Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Flash! A-aaahhh!

That's a Flash Gordon reference, for all of you too young to remember the 1980s. Here's Flash, one of the two geldings that my eventer friend is graciously allowing me to ride. In this video, trainer Leslie is aboard. Doesn't Flash have some serious dressage potential?

I'm off to my eventer friend's barn this weekend to get the lay of the land, and I hope to be back in the saddle starting next week. I need to talk to my friend about whether she minds me blogging about her horses. I'm hopeful that she'll be ok with it.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Kylemore Abbey, Connemara

On our day tour of Connemara, we stopped at Kylemore Abbey for lunch. It's the oldest of the Irish Benedictine Abbeys. Since 1920 there has been a community of nuns there. The castle itself was completed in 1871.

Even out of season, the abbey's Victorian walled garden is amazing. It covers 8.5 acres.

Here I am by the lake in front of the abbey, wearing my new Irish wool scarf. It was windy and chilly, but not bad.

Also on the grounds of the abbey is a neo-gothic church, completed in 1881.

The nuns run a girls' boarding school, and those girls must have to be pretty darn creative to find any trouble at all. The abbey is halfway between the middle of nowhere and the edge of nowhere.

Starting gate practice

Teaching babies what the starting gate is all about. These jockeys really earn their money.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bantry

Bantry is a gourgeous little village on Bantry Bay, with mountains all around. There are lots of narrow streets lined with brightly-colored shops. My friend is currently touring the Bantry House & Gardens. I decided to skip the tour and walk back to the hotel. An elderly Irish gentleman fell in with me and escorted me for about fifteen minutes. He had the thickest Irish accent I've ever heard! I understood about a third of what he said. He was quite concerned to learn that I'm 38 and never married. His advice--marry the next fellow who asks me out. He was very sweet and kissed me on the cheek when we parted. Next up--we're taking a ferry out to Whiddy Island to see the festival they're having. We've had sunshine yesterday and today!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Connemara

Bus tour of Connemara was super. It's very desolate and quietly pretty. Lots o' sure-footed, black-faced sheep. Saw some of the filming locations for The Quiet Man. Only saw ponies as we were whizzing by. Ate lunch at a Benedictine abbey/castle. Struck out on good music last night. Now on a bus to Bantry!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Irish music

Went to a pub last night and saw a traditional Irish band called Alale. It was a guitarist, a fiddle/singer, a drummer, a bagpipe player, and a flute/tin whistle player. They were wonderful and the place was packed. The singer had a lovely mournful voice. I wore my new sweater and got a compliment on it. Galway is really windy, btw. Now off to Connemara! I'm taking lots of pix but so far no opportunity to upload ...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Galway

I'm typing this on an iPod touch, so forgive the telegraphic English! Got to the hotel at 3 pm and napped until 9. Went out to a pub and stayed until the empty bottles started to fly. Ireland on St Patty's Day is crazy! Then we accidentally slept until 1 today. Oops. Spent the whole afternoon shopping. Awesome sweater shops here. Talked to a drunk Irishman who had lost 700 Euros on the ponies. Now going out to the pubs again. Tomorrow taking a bus tour of Connemara. Hope to see some Connemara ponies!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ireland, here I come

Tomorrow evening my friend and I leave for Portland to spend the night near the airport, and then Tuesday morning we're off to Ireland! If I can find some internet cafes, I'll try to post pictures while I'm there; otherwise, I'll post like crazy when I'm back!

Willow update: she's doing super. She has a nice big pasture to run around in.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Dreams

Pretty much everyone has the high school anxiety dream, right? The one where you can't find your locker, and then when you find it, you can't remember your combination, and it doesn't really matter anyway because you never attended class all semester and today's the final.

Since I shipped Willow off, I've been having my dressage anxiety dream every few nights. In this dream, I'm at a show, and my class is coming up in a couple of hours. I think to myself, "Plenty of time to braid, tack up, and warm up." Then I check my watch again, and it's suddenly half an hour before my class. No time to braid, I can't find my stock tie, and my stall isn't where I thought it was. Last night, in addition, I realized Willow and I had mistakenly ended up in a PSG class. I was wondering how I was going to fake the tempis. I hope the dreams stop when I get back to riding again in a few weeks.

For the second time in my life, I have pneumonia. I had it five years ago, when I was living in Lubbock, and I didn't realize what it was until it had progressed quite a bit. This time around I suspected I might have it (something about the barky, squeaky, wheezy cough) and caught it before it got bad. Yesterday I vegetated on the couch all day and plowed through most of season 4 of Angel. Unfortunately, it's a pretty funny season, and every time I laughed it set off a coughing jag.

Have y'all seen the latest video from OK Go (a.k.a. the guys with way too much time on their hands)? I find it mesmerizing, even more so than the treadmill video.

This video prompted me, for the first time, to wonder who, exactly, was Rube Goldberg? Wikipedia says:

Reuben Lucius Goldberg (July 4, 1883 – December 7, 1970) was an American cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer, and inventor. Goldberg is best known for a series of popular cartoons he created depicting complex devices that perform simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways – now known as Rube Goldberg machines. Goldberg received many honors in his lifetime including a Pulitzer Prize for his political cartooning in 1948 and the Banshees' Silver Lady Award in 1959.

So now I know.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Horseless

Big, sad news. I've decided I can no longer afford to keep Willow. It's a very painful decision I've been creeping reluctantly towards for about the past six months, and let me tell you, there were many tears. I bought Willow as a four-year-old, and I'm incredibly attached. So much so, in fact, that I couldn't face the prospect of trying to sell her myself. The only bright spot in the whole deal has been my dear friends/former trainers Wolfgang and Suzanne, down in Texas, who immediately stepped in and offered to board and market Willow for me.

So, on February 11 the Equine Express truck pulled up to the barn and picked up Willow. She was delivered to the ranch south of Blanco, TX, on Valentine's Day. Suzanne said she walked calmly off the truck without a scratch on her. Here she is, minutes off the truck, enjoying the Texas sunshine:

She always has been an extremely self-sufficient mare.

And so, here I am, still technically a horse owner, but horseless. It has been over twelve years since I haven't had a horse to work five days a week. I'm feeling fairly adrift (although sick for the past week and grateful not to have to head out into the rain every evening).

I've already had an offer from an eventer who trailers into the barn once a week for lessons. She has two TBs and not enough time (and I get the feeling dressage is kind of like Brussels sprouts for her), and she has offered to let me bang around on her horses whenever. Also, there's a new Halflinger at the barn that may be free for me to ride once a week or so. So once I get back from Ireland, I'll be exploring those possibilities. I'm pretty sure, one way or another, I'll find a way to keep riding, so this blog probably won't be going anywhere.