I didn’t get a chance to write much last week, instead I took a long weekend from work and went skiing with Mom.
Friday would have been the first day for me to sleep in since Christmas holiday. Typically I have to be out the door by 7:30 for both my full time and weekend jobs, so I was very excited to sleep in until 8:00. Unfortunately, my body and my cat had other plans. Abbey woke me up at 6, jumping and running over the bed and through the room and for some unthinkable reason I said “You are right, its time to get up and moving!”
I had breakfast and coffee and waited around for sunrise before I decided to head over to the barn to see Bentley. Nobody was there and since he is still green, I don’t ride when it is deserted. Instead, I gave him a good grooming including a pretty new haircut. Lee doesn’t like it so much, says it makes B look like one of the Three Stooges. At least he doesn’t look scruffy anymore, and I didn’t choose to pursue a career in hairdressing.
Skiing came next on Friday. Mom and I ventured up to Hockley Valley and although there was no snow on the ground, there was acceptable man-made snow on the hills. Towards the afternoon there were light flurries which made for a festive atmosphere.
This was my first time skiing Hockley Valley, and my 3rd time skiing since…. oh maybe 12 or so years? Fortunately I have good leg muscles and was able to withstand a day of skiing without too much pain. The hills themselves were small, but good to get back into my groove. The hills had lots of kids on them, but most of them stuck to blue hills, meaning the black diamonds were pretty much “our” hills for the day. The terrain park was forbidden territory for school groups, and we found 2 nice runs off them. One didn’t even have a single ski mark in it until we went through. I also amused myself with small jumps and wide rails in the park for the first time ever. No falls, but I did catch my ski on the end of one rail and ended up going down the hill backwards until I was able to reverse snowplow to a stop. If anyone asks… I meant to do that!
The food was also surprisingly good albeit expensive. They served fresh organic meats and the salad dressing tasted chef made rather than pre-made. Very impressed, it seemed like a nicer hill than Glenn Eden, but perhaps if I went on the weekend I would have a different impression, I would be happy to return on a snowier day. Its right beside a golf course, and due to our bizarre weather, it really felt like we were skiing on a golf course.
Friday night I had my first lesson at Myrddin with Margie. My friend DJ had brought to my attention a few weeks ago a groupon deal for 4 lessons, so she and I ventured up to Ballinafad to start our set of lessons. I was partnered with LBH, an off track thoroughbred. Let me just say… I have never had luck with OTTBs… LBH was no different. I did have a fall from him (never pleasant for the first time in a new group lesson!) I guess what happened was as we all cantered, someone ran up his rear and he took off like at the track, with some bucks, some twists and turns and we almost ran into someone. I was staying pretty well, until one point where i just thought to myself that it was easier to just allow the fall to happen safely rather than try and hold on and risk scaring him or hurting his mouth. No bruises and my pride is surprisingly unblemished. We did really well after that, we cantered alone and he was a different horse completely.
We had a jumping lesson after that, the first one I had really since I was a kid. Lots of things I am doing wrong! But I think I caught on quick enough and made big improvement in the 4 jump course we did. Big difference however, was the feel of jumping length stirrups! I have been riding recently in dressage length, possibly beyond dressage length, so I felt like a little jockey perched up on top of that Thoroughbred!
Not too much to report about Saturday, just worked a long and cranky day (I was a little stiff from my eventful Friday) and went to bed around 7:30pm!
Sunday I had a bit more energy and rode Bentley after I finished work. He was bad at first, largely due to the company in the ring. First horse was being lunged because she was acting funny and needed to release some energy. After she was gone, one of the miniature horses was brought in for the same reason. Bentley is very scared of miniatures apparently. Wouldn’t even go in the same side of the ring as this large dog sized mare and was very difficult to control. Deciding it was time for him to conquer his fears, I dismounted and let him up to her. It took a lot of coaxing and patience, but eventually he stretched his neck out in that terrified Arabian way and smelt her. He was very relieved that I allowed him away after that event.
After the mare left (not before she kicked her handler Adriana in the hand!) he cooled down in a matter of minutes and was trotting around like a superstar. Trotted him for almost 15 minutes until he was clearly tired. For such a fat horse, that’s a very impressive jog! He got naughty again when the girls came in to watch Mallory and Polar’s ride, hmmm maybe he remembered Adriana from the miniature pony incident. Or maybe he just doesn’t like an audience. Either way, once they left he quieted again and gave me a sufficient positive note to end our work on. Best part of the ride, I was able to take his bridle off over his ears without a single complaint. Still working on getting it on easily, but getting it off is a good start!