(disclaimer: I promise I tried to make this post brief; it's just so hard!)
That last week and half has been busy and fun—a trip up to NY and RI, and excellent lessons in dressage and quilting. Mike and I had a grand time at our friend’s wedding followed by a relaxing (but equally active) jaunt on quaint Block Island. I will write another post on the trip with photos soon. For now I’ll give a update of the past few days, which have been busy and rewarding.
Saturday was part two of my school’s big move; 20 or so volunteers showed up to lend their backs and patience as we moved the remaining 4 classrooms from our old building to our new home. We are only moving about 100 feet to another building on our school’s shared campus, but it turns out a move within close proximity is just as taxing as one across town, if only because you assume it will be easier! The new building is still undergoing renovations, but it looks amazing. A former convent, the building has spectacular floor to ceiling windows and lovely stained glass remnants. My shared kitchen/art room has a whopping 8 windows and is painted a delectable apple red (in hopes to stimulate appetites). Despite the burdens of moving and resettling, I think our homey, hippy-dippy school will be much more suited to the old convent, a space that feels like a great big hug :)
Yesterday, I met Nina, Abby, Jen, and Jen’s hubby, Brian, for brunch at one of our fave restaurants—Woodberry Kitchen. WK did not disappoint as we enjoyed both sweet and savory delights (beignets and blackberries, spelt crepes, basil-lime lattes…oh my). As this blog is an indication, I am ever trying to improve my riding, especially my dressage. I have come a long way in two years, but I am only beginning to understand the basics of this most admirable (and mysterious!) sport. It seems to me that much of dressage is the learning and relearning of a few basics tenants; you have to know the basics to practice dressage but you have to practice the basics in order to know them. A bit of a conundrum. I’m developing a far better seat and leg through specific exercises and concentrated time spent riding sans stirrups, but my hands are still a bit messy. I am happy to say that Cherie of Golightly Sporthorses imparted some essential wisdom yesterday that really helped me grasp the concept of connection through the reins. I have had several folks model connection by the basic trick of grabbing the reins and mimicking the horses’s mouth, allowing me to feel the “feel” that I should achieve. But each time I am left a bit dumbfounded as I grasp the theory but I can’t apply the action. When Cherie first began to use the metaphor I thought, “oh, no, I never get this!”, but she did something no one else has done. She showed me what the reins should and should not look like when that connection is achieved, i.e. no loosening and snapping of the reins repeatedly to achieve connection but rather a constant (and taxing) following of the reins with the horse’s mouth. Again, I know my trainer refers to this constantly, and I thought I got it. Clearly, I was missing a big piece. For the next hour I worked on just following Caesar’s mouth and maintaining that contact no matter what. In a short time, he was in a nice frame and I understood what that “feel” should feel like (reins in my palms, please!). Another big breakthrough came in achieving straightness through forwardness (again, duh). I often struggle with Caesar banking in or falling out as we track around the ring. I get frustrated and try to fix the straightness without thinking about the forward motion. Eventually we are stuck at standstill with his head in the air and my hands at my chest. Cherie shared the analogy of a bicycle: when you are traveling very slowly on a bike it will start to wobble, and if you try to fix that wobbling with your hands, you end up wobbling more. Instead if you push forward and get going, the straightness fixes itself for the most part! Alas, it worked with Caesar too! I love moments like this, when something that was fuzzy (though you might not have realized it was fuzzy) suddenly becomes a little more clear. I know there is far more clarity to achieve, but I feel I am off to a good start with a better understand of connection. Now the trick is just employing these basic breakthroughs every time I ride (which I did a decent job of today)!
So, thanks, Cherie! Can’t wait to ride with you again!
Today was my final quilting lesson of the summer, and boy, did we get a lot completed! I finished putting together three more squares and then stitched all the squares together. I was feeling quite accomplished until I realized the actual quilting was yet to begin (what I had been working on is only considered the piecing)! The hard part is actually attaching the now finished front to the batting and backing through either hand sewing or machine sewing. This next step is my homework for the next two weeks. Pam supplied me with a cool how-to book to help with the binding. It was such a treat to work in her studio and learn the basics. I am now even more in awe of what she and other quilters do. I ordered some fun fabrics from etsy, and I am already planning my next piece (perhaps I will just become a piece-quilter and pay someone else to do the quilting and binding ;)
All three of my jewelry pieces were accepted into the exhibit of continuing studies’ student work at MICA. Yea! Here’s a photo of the display:
Tomorrow I am taking the leap and getting my hair lopped off! I’ll be donating it so even if I don’t like the short do, I can know I did it for a good cause! Photos are sure to come!
5 hours ago