1.31.2011

tidbits!

Oh! also, I found out that Frank loves him some dried pineapple. AND a Chihuahua tried to eat my face the other day.

rollercoaster

No, we did not go to an amusement park, though it would have been fun. Today we took another cross country lesson, this time moving on, and we have video! I rode Winton and jen rode Ranger, both of whom were wonderful and forgiving and super excited.

We jumped around a little, over barrels, logs and some scary floating logs over seas of stone, scary scary, and then we jumped through the most fun cross country obstacle yet:
the rollercoaster!
and although we make it look super easy, i know i know, the first times were not so pretty. Jen missed her second jump she was kicking so much, and had to be reminded to steer as the same time as kick :)
video
and the second time i did it, it was flawless. seriously.  though missy didn't catch it on camera... my camera was acting up, or something along those lines. and in the repeat our first spot was wonky.


We also got to jump the stone walls from one field to the other, gallop down the hill, over a little ditch, then up and over a few big logs lashed together and into the water, cantering through, and then up a bank out of the water.

too bad my camera died after the rollercoaster. Missy promised we will do it again though, and this time, we'll take it. show off our amazing water complex skills.
Other exciting news, the chiropractor came and adjusted half the boys, the other half he will do tomorrow. He said they all felt pretty darned good, Hubert and Hunter particularly considering they hunted for 4 1/2 hours yesterday.

oh! and we went out for dinner! crazy, i know. we almost took a picture just to prove we went out and were up past 8 pm.

And that was all the excitement for today. Tomorrow Missy will jump Journey and Springer, tune up the other two boys Jen and I rode today, and, fingers crossed, will be nothing but impressed with how they are going :)

until tomorrow.

1.30.2011

hunting with Live Oak

Today we went hunting with Live Oak, a hunt up in Tallahassee Fl. they are known for being the best around, and, well. we certainly drove a ways to get there. After waking up at 2:15am, leaving the barn around 4:07 am we drove three hours or so north, to this incredibly beautiful country. 

It looked a little ho hum as we first hacked out into the woods. However, the fog quickly closed in, creating a kind of creepily quiet, swirling mist through which we walked through. hounds bounding in an out of sight through the fog, sometimes it lifted enough to see the ground stretching further than the tops of the trees, sometimes completely shrouding everything but what was fifteen feet in front of you. 

It seemed like a scene straight of of sleepy hollow, or a tim burton film with the trees dripping with spanish moss and mist, everything either bright green or a muted greyish brown.

the first field we walked through

fog dropping down







our crew. jen and hubert, ann and riley


the mist on Hunter's eyelashes.
So as we were carrying on, every few minutes, someone would stroll or trot up on their horse, introduce themselves, and then proceed to not only warmly welcome us, compliment our "incredibly hansom" "super cute" "so adorable" "perfect foxhunter" horses, but they would ask us about where we were from, how long we were staying, and we would of course be coming back, wouldn't we?


and considering how much fun it was, even though it "wasnt a normal Live Oak day", we are going to try and go again next sunday if we aren't too tired. (And missy said she wanted to come too!)

Honestly. Everyone could not have been nicer. Seriously the most welcomed I have felt in a really long time, anywhere, and I am pretty sure jen halds the same sentiment. Just the nices folks. and funny. and entertaining. 

keeping that in mind, and the fact that it wasn't a normal live oak day, we hunted for FOUR AND HALF hours. by the time we were back at the trailers the day had substantially warmed up, from about 38 degrees to 70, and the whole field, led by the master, had shed their jackets, and some their vests as well. They all started out saying how cold it was, then how hot. silly floridians. 

There were also two folks visiting from Canada, one was the master in Vancouver I believe, and his wife. Their season is even shorter (who knew it was possible) than ours in Pa.

We got on a couple little runs through the day, one just back to the trailer to tape together the masters horse, as he stepped on himself and was bleeding pretty good. And we got to do more jumping than they had thought we would, some really nice coops, the biggest about three feet, maybe three three, nothing too crazy. 

And we caught two grey fox. Apparently in that area they hunt, grey and red fox, bobcats, coyote and wild boar. CRAZY! Jen will get the mask and brush from the second fox of the day. And everyone insisted it go to one of their guests.












1.29.2011

"easy day"

getting steph ready for her cross country
  Today, saturday, was our easy day. We got a bunch of stuff done yesterday so we could go to the horse show that everyone and i mean EVERYONE was competing in. We took our first two sets out after all our. barn chores and then headed over to Rocking Horse, which is a good hour fifteen or so.

mr fantastic looking fantastic

the sea of trailers. more than i have ever seen in one place



a jump



then, after hanging around, trecking across the GIGANTIC cross country course, and, gasp, helping Missy and her student/worker steph who also had two horses running, we left around 4pm. got back to the barn, fed, got the last two of our horses ready to roll in a hurry, and trotted over to longwood to do the craziest thing i think have done to date. we took a cross country lesson in the dark. like not fading light dark, but sun down, no moon, no shadows, cant really even see a horse cantering towards you kindda dark.

It was NUTS! and really fun. and all we could do, was get a good canter, and be straight, and they had to do the rest, because we really couldn't see. I didnt know until after the lesson, but apparently Missy's first, or one of the first lessons se ever had with David O'Conor was in the dark, like the kind of dark we experienced tonight. Pretty cool.

Anyway. We got home around 8 and here we are. i need to go to sleep. (up at 2:15 for hunting tomorrow) so until next time!

1.28.2011

friday. i think. still the first week

Today we did incredibly long trot sets with the horses. hack out to the gate in between longwood and meredith south (the o'connors' place) and then trot all the way around longwood, through woods scattered with jumpable logs and ditches, through two cross country fields and around two others. then back through meredith and around the perimeter there, up the last stretch through the sparse grove of trees up to the small six horse barn where our horses are happily staying.

Today was a landmark day: Hunter aka Frank (for frankenstein who has tons of scars from his youth) who is known for being flighty and uncomfortable in new places.... took a nap in the sun! laying down! i have NEVER seen him lying down except to roll, which as a grey he does about five zillion times a day.

tomorrow we will do some more trot/canter sets with the horses, and the two we are taking hunting sunday, Frank and Hubert, we will take a short jumping lesson on from missy after she come back from her event (@ rocking horse)

Hopefully we can make it over there to watch her and karen's cross country courses as well as a few folks from home who are also competing. its going to be a whos who of the eventing world. should be fun to watch. (i'll bring my camera of course)

So Sunday, should be amazing. we are taking two horses to hunt with Live Oak, which is apparently the best around. Fast and furious, i hope. the unfortunate part is having to pull out of the barn at 4am. lots and lots of coffee. and snacks. and more coffee.
but it'll be loads o' fun!
until later.

1.27.2011

florida. photos.

So here are some photos. the first...... two, then the third are from the oconnors farm. THE O'CONNORS.
that is where our horses are. we are staying on the other property shown in the photos. Longwood. beautiful. huge, huge fields of cross country jumps. four of them. and missy (ransehousen for those not in the know) is putting us through the most fun bootcamp ever. so that may disqualify it from being dubbed bootcamp. but whatever.

anyway. its been beautiful here. and its amazing how many top level riders are here. today i acted as a wing for a jump while darren chaichai schooled a horse over it and one of the U.S.A. eventing team members who competed at the world equestrian games was zooming around on two different mounts today as well.

soooo coool.

anyway. enjoy.
OH and in the last few photos are of a cross coutry lesson jen and i took with missy over at longwood. missy tried to take some photos... so there are the usable ones. im the one with the neon blue vest. we jumped all over the place in the first of five fields at our disposal. all chock full of beautiful, varyingly huge, and impeccably maintained jumps. we schooled over a ditch, a bank or two, some water combos, huge logs, crazy brush jumps with colorful foliage growing out of them etc etc. SOOOOOO fun. sometimes you need a little excitement to remind you why you got into this whole crazy lifestyle. seriously.


















thats me and winton! the jump only looks small cause he is GIGANTIC!


So here, it is a horse persons mecca. next door are breeding stallions, and on the other side the O'Conor's place. i mean, dozens of advanced level event horses and every single one is more impressive than the last. 
across the street is a race horse training facility with a full track, and its not unusual to be driving past and see horses breezing down the stretch. 

then, ever few hundred feet, a couple dozen acres, is another farm: fresians, morgans, thoroughbreds, sport horses, everything.

its close to heaven. and really, I have never met so many upper level riders in my whole life, let alone, just jumping around the same cross country course as me. Seriously? how did i get here? how did this happen to me?

so. freeeeeaking awesome. 

oh, today i was officially introduced to david oconor and got to watch their newest equine addition to the oconnor event team get her first lesson in manners. 

karen standing next to me narrating what was going on in the ring. yup. this is my life, apparently. still trying to figure out what i did right exactly, but also trying not to look a gift horse in the mouth. harharhar.


and not to be flippant, but i really feel for everyone at home. I mean, i need to be here, but i wish you all could be too. its that beautiful and wonderful of an experience.

and the snow stinks. and apparently this thing.... of me leaving and the sky dumping down snow was not just a one time deal last winter. and for that. i am sorry.


love and miss you all at home. painfully so and i cant wait to see you. but i am definitely not wishing away my time here. 

1.26.2011

Florida Florida jiggidy jog

So.
Jen and I arrived in Ocala Florida monday morning, around 4:30 am, ahead of the horses by about an hour, just enough time to sleep a smidge before getting them settled and morning chores. We had left Pa at around 11am sunday morning stopping only to help water the horses bathroom breaks and of course, eat (our second favorite thing behind riding of course).

Its been two real (and by real i mean days not overcome with the overwhelming urge to curl into a ball and sleep) days and still, every five minutes or so, one of us mutters "oh. wow. it is sooooooo nice here" "Ah! how perfect is the weather?" "THE SUN! it feels so good" "ohhhh yeah. it. is beautiful out" etc etc etc. the only thing we have going for us right now is that we try and say it a different way every time, and yet i still think everyone thinks we are insane.


we have gotten to do some pretty sweet stuff so far, like listen in on a judges seminar led by a no-nonsense "L" dressage judge (i dont know what that means, except she is supposed to know what she is talking about). the future judges were to watch horse and rider pairs and critique them, saying the sorts of things they would write on the judges forms. and, well. it made me a little nervous hearing them talk about what they were seeing and thinking about them as the future of dressage judging for eventing aka future me. yikes! However, missy (our trainer) ransehousen and darren chiacchia (another advanced event rider) ride for the trainees.
it was really cool. then we walked with missy back to her barn while she bitched about their comments on her horse who looks amazing and is doing incredible considering he broke his stifle a year ago. (an injury many never recover fully from)


we also got to watch karen oconnor take a lesson from an old school german dressage rider/trainer. also super cool.


And, well..... its only going to get better. tomorrow we take a lesson from missy, and ask Karen Oconnor when she has time to give us a lesson or two and also when she wants to take us to dinner (that was her idea :) ) oh! and karen ALSO commented that all our horses look great. (hopefully she'll maintain that position once she watches them all go. ahem)
anyway
ill keep you posted on the juicy bits of course.


needless to say, getting settled has taken bit of effort, though not for the horses who are as happy as kittens sun bathing.
 And on that note, I will promise more stories and some serious details, later, and perhaps some photos when i have a moment to upload them, and, after i get some zzzzzs.
(plus i have to do all this on Missy's computer, which she so graciously let me use, cause mine wont connect to the stupid internets! Grrrrrrrr)


anyway, ttfn. 

1.21.2011

winter.

it. is. cold. the high today was on my way to work at 6:30 am. 33 degrees. f'n cold. feels like 18. tonight 12 with high winds. tomorrow night, cold again. highs drasticly below freezing. way to go out with a bang. but on these cold days, there is nothing like a hot cup of coffee midday to get me motivated to bak out and keep slogging away at our todo list.... the rest of which i will carry out (mostly) myself because my travel companion/boss is headed to a funeral.

OI VEY.

by the way, today in ocala it is 61 with a low of 40. WHAT! that was the high yesterday, and, well. summer weather as far as im concerned. Can. Not. Wait.

(note: although i complain about the cold, i would rather it be below freezing and working out side than inside any day. i was excited we only got a few inches of snow today cause it meant we could ride. a last little ass kicking before we show what we've accomplished/destroyed to our trainer in florida)

(also note: i still have dreams about being a cowboy. but mostly i think ill be a horse-farmer? wait, not that is strange. I still want to wear bandanas and vests everyday, old worn in boots, jeans so dirty and worn they are nearly waterproof, be weatherworn and tough and be able to ride anything that comes my way. so that will qualify me as a cowboy, right? i sure hope so cause that is where i am headed no doubt.