"Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and once it has done so, he/she will have to accept that his life will be radically changed." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sunburn in February. Ok by me!

Friday brought a day off for Tyler and Napoleon.  They took full advantage of it.  Tyler had a bath and I even allowed him a good roll afterwards.

(I admit, I have to research what we did each day! At the time, I was burned out from work.  Blogging meant using the dreaded laptop so I avoided it like the plague.)

Lauren and I watched dressage lessons in the afternoon.  It was nice to sit out and audit everyone's work.  There were a lot of basics covered that I appreciated hearing again.  

We went to Duke's BBQ for dinner.  Yeesh, that's so much food! Best buffet for $10 EVER.  

Saturday morning we got to the barn a few minutes early to put the horses out.  We left the barn chores for later so we could go watch the Preliminary riders go around the XC course at Paradise Farm.  I was off a little in the start time, so we all walked the cross country course.  And by all, I mean - Lauren, Aileen, Hilary, Alexa, Laura, and Vanessa.  The novice riders liked the novice course.  A fair challenge, but nothing over facing.  The entry level riders really liked some of the BN fences and learned a lot about courses and jumps at higher levels.  We ran into a good friend from home, Ellie Rawle of Watermark Farm.  One of her horses was running in the Prelim division.  

Everyone younger than me piled in the truck and we sang with the radio and the windows down on the way back.  It was hot!  The weather could not have been any better.

Before our jump lesson, we watched two groups of gallop lessons.  Lauren and I did this lesson last year, so we decided to be the paparazzi for the day.  Everyone loves the gallop lesson.   Sally has everyone trot 220m and then canter 300/350/400m.  Nat drops cones along the field to manage distances.

Lauren and I had a jump lesson in the early afternoon.  Poleon was great, as usual.  Tyler was really starting to signs that he felt challenged.  Our steering was diminishing and Tyler was not jumping over the center of fences.  For example, the chevron we had jumped before was a few inches higher and freaked me out a little.  What I didn't know until Sally told me at the end of the lesson was, Tyler's not afraid of it, he's just trying to get out of work.  He jumped the left barrel each time, never once the lower chevron.

My biggest take away from our week, and this is nothing new, is to get my eye on the next fence much sooner.  I must improve that and continue to use an opening rein more aggressively, at the right time, and independently from the rest of my body.  

We continued to wash and dry whatever we could in the sun.  Friday brought sun burn for me, so I spent the day in a long sleeve shirt to prevent any more. 

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