Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Birthday Blog

Being in Aiken instead of Florida this year meant no birthday weekend competition.  Actually, that was mostly the result of being a cold weenie as Full Gallop did run this weekend.  Sally had two novice horses, her own Tommy and Hannah Ong's handsome Stash.  My Aiken weekend was great.  Friday was much colder than it is supposed to be in a southern state. I believe the high was in the neighborhood of 33 degrees.  The horses did notice this and there was quite a bit of leaping about on the part of many, including Keegan.  Once we started jumping, he settled right down and we had a great lesson focusing on reacting quickly after the jump to be well set up for the next.  Using both hands and legs to steer around corners and continuing to remember to go forward to the jumps.  Sally is very impressed by how well Keegan does the figure 8 over the jump exercise landing smoothly on either lead.  Thanks to Hilda for working with us on that exercise from the start of Keegan's jumping career.  After the lesson I headed downtown to Aiken Yoga.  It is great having a real yoga studio in Aiken.  Sydney Hayday and Amy Borun were both there as well, so in addition to the cold, that made Aiken feel more like Pennsylvania.

Saturday was more yoga, some work and then cross country schooling at Sandy Hills.  It had warmed up a bit, but the gale force significant wind made for the coldest version of 50 degrees.  Sally brought Wizard along for his first school of the new year.  Interestingly, there was almost no jumpiness despite the wind.  I think it was bothering us (the riders) more than the horses. Apparently, the wind knocked the rust right off as the school went super well for both horses.  Keegan jumped everything without a second glance and all from great distances.  I even got myself going forward after the first couple.  It was a lot of fun.  Sally paid Keegan a huge compliment (she had taken him schooling a couple weeks ago), saying that by her (very high) standards, he qualified as a really fun cross country horse.  I can't disagree at all and while he would be a great horse for anyone, I think he fits my needs incredibly well having all the attributes of being quiet, able to take a joke, think for himself and bail me out without holding a grudge - and being good enough at it that Sally said she didn't really see any fences where he had to take a joke...

Sunday, Sally was at Full Gallop, so after a couple of hours of work while I waited for it to warm up a little, I met Caitlin for a dressage lesson.  It was quite pleasantly warm and the wind had headed for some alternate venue (possibly Chicago from what I heard later). We had a great dressage lesson, with much use of the half step approach to get Keegan's trot more correct.  His canter transitions were quite good.  Caitlin said she thought that his trot was going to be quite good once he figured out what to do with his front legs when he was actively pushing from behind. So that was a great success.  We also had lunch and time for more horse gossip.

After another relatively uneventful trip home (the flight was about 30 minutes late), I watched a little of the Pro Bowl. Nick Foles ended up being the MVP which is pretty good for a 2nd year, third round pick. I totally missed the Grammys somehow, but heard about it through friends and facebook.  I was glad to hear Macklemore won best new artist and heard the singing might not have been the best, but the thought behind having same-sex marriages serended by Same Love definitely was. I also liked seeing Darius Rucker win best country solo and the Skyfall soundtrack win.

Yesterday was my birthday.  I started the day with a spin class at Body Cycle Studio.  I miss getting there regularly so it was nice to be in the city for Russell's class on a Monday morning.  Then Henry and I had breakfast at the Four Seasons.  Perfect way to start the day. Work was pretty usual and then dinner at a new BYOB in Philly called Entree.  It was fairly good and the bottle of Laurent-Perrier Cuvee Rose was fabulous as always.

As I kicked off my new year (fairly coincident with the Chinese New Year of the Horse) on my yoga mat, it was easy to feel thankful for the blessings of wonderful friends and family, engaging work, rewarding hobbies (that bring more friends) and hopeful that the year to come will bring more of the same and excellent adventures to report in this space.