Dressage Skillz

I nearly forgot, I absolutely can’t go any further without posting this video… I think this is going to become the theme song of my trip over here. Everyone back home is sharing it on Facebook, and everyone here is talking about it – it was played a number of times in the barn aisle today. It’s lighthearted, hilarious, and something that most of us can relate to. A very fun song to have stuck in your head while mucking out 😉

Dom and Jimmie Schramm, the masterminds behind EventionTV, are only a short drive up the road from here, so I’m hoping I’ll get to meet them while I’m here.

If you haven’t come across them before, you absolutely need to check them out on facebook and youtube. They’ve got some fantastic, informative videos, as well as lots of fun ones like this.

True Prospect Farm – I’ve arrived!

Yesterday was my last morning in New York, and I had planned to get up early and go out for one final run around Central Park. The weather didn’t agree with my plans though, and I woke up to find that it was freezing cold and raining outside. Good excuse to sleep in for an extra hour 😉

My next move was to head down to Pennsylvania to begin my stint as a working student at True Prospect Farm with Phillip Dutton. Battling public transport with three big bags in the rain wasn’t a fun experience, but I eventually made it onto my bus to Delaware. Phillip’s wife, Evie, met me at the bus station at Wilmington. She is absolutely lovely – I’d been pretty nervous about flying across the world to work with people I’d never met before, but I needn’t have worried, everyone I’ve met so far has been so nice.

The farm is located in some really beautiful countryside – even though it’s wintry and muddy at the moment, it’s still really picturesque. I’m staying in the annexe, and my room overlooks the gorgeous big indoor arena… Such an awesome view! I had the afternoon off to get unpacked and settle in, and explored the barn area a little. The highlight so far was definitely meeting Cave – better known as Mr Medicott.

 

The beautiful indoor! Complete with mirrors.. Let’s see if I can fix my bad-habit-hands.

One of the other riders, who also lives in the annexe, took me out for dinner at Applebee’s… another piece of American pop culture I can tick off the list. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get used to how sweet and sugary all the food is here! They seem to add some kind of sugary sauce to everything. Next stop was Walmart… Unfortunately I didn’t witness any People-of-Walmart classics, but I’m sure that’s just a matter of time 😉

Up early this morning for my first day of working. Mornings start with feeding, mucking out, turning out certain horses and sweeping up, before getting started on the riding. I rode two lovely young horses this morning – one very cute little mare and a big gelding who I’ve totally fallen in love with – any volunteers to help fund my import bill to bring him home? He’s totally my type – tall, dark and handsome, and very forward with a lovely trot. I’m on the roster to ride three different horses tomorrow. I’m really pleased to be getting the chance to ride so many different horses… After becoming so used to Freddy over the past 5 years, I’ve become pretty set in my ways, so it’s great to be learning new things from new horses.

The rest of the day was spent grooming and cleaning tack – this is where I’m totally in my element. It’s interesting that grooming is such a big deal here, as in specifically getting horses out of their boxes (sorry, stalls… got to keep up with the local lingo) purely for the purpose of grooming. Quite different to the quick dust-off prior to riding that many horses seem to get back home.

Another big difference is the rugging.. nope, sorry, blanketing! It’s basically freezing here, and most horses are turned out with just one winter rug on. Quite a far cry from the layers upon layers that are piled on Australian horses in much milder conditions.

The view of the arena from our living area

I really like the set-up here, it’s well organised, professional and no fuss. There’s a place for everything, and everything is in it’s place – just the way I like to operate. I know it’s early days and I’m all starry-eyed, but I really feel like I’ve found the right place to be. I’m really enjoying just being in an environment where the care of horses is paramount – working with horses is certainly good for the soul.

I’d better wrap this up now because I’m rambling on, and it’s getting late… Need to get my beauty sleep to look good for the horses tomorrow – haha. Apparently snow is forecast for tomorrow. I’m excited to see it, but I’m sure the novelty will wear off very quickly once my extremities start to freeze and fall off!

New York – day four

My last full day in New York! I had big plans, but didn’t actually end up doing a whole lot… Just a lot more wandering and exploring 🙂

I found a cute little winter marketplace where I bought a few gifts for people back home. I’ve been avoiding buying awful touristy things, so this stuff was a nice alternative. I spent some time in the NY pubic library – I’m becoming so obsessed with all the beautiful architecture here!! I was just as impressed with Grand Central. The buildings are all just amazing. The New Yorkers I’ve chatted with don’t seem to get why it’s exciting… I guess it wouldn’t be all that interesting if it’s what you’ve grown up with. It’s always good to see things through a fresh set of eyes though!

I was tossing up whether to go out and have a big night, or to head home and have an early dinner and get myself organised to leave… And with my feet aching from walking about 50 miles over the past few days, option B won. I had dinner at a gorgeous Mediterranean restaurant in Harlem – it was such a good find. Great food, live jazz, and amazing cocktails… I swear the alcohol is more potent here than back home!! Spent a couple of hours there just drinking and listening to music, then walked (stumbled?) back home.

I really love it here, there’s something new and interesting to see every time you turn a corner. I’ve noticed that the city has become busier with each day though, I guess all the tourists are turning up with the holidays season getting underway. I think I might have timed my trip relatively well.. Even though I’m disappointed that I didn’t see New York in the snow, Im glad to be getting away from the crowds that have begun to show up everywhere.

You’ll have to forgive me if my posts are a bit scrappy at the moment… WordPress really doesn’t want to cooperate with my ipad.

Day three and I was still feeling pretty ordinary, falling asleep after 4am really isn’t agreeing with me, so I was off to a late start. I headed down to South Ferry (finally figured out the subway!!) to go to see the Statue of Liberty. I nearly got myself conned by people claiming to be in charge of official tours, but got away before I handed over any money, and found the real ticketing centre. Liberty Island was quite interesting – the statue is pretty majestic close up. I would have liked to do the crown tour, but they’re booked out until the middle of January.

Once I got back to the mainland, I was absolutely freezing so just decided to start walking around to check out the streets downtown, and to try and warm up a bit. I ended up at the 9/11 memorial so made my way in there. I really wasn’t expecting to be so affected by it, but it’s a seriously emotional place. It’s so heartbreaking reading the names of all the emergency workers.

I kept wandering uptown and did a bit more shopping, and befriended a couple of girls in Sephora. They were going to dinner at McGees, an Irish pub that inspired the McLarens bar from How I Met Your Mother, and invited me to come along. It was a pretty cool little place, different inside from McLarens, but the food, drinks and company were very good!! A bit later on I caught up with a guy I had met earlier in the day and had a few drinks at another cute little bar. It was a nice way to end the day – I’ve been enjoying being on my own most of the time, but it’s always good to socialis!

New York – day two

I really need need to stay up to date with writing in this a bit better – I’ve done soo much in the last few days, it’s hard to keep track of it all!

On the second day I was a bit jet lagged, so decided to spend a fairly quiet day at the museums. My first pick was the Met – I’m a massive Egyptophile so their Ancient Egypt exhibit was certainly a highlight.

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I spent hours there, the armoury section and the Greek/Roman history were also really fascinating.

I then made my way back down towards the shops on 5th Avenue and spent a few hours there.. The size of the stores here is just incomprehensible. I feel like such a little country girl! Bought a few good things though, all the clothing is so cheap.

I actually had a bit of trouble finding somewhere for dinner – a few places I liked the look of actually wouldn’t give me a table for one! I suppose it’s fair enough when they’re busy and want to maximise their earning potential with full tables, but it’s a bit depressing when you just want to get a nice meal on your own. I ended up just getting a takeaway salad and headed back home to try and get an early night. It didn’t quite work as planned, because I was still awake at 4am! I think it’s going to take a while for me to try and readjust my sleeping pattern… Better get it sorted before I start working, otherwise I’m going to end up pretty exhausted very quickly!

New York – day one

I’m finally here! After a fairly long trip – 15 hours to LA, 4 hours stopover, then 5 more to NY – I was so excited to just get to my hotel and have a shower and fall into bed. I’m staying in a really cute little place, it’s quite far uptown but was so much nicer than similar things further into the city at the same price, so I don’t mind the trade off in regards to distance.

My super cute little room – complete with home baked cookies and the world’s comfiest bed

For my first day, I decided to just have a wander around and get my bearings a bit. I ended up walking nearly 20km throughout the day! Made my first stop at Lululemon to stock up on winter clothes – they have an awesome range compared to what we’ve got back home. Then I wandered through Central Park a bit, and went through the Zoo. It wasn’t bad, much smaller than our zoos back home, but it was interesting to see a few different types of animals.

Central Park

Then I’d made it right down into the city – and it really is just like the movies. Everything is so pretty, the Christmas decorations are incredible. You could walk around for hours and not get bored, there’s so much to see even just in the window displays.

Beautiful Christmas decorations inside Tiffany & Co

Street view of Tiffany & Co

Eventually got to Times Square.. Yikes! It really is so touristy and overwhelming. Certainly worth checking out, but wouldn’t worry about going back for a second look. My next stop was the Rockefeller Centre for the Top of the Rock observation deck tour. i made it up just before sunset, so it was amazing to see the city come alive in the dark. It really is such a massive, beautiful city.

Skyline view from the Rockefeller Center

Then I was off to a cute little bar for dinner, whilst waiting to go and see Chicago on Broadway.  Had a few wines and got pretty tipsy… Is American wine stronger or something??  Eventually made it to Chicago, which was incredible. I’ve seen the movie a million times and know all the words to the songs, but seeing it live is an entirely different experience. i still haven’t really figured out the whole subway thing, so I decided to begin walking home and just catch a taxi when I got too tired. I ended up just walking the entire way home – amazingly enough it does feel really safe here, even after midnight. It helps that there are people and cops everywhere all the time. i was paying for all my walking a bit by the time I got home though.. very sore and crampy, found it really hard to fall asleep. I think I might have a more relaxed day tomorrow and just check out museum mile, and try to plan for more exciting stuff on Wednesday and Thursday before I head down to Pennsylvania.