A special birthday edition post on The Chronicle of the Horse!
This is a repost from my Barnby Notes journal. I’ve decided to transfer the entire series bit by bit to my new blog. Enjoy!
March 3, 2013
The scientifically inclined side of my brain was really intrigued by Stefan Stammer’s presentation, Bio Mechanics for the Dressage Horse. As a rider, it’s important that I have visual images to back-up the verbal explanation of ‘how things work’. Stefan’s gear box horse complete with all the bells & whistles, nuts & bolts was a great take home lesson.
Stefan suggested in order to control the power of our horse, we need to put the horse’s gears in the correct position – forward and upwards. Riding the horse with the neck a little bit higher is ok. The gear box consists of the forehand and hind end engine. Stefan offered the example of a horse being stiff on the right side and weak in the left shoulder. We must create positive tension through proper weight distribution by stabilizing the hip rotation and not with the position of the neck which is so often used. Suppleness will be achieved through stabilizing. Negative tension is equivalent to the ‘run away’ mode.
Especially during the warm up, think of muscular slings around the ribcage & hips of your horse. Is the ribcage up and interconnected with the hips? Don’t forget to install a springy, relaxed and supple system in your horse. Of course, all of this requires a rider in active balance and is not achieved by using the bridle and spurs.
In conclusion, Stefan stressed that we should build the athletic points of the horse and this is not achieved by the actual movements, which is the finished product. Test the gears of your horse often! Are the front legs forward and ribcage up?
I could draw an example of Stefan’s gear box horse here, but it would not be pretty because if there are two things that I do not do well it is draw and sing.
I highly recommend checking out Stefan’s presentation for yourself!
Apologies for the delayed post. We had a full day enjoying our related family, adopted family and friends.
Life is awfully short when running against a clock while connected to electronic devices. Tapering makes the days seem SO much longer. A rare treat. The gift I gave to my parents this year could not be found under our Christmas tree. My husband and I gave them the gift of time. Our family is not a Norman Rockwell picture at Christmas, but we have a few traditions that make memories count. We started the morning with a gourmet brunch complete with happy waffles, a 12 egg over-filled omelet and BBQ’d bacon.
We ventured out from the house to our adopted family for a delicious dinner and game of scrabble. The old fashioned game found down in the basement (pivot left) with real letter tiles and not the words with friends version on an iPad screen. It was comedy central as we sat around the table discovering how creative we can be with words and spelling. Many of our words were classified as Greek, French or Canadian? Sometimes when an extra letter is added to the tail end of an existing word it becomes a real word that you might not expect or instantly recognize. I am now officially a Pie-r.
I’ve received so many awesome messages throughout the 12 Days of Random Acts of Kindness. Many were unexpected. I will never forget them. I want a life filled with kindness towards others. It’s so easy to be kind.
“There are three ways to ultimate success:
The first way is to be KIND.
The second way is to be KIND.
The third way is to be KIND.”
My heart is so full and I am wearing a wide brimmed permanent smile. This experiment has been simply amazing. It has changed me forever and more than I ever imagined it would. I am overwhelmed by the kindness that surrounds us on a daily basis. I’ve become more aware of its subtle presence in life. It doesn’t take too much time to make a positive impact on someone’s life whether it’s a day, a week, a year or a lifetime.
There are just 2 Days remaining, but this experiment will continue beyond the Days. It’s a part of me now and a part of you.
Going to bed early tonight. I need to pull the sleigh out of the garage very early in the morning for a special delivery. My parents are arriving here late tonight and I will be sound asleep when they do. I made up their guest bed and wrote out a Christmas card which I placed on their pillow to let them know how happy we are to have them here.
Wishing everyone a warm, relaxing and comforting night!
The eighth and ninth day are combined because I needed one more day to put a smile on a friend’s face.
I was reminded yesterday evening that the holidays can be a very emotional and difficult time for some. Challenges in life don’t pause for decorations, festivities, gifts and a special date marked on the calendar. It’s important to check in on your neighbors, your friends and your family especially those who you may not have reached out to recently. Don’t always assume that everything is joyful and happy from the outside. Invite them over and spend some time together.
For my friend, I am going to bake her some cookies and send an invite to come over for hot cocoa by the fire pit (when it is no longer 80 degrees outside). A simple act of kindness to help someone find a bit of comfort this holiday season.
I made reservations a couple of weeks ago at the Cheesecake Factory for lunch today with my co-worker friends. We have all worked closely with each other at some point over the past 5 years or so. Inevitably some of us are now based out of our homes, some have moved on to other companies and some have stayed office based. It is a rare treat for us to meet up. The sad truth. The happy truth? We were overwhelmed by the opportunity to see each other again. We had so much news to share, so many almost in tears laughs and so many fond memories. Life is dynamic, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on what matters. It took about 10 minutes to set up the lunch and to have everyone respond. 10 minutes for 2 hours of absolute joy. We departed lunch with the biggest smiles.
This is where my story telling takes a reflective turn. The Cheesecake Factory is located at a mall. A place I have been trying to avoid this year for many reasons. I did a bit of shopping after lunch as I promised my dear husband some dress shirts and my joyful mood quickly drained and smile disappeared when I saw the faces of other shoppers. No one looked happy and it seemed that everyone was just going through the motions of holiday shopping expectations. I guess the point I am trying to convey here is surround yourself with the people in your life who bring you the most joy and spend lots and lots of time with them. It’s the best gift out there. I know it.
Two young girls meet and instantly become best friends. Their houses are within walk-out-of-the-door shouting distance. They attend kindergarten through 6th grade together. Teachers couldn’t separate them despite their attempts. They walk to school together while solving first world problems. Then the unthinkable happens, one of the young girls moves away. Far away. It seems to a different planet altogether. Separated the young girls grow up into teenagers and eventually meet up with each other again briefly with promises to visit more often. Adulthood takes over and they are now countries apart living the most amazing lives. Then one day the women are reunited via Facebook cue sharing of pictures and fond childhood memories.
December is national write a friend month. It’s important to not let childhood memories slip away regardless of time passed or distances that separate. I just finished writing a special card for my friend with hopes that she receives it before Christmas.