So, an interesting week to recap! Unfortunately, most of the past week was taken up by rain. The earlier days have melded together into a blur of taking horses to and off the hot walker, wiping down tack, and of course painting. The nice thing about painting is that it gets me caught up on listening to my favorite podcasts; the less nice thing is that it thoroughly coats me in a particularly stubborn type of oil based paint, which I seem completely incapable of removing! Anyway, by Thursday the rain seemed to have abated, and the Friday forecast was for sun so we were all cautiously hopeful that we'd be back in the saddle. Martin set a 6 AM start time for Friday, in hopes that we could finish up the riding by noon and head off to a breeding farm to look at some young horses in the afternoon.
Well, Alice, Katie and I rose at 5:00 AM to get ready to ride and were greeted by a thunderstorm. Nonetheless, we prepared the first horses (Boss, Nacar and Skyline) and by the time they were finished walking, the thunderstorm had abated to a mere rainshower. We trooped around and got on the next set to hack them through the rain as well. By this time Rodrigo had shown up, so Katie was relegated to young-horse duty. I rode Cor Lit and Alice rode Jour before we switched to the Series horses. I was on Justinian next, followed by Puccini, and then I got a lesson on Nixon. Martin said something very interesting while zeroing in on my tendency to miss my posting diagonal to the right and automatically sit to fix it: "Why are you fixing this mistake every time, when you could work so that the mistake would never be made?" He added that when you trot into the ring at a show or event, you are automatically being judged on your riding, and not just by the set judge, but by spectators and potential clients. Polishing the little details can get you a better ride and maybe more business.
After we were finished the last few horses, we cleaned up the tack and had lunch and then Martin offered to drive us into town to visit a big city mall. We heartily agreed and soon we were headed to the Unicenter Mall in Buenos Aires. It dwarves any of the malls in Winnipeg, that's for sure, and has enough designer stores to make any pocketbook cringe: North Face, Columbia, Kensington, Tiffany, L. L. Bean, Levi's, Bowen, Adidas... and the list goes on. It was a blast puttering around, though, and I ended up buying a book from the enticingly named "English books for everyone" store. At about 8:00 we meant Martin at a restaurant in the mall for a celebratory dinner: Alice just finalized her purchase of Skyline! The Argentine saddle horse is about to become an American citizen and eventer. It was a really nice dinner, and Martin told us a bit about his time as a working student for Karen and David O'Connor, who are just about the biggest names in American eventing, I'd say.
This morning we started at the usual time (7:30) and got all the horses done despite looming clouds and constant drizzle. I helped out Rodrigo for the morning but had a chance to hop on Holendesa and Herodes later. Holendesa is a really cool horse and right now is the perfect level of challenge for me. I had a fantastic lesson on her a few weeks ago and was working today to try and reproduce what I'd felt then; initially I couldn't get it at all! I realised later in the day what I was doing wrong, after Katie mentioned something that had been going on in one of her rides: I kept trying something, not getting the result I wanted, and switching instantly to a different method of asking. All this seems to produce is a confused and resistant horse. I need to work on chosing my method and sticking with it. There may be many methods that will achieve a certain end, but shuffling through all possible methods isn't going to result in a concrete response from the horse. If I chose a certain way of doing something, I'd sure as hell better stick with it! The end of my ride with Holendesa was a lot better, and I hope to be able to improve upon it further in the future.
Herodes was great, despite the fact that the sun had now come out in full force and you could feel the water evaporating from the surface of the ring, like trotting around in a giant sauna. After the rides were done we finished up barn chores and now here I sit, kind of wishing I was at home and missing my friends. It's hard to believe that it's fall at home and that winter will be coming soon... I feel like I'm missing out on so much, even though I'm sure that if I was at home I'd be feeling as blase and bored with everything as I did before! Still, though, I have to admit... being away from my friends and family makes me realise just how much I love them. I'm having a great time learning and riding and exploring here, and I love meeting new people and new horses, but I will always miss home!