Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday Journal 2

Hello again,

This afternoon I rode while the other girls got to jump, it was a little distracting since I was riding during the group that jumps the highest and I enjoy watching them ride, Pingu didn't mind...

Gabi talked to me more about jumping today, since Pingu takes so much control they're going to wait until this class is through and put me on another horse that I can learn more on, for now though, Pingu is a great teacher for dressage.

I had my first lesson with Marvin today as my afternoon ride, and like I promised I lost the spurs...bad decision, Pingu has two speeds run like hell and stop, the spurs may irritate him more, but at least I have a few more gears between the two. Though he made me work for all of it, Marvin led us through exercises with transitions from trot to canter, canter to walk, trot to halt, and walk to canter (the last of which did not really happen). We also worked on collecting and extending the trot and canter to help prepare for transitions. Marvin is an EXCELLENT teacher, haha he carries a dictionary of riding terms in English, German and French with him when he teaches me, and asks as many questions as he gives instruction, but its only to give me the most specific direction for how to improve what I'm doing. He also was sensitive to the fact that Pingu gave me nothing today, which makes things a little more encouraging when they're not going well.

Other than that I videoed a few of my friends while they jumped today, and I felt like I learned a lot from watching, not only of German terms, but in how the girls rode. One of the girls I watched with knows little English, but always shushes her friend who knows more so she has a chance to try to say something, I think its adorable!

It never warmed up today, the high was like 50* F I think. Its horrible when you sweat while you ride (cause the horse you have does not want to go!) then you get off and are immediately freezing again, and this time you're wet...I don't recommend the combination. Not sure when I ride yet tomorrow, I should know more in an hour or so. Hopefully tomorrow it will be warmer and it will rain less!!! Aaron gets back from Malta today, maybe he'll bring their weather with him...

Monday Journal 1

Definately slept through my alarm this morning, luckily I woke up an hour before my first lesson! It is FREEZING here! Only 45 degrees today, I definately did not pack for weather this cold in MAY! Just another reason to go shopping today, might have to wait for tomorrow though, I was supposed to have my second lesson at 11:30, but its being rescheduled to late this afternoon.

Had another lesson on Pingu, it went alright, I started out with the group then Gabi pulled me to the other side of the arena for a private lesson. Good thing too, he and I really needed some work. Towards the end I practiced what we worked on by myself so she could help the other students, and Pingu ended up bucking, a mixture of him being sick of working on canter circles and my reins being too short, haha when I tried to fix it he ended up doing flying changes, so maybe leave the spurs off for a while til I figure out what's going on with my legs...
I'll write again after my second lesson :)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

What I've been up to continued...

Tuesday: Had two lessons on Pingu, one group lesson with Daniella, we worked on more changes but needed a whip today. I think both of us are tired. I also had my first private lesson with Gabi, she put me in spurs and they made a world of difference (see facebook video). We worked on canter departures and staying calm through the downward transition to trot. I still feel like I'm better than I thought they'd think I am, Lena in particular is very complimentary of my riding (she has no idea how much that means to me). She's the one who took pictures of me and Pingu, and filmed the video. Some of the other girls are talking more to me, since I've started spending a little time in the kitchen with them as they cook. We talk about the lessons and the theory, I'm getting alot more comfortable here. Today I walked into town to buy a phone and internet stick, it was really pretty just walking around! I feel a little better about getting around alone now too.

Wednesday: Two more lessons, today was pretty good with Pingu, we worked more on trot extensions. Gabi and her husband gave me a bike to borrow today!!! I'm so excited about being able to get around faster now!

Thursday: Whew, two more lessons, one was a jumping lesson though, that was a nice change, Pingu is a hard one to jump though. We had to jump from the trot because he's kind of hard to control, he used to do very very high jumps and I think gets a little over enthusiastic. Since I have a hard time following his head and neck over the jump I think I should practice on another horse until I get better. Its too hard to follow the movement when i have to hold him back to the fence. Aaron's coming to visit again today, so I need to get groceries, time to try out the bike!!
I rode around for an hour before I found the grocery store, turns out if I had just gone straight on the road from the school I would have found it. Soooo tired when I got home, but I was able to create a recipe for a bean and sausage stew that I really like. Hooray for figuring out how to cook over here!!

Friday: No Pingu today! I don't know what to do! :( I'll be ok haha, I'll just give him carrots as I walk by his stall. Gabi gave me a private lesson on Little Lupo today, he's a 5 year old they have in training there. He's actually really really nice, as long as I remember everything I'm supposed to do. I rode him again in a group lesson in the afternoon, all we worked on was bending, responding to the inside leg, going forward, and not getting distracted by the wind and birds...then some bike riders raced much for that idea. I really like Lupo too though, he's the blackest horse I've ever seen, kind of short too, so he reminds me of a less tragic Black Beauty. Pictures will be taken soon!

Saturday: I meant to video the girls' jumping lesson today, but the tylenol pm made it a bit hard to wake up, so I slept in til my lesson. Pingu and I worked on leg yielding, I think he was in a bad mood because of the rider switch yesterday. Gabi told me that he's pretty sensitive to that. I helped out with chores even though its not my day, some of the younger girls tend to skip out on helping sometimes and the others were getting frustrated at the lack of help and quality of work being done in the barn, so it seemed best to help keep the peace. Matt came to visit today, he helped me get my computer set up (yay internet!!) so now I have a connection to home! We also found the mall, so I'm going shopping on Monday haha, very excited!

Sunday: We had to work the barn today, I thought we'd have the day off, but no such luck. All the girls got the day off from riding though...except me, haha go figure. Pingu was a bit difficult today so the private lesson was what we needed. We covered everything from leg yields to flying changes. I took a nice long nap today, haha for about 4 hours, I'm not used to riding so much and having the guys come over two days in a row is wearing me out. Its a good tired though, I just hope I get used to it soon so I can do more throughout the days!

Thanks for reading guys!!! More specific posts on the horses, their care, the weather, the program, and my friends here will be up soon! As well as my daily journal entries! Keep enjoying your summers!

What I've been up to so far...

Hello again!

I have a bit more time so I figure I'll update you on what I've been doing this week and tell you a little more about this place. I kept a journal so I'll just copy what I have written down.

Saturday: Arrived in Nuremburg around 11:30, Matt picked me up and took me to the Riding School, Ansbach looks nice, but small. Gabi was here when I got here, she was so sweet and got me some food to last me through the weekend! (all the shops are closed on Sunday, and Monday because its a holiday) After moving my things up to my dorm room and getting my key, Matt and I explored the town and got something to eat. I have no internet, no cheap way to call Matt or Aaron, well just Matt right now since I seem to have the wrong number for Aaron. Overall it was a pretty good day though! If you're ever in Ansbach and want an enchilada, I don't recommend the local mexican restaurant, the enchilada tasted like sloppy joe. Gotta say I'm a little worried about spending three weeks here, I know only a little german and it seems that english isn't as common around here as I thought, without a phone to call Matt and if I don't get a chance to meet up with Aaron this has the potential to be a lonely trip, however, I am in Germany, a place I've dreamed of going for a really really long time, so I'm determined to enjoy every moment of this.

Sunday: Haha so this is what jetlag feels like, sooooo tired, slept in til 12:30, could have been the nyquil i took though. There's a girl here named Jackie who doesn't speak much english, she's really funny, kind of crazy, and managed to find a way to introduce me to all the horses today. We managed to communicate through sentences of mixed german and english, where there's a will there's a way right? Oh and exciting news!! Aaron called this morning and woke me up! He got the message i left him on facebook from Matt's iPhone and called from a friend's house. Its reassuring to know that I'll get a chance to meet up with him after only staying in touch via Skype and Facebook for two years. Between he and Matt, I'll have a great time here!
The girls in the riding camp started arriving today, I now share a bathroom with two girls that don't speak english, but I move into the apartment tomorrow! I have a meeting to find out what the next week and a half will be like, then Aaron's coming to visit! I can't wait to find out what's in store for this next week!!

Monday: 6:30am work in the barn, pick stalls, put in fresh shavings and sweep, repeat at 11:30 and 1600 (4pm) ride at 9am and 1500 (3pm). I've been assigned to ride a horse named Pingu, ironically he's been my favorite since I got here (see previous post-he's the first horse with his head out the window). After our first ride he's solidified himself as my favorite here (no I don't need to ride other horses to know that haha), I can barely POST his trot its so big, you can really feel the moment of suspension! Also, I apparently am not as bad as I thought I was, since they have me working on flying changes, I should mention that all I have to do is change the bend and give with my new inside rein to get him to change...that's a new one for me! The girls don't talk to me much, one has a really good grasp of english and tells me that its because I'm older and they're embarrassed of their german accents. I told her I speak german with an english accent so they shouldn't be embarrassed! Her name is Lena, one of the interns here is named Marvin and he speaks great english also, and asks me to help him with riding terms in english when we both have free time. Daniela has been my instructor so far, her english isn't quite as good as Lena, Marvin and Gabi's, but we can figure out what each other is trying to say. Last night's visit from Aaron was nice, I was starting to get a little lonely again, so getting a chance to explore the town again with him was really good. Its too bad he and Matt live so far away, the evenings are looking like they might be a bit lonely. Since they are I visit the horses at night, I just need to get carrots or apples tomorrow when the stores open again (if I can find a store) and I need a cell phone (a Handy) that's based in Germany and an internet stick too!

I'll continue the other entries in another post! That's all for now!


Getting Aquainted

Hey Everybody!

If you're reading this then you probably know me pretty well and I don't have to explain the purpose of this blog to you, but I'm going to anyways.

Just in case you forgot, I recieved arguably one of the best gifts ever for my graduation and commissioning, a 4 week trip to Germany, of which three weeks will be spent at a riding school in Ansbach. The idea is that over the three weeks I'm here, I'll further refine my dressage and jumping skills and understand the German theory of riding just a little bit better.

I have two friends here that I've been able to see, one is Matt, he picked me up from the airport; the other is Aaron, who I've been talking to since his adventure with Ranger School, on his deployment, and then of course since he's been over here. These two friends have been a welcome break from my total immersion into German culture... that's not to say I mind being totally immersed, its just been so much of a culture shock that its nice to hang out with a couple Americans from time to time :)

As I write this I've been here for about 8 days, and its taken me about that long to find my way to a local Army Post and buy myself a transformer for my laptop, then there's buying a german cell phone and an internet stick so I can stay in touch with my parents and friends back in the States.

As I have free time I'll post daily updates and pictures, for now I'll leave you with these photos of the place that I'm staying. Miss y'all!