I was cleaning up my computer desktop this morning (an epic task), and I stumbled across some photos that I had meant to post back in July but then promptly forgot. One day our friend Hannah, who is a wonderful photographer, came out to the barn to take pictures of my roommate Leslie's awesome new horse, Orlando, and I managed to sneak into a few. I think these photos are so beautiful, and they bring back very fond memories of Handlen Farm, where Leslie and I kept our horses. It's definitely nice to have Ringo back at home, but it's pretty hard to compete with how awesome and gorgeous the facilities were at Handlen.
(Ray and Orlando share a bromance moment)
(Leslie and I hacking up to the outdoor arena at Handlen)
Well I've written just one post since I've arrived in California, and it's already almost time to go again. I've had a good time in California, though it's been more bittersweet than I had expected it to be. It's been really hard to see so many people and have to answer the inevitable "what are you up to these days?" question with the same awkward song and dance of, "not sure, finding things out, etc." It's made me feel more scattered than ever.
The big upside of the trip has been getting to get a lot more riding in than I would have originally let myself hope. I got to ride at least one horse a day nearly every day for the first two weeks--definite score! I was so thankful to the Red Barn for giving me such wonderful horses to play with, especially my bud Freddy, who I really grew to love over our two weeks together. He just came out and improved every day: you can't ask for more than that.
On the last day, my friend Patrick came out and took some photos of me riding Freddy for me. Thank you, Patrick! Look at what a cutie Freddy is (I think he wants to be a dressage horse!!):
(Me and Fred: what a handsome dude)
(VERY happy, haha! This was right after a great flying change)
(Lookin' supah pro; I also like my position here a lot, though those thumbs could definitely be more on top! Bad, bad, bad habit!)
(Umm... I am not straight. At all. Whoops. Got to try to get that left side collapse under control!)
(GOING BIG! I was most proud of the way Freddy's medium gaits really started to emerge by the end of our time together, where when I first sat on him he was so behind the leg that he wouldn't even offer a nice working trot, let alone a nice medium one!)
Greetings from sunny California! I'm very much enjoying the change of pace of being back on the west coast, even if it is only for a few weeks. I had a great road trip out, driving through rural North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, and Oregon--a route I had never taken before and really enjoyed seeing. I took tons of photos which I've now been busily processing and editing over the past 10 days. If you'd like to see that work, check out my other blog:
I was pretty resigned to the fact that this month in California could have the potential of being pretty horse free... but I did pack my riding clothes just in case ;) And very kindly, the folks at the Red Barn have been letting me hack a horse or two every day for the past week or so before the regular school year starts. Yay!!! It's so good to be back!!
Of course, it's not quite the same without Stanley, but it's still been awesome. I think this may be the most fun I've had at the barn recently, because since I'm no longer a student and so not on the team the level of applicable drama is wayyyy down, so it's just all wonderful ponies, all the time: a set up I could definitely get used to, given the chance!
All my favorite horses have been feeling really good, and I think the dressage team is going to have a blast with them. Additionally, I've been able to ride Freddy, a horse I rode very briefly before Nationals last year but really didn't know that well, almost every day with the thought of potentially easing him more regularly into the dressage team's group of mounts (he's currently pretty much exclusively a hunt seat horse).
(Freddy is a handsome dude, and one of the first bright chestnuts I've ever liked)
I had a great time riding him last spring and have been having an even better time riding him this fall--he's so cool!! He's a real natural athlete and so it all comes very easy to him... if you can convince him to go forward, haha. So I've been getting a good leg work out trying to get him more responsive, but have been really pleased to feel him come out every time I've ridden him a little more forward-thinking and willing than he was the time before. That definitely makes me very, very happy :)
(A very happy me on a very good Fredman after a great ride)
Meanwhile, back at the home front, Ringo has been in the capable hands of my Pa, and they have been getting along thick as thieves. Pa reports no spookiness, even going by the stuff that Ringo told me he was convinced going to kill him (Oh Ray, always keeping me humble...), and they've been taking weekly dressage lessons with Kim and making great progress. Additionally, Kiki went to King Oak with her lessor, going Novice, and finished on her dressage score. Good girl, Piggy! I'm so happy she's found a rider who loves her as much as her lessor, Robin, does--she deserves it :)
Ky has been the only one of the ponies on vacation, which I think is fine given that I plan on riding him pretty much all winter (which he usually gets off). But come October the little dude better buckle up, because Kate Erickson Boot Camp is about to begin!