Thursday, May 31, 2012

May 31st - 9:17pm

Another day spent back in the saddle. After yesterday's dressage/position boot camp I was able to start from 8:00am on with a plan of what to work on with myself and what I hoped to achieve with the horses. Already I can tell a difference. Im not beating the horses to death with my leg to keep them going, the transitions are sharper and they're following their shoulders more than just going where I happen to point their nose. So much easier to ride them even if the postion itself feels so different. We did a short lesson with me on Justinian and Pez on Twilight. It was another "this looks simple but since neither of you can get it exactly right we're doing it" exercise. Canter a ground pole with three short strides to another groundpole (eventually became an x-rail) and before the next pole (probably 6 strides away) do a balanced correct 90 degree turn and come out of the turn as if you had a jump in two strides. This same question was asked at the last show and gave a lot of people problems. You had to ride dead straight through the combination or it came down then had to go straight 5 strides then turn to the next fence which came up in two more. I managed to get Justinian doing it almost correctly but I was still getting way too much drift with the body when I asked him to move his shoulders which would roughen the turn. On the next horse Herodes I started at square one and just walked at a jump (to give a barrier) and practiced the same 90 degree turn. Im sure Rodrigo thinks Im even weirder than before as I very methodically walked poor Herodes up to a jump and turned for about 10 minutes. At about 7 mintes I had the lightbulb moment of "holy bejezus I have an outside leg!" and we suddenly could turn. Worked the same exercise in the warm up periodically and we had the consistent good turns I hadnt had with Justinian. We started on round two of the same exercise and Martin was like "either both your spanish horses understand english or you're getting it now." Second compliment of the day! (First was a "Good" on Geologo). He gave me some tips on how to use the outside rein more effectively as well which made the turns even more smooth, balanced and helped take out the drift on the straight line. And then on the last time through Herodes tried to buck me off. Guess he felt like he'd been good enough for a horse who'd only been back in work for two days. Love him though. We rode till 2:00 then had a late lunch before doing the treatment work in the barn. After we got in the car and went to Baral which is about an hour away. It is where Martin keeps his weanlings to his 3 yr olds. The mares and nursing foals he owns are 5 hours away at Pringleys. Anyway we went there to free jump his on his 1.5 and 2.5 yr old fillies.  There are 8 but one had gotten a cut so we only worked with 7. It was their first time free jumping ever and it was hilarious. Some of them caught on really quick and some were terrible the whole time.  One we finally gave up with having go left and just let her jump the vertical and cavaletti to the right since it was the only way she'd go. You could really see who was a stand out and more natural over the fences with them all being brand new to it and going back to back. One 2.5 yr old grey filly was a total stand out. She figured out the drill right from the get go and jumped amazingly every time. She'll be coming to the farm soonish to get broke with a couple of the others. The mares get broke first and a little younger than the geldings because they'll all get turned out at Pringleys this fall to get bred and continue maturing. We just got the three yr old stallions in so have to get them started before we can go onto any other projects. Plus we will be making the trip to Pringley's soon to catch all the foals from this year and bring them home to wean and halter break. So all in all a very busy and productive day with some very busy weeks ahead!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May 30th - 6:30pm

Rancho Pampa is back on track with a working ring! Heck yes! Herodes, Buck, Geologo, Pastrocito and the babies are all back undersaddle after 10 days off! I rode Geologo, Buck, Justinian, Skyline, Lion, Luli and Benito. And had a week of dressage lessons crammed into one morning. Guess thats the fastest way to do it though! Worked on helping the babies get under themselves by bringing my body back and more centered over them. Sitting tighter and stiller so they could focus more on what they are doing and less on what I happen to be doing on top of them. A pretty constant stream of critique isn't fun to listen to but it certainly gets the job done. I hate doing things incorrectly or ineffectively though so this was good for me. So much to learn still! They were all great and got some especially great work out of Benito and Skyline. Those two Im especially happy with because when I first arrived I couldn't get decent self carriage out of either of them. Im still hit or miss on maintaining the carriage for decent lengths of time but part of that is their youth as well I think. But it was a fantastic day spent riding all morning and most of the afternoon. Inbetween times were spent taking care of "the list". Walking Picaro, Corlit and Memphis. Doctoring anything that needs doctoring and basically doing anything that is outside of the ordinary day to day care the guys do. Maybe Im weird but that type work is hands down my favorite outside of riding.

My roommate Pez is making dinner tonight so it will be something besides eggs which is great. Im helping in the few ways I can but she looks pretty self sufficient at the moment so I'm writing! It looks amazing. Then off the bed early for another busy day at Rancho Pampa!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

May 29th - 8:45pm

Today was one of those days that felt like it lasted twice as long as normal. Not entirely sure why but it did. We rode the 14 we've managed to keep in work without having a ring. They were all good. I was on Lion, Benito, Mauro and Pastrocito (who started back into work today - he's older so had was less likely to loose it with time off). Was fun to get one 4 of my favorites. Only ones missing were Herodes and Virtroso! The rain is suppose to be over and our ring was somewhat useable today so fingers crossed we will be back full force this week. The afternoon was spent grooming all the horses in the barn with Carlos and Hernan, cleaning all the tack for the horses and helping with the vet. Cor lit was gelded and the new round of 3 yr old colts Martin bred came in this afternoon so they got checked as well. Martin does x-rays on all the babied knees and fetlocks before starting them into work. All 4 of them are big bodied already for 3 yrs old and will hopefully be really nice horses. We're going to do all the groundwork with them this next month then send them off to get broken undersaddle. Theyll come back at some point this summer to start training for the young horse series next year. Its just the 4 colts because the mares were brought in earlier this year to be broke but were then turned back out to be bred with the rest of Martins mares at Pringleys. So it was a pretty nonstop day and by the end of it I think everyone was a little dead on their feet. Still managed to throw together a pretty decent omlette for dinner with red and green peppers and onions. Pretty proud of my ability to make food now days!

Monday, May 28, 2012

May 28th - 8:45pm

Its taken a month of being totally independent of family to get tired if mooching/left overs and want to learn how to cook. In the states, my grandmother cooked for me a lot and I am crazy good with a microwave so I got by without learning how to make pretty much anything. Here, however, anything not fresh is crazy expensive so there is no buying pre-made food. You buy fresh things and make something. Ive been experimenting with eggs lately and can pretty consistently turn out good hardboiled eggs. Today started the first step of cooking something not stupid proof. Made a cheese omlette and cooked some red and green peppers in a pan (no idea what its called to just throw them in the pan with oil and a little salt). And all of it was edible! And really good! Ive been trying and doing lots of new things here and cooking stuff will have to get added to the list of things to do again (unlike the hot sauce and hot pepper testing of last night).
Today was a pretty light day riding wise. All the show horses had the day off but Cor Lit was being tried again so we drug him, Lion, National and Twilight to San Martin to ride again. I had an AMAZING ride on Lion. Everything Martin has been saying suddenly made sense this past weekend and I was able to work Lion from being a great big diaster on 4 legs to a smooth soft ride. Love break throughs like that. Rode Cor Lit for the clients after and we did much better the second time around. Learning how to deal with these young horses and stallions better every day. Our ring is drying and no more rain is forcast so hopefully well be able to get back on the ones who've had the last week and a half off soon. I think were taking the 12 we've managed to keep in work on more trail rides tomorrow which should be fun. Getting out and seeing the area is always interesting!

Photo of part of dinner!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

May 27th - 6:05pm

First horse show with Rancho Pampa was today. Like with all shows in Buenos Aires we trailered in and left after. Despite having to trailer the horses more than an hour we didn't have to leave too terribly early. At 6:00 or so. Once there we tacked up three of the series one horses then the others. Martin Rodrigo and I hacked them then switched to the next set and did the same thing. Everyone did a warm up class before their real series class so once everyone had done their w/t/c Martin would switch onto whoever was in order to go in the series, jump, do the course then switch to the next one. Pez and I walked or trotted the horses undersaddle in the warm up until it was their turn to go. The series one horses are also allowed in the ring to look at the jumps prior to their class so we each took one in to walk around. Then back to the warm up to keep walking. Which at the beginning of the way was INSANE. The horse I rode first did not like horses trotting or cantering at him and would dive backwards if they got the tinest bit close. The classes under a meter were mostly kids and it was total chaos. Martin had said the rules of the warm up were the same as in the US but I swear with the kids, there were no rules. None. Nada. Warming up was the real show to watch. No one fell off though so have to give them props. Rachel said the riding here is a lot like the driving: you watch out for yourself and everyone else does the same. Once I got that down I was pretty good. And after 7-8 hours  of being up aboard one of the 10 horsed we brought I was pretty adept at just watching for myself. All of our horses did pretty well today. I know most jumped clean which is great. And I fell even more in love with one horse we have named Benito. I didnt think much of him in the stall/watching him w/t/c but after my lesson last Saturday and then seeing him jump today I love him. He has a super cute front end and jumps off the ground so slow and nicely. Different shoes, maturity and training could help his movement a lot and I can only imagine how nice his jump would be over a big solid hunter style fence. Plus his a really cool roan buckskin color. Never seen anything like it before. Super cute though. We got in from the show around 5:00 and by then the guys had most of the horses back home and stuff clean/unpacked. Pez and I just helped pick up some and hay. Headed to have dinner upstairs with Martin and Rachel in an hour!  

Saturday, May 26, 2012

May 26th - 8:10pm

The new roommate/working student arrived today! Her name is Pez, she's 22 yrs old and from Argentina. She's staying here until the end of June which will be right before a different girl, Alice, arrives. She seems very nice and thankfully speaks/understands more english than I do with spanish. Still trying hard to use mostly spanish with her though. Really want to learn this language! She got here in the afternoon so didn't get to ride but will probably be getting in the tack Monday with tomorrow being the show.
We took all the horses going to the show for a nice long walking trail ride this morning since our ring is still flooded. They got to stretch their legs, get some energy out and see different things which is always good. And it was amazing to get out of the ring. Im definitely a fan of a nice arena with beautiful jumps but getting out of the ring for a bit is awesome. I rode Benito, Cylene, Twilight and Justinian. Fingers crossed we have our ring back next week though. I want back on Geologo, Herodes and Pastrocito! I loved the week of riding all morning and afternoon. With all the trailering and mess involved with moving the ones we want to ride to a new place the ones that arent supersupersuper important get put off a bit. I love my not supersupersuper important boys though. Anyway tomorrow were taking 10 horses and it should be fun. Pez, Hernan, Rodrigo and Martin of course are coming to work. This will be my first show with Rancho Pampa so fingers crossed it goes well! I got to pack all the stuff to go (with Hernan checking after) so hoping that'll become apart of my job: packing for horse shows. I've already got two lists going of info/stuff and Ive never even shown with these guys before! Adore horse show packing!

Friday, May 25, 2012

May 25th - 10:05pm

Ive never had days go by as quickly as they do here. One second its Monday and the next were gearing up for the Sunday horse show. Cant believe its Friday already! Yesterday was more clipping and cleaning around the barn since our ring is still flooded. The air is very humid and still so its not drying quickly to start and the random storms certainly arent helping the matter. We got our truck back last night (yay!) and promptly turned right back to take National to be tried. I seriously wish this horse was even halfway decent at jumping. Id drag him home for his personality alone. National is a 4 yr old gey stallion who could easily swap places with a beginner lesson pony. No problem. We took him to the Hipico after dark, parked in the back unloading area which is really dark and tacked him up in the trailer by himself. He didnt even move. Just stood there. Despite the inconsistent work lately, he was fantastic for the clients as well. Fingers crossed they buy him! We stopped by a thoroughbred auction on the way home for Martin to meet someone as well. Very interesting seeing all the young TBs. They sold those horses insanely fast as well. I think 30+ were sold in under and hour and a half. And for decent money too. The sport horse auctions take much longer. Still didnt get in until late though and then with dinner, it was a long day.
Today we took 12 over to the big covered again to school for the show sunday. Left the barn before daylight at 6:00. The guys all gave me grief cause I help pack and get ready then passed out in the car straight away. Living about the barn has perfected my ability to sleep though anything and in just about any condition. Everyone I rode/warmed up were pretty decent on the flat. Mona came again to help Martin with some of them and they all looked to be jumping well. A little wild but theyre all so young itd be very weird if they werent up. Took two trips to drag everyone back home (Martins trailer is only a 6 horse) and once we got home it was rapid fire clean up because the new working student and her parents were coming to check the place out. Martin told me to just put all the bridles/martingales/breastplates/ect on the right racks to just get them out of the way since they were everywhere. I knew I'd go back and clean them once the people left but the guys missed that memo. Several minutes of total confusion with poor Hernan trying to figure out why I was putting away dirty stuff, I managed to put enough spanish words together to tell him a new working student was coming and the barn needed to be very clean. His first question, "Is she beautiful?". In english. Typical guy. And that would be one of the few words/phrases he knows. Along with pinball, game over and hey you. No idea where hes getting these words. Anyway the girl and her mom seemed nice enough. I totally spaced on the whole cheek kissing thing though and had a brief awkward moment trying to shake their hand while they try to kiss my cheek. Not quite habit yet! Apparently the girl understands/speaks a little english despite being an argentine native so hopefully between my little knowlege of spanish and her english well get by being roommates and working together. She moves in tomorrow and is staying till the end of June. By the end of this I'll definitely know a lot more spanish! Itll be fun either way though!

Photos of Hernan riding Cuatro the guard dog, David with his mate and Goyo. And then pictures of tonights project. De-icing my freezer. It was pretty solidly filled with ice an hour ago. Now all the ice is in my sink. Eventually I should be able to feel my fingers again!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

May 23rd - 9:34pm

Woke up this morning and pulled on jeans instead of breeches fully expecting to spend another day body clipping. A few minutes before 7:30 Martin yelled up that horses were loaded and by the way were going over to a covered arena today! Back in the saddle at last! The horses were a little fresh after 4 days off and no turn out. Their only exercise has been on the hot walker and for young fit horses, that barely cuts it. Took two full trailer rides to get the horses all to the covered ring and back along with all the stuff. Plus Martin, Rodrigo, Goyo and I. Turned 4-5 hours of riding into an all day affair. I got to ride National, Cor lit, Justinian, Lion and Benito though. It was my first time on Cor lit and that horse showed me the difference between a kind gelding that will help you out and an opinionated stallion who would like to do the exact opposite of what I want. The geldings certainly make me feel better about myself and my ability but attemping to get Cor lit to do what I wanted when I wanted had a definite challenge to it. The saying that you can tell a gelding, ask a mare and discuss with a stallion is definitely true. Fingers crossed though that he and National are leaving for new homes soon though. Cor lit to the US and National to a rider here. Hoping to be able to ride again tomorrow if this rain lets up. We've got a horse show Sunday so somehow everyone's got to stay in work!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May 22nd - 9:40pm

It poured again last night so again, no more riding. I don't know whose going to go crazy first me or the horses from being in too much! We've body clipped almost everything in the barn and I swear the dogs are next if this rain doesn't quit. Clipped Herodes, Pastrocito, National, Cylene and Georgia with Rodrigo today. Too much horse hair. By the end I'd learned the words for head, legs, hair and had thoroughly used the phrase no me gusta to describe just about everything. It'd be beyond miserable if the guys weren't so much fun. They're constantly joking and laughing while they work which makes everything entertaining. Rodrigo knows the most english so we talk the most. Hernan and I are about 50/50 with handsignals and words communicating. David and I have at least 3 conversations a day about bread and when I say something to him in spanish that makes sense he always shakes my hand. And does the same thing in the morning. No buen dia or hola. Just hand shake. With a very serious face. And in a country where everyone kisses cheeks Im curious as to what that actually means. One day Ill be able to ask. In the mean time I just want to ride. Praying the rain holds off tonight so we might be able to get back in the saddle! We're suppose to be going to a show Sunday and Im hoping we get there!

Monday, May 21, 2012

May 21st - 11:58pm

On the way home from Martin's dad's house in Buenos Aires at the moment. We all had dinner there with a few relatives and family friends. It was very fun despite 95% of the conversation being in Spanish. I followed a tiny bit but mostly just laughed along. The food was traditional for Argentina in both type and way of serving. Basically one bowl/dish/tray at a time set out to pick at. A very different way of eating for me and you never quite know when the food is wrapping up which is kind of strange but very fun. I got to try a bunch of different cheeses and meats, squid and a few things that I couldnt even take a guess at what it was. Everything but the squid was really good though! And dessert amazingly didn't include dulce de leche! Almost every dessert here has dulce de leche in it. And it is simply un-Argentine not to adore it. Prior to dinner Rachel and I walked around Buenos Aires and did some shopping. We went through the more historic portions of town and to the old town center. There was a BEAUTIFUL chapel there that we got to go into as well. The city is very different but its growing on me for sure. It rained again last night and through the day and is somehow still raining so were off the horses for awhile. Catching up at the barn and hanging with the guys. I umderstand them a little better everyday. Even today Hernan was joking with Rodrigo that I don't understand anything and I overheard. He got a bit of a shock when I yelled down the barn aisle (in spanish) "I understand things sometimes!" One of these days those guys are going to get a rude awakening when I start really understanding them and being able to speak well! Right now everything is in the present tense, noun to adjective agreement is rarely matching and verb conjugations are strictly first or second person. When I remember. Oh well they understand me for the time being and Im picking up more and more every day of both real spanish and their slang. Which has a name and history to it apparently. Limbargo is what its called. Which Im sure is spelled incorrectly. And it has some historical significance. Something to do with being able to speak without the police understanding. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

May 20th - 9:55pm

BAn easy day off that included an attempt at sleeping in (was up at 8:30), reading and a casual trip into Buenos Aires to watch the FEI Grand Prix at the Hipico. No big deal really. The horses were amazing, the riders brilliant, the course challenging and the whole set up was just awesome. Three riders made it through the first round clear with 12 more having 8 faults or less. The course was a challenging one that really tested the horses and riders. Lots of rails down by the less experienced. A big oxer to start, left roleback to a vertical, 6 strides to the water jump with a 6 more to an oxer. It took a forward ride to the water and a big woah to the oxer to get out clear. Tight right roleback to a skinny then broken like to the in and out. Triple bar going in, two normal strides and an oxer going out. Took a good steady to make it fit. Five more strides to the vertical with a liverpool. Left bend to a very upright plank at the end of the ring then left turn to an oxer. Big galloping five up to the next oxer followed by either an insids turn between two fences or the outside track to an A, B, C combination. Vertical, one stride, oxer, one stride, vertical and either 6 or 7 more strides to the final vertical. The best 15 riders came back for the speed phase. Toughest part in the speed was the bending line set on 4.5 strides. Angle them and ride direct in four or bend it out in five. A couple riders couldn't quite get the line and got there in the four and a half strides. The triple combination was used again but going the other way. It also became a one to a two. Lots of rails down and poor Picadilly (brilliant horse) went to make the two stride in one. His rider attempted to keep him on the ground and they compromised in the middle by getting off the ground just enough to crash. Both horse and rider walked away though so hoping theyre ok. A very nice Argentine man won the class on a horse bred in the country so that was awesome for Argentina!
Going to be a very exciting and busy week at the barn with 6 new horses coming in (one a Picadilly baby)! The foal, Witicha and Romance Z are headed out to the mare herd to help make room for everyone! Exciting stuff!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

May 19th - 11:30pm

After the rain yesterday the ring was decently flooded so no riding today. It was horse grooming day (clipping, braiding tails/manes, ect) and barn cleaning. Probably got fired from clipping anything else after butchering Cor Lit's hair. Apparently lost my ability to decently clip a horse by moving here. Either the move or using gigantic Oster

ClipMaster clippers. Want my little Andis clippers back!
We went to the La Tatabra auction tonight which was a bunch of fun. I was able to understand the people at our table a little bit and Rachel filled in the rest. The horses were also really nice for the most part. We bought horse number 5 and let the other two we were looking at pass. Think the most expensive horse of the night was $17,500? I loved a little bay hunter type gelding who moved and jumped great but apparently he failed the vet big time so he sold really cheap. And another cute one, Tatabra Unico (#26), was marked as a size small but was legit a large pony. Maybe 14.2hh. With long feet. And in shoes. Didn't stay to see if he sold but hope the little guy found a good home. Cause he was a midget. And there is no pony division here.
But once again, the food was cause for great discussion. I was super excited to see/try all the random food that they serve at the auction. Rachel said its usually great little finger food and lots of drinks. Tonight, however, was the exact opposite. They had diet coke, coke, water and red wine to drink which was strange to start with. Then the food got even weirder. A tiny bowl of chips for the table of 8. A container of basically stick shaped crackers. Quarter sized pieces of flat bread with some kind of creamy cheese on top with either nuts or tomatos on top. Two small meatballs on bamboo sticks. Then a bowl of mayo and a bowl of some hot/spicy sauce. Not with anything though. Just the sauce. By this point our table was laughing over the food and trying to figure out what to do with the sauce. Then the breaded chicken leg with tin foil wrapped around one end came out. Followed by halved mini potatos with who knows what on them. Then, best yet, spinach sticks. Which might have been ok if it wasn't the type you buy in a bag from the freezer section of the grocery store. Which was followed by some sort of cooked peppers and meat chunks dish. Which was actually almost as bad as the tin foil chicken. A basket of bread slices was in there somewhere. I'm working at being more open to different foods so tried everything but seriously some of the weirdest food ever. Rachel made a point to remind me several times that this food, like the potatos in everything at home, is not normal for Argentina. But it was fun. Getting to recognize some people and learn more of the language. Were heading to Rodrigos birthday party now that the auctions over. Should be another fun/interesting experience!

Photo of the free jumping ring prior to the auction starting.

Friday, May 18, 2012

May 18th - 8:18pm

It ended up raining about 10:00am here. Got a few ridden early but once the weather got miserable we gave up. I set up and worked on my pole/turning/straight line exercise with Herodes again and am really getting better at being exact with what I want. After Martin had me take Benito through it. Dear lord that horse can jump. He jumps everything with his knees to his eyeballs and round as can be. Worked on more position stuff and using my body more effectively over and between fences. Shortly thereafter the rain picked up and we just went to barn chores.
But I did finally get an explination about potatos here. Lunch is prepared by Goyos wife everyday for everyone here. And almost every meal includes potatos. I like potatos so I dont mind too much but it was getting to the point it was kind of creeping me out. We'd have spagetti with potato chucks in it. Pizza (which is beyond strange here to start) with mashed potatos. Rice with potato chunks. Just everything with potato. Like everything. I thought it was just a normal thing here cause the guys ate them but the more I go out with Martin and Rachel Im realizing people here dont eat an excessive amount of potatos. Just us. And apparently she use to only make food with rice. Then Martin bought a big crate of potatos for the downstairs kitchen for her to use to cook with whenever. She still just used rice. So after a bit Rachel went to her and suggested that since we had so many potatos it would be good to use some for lunch every now and again. And since then, its been potatos with every meal. Lots and lots of potatos.  

Thursday, May 17, 2012

May 17th - 6:45pm

Another full day riding! Ive given up on keeping up with who I ride or get on during the day. Usually in the morning I get 4-6 full rides in then in the afternoon I may have more full rides or just warm horses up for Martin. Today was one of those days since we had clients coming from the US. I get on and start the ride while Martin canters and jumps the one before it. Then we switch and he gets on mine while I walk his horse out/take it back to the barn for the guys. Then I get on the next one in the hotwalker and start again. Rapid fire horse riding. Its different from anything Ive done before but I love it. Just climb on whatever someone hands you and figure it out. Sometimes specific instructions go with a horse. Sometimes not. Or in the case of National today instructions came in the form of hand signals from Martin while he drove the tractor working on the ring.
Rodrigo and I had a lesson on Pastrocito and Herodes today. Grid with with a little bit of course stuff. Its really interesting and rewarding how Martin can say to fix one thing or do something different and suddenly the horse is doing what it needs to. Today was a continuation of moving my hips back to slow the horse off the ground and in the air. Hard to explain but Herodes (like Lion in my first lesson) jumped far better when I did it right and jumped out of the deeper spots easier. Martin's a fantastic teacher of the horses and riders. He's patient consistent and fair. Even with the horses and riders who are a total pain in the neck and would rather not listen. And Rodrigo bit the ground today off Pastrocito. According to Hernan he owes something now. Either money or food. Or money for food. Im still trying to understand him. But I did realize I understand more than I think I do sometimes. I just don't realize it because it doesn't make sense. Like today I asked David for the controler for the gate. Asked him in spanish and he gave it to me. Then said I bought bread today! I thought I was totally misunderstanding him until Rodrigo started trying to translate. No idea why buying bread (and dulce de leche for the bread) was so important to tell me but it was.
Tonight we were suppose to watch the Tatabra horses free jump but a protest on the highway meant the 45 min drive into the city took 3 and a half hours on back roads and in traffic. Managed to be right on time to dinner at Rachel's friends house. He and his new jack russel puppy Pampa were a ton of fun. Very interesting guy but very fun. And we ordered pizza. Which was way different then pizza like I think of. They were rectangular and flat with cheese on it then toppings. One had tomatos and ham and the other had lettuce type veggies and slices of red stuff on it. No idea what it was but both were great. Trying new food has been a trip here but enjoying it so far!  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

May 16th - 11:25pm

Was on 10 different horses today. Different sizes, ages, levels and genders. Nothing like riding everything possible to develop a seat. More time in the saddle everyday I am here. Exactly what I need. Lessons started at 7:30 with Lion and tips, critiques, instructions and training ideas came flying from then on. Im going to have to start carrying something to write it all down if it keeps up at this rate! The first exercise with Lion looked super straightfoward but the set up and attention to detail meant it kicked my butt. Transistions had to be prompt and accurate, straight lines had to be straight, the pace had to be forward and balanced, the turns balanced and done without cutting a corner. Spent the ride on Herodes warming up with lots of forward and woah and turns before testing myself on the exercise again. Somewhat better but still some scrambling to put it all together in places. By Pastrocito, I had it. Easy exercise defeated. Finally. Then Martin got on me about looking at each horse I got on with two plans in mind. The big picture plan of what had the horse done that week, what was it going to do next week. Does this need to be a fitness day or a hard working ride or a light workout? Then letting the horse tell you what needed to be done that way. Get on and walk. Can you move up at the walk? Turn left/right? Woah? Whatever is sticky gets worked on. Meredith Michaels Berbaum said to jump a course you need 4 things. Forward, back, left and right. Establish those things and improve upon them every ride. In the afternoon, it was gridwork with Twilight, Justinian and Virtroso. Both to help me and get the horses ready for a client coming tomorrow. Again, straightness, balance rythym and impulsion in the gaits to the jumps as well as a plan after landing were key. Martins going to fix my habit of wandering after a fence one way or another. All 3 horses were lovely to ride. Virtroso especially. He's just amazing to jump. 100% feel like you're flying. Just as slow and soft as can be despite having a huge jump.

Tonight we went to the Hipico to watch the La Tatabra auction horses go undersaddle. They are auctioning their 3 year olds Saturday. They showed at a walk trot and canter with most doing a few lead changes. 28 horses went through and I liked two. One jumper type and one hunter. We'll watch them free jump tomorrow and may end up bidding on one for a client on Saturday. After we went to Martin's mom's house for dinner. She is an amazing cook and painter. Two things Ive noted about coming here: everything taste better and if its dessert it probably has dulce de leche in it. Both were true tonight. The food here is very different from what I am use to. Lots of meat. Which I dont usually eat much of. But the meat along with the veggies and fruit are all organic since pestacides and hormones are too expensive to use. Almost nothing has perservatives as well. It really does make the food taste better and be better for you. Late nigt tonight and another long day tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

May 15th - 6:26pm

Another day of riderideride with the addition of two lessons! Martin's back at the helm getting the horses, Rodrigo and myself ready for upcoming shows. They do the young horse series here so on a day to day basis Martins focus is the series horses. The series 1 horses are the 4 going on 5 yr olds and the series 2 horses are the 5 going on 6 yrs old. The series 1 horses start the year at just under 1 meter and finish the year with the championship (if they qualify) at 1.15. The series 2 horses go from 1.15-1.25 I think. We have six or seven series 1 horses and four series 2 (Luli, Nixon, Puchini and Benito). Skyline and Twilight aren't registered so they cannot do the series. They're sale horses though so they're still high priority. I ride Geologo (a super cool 1.30m horse in rehab), Pastrocito (small grey with funny mane), Herodes (fat grey) and Lion (super tall bay) pretty much everday. After I just get on whatever Martin tells me.

Today included a ride on the very lovely Virtoso. He's this amazing 4 yr old stallion. Big chesnut with four socks and a blaze. Moves great, rides great, jumps great. He was Bernie's favorite horse here. He's a Voltaire baby and is just amazing in the saddle. Had lessons on Herodes and Pastrocito early in the day. Lots of little critiques but the main thing I took away was pay attention to and manage the details. Don't let the horse keep an inside bend on a straight away, if you're going straight get straight if you're turning then bend. Find the pace you want by getting more than you need and less than you need. Then you know what you have to work with as well. Support whatever distance you pick. I generally see a longer distance which is not very good to start with then compound the long distance by not trusting the horse will jump and not supporting it. So we chip. Hard. Thankfully Herodes is a good boy and jumped even when I messed up. I like Martin's lessons. They're to the point and demanding without being crazy. Have a lot to learn here in a short period of time!

In the afternoon, Martin's friend/instructor Mono came over and they rode the series 2 horses. I warmed them up and Martin jumped. Mono is a Grand Prix rider here that Martin takes lessons from mostly on getting more competetive in the ring. And I swear he's crazy. Even though the lessons were in spanish I listened and watched while warming the next horse up. It seemed about 50/50 whether Mono had something serious and profound to say or whether it was just him being crazy. Like before, crazy crosses through any language barrier apparently! Hoping my spanish is better before I meet him again because I want to know what he's saying! 

Monday, May 14, 2012

May 14th - 6:17pm

Great day at Rancho Pampa. It was Bernie's last day here and everything is getting back on schedule. I rode Geologo, Pachini, Maulo, Luli, National, Lion, Pastrocito, Herodes and one or two more I think. I'm still trying to learn all 25 or so horses here so tough to keep track of everyone I was on. Especially when most of the chestnut look the exact same to me right now. But either way all the horses were fantastic and I love spending all day riding. With Rachel home and no clients here I'm hoping the barn will fall into whatever routine is normal. I like a routine and at least some kind of schedule so will be good to figure out what it is here. Plus it means we can get back to horse showing! Missed the show this week with the clinics but after going and seeing several I want to be apart of it again with riders to cheer for and horses to get ready. Much more fun that way. Showing means getting all the horses back on a schedule though and that I am super excited about because they have a riding board here like we have at my barn at home. Each of the horses names are down the side and the days of the week across the top. Martin said I could keep it filled out for our horses. Should help me get the names straight and help when Martin just says finish the list like he did today. I'm usually pretty good at finishing lists but since I didn't know of a list here I was a tiny bit lost. Got it all sorted out though and every horse ended up ridden like they needed to be. Poor Hernan is already totally confused by it. I need his help filling out the board because I don't always know the horses Martin or Rodrigo ride. Since Hernan tacks most of them up he knows who gets worked. I'd point to a horse and he'd say a name for who rode it and if they jumped made a jumping motion. Or pretend to be longing someting if the horse had been longed. Or act like he was on a hotwalker if the horse got walked. I may not learn much spanish from him but we have hand/body signals down to a science. But I'd put H for hacked, J for jumped, L for longed and W for walked like at home. He could not figure out what weird notations I was using. Not sure what to use that will be universally understood. Guess that means its my board for now! Finished for the day today but another full one tomorrow riding and with the vet coming! 

Photos of my riding board(!!!) and Hernan. After lunch everyone takes a short break from work. No idea where the guys go so I usually hang out in my house till I hear them below. Heard Hernan talking so went down and found him layed out in a wheelbarrow with a horse blanket laid in it talking on the phone. I was almost hysterical I was laughing so hard. He posed for a picture!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

May 13th - 6:38pm

Today was my day off at Rancho Pampa and I opted to head into town to see the last day of the clinic with Bernie. They did coursework at 1.30m and 1m with the two groups. Some very good riders in the big group and some very persistent ones in the second. A lot to be learned from both. Rachel came home today as well which is exciting. She organized me coming down here so I owe her a lot. So far I like her. After the clinics we went over to the Zangershied farm to watch the show and do some business. They have an amazing place. And AMAZING horses. Could have stayed for hours just looking around and watching horses go. And they had these tall boots at a vendor tent I might just have to put on my wishlist. The variety of tall boots are amazing but these were the best thus far. They had a panel about where a stretch panel would be on some boots that was black glitter. It was about 2-3 inches wide on the outside of the boot just beside the zipper. It was fantastic! They have amazing (and cheap!) tall boots here. I do not need another pair. I do not need another pair. I do not need another pair. Bernie leaves tomorrow night and its back to work tomorrow. Can't wait to get back in the saddle even if Ive only had a day off!

Pictures of Ranch Pampa in the late afternoon. And Hunter. One of the cats here.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

May 12th - 7:00pm

The weather was clearer today but significantly colder than yesterday. I stayed home and rode with Rodrigo all morning. We walked each of them over to the covered again and schooled. Its still very weird to just ride directly through the barn. Ive seen Martin do it here but figured it was just because it was his barn. Guess its just an accepted thing too. I guess Ive been warned so many times about riding under low things/into barns that it really throws me. Like the lack of breakaway anything. Every horse Ive seen here wears an old ratty nylon halter. And most of them have a short length of nylon tied directly to the halter as the leadrope. Or a piece of chain. Anything seems to go. And they're cross tied or straight tied directly to a metal ring or metal pole. Our crossties at home use quick release snaps but I don't think thats the norm. And haven't seen a quick release knot used anywhere. Worries me everytime I tie something but thankfully nothing has pulled back! I think its like good ground manners. The expectation is that everything behaves and any that don't are quickly corrected. As a result nothing here bites or kicks, they're all respectful of your space and are easy to work around. And for the most part these are young mares and stallions! Gives me something to think about for horses at home. The zangershied horse auction was today and Id hoped to be able to go but with the clinic and horses to be worked there just wasn't time. The La Tatabra auction in next week though and hopefully Ill be able to see some of that. Bernie leaves on Monday and fingers crossed the rain will stay away so life can get back to normal here at the farm! Will be fun to see what normal is here!

Photos of Zangershied and La Tatabra auction booklets and Violeta demanding attention while I write.

Friday, May 11, 2012

May 11th - 8:20pm

Everything is still soaked here from the rain yesterday so our ring is still flooded. We rode some horses down the road to Martin's friends barn and borrowed their indoor for the morning. I rode a couple and brought a few back and forth between the covered and our barn for Martin to ride. The whole thing was something I've never experienced before. At 7:30 Martin and I grabbed the first two horses off the walker and climbed on. Rodrigo got on this rickety old bike and we all set off out the back gate down this dirt road to the friends place. The nicest back dirt roads in this area is easily 5 times as pot hole filled and trash covered as the worst one in Charleston. There are stray dogs running around, horses randomly tied to trees or posts, people walking and trash everywhere. And were all just headed down the road on two nice young jumper stallions and Rodrigo on a bike that David tried to repair last week. It was a short ride to the indoor but to get to the actual indoor you have to go through the barn. And barn aisles here are tight. Very narrow. And generally with low ceilings. I expected us to jump off and hand walk them down the twisting barn aisles but nope. Martin rode right on in ducking wherever necessary. This barn had the same roughly square design ours down with a small open court yard in the middle. Very different from the straight aisles at home. The horses I rode were good considering they hadn't been worked much in two days and were at a new place. After we went over to this gorgeous facility for the second clinic with Bernie Traurig. Id missed the first day of the one earlier this week so it was fun to watch. My spanish is getting better two. Twice Bernie has had me translate something simple for him and both times Ive been able to do it! Getting more and more comfortable with the language. The clinic went well and between listening to Bernie talk this morning while riding our horses and what he said in the clinic Im getting new ideas for my riding and solidifying old ones. But beyond that, Im getting more and more excited to start lessoning with Martin once Bernie is gonr. Martin is an amazing rider on the flat and over fences. He knows a ton and just watching him ride gets me thinking. Staying home from the clinic to hack horses with Rodrigo tomorrow. Finally back in the saddle for more than a few horses! 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

May 10th - 7:18am

It is absolutely pouring at the farm today so get to go into town and watch the last day of the clinic with Bernie Traurig! We don't have a covered at home so when it rains the riding stops. And when it rains in Argentina, it rains hard. Im getting more and more use to life here. Life is a lot more flexible. No one really goes by much of a schedule with their social lives. People come and go, show up and leave on whatever schedule suits their fancy. "Come over for dinner later" means someone could show up in 30 minutes or in 2 hours. They could stay an hour or half the night. Everyone stays really flexible. The driving doesnt bother me as much either anymore. Random motorcycles shooting everywhere and people changing lanes, directions and speeds with no obvious cause are beginning to seem more normal. The kissing on the cheek thing is also less weird too. When you meet people you kiss them on the right cheek. At first I was like why the heck is this random person going to hug and kiss me? But already that is just becoming part of life. Now to start realizing when you do it and when you dont! The different language is also becoming easier too. My spanish is still slow and broken but its easier and more comprehensive than before I came. Part of that is just from listening and part is from constantly asking what the names of things are. The guys at the barn and Martin put up with a lot of questions from me! All things considering though, I really like it here. 

Photo of one of my favorite animals here: Violeta!

May 10th - 7:30pm

It rained on and off for most of the day so the ring at Rancho Pampa is under some water. As a result, no riding today. Instead I got to go into town to watch day 3 of the clinic with Bernie Traurig. Today they did courses and worked on developing a plan to ride a line and putting the plan into practice. Riding a bending line in a direct forward 5, a medium bending 6 or a collected bending 7. They also worked on using the corners before and after a jump to set up the distance to the next fence. It was interesting to watch because it all tied into what I have been working on in my lessons with Bernie. We've worked on staying in the corner until you see your distance and using a balancing point to find or create a distance to a fence on a straight away. The information from the clinic and the lessons has given me a lot of interesting things to think about. As has been watching Bernie ride a few of the clinic horses. He does't just follow with his elbow at the canter. He follows with his whole shoulder and elbow. Its the most interesting thing to watch. After the clinic we ended up in Buenos Aires' China Town on the hunt for sushi for Bernie. Thankfully no sushi was found but we ended up at this awesome little chinese place. Going places with Bernie and listening to him talk is definitely an eye opener. He knows horses, people, places and things I have only vaguely imagined. He's good friends with George Morris, has ridden bought or sold some of the best horses in the world and has even met the princess who heads the FEI. Just craziness. Listening to him talk about these people, different horses and the coaching on his website is like a lesson in and of itself. After lunch we went to Walmart. And walmarts in Argentina look, smell and are organized the exact same way as in the US. Was actually pretty funny really. Some of the stuff is the same too. Almost all the food is very different though. They don't eat peanut butter here. Or have cranberry or tomato juice. They do have dulce de leche here though. Amazing stuff. The guys are slowly but steadily teaching me everything dulce de leche can go on. Right now rolls and apples are my favorite with it. And these cool (very yummy) cookies Martin has. Dulce de leche between two cookies and its all covered in chocolate. Amazing yes? Came home and helped the guys finish up body clipping. They'd been at it all day since there was none to tack up. They don't give the horses a bath before they clip here which is weird but whatever. Its just another difference I guess. Like here everyone uses the 1st and 2nd billets on their saddles not the 1st and 3rd. It takes a lot of self restraint not to switch it! The second set of clinics with Bernie start tomorrow at a closer venue with a covered. Depending on the weather and whatnot I may or may not go. Just up to Martin. In doing the argentenian thing and staying flexible! I'd love to see Bernie teach more but I'd also like to start working on this stuff he's told me!

Photos of the clinic and facilites. We were in the covered today which backs up to a very busy rode on one side and what looked to be a school on the other. We're in the middle of the city for these clinics! Two photos of the best dressed rider at the clinic: Vicky. She also had the best commentary. Vicky told Bernie she thought he rode pretty decent for an old guy! And her stirrups were bright purple, her crop pink, her pants white with little roses on them, purple saddle pad and hair flinging everywhere. I think the hair mostly just bothered me though! Bernie is in the blue and thought she was hilarious!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

May 9th - 8:09pm

Planned to be in the barn at 7:30 to ride. Woke up to pouring rain and Martin yelling to get up and get ready at 6:50 because I was going to the clinic with Bernie Traurig at the BA club in town. We leave in 10 minutes. Had a long morning setting jumps and listening to rapid fire spanish and english translations. Bernie coaches in english. Martin says what he says in spanish. I got a headache just listening. Picked up a lot of new words though. Ill learn this language some way or another. Bernie had a lot of helpful things to say and was very positive about everyones riding. After we went to this cool little leatherworking shop/tack store and Bernie bought some hand made bits. He'd never heard of a boucher before and wanted to buy one after seeing one work very well on a tough horse in the clinic. We all had a great lunch at the Hipico after then back to the barn to ride more horses. I got to jump Lion around a bit like a hunter. And well I definitely like him better as a jumper. Skyline was a nice hunter yesterday. Lion... Not so much. But learned a lot watching Bernie work with another horse named Twilight. Not sure I will ever use anything he did but never bad to learn something new. My spanish is getting good enough I could understand some of what Martin said in translating. And I could joke around with Rodrigo some. Long day running around today. Back to riding tomorrow I hope!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

May 8th - 9:58pm

I have no idea how many horses I rode today. Pastrocito, Geologo, Buck, chestnut stallion, Lion, Nixon, Skyline, Benito, bay mare and one other. So ten horses. Im tired. Gonna be a bit till Im fit enough for this! But today was super exciting because Bernie Traurig is in Buenos Aires giving clinics! And he's staying with Martin at Rancho Pampa! After the clinics today they came back to the barn and Martin and I showed Bernie some horses. It was kind of 50/50 with me showing him horses and me getting a lesson/help from him. Very exciting stuff. Plus he has a client with him horse shopping who is a very successful trainer/rider on the west coast. Martin, the trainer and I all rode together on some of the 4 year olds we have here. Got to see a lot of them go like hunters for the first time and I loveee watching Twilight go. He's lovely. And I love jumping Skyline. Not my favorite for the flat but to jump. Love. After we had dinner at Martins and hung out talking horses and watching videos of some of the best show jumping rounds over the years. Very fun stuff. Another long day riding if the rain holds off. If not, into Buenos Aires to watch the clinic with Bernie!

Photo of one of my favorite horses Pastrocito. He's ugly as can be and kind of a freak but I like him.

Monday, May 7, 2012

May 7th - 1:07pm

Im starting to get use to the life/schedule here. Work starts in the barn below my loft at 6:00 or so and that serves as my alarm clock of sorts. Be in the barn by 7:30 and get on the roan stallion Geogolo. He's a 1.30 meter horse in rehab for a leg thing. Then the bay mare named Buck (who has no buck but does spook). By then Rodrigo or Martin are usually on their schedule and can tell me who else to ride. Usually its Lion, Helado, the grey with the polo mane Pastrocito and one or two others like Skyline or Luli. Lunch is at 12:30 or so and after, everyone disappears. Ive yet to figure out how all the guys disappear so fast but they do. Martin is out with Bernie so Violet and I just went up to my loft. One of the perks of living on the center aisle of the barn is I can hear when there is someone in the barn. So whenever the guys show back up, I can run back downstairs like I actually had some idea of what was going on. All of the horses were good again today and Im becoming more confident in what Im doing here and my riding. I have a very different style from Rodrigo but that doesnt mean what I do is wrong. So far Martin hasnt had many critiques so just going to keep doing what Im doing. With Martin off the farm Rodrigo was in charge so we tried to talk a lot more today. He knows a little english and I know a little spanish so we can generally patch together a slow but understandable conversation. Google translator helps too. He invited me out with his friends even! Might take him up on it once my Spanish is better. Because right now I barely understand him speaking slowly let alone a group of people speaking quickly. Plus Im having to learn a whole new set of words. Like the word for bird in spanish books in the US is different than their word for bird. Makes things a little confusing sometimes! But so far I think weve understood each other pretty well. I did look at Rodrigo today when Hernan started speaking in spanish at me again and just told him in english that I thought Hernan was crazy. I think he understood me because Rodrigo busted up lauging and poor Hernan just stood there totally confused.
Anyway I think Bernie and Martin are on the way here so got to get going!

Photos of my loft over the grooming stalls and view out the kitchen window of Luli, Nixon, National, Cylene and Pachinis stalls.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

May 6th - 11:50am

Today is technically my day off but as usual I am still in the barn. I live right above the main grooming stalls in middle of the barn so nothing goes on in the barn without waking me up. Woke up to Hernan dropping something I think. Nothing like a huge crashing noise to get ya out of bed! Martin is riding some of the 4 year old that had the last two days off though so trailing after him watching and listening. The horses he's working today were in the young horse championship series on Thursday. Theyve all been super nice. One Voltaire baby is just a stunning chestnut with 4 stockings and a blaze. Brette, you would love this horse. Martin has a lot of interesting ideas that I haven't heard before but make a lot of sense. Just going to keep watching and listening. Hernan cleaned up some of the horses and we took sale pictures of them. I think Ill end up doing the FB page and website here like I use to do at Full Circle. Martin has his hands full and I admitted I had done it before. Taking the pictures today showed me again how good his system is at turning out sane young horses. We had two dogs up under these young horses feet and were shaking a bag trying to get their ears up with zero reacion from the horses. National even tried to fall asleep! These, for the most part, are 4 yr old stallions! Nothing phases them. Most of them have only been in training since Jan. or so as well. Martin said Id get to see the whole process of wild unbroke monster horses to sweet, quiet show horses. Ive yet to see one rear, buck or spook. I want to train horses like this. They're sane, safe and happy without a crazy system or medication. Just good training and a routine.
Anyway I think were going back to the Aleman tonigh to watch the Grand Prix! Im so excited! Never seen a GP in person before. Spending the day watching Martin work the horses, try to talk to Hernan and play with the dogs and cats. Good day at Rancho Pampa.

The show and GP were awesome! Martin knows everyone so you can point out some horse or rider you like and he can tell you who they are and breeding and who knows who and everything. I really like this one grey mare and a little chestnut stallion that jumps like a freak. And the stallions Cash and Picadilly that Martin has babies by. After the show we went by his friends house in town and hung out for awhile. The friends and their two little girls spoke next to know english so again, it was very interesting. They drank this stuff called "mate" which I had already learned to just say no thanks to. That and the coke/yagermister combo at the show. No bueno. The two girls were shy at first but by the end I was playing games with one and doing puzzles with the other. Im sure they think Im the dumbest person alive but their parents said they never realized I didnt speak their language. Picked up some new words from them and worked on asking basic question with them. They can almost count to 5 in english but five is fives to them. They were super cute and fun. I am really enjoying going into town with Martin and trying/seeing new things. I get the impression he thinks its kind of humerous that I have tried so few things and yet am dead set on having an adventure here. He'll order me whatever he's getting or pick me up something when he runs in a store (I stay in the car so he doesnt have to really park - another thing I think he kind of enjoys) and is just like "here try it". So far the food has been good but trusting his drink selection less and less after the mate drink and coke concotion. He's a really nice guy and great horse person though. Its going to be a fun summer here. Bernie Trahrig is coming in for a week tomorrow so early night tonight cause this next week is going to be crazy!

Photos of one of the jumps I did with Lion yesterday, the barn from the ring and the tree next to the ingate the bohos (mini desert owls) like to sit in during the day.

May 5th - 1:27pm

Rode Geologo, Buck, Lili, Herodes, grey with the polo mane and had a lesson on Lion. Very fun but tired. Partially the work, partially the jet lag I think. Lion is a great big bay stallion. Easily 17+. Hes 5 years old. We worked on keeping my lower leg forward to help balance him, hips back to slow his jump and hands up to keep him up. Very different style from at home but at home were also not asking these big young horses to jump 3'9" by 5 years old. Our 5 yr olds do the 2'6" pre-greens. He was a ton of fun though and its interesting learning a different style. Something to keep in mind with different horses. I had lunch with all the guys today for the first time. Hernan, Carlos, David, Martin and the guy with the cool hat whose name I can't say. Ive kind of given up trying as well. He and Carlos are very quiet so I spend most of the time attempting to talk to Hernan and David. David thinks its hysterical that I never know what is going on. My favorite phrase is "no se!" and "como?". I dont know and what?. With Martin translating we all have a laugh over how unhelpful the translator at the airport was. Apparently she did not tell David anything that I said (not that I said much) so the poor guy was even more confused than me. Martin gave Hernan grief as well because he has taken to trying to tell me things that sound super important just as I get on. Obviously I have no idea what he is saying so I end up trooping out to Martin in the ring to tell him Hernan said something again and I don't know what. Martin says just to ignore him but I still wonder. Given upunderstnanding him though. At lunch Martin was like "come on Hernan. Do you really think she is going to understand you?" They all laugh and say ella entienda nada but one of these days Ill understand at least some of what they say! Not gifted with languages like Martin but I wan to learn. Martin is going back to the show today. I might go with him. Maybe. Im still trying to recover from the flights here I think. Tireddd! 

Photos of Violet the Jack Russel, Quatro the big and one of the cats.

May 4th - 10:42am

It really is 10:42. And I dont think it was 9:45 yesterday. Wasnt until late that I figured out the time. I am one hour ahead of home. Well yesterday was an adventure and today even more so. Yesterday I rode Skyline, Lion, Herodes and the grey with the polo mane. I cant say his name but it means sheephearder in spanish. All were very nice. Impressed with how broke all of the horses are. All quiet and easy despite being very young and many being stallions. I met Martin yesterday and lessoned with him today. Super nice guy who is definitely in this for the horses. Amazing rider too. Today we rode in the morning. I rode the two I am to help leg up Geologo and Buck as well as Lion and the grey polo maned horse. Had a lesson with grids on the grey with Rodrigo. Rodrigo is the assistant trainer and is also a very good rider. Im hoping they both think Im at least decent! Rodrigo is one of those guys who thinks he is pretty hot stuff. And yeah he's kind of attractive but Im here to ride 100%. Hes still a really nice guy though. Martin is my favorite of the guys here though. He says the best things and is so blunt. He invited me to dinner at his house and we watched CSI and had chicken and salad. My first normal meal in 2 days! Anyway at one point we were talking about TV and he said he didnt like it much until he got Tivo. He was like "you know Tivo? I love that shit! That shit is crack!" I swear I was dying laughing. Earlier when we had been at the store he asked me if I cooked.  I said no not really. His reply "You will. Youll get hungry enough." I guess he is right though.   I made scrambled eggs last night afterall.  They were awful but I was hungry.
Anyway prior to going to the store Martin took me into Buenos Aires to watch a horse show. In BA there are three riding clubs. The German riding club or the Aleman. The epico and the buenos aires. Im am sure those are spelled wrong but thats what they sound like. The Aleman has the nicest rings because they are right where a riverbed use to be and the water comes up from below to keep the rings wet. The footing is the natural river sand as well. We went to the show there. The Buenos Aires is where the Bernie Trahrig clinic will be held and we stopped by there to get some paperwork. The epico apparently has the nicest facilities and well be showing there later. But anyway the show at the Aleman was a ton of fun to watch. The 1.40 class was going and Martin pointed out all the good riders and would guess what turns theyd make before they made them. We walked the course as well and he gave his input on how he'd do it. Very fun. Funniest part was all the American music. They played Hey Soul Sister at least 3 times while we were there along with tons of other american songs. I asked Martin what the deal was and he was like "we always listen to this shit and never have any idea what it means. Just keep listening!" Met some very cool people and one crazy one. Craziness carries even with a language barrier! 

Photos of some of the barn, ring and horses.

May 3rd - 9:45am

At least I think it is 9:45. It feels way earlier and way later at the same time. I am at the ranch now. 10000+ miles from home. For some reason though, it does not feel so far. Probably because of the horses. As Martin said, they are a challenge and a comfort all in one. Already I have seen sights I thought I never would. A horse and sulky going across an overpass as we drive down the highway. Crazy driving with crazier people on motorcycles. The flight was easier enough here. Slept a lot and talked to the girl in the seat next to me named Chelsea. She's from LA and doing a sort of backpacking though through lots of South America. Very cool stuff. Toward the end if the flight I got to watch most of War Horse. Even in the air it is still all about horses. Also the farther we came south the more ice crystals formed on the windows of the plane! It was crazy. Guess winter and high altitude will do that.
Even better than the flight though was the ride here. So I get off the plane and through customs no problem. Right as I step into the airport I see a latino man holding a Rancho Pampa sign. I say hi to him and a translator immedietly comes over and asks if I speak spanish. I tell her "un poco" and that Im suppose to go with him. Apparently that was plenty for her and she whisked away leaving me who speaks next to no spanish with a guy who speaks zero english. An hour long car ride home was spent attempting to talk. But I know his name is Robbie. Or Dobbie. Or something. And he is 30. Tomorrow is his birthday! I think. And he has a girlfriend and 3 kids. He was super nice though and tried super hard to make connversation but dear lord I was hopeless. Lots of smiling, pointing and laughing though which is always good. It is so strange to be somewhere where my language is basically useless. Buenos Aires is huge as well. Even the small part I was from the car is 10x the size of Charleston. It is also so different. On the ride home we saw a mini pony just kind of hanging out on the side of the road. Judging from Robbie/Dobbies reaction thats a fairly normal thing here! Anyway Martin is at a show and Rachel is in China so guess Im off to explore on my own! Should be exciting!  

Photos are of a river near BA, the plane I flew in on, the sunrise over Argentina, the EZE airport and mini pony.

May 2nd - 5:00pm

Currently at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. Arrived in here at 2 or 3. Honestly I have no idea. Time changes really aren't my thing apparently. I get outside of east coast time and am lost. But still managed to get from Charleston to here just fine. Slept most of the flight which was amazing after last night. Which was terrible. I hate goodbyes. Even when I know Im not going to be gone long. Some of my Charleston friends I probably won't ever see again but those were nothing compared to saying goodbye to my barn family who I will see again. They really have become like family and saying goodbye for the summer sucked. Plus I was just flat out scared last night. Up until then I had been nervous, excited, worried and thrilled for the trip but last night I was just flat out scared. And I dont really do scared well. At all. On at least a weekly basis Eliza tells me how much she likes hanging out with me because Im confident and bold. I love that and do it pretty well. I dont do scared well.
Sitting here though in the airport though, I am excited. Veryvery excited. This adventure has started! I am here by myself in a city I have never been to before by myself waiting to board an airplane to fly to a city, country and continent I have never been to before. In 14 hours I will be in Buenos Aires Argentina to start a new life for awhile. I have always said I wanted to get away from home. I think 10000+ miles could be far enough. Maybe. Guess we'll see! 

Pictures are the view over Charleston and the plane to BA before take off.