New Years update

Firstly I have to apologise for the complete lack of posts lately. The days have been so busy, and on the nights where we haven’t been out dining and drinking, all I’ve wanted to do is crawl into bed and fall asleep watching movies.

Christmas and New Years came and went in a haze of parties. These nights were followed by some very subdued days in the barn while we all tried to deal with our hangovers. You do not know the true meaning of hell until you have to muck a barn whilst severely hungover and listening to horrendous Mexican polka music that the grooms insist on playing so loudly.

After all my dreams of a white Christmas, we didn’t actually get any snow in the days leading up to it, so that was a little disappointing. It did snow on Boxing Day though – better late than never I suppose! All the horses had the day off for Christmas, so all we had to do was the basic daily care and take it easy for the rest of the day which was nice. Right back into it the next day though – this industry certainly isn’t one that slows down for the holiday season! I couldn’t think of anything nicer than spending the day in a warm barn sharing carrots with so many lovely horses though.

A little Christmas spirit at the barn

Boxing Day snowfall

Christmas morning cuddles with Fernhill Ultimate

I’ve been doing a lot of riding lately, up to 6 a day, which has been great. I’m feeling stronger and more balanced, and starting to redevelop that sense of feel that only comes from hours in the saddle. Riding so many different horses all the time is such a great experience – you really have to be constantly thinking and adapting to each horse’s individual quirks and characteristics. Trying to remember what each horse likes and dislikes can be challenging though – you definitely don’t want to mix up the horse who has to be chased with spurs and a whip for every stride of his canter sets with the one who will buck if you use just a fraction too much leg!

William Penn & Fernhill Fugitive on a rainy Sunday morning

Our preparations are well underway for our upcoming move to Aiken, South Carolina. The first couple of truckloads of infrastructure have already headed down – things like tractors, portable roundyards, cross country jumps etc. We’ve been very busy in the barn getting the horses fit and tidying them up into show condition. Over the next week we’ll begin the epic job of packing up all the tack, rugs, feed, grooming equipment and all the other barn supplies we’ll need to spend a few months in the south.

The first truckload being packed for the trip to Aiken

As always, there’s plenty of tack to be cleaned. I got the job of cleaning all the show halters that have been sitting in the loft getting mouldy since the end of the competition season… They were in need of some pretty serious TLC!

The obligatory before shot..

And after!

There’s a real sense of excitement about the move – I think we are all pretty keen to escape the freezing weather we’ve been having lately… And I’m pretty excited to experience the Aiken party scene that I’ve been hearing so much about lately!

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.

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.