Thursday 31 March 2016

Have you ever...

...lie down in a bath and watched as the bubbles slowly disappear forming delicate, white islands on the surface of the water?  
I watch them as they float about. If I take a deeper breath, they move ever so slightly and as they do so, they take shapes. Of a bear. Of a skull. Of people talking. Of a horse's head. Of an eye. Of an old couple strolling. 
They divide, they join together. 
And of course, they are not really there. They are just a result of an intricate neural connection that happens somewhere in between my brain cells; happens at unimaginable speed, connects every single experience of my life, mixes it, blends it and spits it in the half-asleep form of a bubble world. 
If I have never seen a bear, its image would never have imprinted on my memory and those brain cells would never have told my eyes to see that bear in a faint, white island of a bath cream.  

Here's where I think this gets interesting. Our imagination is limited to the sum of all the experiences we have been through from the moment we were born to this very moment of lying in a fast cooling bath water playing a silly game of bath cream watching. 

Maybe we can only see what our brain cells allow us to see...Maybe we can only do what we are able to imagine possible...


Friday 25 March 2016

Reader's Question (by permission) - "What if I don't care..."

Evening lesson today

Sometimes I get questions from people who are looking into pursuing teaching riding as a job and although it's late now and I should really get some sleep, this one made me chuckle (blogging it by permission).

The question went a bit like this:  what if I don't really care if the rider understands what they are doing, if I only really care about that the horse does the test well" [it was dressage training related question].

I taught a couple of lessons today which made me want to reply to this question...I think that if you only care if the horse does the job well, you would be best suited to school horses as a job, not to train riders as a job.

Sometimes, the horse won't go well. It's a living creature that has its aches and pains, its own moods and attitudes, pain memory, muscle cramps etc etc If we always assess the rider on the basis of "how well the horse performed" , we don't always get the right picture at all. Sometimes the riders do the best they can at the time and if you don't care about that, you probably better not venture into teaching.

Training people comes with its many challenges and if you do care, you will have some very bad days and some very good days. Sometimes you will struggle to make any difference at all, sometimes one little thing you say will make all the difference. Sometimes the riders will make you work very hard and if you do care, it can be an emotional challenge too. You will need to grow some thick skin and not let riders' moods affect your own or take things personally and transfer one rider's issue onto another.

From my experience, it's a great job if you do care. I generally focus more on the rider because once the rider has the skill, the feel and the timing, the horse will do anything. It's also the only way I know how to do things the best I possibly can. Even if sometimes that's not that great at all! If you don't give a damn, I would say stick to the stuff you do care about ;)

W. x


Wednesday 23 March 2016

All That Jazz :)

Since our last family dog died in 2009 (more on him HERE) I have not had my own so Jazz's arrival into our lives has filled quite a void!

Jazz's first day at work ;) 
Little Jazz aka Jazzmin arrived on Sunday and just like that restructured my life and changed me from an evening person into a morning one ;) Or rather, into a zombie as I still struggle to fall asleep early but I know she will wake me up at 5am for her morning mini-walkies.

She is an adorable bundle of energy, so full of life, so genuinely happy and loving, it's impossible to resist her charm and even though she'd barely been with us for 3 days, I can't quite imagine her not being around!

Once her vaccinations are done, I will let her meet more dogs and horses and have a good run around but so far, she has been on little walks on the Stud near the cottage and hopped about a little on the yard at work. Done her first jabs today courtesy of a "delightful" vet who upon registering my name let me know they have a Polish nurse working with them but shame, she was away or she could talk with me...I will consider talking via translator next time perhaps. I also learnt that "I need to bring Jazz for Rabies vaccine at some point as all Europeans take their dogs home for holidays" - note that dear European friends. Possibly oddest conversation I have had for a while with a professional and I was tempted to respond in some way but thankfully have years of practice of just smiling and getting on with it all. Always good to be reminded about ones foreign status, isn't it? ;) As if one could ever forget.
Makes me feel sad for all those folks of various nationalities who live here in the UK for generations and still get the same sort of chat if they happen to have foreign family surname.

I wish my grandfather could have met Jazz. He was mad about hunting and gun dogs and I think he would have approved of my choice. We had these chats about breeds of dogs to get. I always wanted a husky, a spaniel and a german shepherd. He loved vizlas and spaniels of all sorts. Not that I intend to start shooting birds for recreation by the way ;)

As far as work goes, the riders are doing great job currently and riding very well, all my schooling ponies are feeling rather well too and I am getting the hang of the damn spreadsheets.

Have a good day/evening wherever you are :)


Monday 14 March 2016

A bit of a serious one today

Before we get going, let me tell you this: seven days until the puppy arrives!! This time next Sunday the furry friend will be here :)

Tilly. Photo by Alison C. 

As a word of warning, a bit of a serious tone today so if you are after some comedy, check HERE and come back when I post again soon :)

Most of my "free" time at the moment is spent on figuring stuff out... I am making friends with spreadsheets and getting my head around the concept of time you see, I am generally a time-scale rule breaker! Not that I have anything particularly against planning things so they happen at certain moment, far from it, but I feel like that drive to the end minute spoils the enjoyment of the current one somewhat. The goal becomes more important than the process of reaching it...It can't just be me?

Having said that, deadlines have been on my mind a lot from the beginning of this year. I don't know whether it is a good decision or not to create more pressure upon oneself when already under decent challenge but I must say, the cliche about not getting any younger has started to bug me.

So, maybe as a test, I set myself a deadline and an ultimatum for things to get started on the development of the Academy front and that scares me as I would imagine might scare anyone who loves what they do but were at risk of losing it all.
I know I can't carry on as I do for that much longer if this Academy project is ever to be what I would like it to be. Once it has moved a level up, and that includes finding the right facilities for it, I will be happy to chip away at my goals slowly, but until then, the pressure is on.
More so because I am stubborn and want to do things certain way... Don't get me wrong, I understand the concept of business world enough to know I ill fit it really with my limited drive for profit and all I feel like I know a little about is how to teach this or that.

But here's the thing, let me digress. I ride this mare, Una, and she is a sensitive kind of horse, a little on a sharp side and I like her because neither of us do small talk very well. You either have a proper conversation with her or she doesn't really get involved. Recently, just by a coincident than by having a clever idea, I put her in shoulder out and into a very little trot on one rein whilst riding as normal on the other rein. And I kept changing directions feeling things out and just like that she became this soft, pliable pony with a nice, relaxing blow through her nostrils without pulling me out of the saddle in the process. I look at her and she is nowhere near straight really, going somewhere out with her shoulders but I sit and ask her for a canter and she goes straight away in a nice, balanced stride. I ask her for a trot and she does it straight away. It is kind of wrong and yet it makes sense because who am I to tell her how to feel more athletic, more balanced, more relaxed. I am just winging it and she is the one who feels the effect. Maybe right there, right now, this is how she feels better. Maybe it is not the time to do things as the book says.

So, I am thinking, everybody at some point just winged it. Everybody at some point just tried it their way. We have surely not discovered every single possible way of doing something? I hope anyway!

Until next time!


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