Saturday, 28 February 2009
If I had my life to live over, I'd dare to make more mistakes next time. I'd relax; I'd limber up. I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I would take fewer things seriously. I would take more chances. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would perhaps have more actual troubles, but I'd have fewer imaginary ones.
You see, I'm one of those people who lived sensibly and sanely hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I had my moments, and if I had to do it over again, I'd have more of them. In fact, I'd try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after the other, instead of living so many years ahead of each day. I've been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat, and a parachute. If I had it to do over again, I would travel lighter than I have.
If I had my life to live over again, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dance; I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies."
Friday, 27 February 2009
Thursday, 26 February 2009
(Pic. is a little unrelated: scurry pony I watched while waiting for my friend this morning).
Years and years ago I saw a film that I found fascinating in many ways. It was about two young people travelling somewhere on the same train in between countries. Both students on holiday. They only met on that train and due to some problems with it they had to change for another, then wait for a few days etc etc for yet next one and so their journey lasted a few days.
The whole film is basically a set of fantastic conversations in between these two young people, sometimes funny, sometimes wise, sometimes just right down silly. Beautifully written and although might seem somewhat boring it was everything but.
There is this scene in the film when he asks her if a seat in front of her is taken, she says no, he sits down and says something alike: 'I don't normally chat to strangers on trains but...' blah blah.
(They become best friends by the way, it's not one of those movies when characters have to get married and live happily ever after).
I am sitting on train tonight. It's a four seats with a table kind of seat, all other seats are free. On my right but slightly behind there is someone with a very unsettled dog making lots of noise.
Then I hear someone asking: 'Do you mind if I sit here?'. I look up and there is this old man in a long coat with a massive cage housing a massive white cat.
I say no I don't mind so he sits down, massive cage with a massive white cat taking another seat.
The train moves and the man says: 'I don't normally talk to strangers but I've been on trains since the very morning and I am incredibly bored'.
A bit unusual or what?!!!!
It gets better. Cue me sitting in my baseball cap, a hoodie on, a book and generally being 'the last thing I want is to talk to you' character. So I say nothing and just smile politely but (hopefully) dismissively.
Obviously not doing well as the man proceeds to ask me what book am I reading - well, it's de Kunffy's book on horses - so of course then he asks why do I read about horses etc
And then he says: 'That dog behind us is rather loud. I would not take him to a desert island with me'.
I am thinking: '?????????????????????????????????????? oh god, I will have to put up with this for the next half an hour' but say nothing.
Man says: 'What if this train was to stop just once to pick up just a handful of people and things for you to take to a desert island, would you know who to call and what to bring?'.
.....Because that is what you ask a fellow passenger on a 30 minutes journey on a First Great Western train...
And so because I am feeling a bit sad in general and because this whole situation is a bit surreal anyway I give in and say: 'I think I would take that poor dog'.
He laughs a bit and says 'What, just this dog, don't you have a boyfriend and friends you want to take with you?'.
He says it with such genuine surprise that I have to smile. 'So how many people am I allowed to take?' I say laughing.
Man looks like he's thinking and says 'Up to four'. So I list three and add 'I will take the dog as a fourth one anyway'. He laughs again, asks me some questions about the people I chose and then says 'oh yes, my cat goes with me everywhere, just in case my wife decides she doesn't love me anymore'. We both laugh. 'I will take the dog with me for a similar reason' I say.
Then we move to things and again apparently I have to pick four. That's actually a bit harder, can't really think of anything. In the end I settle for a sun cream and two books (one being some sort of survival guide - got to have one don't you) to amuse the old man.
Then he proceeds with some more questions in similar vein. I laughed out loud at this one: 'The train has just crashed, now, and you have to tell someone that you are not allowed to leave the wreck for 24 hours'.
Believe me it was one of the most peculiar journeys I have ever had! In the end he told me he is a writer and likes talking to people and hearing their answers!
You know, there are 3 things I will miss when I start driving to work: the sound of the train moving, the unusual characters I sometimes meet while travelling and the stupidly long hours of waiting at stations in a company of my dear friend who drives me to them.
Last minute super news: Hamlet got all clear from vet today and I am going to ride him next week!
Tuesday, 24 February 2009
2010 Radio Show Episode 24 - Para-Equestrian, the Newest Sport at WEG :
- One week left to enter to win February's Games Giveaway as we give away a triple stitched leather halter from KBC Horse Supplies. (Remember, you have to enter every month.)
- Be sure to join us next week as we speak with the new CEO for the World Games 2010 Foundation, Jamie Link.
- Jamie Link spoke out this week about the state of the finances at the World Games 2010 Foundation. Read the article at Kentucky.com.
- The Bluegrass Airport begins expansion of the private aircraft runway. Learn more...
- Thanks to our sponsor, KBC Horse Supplies, the single source for all your horse needs. Be sure to check out all their February specials:
- Australian born eventer Matt Ryan hopes to receive approval from the International Equestrian Federation to change his nationality to Great Britain. Read more...
- Lexington native Reese Koffler-Stanfield and "Kaspar" took the win in Saturday's Grand Prix Special CDI competition at the Wellington Classic Dressage Spring Challenge with a score of 67.667 percent. Learn about her plans for 2010...
Listen Now, Download or Subscribe:
Sunday, 22 February 2009
I decided I needed a system to get on with my teaching on Sundays...You see my Sunday office is full of very sour workers (i.e. horses) who are as fed up with their work as my clients eager to learn more.
To keep me sane I need a very strong yet simple system.
1) I rely on Wendy to feed me loads of sweets. Loads of glucose te he. Meet Wendy (attempting a Charlie Chaplin expression;):
2) Together with Suzanne and Pip, Wendy also makes sure I stay wide awake - they mass produce cups full of coffee which magically appear next to my chair in regular intervals.
Suzanne's training plan at the moment is full of no-stirrups-sitting-trot-malarkey; she loves it really...;) A. on Tessie in the background - I think I have just managed to convince her to do one of my Intensive Training days. Hope she knows what she's letting herself into!
A. said today: "Someone asked me how do I make the horse change direction. Half an hour later I was done with the answer". Well, at least I know none of my riders will ever say: "I just pull on left rein and kick with right leg".
3) I topped up the riding game in general and am making all the riders work double, if not triple, hard. There is no way they can ride those horses well if they don't improve on a larger scale so significant improvement is on the agenda first and foremost.
Below: Pip (sorry Pip I seemed to have cut your head off) on Ada and K. on Sienna - girls did a fab job today as those ponies are NOT show-jumpers (having said that Sienna jumps poles on the ground as if there were 3ft off the ground which yes, does send the rider flying and onto their knees!)
4) The basics are The Most Important. I believe in lunge lessons. They are integral part of my system because I truly do think nobody should be allowed to touch horse's mouth via the reins without having decent balanced position worked on first.
Meet Mr.Z who had his first lesson with me on 6th October last year. Here is him having a little feel in walk for what learning to ride will be all about:
And today (after many hours without the reins, lots of cups full of water poured over horse and rider - hands seem stiller now though;) - plenty of stretching, some spectacular falls etc etc) - think you can slowly see a rider there!
About Intensive Training site
I am in the process of constructing this little site: Intensive Training Days at www.trainingdays-equestrian.blogspot.com ,so keep checking for updates as well as photos and videos of the riders who took part...
I had this chat with one of my riders on a Training Day yesterday who asked me how are the horses taught to understand what people want from them. Sure enough there will be as many answers as trainers and as many ways as books ever written on the subject. There is one thing the riders will usually agree on though. You have to make the horse trust you. How? You apply highest integrity to everything you do, the way you behave, the way you speak, even the way you walk around the horse. You build the horse's confidence in you by being consistent in your demands, rewards and general discipline.
And you are careful not to lose that trust as it's one of those funny things that are hardest to find and easiest to loose.
Exactly the same as in between people...
And a little trust story:
A little girl and her father were crossing a bridge.
The father was kind of scared so he asked his little daughter:
"Sweetheart, please hold my hand so that you don't fall into the river." The little girl said:
"No, Dad. You hold my hand."
"What's the difference?" Asked the puzzled father.
"There's a big difference," replied the little girl.
"If I hold your hand and something happens to me, chances are that I may let your hand go. But if you hold my hand, I know for sure that no matter what happens, you will never let my hand go."
In any relationship, the essence of trust is not in its bind, but in its bond. So hold the hand of the person whom you love rather than expecting them to hold yours...
Thursday, 19 February 2009
The award description:
"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award."
Hmm, I will have to think who to send it to as 1) I am not sure if I even read 8 blogs regularly! 2) even if I do read them I rarely leave comments so not many people actually know of me...
For now this Award goes to:
Suzie at Diary of a Young Horse
Beckz at I Will Jump Sweet Jumps
Daun at Eventing Percheron
This Award made me think about something: how in English language a word 'friendship' seems to apply to such variety of interactions between people. You rarely hear people saying 'had a nice time with this 'acquaintance' of mine', we all call everyone friends regardless whether they actually give any damn about us or not.
In Polish language there are a few words for a friend (a casual acquaintance sort of friend) and only one word for a Friend (someone who is way more than the aforementioned acquaintance) and you don't mix and match...
I have come and keep coming across some really great people but if I have learned anything from life the hard way it would be to never do that mix and match...
Now is the scenario number two. I feel tired but not sleepy. Heh??
I shall attempt an update...
My Intermediate Teaching exam booking conformation arrived today so there is no going back now. It seems a little complicated what with the UKCC (UK Coaching Certificate) option included and I have to read through all the papers to get my head around it. I reckon I might as well do it together with the exam but it's not compulsory.
I decided to top the game up for all my Sunday clients as most of them are now at a decent level and can easily deal with more demanding lessons. It makes me actually use my brain cells and they learn to cope better with rather difficult horses they have to ride.
The past Sunday was very quiet as many of our riders goes away during half-term so I ended up staff training most of the day. The enthusiasm of the people there is the only thing that truly motivates me to persevere with the oh-so-unsuitable mounts.
Onto the weekdays...apart from Monday which was my lazy day off I am having a bit of a teaching overload. Ealing Riding School is forever busy (they have waiting lists running for miles) and on Tuesday I ended leaving the house at 10am and coming back 10pm, fitting over 10 hours of lessons in. I certainly would not be able to deal with that sort of schedule for any period of time! It messes your brain up ;)
Wednesday - schooling a little sharp pony, went on to teaching lunging to kids on Young Riders' Day (made them lunge each other first - never enough exercise eh?;) followed by the rest of the day with Reading University riders. They are a fantastic bunch of young people and I always have a lot of fun with them.
And back to today - I am feeling strangely tired this week. Find it difficult to get up in the mornings yet don't really feel sleepy much in the evenings. Is this the spring-coming-thing?
There are things I need to get on with asap. Namely, got to start having driving lessons. You see, at 17 I was a bit of an adrenaline junkie and my dear mum (who was terrified of my creative drive) refused to sign a little document for me which I needed in order to have free driving tuition in High School. Bah!
Either way, after having a rather bad car accident (not me driving by the way!) I have no desire to challenge any motorists with any unnecessarily uncanny skills and I am looking forward to strolling along gently in some sort of a four wheel machine.
I am also continuing to search for a house to move to and wonder why the estate agents keep asking me when is the best time to contact me and then never ring when I tell them to ring but exactly when I can't take their calls. Go figure.
Right, I think that's about for today. I am staying over at my lovely friend's tomorrow who makes super coffee which will hopefully keep me awake! Running my Intensive Training day all day Friday as well as Saturday so should be a nice weekend.
Wednesday, 18 February 2009
Monday, 16 February 2009
It's interesting and it made me think that it would be fantastic if someone out there was charitable enough to donate saddles like these to all those riding school horses that teach people how to ride...as these are the horses that would most benefit from what top class comfort saddles can offer for strained equine back...
DEMONSTRATION VIDEO LINK
From Quantum Saddles website: "Quantum’s technology is all about performance. Performance of both horse and rider.
The horse’s performance is improved by comfort and freedom of movement. The rider’s performance is improved by comfort, security/stability and contact.
In addition to the performance benefits, the Quantum Saddle is easy to fit and adjust as your horse changes shape due to age or fitness. You can also keep the same saddle if you change your horse by simply asking your Quantum Saddle fitter to alter your existing saddle. This can be done on site in a matter of minutes."
Saturday, 14 February 2009
Friday, 13 February 2009
1) Have a good rest (as you worked hard the day before)
2) Hoover for a bit
3) Leisure in bed for a while browsing videos and articles on Dressage Today
4) Answer your emails
5) Speak to estate agents looking for a new house for you
6) Tidy up your kitchen
7) Load your washing machine
7a) (and do not forget to turn it on)
8) Resume browsing
9a) Read some more
10) .......................oops, better do something!!!
Right, my mission today is to actually make my house look a little happier AND I am going to cook a dinner. SO, I am really going to have to get going now...
Ah, 5 more minutes...;)
Up until about two months ago she made a steady progress but nothing great chiefly because of being scared...I tried various things but with very moderate results. She actually have quite a nice feel for horses and is very trainable which makes her a very good pupil but I don't do too well with people who are nervous of riding all the time...
Two months ago I decided to take a different approach and started thinking about confronting at least some of her fears, those that she could define. I don't know how you feel about it but I reckon we tend to be most scared of the unknown. If you feel afraid but don't know the substance of those fears they seem to be scarier and more preoccupying.
I got her to take plenty of lunge lessons and we did all sorts of exercises including loosing balance on purpose and basically doing all the things she thought 'might make her fall off' (one of her biggest fears).
She is now working towards her first dressage show and yesterday she jumped for the first time enjoying every minute of it.
The truth the story of Suzie at Diary of a Young Horse tells you is that you have to work on those fears if you don't want them to walk over you.
There is this horse I school regularly that sent me flying some time ago and every time I sit on it I wonder if she will do it again...first 15 minutes is always the worst as she does feel like she wants to play up. And it both worries and irritates me. Your safest bet is usually not to talk to me when I ride that mare through her warm up routine ;)
But you see, I think we make our own riding fears. Noone else does it for us. It's all in our heads. Maybe the best way to tame those fears is to understand them, challenge them, give them names and have a good old chat with them...
Thursday, 12 February 2009
I am rather tired, rode three today including one that wanted to pull my arms out of sockets, had to half-halt it every second stride for 40 minutes, then the little mare finally let go and let me ride her. She became so soft and obliging that I only continued for further 5 minutes and finished on that. Sharp little animal she is.
I am pondering about trying to organise my taking part in this:
BHS launches new competition for instructors: The ‘Instructors Challenge’
And here is another little fragment from a super book I am reading currently:
"Horses are neither smart nor stupid in human terms. They are neither because when they surrender to the rider's controls and to his will, they enter a dreamlike state. Are humans smart or stupid when dreaming? Neither. We just know pleasure and pain; we know we are victimised by it. We know that physical discomfort brings on nightmares. Ride a horse into pleasant dream. Make him remember the thrill of it. Ride only as long as it is pleasant and induces in the horse a dream. In a nightmare, a few minutes are much too long!" [Charles De Kunffy]
We continue our "Getting to Know the Discipline Series" with a look at Dressage. We have with us Gil Merrick, Managing Director of Dressage for the United States Equestrian Federation. Plus we get an update on how the lackluster economy may be affecting the preparations for the World Equestrian Games.
2010 Radio Show Episode 23 - Update on WEG and it's Dressage Week:
- Be sure to enter to win February's Games Giveaway as we give away a triple stitched leather halter from KBC Horse Supplies. (Remember you have to enter every month.)
- We were also joined by Gil Merrick, Managing Director of Dressage for the United States Equestrian Federation. Gil walks us through how dressage works at the World Equestrian Games.
Listen Now, Download or Subscribe:
Wednesday, 11 February 2009
Also, I was asked for something today, something rather special which I might or might not explain at some point. We shall see. Either way I am honored and very happy for the person asking.
Tuesday, 10 February 2009
Baree, Son of Kazan by James Oliver Curwood. Beautiful tale.
About the book by Amazon.
Ever since reading Curwood's books I wanted to have a dog which would look like a wolf ;) One day I shall have one of THESE.
Monday, 9 February 2009
(The pic on the left: sometimes I look at things and can't help snapping them; so simple yet so interesting;)
My life seems to run in a funny pattern (but then I guess I am not an exception and you can relate to it as well) - I don't just have difficult times, when it's bad it really does get bad, when it's good it's fantastic. I don't seem to have much of those nice, easy steady times!
To be completely fair I only ever had one proper downfall so far, one when you just keep falling and falling and there is no end to that blinding despair. You get through those times though and in fact, what is quite frightening in life's way is how much we are really capable to deal with without loosing the plot...When it starts to get better you realise that you just got yourself this sturdy new body armour, another layer of protective tissue so when you are hit again the impact isn't as great.
And you are ready for the good time to come. Well wishing people will come your way.
Amazingly, as if by magic, this pattern has never failed me as yet...I do find myself incredibly lucky and am forever grateful for meeting people who so happily help me. It's very moving.
"The supreme happiness in life is the conviction that we are loved." -- Victor Hugo
Love at first sight is easy to understand; it's when two people have been looking at each other for a lifetime that it becomes a miracle." -- Amy Bloom
The road to a friend's house is never long Danish Proverb
With true friends...even water drunk together is sweet enough. Chinese Proverb
So, my dear readers, I think my little good time plane has just landed. I just got to get on it now and make sure I pick the destination correctly.
Someone has very kindly decided to help me out but it's down to me now not to screw the chance I am being given.
We are going to drive around the airport for a bit but do fasten your seat belts, we might take off any minute from now...
The latest 2010 World Equestrian Games News for you this week including Anky Van Grunsven winning the Exquis World Dressage Masters and showing off her new reining skills. Plus, more WEG news and an interview with Richard Jeffery, the show jumping course designer for the eventing portion of the 2010 Games.
2010 Radio Show Episode 22 - World Equestrian Games News & Interviews:
- Congrats to Chantel of Pennsylvania, she was the winner of the January Games Giveaway.
- Be sure to enter to win February's Games Giveaway as we give away a triple stitched leather halter from KBC Horse Supplies. (Remember you have to enter every month.)
- The Kentucky Horse Park and Newtown Pike (thats the main route to the park from Lexington City) would become a "clean zone" of selected advertising during the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, according to a draft agreement between the city and the WEG foundation to be discussed by city council members Tuesday. Read more...
- The United States Equestrian Team awarded it's Whitney Stone Cup this past week to Steffen Peters, 44, of San Diego, California. Learn more...
- Anky van Grunsven, the world's top dressage rider, wowed the crowds at the Exquis World Dressage Masters competition by winning the Grand Prix Musical Freestyle on the black stallion IPS Painted Black. Plus, she thrilled the crowd with a reining demonstration! Read entire article...
- Thanks to our sponsor, KBC Horse Supplies, the single source for all your horse needs:
- See Anky's winning ride at the Dressage Masters on YouTube.com.
- The USEF will be hosting a Para-Equestrian Dressage Training Session March 18-19 2009 in Woodinville, WA. The Training Session is designed to help riders who have various disabilities learn more about competing in Dressage at a National or International Level and will be hosted by the Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center. Learn more...
- Does your website have issues? Maybe your customers do an "emergency dismount" from your shopping cart. Or your website is as elusive in the search engines as that hard-to-catch mare in the pasture. Come to the Webmanship Clinic on March 2 and learn how to easily and inexpensively market your equestrian business online. Visit WebmanshipClinic.com and register today.
- Click here to see a list of the test events scheduled at the Kentucky Horse Park this year.
Listen Now, Download or Subscribe:
Sunday, 8 February 2009
"If God only gave me a clear sign; like making a large deposit in my name at a swiss bank." Woody Allen
Don't get me wrong. I rarely take life very seriously and I seem to have a lot of luck that appears in my life just when I think there is no other way round but to spend a year dead for tax purposes.
So do not get me wrong... I can enjoy this wintry spell but I am also mega worried because if the weather continues as it is now the business will suffer greatly. And myself with it.
So what was I up to? I tried to escape transport problems by staying over near work but ended up being basically on "holiday" due to all the cancellations. On a bright side I had a lot of fun hanging around various yards, chatting horses, meeting some more crazy horsey people, playing with scurry ponies, watching lessons (actually this I should do more of - note to myself: watch more trainings and shows).
So, yes, Mr Snow, thanks for making sure I have a bit of a rest early this year.
Some things you just can't buy no matter what fortune you have so thank you very much indeed Mr Snow for lending me a bit of fun time with my dear friend (who let me stay at her house, who never fails to make me laugh and who makes super tasty coffee by the way), that's definitely a bonus of your appearance on this island.
I am back home now which is good as I missed seeing my dear Other Half; fingers crossed that Railway stays up and running this coming week and roads are drivable or I have no way of getting to work and neither my clients would make it to the lessons. Wonder if I should just rent a caravan so I can stay in Berkshire again next week ...!
Saturday, 7 February 2009
Thursday, 5 February 2009
Dear Mr Snow
I would like you to seriously consider withdrawing your goods from the south and south east of England. It's extremely unhelpful if not detrimental to my survival in freelance capacity. I do appreciate you provide a lot of fun to people who do not have to work to be able to feed themselves and who do not worry about paying their bills but I would be ever so grateful if you spare a thought for my situation.
You may think I am indeed having fun hanging around Berkshire with my crazy friend, watching horses eating snow, testing the arenas for level of freeze and muddiness etc but if you keep being so generous with your white snowy flaky pressies I will very soon have to think how to supply all my clients with snow plows so they can make to their lessons!
So please, if you could very kindly visit some other places and just give us a bit of a (a year) break it would be greatly appreciated.
Frustrated Freelance Riding Instructor
Wednesday, 4 February 2009
Tuesday, 3 February 2009
Here's me schooling Kandee, I wonder when will I learn to keep my right shoulder back!
Thre roads look a bit more drivable today and some transport resumed so I am hoping my way to work will not be too crazy tomorrow.
Then will have to find a place to stay in Berkshire as commuting this week is going to be way too ridiculous.
Roll on spring...
Monday, 2 February 2009
It's been great to play with the snow today but the bad news is that if the weather continues as it is now I will most likely end up with no work for a week...no work for a week for a freelance instructor is one of the worst possible working scenarios.
So fingers crossed the weather eases up...
So I am one year older. Maybe one year wiser. Or maybe just learned how to cover up better for own stupidity.
It's been interesting 30 years...;) A bit of walking in circles at times but as we all know it's a good supplying exercise ;)
The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action. John Dewey
I have a few birthday wishes for myself...
I want Ricky to always play his guitar for me...because he knows the notes that make the music of my life come alive. And without those notes all there is left is justthe sound of someone hitting the strings...
I want my family closer to me more often. They know the steps I sometimes forget.
I want to enjoy life with my friends and well wishing people for they make the best dance room there is.
I wish my special little friend to always be somewhere around. She helps me write my best songs.
I want never ever to loose sight of my dreams again. They keep me dancing.
And finally, after this selfish list, I wish I can keep all the important people in my life singing their own music happily.
Thank you all for your calls and txts and for remembering about my little birthday :)