Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July 31st - 8:12pm

Making a point to write a post before Im half asleep today! So yesterday we rode of course. Lessons, schooling, the usual. In the afternoon we free jumped the 5 fillies Martin bred. We'd already free jumped 4 of them at Baral so for the most part it was pretty straight forward. The new one to the group and two that had done it before were fantastic. One, the same one who gave us trouble at Baral, was ridiculous. Absoutely determined to do the exact opposite of what we wanted. Took three times as long to get her over the jumps half as many times as the others. Then she tried to jump out of the free jump. I think even Martin gave up after that. The ones that went jumped well though. My favorites were a tall bay filly and Lady D. Lady D will be very nice when she's older. She's small now but quite lovely over fences. So that was the excitement yesterday.
Today was riding in the morning/early afternoon as usual. I rode Buck, Luli, Cylene, Jour and Herodes. Jour and Cylene both worked on softening to the left. Luli on stretching and relaxing in the canter. Herodes was reinstalling a go/woah button and Buck was Buck. She was very quite this morning whem we did a quick hack. Martin and the guys reset the ring after lunch and we did a jump school then. Buck was super good. Energetic and powerful jumper but rideable and honest. Love her.
The afternoon was also spent x-raying the new fillies, getting foals on/off the walker, treatments and general clean up. A pretty unexciting day all in all but not every day can be crazy!

Monday, July 30, 2012

July 30th - 9:53pm

Totally forgot to write anything until I was half way asleep. Warmed up Luli, Benito, Mauro and Cylene for Martin. Jumped Buck a bit, had a lesson on Jour and rode Herodes this afternoon. All in all a good day. Spent the afternoon helping the guys, free jumping the new mares and continuing to teach the foals to go on the hot walker. Will remember the blog tomorrow and actually write something exciting. But I want to go back to sleep right now! 

Photos of foals in the hot walker.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

July 29th - 9:27pm

Spent this morning riding. Schooled Buck and Luli over fences. Warmed up Puccini for Martin and schooled Cor Lit on the flat. Finally getting the hang of Buck. Im getting confident and comfortable enough on her to create and manage a 12" stride so our jumping is coming along. She's got the most fun cant and jump. Absolutely love it. Luli was very good for me as well. Martin's starting to crack down on the little things I do that interfere with my horse's ability. Allowing my arms to relax in the turns instead of getting stiff, using my legs to turn before my hands, balancing after each fence instead if scrambling. I can feel (and Martin says) that Im improving in my ability to ride to the fences. Finding my balance point, maintaining a good canter, staying in the middle. After the fences, though, I tend to get a little panicky thinking about what is coming next. Which tends to result in a failed attempt at balancing and turning. Shouldn't be so difficult but it is. Needs more work for sure. But of all the places in the world to be to work on problems in the tack, this is one of the best. Horse after horse to keep working on things with. Martins set me to work over ground poles and with lead changes. Maintaining my pace, balance, rythym and direction without scrambling after the pole/change. Should be good for me. Schooling Cor Lit was fun as always and significantly better than the last time I was on him. He is without a doubt one of the best movers here and I cant wait for the day I can make him look anywhere near as good as Martin. He's just stunning on the flat with Martin on board.
After riding Martins family came over and they did an asado for lunch. Alice and I were invited and as usual it was a ton of fun with great food. Martins newphew went for a ride on Pastrocito who was an absolute rockstar. The two of them were super cute together. We all ended up in Martin's house for dessert, coffee, tea and the Olympics which wad fun. Alice and I are pretty obsessively keeping up with what is going on in London. I think its partially due to the horse related portions and partially due to it just being something outside the farm (or the compound as Alice calls it) to pay attention to. Keeping our fingers crossed the USA moves up in cross country tomorrow!
Nothing good on TV tonight so we're crashing early. Another full day in the saddle tomorrow with plenty to work on! 

Photos of Martins nephew on Pastrocito, Alice on Pastrocito and the always adorable Cor Lit.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

July 28th - 9:40pm

Today was Alice and my day off and we were so bum like it was almost laughable. Habit had us both up early but we watched TV (Criminal Minds), did laundry and hung out most of the morning. Once it warmed up I took off outside to take pictures of some of the horses and ended up layed out in the front yard reading. Alice joined me after a bit. And once Rodrigo was finished with work he came out for a bit. We all joked around, hung out and just enjoyed having nothing to do in the amazing weather. Sometimes its fun to just hang out and be stupid with people my own age.
Lunch after and then tried to watch the Gladiator with Alice. And fell asleep half way though. Oops. Had a quick dinner then back to hanging out in the house with Lady Jane (one of the cats weve adopted) and Alice. Back to work tomorrow and its going to be a long 7 day week but looking forward to continuing to ride. Want to get better at riding. And with spanish. Two things that wont happen without a lot of work and a lot of time. Good thing I have more time and plenty enough desire to work. Even if I do enjoy the lazy days!

Friday, July 27, 2012

July 27th - 9:09pm

Stayed up watching the opening ceremonies for the 2012 Olympics in Martins house with Rachel, Martin, Alice and some of their friends. I thought they were very good. Lost them at a few places where I didnt know what connection they were making to a movie/person/time in history but still enjoyed the show. Watching all the counties come in was pretty cool too. Some of the outfits left something to be desired (Germany? Really?) but it was good to see so many countries represented. Hoping to stay as updated as possible during the games. At least for the horse sports. Mostly show jumping but I know about about some eventers as well. Eventing's dressage kicks off tomorrow with Boyd Martin (I think) first. Tomorrow is also our day off. Not sure why they're switched but I get to sleep in tomorrow. Very exciting. And I dont have to ride. Which is probably good considering I am going to hurt. Took a header off Picaro this morning. Rode him when it was super cold and at the very end of the ride he played for a stride and my hands were frozen so didnt have a hope of hanging on to the reins. Big bruises on my right thigh and lifting my right arm is painful enough Id rather not do it. Still rode 3 horses after him though. Buck, Lion and Pastrocito were all rock stars. Was a light day here since all the ones that showed yesterday had the day off. Then they all have tomorrow off. And back to work Sunday. Spent the remainder of the morning taking horses on and off the walker (foals included). We got 6 young fillys in yesterday that were all introduced to the hot walker as well. Have a very full house at the moment! Inbetween exchanging horses it was cleaning, mane shortening, braiding and treatments. A quite but productive day. Tomorrow should be nice and relaxing and then back in the saddle!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

July 26th - 9:20pm

In an attempt to stay up to watch Criminal Minds with Alice got a few things accomplished. Repainted my nails (dark blue) after two days in the barn left the old polish ruined. Translated my favorite spanish song to english (Hasta Que Salga El Sol). And finally, changed my calendar so my return home date is correct again (was August 4th but now is April 29th 2013). I get to stay at Rancho Pampa until April!!! Just a few days short of a full year here. Realized a couple weeks ago I was absolutely not ready to go home yet and began working on trying to stay. And as of now the airline tickets have been offically changed to the new date. So excited. Going to be able to learn so, so much these next 9 months. Cant wait!
Anyway today started out super early at 3:00. And since Im super dyslexic about times I thought Martin said we were suppose to be in the barn at 4:00. He actually said we had to be in the barn at 5:00 so had to get up closer to 4:00. Realized that at about 4:20 when Alice and I were the only people in the barn. My bad. Took 11 horses over to Equus to school and everyone was pretty good. My first (and favorite) job was to take Cor Lit and walk him everywhere. So we wandered/trail road through the grounds at Equus for a good 45 minutes. It was a fun way to get to see the property and I think Cor Lit enjoyed the walk. Warmed up Nixon and Skyline as well.
After the show we shot back home, unloaded and jumped on Jour and Lion. Quick school in them, lunch and then I rode Picaro and Buck. Both were good. Feel like Im working on another breakthrough with Buck which is very exciting. I really like that mare so want to learn to ride her better.
Going to be a light day tomorrow with most of the horses who showed today having the day off. Lesson on Jour, riding Picaro, Buck and probably one of the greys. Then hopefully fixing some manes, trimming some wiskers and general clean up. After that, though, who knows! We got 6 more very green horses in today as well. Back to a very full house! Should be fun to see these new ones get started though!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July 25th - 8:31pm

Horse show tomorrow! Taking a big group to Equus to school tomorrow morning. Very exciting just to have a change from the usual. I love our usual days but sometimes subtle changes of schedule are good! Like taking 12 horses to school off the property. Though it does mean we have to be in the barn at 4:00. Which means getting up at 3:00. Super fun stuff. Still excited though.
Rode Picaro, Buck, Nixon, Cylene, Cor Lit and Pastrocito today. All of them were pretty good. Getting the feel for Cylene since she's not a usual ride. Jumped Buck, Cor Lit and Pastrocito who were all good. Did a grid with Buck. With the other two we did an interesting figure eight exercise where the middle of the eight was a jump and each loop you increased to a progressively bigger step. Was hard for me because I have trouble differentiating between power and speed at times and typically see a longer distance out of a gallop step which is not what we wanted as the fence got wider. Cor Lit was first and it was pretty much a diaster. I really have no pride. It sucked. Didnt really understand what I was suppose to be doing for awhile which didnt help either. After I finished Rodrigo and Alice did it with Jour and Georgia so I understood better but still dont think it would have helped with Cor Lit. Nothing I did got the reaction I thought it would. And thinking up alternative ways to handle things while listening to Martin in a big hand gallop at a wide jump was difficult. Was better with Pastrocito but he is also a lot older and I know him better. Have only jumped Cor Lit once before. That exercise needs a lot of work though. A freaking lot of work. Off to bed early since we've got the alarms going on so early. Its still worth it though. All this work with the horses is worth it. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

July 24th - 8:52pm

Up late watching more Criminal Minds with Alice. Its kind of becoming part of the routine. Very convient that Alice and I like basically all the same things. And both adore Criminal Minds. And microwave cake. But I like Criminal Minds better than cake.
Spent this morning in the saddle and rode Picaro, Buck, Luli, Nixon, Cylene and Jour. Schooled Nixon and Cylene over fences which was definitely interesting. They were very good and my riding was good enough but both have very different jumps for me. Both are slower horses that dont expend a ton of effort over fences. It takes everything I have not to rev the engine really hard when I feel like Im going too slow. But I can go slow as long as I have power under me. Which I had but it makes me crazy not carrying more pace. Which is bad since I dont need more pace just power. The more horses I get on the more I realize how few types I have been on. I was able to stick with their jumps and get to the fences at a nice pace and distance but it just felt weird. Out of my confort zone. This job is definitely pushing me to expand my horizons. And the young horses are also teaching me that as much as Id like to ride to the distance, riding the canter is much more effective. Doesn't matter how many times a trainer tells me that, the horses explain it better every time. Buck, Picaro and Luli are still working one teaching me to ride the hotter horses. One day I will figure out how to manage a hot horse and ride one well as they are my favorites. Especially Luli and Mauro. Id ride either of them any day.
After riding we grabbed a quick lunch (empanadas!!!) then drove an hour up the road to a farm that trains cart horses. Martin has a client looking to buy a cart, all the accessories and a matched pair of horses to drive. So we went and saw some very chunky draft types. We went on two cart rides around the property trying out the pairs. The owner drove some and Martin drove some. I was dying to but maybe another day. Love horse drawn carriages. We tested their walk, trot, turn and woah abilities. I liked the first team the best which also happened to be the youngest (only 3 years old!) but the second team was very nice as well. I took video of the teams working and tons of pictures as well.
After we went into the owners garage and saw a lot of the carts/buggies/carriages he owns. Some were super ornate herses while others were very small, simple doctor's buggies. His house was full of driving things as well. Another carriage, bits, harnesses, bridles, saddles and tons of antiques. It was one of the coolest places Ive been in Argentina for sure. And he was a very interesting guy. Spoke a little english but was very nice and obviously loved what he did. Anyone who carries their old, fat, arthritic lab into and out of the cart so he can go out with the rest of the dogs that follow the cart is good in my book. Anyway, the pictures show the place far better than I can describe and the pictures so do not begin to capture how cool it was.
After Alice and I came home to dinner, hanging out, studying spanish and Criminal Minds. Great end to a great day.

Monday, July 23, 2012

July 23rd - 9:51pm

Made it out of bed this morning to rode Picaro and Buck before the up and down of trotting put me right back to where I was Saturday night. And for the first time in three months here I just told Martin I couldnt. I hate riding while sick to my stomach. Flat out cannot do it. So spent most of the day in bed and asleep. Which sucked cause Id much rather be riding. But the sleep was good for me. Hung out with Alice after work, talked with friends and finishing up an old episode of Criminal Minds. Definitely a quiet day. Back in the saddle tomorrow though. Cant wait!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

July 22nd - 6:53pm

Fantastic day today. Last night left a lost to be desired since I somehow ate something that made me very sick but today totally made up for it. Slept in till 9:00 and was lazy for a bit then went into Capitol with Martin, Rachel and Alice. Martin and Rachel had a lunch date so they dropped Alice and I off at the park with directions to meet them at Club Aleman in a couple of hours. The weather was perfect and that part of Capitol is very pretty. There was also a trade fair going on so there were all sorts of booths set up with people selling things. Jewlery, belts, handmade clothes, mate cups and tons of other stuff. Some was weird, some was beautiful and it was all interesting. The mix of language was also very interesting. Lots of people spoke english and several spoke a strange mix of spanish/english. Once again Alice and I were spotted right off as foreigners so vendors would try to speak english to us or ask if we spoke spanish. I was able to talk with a few in Spanish and almost bought a few pieces of jewlery before Alice reminded me Id never get to wear the things. So much of the jewlery and art was so pretty though. One booth had these very neat little trees made of wire with glass leaves. The colors of the leaves symbolized different things like luck, health and whatnot. Alice and I both loved them but decided the changes of them making it make to the states in one piece was not huge so didnt buy one. There was also a very interesting handmade chess set. So many different things for sale!
We also walked though this very old cemetary and Catholic church. Both of which were gorgeous in their own ways. So much history in both those places. The cemetary was different from anything Ive ever seen. I had expected an open type field with graves in the ground. Nope, these were mausoleums. Some were very old, others newer. Some were very plain with just cement and a name while others were huge with carvings and statues. It was also a pretty varied mix of people buried alone or with families. Just an incredibly interesting place. The church was the same one Id seen with Rachel a few weeks ago but without Mass going on we were about to go inside and see the paintings, statue and arcithecture. All very gorgeous.
After, we hit up the mall for a bit just to check it out and then started for Club Aleman. We could have easily taken a taxi but since we had the time and the day was lovely, we opted to walk. Took about 45 minutes but most of it was through/near parks and it went by very fast talking with Alice. Spent almost the whole walk discussing world history. Not really your average 18/19 yr olds. Made it to the Aleman on time, without getting lost and without drama which was good. Arrived just in time to watch the first rider of the Grand Prix go. Picadilly was there along with my favorite GP rider here Alexis. Both did very well. Martin and Rachel arrived just as the last rounds were going. Stuck around to watch the jump offs but still probably couldn't tell you who won. One disadvantage to not understanding the language. Never really know how the class is going. Anyway, we're home now which is good as the lack of sleep last night is taking its toll. Quick dinner tonight, bed and work in the morning!