Monthly Archives: February 2012

Glaciers, Lakes, and Mountains- Oh my!

What an amazing week!

It started out quite dreary and grey coming on the train from Christchurch to Greymouth. Actually it stayed pretty gross the whole two days I spent in Greymouth. Made for some pretty cool sea shots though, here’s a preview. I’ll upload more later on!

I left Greymouth on Thursday and headed down the coast to Franz Josef. A very quaint little mountain town- it basically exists to cater to the tourist who come in to see the Glaciers. Me, being one of them. I did the full day Franz Josef Glacier hike on Friday. Probably one of the single most physically exhausting things I’ve ever done- but also one of the most amazing. This is definitely a must do for anybody travelling in New Zealand. Before we even got onto the Glacier itself, we were surrounded by huge moutains with waterfalls coming down from everywhere and a beautiful glacial river to one side. It looked like Avatar, with a giant chunk of ice in the middle. Then after climbing past the terminal face of the Glacier, we strapped on our spikes (crampons) and started trekking up the ice- using ice stairs carved by our guide. It was quite rainy during our ascent. So rainy infact it managed to kill my phone which was wrapped in plastic, twice, and wrapped in two sweaters in a backpack. Although the weather was disgusting- it was still absolutely breathtaking to be surrounded by such a huge natural force. Everyonce in a while you’d hear what sounded like thunder- this was ice breaking off underneath the glacier and falling into the river of melt water and rain. When we reached as high as we could safely go that day, and turned around, the clouds all of a sudden (literally within a minute) disappeared and the sun came out. This turned the ice into a brillaint field of sparkling turquoise and crystal. Again, absolutely breathtaking. After we made our way back to the base, I enjoyed a lovely complimentary soak in the hot pools and then settled into my nice warm bed at the hostel and slept quite soundly. I have lots of pictures, but no way of uploading them so you’ll just have to wait! 

 

After spending the next two days wandering aimlessly around Franz Josef- I hopped on a bus to Queenstown. This is definitely one of the best 6.5 hour drives I’ve ever seen. The scenery was unbelievable. I can’t even begin to describe how awesome it was. Basically watch Lord of the Rings, then watch Avatar, and then combine the epicness of the scenery in those two films- and you’ll come close to having a good idea of what I saw. I got into Queenstown at about 8pm that night, and was immediately in love with the place. I also immediately regretted my decision to not spend too long there. Before seeing it I figured that it was just a tourist town, with not much to it. And, to be fair, it is just a tourist town. But it’s so adorable! And the views you can get from just standing anywhere are incredible. Surrounded by the Remarkables and on the edge of the lake- Queenstown provides even the brokest of travellers with sights of a lifetime. My first evening there, after dropping of my bags (at a less then mediocre hostel- “Base” hostels are kinda grody. Avoid.), I headed down to the lake front to just explore. There was people from all over the world, all ages, all backgrounds, just hanging out enjoying life. I sat on the beach and listened to a busker called “The Piano Man” while watching the paragliders float down and land on the sand. The scene I was looking out on as the sun sunk behind the mountains over the lake? The same scene you see in the Lord of the Rings movies when Bilbo sails away into the sunset. Literally. Same place. Magical. The next morning came bright and early and I was on a bus out to Milford Sounds. It was a very long day- over 10 hrs on a bus, and 2 hrs on a boat- but, oh man, so worth it. The drive down (5 hrs) took us through Fjordlands National Park. Once you get out of Te Anau, on the way, you see the last of the farms and civilisation drift away and you’re left in the middle of stunning mountains and valleys. Completely beautiful, and I hope to one days see it in the winter as it would be equally as stunning covered in snow. We drove though thick native beech forests, through huge valleys and even through a mountain in a very long tunnel. I hate tunnels. They always sketch me out. Didn’t help that we had just been informed that this area has over 1000 earthquakes per MONTH. Nonetheless, as you come out of the tunnel you’re posed with fantastic views of the valley as you go down switchbacks towards Milford Sound. Worth the 5 minutes of darkness, I’d say. Once we got to Milford, we were loaded onto a boat and taken on a cruise around the Sound. Again. Avatar + LOTR. That’s the best way for me to describe it without pictures (which are coming soon). We got back into Qtown at 8:30pm and it was time for me to try the world famous Fergburger. If you’ve never heard of it. Google it. It is everybit as amazing as people say. I made a complete mess of myself in the process of eating it. But it was so good, I couldn’t form thoughts, other then “oh my good god”. It’s definitely a must do for everybody before death. It fixes all problems. Kay, maybe not all problems. But it’s a damn good burger.  After that, to further my fat intake for the day, I got some gelatto and watched the stars come out over the lake.

This morning I got a bus and headed to Alexandra- where I am currently. Still not sure what I’m going to do for the next while. Haven’t made any more travel plans- I might just hang out here for a bit and visit with the family that’s here and in Christchurch before heading back north. Much cheaper this way too. Saves lots for me to see for next time I’m this side of the world 🙂

Money in Money out

Phew. Got most of my organizing and booking done today- up to next tuesday that is where my planning has stopped for the moment.

As mentioned before, I went out to Waimate for a few days to meet and stay with Esme Elliot. She gave me a tour of the town (complete with showing me where everyone of importance lived), which is a bit smaller than Carman, took me out to the old Elliot farmstead, and kept me entertained by taking me to her Woman’s Society meeting, and on visiting rounds with other long lost family members. I drank lots of tea, and made lots of small talk- but it was great to meet more rellys.

I spent this past weekend working at a horse show for Tessa Williams (pictures will be up shortly). She and her mom were very pleasant, and it was very nice grooming for people who appreciated your help. She had 4 horses, two in the 7 yr old division, one grand prix horse, and another who didn’t end up competing that much as the first day he gave himself a pretty nasty puncture wound from overreaching. Never seen an overreach that bad. It was quite deep. I slept in my little one person (see picture in next post) tent beside the horse truck and stables, so the melody of horses kicking walls, and NZ’s bird chorus sang me to sleep and woke me up each morning. My tent is so tiny that I can’t really lay straight in it. I always have to be curled up at an odd angle in order to fit. Plus, all the pegs have been bent out of shape by the previous owner- so pegging it down is near impossible. Thankfully there were no strong winds, and the rain held off until the last day. My days were much the same, I fed the horses at 6:30am and then mucked out, watered, walked, and put studs in, and plaited if needed- usually around 8am Tess was either up or texting me with further instructions. On Sunday I let myself sleep in until 7am, as we didn’t have any classes until later in the day. Once competition commenced, I basically spent the rest of the day tacking up, walking to the ring, holding, watching, holding, bringing horses back, getting another horse, and repeat. Pretty relaxed compared to the crazy days we had working at shows for LC when there were 10 horses on the go each day. For three days of work, I got $200. Not bad! That plus the $600 I got from Airhill have pretty much been used up on this week travels. But boy have I got some awesome things planned! Here’s what I’ve got!

Tuesday (Feb 21) I take the train from Christchurch to Greymouth. Said to be one of the worlds greatest train rides- it travels through some gorgeous scenery. That experience (one way) costs me $110. Sure I could take the bus and cut that cost by about thirty bucks, but I’m going to be doing the bus thing for the rest of my trip- so I think I’ll avoid the squished seats, blurry finger/head printed windows, chatty asian tourists,  and the awkward guy who headbangs and sings along to his death metal.

I’ll spend two nights in Greymouth ($48 in Noah’s Arc Backpackers). There are rumoured to be some very nice walks and hikes in that area- plus it’s right along the coast. Plus the hostel I’m staying at provides free bikes to use while staying, bonus! I’d love to get up to Punakaiki park, where the “Pancake” rocks are. It’s about 40 minutes up the coast, but unless I can find some cheap transport I might have to skip that (save it for next time:))

On Thursday (Feb 23) I bus to Franz Josef ($40). On the Friday I’m doing something awesome. I’ve booked a full day Franz Josef Glacier guided trek. A must see of NZ. We spend the day hiking up to the glacier, and then climbing up and through the glacier before returning to have a dip in the hot glacier pools. Everyone I’ve told about this has told me “not to fall down any cracks”. Clearly they know me well. I’ll stay in Franz Josef at the Chateau Franz for 3 nights ($72). One night longer then I’d likd, but the bus service doesn’t run on Saturdays for some odd reason and to use the other bus service was going to cost me an extra $50. NO thank you. My hostel comes with a free spa pool and free soup and popcorn so I’m sure it won’t be too hard to stay an extra day. Normally I wouldn’t be this excited about free soup and popcorn (okay maybe I would) but when travelling on my budget, any extra food is absolutely a god send.

On Sunday (Feb 26) I bus to Queenstown ($33), where I’ll stay for 2 nights ($44). On Monday I’m partaking in a scenic day trip out to Milford Sounds ($121) – which includes a 2hr cruise around the sounds. After Queenstown I’ll bus to Alexandra ($15), on Tuesday (Feb 28) where I’ll meet up once again with Marie and Ken, do some laundry, and enjoy a unshared room. This is where I’ve stopped planning. I haven’t quite decided if I’ll go down to Invercargill. I very much want to, but it’s going to cost me $80 in bus tickets so I’ll have to decide if it’s worth it. I also need to decide if I want to go up to the top of the South island to Nelson area. Oh well, one day at a time. At the rate I’m going my bank account might make that decision for me!

Helloooo South Island

Lindy and Jude Elliot were waiting for me along with this gorgeous NZ super star, Richie McCaw- the All Blacks Captain! Could not let him walk away without stopping him to say hi, of course. Which I’m sure he gets a lot seeing as he’s kinda famous and all that. Really cool to meet him after watching him lead his team in such an awesome World Cup! Plus we have very similar hairstyles! Never thought I’d be able to say I have the same hair as a rugby player.. But life moves in mysterious ways- evidently!

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Doing it My Way

I’m officially a backpacker… without a backpack.

Let’s just skip over all the common sense arguments. When has common sense ever really applied to me or my life, anyway? I’ve done this entire trip the backwards, upside down, and sidways route- so why not finish it that way. My good old mountain equipment co. duffle bag has gotten me this far, I’m not about to ditch it for a easy to carry, fancy shmancy, state of the art backpackers back pack. Sure it might be easier on the shoulders, and the rest of the body. But that’s just not the way I roll.

So, now that we’re past that. Update time! I’m currently in Christchurch. I flew in here on Saturday- and after a lovely meeting with hunky All Black’s star, and Captain Richie McCaw, I was settled in with Lindy Elliot and her family. I love love love meeting all these relatives. I’ve always been a family person, so it’s great to meet the international rellys. Plus, it beats staying in a hostel, or sleeping in a car, or in a tent in the cold by myself. A lot cheaper too. On Sunday Lindy and her husband Ed took me out to Sumner, where we walked along the beach and got to know each other a bit more. Driving there and back we went through a lot of the more heavily damaged areas from the recent (and still occuring) earthquakes. The roads are very bumpy, and cracked. Kind of like Winnipeg roads.. except because of a natural disaster, not lack of repair. It was common to look up and see houses on the sides of the hills and ledges either falling off their perches or half way demolished. It’s all something that’s impossible to even imagine for somebody that comes from a place like MB, where chances are we’ll never experience that level of natural disaster. Floods, snow storms, droughts, and the occasional twister are one thing. The entire land mass you live on shifting, cracking, and changing shape in an uncontrollable manner- that’s something unpercievable to us.

After Sumner, Lindy had a meeting in Christchurch so she dropped me off at the park, where I had been before. I planned on catching up on some reading, or studying (Anatomy.. yaaay), but I was lucky enough to stumble across a play in the park. It was done by a comedy group called the Outwits, who did a humerous recount of Christchurch’s history. Perfect! There was even a musical part, titled “Munted: The Musical” on Christchurch’s most recent history, the earthquakes. Munted, for all you Canadians, is a curse word. Similar to ‘screwed’, ‘destroyed’, ‘f..iretruck’, ‘totally messed up’, etc. While I’m sure many of the jokes in the play went straight past me, I throughly enjoyed this little bit of theatre. The acting was great, and it kept me laughing the whole time. As well as educating me in a very unboring way! Much of it was kiwi humour, so it’s hard for me to describe the jokes and scenarios to you, as you probably won’t know who Richard Till is, or what Countdown is. It was quite interesting for me to be so excited about meeting Richie McCaw, only to have pretty much everyone from home go.. “Who’s he? What are the All Blacks?”. To be honest, I didn’t even know Canada had a rugby team until I came here and witnessed the amazingness that was the Rugby World Cup, I also really knew nothing about Rugby in general.  So, fun fact: Richie McCaw is the captain of the All Blacks, one of the greatest rugby teams to exist, RWC 2011 champs, and an amazing team of stupendous athletes.

On Monday, after going out for breakfast with the family for Ed’s birthday, I was shown around downtown Christchurch (pop-up mall, red zone/ghost town that was the city centre), and then to New Brighton by Lindy’s son, Jonty and his girlfriend. It was a rather grey and chilly day, so after walking down the pier and getting a warm drink we came back and I settled in ready “Eat, Pray, Love”. Today, it’s again grey and drizzly. A great day to read, and blog. Seeing as this is the first time I’ve had an actually computer to use I figured it’d be good to type out a good long post on my happenings. My phone is great, and I can and have been blogging off that (I’m too cheap to replace my laptops charger while I’m here) – but fighting with autocorrect for 1500 words is not something I like to do often! This afternoon I’ll be heading south to Waimate, where I’ll meet the rest of the Elliot family and stay with them for a couple days. I’m quite looking forward to it! On Thursday afternoon I’ll come back up to Christchurch and go to Macleans Island to work at the 3* show jumping show there as a groom for Tessa Williams. New connections, and extra cash-what’s not to love?

What happens after that? Well, I’ve been wondering that too! The front runner in my plans as of the moment is to take the scenic train ride 4 hours from Christchurch to Greymouth, on the west coast. From there I will lug my trusty duffle to a hostel that I’ve found. Rumoured to be the best in the country. Where I’ll stay for a couple nights and explore the area. The famous Pancake rocks are only 40 minutes away and are on my ‘to do’ list. After seeing what I can there, I want to get to Queenstown (obviously I have to see Queenstown, it’s kind of a must do when in NZ), where I don’t want to spend too long actually as it’s said to be very expensive and touristy- neither of which I’m too big on. Nakedbus offers a day trip from Queenstown out to Milford Sounds, with many scenic stops along the way and a cruise around the sounds included. What’s not to love about that? Especially when it’s at an affordable price.

Here’s where my plans get a little bit fuzzy. Going back to Alexandra and visiting once again the lovely Ken and Marie Paulin is most likely next. I debated doing the Rail Trail bike tour, through central Otago. But it’s about 3 or 4 times what my budget is- so not happening. Maybe I continue down the west coast from there, and then back up the other side. Or go straight to Invercargill, explore that area, and then head up the east coast. I definitely have some more research to do on what I want to see and do in my remaining time. If anybody reading this has any suggestions, please let me know!

When am I home, you may wonder? Ah, yes, the questions I’ve gotten a lot lately. Too bad I’m not giving any specific dates, suckers! Because I’m a jerk. And I like surprising people. I have already lined up a job at Aubins Nursery for when I’m home, thank God. I also still fully plan on taking some spring courses (Anatomy, lord help me) to ease up next years schedule. It won’t really ease up anything, but I definitely think taking Anatomy on its own will  help me get the grade I need in it (B or higher). Pretty intimidated by that, because I suck at studying and getting higher then average marks in general. But, me and goals go hand in hand, and once I set one it’s pretty damn hard to get me off the wagon. Hence why I’ve been fitting in some pre-course studying whenever I can over here. Never thought I’d see the day (as I’m sure my parents didn’t either) where I’d be studying.. for fun. Just one way I’ve changed in the past 6 months!

All this being said, my travel plans are (as always) subject to (and most likely to) change. Chances are I’ll get lost. Again. Or organize something and then realize later I organized it in the completely illogical, unethical way- shrug- and do it anyway. Whatever happens I’ll have my trusty iPhone (my entire life) in my hand, or pocket- ready to take a picture of every completely upsidedown, sideways, and backwards situation I get myself into. Finally starting to really enjoy NZ the way it’s supposed to be enjoyed. Just took me most of the trip to figure out how. Once again, I went the long way around. Story of my life. But you can meet some amazing people, see some mindblowing things, and have some unforgettable experiences going the long way.

There’s quite a mix of emotions going on at the idea of coming home. As I’m sure every traveller experiences. On one hand, I’m absolutely, and whole heartedly ready to be home and see everyone and get going on all my plans again. Travelling doesn’t really allow you to plan your future. I mean you can think about what you want to do, and make decisions based on those thoughts, of course, but you can’t exactly act on them when you’re in a one person tent somewhere between mountains and the pacific oceans on strange little island.  Also, facebook, emails, and other means of communication with all your closest friends back home is not really always ever the same as actually seeing them. This is where the other hand comes in. It’s going to be so weird having a face to face conversation again with everybody and anybody back home. It’s one thing to see their face on a blurry little screen with voice delays and bad connections- and another to actually be there. It’s also been 6 months. Which isn’t very long in the scheme of things, but it’s long enough for lots of changes to occur. That’s 6 months where I’ve been experiencing things people back home can’t really ever understand because they’ve only got the retyped version, and I’m really not the greatest story teller (hence all the pictures). And vice versa. That’s 6 months where all my friends back home have been changing in their own ways. It’s not that I think that things are going to be all different and awkward and whatever, well, kinda, but it’s just that there’s a big gap in that time where I’ve been growing and changing in my way, and everyone else has been growing and changing in theirs. But I guess that’s really what growing up is. Once you’re out of high school and you go on your own way.. you really learn how to be independant. It’s not something you can truly learn when you’re constantly surrounded by people you’ve always known and somewhere you’ve always been. To be able to know yourself when you’re 10,000 miles away from everything you know? That’s growing up. So it just makes you wonder sometimes what it will be like getting back to everything that you left behind. That got deeper then I meant it to. Anyway, a more light hearted reason why I’m not as excited for coming home; I’ve gotten very used to not having a routine, or a schedule. It’s nice to just be able to up and decide you want to hop on a bus and go see something new. Or just hang out on the beach listening to the waves. Or go hike up the side of a mountain. For obvious reasons (other then the most obvious, there are no mountains OR oceans in MB) I can’t do that when I get home. As much as I am looking forward to getting back into my routine, riding, school, everything- it’s going to take some adjusting. A lot of adjusting. 3 months ago, if I had come home, probably would have been easy. Other then I would have been very disappointed in the trip. But now that I’ve started to really travel, and explore and have some fun like I always meant to, it’s a bit different.

To conclude, I don’t have a backpack, I’m working this weekend, I love my family here there and everywhere, I’m a emotional epiphany about coming home, I have some kick ass plans for the remaining time here, I plan on changing those plans, I’m going to take pictures, I’m going to keep updating this blog (so stay tuned!), and most of you won’t know when I’m coming home until I’m physically at home.

Kia Ora!  

 

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Quick News

So I decided earlier this week to stay at Airhill for a few more days. Originally we were leaving for Wellington this past Monday, but due to a lack of funds on my travelling partner’s side of things.. That didn’t happen. As I’m pretty anxious to get travelling as I only have a few weeks left- I’m busing to Wellington on Saturday, and then flying to Christchurch later that night where I’ll visit/rely on family hospitality (again) with Esme Elliot and one of her daughters, Lindy. They sounded very nice on the phone! Next weekend I’ve lined up a job working as a groom for a grand prix rider at a Christchurch show. They needed some last minute help and I’m always in favour of some extra cash. After that I’m not sure what’s happening. I’m supposed to meet back up with Hannah and Niamh whenever they get over to the South but as usual, I’m just going to plan as things happen. I’ve learned that (especially with my luck) there’s not much point planning too much ahead as usually (always) it doesn’t work out to said plan. Going with the flow like a champ over here!
As for work. Still loving it. Well, mostly. I think it’s fantastic to be in the saddle again.. Unfortunately my knee does not. My back is perfectly fine- its loving it actually. However, it got to the point where I didn’t even ride today because of my knee. One of my last good joints! Ah! Probably does not help that I’m riding 3-5 horses per day.. Most of which are very strong race horses.. Not easy rides. Tomorrow is my last day and I’ll have 5 horses needing exercise so I’ll pretend it doesn’t hurt to move my knee (while trotting for 4 hours.. Good luck with that!). By the way, if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to ride a race horse at full speed… I can tell you now.. It’s flipping terrifying. I guess it’s because I’m not a jockey (clearly, look at me) and I’m very much used to training the run out of horses, not letting them run. Although I have noticed something when I’m riding these horses. As terrifying as the situations are, I never actually feel scared. I mean.. There is a voice inside my head screaming “what the hell are you doing, you should be curled up in a ball whimpering in fear at even the idea of this.. Etc etc” but clearly that voice has been locked deep deep inside by years of riding and training myself to not be nervous or scared when on a new horse or in a difficult situation, because I legit feel nothing and I keep on riding just the same as if I was on a leisurely hack. I could just be insane. A little of both? Most likely.
Anyway that’s basically all that’s new here in this earthquake ridden country. Apparently a lot of the regular grooms that go to the south shows are refusing to go due to the fact that there is at least one earthquake a day there. Leave it to the crazy broke traveller to head right on over!
Oh and a you can see in the picture, my hair is growing fast! Tonight we’re out on the town for a Bob Dylan tribute concert in Napier, and Chinese buffet. I also made cheesecake today.. And have become addicted to toast. There is a reason I don’t bother with diets, food is just too awesome.
I’ll stop writing now as its getting pretty random.
Cheers!

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Trust

“Firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something”

It’s something almost everybody struggles with at one point in life. Something that’s so hard to gain, but can be lost in a split second. As a rider, I’ve learned many times how much trust can have an influence on results. It’s often a deciding factor between success and disaster in our sport. As much as any team needs to be able to trust one another completely, horse and rider have to have the same connection.. Except without words.
Something I knew before, but am very aware of now, is how much every horse varies. Just like people, horses have very distinct personalities. Some will be easier to build a partnership with, while others will be standoffish for quite a while before you really get to know them.
When I first began riding, I was put on a big black beauty named Otis. My first ride on him was bareback, being led around the back pasture at Bluebear. Not long after that you could find the two of us galloping across fields chasing geese. He was the first horse I trusted completely. That being said its much easier to trust when you’re 7 years old and have absolutely no fear. Nonetheless we formed that special partnership that all equestrians will know of.
I’ve been through many horses since Otis. Washington, my mom’s horse, and I never quite got past the despising each other part. Monty, the loveable little appy who took me to my first provincial show and taught me oh so much about staying in the saddle before and after jumps. Then there came Flash, a chestnut mare who very much lived up to the stereotype of chestnut mares. Flash and her previous owner had been in the same 4H club and teams as I had (with Monty) for a few years and we’d seen Flash win everything in site, as well as be a complete bitch here and there too. When we bought her, we knew she had issues- but what horse doesn’t? This beautiful girl became my closest friend and my worst enemy depending on the day. She was a horse that was hard to trust, I can’t lie. We had some pretty rocky days. But the relationship we built was rock solid. She took me to many wins and taught me almost everything I know about trust, and how to handle chestnut mare syndrome. Unfortunately she developed some soundness problems in the last couple years I owned her, which made competing much more of a touch and go scenario. Eventually it became painfully (literally) clear that she was sick of the show routine and was ready for the next part of her life. She enjoyed demonstrating this by bucking, rearing, and playing games in the middle of classes. Our last show together was Carman Fair 2010 where we had a less than ideal show, which ended with her rearing, me bailing, landing very hard on my shoulder- ripping my favourite show shirt, and the judge finally looking our way. Since selling her was too hard and we wanted to know who would own her, she was traded back to her original breeders- who still remembered her as the first horse who ever made them money in the show ring (she was 2nd in the ’97 50/50 futurity). In return we got Felix, and the right to one more of their foals.
In comes Willard. Another horse who it took me a long time to build trust in. It took so much to get him to where he is today (or where he was in August of last year anyway). I grew up a lot in the process. In order to build trust, you first have to have confidence enough in yourself to build your horse’s confidence. This was the case with Will. He needed me to be the confident one as he was as timid as a mouse. You’ll find a lot of horses are this way, especially green horses. If you knew me when I was younger, you’d know that I wasn’t the most confident. As I got older and more involved in athletics, theatre, and progressed in my riding, this changed of course. And it got easier to ride Will- and thus Will began to grow up too- becoming what he is now.
When you really think about it, it takes so much trust to do what we riders do. Hopping on a 1100lb plus animal and expecting it to listen to you let alone jump around a course of big obstacles sounds insane to a lot of people. But personally, and I know many will agree, I could not imagine doing anything else. The past few days I’ve been exercising race horses at an extended trot around the pastures of Airhill farm. These thoroughbreds are all on average about 16.3 or bigger and are some of the best race horses/ jump race (steeplechase) horses in New Zealand. Galloping up steep inclines is at its best a little terrifying but I’ve found that I’m absolutely in love with it. Every muscle in my body is sore and tired, and I’m way past the point of exhaustion. But I’m still saying yes to another ride out and smiling as the horse races up the hill on the way to the work out trail. In this kind if situation you have to be able to build the trust quickly. You don’t have months or years to build a relationship. You have seconds, maybe minutes, to trust the horse you’re on and establish a confidence. As I said earlier, each horse is different. Yorkie, one horse I exercise, is quiet and likes to know I’m there with him, and needs more contact on the reins.. While King is quite hot to start out, will not stand still and needs a more relaxed contact to relax himself. All these little things need to be picked up on quickly if you’re going to have a successful ride.
I’m getting pretty excited to get home to my own horse, as much as I love riding all these talented horses in this beautiful landscape- there’s nothing quite like that feeling when you’re on a horse you have that special bond with. I’m sure Willard will present me with some new challenges, as he’s become quite the spoiled brat in my absence. I’ve gotten myself back in shape, now it’s hammer time for Mr.Willard. Poor guy. His leisurely days of lazy life are nearly over!

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