Sunday, May 19, 2013

Been here a month!

Time is really flying, I know I've said that a lot but I can't get over how true it is.  I don't feel like the new person here anymore!  The past two weeks have been busy and business as usual.  Kathryn (the Canadian) is going home for a visit this coming week so I will not be slowing down soon... we might be a little lost without her but will manage just fine.  At the end of last week I rode some of "her" horses so I could get to know them before she goes.  I really like riding new horses and seeing how quickly I can figure out how to best ride them.  As Pam calls it, this "diagnostic"period consists of checking their response to the aids and determining their natural tendencies. Are they lazy or spicy? Do they lean right or left?  Which gait and direction is easiest for them?  I find myself thinking back to Pam's advice everyday.  While this makes me realize how valuable my time with her was, it is also extremely bittersweet!  However, I am taking advantage of getting to practice what I've learned AND continue learning from Morten.  Can't go wrong!
There is rumor I will be showing two horses in June!  I love to show so this is an exciting and unexpected opportunity.  I ride a gelding who will be showing "M" level, which is a Danish national level equivalent to third and fourth levels.  He is a sensitive guy, but I enjoy riding him a lot and think he will be fun in the show arena.  I will also do the FEI 5 Year Old classes with one of Dressage ArvĂ©'s own horses.  I haven't ridden him as much, but he is very easy going and really cute! I am very excited.  We just have to work out some details (including translating my test!) and then it's showtime.   
Onto non-riding topics, we had spring cleaning this weekend at the barn so we are all tired.  It was quite the production but everything looks amazing.  It is so clean here, and now I see why.  There is so much attention to detail and upkeep.  It is hard work, but it shows.  I've been doing some normal things like going into town, indulging in delicious Danish cakes, and reading.  I realize this is a somewhat uneventful way to explore a new country, but right now my fun and adventures are with the horses! 

 Spring cleaning

Translating and learning a Danish dressage test! 


 Attempting to be artsy.  

My new friend, Poopsy.   

More cleaning. 2 power washers.  

Happy Belated Birthday Kathryn!  

 Downtown Silkeborg.

Silkeborg hospital on the hill and the riverboats.

Just another late barn check, sunset around 10:30pm! 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Week 2 already!

Sorry the blog posting is not as frequent as I was planning, but things have been busy!  Everything is going really well still, I can't believe I've been here almost 2 weeks.  Today I worked my first weekend day.  The weekends are different than the week because the horses don't get ridden and only 2 people work.  I had a relaxing morning doing chores and odd jobs, all while enjoying the beautiful sun and some extremely happy horses.  Morten's riding horses get turned out in huge pastures and love every minute of it.  Tomorrow is another easy day then back to work on Monday!  
The riding this week was great, once again.  I'm getting in the grove of things here, which helps a lot.  Things were really efficient and by Friday we were even done early!  I am enjoying all the horses for different reasons, and getting to know them is really fun! Morten had a really interesting point, and I feel like it sums up his training and riding style.  For example, when riding 2 tempis, his goal is to get it done (no mistakes) and done well.  If that means he doesn't do it his way, that is ok with him.  His goal is to figure out what works best for the horse (because every horse is different) and then change himself so the horse can best understand.  To him, riding is not about changing the horse to fit a generic aid or style, it is about finding what works for the individual and conforming and compromising to get the job done.  It made a lot of sense for me to hear this because I am riding new horses who are all very well trained, regardless of their level.  I am also riding such a variety of horses that it makes perfect sense that the style and aids that suit a big slow horse are very different to what a small sensitive horse would need. When I thought of riding this way I tried to be more creative and it made the horses happier.  Not to say we aren't the teachers, but there is more to bringing out the best in a horse than making them conform to your personal style of riding.  
Off to bed now, 10:30 here already! Hope these posts and photos are enough to sustain everyone until I have enough time to write again :) 

 Getting ready to ride
 The office
 Journey into Silkeborg...
 ... to a Chinese buffet serving Ice CREAM! 
 Back to "work" 
 I guess these 3 like watching us do afternoon chores!
 Big turnouts, happy horses!
 He's not always sleeping, I swear
Work hard, play hard!