Friday, November 30, 2012

Dashing through the Snow!

Over the river
 Ahh... tis the season!The snow is here, the cold weather is here... and I've already complained about cold toes while teaching. that can only mean one thing... Time to start thinking Christmas-y thoughts! Like how am I going to play fetch with the poodles in the snow? Or am I going to fall down the hill when trying to take them on a little nature walk?
 The plus side is that Bacon loves this weather (though is wishing I hadn't clipped him quite so close), while Tempi stays outside only long enough to do her business, no longer.

And since I haven't had any interesting horse experiences lately, this blog post will go in an entirely different direction...
And through the woods....
There's something about the cold weather and short days that makes me think that I am at all crafty. I am not. I know this about myself. I come from a long line of non-crafty individuals.
Last year I made my own Christmas ornaments from barn wood, ribbon and horse themed stamps. They were underwhelming, to say the least. 
This year, I lurked around on line looking for interesting Christmas gift ideas for my lessonee's (yeah, upon rereading this, I probably should have just said 'students'... but really, I'm gonna leave it). There were a few that I really liked and will have to keep in mind for next year (don't you hate those diy gifts that take foresight and planning?), but none that I could really sink my teeth into this year... 
Lucky them, I actually bought something for everyone (love cyber Monday deals!) instead of handing out some home made mess. But watch out for next year... mwahahaha!
This is my current project. The horse show ribbon wreath! Every bit of this wreath is made from an old ribbon I won while showing London in high school.. Seems like a good reuse of some of the less memorable ribbons, right? I will say that there were some difficulties in constructing this work of art, not the least of which was having to destroy my old ribbons.
The biggest problem I had (and this is going to sound douchey) is that I just didn't have enough sixth place ribbons! And for the holiday theme, I needed green, lots of green! The red was easy; London and I made a career of coming in second. The white was simple; lots of shows use white as the accent color on their ribbons. But the green... Thank goodness that there were four first place ribbons from an old Topsider Schooling Show in St Patties Day green! So my Christmas Wreath was saved by a theme show... thank goodness. I really didn't want to have to start cutting up championship ribbons (the project would not have been started if I had to destroy a championship ribbon)... Though London and I have collected our fair share of sixth place ribbons at the championships.

Anyway, after two days of gluing and cutting, clipping and holding....I give you, the MacDonald Dressage Christmas Wreath!
Don't you just hate cell phone pictures?
Now I just have to hope that it doesn't fall to pieces the first time I slam the door.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I'm back!

Alright, I'm back. After a week of not riding at all (and a 2000 mile car trip for a two day party), I got back on a horse.
Yesterday, it wasn't even my horse. I'll admit, I punked out yesterday. I was tired from the trip, it was cold and snowing and I just didnt want to leave my bed with it's nice little poodle space heaters. So I slept in, played in the snow with the poodles, then rushed off to work and lessons. Where I got to hop up on a student's horse for a little refresher course in moving off the aids the first time they were applied.

And today I returned to the real world. I got up early-ish (ok, really, not that early), made coffee, took the poodles for a little walk, then headed off to the barn to work a horse or two (ok, so I may have hit snooze two or three times too many to work all three).
Delight got to be my first pony up for work... Which she obviously needed. She was a little bit of a spazz, what with a whole week off and the cold weather. It was 14 degrees when I got to the arena. Brr!
Even though our canter transitions were more of a leap-buck-squeal than the nice relaxed transitions that I would have preferred, we got some decent trot work in, and I called it a day (after having to shed a jacket because the pony worked me over) with a 50 minute ride.
Next up was Tilly... who confuses me sometimes. The last time I rode her she spent the whole hour doing her "baby giraffe" impression and running into the canter transitions. Today i fully expected more of the same, what with the week of complete and total pony time... But she was a champ. Our canter transitions - while still a little off balance - were even acceptable. Yay!

Now, final thought for the day... I really wish that my camera hadn't broken. This post would have been so much more fun with pictures of the snow poodles...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Let's give thanks....

I day late and a dollar short (well, what did you expect on Black Friday?), but here's a short list of what I have to be thankful for, in no particular order

1) My great family. I'm lucky to have supportive parents and a sister who is also my best friend.

2) My poodles. I love my dogs, and after a weekend with other people's dogs, I appreciate them even more.

3) Both of my jobs. One lets me design cool things and the other lets me spread the good word of Dressage to a wonderful group of students

4) The chance to try on my own farm (even if the horses are boarded for now)

5) My wonderful horses who have the talent and/or the try to take me as far as I can make it...

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

No time for the season of giving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I Made it

I'm just here to let everyone know that I made it from the UP to PA with three dogs in a little under 18 hours today. Go me, right?

That's right. Over 1K miles today... With three dogs.

Worth it? Hell yes. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Ken Borden Clinic

So, over the weekend, I bit the bullet and signed up for the semi-annual Ken Borden, Jr clinic in Rhinelander, WI... a quick three hour jaunt to the south. Of course, I was feeling a little bit broke, which was the one and only reason that I hesitated for a fraction of a second to sign up. But who needs money, am I right?
Anyway, I headed on south for my two rides on Delight.
I was the last rider on Saturday, so I had plenty of time to scope out the other riders and listen to Ken's teaching style again. Even better, I had along my own personal groom/videographer so I could spend more time watching and learning and less time knocking the layers of dirt off of Delight (thanks, Donna!).

I know it's silly, but I tend to think of clinics as pesudo-horse shows, in that I do NOT want to be the lowest or worst one there. I realize we're all there to learn, but I want the clinician to be impressed with me, at least a little instead of one more training level lesson. Petty? Yes. But I recognize that about myself.

As I walked Delight around the arena, I told Ken about what we've done in the last six months and what I'd most like to work on: the lengthenings. I don't think Ken recognized Delight from the spring clinic, and after reviewing my spring clinic video I can understand why. She's really filled out!

Tired pony says "Turn off the lights!"
On day one, we worked on mostly improving the quality of the trot using our canter. Delight has a great canter, but a much less expressive trot than what the show ring is going to ask for... And those darn canter walk transitions. We've mastered the walk-canter transitions from last time, but the canter-walk remins tricky for us....
Ken critiques my shoulder in
Pony say's NO to lengthenings
Temper tantrum turns canter depart
Which gets reined back into a decent trot...
Day two we worked on the lengthenings, using a half 8 m volte with counter bend to the lengthening to the rail... As you can see, she was not a fan of the counter bend....

Monday, November 12, 2012

Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow!

So I survived yet another Ken Borden clinic... and in doing so missed out on two days of rain here in the UP. I have not seemed to miss out on the first significant snow fall of the year, though, as we are under our first Winter Weather advisory.

Scott is super excited. In fact he spent all morning chasing each individual flurry as it slowly drifted down towards earth, yapping in his joi de vivre (or however you spell that). I can only imagine his response tonight when i kick his furry sheltie butt outside and there are millions of flakes to chase, not just the one or two. His fuzzy little head might explode.

Anyway, the only point of this post was to reassure you guys (like you care),that I will in fact update the blog with pictures and details of the Ken Borden clinic. There will be still shots from the video, and if you're really lucky I might even edit together a few less than stellar and stellar moments in video. Wouldn't that be exciting?