Monday, 31 August 2009
My yesterday Sunday was as untypical as my Sunday can get. Of all my working days, Sundays are probably the most routinely organised with very little changes to my schedule.
Considering all the things I have on my mind at the moment the routine mix couldn't have arrived with a better timing.
I gave a few lessons in the morning as per usual but then went for a nice relaxing hack with P. and S. in Richmond Park and had a lot of fun running a little in-house clear round throughout the rest of the day. Decided to give a free lesson to 2 most stylish rounds so everybody was assessed on their riding skills as well as the penalty points and time as normal.
Having drawn the course for my master course builders to build, I consulted the layout with my Show Jumping Course Building Assistant but she didn't seem to approve:
When I say it was a little clear round I mean LITTLE:
The jumps were absolutely tiny but the riders still managed to knock a few down ;) They all tried their hearts out though and provided me with a lot of entertainment...:)
Some had a good few of near misses which obviously meant they never had a lesson from Cpt. Garry on how to steer a motor boat: you just got to watch the bow. Simple as that ;) If the front of your horse is pointing left and the jump is on your right then no amount of pleads is going to help you.
I, on the other hand, did have a lesson from the Cpt that very evening and managed some fabulous three loop serpentines on the river. He did want me to go straight but hey, details are better paid attention to in Dressage...
Pic.above: I steering the boat called Dougal (Suzanne would need to correct me if I spelled that wrong!) with Cpt. Garry making sure I don't hit anything;)
It was a great evening with a very tasty picnic in the middle and a cruise back to the docks at night. Unfortunately, most of the people on the cruise are also my riders and now their suspicions as to my sanity are no longer that but a certainty. Something tells me I will need a cunning plan to convince them it's all right for me to teach them again ;) Just remember:
Thank you to Suzanne for organising the lovely evening! And Anja, please make a SWEET dessert next time please please ;))) x
Saturday, 29 August 2009
We had 32 Japanese kids for 3 hours in the afternoon. I tried to learn the language but they spoke bit fast ;)
My morning lessons were more typical with English language being used which always makes my work that little easier!
We have a set of fantastic arena mirrors put up and the riders see the benefits already. You can't beat visual feedback.
The going back into the swing of my life here is progressing slowly. I don't know whether it's some sort of telepathic siblings thing but I find myself rather down knowing how much my brother is depressed about Poker's illness. I go about my day just fine only to find myself in tears in the most unsuitable moments, mornings and evenings being the worse.
Busy day ahead tomorrow which should keep me from thinking too much. I am teaching in the morning, afternoon judging a home show at Barnfields and off on a boat party on the river with a few friends from the stables. Not sure yet how on earth will I get back home afterwards...!
Then on Monday there is a big annual show at one of the centres I work at so although I am not teaching I am planning to convince Ricky to go with me to watch and just relax.
Friday, 28 August 2009
We check in with Jim Ellis, Chief Executive of Equestrian Sports New Zealand, to learn how the preparations are going for the Alltech FEI 2010 World Equestrian Games. Plus, we have a lot of 2010 WEG news for you this week, listen in...
2010 Radio Show Episode 53 - A Report from New Zealand:
- Only a few days left to enter the August Horse Radio Network Giveaway, sign up now:
- Thank you to Jim Ellis for joining us this week with an update from New Zealand. Please visit the Equestrian Sports New Zealand website. And a great website from New Zealand for horse news is Horse Talk.
- Follow everything going on at the Alltech FEI European Jumping & Dressage Championships on their website.
- Britain's Para-Equestrian Team was also on flying form at their European Championships that wrapped up in Norway last sunday. Britain took Team Gold, Germany came home with the silver, and the bronze medal went to the Netherlands.
- The American Event horses hoping to contest Burghley have all arrived in England safely, they're currently staying with US show-jumper Laura Kraut who has a nice barn over there. Check out the Burghley Horse Trials website.
- It has been announced that the University of Kentucky's Coldstream Research Campus will be used for parking at next year's Games. With spaces for about 8,400, it's about five miles from the Kentucky Horse Park and visitors will then be shuttled to and from the competitions.
- See Tom Eblen's blog The Bluegrass and Beyond.
- Please support our sponsors because we would not be here without them:
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Thursday, 27 August 2009
Rather tired me this evening. After all the holidaying and not doing much I was on my feet all day today teaching in the wind which knackered both my knees and my voice ;)
It's great to be back though. Running one of my Training Days tomorrow so I am hoping for glorious weather. My rider doesn't know it yet but I might take her for a 2 hour fast hack - got to get her riding fitness up!
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
I got up very early today to join my two crazy friends and riders I teach, one is German (they always win you know!) and one from Zim (apart from Suzanne, they don't really count in Dressage;) to watch FEI Alltech European Championships in Dressage at Windsor.
We got there before 9am, just in time to have a look around and see the first rider going in. Windsor Castle grounds provide such a beautiful set up for the arenas and horses.
Pic.: Whip fight with Suzanne!
The show had the best food stands I have ever seen at an equestrian event so we made a good use of them and stuffed ourselves accordingly in regular intervals in between the tests.
I got the show radio to listen to Sandy Phillips and Carl Hester's running commentary and as we were sat in front of the score board it was a great learning experience.
Edward Gal and Moorland Totilas gave the performance out of this world. I have seen him ride on videos before but watching the horse live today was a totally different experience. What really hits is how relax Totilas is, how supple and submissive and yet so expressive and full of life and his own character. Just amazing.
However, as far as learning goes, I think it's more beneficial to watch the less perfect combinations and see how the riders present horses that are maybe less talented but still score highly through correct training.
The Gold went to Netherlands with Totilas scoring 84% (ish). Great Britain took Silver, well deserved. Germans landed with Bronze.
It was great to see Polish riders at this level too, especially Katarzyna Milczarek whose Ekwador is just stunning and looks like the horse to watch. The commentators liked him too and although he made mistakes he is only 9 yrs old and shows a lot of talent as well as fantastic attitude to work.
Michal Rapcewicz and Randon had a very unfortunate test in a pouring rain and strong wind and the horse took a great dislike to a camera man a few times spooking badly enough to significantly disrupt the performance. Carl Hester criticised the too tight a neck in the horse but seemed impressed with Randon's talent for passage and piaffe and the regularity of his paces.
Few videos but the quality is bad. The dappled grey horse at the very end is Ekwador.
Apart from watching the tests we had a good browse around the stands ending up buying loads of books and some dvds. I treated myself to Mary King's autobiography and a great new book on equine bio mechanics. If I could I would buy half of the book stand :)
Another thing that got us interested was a super hay steamer:
Here is the official info on it: www.haygain.com
Having once had a horse with RAO I am always drawn towards anything that gives hay as high quality as possible. Dust-free. The hay from the HayGain had delicious smell too.
I am back to work tomorrow. Can't wait to collect little horse and start riding him. He will be called Kingsley and I should be able to get him transported on Wednesday.
Tuesday, 25 August 2009
If I was religious I would say: "God forbid I should go to any heaven where there is no family, friends and horses"......slightly amended by Me but originally by R.B. Cunningham Graham
There is so much to tell I almost don't know where to start. For some, holidays are to lie down on the beach and read a book. For others it's a search for a thrill.
For me, at this moment in time, holidays are about seeing my beloved family and treat myself to the rare time when we can all just spend some time together. It's great to keep busy, great to go for adventure trips but there is a certain art to being with people you can just be still with. When there is no effort involved in keeping the holiday going, when you can chat or just sit together and yet it feels right.
The last week was exactly that. Quality time.
I invited a very special friend of mine to come along and we had so much fun. I did a lot of translating which left me mixing the two languages completely. As a result I would speak to my parents in English and my friend in Polish ;) I think we managed somehow just fine and I hope she enjoyed the whole trip as much as I did.
After a day at my parents' house we set off to Strzegom which is a good 4 hours drive away. My brother, his girlfriend and Poker the dog joined us on the second day. There was a bit of a dilemma as to what to do with Poker as we stayed at a 3* hotel rather than a B&B but that was sorted...by smuggling Poker into the hotel room!
Pic.: View from our hotel room
We wondered whether we would be discovered as there was apparently a CCTV in the hotel but all went smoothly. The ideas of how to get the dog out of the hotel the next morning (ranging from creating a sling from bed sheets to descent him out of the window, packing him into the biggest suitcase to plainly advising anybody who enquired that the dog had only came in to use a toilet) provided us with an hour of uncontrollable laughter
Here is a PART 1 of a picture story of those several days with some very important people in my life.
I've been putting away writing this post because I always feel so incredibly emotional just after coming back, this time especially so, and I had such fantastic time that I didn't want to sound grim.
It's doubly emotional for two reasons. My granddad was told he either has an operation or he is being given a year to live. The problem is he has had two strokes already and sedating him is not a very real option...he's awaiting more tests.
Then there is Poker whom I found on the street as a few weeks old puppy in 1997 and had him for a couple of years before giving him to my brother when I left home to go to Uni. My brother is crazy about this dog. And Poker is ill. They got diagnosis today after doing x-rays. He's got cancer which has already spread to multiple organs and the newest growth is very close to his lungs.
Many people would say, hey it's just a dog, but you know what, it's not only that. In this fury creature there are 12 years of family life. The laughter, the joys, the tears. Memories.
It's just heartbreaking to know I'm not very likely to cuddle his cheeky face ever again.
But don't get me wrong. It was a fabulous week. It's only emotional because it was so special. And because I miss them all so much.
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
These photos were taken when I first went to try him just after I rode him. As you can see he needs to build the muscles in the right places and put condition on. He's turned 5 yrs old, 15.2hh ish gelding, unknown breeding with some anglo-arab blood, has the sweetest nature but most of all fantastic work ethic which is what I like in the horse. And he loves to jump - as added bonus ;))
He is going to stay at the seller's yard until I am back from holiday and then the fun can begin :)
He is very green on the flat so the idea is to bring him on and either sell or he will be the first horse for the Equestrian Academy (more news on the latter very soon!). That is providing Pauline doesn't fall in love with him totally and wants to keep him for herself once he's schooled up :)
Right, off I go to finish packing my suitcase and catch a train. If I have the time I will blog from Poland, otherwise I shall "see" you in 5 days. I will try to take as many pics and videos as possible :)
For those who don't know, here's a link to my destination: http://www.worldcupstrzegom.pl/
Monday, 17 August 2009
I slow down so rarely that when I do all the tiredness seems to hit me head on. Knowing this will happen I arranged for a couple of days off before setting off to Poland.
I've been feeling so sleepy all day today it's almost funny. That is it would be funny if it wasn't rather annoying. I guess I could actually let myself nap all day but looks like my engine is still on high as sleeping seems like a waste of time...! Maybe tomorrow.
The art of resting and relaxing is not an easy one.
I made an attempt to do some clothes shopping today (last time was about 6 months ago;)) but gave up half way through. The 'retail therapy' really doesn't have much influence on me! I got fed up after 40 minutes ;) Things I like are way beyond my budget anyway, just the luck.
Right, I am off to cultivate my Inner Peace watching Horse And Country TV with a glass of white wine ;)
P.S. One of my riders sent me some pictures from her holiday with her boyfriend: 'Romantic rural camping in Wales' think it was meant to be ....;) It turned out they had a company...it really made me giggle for ages, here is one of the photos:
And here are some pics my parents have just emailed; they went on one of their cycling trips, this time to watch the National Young Horses Championships (Show-Jumping):
Saturday, 15 August 2009
Fast pace day today. Not a great start as my train was delayed so I missed the next connecting one which made me half an hour late for work.
After some early morning lessons I then spent the rest of the day running one of my Intensive Training Day for Pauline. She is now at a stage when she is learning how to ride a horse to the contact and put it on the bit as well as pushing her riding fitness levels. The session on light seat and jumping seemed to worn my poor rider out ;) More of those needed!
Over the years I noticed that many riders, when they are first taught poll flexion and jaw flexion, go through a stage of riding with straight arms and very low hands in a desperate attempt to keep the horse 'round'. We had a bit of the same problem today but we are working on it. It's the case of what the legs and seat didn't manage to produce the hand tries to correct so the main focus today was on understanding the need for creating energy rather than speed and sending it to the bit rather than creating standalone jaw flexion.
Working day over Pauline and I went to view a horse that is a potential project for us to have a bit of fun with as well as being a potential horse for the Equestrian Academy project.
Little horse went really well, he is by no means perfect but is nice enough, have a lovely attitude to work being also responsive and very sweet natured. We are going to have him vetted and providing that goes well he will be bought.
Friday, 14 August 2009
This week we update you on all of our Spotlight Riders and their progress toward qualifying for the Alltech FEI 2010 World Equestrian Games. Plus, we finally introduce you to our Spotlight Dressage Rider, listen in...
2010 Radio Show Episode 51 - Introducing our Spotlight Dressage Rider:
- Enter the August Horse Radio Network Giveaway:
- Read more about Gatcombe Park in England as they hosted the British Open Championships, combined with an FEI HSBC World Cup Qualifier.
- Bruce Davidson Jr (USA) brought the 2009 HSBC FEI World Cup Eventing qualifiers to a most satisfying climax, jumping clear in the final phase with both horses, despite a severe storm, to score a memorable one-two in the last qualifier, at Mansfield (CAN), and spring into 2nd place in the rankings behind Mary King (GBR). Read more...
- The Sydney Three Day Event, which at one point almost looked like it might not run due to inadequate funding, will now host Australia's triple Olypmic Gold Medalist Andrew Hoy.
- Ireland may have it's first official reiner in the FEI Alltech 2010 World Equestrian Games. Ollie Galligan, originally hailing from Co. Leitrim in Ireland, recently managed a third place finish in a qualifier, and now needs two more qualifying scores until he's on his way to the Kentucky Horse Park next autumn.
- The entire Lexington Division of Police will complete training this month in an effort to improve relations with World Equestrian Games visitors next year.
- Tom Eblen who writes a very interesting column, and a blog called The Bluegrass and Beyond, recently completed his training, and wrote about it in his blog.
- We introduce our spotlight Dressage Rider this week as we welcome United States rider Pierre St Jacques to the 2010 Radio Show. Listen in as we discuss Pierre's prospects for the 2010 World Equestrian Games. Visit Pierre's website.
- Please support our sponsors, they make this show happen:
Listen Now, Download or Subscribe:
Thursday, 13 August 2009
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
Monday, 10 August 2009
It's normally me who is filming everything so I rarely have any footage of my own lessons. Swapped places today hence below you can watch a snippet from my lesson on lovely Hamlet. On the video we are working on him accepting my half-halts and staying over the back through transitions. As you can see it's still a long way to go.
Considering how long he was off work Hammie is feeling great and has really strengthened since I last saw him. We warmed up long and low which he loves and really loosens up and relaxes.
The challenge now is to get him to work up and soften in half-halts. I've got loads of things to work on too so most of those moments when he goes really tense and hollow are the pilot timing errors!
M. is a good instructor, makes me think and work which I like and I really enjoyed my lesson. We met earlier today to discuss the Academy Project over lunch and looks like she will be joining the team :) Something we talked about today gave me a light bulb moment and I came up with a perhaps genius idea on how to move a few things forward.
But now, I am going to submerge in a lovely bubble bath and relax completely :)
P.S. Many Thanks to Jenny for a super day :) xxx
HorseHero.com is one of my favourite source of super training videos to watch. I had a browse through it today and noticed a new one they've recorded recently: it's a video from a BHS Stage 3 exam filmed at the centre I took my Intermediate Teaching exam in the end of last month :)
LINK TO VIDEO (if clicking on photo above doesn't work). You may need to Register on the site to be able to watch the video but registration is quick and FREE.
2010 Radio Show Episode 50 - On Location: Alltech Fortnight Festival Announcement at Joseph-Beth Booksellers
We were on location this week recording the show at the announcement of the 2009 Alltech Fortnight Festival at the Joseph-Beth Booksellers. What a great time we had at every horse lovers favorite book store in Lexington. Numerous guests joined us including Alltech Founder Dr. Lyons, listen in...
2010 Radio Show Episode 50 - On Location: Alltech Fortnight Festival Announcement at Joseph-Beth Booksellers:
- Enter the August Horse Radio Network Giveaway:
- Thank you to Susanna, Kelly, Tom, Dr. Lyons and all the gang at Alltech for helping us record our show from the announcement of the lineup of the 2009 Alltech Fortnight Festival. See all the dates and times at www.alltechfortnightfestival.com. Some great entertainment is coming in September to Kentucky!
- Thanks also to Rachael and Neil for all their hospitality at the Joseph-Beth Booksellers. This is a must stop for any horse person visiting Lexington.
- See some pictures of our visit to Joseph-Beth.
- Please support our sponsors, they make this show happen:
Listen Now, Download or Subscribe:
Saturday, 8 August 2009
Pic.above: The result of today's make over I gave to one of the horses. Bushy mane pulling, tail trimming, whiskers off (yard's way of turning out), ears trimming, lots of washing liquid, face wash, Johnson's baby oil-ed muzzle & nostrils (he loved that!), feet scrubbed and washed, hooves oiled (black on fore hooves, natural on hinds') and a thorough groom. After all this I thought he deserved a photo :)
I did have help with this but we ended up having hose fight and our turn out could be summarised: soggy and well foamed!
Life is like a trumpet - if you don't put anything into it, you don't get anything out of it.
William Christopher Handy
William Christopher Handy
Lovely, sunny day with some really nice clients. It was rather quiet what with people going away on holidays but that let us catch up with a lot of yard work and making the horses look all fantastic.
It's the part of horse ownership I really miss - playing around with massive sponges and trimmers and grooming kits. I don't miss 5am starts, mucking out and late winter nights doing evening chores though ;)
Right, I have to polish off the Academy info for the meeting on Monday! Thinking, thinking, thinking.
I am also going to have a lesson on Hamlet, can't wait! It will be me sweating and working hard for a change which my riders might be pleased to hear ;)
But first, full day teaching tomorrow.