3 days down. Wow, is that it? I keep saying "well that one time.." and it can only be yesterday or the day before!
Yesterday I started writing, but had just taken Advil PM, so got as far as "well today I..." and then proceeded to fall asleep - haha!
Well let's see, yesterday was the first real day of work. It was gross and rainy and a bit chilly, so hauling horses in got a bit exciting but everyone seemed to survive! After chores (picking stalls, changing water, throwing grain and hay), Mckenzie told me I was going to get to ride - exciting! There's a book in the tack room where Buck lists out all the horses, what they need to have done that day, and who's going to do it. So I was down to do 20 and 30 minute trot sets on 3 horses, which I hadn't really been expecting and was a nice surprise. I had no idea how all the riding was actually going to work out!
The first horse I rode was Eddie (Linda's horse), who I don't think I've seen since he was a year old and he tried to eat my glove! He's got a huge head and a big personality, but he was a huge sweetheart the second I got on him. As it was raining we flatted up in the covered indoor. Buck is always on a horse and just threw me little comments when I got on the horse. Eddie's was "he knows everything, just kick his ass and make him do it!" I definitely can't always make the horses go how he wants, but for a 30 minute trot set I can get them in a frame and do a little bit of lateral work. It's pretty awesome riding in an arena with Buck, Kenzie, and Andrea (Buck's girlfriend), they're all fabulous!
Next I went to get on Simon, a 4-year-old off the track TB. All the tack is communal but adjusting a bridle to fit Eddie's chunky head and Simon's fine little head was definitely an achievement. I got on him down by the stables and then wandered up to the covered indoor, and then things got slightly more exciting. Simon had apparently never worn a flash before, so wasn't too pleased about that. Took off slightly down the long side, then Buck told me to get off and take off his flash. So I jumped down and tried to hang on as Simon danced all over back towards in the in gate. Eventually Kenzie came over and switched with me - haha! So I got to finish the trot set on a fun little mare called Libby, instead.
Third horse was Catalina. SO FUN. She's Coren's horse I believe, a big chunky mare with again, a huge head. Definite sweetheart and just completely auto frames, it's great! Buck's little comment about her was to try and get her nose more out in front of her and actually connecting over the top line, which I couldn't quite get to but got her pushing off her back end and into my hands a bit, and had a lot of fun.
Since it was raining, Buck didn't ride that many horses, so it wasn't too terribly busy. Charm and my parents showed up around 4, which was really exciting! Charm came out great, really relaxed and just happy to mooch around and eat some grass. All of the horses were in because of the rain, but they had nicely kept a stall for her and she got to hang out in between Buzz and TJ and was very sleepy after such a long trailer ride! My parents were really helpful in moving all of her tack into the tack room and getting Charm all settled in. She is VERY adorable.
Because all the horses were in we had to pick 18 stalls instead of 6, which was a BIG difference! So after mucking out, doing water, hay, grain, tack cleaning, boot cleaning, and raking, I think we got out around 6:30. Came home to an actual home cooked dinner (sooo nice after eating microwavable chicken nuggets!), organized all of Charm's trunks (she has 3!) and passed out :)
Today was an AMAZING day. Truly incredible. Got up, and Mum was up and around and made me a sandwich for lunch (love you, mommy!), and I headed off to work. It wasn't raining like it had threatened, which was nice, but all of the horses were still in. Kept them in as most of them were getting ridden and got down to picking stalls. Got all 18 done and was changing over water when Buck started riding. They were doing some jumping today and the arena was pretty wet, so all the horses came back encased in a nice layer of muddy sand - yum! This was the busiest I had been by far and I was a bit overwhelmed. Since all the horses were in we didn't really have enough stalls. Everything is communal so besides Bobby who always has his own stall at the end (and he has his own tack on a special hook), and Reggie usually gets the stall next to him, everyone just rotates totally freely. It's nice, but means everything got a bit confused!
So I didn't manage to finish filling water buckets for another two and a half hours because Buck or Andrea or Kenzie would come back every twenty minutes with another horse to hose off and put away. It was pretty cool to see all those horses come through though and make sure they were all taken care of.
We were doing long trot sets today, so packed up 5 of the horses and went over to Buck's County Horse Park (or something like that) for a fun trail ride. I rode over with Andrea who is SO sweet and very chatty, which makes for easy going. I rode Catalina again today and went out on a 40 minute trot set with Buck on Bobby, Kenzie on Reggie, Andrea on Fergie, and Callie on one of her horses, I think called Addie. Pretty cool being on a trail ride with Bobby and Reggie. The horses all have to work on their trail rides tho, and do shoulder fores and haunches in and kept working into frames the whole time. There's also a definite pecking order, which is fun to watch. Buck does everything first, then either Andrea of Kenzie, then Callie (who I haven't quite worked out what she does, she has her horses at the barn but doesn't seem to work for Buck? I'm sure it'll become clear soon), and then I would never dare use the mounting block before anyone else or go in front of them in line! It was a nice day, though, and the horse park was GORGEOUS. Fun little XC jumps everywhere and a nice day to go out for a big trot. My toes fall asleep though, haven't quite gotten all those muscles strong enough yet!
Hauled the horses back to Buck's, and then he told me to tack up Charm and he would meet me up in the covered indoor. SO EXCITING. I threw jump tack on Charm and went and warmed her up. I haven't ridden her in 5ish months now I think, but my mum's been doing great work on her and she felt wonderful! I love that pony a lot. Buck eventually came up to the indoor on Haifa and watched me ride a bit. Had me going in a canter circle around him pushing Charm into a bit of a shoulder fore to try and get her straight and really get her to bend. Her canter felt awesome by the end of it! I really like working with him, he's very straightforward and doesn't get upset if something doesn't go perfectly the first time. Very nice trainer.
He was very complimentary of Charm (YAY!) and said we should go down and jump a little bit. Andrea had thought Charm was super cute in her stall and so came down to watch as well. Pretty awesome walking down with Buck. He's really nice to just chat with and was very interested in Charm and what she'd done and what I was planning on doing with her. I've entered Plantation Field for June 5th at Beginner Novice so that should be fun.
We watched the end of another girl's lesson with Tonya, the other trainer at the barn, and then Buck jumped Haifa around a bit. It's wonderful to see him ride. So soft, and makes a decision so far out and is incredibly clear about it. Very cool. Then he set a 2 foot vertical and asked me to circle right over it. Charm came around the first time, and had been so quiet and relaxed the whole time which was awesome, but then POPPED the first jump (as she does). Must have jumped at least 3'6" over the little thing, eliciting an "OH MY GOD!" from Andrea, in a very positive way :)
She was ducking hard right when Buck asked me to make sure she landed on the right lead, but he was very patient and impressed with my little pony. He said, "you're a nice little rider, huh?" which may or may not be my favorite compliment ever :) As he had really never seen me ride before, I think he was happy! He kept saying "oh we can definitely work with this" and seemed positive all round, which was great. Andrea knocked the vertical up to about 2'9, 3' (or at least it felt huge to me after the IHSA!) and said to come round to it again. Charm still left about a foot of space over it but was an angel and jumped everything perfectly. We went down to an oxer a couple of times too, and then called it a day as she had just traveled so far. Buck and Andrea both seemed to love her, which was a great feeling. Buck asked me what my goals for the season were, and I said that if I could get her confident at Novice I'd be very happy and he quickly came back and said "oh, she'll be going Training by the end of the season." SO COOL. Compliments from Buck are prettyyyyy exciting.
I don't think you'll be able to see these pictures unless you're my facebook friend, but if so - http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2049887&id=1143060351&saved#!/album.php?aid=2049887&id=1143060351 there are some pictures from my lesson today!
Untacked Charm, and washed her and Haifa down. I'd managed to miss a lot of evening chores, and Kenzie had done all 18 stalls by herself, which I was very grateful for! She is really sweet, I'll be sad to see her go in 2 weeks. I'm not really sure what Buck is going to do without her. She gives injections, does all the wrapping, does a lot of riding for him; it'll be interesting to see how it all works out. Brandon's gone for a week now too at his siblings' graduation so we'll see how it goes with less people!
I cleaned tack while my parents chatted with Buck about riding with his dad and Jacek (sp?) back in the day. Everyone seems to know and miss Jacek a lot! Ended up cleaning the tack, doing water, washing the last set of boots, and then Charm got to go out overnight, which was awesome. She's been fabulous so far. Really relaxed and very happy to go outside in a new field with some bits of grass. We're going galloping tomorrow at Bruce's, which should be AWESOME, so Charm'll get to be out all day, which is nice.
Rushed home after chores, as my parents and I were going to Morimoto (the Iron Chef's restaurant) for dinner. Most amazing meal I've had in my life. 9 course tasting menu. Soo many things I would never order for myself, but ended up being incredible! Started with toro tartare, then oysters 3 ways, striped bass carpaccio finished with hot oil (SO tasty), scallops sashimi, almond spearmint spritzer (a bit like drinking toothpaste, but tasty), pan seared lobster with yuzo creme fraiche, kobe beef and pickled ramps (INCREDIBLE), sushi, which apparently has the cleanest taste, so served last; toro, maguro, herring, red snapper, clam and (a slightly American addition) desert of strawberry bavarois with miso ganache and macaroon. Absolutely amazing. Not bad to have my first lesson with Buck Davidson and the most amazing meal ever all in one day!
Galloping tomorrow - can't wait!