Thursday, August 30, 2012

August 30th - 9:32pm

<p>&lt;p&gt;Busy, busy day. Alice, Martin and Rodrigo went into town early for the series show at the Aleman. That left me home doing what I love best: riding. The ones from the show yesterday had the day off so that left me with a lot of young/green ones which is rapidly becoming my favorite group. Rode Geologo first and its almost embarrassing that I use to find him difficult to work. Today was my first time on him in almost two months so Ive had a lot of time to improve. Getting on him was both enjoyable and eye opening. He is such a nice horse and being able to actually work him a bit was fun. After I rode Nacar and Uxmal. Both are still quite green but have a ton of potential. Ive ridden Nacar a decent amount before and hes still the same easy going baby. Uxmal was a little fresh after having yesterday off but youd have to know how quite he normally is to realize he was up. Another sweet, easy going baby. Besides that, though, they are polar opposites. Nacar being slimly built, about 15hh and grey while Uxmal is great big bay tank of a horse at close to 17hh. <br>
After the babies I had my two of my favorite mares; Olendesa and Pierrette. Both were quite good and are settling back into the swing of work. Quiet, soft and relaxed today. Those two are my favorite type of horse. Forward and sensitive without being over the top. I still have a lot to learn about riding horses like that but they are without a doubt my favorites to sit on.
Jour and Lion were next on the list. Both are coming back to work nicely. They both worked up nicely into the bridle during the ride. Jour's canter especially has improved so much in the last two months. He still doesnt have the stride Lion does but I no longer feel like Im cantering a medium pony. As my riding is improving he is becoming more and more fun as well. I can ask him correctly for difficult things and actually get them! Both those horses are so nice Im amazed they are still here. Especially Lion since he could qualify as ammy horse of the year. Not sure there is anything he wouldnt tolerate. And nothing phases him.
The afternoon was spent on the two greys Herodes and Pastrocito. They were there usual selves. Nothing too terribly special there. By the time I got the them (horses 9 and 10) I was pretty close to being finished riding for the day. Adore riding but by the time you get to double digets in hotter temps, its not quite as exciting as it was at 8:00am.
Martin and Alice got back around 3:00 so once I was finished it was right in to help unpack and get the horses back settled in. All the horses at the show was good and made it home in one piece! Tomorrow will be a less busy day with many of the horses still having time off after the shows the last couple days. Ive just got some of my favorites, Uxmal, Pierrette, Olendesa, Navratilova and probably either Jour or Nacar. Super tired at the moment but still cant wait for tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

August 29th - 8:46pm

Horse show at the Aleman today with Luli, Nixon, Vitroso, Skyline, Cor Lit and Mauro. All were very good. Has been a LONG day since I started at 4:30am. After the horse show I had time to ride Pierrette before heading in to finish up with the barn. She was quite lovely and every day I can feel her getting back into the swing of work. I wish I had a horse like her in the US. She would be so fun to do in the equitation and jumper classes.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

August 28th - 9:43pm

Great day at Rancho Pampa. Beautiful weather and fantastic horses. Started off early with Mono over for lessons. I warmed up Mauro and Cylene. Cylene felt reallyreally good on the flat. Mauro was a touch up still after his long vacation but still felt great. If I had the funds to purchase a jumper prospect, Mauro would be my first choice. Luli is right up there as well but Mauro wins. After Mono left I hacked Pierrette and worked on shortening/lengthening in the walk and trot. Mostly the trot because right now if you even think about putting pressure on the reins she tries to slam to a walk. And shes a decently forward horse so its suprising to me she does it. By the end of the ride though I could shorten to a smaller expression of the trot or walk depending on how much leg pressure I held. Such a good girl.
It was on Twilight after her that I had my break through moment with shortening the trot though. Martin uses shortening of the trot to its most minimal expression while still mainting the bounce as a way to put the horses together and work on ridability. Not sure why its taken me so long to get it but on Twilight I did. Its not just holding them until you think they cant trot any smaller. It is more of progressively woahing until the energy in the trot is vertical instead of ground covering. The hold themselves and just bounce off the ground. Id felt it before but that was the first ride Id felt it, recognized it and been able to reproduce it multiple times. And I got the result I wanted. Twilight and I had sharp transitions up and down. As a result our jumping was better than I think its every been before. I was also able to work on sinking closer to him and steering less with my hands and more with my legs. Its a feeling Ive come to look for when riding even if my first inclination is to steer with my hands. I figure eventually it will be like using my outside rein to balance/turn/ect instead of just pulling on my inside rein: if I self correct enough, Ill learn. As of right now about 80% of the time I go for my outside rein first. The remaining 20% is usually when Im cantering and moving faster than Im thinking. Definitely room for improvement there.
Had a brief lesson over some small fences with Jour in the afternoon. He was quite good and I got out with only a few minor corrections. I am a lot better than I use to be about my left thumb turning over and the obvious postion issues so the critique is changing. Less stuff like "heels down" and more work on really riding to produce something. Though since its Martin there is always going to be something postion wise to fix. Now it is my toes sticking out! Every time he has a new critique I simotaneously cringe and smile because it usually means Im getting whatever he use to comment on correct now.
The highlight of the day, though, was showing Olendesa to a client. Yesterdays ride left a lot (a lot, a lot, a alot) to be desired. Got on today though and was able to put all of what Martin said to use. Got a nice relaxed horse on the flat and was able to carry it over to the jumps. Today was the first time Id even cantered Olendesa (a hot, green, mare) let alone jumped her. By then end though we were going over an oxer set at a meter for the client to see. That mare has a funfunfun canter and great jump. I know the goal is to have her sell but I wouldnt mind that one sticking around for a bit. Pierrette too!
After Olendesa I got Herodes untacked (our ride had been interrupted by the client arriving so he'd been stuck on the hot walter to walk) and packed for the show tomorrow. Walter, Martin and I are going to the Aleman tomorrow to school with Luli, Nixon, Skyline, Cor Lit, Vitroso and Mauro. Should be a fun productive day. But an early, early morning!

Monday, August 27, 2012

August 27th - 8:20pm

After 25 days of being ringless hobos Rancho Pampa is back on track with a mostly dry ring! So exciting. And for the first time in entirely too long all the horses were able to be worked. Absolutely stellar news. I rode Twilight, Cylene, Vitroso, Jour, Herodes, Pierrette and Olendesa. The first three are part of the series one group and have stayed in work. Just did 15 minutes trots with them as a stretch the legs/work-out day. Jour and Herodes have been out of work almost the whole twenty five days. They did 20 minute trot with a tiny bit of canter. It will be a bit before they are back in full work after that break. But its good for them to get some time off I think. Olendesa was a first for me. Shes a Baral horse who is being put back undersaddle after a short stint as a broodmare. Shes been worked a few times since the great rain storm started but not consistently. Shes another one whose just in the get fit program now. A little up but I liked her. Favorite ride of the day though was Pierrette. Pierrette is a new mare we have in to be fitted up so she can be tried and hopefully sold in a few weeks. Ive seen her go before since she was in the 1.30 group when Bernie Traurig was here. Super nice mare. Shes been out of work for a bit so need fitness and a tune up but shes still very fun to ride. Sweet and easy. Plus just being able to ride a horse that is capable of doing the 1.30 classes is a treat. Geologo and Picaro have done 1.30 classes in the past but Ive never seen them jump it. I saw Pierrette doing that height just a few months ago. Keeping my fingers crossed Ill be able to jump her before she leaves. Just for the experience.
The weather is suppose to stay about the same as today all week so we should have a ring for awhile now. Just need time to get everyone back fitted up and in the swing of things!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

August 26th - 9:05pm

Another lazy Sunday. Id say I was lazy because I was tired but honest weve done next to nothing this week. Maybe sleeping the day away in prep for this next week when we'll actually be able to ride? So excited to be getting back in the saddle!! Todays weather was lovely and with spring starting to move in hopefully it will start staying consistently nice. Fingers crossed about that because in addition to riding Ive also come up with a few things Id like to do on the weekends here. Going into Capital and learning to tango being at the very top of that list! Dancing is one of the few non-horse related things I did back in the US and have missed it a bunch since coming down. Cant wait to be back in the saddle and in a bit back on the dance floor!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

August 25th - 7:34pm

The day started bright and early at 4:30am. Which means it wasnt even really bright. Just very early. Did the grooming, packing, wrapping thing with the horses and their stuff. Put the first six in the trailer and were on the road before dawn. Once we got to the Aleman, we hacked a few, grabbed some coffee and waited for the show to start. All the morning horses in the smaller stuff were very good but it was the horses in the 1.15 classes that rocked it. All of them were awesome and got bumped up to 1.20 to finish off the day. It was Luli's first 1.20 go and she was the rock star of the day. Fantastic clean round. Puccini, Benito and Nixon also put out lovely trips over the highest jumps of the day. They are all coming along so well. After the classes we did the cleaning, wrapping, packing thing again headed home.
The weather today was also quite nice and apparently it is suppose to continue like this for the next week. So fingers crossed well be back in our ring next week! The last time we went in the ring was August 2nd. More than twenty days ago!! So excited at the potential to get back on our schedule and have life get back to normal!

Friday, August 24, 2012

August 24th - 8:51pm

It poured again last night and throughout today so pretty much all the progress that had been made on having a dry ring went flying downhill. As a result I painted poles, planks and gates from 7:35 this morning to 6:15pm. Had lunch with the guys at 1:00 and went right back to it. It is a really good thing I like painting. Today was touching up the colors and white as well as putting the first coats on some new things Martin is building. Mostly more gates and a rolltop. By the end of the day all the poles were painted, stacked and organized. Didn't get through everything I had on my list but still felt like I got a lot accomplished.
We're taking 11 horses to the Aleman to school tomorrow since it is not suppose to rain. Im hoping the worst is over as far as rain goes. I asked Martin one time if BA got natural disasters like hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes and whatnot. He said this area does not get any of that but when it rains, it freakin' rains. I now fully understand that. It rains hard and for days. Its raining right now actually! Not that that needs an exclamation point. Really it needs a not happy face. So over all the rain. But going to the Aleman tomorrow will be fun. Hopefully everyone will be good. Theyve been incredible considering the less than ideal work out conditions but theyre still young. Early morning tomorrow (4:30am!) so Alice and I are headed to bed early. If we can sleep with the torrential downpour that is now going on outside.

Photos of the almost finished poles this morning and one of the final pole/plank/gate organization. Pretty exciting stuff.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

August 23rd - 9:35pm

Almost forgot to write a blog post tonight! Its been one of those days so wouldnt have been suprised at all if Id forgotten. Im sick (again) and life is never easy here when youre at full speed. Im running well below 100%. Not fun. The day started at 4:30 since we were taking two trailer loads to San Martin. Martin had his lesson with Mono in preparation for the show next Thursday and then we had a couple to just get out and worked. I just rode Luli and then longed a bunch. The ring was fairly busy with people who actually ride at the club so Alice and I did a lot of longing while Martin rode. Martin said everyone was pretty good though. Definitely something to be thankful for since we are going on week three (or has it been longer?) of not being able to ride consistently. I want to ride!
For the afternoon I was back to painting jumps. Most of the colors are on the poles so now it is just touching everything up. Then on to the gates, flower boxes and who knows what else Martin has planned. Being stuck inside has turned the creative switch on in his head. The jump designs, color combinations and whatnot are becoming more and more out there. These horses are going to be totally unflappable by the time he is done with them. Maybe the working students will be too!

And the photo is of a key hole on a door here. Took it because I think they are super cool. You can see through to the other side of the door. Both the keys and locks look like something you would find on in an old fashion house or something. But here, theyre everywhere. This one in particular was at the art gallery the other night.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

August 22nd - 9:14pm

One more day without riding. The rain has slacked off for now but the damage has been done and our ring is still under water. Spent the morning painting stripes on jumps. Todays colors were blue, green and brown. Weve got almost all of the colored ones finished (besides touching up spots) which is exciting and somewhat worrisome. We have had entirely too much time on the ground to paint all these poles! But at least they are getting finished.
We ended up having a bit of a change of plans for the afternoon and planned to take 6 over to the Hipico to longe/get off the property. I jumped in the car to go and we made it about half way down the driveway before Martin sent me back to the barn to get more paint thinner since I had blue and green paint down my cheek. Apparently I looked a bit special ed. Thank you Rodrigo and Walter for that. And despite repeatedly scrubbing my hands with paint thinner, they are still vagely blue. I have a feeling it will be a few days before they are back to their normal color. Thankfully no one at the club noticed and the horses didnt seem to take offense to my blue-ness as they were all quite good. Martin rode Vitroso and we just longed the rest. A pretty uneventful afternoon.
Tomorrow were taking some over to San Martin to school early but after that I have no idea. Weve got a few more conformation shots to take of horses as well as more painting!

Photos of some of our poles getting painted (yes there are more) and a photo of Alice and I with Nixon (courtesy of Rachel).

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

August 21st - 11:38pm

Poured rain all last night so no riding today. Definitely a bummer. I miss riding regurally. But the day wasn't a total bust. Awhile ago Martin bought 84 4x4 poles. The guys have been working on getting the poles cut to the right shape and painted. Some white and some just stained. The other day they finished painting the last of the poles and planks. Which meant they were ready for colors today! And I got to get on painting duty! I really enjoy painting so I had fun. We've got a panel with big colored spots, one with waves plus a couple with random stripes. Then a ton of poles with stripes. By the end of the morning I was pretty much covered in red, green, yellow, silver and brown paint. We didnt get totally finished with second coats so Im sure tomorrow Ill end up covered in those colors again. Plus blue and black which we didnt get to today. Id much rather ride but if riding isnt an option, Ill take painting.
The afternoon we took out six of the horses (Mauro, Skyline, Twilight, Nixon, Lion and Justinian) for conformation pictures. Despite the terrible weather last night, the afternoon weather was quite lovely. I think we got some good shots so Rachel should be able to update the sale page.
After work Rachel, Martin and I headed into Capital to go to Martins moms art gallery opening. His mom is a fantastic artist and his whole family was there which was fun. Im starting to recognize people and be able to speak to them a bit. Most of Martins family speaks a bit of English which helps. We went out to dinner at this great little italian resturant after. Lovely art, fun people and great food. All in all a good night. 

Photos of my attempt to get Justinians mane to stay on one side. He was not thrilled. Then some of the gallery and my favorite paintings.

August 20th - 7:45pm

We got to ride today! Not in the ring since that is still a lake but out on the roads. I was on Cylene, Puccini, Luli and Cor Lit. All were a bit excitable after so many days off/with little work but nothing unmanagable. Am better understanding the importance of shoulders over hips, hands up and leg at the girth. Staying there with your body allows you to put physics on your side incase of a spook/buck instead of just raw strength and luck to stay on. Because young fresh horses on trail rides through town will spook on occasion. One thing I have learned riding with all this rain, though, is how to better manage fresh horses in a variety of enviornments; whether it be walking them down the aisle, longing, riding in a ring or riding on the roads. The ability to keep their attention and respect without having them loose it over too much pressure is a delicate balance. And a balance I never realized I was quite so bad at maintaining until I arrived here. Slowly but steadily, however, the horses are teaching me. And it is something the horses really have to teach me. Martin can give me tips and critique but it is always the horses who will tell me when I am right. Snd especially when I am wrong. I told Martin I love riding his horses because when you do things correctly they are perfect.  But when you do them wrong (too much leg/hand, too little leg/hand, too far forward, ect), they let you know. Usually they let you know quite polietly but they let you know. Martin kind of laughed and said that that is true with basically all horses. Just have to learn to listen. So my new thing now is working not only on my position, aids and whatnot but on learning to listen to the horses better. Ive always joked that Luli and Buck would teach me more about riding then Martin could in a year but now realizing exactly how true that is. And not just those two either. All twenty something that are in work can teach me things. Hopefully I can keep up with that many teachers!  

Sunday, August 19, 2012

August 19th - 9:40pm

Went out last night with Rodrigo and some of his friends. Got in nice and early at 5:00am. And yes, that is early for them. It was fun though and good to get off the property as always. But as a result of getting in so late, I slept most of the day away. And any time not sleeping was spent reading or hanging out with Alice. Not the most productive day to date but definitely a good one.
Fingers crossed we will be rain free tomorrow and for the rest of the week. I dont know about the horses but Id like to have a consistent riding schedule back!

Friday, August 17, 2012

August 17th - 9:05pm

Today started at 7:00am when I gave grain to the horses. Now, 13 hours later we have just started the drive home from the Hipico. We took three loads of horses to San Martin today which in and of itself is a big day. Then, part way through the morning we got news that there was an American client in town looking at horses. They would be available to show horses to at the Hipico later in the afternoon. So all morning was spent riding, moving horses and trying to stay organized with so many different horses going different places. And trying unsuccessfully not to get soaking wet. Which was pretty much totally loss. Thankfully it was not cold though so I could ride in just a polo and dry off a bit. I rode Twilight, Vitroso, Puccini, Luli and Uxmal. Did jumping/grid lessons on Puccini, Uxmal and Luli. Uxmal was a lot of fun. He is just three years old but goes like he has been undersaddle for years. Gives to the bridle, very good off the leg and dead easy to ride. I had walked and trotted him once in the past but today was a full lesson through the grid Martin made. He was fantastic. Uxmal isn't really my type (too thick/bulky for my tastes) but I definitely love riding him. He'll go super quickly. Ill be suprised if more than two people try him. He's just such an all around nice horse. Nice comformation, nice jump, nice personalty. The whole package for an ammy. At the exact opposite end of the spectrum is Luli. Who I rode after Uxmal. I absolutely adore Luli. She's fun, athletic and smart. Plus she has a very cool roan paint spot in her side. Bonus points for an already very cool mare. Today was the first time Id really jumped Luli. Id gone over a cavaletti or fence here or there but today was a real grid. She's got a big jump so usually just Martin rides her. Trotted through the poles a couple times while they were on the ground. Then got the first cross rail set up. Trotted through and no big deal. Got the 2' vertical up three strides later. Two strides past the vertical there were poles on the ground for an oxer. The first time through we made it over all the real jumps and  then Luli jumped the oxer poles. Which should have been a no big deal thing since we were right on stride. But since its me and it had been a pretty unexciting day I opted to throw myself to the right a bit when she jumped. And she scooted left. So I got to experience life as a lawn dart. More specifically, life as a lawn dart in a gigantic mud puddle. Luli very calmly trotted away and went to check out the area behind the covered. Hauled myself out of the puddle, chased down my horse (thankfully caught her before she laid down in the 2' deep puddle) and climbed back on. Not sure Ive even been that filthy. There was mud all down one arm, all over my back, through the vents in my helmet and coating my braid. Absolutely disgusting. I think Martin was having to work to hold a striaght face. I knew exactly what I did wrong so trotted a loop and went through again being very careful to stay centered, secure and with Luli. She went through like nothing had happened and we ended up having a pretty decent lesson through the whole grid. I know my riding is improving like crazy because three months ago I had an impossible time trotting Luli since she is so sensitive. And now I can jump her with at least some level of competency. After Luli was Puccini who isnt my favorite horse in the barn to ride but we still had a good ride. Not a huge fan of flatting him but over fence he's kinda fun. And his jump is suprisingly nice considering his somewhat unorthodox style.
Right after we finished with Puccini and Skyline David pulled in with the trailer so we got untacked super fast, threw Cor Lit, Benito, Twilight and Justinian in the trailer and took off for the Hipico. Pulled in a bit before five and had Martin on Twilight in the ring within 10 minutes of arriving. After that we got a bit more organized with Alice tacking up the horses, me riding them up to the ring and Martin showed them to the clients. They liked Twilight and Bentio so hopefully someone will be leaving soon! The whole process took less than 45 minutes but since David had left to take the remaining horses home from San Martin we were stuck for a bit. So we cleaned horses, cleaned tack and hung out in the club dinning hall. David ended up not getting back to get us until 9:00 so there was a lot of hanging out with Martin and Alice in the hall. Hanging out with them is always hysterical. Alice and I were our usual silly selves and Martin spent almost the whole time making fun/laughing at us. We definitely know how to have fun. So after a crazy day were finally on the way home. Just have to unload these four horses, unpack the trailer and get inside. Having a quick dinner with Martin and Rachel then hot shower and bed! Cant wait to be warm and dry after a day of nonstop rain!

Photo of Luli and her spot.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

August 16th - 9:47pm

Alice and I spent a very large portion of the day de-cobwebbing the barn. It ended up being the least fun job I thin Ive ever dobe. And I volunteered us for it. I dont mind cleaning. Especially in a barn. So sweeping the spider webs down was't too bad. The owners of the webs, however, were not thrilled with our work. Three times I shot out of stalls screaming and trying to swat giant spiders off of me. They fell, jumped and launched onto us at entirely too high a frequency. And from what I saw Rancho Pampa has at least 5 different types of spiders. My least favorite being the giant grey ones. Don't have a favorite. Just have four types that are not quite as bad as that one.
In addition to wrestling with the spiders and webs, Alice and I cleaned windows, washed things and generally worked on staying productive. I try to keep a running list of stuff that needs to be done on the white board which gives us something to work off of but as of late my list as been dwindling. Have taken to translating the guys to-do list and helping with that as well. Good for the guys and my spanish!
Tomorrow, thankfully, were headed back to San Martin to ride. Im super excited. Entirely too much time out of the saddle and on my own feet lately! Plus the lack of riding, and consequently lessons, means I have never to nothing to write about. Which means whoever is reading this blog gets to hear about my day with spiders. And that I still have the heebie-jeebies thinking about those spiders on me. Lovely.

Photos by Alice. One of me cleaning and trying very hard not to fall. The other of two of the big grey spiders. And these were two smaller ones...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

August 15th - 9:48pm

Short post today since its late and I have already been up typing college essays. I live my tablet by I hate typing on the touch screen. Drives me insane. Then again, just about everything in making me a little crazy lately. But I think thats the same for everyone. Too much rain and not enough to do! We took 12 over to San Martin to school since there was suppose to be a horse show tomorrow. With the water though the show has been thoroughly rained out. It poured almost all day again today. Im getting to the point I am shocked its still even able to rain. Not sure Ive ever seen this much before in my life.
The twelve we took to San Martin were quite lovely though. I rode Vitroso, Luli, Puccini, Mauro and Cylene. Martin had Mono come out so some of my rides were just trotting and cantering for 15-20 minutes warming horses up but it was still nice to just be in the saddle that much. Of all the horses today though Skyline was the rockstar. He is turning out to be a fantastic horse. Just totally unflappable with a fantastic jump. Absolutely nothing phases him. Martin says you know one of the young horses are ready to go when you get on and just have to smile while riding them. I dont often ride Skyline but I know watching him I feel like I need to smile. He just makes it all look so easy. Dont think he'll be around much longer at this rate!
After everyone was ridden we packed up and headed home. It took two trips since our trailer only holds 6. Thankfully San Martin isnt terribly far away. The afternoon was spent trying to get all the mud and sand out of the leather. Never seen it take that long to clean that little stuff. Several hours to get twelve bridles, four saddles, five breastplate/martingales and the odds and ends that we bring everywhere (drawreins, gouge, sidereins, ect). Even the stuff ee didnt use was filthy. After everything was clean and put away I bolted for my house and anything dry. From 5:30 on Id been at least partially wet from the rain. Not the most fun ever.
With the show cancelled Im not entirely sure what were doing tomorrow but since more rain is forcasted, it sure as heck wont be riding! Im just keeping my fingers crossed its not clipping!

Photo of our ring looking rather lake like and of the always adorable Skyline.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

August 14th - 9:26pm

Almost forgot to write a blog post today! Not that there is much to write about. The lack of activities and somewhat late hour will be keeping this pretty short.
We took the series one and two horses to San Martin to school which took most of the morning. I rode Cylene and warmed up Maruo for Martin. Both went well. Very inoressed with how the horses are handling being off their schedule. When there isnt rain these horses are under saddle 6 days a week for about 30 min a day. They are downright fit. With this terrible weather its been down to 20 minutes or so every other day. If we're lucky. And yet for the most part they're staying pretty quiet and easy going. Definitely have a batch of good ponies here.
After San Martin we spent the afternoon doing the usual grooming, cleaning, ect. It also included packing the trailer to take 12 horses to San Martin tomorrow. The 6 from Monday and the 6 from today. We have a horse show Thursday so trying to keep everyone fit and going with all the rain. And trust me there is a TON of rain. So we're in the barn at 5:30 tomorrow to start the processes of wrapping, loading and shipping ponies. Should be a busy but productive day!

So much water outside! And Violeta decided to go hay climbing again.

Monday, August 13, 2012

August 13th - 7:51pm

7:51pm - In Capital for the night wandering and sightseeing!

10:24pm - So Im home now and about to crash. Today was a maravelous day however. We took the horses to San Martin of course. I rode Uxmal, Vitroso and longed Navaratilova. All three were quite well behaved. This was the first time Ive ridden Uxmal and already at 3 years old that horse is a tank. But very sweet and straightforward to ride. Headed back home and took a group out on the roads. I had Luli and she was of course fantastic. I adore that mare. At one point, though, we were trotting down the rode and came across some mini ponies hanging out on the side of the road. Some were tied up and others were loose. Still ver strange for me but quite normal for this area. So Luli and I are behind Benito trotting and for whatever reason this little brown mini pony just comes charging at us. Totally ignored Benito in front and Justinian behind us. I don't know who what more confused about what to do me or Luli. Trotting down the road and a mini pony is chasing us down! I just gave Luli her head and let her decide what to do since I was clueless. Ignore it, yell at it or what. So Luli kicked out at it. About 10' too high in the air but I think the pony got the gist and backed off. Alice was behind us on Justinian and said it was hysterical though. And that Luli and I are ridiculous to ride behind. I constantly try to keep Luli (or any horse really) focused on me so we leg yield and slow down and speed up and leg yield some more. Basically anything to break up trotting on a straight line. After that group we came in for lunch then went back out with Mauro, Cylene and Puccini. I was on Mauro and he was quite good. We saw the attack pony but he decided to stay put on the side of the road. Puccini and Martin did have a run in with a little yappy dog and got chased a bit down the road. Then we got to see little yappy dog run for his life as a highly annoyed Puccini and Martin took off after it. Very amusing. After riding it was treatments, cleaning im the usual.
Martin had offered to take Alice and I into Capital since he was teaching. I took him up on the offer to get away from the compound and just to get out. Plus I enjoy the city. Dont think I could ever live there but do enjoy the sights and sounds. Martin dropped me off at the corner of Nueve de Julio and something de Mayo. Nueve de Julio is the biggest street in the world. Dont know how many lanes wide it is but Ive never seen anything like it. I set off with some vague directions of where stuff was and ended up having a ton of fun sight seeing by myself. Saw some incredible old architeciture, the presidential palace, the congress building, the national bank and all sorts of other things. The buildings were just amazing. Especially the presidental palace with its pink lights and the bank with its blue. So pretty. Spent some time wandering and window shopping as well before heading to where Martin was teaching on Santa Fe Av. Picked up some stuff for Alice and the house on the walk over. Got to use some of the spanish Ive learned and dont think I mangled any of it too bad. I was definitely understood at least! Made it the 16 or so blocks to Santa Fe and found the building Martin was in. I can be majorly directionally challenged so this was a pretty decent accomplishment. And arrived right on time! On the way home we hit up McDonalds which was interesting. The food is almost the same but not. It doesnt taste 100% terrible for you. The same food but just a bit different. Kinda strange. They are the first place Ive seen in this county to have fountain drinks though which was awesome. Everything here is in a bottle or can. And custom is that you dont actually drink straight from the can. You pour it in a cup. Needless to say I am terrible about remembering that. But anyway it was a very fun day and a very fun night. Ive been up for 17 hours now though and am so going to regret staying up this late in the morning! 

Photos of the presidential palace, the congress building, some statues, random other buildings and the inside of starbucks.

August 13th - 8:30am

So Saturday was roughly the same as Friday with the exception that an attempt was made at riding out on the roads. We got one group ridden and started with a second before the storm moved in. I was on Justinian and Mauro. Both were very good. After that though we were stuck inside again. Cleaning, organizing, grooming, walking and doing the usual. So bored with it. And you can tell everyone is getting kind of tired of being stuck inside with each other. A lot less joking around and talking than usual.
Sunday I didnt even make an effort to be productive. Was up at 7:00 out of habit but spent the whole day either asleep, reading or watching TV with Alice. Do I know how to have a good day or what? Ive read two and a half books since Friday and have probably watched at 7 hours of Criminal Minds. At the very least it was restful. We could have walked to the store or taken a bus to town but when all the roads are 100% mud due to all the rain there isnt much desire to go. Plus there is always the possibility of it starting to rain again. Inside with TV and books sounded much better.
So now its Monday and we're on the way to San Martin with 6 horses in the trailer. Going to school and make a solid effort at keeping all the critters broke to ride. Should be interesting since the batch we have has been off for a week. They're all good horses though so shouldn't be any problems. After we ride these six we'll probably head home and grab six more. So annoying to have to haul out though. A whole day of work and only 12 horses will get worked. Rodrigo stayed home and will likely ride some of them out on the roads so those will get kind of worked. Better than nothing at least. Cant wait until the rain stops and we're all dried out though. We all want back in the saddle!

Friday, August 10, 2012

August 10th - 9:30pm

One of these days Ill realize staying up reading is not actually all that intelligent of an idea. But since were not doing all that much in the barn Im not too worried about being tired. Moving horses onto and off of the hotwalker isn't exactly brain surgery. And that is pretty much all we did this morning. Cleaned poultice off legs, did treatments, walked horses and tried really hard to be productive. Today it wasn't hard to find stuff to do. A couple more days of being stuck on the ground though and we might be in trouble. The rain refuses to just stop and the lack of sun/wind means all the water is just sitting. Not good for our ring. So no riding. And likely no riding tomorrow as well. No fun.
After lunch we went into town to watch some classes at the Hipico. We caught the tail end of the 1.30 class and watched all of the 1.40 class. Some super nice horses went around with some great riding. Of course there were some not so lovely horses and riders as well but thats a horse show. Traffic caught us on the way home so it took about two hours to make to normally 45 minute drive. Not the most fun thing ever. But all things considering it was a pretty good day. And tomorrow is Saturday!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

August 9th - 9:48pm

I have absolutely bo idea why I am still awake. Alarm went off at 4:00am. Well over 12 hours ago. Not sure I want to count how many hours it has been. But we got loaded for the show in record time and on the road just after 5:30. Had Justinian, Mauro, Cylene, Puccini, Benito and Georgia on board. Everyone did very well in their series classes. Justinian and Benito jumped beautifully and clear. The rest jumped well but had a rail each. The jumps are getting bigger and the courses harder each show though so I think they all did pretty well. I got to sit on almost everyone to warm up which was fun. Im slowly getting use to schooling rings here. It is 100% watch out for yourself and your horse. Don't worry about any one else and you'll likely be ok. Maybe. Made it though the day though. And even if the schooling ring isn't an idea riding space it was still fun to get on the horses I dont usually ride (ie Benito and Justinian).
After the show we packed up as fast as humanly possible and shot back home. Got in about 3:30 which left time for Alice and I to groom, poultice and wrap the 6 we brought. The guys are on pole painting duty so we're covering some of the barn chores for them. 100% works for me. Painting 80+ poles solid white is not high on my list of things I want to do during my day. Ive done my fair share of jump painting but it usually is outside on pretty days and with fun colors. I enjoy that. Inside and with white paint? Ill pass if possible. Plus the paint thinner and I are not buddies in that confined of a space. But Alice and I did get all the horses taken care of with 15 minutes to spare. Super great stuff really.
On a totally different note, I had four times today where it was pointed out that I was a foreigner. Ranged from a total stranger politely asking where I was from to Walter telling me I had to work because I wasn't Argentine. Definitely a record for me. Usually I only get a few weird looks and a question or two. Just something about today I guess. And I wasn't even going out of my way to be weird today. Far too busy to do that.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

August 8th - 7:59pm

Its not even 8:00 and it feels about like midnight. Been up since 3:50am and been moving ever since. Tomorrow is definitely doing to be one of those need coffee days since we have another horse show! Today was like the schooling day for tomorrow so we brought two series horses to hack and three non series horses to do classes. Tomorrow all the series horses (1 and 2) will be showing. Everything is all packed and ready so should be able to head out pretty quickly in the morning. Today we got to the show in plenty of time. I was able to hack Luli and Skyline while Martin did Benito and Puccini and Alice had Nixon. After the initial hacks most of what I did was just walk horses around the warm up. Trot a bit. Then walk more. Pretty much the usual for shows. At one point early in the day the ring opened up for people to walk/bring horses in to check jumps out so I took Skyline in. Martin said to make him walk around till he was bored with all the action. Dont know if Skyline was bored but after we checked out all 12 jumps I sure was. Which led to me making random faces and giving things sound effects just because. Didnt think I was being that obvious about it but some of the other riders started staring and Martin and Alice were both laughing at me. One of the perks of being American though is that people here pretty much assume Im weird simply because Im foreign. So when I do weird things everyone just seems to write it off as "she's foreign. ignore it." Little do they know that half the random stuff I do entertaining myself would be somewhat strange in the US too. But hey, Skyline needed car racing noises as we mosied around the ring. Yes it was absolutely necessary. Someone did think I was German today though. One of the grooms Ive seen around a few times started talking to me which was cool. One of the few full convos Ive had in straight spanish. Slowly learning the language!
Anyway the horses were good at the show and once the last horse finished we headed home. Did the treatments, walked the foals, helped the guys abd packed for tomorrow. Some of the foals are becoming super friendly. One today stood and let me scratch him for a good ten minutes. He made all sorts of faces and twitched his little lips. Definitely enjoyed being loved on. Super cute. Alice and I are slowly working on teaching them to stand for grooming as well. They straight tie and cross tie well so now adding in the brushing component. This are going to be some tame and spoiled foals by the time we're done with them! Especially Scar Face, Midget and Jelly Bean.
Another early morning tomorrow so off to bed early again. Love horse shows!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

August 7th - 7:55pm

So first off, congrats to the Brits to kicking some serious ass. Alice and I have been compulsively checking olympic results (ie every time we get a chance to click refresh on our tablets) and today the Brits finished off their team medal spree with gold in dressage. Now to see how the individual competitors do! Not sure what we'll do once the olympics are over. I know Ill be following pony finals as well as the medal/derby finals back home but those dont have quite the media coverage the olympics does.
Besides that, the day was pretty normal. Origionally we were going to take the series one and two horses to school at the Hipico for the show Thursday. Had a last minute change this morning and ended up only taking the series one. So Martin and Alice packed the horses up and went to school. I ended up staying at home to ride on the roads with Rodrigo. Definitely think I got the better end of that deal since I got to actually ride and wasnt stuck in traffic for a veryvery long time. As of late me and car rides havent been mixing well so any time I can get out of riding in a car for several hours is good. So while they went to town I was able to ride Luli, Benito, Puccini and Nacar. Almost got to ride Geologo but the skies positively opened up right before we got on so that was a no go. Everyone was good and it was nice to be able to ride out for a change. Sometimes rings get so stuffy after youve been in them every day for hours. Least I think so.
Martin and Alice got back around 1:00 so we unpacked the horses and grabbed lunch. Alice and I then spent the afternoon doing treatments, helping the guys and getting stuff together for the show tomorrow. We're taking Luli, Benito, Nixon, Puccini and Skyline. Going to be an early, early morning. Got to have all the horses in the trailer by 5:30! Fingers crossed it quits raining as well!

Monday, August 6, 2012

August 6th - 10:37pm

Up kind of late tonight since the day ended up including a whole lot of nothing. Martin said to sleep in so I did (till 7:15) then find him when we were ready to ride. At 9:00 I figured I was as ready as I'd ever be to ride young horses who'd had 4-5 days off. Didn't end up on anything until almost three though. And then it was short lived since none of them quite wanted to play by the rules on the trail ride. They just wanted to play. So spent a lot of time watching the olympic show jumping, reading, rolling wraps, treatments and finally walking down to the store. Probably not the most productive day in Rancho Pampa history but hey, its the day after a show and I think everyone's got a decent horse show hangover.
Since I wasn't quite ready to pass out when 7:00 hit decided to embark on the journey of figuring out skype. Which, after a few minor hitches, worked pretty well. Which is suprising considering our internet. Was able to talk with my dad, mom, brother and Austin which was absolutely awesome. Been missing everyone. This trip was the first time Id left the country and the longest Id ever been away from my parents. Had lived alone for the past year so that wasn't a huge adjustment but being away from everything for so long was and still is. Everyone is safe and sound stateside though. Well, safe at least. Sound is up in the air with my mom in double wrist braces after joint injections. And since this was the first time Id seen Austin since very early April, it was especially nice to see him.
Headed to bed now since the morning is going to come entirely too quickly. We're taking the series horses out to school again since we've got another show Thursday. Quite a week for their to be so much rain. We have another show the week after and Im hoping our ring drys out quickly or we're going to be hauling out a whole bunch of days to school!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

August 5th - 6:21pm

Horse show was at City Bell today. Early morning and long day. All the horses were very good. Nixon did his first 1.20 class and absolutely rocked it. Spent most of the day sitting on something walking and trotting around the warm up. And when I wasn't on something I was usually going to get on. So tired. Bed now. Martin said we're riding whenever we get up so Im turning off all the alarm clocks, drawing the shades tight on my windows and staying asleep as long as possible. And chances are good Ill be up at 7:00 anyway. Such is life.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

August 4th - 9:16pm

Everything is still under water here so we carted the series horses plus some extras to San Martin to school. I rode Cylene, Mauro, Luli and Buck. Everyone was a little up after having yesterday off and being in a new place but they all finished well. Which is good since we have a horse show tomorrow at City Bell. We're taking Luli, Cylene, Puccini, Nixon, Benito, Mauro, Skyline, Justinian and Georgia. This is one of the series shows so some will be doing straight meter classes and some series classes. Should be fun! Love horse shows.
Spent the afternoon getting all the stuff together for the show. Hoping to have the first 6 horses on the trailer by 5:30 so going to be an early start in the morning! Everyone's wrapped so just have to groom them and throw them on the trailer. Fingers crossed it goes quickly. Had dinner with Martin, Rachel and Alice which was very yummy (Mexican food!). As always it was fun and with lots of laughing between Alice and I. Walking back to our house we started collecting barn cats since Alice wants to be the cat lady. As of right now I believe Ramone, Chester and Lady Jane are passed out in her room. Good thing I gave her the big bed! Origonally I was going to get the cute calico Ramone but Alice's room seems to be the place to be if you're a Rancho Pampa cat so I lost out.
Oh and on a totally different note, if I had not changed my flight plans to stay a year, I would currently be on a plane headed back to the United States right now. Such a strange thought! I am so glad I was able to stay because I am so not ready to leave now. I have so much left to learn from Martin and these horses. Plus I would miss everyone here terribly. So excited to have 9 more months to learn, travel around and make friends!

Photo of Buck at her new home!

Friday, August 3, 2012

August 3rd - 9:29pm

Alice and I are staying up till Criminal Minds starts at 9:30. Super excited. Since we basically did no real work today neither of us are really tired.
Spent the morning tacking horses up to have them walk on the walker under tack. Then take them off, untack, groom, put up. Repeat about 50 times. Took till almost 1:00 to get all the 4 legged animals on the walker. And it poured almost the whole time. After getting soaked taking my second horse outside to the walker I just made Rodrigo walk them there. So much dryer.
The afternoon was spent cleaning horses, clipping up the few left, body clipping and doing whatever else had to be done. A pretty low key day all in all. Alice and I ended up hysterically laughing for silly reasons a couple of times which totally freaked the guys out. Couldn't begin to explain to them what we were laughing about when Im not sure we even really knew what was so funny. On rainy days, dropped blankets, mountain goats and wooly mammouths are absolutely hilarious. Guarentee it.

The photos are of Buck by the way. Thought she needed some pictures on the blog since I like her so much. Cute little bay mare!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

August 2nd - 8:24pm

Woke up to Alice asking "are we getting up this morning?" after not hearing my alarms. Likely going to sleep hearing her yell at Lady Jane for eating her crackers. Its a miracle we can even tolerate each other after being together 24/7 (literally) let alone be friends. And yet we're already best friends. From 6:30am to whenever we happen to crash, we're constantly yelling back and forth to each other talking, joking and laughing. Which is good. Because for the next year, she'll be closer than any sister to me.
Anyway, we rode this morning as usual. I managed to get on Vitroso, Buck, Luli, Cylene and Nixon before the rain started. I was suppose to ride Uxmal (!!!) and Jour as well but that's life. They were all very good. Didn't school any tough stuff. Mostly just worked on anything that wasn't easy. Turning left, turning right, woahing, going, stretching, collecting, ect. When you break a ride down into those basic parts it becomes easy to find the places with room for improvement. Before coming here I'd get on a horse some times and have absolutely no idea what to do with them. Now I can get on just about anything and come up with a plan for the ride. And on some of the horses that I ride regurally Im able to come up with a plan for the week and month to go along with the ride. I enjoy being competent enough to evalute a horse's way of going and giving him a ride to create postive change. Its a nice feeling.
With the rain, we broke a touch early for lunch (12:45ish) then resumed beautifying the horses. I clipped Holendesa while Alice finished most of the ears/noses and did treatments. We also did the foals on the walker thing which resulted in us getting positively soaked trying to lead them in and out in the rain. Tomorrow Im sure will be more of the same. Clipping, cleaning, packing for the show Saturday and doing whatever else needs to be done. Not one of the more exciting days but definitely a necessary one.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August 1st - 9:02pm

Its the first of August. Origionally I would be heading home Saturday night and likely leaving Argentina/Rancho Pampa forever. With how in love I am with this place, that would not be an exciting prospect. But thankfully, I am able to stay for 9 more months. Three times the amount of time I have been here already. Absolutely cannot wait to see what the next 9 month hold. Miss my family, friends and activities back home a bunch. Particually my mom and swing dancing. The opportunity to be here and learn so much far outweighs my desire for things that are comfortable and easy. Besides, I have the rest of my life to spend Saturday nights swing dancing. Only 9 months to spend every day in the saddle with some of the best instruction available.
And speaking of instruction, I had two lessons today with Martin. One on Jour and one on Pastrocito. In both we worked on control around a course. Using the corners to test the horses (forward, back, shape out, ect) before coming to the next fence. Almost all the jumps on course were less than 4' wide boxes and two only had one standard so it took a decent amount of direction to get horses over the middle. Plus we couldn't go around without enough pace to get more control. Had to have both. I felt like I did pretty well with both horses and definitely had fun jumping them both around. Something abou working over fences just makes me smile. I love it. The feeling of galloping up with the right pace, right balance and just jumping a decent sized fence without missing a beat it like magic. And even over the little fences, its just awesome.
Mono was here as well this morning so Martin rode the Series 1 and 2 horses for him. All of them looked good which is awesome since we have a show Saturday. Another leg of the young horse championship! I was also on Buck who was just hacking after a hard jump school yesterday. Apparently she's leaving to go to her owner's barn soon which is great but also a little sad for me. Had grown to really like the little mare.
The afternoon was spent beautifying the horses and cleaning. Two of them now have shorter manes and the majority have hairless ears and noses as well. Going to finish project non-hairy barn tomorrow I think. Finger's crossed tomorrow's forcasted rain goes away and we can continue to ride! 

Photo of Pastrocito. One of my old favorites