Sorry for the radio silence. A lot has happened since my last post – and not much has happened. What hasn't happened will probably take longer to tell than what has, so I'll save that for the next post.
On March 24 I hauled Lance down to the NW Horse Fair & Expo in Albany to participate in Jec Ballou's session on "Cross-Training Exercises for the Dressage Horse." I do a lot of cross-training, so this sounded right up my alley. But that session wasn't until 3:00, and Lance had to be there from 8:00 am until 6:00 pm. Thankfully, a friend came to help me pass the day, and we attended Jec's classroom lecture at noon. It was very good; I wish I'd taken better notes. I did take photos of some of her slides, though. Some take-away messages were:
1) Several different veterinary university studies have confirmed that it takes a minimum of working four days a week to keep a horse in condition. Considering how long it takes to get a horse fit, it behooves us riders to keep them fit! I feel pretty good about my long-standing policy to not let Lance stand around more than two days in a row, but am being more intentional about riding four days a week now.
These points were confirmed in the riding session. Lance and I were one of three horse and rider teams that Jec used to demonstrate some conditioning exercises. The good news for an energy-conserver like Lance is that a lot of valuable work can be done at the walk.
Just a few days later (with no time to ride again), we flew to Omaha, NE to attend the FEI World Cup (and see family and friends). What an experience! I cannot accurately convey what it's like to see that many world-class horses and riders up close and personal; when the Grand Prix competition started, I actually teared up. Not that all the rides were beautiful to watch; I wanted to rescue some horses from harsh hands, and was once again struck by how gracious horses are to allow us on their backs. I took photos of every single test (SIXTEEN in a row!!!), but you can see far better images taken by professionals elsewhere, so I will spare you the long slideshow. I did share a few excited images on Instagram – you know, as proof I was there. ;-)
Other high points were getting to meet a blogger whose posts have inspired and challenged me, and reconnecting with an old friend I haven't seen in 26 years. There were also celebrity sightings (I kinneared a couple) in the extensive vendor area:
No shopping for me except for a few small thank-you gifts; "all I want for Christmas" is a healthy, happy horse!
And with that, I will segue into the next post . . . .
To ride dressage is to dance with your horse, equal partners in the delicate and sometimes difficult work of creating harmony and beauty.