Hello from New Hampshire! by Liz Fell
Sorry I wasn't able to get a post up yesterday when I got here, but I went to bed late after doing a ton of chores. Verne and Jeanie already have me working like a dog! Haha
The drive down went really well. It was Flagg's first time in the trailer going for a long trip; he went on the trailer for 20 minutes when he was two to come to Hinesburg from my grandmother's house. Anyways, he was great. Snarffed all of his hay on the ride down, but that's what growing boys do! When I got here, I got myself and Flagg settled in; the poor boy is down in the Quarantine barn where he only has one friend who got booted down there to make room for another training horse. He's quite content down there either way, he doesn't seem to mind the quiet. Hopefully there'll be room in the main barn soon, 'cause the walk down to get him is kinda a hike :( But it's a nice barn and there are babies right there to say hi to when I go to see him.
I got my room all organized to my liking. It's very simple: a bed, a dresser, and a night stand. They put the furniture into a spare living room, since Joberto (I think that's how you spell his name) took the other bedroom before I got here. A word to the wise: never, I repeat, NEVER, over pack. I didn't think that I had brought that much, but when I went to try to get it all to fit in the dresser, I ran out of room! All of my jeans have to sit on top of it to make room for all the shirts and riding stuff. It's driving me kinda insane.
Once I got settled, I went out to see how I could help. Right away, Jeanie had me cleaning stalls, feeding horses, etc. When night chores came around, Joberto put all the horses out (they go out at night here because the bugs are awful), and I cleaned each and every one of the stalls. It was killer. At least they constantly pick them out throughout the day, so they're not awfully dirty.
I quickly worked Flagg last night on the lunge, just to get him out of his stall, and he was a star. We had to walk up the main road to get to the ring since Ezra had already been turned out, and he didn't even bat an eye. We just did a simple walk-trot-canter both directions on the lunge all tacked up with sidereins, then put him away. He was so well behaved for being at a new place. He just went to work and stayed focused, even when Nora came out to see him move a little. He didn't spook once, my big brave boy.
Jeanie takes care of dinner, and she, Nora, Jeanie's sister, Joberto, and I all sat down, with our dinner, to watch the "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," which I have to say was very good. I love how layed back this place is. So relaxed, not formal in the least.
This morning, I was out the door at 7:30 to bring the horses back in and grain them. Jeanie, Joberto and I then brought in a few mares to be teased, and one to be bred. Two of the mares were obviously out of heat and not coming back in, but one was back in heat, so Bretone bred her again. I held the mare, Joberto held Tony, and Jeanie supervised the covering. Tony's such a gentleman, very polite about the whole matter. After the breeding, we then brought in four yearlings to be gelded. I have seen many geldings, but always with the colt lying down. It was a new experience to watch Dave Sequist do the gelding with them standing up. It was still the same procedure, though.
I rode three horses today, Ezra, Mandy, and Flagg. I am officially in love with Ezra. I saw him for the first time a year ago, and already really liked him, but after riding him, I want him. He was soft, and supple, and had a great go button. We worked a lot on shoulder in to 10m circle to haunches in and canter-walk-canter transitions. He's a lot of fun. Mandy is one of Jeanie's schoolmasters. She knows her stuff, but is a bit tricky to ride. I'm used to strong horses, where she's very light and gets easily offended if you ride her too much in your hand. Jeanie had me working a lot on learning to be supple with both of my arms and riding her more with my seat and leg than my hands. Definitely a lesson I needed. I rode Flagg quickly with Jeanie's help, and she was quite pleased. She thinks he has very nice gaits, but would like to see me work him a little differently. I lunge with the lunge line and sidereins attached to the bit, where she always works her young horses with everything attached to a halter over the bridle. They also do a lot of longlining to really get the horses to understand throughness and how to be round while working. She also said that she would not be cantering him under saddle yet, since he's not strong enough and doesn't have the balance yet. Overall, though, she was pleased with our progress.
I'm already getting to know most of the horses and where they get turned out. Luckily I'm a quick learner when it comes to names, etc.
We played with the babies a little bit today. Mijou's filly is wicked cute, Weltfee's colt is massive for a two week old, and Fifi has a gorgeous bay foal with four white socks that is still a little shy. We worked on being near people and leading with all three of them.
Well, that's it for now. I'm off to bed before another hard day tomorrow. I will try to update this everyday, but I'm not the best at getting this sort of thing done in a timely fashion :)