

Got to love my job ;)

Some more interesting lines from the book I am reading now:

"Relaxation [of the horse] is the underlying quality required for all developmental stages [...]. Any time spent on a tense horse is detrimental to him. The horse learns, then habituates, all of his activities. Thus, doing any work with a tense horse will promote the learning of incorrect habits."
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Monday, 26 January 2009

Greedy me



Just had these super tasty crepes! I am not normally crazy about food but give my anything pancakes like and I would certainly not say no ;)

The Charles De Kunffy book I wrote about in the post below is proving equally addictive to read as crepes to eat!

Some interesting lines so far:

"'Feel' is predominantly an ability to physically seek harmony through the most accommodating position of togetherness".

"There comes a day, and later on perhaps every day, when one feels that one looses the awareness of skills. We become unaware of ourselves, become oblivious to our aids and whatever the limbs, the torso, and musculature are doing. We become absorbed in an effort that seems independent of the senses and so thoroughly effortless that it suggests a feeling of being in a dream where we can ride for the first time without awareness of effort. When we no longer feel busy, we have entered the artistic experience. And there we find the motion, the flight, the suspension that eluded us before but now begins to flow almost in spite of ourselves...[...] Often, instruction spoils the chance for the artistic experience of the rider. Instruction, indispensable for the teaching of riding skills, is no longer necessary during the artistic effort. As in painting, once the artist has learned to use the tools of the craft from his master, he no longer finds use for the overseer [...]. Therefore, in artistic rider, silence is essential. When the rider succeeds in harmony, it is not done verbally but as a multidimensional effort."

I haven't come across that sort of view before and I am thinking that maybe that is why I feel that I only get the best out my lessons after I have ridden through them on my own the next day...If I think about it I am only ever pleased with my results if I truly feel the horse responding and that is usually only when I just switch off the outside world and go 'into' the horse's motion.

This is not to say I think I got to the stage in my riding that De Kunffy is talking about, I am still way below that level. I still cannot switch off like that every time I ride and often am distracted by people talking, instructing etc But there are moments...when I ride a horse I connect well with or when people around are those who trust me with their horses and I know they know I won't do anything to make things worse...then I can just focus entirely on what I feel in the horse and it all feels effortless indeed. I wish it happened more often...
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Reading This Week - Charles De Kunffy


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Sunday, 25 January 2009

Saturday, 24 January 2009

All the best to...


M. who is starting her new job at assouline-dressage. Hope all goes well and I will certainly miss our Thursday rides! Who am I going to be telling off for being arrogant now, hey?? ;)
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2010 Radio Show Episode 20 - Stay in a Mansion

Mansion

Lots of WEG news this week on the show and athlete front. Plus, we spend a few minutes chatting about home rentals with Jason Carroll of 2010WEGHomes.com. If you are interested in renting your home or staying in one for the games, take a listen.

2010 Radio Show Episode 20 - Show Notes and Links:

  • One week left to register for the January Games Giveaway and the Official Leroy Neiman 2010 Games poster. Register now...

  • Check out the new WEG website with all it's new features...

  • The World Equestrian Games Foundation and the University of Kentucky have formed a partnership on a number of fronts. Read more...

  • Thanks to our sponsor KBC Horse Supplies for their support. KBC is the single source for all your horses needs:


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  • Horse Capital Productions is hosting the International Equestrian Festival in 2010. Another chance to shop at the games! Read more...

  • Chester Webber's horse Jamaica was named 2008 Farnam/Platform USEF Horse of the Year. More...

  • Ali Wolff has her sights set on the 2010 WEG. Read her story...

  • On the Dressage front Elly Schobel and Raison d'Etre look like good prospects for 2010. Learn more...

  • Check out some of the homes for rent during the WEG at 2010WEGHomes.com.


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Maybe Rome wasn't built in a day...

...but some excellent foundations can be laid in just that time! I am thoroughly enjoying running my daily training days and I can say with confidence they are making remarkable difference to the skills of all the riders I have seen through the days so far.
They are not only an excellent occasion for me to fully assess my riders' strengths and weaknesses but also for the riders themselves to work on those.

I think providing training of this sort is the direction I would like my teaching to go in at the moment...

......................................................................................................................

It is at times positively overwhelming and very touching how much some people mean to us, how much they can help us by just being around and giving us a hug, how much it means to know they are willing to always be there if we need them, how much it means they will listen...
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Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Fun Day

Despite the cold and a horrid journey home I had a fab day today. A bit of challenging teaching plus some fun with Reading Uni lessons and a bit of roaming around Berkshire countryside.




Reading Uni riders on a hack

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Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Don't you just...

....feel old some of those days? Not because of some glossy magazine like, some-point-in life crisis or because of any particular traumatic event. What makes me feel old are people who behave as if their life was the belly button of the universe and who cannot let go of their own selfishness . I talk to them, look at them, listen to them and wonder: how, while you are so much older than me, are you so much more immature (?) in so many ways?

But what makes me feel old most of all is when I realise that it is no longer that difficult to keep some feelings and emotions behind velvety curtain of amazingly genuine smile. I watch children play with ponies, their joy, anger and sorrow so powerful, uninhibited, in your face like.

And there is me who can isolate her hauling dogs in a sound-proof room so well you can stay at my house without even knowing the room existed...you won't even know I have any dogs.

The thought of letting them loose, letting them bark and cry out loud crosses my mind for a short moment but I know you might be afraid of dogs. The moment is gone. Without regret. Without pressure. And that's when I feel old.

But then, the truth is: [Anais Nin] We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.

Just about the most certain thing I can say about my good old self is that at least I have a job that equals play. And someone once said that we don't stop playing because we grow old; We grow old because we stop playing! (or something in those lines anyway;).

So I will see you all tomorrow ;))
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Monday, 19 January 2009

Video from one of my riders!

This is why I persevere with some places where really I probably shouldn't as it doesn't add much to my career as such. I do it for the riders though, those who really want to learn and who I love teaching.
Thank you Pip! You are going to be very good one day...just keep riding.



And this is what I deal with on Sundays ;) Pip, I think I need to charge you for the rights to use my voice ha ha (joking!!). And yes, it is me riding that tiny pony, oh dear!

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Days off are for...


resting*catching up with reading*having a nap midday*write answers to some quality assurance quizzes you get at work*think about how to improve your riders*plan the content of next training courses*popping out for a coffee*just resting :)
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Sunday, 18 January 2009

Why write?

I am reading this book now (more on the author). There is this fragment in it that stayed with me for some time since I left the page it was on: [...] I'd see it and then I'd write about it as a way of understanding it better. That is what I always used writing for. To make sense of things [...].

The book has this woman-writer as one of the main characters and the reason the above sentences stayed with me is that they describe one my views on writing so well. I used to write a lot. Short stories, long stories, essays, non-classified pieces of "literary" fiction, you name it. I would just sit and write and disappear in my own world. Not for anybody to read, I guess I tend to think my floating thoughts are not necessarily interesting to anyone, but just for myself so I could see it from that written perspective.

I no longer write nearly as much but there are times, at evenings or nights, when I just feel like I have to translate all those thoughts into little black letters...I don't sort them, just let them flow and write them down. I re-read them later usually concluding to myself: "what on earth were you thinking?????" ;)

In a way, this blog is also here for the very reason of making sense of everyday events.
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The Ultimate teacher - the horse??

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Question: How fast can a pony run on a lunge?

Answer: VERY, VERY FAST!

Yes, it was sunny today indeed but not at all that great...The best tool of a riding instructor is a well behaved, well schooled pony. On some days some of my tools are in need of substantial repair...!!
Following this analogy, if you are, let's say, a carpenter and work with kitchen utensils, then whatever you are building is not going to have much quality or substance.
And however you try and whatever you do that spoon is not going to help you in building a house.

It makes me feel frustrated as well as helpless and angry while I try to construct that fine piece of furniture using forks, rolling pins and balloon whisks! And I try to be patient, I really do but sometimes I really do have enough.
I got to give it to my riders though as they never give up, keep trying and even try to defend my tools...go figure.
They either have more belief in the power of kitchen utensils or my ability to miraculously change them into sophisticated woodworking tools.

To make today even more cheerful I am feeling a bit run down - great! Just stuffed myself with aspirin, some Polish medicines, I am tucked in in bed and am planning to stay here for the foreseeable future ;)

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Saturday, 17 January 2009

Another Saturday in my freelance life :)

I woke up in Hampshire today. Now that sounded a bit as if I got drunk and woke up in another county but no, that was not the case! So yes, I woke up in Hampsire today. Quite ubruptly. My dear host's alarm is always rather loud and punches you out of sleep straight away. She will be forgiven though as she is a brill host overall ;)

The only good thing about rainy days in winter is that they bring slightly milder weather and I can go from cannot-move amount of clothes to move-slowly quantity of layers.
It was actually quite pleasant today; rain passed quickly and the sun came out. I helped turning out some horses in the morning (was awake enough to actually put the correct rug on as oppose to last time when I tried to turn a poor fellow out in his stable rug AND his turn out rug, oops!) before starting my working day examining for Pony Club badges; must say I do actually enjoy being involved in the PC activities.
I haven't had much to do with the Pony Club as a child but had a good read about it and they are rather impressive organisation with an interesting history and tradition.
Then onto a fun private jumping lesson with a girl who has been riding with me on and off for about 10 months and it's great to see her gaining in skills and confidence. That was followed by a group lesson of intermediate teenagers and as I won't teach them for the next couple of weeks (due to being booked for my day courses) I decided to give them a proper workout! When I was learning to ride we did this exercise when we had to slide down onto the left and right side of the saddle in walk, trot and canter. I didn't go as far as canter today but we did a lot of sliding down in halt, walk and trot, plenty of slaloms with sliding again (that was very entertaining to watch I must admit!) and cantering with hands high above the heads, on their hips, to their sides - parents had a bit of a show. The riders seemed to have really enjoyed themselves, everybody stayed on and not surprisingly they all started to be much more aware of their body balance. There is this one pony who just absolutely hates unbalanced, floppy riders. I really do like him but he is a bugger to teach on. However, today, he went so well for his rider. And that's a lot of what all this is about - getting the riders better so the horses can enjoy their work ;) As a result the riders will have even more pleasure out of the sport.

My afternoon and evening was focused more on training style teaching with my regular riders being put through their paces. This really stretches my brain too which is what I like the most about teaching but as I have to think and plan and think again at every moment days like today leave me quite tired.
A bit of rest is due now I think before full day teaching tomorrow. Fingers crossed for a nice, sunny, dry day in Surrey!

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2010 Radio Show Episode 19 - John Nicholson of the Kentucky Horse Park

John Nicholson


We are thrilled to speak with John Nicholson, Executive Director of the Kentucky Horse Park, in this week's episode. We talk at length about the progress of the construction at the park and how things are looking for the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event and the 2010 World Equestrian Games. Plus, we are thrilled to have Jeff Cox, General Manager of KBC Horse Supplies, to speak about becoming the Exclusive Retail Partner for the 2010 Radio Show. Listen in...



2010 Radio Show Episode 19 - John Nicholson of the Kentucky Horse Park


  • Register to win the Official 2010 Games Poster in our January Games Giveaway.

  • George Morris continues in his role as Chef d'Equipe and Technical Adviser to the US Equestrian Federation through to 2012. Read more...

  • The Swedish Equestrian Federation has made their plans public to improve Swedish Dressage. See how...

  • Thank you to our new Exclusive Retail Partner for the show. KBC Horse Supplies is a local Lexington business with a large reach at KBCHorseSupplies.com.


KBC Horse Supplies




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Thursday, 15 January 2009

No more resistance

Believe it or not, after a very foggy morning we had a bit of sunshine in Berkshire - I so cannot wait for spring now!
I felt like instilling some discipline in my riders at the weekly staff training today so boy did they work hard.
This is not to say I am easy on myself - rode my friend's 4-year old again and wow I am really starting to like that horse a lot.

Pic. The 4 Year Old - isn't he a handsome boy?!

He's not the easiest of horses to bring the best out of as he can be a little argumentative and the size of him can intimidate (long way down!) but when you do something right and get that machine going he feels very, very good.

We started off rather funny making sure we were in a way of another person jumping in the school! Very embarrassing but His Highness was not going to oblige! He did have some time off over Xmas and New year and was only ridden a couple of times since so I expected him to be rather difficult. He wasn't too bad though considering the circumstances.
The main problem was his little attitude/strop moments when he just planted himself and did not want to move. Normally I would just kick on but think I am slowly becoming more and more confident in trusting my instincts with youngsters and think twice before demanding obedience. It's not even that I am afraid of a major strop (would not want it but that's not the case), it's more a belief that things can be done equally well if only we listen to the horse not only tell.
And so when His Highness refused to budge I just sat there as if we had million hours to our disposition and waited for him to find out that the only possible way of pleasing me is to shift forwards. When I ride horses like that I usually just try to look away so to completely detach myself from the horse's problem and quietly wait until its brain starts focusing on me again.
It helps to soft-focus your eyes when doing it. My recent method is sheep counting ;)
So His Highness got to about 15 sheep and moved forwards as if he never said no!
There are of course moments when it just feels like a proper tantrum and then I just kick on regardless.
Once we got to the point when he realised it was much easier to please me than to fight me (you really never want the little buggers to know how much power they actually have!;)) I had a ball!
I think I keep saying it but he just gets better and better and while last time he felt resistant and rigid at times, tonight he just floated.

In a way I do know that I just sit there and press the buttons while my friend is doing all the hard work but was really pleased nevertheless to be able to ride him into such a soft, resistance free creature that he felt in the end. It's so rewarding and makes me feel on top of the world ;)
Did I say I love my job and everything that comes with it ???????!!!!
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Equi Pilates - gymnastically straightened rider

I came across this while browsing tonight (Wednesday night that is - while I should really be going to sleep as my eyes are almost shut and I have to get up and teach in the morning! Today even if we are to be precise ;)).
Click on photo to go to the website, well worth reading:


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Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Wisdom from Winnie The Pooh

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh!" he whispered. "Yes, Piglet?" "Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. "I just wanted to be sure of you." ~A.A. Milne
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You've got to love life...

I wasn't sure what to put on here today. Not because I don't know what to write but because sometimes there are just no words out there that will be just right. So I will make it simple...

For the last several months I had this worry at the back of my head. It was a worry about someone else's worry but when that someone else is a very important someone, the worry becomes a part of your everyday life and of many waking hours.
And today - it has gone. Finally. Walked away and dissolved in a mist of many smiles.
And I am thinking, sometimes we search for happiness as if it was a magic quest. We don't even realise how happy we can feel just like that, all of a sudden, only because of someone else's moment of true happiness...

Peyton Conway March:

There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life -- happiness, freedom, and peace of mind -- are always attained by giving them to someone else.

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Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Working on Wood Chip/Bark - Rough Guide For Riding Instructors

It's a funny surface, woodchip with some bark mixture, so I will tell you a few things about it while I try to take my mind off a serious matter I have no control over but will keep everything crossed for it no longer being serious.

First of all, let me tell you, I am fully qualified to pass all the below things on...I've spent over 1.5 year teaching on woodchip surface, seen it in sunshine, rain (just a normal English rain), pouring rain, a drizzle, fog, frost and snow. I have seen quite a lot of it too, sometimes too much (when it was topped up without the need for it) and not enough of it (when the top up needed wasn't done).

1) Woodchip surface is a rubbish one really to have outdoors.
2) The best combination of weather for woodchip is as follows (unfortunately the stages themselves are not great to work through):

a) a few days of decent frost with below zero temperatures. This freezes the surface and gives it a very slippery ice rink like quality. Almost unrideable unless you are fine with constant slipping.
b) a day or so of mild weather which allows the surface to soften: while this happen parts will still be very slippery, other parts will have plenty of grip so it's a bit like driving on a road with ice showing up from time to time, usually when you are gathering speed and least expect it...
c) third day after the freeze: surface is good, have a nice softness to it over the top, pleasant firmness over deeper layers, good grip and rides well.

3) Woodchip surface isn't good for your footwear...your boots will work like magnet for all the tiny pieces of dirt and pieces of wood.
4) You will find it wedged into every single crack in the leather, it will stuck to the soles of your boots and wriggle it's way under the straps of your gaiters/half-chaps.
5) Your overtrousers will be covered all the way up to your knees in a fascinating mixture of soil, wood and shavings like pulp if you happen to teach in the rain.
6) If the stable owner has just dropped a new layer on you will smell of woodchip for good few hours after your day on the surface.
7) Ponies love EATING this surface which means you WILL loose your clients while the ponies stop suddenly, drop their heads and peruse the woodchip with passion.
8) Horses also like EATING this surface. They will drop their necks and endulge in finding edible pieces of god knows what giving your beginners a mild heart attack.
9) If you are lucky and the weather is gorgeous for longer than a week the woodchip surface dries so much that walking on it feels like venturing onto Sahara desert - in other words, it's bloody tiring to walk on it not to mention run on it should you need to catch a runaway pony.
10) If you are unlucky enough to work in a driving rain week in and week out the woodchip surface will not help you much. Think walking through swamps and you will get the idea.
11) If the rain persists you may find that you can run xc clinics without even leaving the arena. There will be a fantastic water jump down your centre line.
12) If the people who top up the surface think it's ok to just dump random amounts of wood chip at every letter around the arena you may even be able to include a how-to-tackle-a-bank jump sessions.
13) You may find it difficult to practice dressage tests as the horses get so happy running in the ditch (the outside track) that they rarely want to explore the rest of the arena (where the hills are)
14) Your best bet is to just sit on the fence and let the riders and horses deal with the surface.
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Monday, 12 January 2009

So the Tax Return deadline is around the corner

Right, I have now officially enrolled for Self Assessment Online service through the Government Gateway and once I get my Activation code or PIN or however they call it I will be able to file my tax return online. I went through all my invoices and expenses and think I am ready to let them take my hard earned money - Eek!
I am now covered in tons of receipts, train tickets, bus tickets you name it that I couldn't be bothered to sort out as the months went so I am trying to redeem myself and do some of this gruelling work of organising it all now.

Once I have done some more I am going to make some fabulous pancakes and hope you are all drooling now as they are just delicious. My Gran's secret recipe so cannot share I am afraid...;)

And here:

What was that about wanting to go freelance?????? Dealing with paperwork has never been my strong point...
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Sunday, 11 January 2009

What happened today

The ponies were wild for god knows what reason, one day I may just be able to figure out their peculiar brains. There is one particular pony that teaches my little riders quite spectacular ways of dismounting which make my heart travel all the way up my throat with the light speed!
Thankfully, everybody ended up back in the saddle without further problems.

I think I am a little bit tired after this week but happy nevertheless with how things are turning out. I was reading a book on train on way back home today, thought I would just close my eyes for a second only to find out a good 20 minutes later that I went pass my station. Not helpful ;)

Most of my regular riders are now back from Xmas/New Year holidays which is great. Got asked an interesting question by H. today: "What's the name of a big foot thumb?"...(we were talking about our toes freezing;)

I am dedicating my tomorrow's day off to my darling beast (i.e. Ricky) as I really haven't been much at home recently!
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Saturday, 10 January 2009

Busy, busy

The last few days have been rather busy and with one more teaching day added to my schedule I am feeling quite positive about my early 2009 plans.
The riding side of things isn't too bad either and I am managing to spend a couple of hours a day in the saddle on most days.

Photobucket

Pic.: Sunny Thursday afternoon - don't be fooled by the rays though, it was -3C...

Today was so amazingly cold but so beautiful with the world covered with frost as if someone dropped bags of white sugar everywhere. Or, like last night, hidden in a fog that seems to wrap itself around you and makes everything slightly unreal. Or with snow that drops in fluffy quantities so if you canter you are bound to see nothing.
Deers are coming so close and little robins add slashes of colours to the bare trees. I do end up frozen to the bones but still love it!

Went to have a look at a charming house to rent but various transport logistics might not allow us to go for it.
Talking about transport...! The First Great Western are taking the biggest mick so far with so many cancelled trains that I spend my evenings waiting forever at the stations for trains that never come! If I thought the delayed trains are a pain then I must say that I underestimated the problem with those that are actually cancelled...
On a good note my dear patient friend always waits with me and rescues me if the First Great Western decides to stop their services randomly with a 5 minutes notice making it impossible for me to get back home!
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Wednesday, 7 January 2009

2010 Radio Show Episode 18 - Reining Talk

Reining

2010 Radio Show Episode 18 - Reining Talk:

All about the exciting sport of Reining this week as we speak with Dan Wall, Executive Director of the National Reining Horse Association. Dan fills us in on how Reining will work at the 2010 World Equestrian Games. Plus, there is big news out of the WEG office this week. Listen in...

  • Winners of the 2010 Games Giveaway of the 2010 Games Chino Hats are Roberta Harwell of Louisa, KY and Wendy Sabile from Hermitage, PA. Congrats on your hats!

  • Register for the January Games Giveaway of the Official Games Poster at 2010 Radio Show. Remember you must re-register every month.

  • See the Official Things of 2010 page that we have added to the site. All of the Official Sponsors of the 2010 Games and some can make you scratch your head.

  • Big news out of the WEG office this week with a new CEO announced. Read all about it...

  • Thank you to Dan Wall, Executive Director of the National Reining Horse Association for joining us to discuss Reining and the 2010 WEG. What a fun sport!

  • As promised in the show - here is the ride-off in the 2006 World Equestrian Games for the gold. Enjoy:



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Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Cold!!

It was so so so so so very cold today! I thought my toes were going to drop off! However, lucky as I seem to be this year (shh!) I had some really nice clients and everything seems to be going forward even more.
Now, very hot bath awaits!
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Monday, 5 January 2009

Think Tank Day

I don't know about you but I have good and bad thinking days. The bad thinking days are those when I go round and round in circles and keep asking myself the wrong questions or even don't ask anything at all and bugger all comes out of it.
The bad thinking days are best spent on not thinking (!) as all that happens is more confusion.
The good thinking days are those when I actually manage to use my brain cells and engage them in some constructive thinking process. So today was a good thinking day. Well, some part of it anyway.
I have a few more ideas on how to go about my further teaching and they seem to be forming a better shape in my head now. That will hopefully be of benefit not only mine but many of my clients.
Horse riding is such a unique sport - you either truly get into it and feel the full positive power of it or experience the superficial layer, never go any deeper and never really get it...I want more people to dive in, hold their breath for a moment and get the real kick out of it. The one that I know is there.
The best people to teach are those who want to learn but I think sometimes you have to go the distance to show those people what there is to learn and how fabulous that journey with horses is going to be. We often forget what we've been taught or told but we rarely forget how we were made to feel...This is why my teaching methods always have the underlying mission of waking the true passion for the sport; for the passion drives the desire to learn more and more.
I might not always teach from books and might have unorthodox ways but hopefully what does stay with my riders is the will to get going and get exploring.

I also sat for a couple of hours today browsing various info on areas we consider the move to; looking at houses, prices etc - yay! I think I am so happy about moving out of London, even if I still have to wait for a moment for that to happen, that it released some more positive energy that was locked up for a long while.

I then hoped on the train in the evening to cheer up my very special friend...
You know how everybody wants happiness and joy in their lives and lives of people they care about? And how sometimes there are people around you who do care but who want to give you too much? Who want you to smile wide even though your face hurts from keeping it, that smile that never truly goes up to your eyes? Or who wants you to cry your heart and all your worries out and tells you it will make everything right? I did meet people like that many moons ago and I did try what they suggested but you know what? It may have worked for you but for me, it didn't quite do the job they promised.

What sometimes does work is to truly enjoy seeing someone no matter the problems they have, to just be around and not try too hard to make things better. Not entertain and not be entertained. It might not solve anything but it may make you smile, a faint passing kind of smile that sometimes is the most beautiful smile of all...
And then you may find that once you can smile like that you can also truly cry...and then go one more day forward...and then you can hope...then solve a problem or two...make decisions.
It does take time though.

The way I see it, life is like a special kind of puzzle. Some people want to give you a picture to help you put everything together. The way it goes though is that there is no picture. You take one piece and try it with another, then another, then another. You have family and friends to slot some pieces together but in the end it is your job to find the right shapes and sizes. You don't even know if all the elements are there, some you loose in the process but you keep going and you make your own image. The unique one.
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Sunday, 4 January 2009

Weekend in Cheshire

Here are some photographs from a couple of days at Ricky's family.

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Friday, 2 January 2009

Onwards and upwards

The good thing about a new year is that we get the feeling of a new start (however elusive it might be) and whether we want it or not there seem to be some good energy about it. I certainly do want it!
The day courses are booking in nicely and I am very much looking forward to running them. It is always great to have people in for longer than just an hour, let them submerge in the whole learning environment, live and breathe horses for a day. It's amazing how much progress you can make by taking part in properly structured training day and I get a lot of satisfaction out of every bit of planning those days and seeing people's eureka moments by the end of them.
And it's a lot of fun too.

A huge thank you to Candace (did I mention all my great friends seem to live way too far???!!!) for a super Xmas gift - I picked it up this morning from a post office. You are a star C. and I think it's about time you came back on the island!!

The gift is a calendar with various exercises designed by variety of dressage trainers. If you want to have a closer look click this link.

Let me tell you a little secret but don't shout and keep your fingers tightly crossed, touch all the wooden stuff around and keep quiet for now: Hamlet has started walking out and he seems sound so far...I love this little horse and hope to be able to ride him again, even if just for a little hack.

What else...I seem to be playing devil's advocate encouraging my lovely friend to go for something that will make her move miles away and that is exactly opposite to what I would wish. However, we all have to chase those chances...
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Thursday, 1 January 2009

New Year's Day

Lots of thinking and planning is going on in my head today! And resting. And looking forward to my workload coming back to normal. Ideally better than normal.
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