Thursday, January 31, 2013

Janurary 31st - 9:29pm

Hot today but not nearly as bad as yesterday due to the cloud cover. Thank goodness for that. It has started to look like we will be getting some rain though. It sprinkled a little bit today at 6:00 but not much. We could use some to cool everything off a bit though. Don't want to complain too much since poor Megg in Canada is experiencing RIDICULOUSLY cold weather (-35 C and colder) and really has something to complain about but not a huge fan of really hot weather either. It was cooler today though. Camilla and I even had the energy to walk down to Petrobras and Frahels for diet coke, yummy snacks and ice cream. Its fun to get out a bit, chat with Camilla (as if I don't do that all the time anyway) and just hang out. Really going to miss her when she leaves. Hopefully we'll stay in contact like Megg, Alice and I have. After spending nearly 24/7 with a person you get to be pretty close friends. Hoping all the friends I have made in Argentina last longer than my stay here because they've been fantastic. Definitely one of the best parts of this stay.
And another fantastic part of this trip, the riding, was also quite good today. Helped Rodrigo with the two young ones then rode Cor Lit, Invasor, Montana, Oficiala, Quarial, Ojiva, Quantum, Orly and Jour. Ended up schooling a short crossrail course with Orly, Quantum, Oficiala, and Ojiva. Ojiva was my favorite of the day. She's fun to ride, sensitive without being stupid and super careful. A tiny bit like Luli was I think. It was my first time riding Oficiala and she is definitely one of the greenest horses I have ever sat on. She was backed for the first time in mid December. Super sweet horse though with a lot of try. Figured my way around the course with her with just a few bobbles and we improved a lot the second time around. Martin was pretty complementry as well. He said when I first arrived I would not have been able to ride her let along climb on, work on some flexion issues and then take her around a course. He said my eyes just would have popped out of my head. Hoping that is a bit of an exaggeration but either way glad to know that improvement has been noted. Though honestly Im sure sure I could have ridden any of these young horses over fences when I first arrived. Ive gotten so much more secure in the tack, confident in what I am doing and knowledgeable of how to ride different types. I can hop from a super green Oficiala to a powerful Quantum to a sensitive Ojiva with relative ease. Obviously still a ton to learn but at least progress is being made.
So another long, hot day at Rancho Pampa but can certainly write this one off as a good productive one!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Janurary 30th - 8:56pm

Sleepysleepysleepy. The heat just about kills any spare energy I could have possibly mustered together at the end of a busy work day. Camilla and I keep saying we'll go get ice cream since it's her last week here but so far we keep getting to the end of the day and just wanting a shower. A cold shower.
Today was a good day though. Rode Puccini, Cor Lit, Montana, Invasor, Quantum, Casia, Ojiva, Jour and Orly for a bit before Martin. Jumped Montana, Invasor, Casia and Ojiva over some small cross rails. Again worked on getting control of the shoulders, a bit on pace and some work with distances over poles. Martin reminded me of something Bernie Traurig said while he was here about being accurate to every pole/cavaletti/jump and only being happy when you do it just right. Perfect practice makes perfect. Not just practice. It was my first time jumping Montana, Invasor and Ojiva. They, along with everyone else, were very good though. A lot of fun to work with. Especially Ojiva. She is definitely one of my favorites to ride at the moment.
So in the end, a very good (if very hot) day. I can tell my blog posts keep getting shorter and shorter but by the time it gets this late, Im just flat out tired. The riding part of the day seems like forever ago and Im just ready for bed. A bit sore at the moment too with yesterday's fall. And for whatever reason my knee started hurting while I was riding today. Still a bit sore now after being off of it for awhile. Hoping nothing is up with it. Hopefully some sleep/rest will help it. Getting everything wrapped up and heading to bed asap!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Janurary 29th - 7:41pm

Hot, humid day here but a really good one never the less. Rode Cor Lit, Montana, Invasor, Casia, Orly, Puccini and Jour. Did a lesson of sorts with Cor Lit and Puccini. Was a simple exercise with crossrails set on the center line. Left canter and turn to the first crossrail, right turn to the second, good transition after. Both the turn to start and the turn in the middle were tightish half circles. With Cor Lit my biggest struggle was getting ahold of his shoulder where I wanted it while keeping the engagement from behind. Once I did that, the lead change and turn I needed were right there. Had an easier time with Puccini getting the exercise done. Initially some trouble with distances but got that sorted out. I naturally see a little bit longer distance and typically move up a bit to get to a better one. Puccini needed to work on waiting and getting the closer distance. Or at least not moving up to anything. When I started thinking about that I promptly added a stride infront of the fence. After an indecesive chip (hate those) we got our stuff together and jumped well. Ended up taking a header off Montana this morning as well but scrabbled up, caught him (good boy for just standing quietly!) and climbed back on. Was a good ride before the oops moment and continued to be good after. Its been a few months since Ive come off so guess I can be thankful for that! The big gist I got from today is I need to manage the engine of my rides while controlling their shoulders. If I can get that done, things like finding a distance, getting and change or just flatting well will improve greatly. One more thing to add to the "Needs Improvement" list!
All in all though, a good day here at the farm. Fun work, nice people and great horses.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Janurary 28th - 8:11pm

Three months till home!
Didn't bother writing anything yesterday since it literally was a day of sleep. Opened the gate at 7:00 then slept till noon. Did some treatments on some of the horses, surfed the internet then slept till 6:00 when I closed the gate. The walked down to petrobras for diet coke and empanadas. Most quiet day ever. Definitely needed. Today was an ok day. Really hot. Feels like 98+ degrees hot. And humid. Rode Jour, Cor Lit and Montana in the morning. Both were good. Then we free jumped all the young horses in the real free jump behind the barn. All the horses were well behaved for that. They're all jumping better and better each time as well. Slowly getting the hang of things!
Afterward we had a quick lunch and then I hopped on Holandesa and Puccini. By then it was too hot to be anything but good. I'm from a decently hot area and this just feels too much like home. And apparently it is just going to get worse all week. Joy. Fingers crossed everyone stays safe and ok. And that I don't do something embarassing like faint. Totally something I would do. I am terrible at dealing with the heat. It has totally zapped my energy. Headed to bed in the next couple minutes. Beyond ridiculously early but so, so tired! Even with my nonstop sleep day yesterday.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Janurary 26th - 10:51pm

Wicked homesick this afternoon. It was a really good day with the horses, guys and Camilla. And then at 6:00, everyone heads home to their friends and family. Wish I could see mine. Without a doubt the hardest part of this job. The first couple months were no problem. Then time takes its toll. This is a fantastic job with some great people (and I remind myself of that daily) but I would like to go home on the weekends. Not even every night. Just on the weekends like Camilla. If this job was stateside and near home, you'd never drag me away from it. But the distance is harder than I ever thought it would be. One of my favorite songs has the line "Nobody said it would be easy but nobody said it would be so hard". And that is 100% exactly spot on. Exactly.
It was a good day here though. A little bit warmer weather than yesterday but still pleasant. I rode Geologo, Virtuoso, Puccini, Kir Royal, Bellini, Invasor, Montana and Cor Lit. Puccini was, suprisingly, one of my favorites for the day. He was super well behaved and right on point for everything I asked. Sometimes he and I have difficulty together but today was really good. Was riding fairly late though since we turned out each of the young horses in the "official" free jump behind the barn. It has been used as a paddock lately but looks like it is going to go back to being the free jump (as opposed to building one up in the main ring each time). So we took each of the young ones out, turned them loose and let them get aquainted with the space for when we use it in the future. Overall, another good day here. And Martin should be back at the helm Monday so everything will get back to normal at Rancho Pampa.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Janurary 25th - 9:39pm

Today was a just about perfect day. The weather was INCREDIBLE. Sunny with a constant cool breeze through the day. High for the day way about 75 and had a jacket on in the early morning. So very nice. Rode Montana, Invasor, Cor Lit, Geologo, Virtuoso, Puccini, Uxmal and Nacar. Worked on trotting and canter poles/cavaletti and halting on a straight line with all of them. Nacar was a rockstar at it but everyone ended their rides super nicely. Plus all the stuff inside with the barn ran incredibly smoothly. Beautiful weather, lovely horses and great people. What more can you ask for? Not much.
But one thing I have been thinking about a decent amount lately is how much longer I have here (even on the great days like today). My friends have been laughing at/questioning the fact that I keep track of how many days I have until I am stateside again. Ive been doing it with some intensely mixed emotions. On one hand, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Argentina. Working at the farm, riding tons of horses, learning a bunch and generally living a life I'd previously only dreamed of. But on the flipside, living this dream has taken me farther away than I have ever been from everything I know. In the last 9 months I have learned a ton about this country and city. To the point I do not feel totally seperated from everything I am familiar with but after growing up and living in one area for so long, this will never be homehome to me. Just a temporary one. And I miss my home and my family. Missed them more than I ever thought I would and cannot wait to see them again. It will be so incredibly bittersweet to leave Rancho Pampa. It will be the end of one of the most life changing experiences of my life and the beginning of a lot of new and exciting things. Plus the ability to see my mom. Can't beat that. So the fantastic days like today remind me why I am so far from home and make being away so much easier. That being said, in 93 days I will be on a plane headed for Dallas TX for the last time. In the meantime, between now and April 28th (my last day) I want to push myself even harder to improve and become a better rider. I can do so much better. I also want to make a point to notice the tiny good things I tend to overlook while being in a hurry. Just slow down, breath and enjoy my time here a bit. Fingers crossed there will be plenty more days like this one!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Janurary 24th - 9:53pm

Rode Casia, Ojiva, Quartz, Quantum, Orly, Montana, Invasor and Cor Lit. Longed Puccini and helped Rodrigo with the two young ones. As this week goes on I have a feeling my posts are going to be getting shorter and shorter as exhaustion and lack of exciting news take hold. But that is how it goes. Having a lot of fun just cruising though the list if horses working on this and that with each of them. This is the first time I've consistently ridden any of the young horses. Usually I'm on a few one day. Then a few different ones the next. Nothing serious or consistent. But being on them like this I feel like I've gotten to know them a bit and enjoy them more. I'm learning and working with each ones quirks, strengths and weaknesses which is what I enjoy the most. So did just that today. Everyone was very good and all in all a busy but productive day.
Feels like a storm is blowing in at the moment which is kind of a downer. As much as I'd like for everything to cool off a bit, I'd rather be riding than stuck inside!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Janurary 23rd - 8:22pm

So. Freaking. Tired. Feels like its close to midnight and its not even 8:30. So this will likely be a very short post as I am very tired.
Both Kateb and Kaiser were super good for Rodrigo this morning. Followed by good rides in Montana, Invasor and Cor Lit. Cantered Montana a bit and LOVE his canter. So nice. Bellini (his half brother) had a similar canter. Just fun to sit on.
After it was onto the older horses. Geologo, Virtuoso, Puccini, Uxmal, Kir Royal and Nacar. Nothing terribly exciting with any of them but all were good. Camilla and I pushed really hard in the morning to get finished before the incoming rain. Got off the last horses just before 3:00. Then the rain that swore it was right on the way didn't come. But it did continue to heat up quite a bit in the afternoon so actually really nice to just be finished with that part of the day. One thing that did make me sad though was that doing 25-35 minutes on every horse with only a very (very) short break inbetween made both my knees hurt super bad. Normally they don't bother me much but today and even a bit yesterday, painful. Makes me feel old. And reminds me why I absolutely need that college education. This is a fun life but eventually, I wont be able to do 9-10 a day and be fine to do it again the next day. Still want to push my riding as far and as hard as I can. But know I need a fall back plan.
But after a good morning of riding, Camilla and I spent the afternoon helping the guys, doing treatments and getting the barn picked up. The rain moved in about 5:00 so we'll see how the ring looks tomorrow. Doesn't seem like too much has fallen though so may be able to ride tomorrow! Hopefully at least!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Janurary 20th - 11:25pm

<p>So after last nights adventure with Camilla, pancakes and the bus system, I slept in somewhat late. Which means I was up at 6:30. Then 7:30. Then 8:30. And so on. Finally just got up around 10:30. Went downstairs, found Camilla, Joy and the other people from last night. We all hung out for a bit before heading to Carrefore to get stuff for the asado they were doing that afternoon! One thing that is both fun and highly annoying is that owning a car is not all that common here. As a result most everyone walks. Or takes the bus. Which meant we were walking to the grocery store. Not a bad thing at all but very different from home. It wasn't a long walk and the area where the house is located is absolutely gorgeous so it was fun.
After that excursion we came home and went swimming in the pool for a bit! It has been so, so long since I have gone swimming. I live in the land of summer swim teams and beaches but almost never go swimming now days. Always busy with ponies! After awhile the lure of food coming off the grill drug us all out of the water. Totally worth it though as the food was AMAZING. They had the usual choris and beef but the guy who cooked also grilled chicken with bell peppers or smoked ham inside. It was fantastic. So yummy. After the food we played this card game called Chanco Va (I believe - either way it means Pig Go). Silly game but a lot of fun when played in a group. Everyone gets four cards to start and the first person to get four with the same number wins. You change your cards one at a time by passing one to your neighbor whenever Chanco Va is said. Which starts out as a slow chant and gets faster until the cries of "PareParePare!" break out because cards have gone flying. Whoever gets four first puts their hand in the middle of the table and everyone else jumps to pile their hand on top. Last hand in looses. I won some by getting my four together first and didn't loose any which was good since looser was going to get tossed in the pool. After an hour or so everyone lost interest in the game so we stopped (and no one got tossed in!). I ended up heading upstairs to take a nap as I was exhausted. Love a country where afternoon naps are totally acceptable.
Slept for a bit then Camilla poked her head in to invite me to dinner with some of her other friends. So we ended up out seeing a dressage trainer/ride who has some horses at Campo de Mayo. She didn't speak English but she and her husband were both incredibly nice. Camilla and Valerie talked horses for awhile and I just listened and tried to follow. She appologized after for the nonstop spanish but honestly, I enjoy just listening. I pick up words and phrass that way without the anxiety of trying to work up replies.
All in all, the whole day was a blast. From hanging out with Joy and his family to swimming to dinner and everything in between. Such a great break from the everyday. We're staying the night here again and taking a remis to the farm in the morning. A little worried about that (dont want to be late!) but Im sure it will be worth it since otherwise we would have had to leave the asado early and missed Valerie. So early start tomorrow but hopefully a good day/week to follow!

Photos from my favorite pool side chair!

Janurary 22nd - 7:32pm

Have managed to get completely behind on writing. Amazing how it just takes a couple of "Ill do it tomorrow"s to get there. But since Im tired, don't have much else to do and want to get caught up, here we go.
Today was another busy, hot day. Started off again helping Rodrigo with the two young horses then got on Cor Lit, Invasor and Montana. They were all decently good. Cor Lit decided the roll top was supersuper scary despite it being the same as yesterday. After sniffing it and being made to trot by it a time or two he got over himself but had to laugh. Sometimes I wonder what these horses see that we don't.
After those three it was onto the young horses. Rode Quantum, Bellini, Casia, Ojiva, Quarial, Orly and I feel like one more. Either way, a full day. Everyone was super good. Really enjoyed Ojiva and, as always, Orly. Not doing anything terribly exciting with the horses. Just flatting. Lots of up and down, occasionally trotting or cantering over a pole. Just getting relaxed and forward. I'm still focusing a lot at riding inside leg to outside hand. Still taking thought and effort to get that one right. Also had to get on myself a few times for going back to my old habit of turning my left hand over. Not a clue why I feel so comfortable doing that! Its not a normal hand position!
After riding I longed Boss and Puccini to finish off the horses for the day. Then around the barn doing treatments, picking up and getting organized for tomorrow. All in all a busy day but a good one. Plus all the guys were here so once we got rolling the day ran nice and smoothly. Much quicker than yesterday thank goodness! Headed to bed soon since tomorrow is going to be much of the same, long and hot! Plus keeping my fingers crossed that this cough I have picked up doesn't turn into something more. I hate even the thought of being sick! Especially with this much to do!

Janurary 21st - 10:15pm

Early morning today. Due to the length of the bus trip and the going ons of yesterday we decided to just spend Sunday night at the house and take a remis (hired driver) to Rancho Pampa in the morning. So had to be up early to make the drive back to the farm. Some definite perks to living on site. One of which is no commute to work. Which means getting to sleep in later. Something that is very nice. But despite the drive and my anxiety over being late, we got to the farm with plenty of time to spare.
Started off the day helping Rodrigo with two young horses: Kaiser and Kateb. They were both very good. Took Cor Lit, Montana and Invasor out for their hacks. Montana was great undersaddle. Nice, relaxed and just fun to ride. The other two were good as well if a bit on the lazy side. After that it was up and on today's set of "older" horses. While Martin is gone we've divided up the horses in full work into two groups. The "older" horses and the "younger" horses. Neither name really fits but it's the best we have. So today the older horses were undersaddle while the young ones went on the longe line. I rode Virtuoso, Puccini, Geologo, Kir Royal, Uxmal and Nacar then finished off the day by longing Bellini and Justinian. Just w/t/c with a bunch of transitions and going over some poles. I like to make up little exercises with transitions/turning/whatnot then work on them for part of the ride. Maybe a pole thrown in as a center point or visual cue to keep everything nice and even. A big thing I have learned here is disipline in my exercises. So if I have to make a 20 meter turn to the left due to the rail, make a 20 meter turn to the right even if the whole ring is open. Otherwise you work the horse unevenly. Which is bad. Poles, standards and the fence serve as good markers for me to help keep things even. Everyone was good with everything and my favorite of the day was Kir Royal. Absolutely love his gaits. Such a nice horse. I really like both the Picadilly Tame babies we have here actually. He and Ojiva both super nice to ride.
The day ended up being a bit long since we were working with only two guys inside. Being down a person slows the whole day up but Camilla and I wrapped up the last of the treatments around 6:45 so not too bad. Hoping everyone will be here tomorrow so the day will run quicker!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Janurary 19th - 6:15pm

Overcast morning with scattered light showers. Started my day helping Rodrigo with two of the young ones on the line and ended up running inside for a jacket of all things. Quite chilly and windy as we started off the morning. Afterward I hopped on Montana and Invasor for their trot abouts then longed Kir Royal before starting on the auction horses. With Martin headed out to Flordia for a week we wanted to get some filming done so he could put some videos together while traveling. So we took video of almost all the auction horses over fences. I warmed up Bellini a bit before Martin got on to jump. Then warmed up and jumped Nacar, Uxmal, Casia and Quantum. It was a mix between some really terrible riding on my part and some that felt reallyreally good. I've jumped Nacar a decent amount so know him. Hardest part about him is that his stride just eats up the lines. I struggle to get him on his hinds so that we don't just canter down the line and jump flat. Just don't consistently get the hand/leg connection right so that we can jump out with power and enough room. Uxmal was good to ride and showed me just a hint of how powerful he can be. Took a lot to just stay with him and out of his way over a decently sizeable fence. He and Nacar did a meter or so (maybe a bit higher for Uxmal). After was Quantum who I rarely ride and have never jumped. He has got to be one of the most powerful horses I have ever jumped. Ever. Had a tricky time with managing his greenness and getting him to the fences how he needed to be ridden. But once he was there, wow. When the jumps were low I didn't have much trouble with his power but as the oxer reached a meter, I was getting tossed onto his neck by the force of his hinds. Such a freaking nice horse. Casia afterward was a totally different ride. Still powerful over the fences but more sensitive to the fences and easier to stay with. She's ended up being one that I quite like riding actually. Wrapped up the riding by taping Martin on Orly.
Overall a busy day with interesting weather but a good and productive one never the less. Camilla invited me to spend the weekend at her house so we're headed that way. Super excited to meet her boyfriend and friends as well as get away from the barn for a bit!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Janurary 20th - 1:15am

So after work Camilla and I got our stuff together real quick and headed to the bus stop to catch the 57 to Palermo. Same bus I take to get to Plaza Italia. Caught that bus then got off and ran to catch another to take us from Palermo to San Isidiro where Joy's (her boyfriend) family had rented a vacation house for Janurary. We left the farm at 6:30 and arrived at the house at 9:30. Not even half an hour after we arrived a friend of Joy's younger brother got in from San Pablo. Apparently he had l driven to the airport, flown to BA and been driven to the house in basically the same amount of time it took Camilla and I to get to the house by walking/bus. The joys of advanced transportation!
After a quick meet and greet, the five of us headed off the grab dinner somewhere. On Camilla's rather insistent suggestion, we went to a pancake place. Turns out they make pancakes with just about anything on top. Sounds strange but honestly, they were fantastic. I don't even know all what was on mine but it was so good. Then Camilla and I split a dessert pancake with a TON of chocolate on it. And strawberries. So. Stinking. Yummy. Was incredibly fun to just hang out with a group of people near my own age as well. Miss that so much! Joy, his brother and the friend from Brazil were all incredibly friendly and welcoming. In addition to the people, it was also really nice to be around people who spoke English as well so even though it wasn't the first language to be used, I could laugh and joke along. Everyone there spoke Potugese as a first language (which is an absolutely beautiful language to hear) which was a new one for me. Back to understanding pretty much nothing! But English was pretty frequently used for my sake and for that, I am very appreciative. After dinner we came back to the house and just hung out for a bit. Talking, chilling and just enjoying old and new friends.
A long day at the barn is sending Camilla and I to bed fairly early (for this group!) but that is life. Very excited for tomorrow since there is going to be an asado, swimming in the pool and generally enjoying what will hopefully be a beautiful day!

Added some photos of the bus stop in Moreno. With its collection of dogs.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Janurary 18th - 9:29pm

Ended up having dinner at Martin and Rachel's house last night which made it a bit of a later night. Came in, chatted with Gala for far too long then absolutely crashed. Which is exactly what is going to happen here in a bit too. You can tell the end of a long week is here because I am flat out tired.
Missed writing yesterday but not a big deal since nothing too exciting happened. It poured rain the night before so the ring was flooded. Gala and I had a blast running outside and closing stall windows when the small rain shower turned into a cold, windy downpour. Was wetter after that than I had been 20 minutes earlier after a shower!
So spent the day cleaning up horses in the front barn, clipping noses/ears of the horses that needed and doing any odd jobs/things that we usually run out of time to do. A productive but quiet day.
Today was back on with riding. The sprinklers got left on so the ring got re watered this morning ontop of the rain. Limited the riding space a bit as some spots were muddy/slick. The guys were also hard at work building the gabezo in the ring as well as taking down the tree of thorns so it closed off the ring even more. Some of the horses were a little freaked by the commotion but most just took it all in stride. I was on Cor Lit, Kir Royal, Montana, Boss, Orly, Casia and Bellini. It was my first time on Bellini today. He was pretty good undersaddle and had a great canter. Martin is leaving for Flordia tomorrow so for the next week I'll be the primary rider on all the young horses. Definitely a crazy thought but I actually feel pretty comfortable on almost all of them. And a few I really enjoy riding despite the greenness. Going to be busy next week! But for now, just wanting to get ti bed and have a good last day of the week tomorrow! Possibly spending Saturday night at Camilla's which will be super fun. Love seeing new places and meeting new people!

Janurary 16th - 10:00pm

Started off the morning longing horses for Rodrigo. Everyone is pretty use to the routine so it went by pretty quickly. Two of the young ones needed me to hold the line for the first couple minues of the ride and have a hand on them when Rodrigo got off but besides that, everyone was good/easy. Got on Montana afterward followed by Cor Lit for flat hacks. Then got on Puccini. Flatted him a bit then went through the six stride bending line to the cavaletti that Martin had set up. Too much stride the first time through and almost put a five in. Too little second and almost did seven but after that got the six right on every time. After we did a little cross rail course. Pretty straight forward jumps but the turns, layout and movement in the ring made it a little more difficult than the average cross rail course. Puccini and I, however, still got it done. I was actually ridiculously happy with it (and getting a "good job!" from Martin). Sometimes I can get so frustrated with my poor riding that I have to work at not being like "why do I bother?". But then I realize I couldn't get anything out of Puccini when I arrived let alone a good course. And that I am starting to make good and correct changes while on course without thinking. Raising this hand, opening this rein, pushing with my knee/leg here. A horse can try to pop a shoulder out or things can go wrong and I'm able to deal with it better. And without conscious thought. Big improvement. Took a quick break for lunch then I hopped on Casia. We ended up doing the same exercise and course with her. She is a heck of a lot younger and greener than Puccini though so I was even more pleased to pull it off quite well with her as well. She's not one I have ridden much either (this was my second or third ride I believe) so to be able to get on a young horse that I don't know and get decent course work out of her is a big accomplishment. Never would have been able to do that before I arrived here. Could barely get it done on an older horse I didn't know. Or a green one I did. After Casia, I jumped on Boss and the other girls and I ended up doing a lesson over the same exercise. As I was listening to Martin teach I realized another thing that I ride into my corners better and more consistently now. I hadn't even realized I was doing it until I wasn't getting corrected for not doing it. The jumping with Boss was decent but not great. Mostly because I spent a big part of the time reminding myself to keep my elbows by my side. Which promptly made everything stiff. Apparently I cannot touch my elbows nor put them anywhere near my body without forgeting how to ride. Joy. But if there is one thing today proved, I can improve and will improve before leaving here. And after that, the sky's the limit!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Janurary 15th - 9:44pm

So after last night, this morning came far, far too early. But at least I felt better when it came. Last night was pretty miserable and still not 100% but marked improvement.
Was on Montana and Cor Lit first off this morning. Then Quantum, Orly, Quarial and Uxmal before lunch. Just flat rides all around. After lunch I was on Boss. Got help from Martin with getting him put together and working correctly from the back.
Nothing terribly exciting and pretty tired so this post is going to be ridiculously short. Hoping for a good day tomorrow and fingers crossed for some lower temperatures!

Janurary 14th - 11:56pm

It has ended up being one those days. Started off pretty decent with rides on Kir Royal and Puccini. Then Camila and I took conformation photos of all the auction horses. They were all really well behaved for the whole process. Only three took some work to get stood up correctly and once they were, they stood right where they were suppose to.
After lunch we did a brief lesson on Jour, Holandesa and Boss. I got Boss and worked on the half circle changes of direction on the rail. Up, down, change bend and all that jazz. As always, I really tried to make sure I was riding back to front and inside leg to outside rein the whole time. Boss was a little looky at first but settled into work after a bit. Finished up really nice.
After the riding was finished we free jumped most the auction horses. I videoed, closed/opened the gate and attempted to keep the footing level. All the horses jumped well but as the afternoon went on, I started feeling pretty icky. And it kept getting worse. Chest hurt, nausea and just bad. So took some advil and attempted to go to bed early. Absolute no-go. Not happening. So after a couple hours of no improvement, I went over to Martin and Rachel's to see if they had any suggestions as too what to do. They had a few, which we tried but end result was next to no improvement. So headed off to the clinic. Which is where I've been for the last couple hours. They don't seem to think its anything serious and gave me some medication that seems to be helping. Hoping for the best! Looks like it's going to be a late night though.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Janurary 13th - 11:00pm

Back to staying up entirely too late. I had hoped to sleep in a bit this morning but as usual, was awake at 6:05. Made myself go back to bed but my 9:30 I was flat out awake. So got up and decided to spend some time in the city today. Took the bus to Plaza Italia then the subway to 9 de Julio. Walked on 9 de Julio for a bit before heading over to the opera house. Ever since I saw the opera house I have wanted to see the inside and go on a tour. So today was the day! Bought my ticket ($110 pesos compared to $30 if I was a resident!) for the english tour and did checked out the buildings nearby while waiting for the tour to start. The justice building, an old school and some other beautiful buildings were in the same plaza so wandered around and checked them out. Took a lot of photos too!
The tour was great and the building as beautiful inside as out. They had done a resturation a few years back that took six years(!!) for the main building (and is still going on at the lower levels) so everything was stunning.
A few random things of interest:
There are three lower levels and all are larger than the top one. The extend under 9 de Julio.
All the outfits, scenery and the like for the operas is made on those lower levels.
The design has a lot of French inflence with some places looking exactly like opera houses in Europe.
Three different designers helped built the place so at various places the design changes. Like the columns on the first and second floor.
I spotted 5 different types of marble in use. But honestly there are probably even more types there.
It is one of 5 opera houses in the world with almost perfect acoustics.
To get to the stage you have to pass through three sets of curtains.
The floor can be moved up or down. Same with the musicians pit.
The statue of Venus and Cupid is carved from one block of marble and absolutely no one knows how it ended up in the opera house. Origionally done by a German artist.
Im sure there are more interesting tidbits but that is all I can remember right now!
Afterward I walked around a bit more then grabbed some lunch. Then the subway back to Plaza Italia and bus to Moreno! Hung out at Petrobras for a bit enjoying their AC and diet coke before heading to the farm. All in all a good day. Now to get some sleep and tackle a busy week next week!

And I took a TON of pictures today that I will upload tomorrow. Going to take some time ti do that.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Janurary 12th - 10:15pm

Super busy morning today. Martin was not here so it was up to Gala, Camila and I to get all the horses worked. They all just needed short, quiet, relaxing flat rides to finish the week out on so we decided to try hard to get them all finished before lunch. Not an impossible goal but definitely meant a busy morning! I hacked Quarial, Quartz, Kir Royal, Orly, Casia, Montana and Nacar. After that, I had Ojiva to longe to wrap everything up. Everyone was very, very good. Again, I adored riding Orly. He is awesome. Huge trot and canter. Totally unflappable from what I have seen as well. Nacar was a good boy as always. One that I am really enjoying as well is Kir Royal. He's got some really nice gaits and fantastic jump as well. Going to make a super nice horse. We got all the horses worked by lunch as well so got to spend the afternoon helping the guys and taking care of things around the barn.
At one point I was in the front barn organizing/cleaning the bin with all the boots in it when I heard Walter yelling outside. Looked out the window and he, along with the other guys, were chasing something through the pastures. Stepped out the door to see what was up as they cornered whatever it was and Danny jumped on top of it. I thought it was going to be a rabbit as every so often they see one of those and go after it. They paraded their catch back to the barn to show the girls and I learned it was actually an iguana. A very, very annoyed iguana. Which the guys said they were going to kill and eat. That didn't really set well with Gala or I. So, after some debate, we areanged to "buy" the iguana. My dad had purchased me mini bottles of whisky to give as gifts/share with the other girls when I was home. Im not really a drinker so I brought them back and they've sat in the house since I got back. Well we managed to put the whisky to good use by giving each of the guys a mini bottle in exchange for the iguana. So I own an iguana. Or rather owned it. I made the guys set it free again. But not after giving it a name. We went with Megg's suggestion: Whisky. So a good day riding and a new pet/mascot for the working students!

And on a side note, congrats to Megg on her purchase of Justinian! He started off his adventure under her ownership with a bang. A quick snipsnip on the front lawn turned him from a stallion to gelding. Poor guy! But best of luck to him and Megg in the future! Cant wait to see how they do together!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Janurary 11th - 10:31pm

Every day I swear I'm going to go to bed super early the next night. Then the following night I end up going to sleep about 10 minutes earlier. Today I felt kind of crummy all morning and worse in the afternoon so was going to pass out early. Then Gala said she was going to the mall to pick something up if I wanted to ride along. Never one to turn down an offer to get out, I took some advil and went with her. Was super fun to walk around a bit, get starbucks and just chill. But, on the way home we hit traffic, then the access road to the highway was blocked off, then possibly lost, then more traffic so didn't get home until late. Still worth it, but once again up late.
Today was a good day though. Started early so got more riding done in the morning. I was on Geologo, Cor Lit, Montana, Casia, Quarial, Quartz and Nacar. And longed Ojiva. Maybe sat on one more but I am terrible at remembering. Nothing overly exciting with any of them. Got some good tips from Martin on working on/improving issues with bending and straightness. Some more things to play with when I ride. Tomorrow should be another busy but quiet day. Neither Martin or Rodrigo will be here tomorrow so Gala and I are taking all the riding horses out for a nice hack to finish the week on. Lots of horses to get on but not doing much with each so hopefully won't run on forever. And maybe then I'll be able to crash early with Gala and Camila spending the night away with family!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Janurary 10th - 10:36pm

<p>Not entirely sure how the mornings can feel jam packed and yet I only get on five or six horses. Even when I am trying to move fast between horses. Today's morning bunch was Oregon, Montana, Geologo, Cor Lit and Kir Royal. Kir Royal was very good to ride. Just hacked around doing transitions and working on riding back to front and inside leg to outside hand. Pretty much what I did with all of them really. Oregon and Montana were a bit excited to be out at first but got to work and finished up really well. <br>
In the afternoon I got on Quantum to warm him up for Martin. Then very briefly sat on Invasor. After got on Orly to warm him up for Martin. When Martin came out to the ring I pulled up beside him ready to hop off and he told me to go canter the five stride pole line instead. So turned around, picked up the canter and cantered down the line almost perfectly! Quick tip from Martin to move up before the first pole instead of in the line if I thought I needed to and then off again. Second time was good too so Martin set a little cross rail up at the second pole. Same as the last two. Rode forward to the first and steadied a bit in the line. His stride is HUGE and absolutely ate up the line so didn't have to do much more than just stay with and guide him. Super nice ride. Each time Martin put the jump up a bit more until we ended over a 2'9" (maybe 3' oxer)!! And I believe this was Orly's second time bigger fences with a person on him. He was an absolute ROCKSTAR and couldn't have cared less about the jump getting bigger. Just jumped better and put more power into it. Such a nice, nice horse. Hopped onto Uxmal after word for hack like the other horses this morning. Up, down, left, right. The usual. Spent the rest of the afternoon picking up, helping the guys and wrapping the day up. Im starting early tomorrow (should have been asleep awhile ago!) in an attempt to beat some of the heat. Hope the day goes just as well as today!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Janurary 9th - 10:38pm

<p>Really great day today. Rode Cor Lit on the flat followed by Montana and Oregon. Got to canter over some poles with Oregon for the first time. He was really good and had a lot of fun on him. Definitely going to be a nice horse. I brought Quariell out for Martin and longed him for a few minutes while Martin was busy with something else. Then was told to get on. My first time riding him and probably one of the greenest horses I have ever sat on. But he was well behaved, did what I asked and minded his manners. After him I did the same with Orly and ended up on him as well. That horse is so, so nice. Big, almost black stallion. Quiet, calm and nice to handle but responsive and balanced undersaddle. Definitely one of my favorites here at the farm right now. Just did a quite w/t/c ride with him but enjoyed every second of being on him.
Took a quick break for lunch then jumped onto the last group for a lesson. I was on Uxmal and Martin reviewed how to introduce new things/jumps to horses. By the end we were all doing a five stride line with a big right turn then a cavaletti to a liverpool. Uxmal wasn't too sure about the liverpool at first but by the time we were suppose to jump it, he was a rockstar and did just what he was suppose to. Good boy.
After I did a quick change then caught a ride with Martin to the bus stop. He was going with Gala to Baral to check on the foals out there and offered that if I wanted, I could go into town and get measured for tall boots at Waltons. I jumped at the chance. So borrowed Camila's sube card and off I went. While I was in town I also wanted to get my own Sube card which I actually accomplished. Once I found the right place, it was super easy. Then a quick stop at the Subway to put money on the card. So excited to finally have my own! Can go on the bus without freaking out over coins! After that was accomplished, I took a taxi to Waltons where I picked out what I wanted my boots to look like and got measured! Hoping they turn out well and looking forward to seeing them! Finger's crossed they fit!! Walked down to Santa Fe after and took the subway to Plaza Italia. Then caught the bus back to Moreno without any trouble. I have to laugh when I remember how daunting each thing use to be (bus, taxi, subway) and this afternoon I used all three without flinching. Definitely learned a thing or two while living here!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Janurary 8th - 11:11pm

Good day at the farm. Long and hot but not insanely busy. Started off the morning with a lesson on Puccini through the grid we have set up. Its three one strides in a row. Verticals or crossrails in the middle and an oxer going out. Puccini was quite good and I worked on my flailing elbows. I have always loved poking my elbows out to the sides and it has been the bane of Martin's exhistence for awhile now. Went through trying to get my elbows to touch and suceeded in getting them at least to my sides. Not sure how Martin managed to get his to touch because I'm not sure I can do it even off a horse without contorting myself some strange way. Did struggle a bit with holding onto my reins, however. Cut my middle finger open with scissors yesterday and the bandage I had on it started falling off so just pulled it off. Which promptly made holding the reins quite painful. Figured out a new tape wrap after that though and no problems the rest of the day. After Puccini were flat rides on Cor Lit, Montana, Boss and Oregon. All of them were pretty decent. Though I managed to get a face full of the tree with thorns on Montana. Thanks buddy. Just did the usual, up/down transitions X100 with them all.
The afternoon held back to back lessons on Nacar and Uxmal. Nacar was, of course, a little rockstar. The only thing that ever stops him is my bad riding at time. But for whatever reason, I just feel really comfortable on him. We had a six stride line set up with poles and we nailed it pretty much every time. Something I had not been able to do with Cor Lit earlier this morning. With Puccini and Uxmal (after Nacar) Id get it most of the time but with white pony, it was pretty much every time. A great feeling for sure. Uxmal was my last ride of the day and was really good as well. Took him through the grid like Puccini and got a few critiques/changes to make that I was able to do. Ended with a go through that felt great and even earned us a "very good". Super psyched. So all in all, a good productive day.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Janurary 7th - 11:38pm

<p>Another far too late night. This time spent playing chess. Will regret it at 6:30 but for now, quite content with my lot in life. <br>
Rode Cor Lit, Montana and Boss this morning. All three were good despite having two days off. Just did flat hacks with all three. Nothing major. Just more practice on riding off the inside leg to outside hand and back to front. Can never get too much work with that. Longed Nacar after those rides and then it was onto the free jump. From 11:00 or so until 3:00 we took out almost all the horses for the auction (plus a few extras) to get a quick photo shoot and free jump. Most jumped well and a few looked really fantastic. After was lunch and then helping the guys in the barn. Pretty average day all in all. I did manage, however, to end the day with a bang but getting my foot stepped on then slicing my finger open with scissors then slipping and falling. All within a twenty minute span. Not cool. After work, Gala, Camilla and I loaded up into Gala's car and headed to Carrefore to do some shopping! Mostly stuff for the house and things I have run out of (shampoo and the like). We grabbed dinner at the mall after and really just had a fun time. Definitely a good day.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Janurary 6th - 10:31pm

For whatever reason, Friday was just a terrible, terrible day. So skipped what would have been an incredibly depressing blog post and just went to bed. It ended up pouring all that night so ended up not riding on Saturday. Spent most of the day shortening manes and grooming horses. Just quiet, easy work that needed to be done. Left me with the ability to listen to music, chat with the girls and enjoy being around the horses. Then passed the afternoon hanging out at Rodrigo's house. We made dinner, watched TV and just enjoyed doing next to nothing. A very quiet day.
Today, however, was a bit more exciting. Rodrigo picked me up and we drove out ti Lujan to see the huge old church there. It was gorgeous. Very, very touristy which was a bummer but still very cool to see such a beautiful old place. Makes me want to visit the old cathedrals in Europe so badly! Heck, I think I would happily see just about anything in Europe. But a topic of conversation did make me check how much time I have left in Argentina. This year has FLOWN by. Only 111 days here and so much left to expierence here!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Janurary 3rd - 10:13pm

Busy day here at the farm. But the weather has been downright lovely this past week so no real complaints. Amazing how something you have zero effect on can play such a huge role on how to day feels. Super hot and humid? Miserable day. Breezy and cooler temperatures? Great day. So today was a pretty good day. With the weather and horses.
I was on Cor Lit, Montana, Uxmal, Kir Royal, Invasor and Jour. A bit of a flat lesson on Invasor and Kir Royal. Mostly on really riding back to front and into the outside aids. I think it's something everyone must struggle with at some point so trying not to get too frustrated but it is a definite challenge. It seems so easy and then it's not. Not even close. I'm sure once I learn how to ride that way it will become second nature. But for right now it is difficult and frustrating. After lunch, we took out Jour, Pastrocito and Holandesa to do a lesson. Ended up working over cavaletti which was quite fun. Longed some of the young horses to finish the day up afterward. So all in all a busy enough day but a good one. Rodrigo is starting back tomorrow to work so life at Rancho Pampa should fall back to normal a bit.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Janurary 2nd - 10:26pm

Strange weather last night/this morning to start the day. Was quite chilly for whatever reason. Warmed up fairly quickly but even I had a jacket on for a bit. Started off the day riding Justinian with more transitions. Followed by Cor Lit who was pretty good. Same thing as Justinian though. Up, down, up, down. Got on Puccini afterward and got some of the best work I have ever had with him. Took a bit to get there but finished up feeling round, through and powerful at the trot. Could take a quick skip and end up in just as nice of a canter too. Now just to work on improving that work and getting it right off from the start of the ride. Baby improvements to start though. After that, I took Uxmal, Oregon and Boss out to longe. They were pretty decent with only a bit of jumping around. Which, I feel, is mostly due to having yesterday off. Normally they're all very well behaved on the line.
A quick break for lunch and then we headed out to free jump most of the auction horses. Not sure how many we did but it took most of the afternoon. Ended up finishing in just enough time to come in and help the guys wrap up. While we were with the free jump, however, the newest addition to the Rancho Pampa working student house arrived! Her name is Gala and she'll be with us until mid Feburary I believe. Hoping she loves it here as much as I do! Camilla and I had to make a run to the store after work so we showed here how to get there and whatnot. Sadly the good store was closed so we had to go to the less good store but oh well, we'll live. Afterward, it was up to Rachel and Martin's house for dinner which, as always, was super fun. A great dinner (tacos!) with awesome people. Can't ask for more.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Janurary 1st - 10:02pm

Really quiet day here. As in I barely crawled out of bed quiet. Stayed up far to late talking to friends who were at their various celebrations. Slept in late and then spent a pretty great day doing next to nothing. I had hoped to get some quiet time in while I was away in the states but if anything I returned even more tired than when I left. It was nonstop holiday craziness from start to finish. So a good quiet day. Likely the last for quite awhile with the auction now looming so close! Less than 90 days away!