Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Teacher training, XC with Uni club and bit of riding

I arrived at the yard this morning to be welcomed by this view  ;) 

Later in the day, old membrane goes:

Pics. above: Brand new membrane, brand new surface - yay!!!! We are having whole arena re-done completely as it was no longer weather proof!

The moment I looked at the day list today I knew I was going to have a fab day...spent whole morning training S. who prepares for her PTT exam with us. I actually find running those teacher training sessions really useful as a preparation for my own Intermediate Teaching exam in July. Assessing someone else's teaching really makes you think how you evaluate an instructor's performance and how to give feedback that will be of some use. 
We went through the lecture subjects (here's a link to what we focused on: General Guidelines for the Preliminary Teaching Test lecture/presentation) it was a very enjoyable brain storming hour, the more you discuss things the more options and ideas you generate. 
With the UKCC embracing equestrian qualifications there is an increased emphasis on non- sport- specific coaching knowledge. I personally think it should help to raise profile of equestrian coaching, of anyone involved in teaching riding and of coaching as a career. 

Then more practical teaching concentrating on the lunging and flatwork. It really is super educating to evaluate and feedback on another instructor's teaching, nothing gets you to think about your own teaching better than that! 
The best thing is that this whole assessing develops the listening skills; I always try to make sure my feedback is relevant and as accurate as possible. 

After lunch I spent two hours teaching Reading University Riding Club and what a super time that was ;) They are now in the middle of their preparations for the Mini-Badminton event we are running for them in June and we are practising the XC element...
Everybody is getting better and better but we still have little mishaps happening...
 
The Picture The Story


Me (running up the hill through the woods): Joy, how on earth did you manage to end up over there!!?? (shocked me, only told Joy to jump a little log but she promptly continued over palisade, up the steps and over barbed wire! Thank god horse had enough common sense to stop before attempting to jump the latter...)
Joy: I don't know...- Joy looking rather overwhelmed, bewildered.
Me: Are you all right? Can you move your legs? Toes? 
yes to all questions. Phew. Joy still looking out of it.
Me (got to see the bright side, it was quite incredulous): Would you like a picture? - Joy immediately livens up, quickly reaches towards her head - Wait!! - panic stricken voice - got to get my hair sorted...(as you do!!!)

Uni lessons done and a super end of the day schooling mad ginger thing. Gave her a thorough groom extracting enormous quantities of hair out of the pony - she's still moulting like hell but thankfully starting to look less like a mammoth and more like a pony. 
Then off we went for a 45 minutes of hard work and she is definitely settling down quicker now, listens more and is less stressy about life. 
I think I am riding her tomorrow again.

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Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Back from Up North

After a couple of days with the family of my dearest and nearest I am back to London. Me plus a bit stronger shade of northern accent in my multi-accented already existing English language ;) 
Arranged for a viewing of another house next Tuesday which I am rather excited about as the property looks lovely.  
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A rather interesting poem, apparently nation's favourite, and now mine too


IF.....



IF you can keep your head when all about you 
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings 
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling


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Sunday, 26 April 2009

Got to ride today :)

Very relaxed day today teaching my most regular riders - almost feels like going to a coffee shop and chat about training! There is something special about this little stable and I will miss it like mad when the time to go comes. 

One of my riders is still away so I schooled one of the ponies, crazy little thing that is an apple in the eye of one my riders who also works/helps at the stables. For the last few months she's been working really hard on getting the pony to work correctly as furry mare has quite a bucking record on her! 
Strict as I am I made sure there was no neck pulling in malarkey so we spent a couple of months teaching Ada the long and low way of going and seeking the bit. Once she got it her entire walk/trot work transformed including transitions. However, canter is another matter as that gait for Ada meant bucking bronco here we come. We have some rather spectacular old videos to prove that ;) 

The canter transitions finally improved but her canter was still rather bad so I was asked to pop on madam and see what I can do. Although I've been teaching P. on her for over a year I've never actually ridden her so today was the first time. 
Spent good 20 minutes just in walk making sure we have all the basics understood, then lots of trot work with plenty of transitions. She tends to go a little deep at times but when you are on her she gives a really nice, firm feel on the outside rein. I do pick her up and make her work with poll up at the highest point but she isn't really strong enough to keep going like that for 45 minutes. 
The tricky bit is that she can be quite explosive so you can't worry her too much. 
Here's a little video of her 'bad' right rein at the end of the session as I wanted to see how she looked in both trot and canter. I know we are both all over the place but believe me that canter was actually the best effort from her I've ever seen. Good pony.

 

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Headley Britannia and Lucinda Fredericks win Rolex Kentucky 3 Day Event!


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Saturday, 25 April 2009

The scent of a horse


Pic. Talking horses and soaking up the sun - two of life's greatest things!

One of my clients had to cancel his 3 hours training due to some emergency so I ended up starting work at 11.30am. That meant a nice amount of sleep, super empty trains and a life of luxury ;) The day continued to roll on great: my first little job was to school a 14.1hh mad ginger thing which I like very much and will try to hop on her more often. 
Then Training Day with Kiran, my regular rider who is getting stronger and improving from session to session. 
As she does both riding & stable management her first challenge was to bath the mad ginger thing who was in definite need of a wash after the schooling! 
It was quite a giggle as bathing a fidgeting horse isn't exactly the same as giving a wash to your dog, the latter being the only animal bathing experience Kiran has had so far. She concluded she should have brought a wet suit. 
Either way, pony ended up looking rather sleek so mission accomplished.  
After filling our stomachs with some lunch the hard work started. As with all the beginner riders I always try to establish their basic position and increase body awareness as I don't think you can truly progress without these two elements in place. 
The theme for today was to continue to strengthen the rider's lower leg and work on effectiveness of the driving aids. To make the work more interesting we spent the entire day out of the arena - riding on the grass over slightly undulated terrain does wonders to riders' awareness of balance. 
I also upped the amount of trotting we did on a hack to further challenge Kiran's riding fitness.

Pic. above: My hacking horse and I bemused by the amount of bluebells 

Pic.above: Kiran on a hack. Don't you just love those flowers?? The mare thought the flowers were delicious! ;)
  
I will put a video of her progress soon on the Training Days' blog, for now just a short little preview of some of the work we did today: 



The best thing about having a rider around the horses for longer than a usual one hour session is that they learn more about the behaviours of the animal they ride. They also learn how to take care after the horse once the riding is over. 

They learn to sense the addictive scent of a horse...

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Friday, 24 April 2009

"My Life As An Animal - Horses" - you just got to watch this!

"Two brave individuals volunteer to experience life as an animal for four very long days.Click here or image below to watch the video:

 

With the help of horse-behaviour experts, the two aspirant Dr Dolittles learn to sleep, eat and communicate like a horse. They will need all these skills to face their biggest challenge - to rise up through the horse hierarchy and become leader of the herd. 

But for one of the would-be horses, trying to be accepted by the herd proves more difficult and more painful than they had ever imagined."

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Another 'up' day

There was an ABRS Teaching exam taking place at the centre today so everything was rather hectic. The horses looked super though and it was great to see them like this - they so deserve to be admired for all the work they put in.  

Myself had a very good day and I am rather pleased my doomy-gloomy mood stays clear (well, most of the time anyway). I am trying to think as many positive thoughts as humanly possible! 
It did help to have a very inquisitive and passionate rider on a Training Day today. She's a beginner (sort of, coming back to riding after a 20 years break...) but in the process of buying a horse so there was a lot of things to go through. Thankfully she is one of those first time buyers who also have a lot of common sense and is very committed to improvement prior the buy. 
There is way too many people who go into horse ownership as if they were buying a couple of guinea pigs - yes both animals eat grass and carrots but there is that little bit more to owning a 500kg gelding than it is to wondering where to position a piggy cage...
We chatted plenty and focused on consolidating the basics; made some plans for next sessions too so I hope to see the rider again soon.

Then I had my fab regular lady rider for two hours and considering her crazy life schedule where she basically hops on a horse straight from a plane, she is doing great. 

My Elementary and Medium laminated dressage tests arrived at the shop today so I am going to have a "read" tonight. Having just finished my non-horsey book I am now going to focus on some proper revising to my Intermediate Teaching exam in July.  

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Thursday, 23 April 2009

Thursday mix and a few words on leaving England

If you read my blog regularly you will remember a post I made back in January about having a bit of an "issue" with my trainer. I thought that was bad but it hasn't been much better ever since. In fact, it's been getting worse and worse. I kept riding at her lessons because I thought 'hell, she does make me feel like shit but there are times I learn something or other and in the end of the day I am not any super rider, got to listen to people who have more experience' etc etc
But it's been getting harder and harder to convince myself. I think we all have some sort of a borderline in ourselves. We can stretch it and stretch it but it's only a matter of time until it snaps. 
And today mine did so. 
It's not even that I was angry, mad or annoyed with the way she patronises me and turns everything I say around to make some totally unnecessary, unpleasant comments. I sat there on this mare listening to this woman and something in me just...resigned. I have had enough. I am sure there are many things she is right about but her ways of "teaching" don't work with me. 
They have the opposite effect and bring the worst in me. So what's the point? 

It wasn't a last minute decision to end the training with this trainer. I've been thinking about it since January and I did try to ignore all the bad things and tried to get the most out of every session. But I was so looking forward to riding today what with very little time in the saddle I am spending recently and I finally realised I really don't enjoy all this putting down business and behind the back comments. 

No point. 

On a more cheerful note, apart from the above, I had a lovely day. Taught some really nice people who make it all very rewarding. My driving lesson went well, then staff training. 
Went house viewing after work only to find the house wasn't suitable, then off to grab some food with my dear friend. It takes a fair bit of forward planning to see her now but it's so very worth it. I only hope your migraine didn't get worse with all that driving around :(

In the last five years I have grown so socialised into not seeing some very-important-people on any regular basis that it has almost become my second nature not to even try to change this painful status quo. You just tend to live with it, settle for a hologram like presence of them made up of voices, txts, emails and other electronic means. 
It's not enough though, doesn't work that great a deal and it taught me that if you only have a chance, keep seeing your special friends, they make world a place worth living in.

P.S. Judging by some comments and emails I seemed to have worried a few people with my remark on packing my bags and leaving England. It wasn't a serious consideration, just a way of describing my rather far from positive mood. There would however have to be many more negatives for me to even start thinking about such decision in real terms. 
I've always been on the move, some nomadic nature of mine. Always wanted to go farther and farther. Not so much anymore. I seemed to have grown very fond of this little island, of people, of the way equestrian sports flourish here and how important they are for so many. 
I don't think Ricky would be happy away from here. Dare I say, I don't think I would. I even like the 101 types of rain!
Not to mention that it would be a hell of a journey to come to visit my Friend once a week, can't be dealing with that! 
Yes, it's a tough time for me right now for a few reasons. But I got through worse in the past...as someone said in one of the comments: 'See you at the summit'. Wherever that is. 

I feel like I've never had a home. You know? I feel related to the country, to this country, and yet I don't know exactly where I fit in. And the same thing applies to the theater. I don't know exactly how well I fit into the scheme of things. Maybe that's good, you know, that I'm not in a niche. But there's always this kind of nostalgia for a place, a place where you can reckon with yourself. Now I've found that what's most valuable about that place is not the place itself but the other people; that through other people you can find a recognition of each other. I think that's where the real home is.

SAM SHEPARD, Don Shewey's Sam Shepard



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Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Skewbald tan, a bit of laugh and I must remember to buy sunscreen


Pics. above: Joy and Sam, Reading Uni Riding Club Riders cooling their horses down in the wood after the lesson

I didn't post yesterday as my rather down aura continued and didn't really have anything positive to say but I am feeling much better today. 
My energy was definitely on the up today and although I am way away from my true self yet at least no doom and gloom! I am feeling much more positive about the whole house move and just hoping my dearest and nearest is going to be happy too. 

At work. Apart from not riding AGAIN I had a great day. Spent most of the time doing assessments for a lady who trains for her PTT exam with us. Thankfully she's got similar sense of humour as having a good laugh at work is what I miss the most after my friend's departure. 
Even better, some of the Reading Uni riders are back so we had a good catch up and I put them through their paces on the grass. They promised to lend me their car for some driving practice next week, yahey! Hmm, hope they don't regret it ;)))

I really must remember to buy a Sunscreen! Ended the day with farmers arms and a red forehead (as didn't put my hat on in the morning). Ah, nothing like a skewbald effect - super white legs and shiny brown forearms ;) 
 

P.S. Interesting article I got via email today: Conformation and Function


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Tuesday, 21 April 2009

LIVE Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event Coverage on Freelance Instructor's Diary

A few days ago I received the following email:

Hi Wiola,

We are doing something really cool from the Rolex Kentucky 4 star this year.  We are using a service called "Cover it Live" to cover the event in a live blogging type format that allows your readers to participate.  We are offering all of our affiliates a chance to carry it as well.  It is as easy as plugging in a YouTube embed code.  That is all there is to it and you can bring your readers minute by minute coverage of the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event.  This is a trial event for the 2010 WEG.

Here is a sample of the "Cover it Live" interface.  Hit the replay button:


As I am already posting their WEG 2010 episodes and really enjoy them I decided to go for this one as well. So here's what I got from Glenn today! :) Keep checking back once the event is on!  I will put it up to the top of the posts during the event.
..........................................................

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2010 Radio Show Episode 32 & 33

2010 Radio Show Episode 32 - 2010 World Equestrian Games News & Previews:

Standard of Ur

We have lots of 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games news for you this week. From the first test event at the Kentucky Horse Park to more ways to spend your money while you are here in 2010. Listen in...

2010 Radio Show Episode 32 - 2010 World Equestrian Games News & Previews:

April Games Giveaway

__________________________

Listen Now, Download or Subscribe:

Subscribe Zune Listen Now

2010 Radio Show Episode 33 - Five Champions in One Show:

stephanpetersdressagedaily

The Rolex FEI World Cup has just finished in Las Vegas and we have interviews with the winners and runner ups in Dressage and Show Jumping. We spoke to Steffen Peters, Isabelle Werth, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, McClain Ward and Debbie MacDonald. All are certain to be in the running for the Alltech FEI 2010 World Equestrian Games. Listen in...

2010 Radio Show Episode 33 - Five Champions in One Show:
___________________________

Listen Now, Download or Subscribe:


Subscribe Zune Listen Now


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Monday, 20 April 2009

Just short musings on my day off

Quote of the Day
Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness.
Sigmund Freud 


Lots of sleep today, followed by lots of walking around West London, followed by lots of talking on house move and life in general, some coffee and some food in the meantime, followed by more walking and more talking. 
Feeling rather down today, the *I will never make it* day. The *should I just pack my bags and go back to where I came from...where I could do more with the full support of my family* day... I don't *seriously* think that (too stubborn for that, me!) but I am sure at least some of you will know what I mean. The stupid self-pity day when you would want someone to help you but the sad truth is you are in it on your own. What is bad is that I keep having more and more of days like this and I am missing my self-driven self. 
Yet again, giving up would mean failing and that's not on my agenda.
But the going isn't too good right now.

I am only writing all this now so hopefully, a few years on, I will look back and think 'you silly old cow, you shouldn't have worried, see everything turned out to be just fine'...
Fingers crossed.
Tight.
Very tight.

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Some pics from yesterday

My riding has deteriorated so much I don't even think I should be posting these photos but here you go, only because Hammie boy is such a stunning creature! Many Thanks to Jenny for snapping the pics. 






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Sunday, 19 April 2009

Visiting South Of England One Day Event: Intermediate and Novice, Trying on new Air Body Protector & Riding Hamlet

Sunday is very very rarely on the map of my days off and I was rather happy for the weather to appreciate that fact. Although windy it was gorgeously sunny and I spent a fab several hours wandering around the grounds of the South Of England British Eventing One Day Event. The classes today included Intermediate and Novice with the higher one running first. 
The show-jumping was interesting to watch - most of the riders didn't really ride their approaches correctly which cost them knocked poles. 
The XC courses were set over some stunning terrain. I've gotten used to the flat and boring Berkshire and must say that West Sussex is way more pleasing to the eye. I used to spend quite a bit of time in Kent/Sussex area and have almost forgotten how much I liked it. 
Jenny and I walked around the whole course which probably took us an hour or so as we stood for a bit at each fence to see it being ridden. 
I must say that I think I should go and watch those events more often, all the schooling fences we have at the centre and even the novice course looked tiny in comparison to the Intermediate jumps. 
We watched a little bit of dressage too which was set on a rather downhill slope. I reckon pure dressage riders would be positively shocked by the degree of it! It meant your final halt had to be really ridden and balanced properly. Laura Collette rode a lovely test on one of her horses, a pleasure to watch. We concluded she just has a very good saddle ;)))) 

Here's a little video remix from the day.





(From manufacturer: "The coiled wire of the jacket connects with the holding strap placed at the saddle. After the rider has mounted the saddle, he or she clips the 2 ends together. The coiled wire enables full movement in all directions for the rider. The airbag will only be activated if the rider is separated from the horse. The airbag jacket will then inflate within 0.15 seconds, protecting the all important areas of the body, the neck, ribs and coccyx.")
The sales man from Justequine.co.uk put this weird gillet like clothing on me (which is VERY lightweight and doesn't feel like a body protector at all, rather like a thin gillet) and plugged the demo valve into a pipe and to a gas bottle.  
Let me tell you, you certainly feel well hugged by it when it gets filled with air!!!! Seems to have a super neck protection and it felt a bit like being wrapped in a life-jacket that is custom made and molds to the shape of your body. 
I was told that it was tried on tarmac at some stupid speeds and the testers reported the feeling of 'falling down in a bouncy castle'. 
I was quite impressed by the feeling of being in a protective bubble the jacket gave once inflated but...1) it costs almost £400 and 2) what if it doesn't inflate (guess it's a bit of a 'will my parachute definitely open' dilemma...). 

Then off we went back to Kent to ride Hammie boy. 


He's such a super little horse, didn't do that great on him today but miss riding him as he never really accepts anything but good. It has always made me so much more disciplined and attentive. This on/off riding situation I am at right now isn't great at all...(will put some pics up once I've received them from Jenny).
I also had a chance to say hello to a lovely lady who I used to teach and her horse I used to ride: here they are doing Rex's daily carrot stretches after arriving from a dressage show. He is excellent at them now! :)






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Saturday, 18 April 2009

Day by Day

Yesterday

Misty and foggy day that you may call gloomy if you need to but was everything but. It felt like the rain was due any minute but it stayed away throughout the day. I had some super clients for the Training Day, they are my regular riders in another centre and came for a bit of intensive practice today. 


Very good, kept me on my toes and in a think tank mode. Some visual records from their experience can be found on: http://trainingdays-equestrian.blogspot.com/ (scroll down to the post entitled: Sara, Katya and Maddie).

Today...

...was a mixture of - fun(surprisingly) teaching of the little kids - tiny tots, oh the joys. Included an hour with an adorable girl who loans one of the centre's pony and her friend on another pony. Almost fell over running with them in the muddy woods, ended up in mud knee high but had a good laugh. 
Then total change of climate - proper work running Training Day for a lady working towards her Stage II/III riding. 

The sun stayed with us all day. Lots of bluebells in the woods.

Pic. below: End of the day. Horses on way to the field.


Tomorrow

I am skiving work ;) Come back tomorrow night to find out why...


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Have a look at the sneaky preview of...

a trailer for My Sister's Keeper , movie based on an amazing book I read about a year ago by Jodi Picoult. The book is beautifully written and very moving, not sure about the movie, guess we'll see. Sometimes books are so much better. 
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Thursday, 16 April 2009

Hectic day but hey (!) - managed to ride, yay!

It seems to be the rule now for Thursdays to be my manic days. The good thing about them though is that I do staff training as well as some more advanced teaching which is just what I like. If I am lucky I also get to ride a bit more which was the case today. 
We have some Stage IV students on a exam preparation course and they are currently doing jumping sessions so we get to do some of those too. Got to jump two horses over 1m course and it was great to be actually doing something rather than teaching only (apart from me feeling rather alien in the saddle after barely riding in the last two weeks). 
Then onto my next lesson with a very committed client who has her own horse, a youngster, and who came to me last year to enquire about some training. She insisted I told her bluntly what I thought about her then current level and what I would recommend...so me being perfectionist me I told her to book twice weekly lunge lessons for about 6 months, then she can have the reins again and start proper riding ;) She was not a beginner by any means but this is simply my ideal system and if someone insist on my opinion then hey ho. 
So she went away to have a good think about it and...came back in early March ready for a challenge. If someone ever EVER doubts the benefits of advanced lunge lessons should come and see this girl in action. I wish I have filmed her at her first session and then once in two weeks or so. The progress you make when you really focus is remarkable. I wish I could have those lessons!! 
Her feel improved immensely which proves what I believe in - that any rider can learn to ride with 'feel'. Sure, not everyone can develop super intricate coordination and not everyone has that elusive talent but knowledgeable riding is not a rocket science and every rider owes it to the horse to at least try to understand the movement they intend to work on. 

Lunge lesson done so quick quick to change and run to jump into the car for my driving lesson. I am making progress apparently, phew!
Out of the car, change back into my riding stuff, grab a toastie (thank goodness for the lovely lady who gets my food done on time!) and ride a fab 5 year old which I really enjoy schooling. 
He's got such a workman like attitude and really does try his best. Super ride (only wish I wasn't so all over the place, get annoyed with myself for how quickly I lose the quality of my skills if I don't ride regularly). 

Chop chop. Off the youngster, finished him off as nobody available at the yard, then quick to run staff training. I decided to take them XC as they really need to do more of it plus M. rode my "baby horse" and I knew he would enjoy it ;) 

Pic.: M. on D., the horse I would buy as a fun horse if I only could! He's a bit of a trouble but I totally adore him.

He did indeed. Maybe apart from the first jump which he overjumped in humongous fashion sending M. flying, literally FLYING above the saddle, legs in a split, hands in a desperate position and a loud squeak - cartoon style!! 
This is how he jumped it the second time (M. still sqeaking he he), think 3 to 4 times higher and you will get a picture of the first go..;)



Vid.: M. on D.

He got better and better as we went over more and more jumps, really got it in the end and breezed through. I once took him over some of the jumps so we went back to those and he just went into 'point-i-will-jump' mode :) 



Vid.: M. on D.

The tires remained sticky until the very end though, he obviously must be thinking there is a horse eating monster hidden in them. 
The other two horses jumped super, they are good old pathfinders and confidence givers and both riders did a decent job especially considering they can get a little nervous (to say the least). 

Back from hot footing the woods (as I wasn't on a horse I did fair amount of hiking from one fence to another) and quick quick to be on time in the arena for my next and last jumping lesson. 

Tired me now. Think hot bath is due!

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Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Just grit the teeth

We are what we believe we are.
C. S. Lewis 


If I have ever mastered anything in my little life then it will be doing "the impossible things"...no, not anything of any specific monumental value ;) However, over and over again I have heard from people that what I wanted to do was impossible. The reasons varied depending on what I came up with at the time. From wanting to have my own horse while there was no way my family could have afforded it to going freelance in a foreign country (while having no clue how what when and what for) I've never seemed to have tackled any simple tasks. Apart from my mum who I think is the only person in the whole world who truly thinks I can do anything as long as I want it badly enough I know people always thought I am over ambitious, or a dreamer, or just plain crazy. And yet, over and over again I proved them wrong. 
The current time is the most testing though...I just hope that fighter in me will wake up soon as I am fed up with this I-can't-do-anything me. There are moments I feel my old powerful self is coming back but they are too rare to be of any help. 
One thing downed on me today - there is absolutely no way I am giving up now. On the way back home I was staring at the world outside the train window, passing so fast and furious...don't want anything to pass me by only because I haven't tried hard enough. 
So I will grit my teeth and keep going. 

It was a nice day. Very busy morning followed by lunch with my friend. Seeing her so happy recharges my used up batteries, always seems to. For me she's one of those people who you would chose to spend time with when you feel like being by yourself. And to top it all my chargrilled chicken was splendid!

Afternoon saw me giving two lunge lessons to a lovely couple and taking my regular little people XC. They had lots of fun, only one rider 'dismounted without my permission' but jumped straight back on. 
I then sat watching J. jumping and chatted to C. while waiting for a girl I work with to finish turning horses out as she was going to show me around the place she lives in (I'm trying to get to know the surrounding areas, see as many places as possible so some move decision can finally be made).
I also managed to talk to a colleague who runs a show-jumping yard as I am trying to organise for some jumping lessons for myself so fingers crossed it will work out.

Work done and off we went for a very very long walk, my feet are falling apart - let me tell you, riding boots are NOT GOOD for hiking. 





If you're still with me have a look at this video, just watched it and thought there are some good bits and pieces of information in it (and the horse is super). Just click the link below:
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Monday, 13 April 2009

Another Remix Ready

Just finished playing with pics and videos from the 27th March Training Day. Result on here:

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Sunday, 12 April 2009

About stuffing myself with chocolate and about the Dyngus Day

I ate more chocolate today than in the past few months. Feel a bit overchocolated (am I allowed to make words up?). My fab clients and people I work with will be blamed as they gave me all those chocolate Easter eggs. If I end up morbidly obese I will know who to address my complaints to. 

Pic. below: Wendy and Nevada. What do I buy as a birthday present to a person who is totally besotted with a horse? Well, I buy her a present for that horse of course... Here's Wendy trying her birthday pressie on ;)

It's been a very easy day today. I taught all my usual lessons, ponies behaved and no one ended up biting the dust. I am especially pleased one of my young riders is fine after having had a rather painful fall a few days ago. 

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Easter is making me think about my family. If I was there we would have a big breakfast this morning, some telly watching, some chatting, some arguing with my brother over something absurdly silly. The dog would be told not to rest his head on the table but he would do it anyway.
Tomorrow it's a Dyngus Day in Poland 

"Barely had the day dawned on Easter Monday when I woke the boys and gathered some water to start throwing it on the girls. Up with the Piwezyny! (eiderdown)! There was screaming, shouting, and confusion. The girls are shrieking and hollering, but in their hearts they are glad because they know that she who isn't gotten wet will not be married that year. And the more they are annoyed, the more we dump water on them calling, Dyngus – Smigus! Then we had to change our clothes because there wasn't a dry thread on the girls and we boys were not better off.
The spirit of Poland’s Dyngus is captured in this description from the Poznan region during 1800s" 

You basically spend entire day pouring buckets of water at everybody around. A few years ago I was at my parents house and my brother woke me up, carried me to the bathroom and then dropped me into bath full of cold water. Pyjamas and dreams the lot. As you do. Of course he didn't keep his clothes very dry for long after that! It's a lot of fun ;) I do miss it.

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My dear friend never fails to make me laugh. Talented person.

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Saturday, 11 April 2009

Be not afraid of growing slowly...

Chinese proverb
Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still.

Maybe it's due to Easter holiday and people having a go at riding, maybe it's just a pure coincident but I've spent most of this week teaching beginner riders and sat on a horse once (today in fact) and one thing is sure - sadly, this is not working for me. 
Don't get me wrong, I actually do like starting riders off 
and I am very committed to teaching my regular beginner riders who progress as we go but all those on/off-for-fun lessons are not my cup of tea. I am not even any good at them.  I am way too technical, way too strict and probably way too serious about riding to be able to offer enough fun for a twice-a-month recreational rider. There are much better instructors out there who can create fun atmosphere for those riders and yet teach well - I am not one of them. It's almost as if I had a limit of 'play lessons' that I am able to give before I go lethargic.
I like to keep my brain busy, figure out ways to improve people who really want to better themselves but who also have more opportunities to practice, more drive, more passion for the sport in general. 
Need to ride more regularly too. I seem to have weeks when I ride everyday, then weeks when all my work is teaching. Can't go on riding once a week as schooling horses and working on myself are the only things that keep my teaching truly alive.  

Had this hyper pony to school today first thing in the morning and absolutely loved it. There is nothing else that puts me in this state of total mental focus. You can leave whole world behind.
Was cooling the pony down thinking that I need a good balance in what I do and who I teach to truly enjoy my job. 
There is something in me that needs to move on and on and standing still feels detrimental. 
I am looking forward to teaching my tomorrow's riders, only wish I could get them horses that would give them better feedback. 
And then, here's hoping for next week to be more challenging than the past one. 


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Friday, 10 April 2009

Sleep medicine


A friend is that one word "hello" over the phone that can make you feel better than 10 minutes of conversation with anyone else. 

The source unknown but whoever said it was very right...

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My centre ran a Good Friday show-jumping show today so I had no riders for Training Day. All back to normal next week and I had some new people booking in earlier in the week who got my details from a friend of a friend which is always good. Never enough committed riders although I am running out of available dates. Almost everything in April and May is already taken.

So - I slept most of the day!! Then watched 6 episodes of 'Breaking Bad with Ricky eating some very nice couscous chicken salad and a very not-nice(!) garlic bread which looked tasty but was everything but.
Breaking Bad follows protagonist Walter White (Bryan Cranston), a chemistry teacher who lives in New Mexico with his wife (Anna Gunn) and teenage son (RJ Mitte) who has cerebral palsy. White is diagnosed with Stage III cancer and given a prognosis of two years left to live. With a new sense of fearlessness based on his medical prognosis, and a desire to secure his family's financial security, White chooses to enter a dangerous world of drugs and crime and ascends to power in this world. The series explores how a fatal diagnosis such as White's releases a typical man from the daily concerns and constraints of normal society and follows his transformation from mild family man to a kingpin of the drug trade.) 

Sleeping all day is rather crazy I know but I think my brain was just overloaded with various things needing sorting out and I simply just gave up and let it rest. I wish life wasn't one damned thing after another sometimes and a little bit of peace of mind would be great. I am looking forward to my energy levels going back up again.

EasyJet suddenly cancelled the flight I got tickets for (to go to FEI World Cup Eventing Final) so I re-booked the tickets with Rynair and the flight is now to the city where my parents live so they are rather happy (I usually fly to Warsaw and they have to fetch me from there; that's a 2.5h drive to be skipped). I really can't wait to see them. My super friend is going with me and hope she'll enjoy good old Polish hospitality.  




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Thursday, 9 April 2009

Emergency Stop

- We are going to learn the emergency stop today - says my driving instructor. I am hungry as hell as didn't have breakfast and was teaching on the trot with no break. I take my driving lessons at my lunch times, how very cunning of me Not!
- OK. But you better sit tight - I say - I have to warn you, I have an above average reaction time. Which is true. I was tested when I played volleyball at school. It's way above average. It was only fair to warn him...;)

We did two emergency stops. After the first one he agreed with me as to my reaction time. After the second he said we won't have to do it again and that it was of an exam standard. Te he. At least one thing I am doing fairly well behind that blooming wheel! 

The last two days were teaching-packed. Well, sort of. On Wednesday I ran a Family Day for five fantastic people I teach in Surrey on regular basis and who came to Hall-Place for a full day of horsey fun. I took lots of pictures so will have to get some to put up on here at some point. 
And today I taught from the moment I set my foot on the yard up until the end of the day. My voice is going. 
I also managed to hit my head against a rather ridiculously positioned metal rail and gave myself a bad whiplash like injury. Still have a headache. That will teach me. I guess having a speedy reflex isn't coupled with a speedy ability to spot the hazards...hmm.
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2010 Radio Show Episode 31 - WEG Gold Medalist Megan Benjamin

Megan Benjamin

Listen Now

We begin our "Chatting with the Champions" series with 2006 World Equestrian Games Gold Medal Vaulter Megan Benjamin. Megan shares her experiences at the 2006 WEG and what it was like to be the first American to win a Gold medal in vaulting at a WEG. Plus, the latest news of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Listen in...

2010 Radio Show Episode 31 - WEG Gold Medalist Megan Benjamin:
  • Thank you to 2006 World Equestrian Games Gold Medal Vaulter Megan Benjamin for joining us to share her WEG experiences.

Megan Benjamin


  • Megan performs her freestyle on Leonardo at the 2006 World Equestrian Games, Aachen, Germany. Video by the Barwig Family:




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Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Bank Holiday...What Bank Holiday?

Our landlady told me this morning about how she was looking forward to the Bank Holiday Monday (as in this coming Monday) and about having 4 days off etc When you work with horses and more importantly, when you work freelance, such things like Bank Holidays are the least acquainted of events. I don't even notice them in any other way but as a disruption to my commute (as obviously every means of transport is that less frequent!).
Bank Holiday reminds me of office drudgery. Of structured weeks when you are told when you have a right to enjoy your life. 

The good thing about all these Bank Holidays is that people have more time to come out and ride so I am starting my Late Night Tuesday at 1pm again today. I better get ready to pop...  
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2010 Radio Show - The First Lady of Kentucky Speaks about the 2010 WEG

First Lady of Kentucky Jane Beshear

The First Lady of Kentucky Jane Beshear takes time to speak with us about her role on the board of the Alltech FEI 2010 World Equestrian Games and many other things. Plus, we have the latest 2010 WEG news for you from the past week. Listen in...

2010 Radio Show - The First Lady of Kentucky Speaks about the 2010 WEG:

April Games Giveaway




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