Thursday, January 27, 2011

And it begins...

So this winter, weather in the mid-Atlantic (or at least our little corner) has been quite unpredictable. At least on the part of the local meteorologists. The forecast would call for 3-4 inches of snow, and we would get nothing, no rain, no hail, no flakes. This scenario has happened at least four times with the highest accumulation being little more than a sneeze. But this week, things changed. Yesterday morning, a wintry mix turned into a few inches followed by 6 more inches of snow last night. After last year's blizzard (times two!), it's hard to remember what a typical amount of snowfall in Baltimore looks like. I guess this is it--main roads are fine but sides roads are slushy at best. Sidewalks are a little treacherous, but passable, and more than a few people are walking around in completely inappropriate snow gear (were those grocery bags on his feet?). We were gifted with a day off of school, and I was decently productive. I got some work accomplished and made it out to the barn for a lovely hack in the snow. While the snow in the city quickly changes from picturesque to gross, the surrounding areas stay white and pristine for far longer. The farm where I board is beautiful in any weather, but the snow just makes it supreme.

Here are some photos that we took:

For class this week, I had to make a few models of some of my ideas; since our project is a series of conical, tube like structures, clay worked best. I have a few ideas competing at the moment (fox hunting images! wedding dresses! root veggies!), but I think I have my heart set on a series of bird beaks. Once I've worked through some more sketches, I'll post those, but for now here are some pics of the models:

And just for fun:

I had the opportunity to audit a clinic with Jimmy Wofford yesterday (yep, I braved the weather just to audit!), and it was fabulous! It's impossible to not learn something when listening and watching the great JW. It was extra special coming on the heels of Jimmy's announcement to seek the US Team Chef position. It was fun to watch Cherie and Abby as they participated (very impressively), and I even picked up a few tips that I applied yesterday in my ride. Check for a great training day despite the weather!

Here's a photo of Jimmy teaching (with a rapt audience:)

And suddenly another weekend is upon us. How did that happen? Hoping to get in some gymnastics this weekend as well as some good reading time! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hound Deer...then and now

Two posts in two days--wow! I'm on a roll! Really I just wanted to share a quick video and a much awaited photo (awaited by me that is:)!

I rode Caesar for a quick 35 minutes bareback at the walk and trot tonight. Mike accompanied me and got a short video clip on his ipod. I usually freeze when I know I am on film so the sneak-attack approach worked. The video doesn't catch us at our best, but it's decent. (sorry for the strange format; can't figure out how to remove the window)

I clearly need to sit back and deeper as well as move my hips more freely. Also, Caesar's trot is a little short and stuck so asking for a more forward trot will help (and a following hip will help me do that). It's good to get some video and analyze it. Must do that more often!

As for the much awaited photo... I contacted the photographer at Charles Town last week and requested 3 of Caesar's win pics. This is something I have been meaning to do for a while, so I was quite excited to receive them in the mail. Caesar had a whopping 56 starts, 9 wins, and a dozen second and third place finishes. He was a working class race horse if there ever was one, so it's only fitting that I get some photographic evidence of his wins. I was surprised to see he was so stout. Despite being narrow, he's got a sporty build. Apparently he's been that way for a while!

I just started reading The Lord of Misrule which won last year's National Book Award. It's a novel about a bottom-level racetrack in West Virginia. So far it's quite good though I know I will be grimacing soon at some of the scenes.

I wish everyone a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The first post

of the New Year is a bit tardy. But would you expect anything less? I like to live life belatedly afterall :)

The new year has been moving right along--school is good if a bit absent lately (holiday plus snow day equals forgetting my day job!). I've switched back to my old farrier for Caesar's feet, and he seems to be going pretty well. I am hopeful that this will be a more sound year than last. We did a gymnastics clinic in early January, but since then we've been lying low, working mostly on flat work. I feel a bit stuck, but 2 good lessons in the past week are adding some insight. This is as we know the season of feeling stuck. I think Caesar just wants to take a good walk outside. I know I do! We finally got around to clipping him (thanks to Shannon for the use of her clippers!), and it looks decent for the first try! I admit to being the handler; Mike was far more trustworthy with the clippers!

MICA class started last night. It's officially titled Perfecting Basic Skills, but the syllabus looks to be more about perfecting some skills and learning some new ones (hello, etching and bezel stone setting, I have been waiting for you!). I am excited for our first project--forming spiculums and anticlastic shapes. What's that you say? Yea, I just learned what they are too :) Think sheet metal curved inward, outward, in all directions within the same piece. Should be cool! I am thinking I might do a series of bird beaks or play with a foxhunting theme. hmmm...

That's all the writing for now, but I'll include some fun pics:

A shot of the jumps the boarders created for our trainer. They look great and ride well!

A close up of the artistry :)

Caesar's new clip and new bareback pad (both compliments of my awesome husband!)

I am certain Caesar has always wanted to be a dressage queen so I caved and bought him boots!