Tuesday, March 8, 2011

a sad letter...

dear riding,

the days have been awful from being away from you.  i feel like i'm no longer me when we are apart.  it was so dumb of me to take you away from my schedule.  i should have known better than to say no to taking a riding class.  its dreadful going to the barn and knowing that we will not be together.  i still have to clean stalls, but i don't get to enjoy you anymore.  i've realized now that even when i didn't want to ride, it was nice being at the barn and there was always that familiar bond between us.  now, i am lost without you! its only a matter of months till we can be together again.  i hope you have not given up on me!  i will be more dedicated to you than anything next semester.  oh boy, have i learned my lesson to never quit you.  i mean, what was i thinking anyway? taking you away from me like that.  it won't happen again.

love, poor pathetic me.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Just your average day...

We all get those days where everything is just not going your way.  I have them quite a bit more than the average person.  They usually happen at the barn...

This is just one day out of a few...

I get to the barn and Mia and I pile out of the car after having a pathetic discussion about how much we would rather curl up in bed than ride and do barn duty.  We trek across the parking lot to the barn, walk the long aisleway and mope toward the board which tells us which horses we will be riding that day.  Mia is riding Danny and I am riding Gracie.  This is just our luck because these are horses that wouldn't have been our top choice.  So what do we do when we are chosen to ride horses we don't want to ride? We "enthusiastically" gather our tack and walk up the hill to the upper barn discussing our pathetic day.  Just then, Belle and Taco arrive.  We see them get out of their car and share with them the news...it must be a bad day for Belle too because she looks like she wants to go back to bed too.  Taco is excited though.  She wants to jump and that is what we are doing today.  Belle and Taco enter the lower barn and Mia tells me the latest gossip about Karen.  This always manages to brighten our day.  Karen is always interesting conversation.  (One day, you will understand because there will be a Karen in any group of friends...look up Dane Cook The Friend that Nobody Likes).  After the gossip, we go our separate ways.  I go tack up my horse and head up to the out door jumping ring.  Amazingly, Karen is riding today.  Belle is riding Scotty, Taco is riding Manny, Damon is riding Jazz, and Karen is riding Wilbur.  We all go through a regular lesson in which Karen gets off in the middle of a jump course complaining about her dislocated spine, everyone has no idea how to do the jumping course due to poor explanation, Damon practically falls off Jazz because Jazz decides he's going to spook while going over the jump, Taco holds the horse extremely tight so that Manny doesn't run off after jumping a fence, Mia gets yelled at to half halt when clearly the horse has other issues, and I still have no idea what I should be doing to prepare for a jump...all while Belle smoothly sails over the jump with Scotty tucking his legs like a little boy.  We all decide to go for a much needed walk.  We discuss our failures for the day, our extreme desire to work with one horse for the whole semester, and the ridiculous way Karen got out of class for the day.  We make our way back to the barn, untack, and groom our horses.  It's finally time for my absolute favorite time of the day...cleaning stalls. My stall cleaning horse is Suzette.  She hates my guts.  I try to make this experience less dreadful by singing or playing music while cleaning the stall out.  (It's really important to keep a positive attitude at the barn if your day is going awful) You see, Suzette is this beautiful copper colored horse with a blonde main and tail.  I picture her more as a mean girl than a mean mare.  I think in Suzette's heart she just wants to be free.  She spends most of her day looking out of her window.  The reason I know that Suzette hates my guts is because she likes to knock my wheelbarrow over when its full of pee and poo, whip me in the face with her tail when I am picking the poo out of her stall, and stand in the one area of the stall that I am trying to work on.  There isn't one day that these things don't happen.  People down the aisle can usually hear the yells from Suzette's stall of me screaming "COOL!! SUZETTE!!! COOL!!!!"  When I'm finished with Suzette's stall I sit on the couch and rest until its time for Practical Concepts of Equine Care with Jane.  Mia and I always find something to laugh about.  It could be keeping warm in a horse cooler and playing with the barn cats, something is always entertaining.  Class starts but instead of class Jane decides that we should start with feed crew early for the night.  This is one of the greatest things you will hear in Practical Concepts.. Barn duty involves feeding, sweeping the mats, blowing the aisle, turning out horses, racking, and being yelled at for doing things wrong.  Finally...the day has ended.  Mia and I get into her car and drive back to school.  Time for supper in our nasty barn clothes with all the clean people at school.

Please, don't be discouraged by this post.  It's not to make the equestrian program look awful. It's not! It's actually very educational and interesting.  I encourage people to look up Averett University's Equestrian Program!!

***Some names have changed due to the fact that I would not like to cause problems between myself and my classmates.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

monday, final prep, and happy thoughts

Monday, I practiced for my final exam in Horsemastership IV.  The way we practice is to run through the actual tests: Dressage, First Level Test One and Training Level Test Four.  I rode a horse named Maverick.  He was okay, kind of difficult for First, One but we made it through the test without any drastic mistakes.  

What I've learned here at Averett is that you need to quickly analyze the best way to ride the horse in a matter of ten minutes and preform a dressage test to the best of you and your horse's ability.  That's all you can do. You aren't riding at school working with the same horse everyday, you ride multiple horses and learn the differences between them.  It makes you a better rider because it gives you the confidence to get on any horse and try to work with it to show off the horse's talents and abilities.  

Anyways, test prep was okay.  None of my friends in my class particularly had the best ride (i didn't either) so usually we go on a walk afterwords to discuss what was good and what was awful.. sometimes this can be the best time of the day at the barn because we have each other to laugh with.  So, we are walking down the long drive way and I'm texting someone while my horse is trying his hardest to just turn around and walk back to barn so he can munch on grass and finally half way down, I just decide to go back and my other friend, Shannon does too.  Well, it isn't until we are a ways down the drive when my friends Jessie and William realize and Jessie yells in her southern accent "hey! where y'all goin?"

Without my friends I don't think I'd have as good a time as I do at the barn.  Usually when we are on walks and the horses are spread out based on their speed I announce the horses coming down the stretch.. who's in front, who's behind, who's winning, who's gaining... it always makes things interesting and less dull.  Or when we are picking our stalls we play chicken with the wheelbarrows.  One time I was standing waiting for Jessie to finish loading her wheelbarrow with shavings and my friend Shannon walks up with hers and just crashes it into mine knocking it over while I'm just standing there... shocked.  Haha.  Good times, they make the barn that more interesting.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

A typical day at the barn...

So, high school riders may be asking themselves: What is it like to ride in college?  Here's your answer...

I am taking a Horsemastership class which is our basic riding course required to all students.  Every student must take HM IV in order to move forward and go into other different types of riding classes.  In addition, freshman are required to take Equine Care, which is a class dedicated to barn work and basic equine care criteria.  I have these classes on Mondays and Wednesdays throughout this semester. 

My typical day starts off with 8:00am Biology (which is an awesome class, just not that early in the morning), 9:10am Theatre, and 10:20 IDS (freshman required course).  After my last class on campus I eat lunch, change for the barn, and find a ride to get me to the barn.  My riding class starts at 1:00pm and we have until 1:30 to tack our horses up.  I have some really great friends in the class and we usually are having a good time.  In class we either have our instructor (professor) or our instructor's apprentice teach the class.  The instructor's apprentice is a student taking the Apprenticeship class.  We go over different exercises like the half halt, leg yields, free walk, stretchy circles...  These things are usually involved in our tests for the midterm or for the final exam.  At the end of the lesson we go on walks around the property to cool off our horses and then we take care of our horses (grooming, medicating...).  After we clean our bridles and take care of our horses, one of us is the student manager who checks to make sure we groomed our horses and cleaned our tack.  Then we have an hour to clean a stall we are assigned to.  I have Suzette...she is another story.  Equine Care starts at 4:00.  In this class students learn about different things such as leg wraps, horse markings, clipping, and many other things that involve horse care.  At 5:00 part of Equine Care is the lab where we clean the barn for the morning.  We have two barns upstairs (fastest, easiest barn to clean) and downstairs (very slow to clean).  On a lucky day some of us will be allowed to go upstairs and leave before the lower barn is finished.  Barn duty involves graining the horses, turning the horses out to pasture, sweeping, blowing the aisle, cleaning the wash racks, and many other odd jobs that need to be done.  Usually we finish by 6:00/6:30.  The drive back to campus is always about how hungry we are and how much we want to take a shower and go to bed.  After all, we've spent five and half hours at the barn that day. 

So there you have it, a typical day at the barn...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What registration for classes is like...

Registering for college classes is one of the most exciting things.  Thanks to my advisor for my fall semester of my freshman year I had a great schedule.  At Averett University you will get something called an Official Evaluation.  This packet contains anything academic you have ever done at Averett and it also provides you with all of the classes you need for your major and all of your General Education classes.  Right there writen in black and white.  For my major Equestrian Studies Management Concentration I have Core Requirements for the ES (Equestrian Studies) program and Concentration Requirements for my Management Concentration. 

For Fall semester of my freshman year I've taken:

ENG 111 Intro to Writing (General Education)
TH 105 Intro to Theatre (General Education)
IDS 106 Freshman Course (General Education)
ES 105 Concepts of Equine Care (Core Requirement)
ES 109 Horsemastership IV (Core Requirement)
BIO 101 Intro to Biology (Core Requirement)

And for Spring semester of my freshman year I hope to take:

ENG 112 Intro to Literature (GE)
MATH 103 (GE)
IDS 200 Secong Part of Freshman Course (GE)
ES 115 Stable Management (Core Requirement)
BSA 221 Principles of Accounting I (Concentration Requirement)
ECO 201 Principle of Microeconomics (Concentration Requirement)

For first semester you are suppose to meet with your advisor and learn how to register for classes while they select classes for you.  But, for second semester you get to choose your own schedule and this can be a very good thing if you learned that you cannot for the life of you wake up for an 8AM ever again or if you do really well in english at the end of the day when you had all morning to finish writing the paper thats due at 5PM.  I've learned these things...

From what I've learned at Averett as an ES major, my advisor and the school wants me to be planned out so that I can graduate on time.  This is a very good thing because I know that I've got someone backing me up to make sure that I'm on track for my major. 

cool :)

What jumping has done to my riding position...

I always thought that jumping was just not my thing and that there was no way that it could help my position in dressage.  Since coming to Averett, however, I have learned that it actually does help!! In my horsemastership class we ride dressage for two weeks and jump the two weeks after that and so on and so forth... I was wondering how on Earth I was going to be able to get through it (I never really had a jumping lesson and I never really jumped before coming to school).  So the first day of jumping I leaned way over my horse and gripped the saddle with my knees as we went over the jump, it was uncomfortable and unnatural in every way.  My professor, Ginger, told me that as weird as it sounds, loosening with your knee actually causes your leg to be more like a shock absorber and it is easier to go over the jump.  Well, for the next few times we were jumping I loosened my knee, I sat up straight, looked at something in the distance and was able to get over a jump without almost falling off.  It was a major accomplishment!!  After awhile of jumping and dressage, one day Ginger noticed that when I was riding dressage my seat position looked a lot more comfortable and easy going than it had in the beginning of the semester.  This was because my knee was looser and my leg wasn't so tight on the horse.  It caused my whole frame to be more fluid, but staying strong at the same time.  So I guess I say thank you, jumping, for not only being a drastic change of my normal riding style but also for making my seat look ten times better!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Just a little bit about me

Hey, I'm Lindsey! I'm from Southern California and I moved across the country to a place called Danville Virginia so that I could attend Averett University for Equestrian Studies. 

People here always ask me: Why are you here? What made you come all the way across the country for this little school?  The answer is this: horses, trees, grandparents, and adventure!  For all my life in my little city back home I dreamed of living on the east coast.  Thanks to my grandparents who moved to Virginia, I would visit them during spring and summer break and I fell in love with... trees.  I'm a nature person, I like trees and my favorite color is green, what do you expect?  Back home in California we have brown hills, dead bushes, and housing tracks (the part I lived in anyway).  So last spring when my mom, my grandparents, and I went on a college road trip we found the beautiful campus of Averett University.  I was hooked.  Not only would I be living closer to my grandparents and surrounded by trees, but I would be riding and learning about horses as my major.  Life could not get more perfect!

As a horseback rider my main hub of a discipline is dressage.  This became my passion when I started riding with my trainer in California, Jennifer Cromwell of PrePferd Equestrian.  She got me to ride many different but well trained horses at her barn and she encouraged me to ride for the Dressage Team at my high school.  I showed second level on my friend's horse Nashville.  Our best score was 72% on second level test three.  Jennifer knew I had the potential of being a great rider and before I was leaving for Averett we were working on third level movements.  I love dressage.  I like the intricacy of the movements, the extended trot through MXK, the connection between horse and rider, and the way the horse actually dances across the arena.  My passion for riding is what made me want to study horses because I know its one of the most important things in my life. 

To be honest, at the moment I have no idea what I want to do after college.  I just know that it will involve horses!  I plan on finding that out within the next three years...

Anyways, that's just a little bit about me... there is more to come!