Monday Make-up

On Monday, I was able to get a “make-up” jump school with my trainer because I was doing a mostly non-horsey thing all day on Saturday. I say “mostly” because the group I met up with are horse people. But we didn’t touch a horse, promise!

So you are going to hear about Saturday first … some close friends were going to be in the area and we planned to meet up near Fredericksburg, a German community in Central Texas near a LOT of vineyards, cellars, and tasting rooms, as well as some great state parks. A trip to Fredericksburg would be a fun vacation for anyone, whether you’re from Texas or not. Although, probably don’t go in August.

First, we hit Becker. The tasting was pleasant and the people pouring were super nice. It was still a bit chilly, but we decided to grab an early lunch outside from the food truck.

I think it was called the Lone Star Cafe Food Truck but the tacos tasted like ambrosia in the form of beef

This lunch turned out to be the most memorable thing I tasted at Becker. Those were some damn good tacos. It’s not that the wine wasn’t good, but I was just not expecting bad ass street tacos at a vineyard.

Next, we hit 4.0 CellarsΒ  as none of us had been yet. This tasting room was hopping, and I had the two most memorable wines from this trip at this place — a Montepulciano, and a very light, airy white called Roussanne. The Montepulciano was probably my favorite.

We ride horses but we also like wine.

With InwoodΒ being right across the highway, we decided to stop there before dinner–and fair warning, this paragraph contains an f-bomb or two. The tasting was good, but I must say the guy pouring annoyed the crap out of me. I don’t mind surly people, which he was, but that wasn’t the problem. I am not a big wine person but he was trying to tell me that terroir was bullshit and had no basis in scientific fact and it’s just a selling point blah blah blah … sorry, wut? So all of France is … wrong? Whatever, dude. It doesn’t matter if terroir has no basis in scientific fact or not, it’s a whole effing concept, very well-developed, related to the aspects of WHERE a grape grows influencing the character of the wine made from the grapes. OF COURSE it’s a selling point. And it’s not a concept exclusive to wine. But as an example … you think you want to drink a Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley? Or one from Central Texas? Oh, wait, how hard is it to actually even find a Pinot Noir from grapes grown in Texas? You mean the Tempranillo grapes produce better here? Et-fucking-cetera. You get what I’m saying. The wines on the tasting menu were all pretty delicious, though. I wish he had just told me more about those and said the word “phenotype” a little less. I wasn’t there for a mini-lecture on Gregor Mendel and the pitfalls of American consumerism — just pour the damn wine.

Now on to my favorite part of the whole trip: GERMAN FOOD. We headed to The AuslanderΒ in Fredericksburg and ate all the schintzel and spaetzel and German potato salad which is not a salad at all and some of our party even ordered gigantic glass boots full of beer called “Das Boot.” I opted for the Chimay.

Okay, back to the make-up. Eli warmed up nicely and proved pretty composed, so I asked my trainer about working on ME, my position, using my seat and core to regulate Eli’s pace and all that kind of thing. News flash: riding is hard. Riding well is even harder. It took a number of tries for me to get to an appropriate distance to the first fence and then balance Eli without pissing him off before the second fence. This is the last time through the line:

Monday jump school from patentlybay on Vimeo.

(Thanks for filming, Vicki!) I like to pull as a knee-jerk reaction when really what works best is allowing Eli to take the distance he wants at the first fence and focus on lifting my shoulders and stabilizing my core and stop messing with my hands … all the same stuff we’ve been working on. We finally got some decent lines in and called it a day. Not my best riding to date but workable.

Still ducking after all these years. Quack.

Of course he jumps so consistently over the fences themselves, so at least I don’t have to worry about that. He is the perfect horse for me in that respect. Eli earns his apples every time, too. I hope to get to a lot of clinic-inspired flat work this week, which will hopefully translate into me riding better between the fences.

Can’t Beat the Weather

I enjoyed my brief vacation, but I am so glad to be back with my animals. California has all of the scenery and nice weather anyone could ask for, but L.A. is not without faults. I can see why people move there but the sheer volume of people everywhere all the time would really start to bother me after a while.

manhattanbeach

 

I stayed with a friend and we visited Manhattan Beach, the Getty Villa, did some shopping (I bought nothing) and ate out at some places I really like, and honestly it is all blending together at this point already. I think the highlight was introducing two of my long-time friends and getting ice cream at Jeni’s in Los Feliz. The major downside of visiting L.A. is of course the traffic.

gettyvilla

I don’t often remember to take pictures of food, but I kind of wish I had this trip because it looked as good as it all tasted. I have also noticed that in general the produce in California has so much more flavor than what I get in Texas. The avocado is more avocado-y and the butter lettuce actually tastes like butter lettuce is supposed to — almost buttery. Everything that grows, grows well in California so I am assuming the proximity helps preserve so much of the flavor.

I am overly excited about seeing Eli this evening after work and taking him for a nice long (hot) walk around the property before we get back into the swing of things.

Icy Wet Weather and Bloggers’ Weekend!

Not a lot is going on as far as riding goes. I rode Eli on Wednesday and kinda sorta on Saturday last week and this week looks to be about the same weather-wise. But the weekend was not without a little awesomeness–I managed to make it to the Friday night portion of Horse Bloggers’ Weekend. It was so much fun to meet everybody in person finally and Lauren put out quite a spread of things to eat and drink, including cookie cake and cheesecake!

dessert

I already forgot what “FFWM” stands for.

And also there was this chicken cheese pie dish and I would really like the recipe! I could have ate that whole thing, Lauren. Omg.

We also got party favors in the form of swag bags, with great stuff from The Horse of Course, One Horse Threads, Noble Outfitters, Riding Warehouse, Horze, and Dover. Many thanks for all of these goodies!

ConradIsNotSwag

Conrad wanted some swag

swagbagBloggers’ Weekend definitely needs to be an annual thing!

I had hoped to meet up with all the bloggers for lunch on Saturday, but I live far enough north of Austin that my car was pretty much covered in ice until about 2pm, and by then I was determined to make it out to the barn because the weather was only going to get wetter on Sunday. Let me give you some advice: don’t ride Eli in freezing drizzle. Are rain bonnets a thing? Come to think of it, Eli would probably like a cashmere bonnet, too, with silk ears.

I would also like to point out that Eli is a destroyer of blankets and sheets, but this winter I guess has been cold and wet enough that he hasn’t had the desire to rip any of his clothes to shreds yet. His sheet is completely in tact. But, he still has to get in a few snags in his turnout blanket …

tornlining

How do you even tear the lining???

tornpiping

and WHAT were you rubbing your tail on that this happened?

While this turnout blanket does have a limited warranty, I have had it long enough that I am beyond the limit. I’m sure a blanket washer/repair person can fix the lining and the torn bit of piping at the tail is only cosmetic.

Winter continues to drag on and make everyone crazy! And sleepy. And also a little bit sick with a head cold. Bleh.

hairless

he just CAN’T go ON

There may be a show this weekend that I will be paddocking at if it doesn’t get rained out. I’ve also been doing a little retail therapy in the form of selling some stuff I don’t need and buying a few little things I do need, so if FedEx/UPS/USPS get themselves sorted out ever … seriously, how is a package in Dallas, Texas delayed from delivery in Austin because of weather when the weather is in the 40s and misting? Is 40s and misting a severe weather emergency or natural disaster now?

Welcome to Second Chance Grey!

A very close friend of mine has started a blog, Second Chance Grey. I’ve known her for many years, and we rode together at the same place for a while. She is an equestrian and also an Army wife, so her perspective is quite novel! She is in the middle of another Army relocation, this time from El Paso, TX to Maryland.Β  One of her horses, Grey, is relocating with her. Please follow her and her horses on their adventures, because I know she will have a lot of great stuff to share! She’s got two dogs and a huge black cat, and I’m sure they will put in blog appearances as well. Welcome, Second Chance Grey!

trouble

shenanigans

 

Catching Up

First, thank you, everyone, for all the feedback on Voltaire saddles! I am now interested more than ever in trying one out.

I haven’t been on my horse since Friday, and on Friday we only walked around the property because of the sloggy footing everywhere. The rings are good to go today, so I’m hoping to ride after work. Eli will be bonkers, but I don’t mind riding through that for a day or two before really getting back work.

I’m catching up on reading and posting today, and also catching up at work. Over the weekend, I ate enough to feed four people for a week! If you want to eat a lot and eat well, may I suggest New Orleans? Even better, I didn’t miss the rain date for the show I had planned to do this month because the rain date was also rained out, and the show rescheduled for November!

The rest of this post is New Orleans picture spam. (If you are a vegetarian for moral reasons, you may wish to avert your eyes.)

This place had an amazing blue cheese fondue

This place had an amazing blue cheese fondue

Our room opened to the second floor courtyard

Our room opened to the second floor courtyard

with a view of the first floor courtyard and pool

with a view of the first floor courtyard and pool

looked better than it tasted, unfortunately

looked better than it tasted, unfortunately

best band ever!!!! The Afghan Whigs, at the Civic Theater

best band ever!!!! The Afghan Whigs, at the Civic Theater

so. many. beignets.

so. many. beignets.

the streets in the French Quarter all have street name tiles

the streets in the French Quarter all have street name tiles

Deliciousness! At Galatoire's. Eat there if you can. So fancy the waiter puts your napkin in your lap for you.

Deliciousness! At Galatoire’s. Eat there if you can. So fancy the waiter puts your napkin in your lap for you.

Bourbon Street. We only walked on it for a block to get to Galatoire's. Not my thing AT ALL. Smelly drunk people everywhere.

Bourbon Street. We only walked on it for a block to get to Galatoire’s. Not my thing AT ALL. Smelly drunk people everywhere.

the courtyard fountain spewed water AND fire

the courtyard fountain spewed water AND fire

The next post will have horsey stuff, I promise!