Friday, June 29, 2007

Second Closet

Another Two Bags of Clothes

OK, this was the horse clothes closet. How many pairs of breeches does one person need?

The collection has grown over the last ten years or so. Talk about excess. I sorted and now have it to a reasonable number. Now all I have to do is figure out how to store what's left. I bought a few plastic bins and so far they are working well. So all I have to do is organize things.

As for the horses....I went out to feed this morning and Chance was missing. Again, he had undone the ties holding the corral panel at the end of the shed and escaped. He was out happily grazing covered in dirt from rolling in the paddock.

I fed and put him back in, resecuring the panel with some good ties and knots.

Went out later to lunge him to see how sound he was and all the ties were undone. Mind you, this was not chew through, but untied knots! Someone has really clever lips.

At present, I have given up. I lunged him just a little and he still is not quite even, but he is not really lame either. I am going to monitor him over the next few days and if he shows more unsoundness, I am going to have to drag one of the larger corral panels over there and fasten it with chains--and padlocks if necessary. *lol* The gate panel I am using is a little shorter than the other panels and just fills the gap. The larger panel will fill it with panel to spare. I must admit it is kind of funny thinking of Chance untying those little knots. Well, at least he wasn't bored.

I rode Toby for a good session, with lots of trot to start getting him more fit. Gabriel will be coming to teach on the 6th of July and he has expressed interest in having one of his students ride Toby to learn dressage basics. She has an unschooled mare and is looking for a good dressage horse of her own. In the meantime, if she can learn some concepts on a schooled horse, it will really help her learn to ride her own horses. I've been working Toby, as you readers know, and he is probably fit enough for an easy lesson, but I want him to have some good muscle and stamina so he can really be a good teacher.

I had a nice school with Tucker as well. Beats me as to whether he goes on the forehand or not. I certainly don't feel it. He does put pressure on the rein in a downward way, something contrary to what Patrice wanted, but frankly, if that's wrong, I have no clue as to how to fix it. He does all the basic exercises with ease, so there's no way to use that as a gauge.

So, I guess I just have to keep riding him from behind, encouraging him to go forward, and wait until one trainer or another shows me the light. Once I know just exactly how he needs to feel to be correct, I'll be fine. Right now, I just don't know what "correct" is for him.

Sometimes a horse with natural balance and ability is a puzzle.

After I rode, I went to hang up two coolers I'd taken off the ladder the other day so I could put a baby barn swallow back in the nest. (Think it fell out again with fatal consequences as did another one I found in the run-in shed. Poor parents must be really upset.) As I picked up the second one, I was attacked by bees of some sort. Apparently they had built a nest in the rug. I now have one sting on each thigh. I managed to get the nest out of the cooler and I sprayed the bees with Raid. I don't normally like to kill bees--or little yellow jackets, whatever they were, but it was bad scene as it is right next to where I groom the horses. Thank goodness I didn't need to put a cooler on anyone after riding. What a disaster that would have been!!

I'll bear the stings myself anytime rather than having one of my horses stung!!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Bit Cooler

But Still Too Hot to Ride

So, I decided to do some house cleaning instead.

I have a ton of clothes. I have been sorting and getting rid of them. However, the project ended with piles of stuff all over my bedroom some weeks ago. Today, I started up again. I now have three large bags to go to one of the good will bins, a very neat closet and clothes cabinet, and some piles yet to go. I haven't done the horse/casual clothes yet.

This takes a surpising amount of time.

When I went out to give the horses dinner, I cleaned all the stalls and Chance's little run-in. That took a good amount of time too. And the rest of the barn could use a good cleaning. I have a bunch of sheets/blankets to sort and all kinds of bits and pieces of equipment and supplies. Some are good, some not.

And then there's the back porch, the collecting area for all things. And.....

Well, I guess if I keep at it, I will have the whole place cleaned up eventually.

Somewhere, I will find the time to ride.

When it's cooler.

More storms tonight and promises of lower temperatures tomorrow.

Hope so.

Nothing Doing

Took a Total Day Off

It was blasted hot yesterday morning. By the time I was done taking care of the horses, I was soaked in sweat.

Since it was the first day of my vacation with no obligations, I did essentially nothing.

I did a little vacuuming, a little reading, a little take the garbage out to the road for pickup, a little munching, a little napping, and virtually nothing really worthwhile.

Later near dusk, a truck pulled into the back yard and it was my friend who works for the Mosquito Control Commission. I have an IN. Which means that he makes sure they spray over our houses in this little strip--something they don't always do.

The heliocopter flew over us three or four times sending the horses into a silly gallop. They sent streams of mosquito spray our way, hopefully killing the darn nuisances.

I am somewhat vindicated in my reporting to other people on how bad the mosquitoes are here. While we are not the only people living in the area of the Pigeon Swamp, we are apparently the most cursed of the lot. My friend said that for some reason when he does mosquito counts here he gets 30. In all the other areas of the swamp surroundings, he gets 8 -9. They have a little tube thing that collects the critters for the count and our level is the highest in the area.

Yea! Do I get a gold star? Nah, just little red bug bites.

We can't speculate as to why it is so bad here as right where I am the water is quite far away. It may be that because I am in the uplands, all the animals are in my area and the mosquitoes know where to go for food. Or, the sandpit waters may do some overflow into good breeding areas.

I do my best to keep standing water from settling on my property, but mosquitoes can breed in less than a teaspoon of water, so any drop can be a problem. We have had quite in bit of rain this season including a pretty heavy thunderstorm last night.

As far as the other bugs go, we also have some pretty aggressive deer flies and the less populous, but equally annoying variety of horse flies. I have orders of fly predators for the barn flies that breed near the barn and this year, I found out that I can still feed the horses the feedthrough fly control, Equitrol even though I use the predators. So far, the flies are not too bad in the barn area, so I hope these two approaches will keep them at bay.

I do have Bug Armor, the mesh riding rugs, for the horses when I ride as I reported before, and fly sheets for everyday wear. And, each horse has a nice strong fan blowing into his stall. All in all, aside from the heat, I guess it's about as good as it can be for the Boys.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Hotter than H

Nearly 100 F

So did I ride? No.

I went to the chiropractor in the AM so sort out my shoulder and neck. I think all the tension and braiding yesterday messed them up as I had a bit of a headache when I got home.

Then I did a little grocery shopping and headed off to my rehearsal in Cranbury. Another soprano and I are going to do a duet at the two churches in town and we need practice. With all the nice conversation and musical work together, we managed to use up the entire afternoon so I wasn't headed home until 5 PM.

Then, I had a craving for a bacon (Actually I use salami), lettuce and tomato sandwich, so off I went to another supermarket on the way home to stock up. They also had sweet corn on sale at 6 ears for $1.99 so I got some to treat The Boys.

Home again by 6 to feed. The corn was a hit with Toby and Tucker, but I don't think Chance likes it. That gave me one ear to eat myself. Pretty yummy for this time of year. New Jersey corn is not in yet, so this must be imported from out of state. It was surprisingly sweet.

My dad used to grow his own sweet corn here and the secret is to pick it and cook it almost immediately. He'd start the water boiling, go out, pluck the ears, shuck them on the way in and pop them in the pot. That corn was sweeter than sugar. You need to be careful not to overcook it too, as many people do. Just a minute or two when the water starts to boil again. It will be crisp, juicy and delish!! So, to say the corn I had today was good is quite a compliment as I am a bit of a snob when it comes to corn on the cob.

The tomatoes I got were so so. Still, that sandwich hit the spot. I can't wait till the Jersey tomatoes are ripe. I didn't plant any myself this year as last year my garden was raided by a tomato thief groundhog. Trying to fence him out is really a problem, so I opted out. I still may get a more mature plant and try a planter on the front porch. Again, my Dad was a master tomato grower, so I am spoiled there too by the flavor of home grown. I use the well aged horse manure as a base and lime it well to make it sweet. My tomatoes, like my Dad's were sweet and succulent. Ah, the summer harvest. Here in New Jersey, we are so lucky.

Good thing my tummy is full. This post is making hungry all over again.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Good, The Bad, and the Bungly

Show Me

So, we went to the show. My ride times had changed. The first test was about 20 minutes earlier and the second test was about a half-hour later. Fortunately, the day stayed pretty cool with cloud cover all day and the threat of rain.

Tucker acted up in the warmup, unnerving me for a few minutes as he reverted to his old threatening to buck behavior. I gritted my teeth and rode him through it until the canter when he did let fly with a few kickouts. Finally he settled in and I had a reasonably good session before the first test.

Once in the big ring, he decided the dressage markers were a bit scary, but that was all and he got over that quickly. The whistle blew and in we went. Halt on the center line, nice. Trot off, diagonal lengthened trot, OK. 10 circle to leg yield, nice. Next diagonal OK. Next circle and leg yield, good. Walk, excellent. Then a bit of bobble going into the trot as he broke early to canter. Canter circle, fine. Canter lengthening--I loved it. Shallow serpentine counter canter, just fine. Change of lead across diagonal, OK and all the exercises on the other lead, as good as the first. Back to the trot, then a trot stretch circle and the final halt steady and square. I was a happy camper.

We earned a 58.4% and a 5th place. My confusion comes from the judge's score of the canter lengthening at 5 with no comment as to why. The felt great! He didn't think so. Oh well.

Long wait to second test. Warmup was a goofy as the first time. This time, though, the kinks didn't quite work out. Either Tucker was tired or a bit fed up because he didn't really relax. He did feel good at the trot, but the canter was dicey. Then, on the second canter lengthening, he bucked, threw in a flying change and I had to bring him back to the trot to put him back on the correct lead for the diagonal cross. I was frustrated because there were only two horses in the class and it would have been nice to have done a good job and been in the running for First Place.

Well, I won anyhow.....Don't hold your breath. The other rider scratched, so I was the only one in the class. Bue ribbon by default and a 53.4% on the test. The judge's comment, "Sweet horse but on the forehand throughout."

Funny, he didn't feel on the forehand. So now I am completely confused again as to how he needs to go.

I have the summer to work it out as I am not planning another show until September. Well, I may find a little show to go in, but nothing significant. I need to sort out the training issues and get him going to his potential.

Hey, at least I didn't melt in the heat that wasn't there!

Chance looked almost sound tonight. I am getting more convinced it is muscular. I am going to leave him in for at least two weeks, though, hopefully giving it time to heal.

I am worn out. Nap is looking awfully tempting.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sunday Socials

Show Tomorrow But...

I didn't ride today. I had planned to, but social events intervened and I had a relaxing day instead.

First I sang two solos in church this morning--The King of Love My Shepherd Is, by Gounod, and Hear My Prayer by Mendelssohn. That went quite well, so I was happy. After church I went to lunch with the organist/choir director, his wife and another good friend.

I dropped by the Shop Rite to get some carrots and happened upon a dress sale at Dress Barn. So I spent at least an hour trying on dresses and ended up with three at very good prices.

As soon as I got out of the car at home, my aunt next door invited me over to a little barbeque. I hooked up the trailer for the show tomorrow, took care of the Boys and the cats and went over to find my cousin whom I have not seen in at least ten years there. We were really close as children since she lived next door. Needless to say, that visit took up most of the rest of the day.

While I could work a horse now, I have opted out, instead choosing to sit here for a bit and then clean my tack, my boots, and get my show clothes all set a ready for tomorrow.

Tucker had a really good school yesterday, so he will be just fine.

I did take the time to lunge Chance for a minute or two. He is definitely still lame, but also only about half as lame as he was yesterday. I have him back in his little pen and will monitor him closely. Like Claire, I am beginning to suspect it may well be a muscle thing, but time will tell.

I also plan on calling the animal communicator to see if I can get her to talk to him to see if he can shed any light on what's wrong. I hate having him in when he has such a good time playing with Tucker, but the playing may be the cause of the lameness, so we do have to be conservative here. Since I will be home most of the time for summer vacation, I can try to make his confinement as pleasant as possible by getting him out to graze on the lawn every day.

Off to clean tack or boots or find my show clothes.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Limping Again

I took Chance out to ride him and he was very uneven. At first I thought it might be the bugs, but when I got of and lunged him, he was definitely off in the back. Same symptoms.

OK, so he is back in his stall and tomorrow I will again set up the little pen. He was 100% fine on Wednesday when I rode him, and he had been fine for well over a week before that. Whatever is wrong is a result of his running and playing. I will call the vet again and do a phone consult. I guess it will be a long summer in for Chance.

Tucker is fine and I gave him a good solid work in the ring. Just about a half hour, but he was sweated well behind when I was done, so I know he was working his hind end. I concentrated on correctness today in lieu of the tests. We did lots of ten meter circles, shoulder-in, haunches-in, leg yield, trot lengthenings, canter circles, canter half-pass, counter canter, and canter lengthenings. Except for one break to the trot after a canter lengthening, he did everything really well.

Toby and I warmed up for a few minutes and then rode through First Level Tests 1 & 2. I've got them except for being sure of the exact letters for some of the transitions. I just have to check the tests so I will be accurate.

I don't like to use a reader becuase I end up paying attention to him/her instead of concentrating on my horse and my riding. I usually do just fine remembering the tests on my own anyhow once I figure them out.

I got grain today as well, so unloading that was a nice bit of extra exercise.

All in all, not a bad day, but not a good one either with Chance limping again.

As I said, "Rats."

Friday, June 22, 2007

Ride Times

Middlesex County Dressage

At the NJ Horse Park, Rte. 524, Allentown.

I ride at 11:09 in Ring #2 and at 1:16 in Ring #1.

Well, that will be interesting. Tucker is not particularly fond of Ring 1 in front of the big grandstands. Of course it will all depend on what kind of interesting things are lying about near the arena.

I won't worry, though. He can do the tests in his sleep.

I wish I could, but I am still just a little lacking in complete confidence that I will remember every movement. They are changed just enough from last time to have some elements in new places.

However, I rode both of them tonight on Tucker and he did a lovely relaxed job. He was a breeze to ride. He will need to be more "together" to score high at the show, but if he would approach the whole thing with the same quiet, confident aplomb he showed tonight, I would be a more than happy camper.

Signed out for the year at school with still no resolution on the problem girl's grades. Rumor has it her mother was coming in for a conference later this afternoon, so perhaps all is resolved by now. I just left a note to the guidance counselor reminded her that the girl's "accomodation plan" only said she could have extra time on tests, not extra months to get regular assignments done.

I also went to Petco to get cat food. They have a pet adoption place there with cats. There were some adorable kittens--blacks and striped, my favorites--I oohed and aahed and managed to walk on by without falling for their charms. I have five cats as it is, all quite adorable in their own right.

As I was buying cat food in bulk, I met a woman and her husband also buying quantity. She asked me how many cats I had and then floored me saying she had 26! Apparently, she runs a cat rescue. We had a nice chat and she gave me some advice about catching the stray poppa cat who has really decided my property is his home. She also gave me a lead to a vet in the area who will do discounts for neutering strays for a trap/release program. I am going to check into it in case I can manage to get Paprika captured. He is looking thin, probably from lots of wandering, as he was chubbier this winter. I don't know how old he is, either, but I am wondering.

Then, my aunt told me last night that when she went to close her garage door, a big gray and white cat ran out. Another stray? No one close to us has cats except my neighbor whose cats I know.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Rain, Rain, Go Away....


I must have missed it on the weather forecast. We had heavy rain this evening.

I was home from school early because we had a half day. But I had to go back for graduation, and opted to work the horses when I got home from that somewhere around 7:30 or so when my job was over.

I should have ridden in the afternoon. I was a little hot, but not bad at all. I just kind of crashed instead and took a short nap.

Just before the graduation ceremony started, we had a heavy rainstorm. The bad thing about that is my ring was already pretty wet from the rain the other day. With what came down in the first shower, I'm sure it was full of big puddles--all of which seriously hinder Tucker's mental state and way of going as he likes to "tiptoe" through the water.

My young cousin was graduating and I connected with my Aunt and cousins there. As the skies kept threatening, I joined them for an after ceremony dinner at a local restaurant. Good thing I decided not to go home to ride as the skies opened up again in more heavy downpours.

The Boys were pretty dry when I got home, so I guess they figured out the weather long before I did and took shelter. Either that or the mosquitoes were out in force and they never bothered to go out at all.

So much for practicing Test 4 for the show. I guess I'll just have to perfect it in three days instead of four.

Still no word on the student and the grades. I may find out tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Three Under Saddle

And Chance is Sound!

I rode all three Boys today.

Though Chance was second up, I'll report on him first as he is the best story. While I was a bit naughty to tack up as he didn't like the fly wipe and broke the cross tie, once I had him in the arena, he was a good boy. My primary goal was to find out if I could feel any kind of unsoundness or unevenness--something my eye might not pick up. He felt perfectly good in both directions. Even better, some of the previous lessons seemed to have actually taken hold and he was reaching down to the bridle for most of the ride. He bent to both sides equally, and kept a nice steady little trot for perhaps 10 minutes of work. I must say, all in all, I was really delighted with him, especially after the long layoff.

I rode Toby first because when I approached him with the halter, he actually seemed pleased to put his head into it. We had a nice short work session with a warm up and a ride through first level test 3. USEF has changed the tests just enough from last year to be confusing, but I think I have it sorted out. The nice thing is that the first canter/trot/canter transition is right to left instead of left to right as it was last time. Not that I mind, but the transition was the same in both tests 3 & 4 so it did get kind of repetitious. Now we have a little variety. And the right to left on Tucker is a little bit better--not much but I would like to be able to show it. Of course, on Toby, it's no issue at all unless we get a lovely flying change instead of trot. *G*

Tucker was third up. He started off well until I tried to get him to bend right. He was stiff as a board. Then I glanced down and saw that I had accidently fastened the noseband over the bit on that side. Ugh. Once I sorted that out, he was fine. I need to get him a bit more reliable on the left rein as he doesn't always "take it" as well as the right, but otherwise, all the work was essentially good.

As I rode through test 3 on him, I just concentrated on using the outside rein, especially for all the turns. His canter lengthenings were really coming along. The biggest mess was the free walk on a long rein back to the medium walk. The change started fine and then halfway across the arena, he quit, wouldn't go forward at all and finally reared--or more of a levade as he only brought his front feet off the ground by about two feet. Once I finished the rest of the test, I went back to that set of movements starting with the lengthened trot to the halt. Wow! He gave me a lovely elevated lengthening. The walk tour was just fine as well, so hopefully, the resistance was just a temporary tantrum.

Short sessions for everyone, but for the Thoroughbreds, that's just fine. They muscle up fast and Tucker is pretty fit already. Chance will take longer to get into shape, but there is no rush. We have no big plans. He's just here for fun...for now.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Can Hardly Stand the Wait

Only Two More Half Days of School

And it has nothing to do with the majority of my students or even the job itself--in its most normal mode.

This year has been rotten. I have been involved in one professional compromise after another. Now it's back to the girl whose mother screamed at me in March. Her daughter did virtually no work for the last two marking levels--some 20 weeks. All this was due to the concept of that special accomodation she has to get extra time for all her work.

In the meantime, she was telling her mother she had done all the work and I hadn't given her credit for it.

Eventually, the school principal stepped in. Meeting with mother and daughter finally revealed the truth. Mother supposedly went ballistic and an agreement was struck that daughter would turn in all the missing work by Monday.

Lo and behold, I have an inch high stack of papers sort of completed--though not very well--including some missing stuff dating back to January or February or even earlier.

So now what? It is totally against my professional integrity to look at work from closed marking periods. Mother kept emailing me today asking if the issues of the missing work from the 2nd level had yet been resolved. (That's from weeks 10-20 of the school year.)

I am at the mercy of my principal who always has the final say. I do not intend to change any grades I have submitted, but he can certainly change them. What is doubly aggravating is that I have been dealing with mother and daughter and counselor for months and the principal has just stepped in to settle matters. He was supposed to meet with me today, but didn't so now it has to wait another day.

I already told him I will give him the papers to grade if he insists I accept them and give them credit for the earlier grading periods. I will stick by that. I have been teaching for over 36 years. I have set high standards for myself and my students. This whole mess challenges everything I believe and have lived by for all these years. Stay tuned for tomorrow's report---

As for the horses! It was hot again today. I took yesterday off as I had a rehearsal for my solos in Church on Sunday. Tonight, I decided to long line Tucker.

What a lazy boy he is. First four trot circles were little cowboy horse jogs. No energy, no forward, no work towards the bit. I had to chase him and finally really threaten him with the lunge whip to get some real action. Eventually, despite the very annoying woods flies--I did feel bad about that--he gave me some super work. He really does look good when he elevates himself off the ground and arches into the bit with his whole body.

About 25 minutes of trotting and cantering had him worked up in a good sweat with lather between his hind legs and a sense that he really did need to "Go" when I said so. That was enough for the both of us.

The TV keeps giving severe weather alerts. Thunderstorms are predicted for later tonight around here but my cable TV stations are viewed along the East Coast, so this warning is for Pennsylvania, west of here by some 75-100 miles. Storm fronts usually come from the west this time of year, so I'd guess the predictions of storms here by around midnight are just about right.

I'll keep an eye out to the sky and and ear to the clouds. I'll have the Boys under shelter as soon as the first flare flashes.

Scary but beautiful is nature's wrath.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Riding Right

Sunday in the Saddle

It was a hot day, but the humidity was fairly low, so it was pretty tolerable.

I went out to lunch after church and got home around 2 or so. I gave the Boys some hay did a few chores inside, watched a little TV and kind of hung out. I fed the Boys and waited a while and then went out to ride.

The bugs were a bother to Tucker, but a little breeze picked up and we ended up having a nice schooling session. I worked on ten meter circles, concentrating on using the outside rein which really made the circles better. Then I played around with the counter canter and even tried a few canter half passes. I was surprised that Tucker seemed to have a little trouble with the concept, but at the same time, it also made him bring his hind leg under his body and then helped the downward transition to walk. After a short walk session with some walk pirouettes, we did some more trot this time working the shoulder in and a little try at half pass. Still not quite, but certainly a good effort.

I decided to take Toby out for a trail ride to test out the Cashel bug armor in the woods. With the mesh covering and an added mesh face mask, he seemed pretty comfortable. I'm not sure if the deer flies and mosquitoes were out in force or if we picked a particularly good time to ride, but I'd score the ride an A- only because Toby was fussing a little with his head--maybe because of the mask over his eyes.

I lunged Chance for about 4 minutes to see how he looked and I couldn't see any sign of a limp. If the weather isn't too miserable this week I may try a short ride. I can feel any unevenness in his stride best that way.

After the riding was all done, I took the tractor and did a good job of cleaning out Chance's run in shed. I took down the corral panels, so it's all open again.

That took me nearly until dark, so it was the end of the outdoor efforts for the day.

Weekend over, back to school.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

What a Pleasure

Cool Evening

I mowed the lawn early today. In the process I found several little stands of poison ivy.

So, after lunch I went to Home Depot to get some brush killer to get rid of the stuff. I dropped by the pizza place and got a small antipasto for dinner. By then it was mid afternoon and quite warm. I decided to wait a bit to ride the Boys. So I fed them.

That's when a thunderstorm came by. Fortunately it wasn't a bad one, but the rain threw me off schedule.

I ended up watching the end of the US Open golf tournament, eating my dinner, and then I went out to ride.

It was lovely and cool, though a little damp.

Tucker was great. He was very steady to the bit, so that head tossing thing was just a one time phenomenon. The only complaint I have is that I had to really keep after him to get him energized. He would trot and canter just fine, but trying to get him really forward took some effort. I hadn't put on my spurs, so that was my fault. Otherwise he was a really good ride. I did some of the test movements, all of which he did well. Trot and canter circles, leg yields, shoulder in, canter lengthenings and trot lengthenings all were a cinch.

Then I rode Toby. Since the mosquitoes are so bad in the woods, I schooled him in the ring too, as I am trying to get him fit. After a nice warm up, I rode through one of the first level tests. The heading of this post is for Toby.

Absolutely everything on him is push button. What a pleasure he is to ride. You can get a huge canter lengthening down the long side, then just sit up at the end and he comes right back to a working canter. All you have to do is "think" a ten meter circle or a leg yield and there it is. He is really fun to ride.

If someone needs a good horse to take lessons in with Gabriel, Toby is perfect.

Needless to say, he got a great big carrot at the end of the session.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Took A Chance

Three on a Longe

I lunged all three Boys tonight. Tucker and Toby for a bit of real work and Chance just to see if he was sound. He was.

I had decided that since I had lunged him Wednesday and he had acted like a hooligan, if he were going to reinjure himself, that would be the time. He had taken both leads without a problem, despite the fact that I had only asked him to trot. That was a plus, but careening around me was a negative.

At any rate, since he looked sound today, I let him out of his pen.

More hooligan. He took off at a gallop and by the time he was done I think he covered every square foot of the paddocks, ring and pasture. I cringed, but when he was done and I trotted him out on the line I couldn't see any sign of irregularity. I decided to leave him out for the night and I'll see how he is in the morning. If he is OK, then I'd have to guess he's healed.

Tucker and Toby were their usual obedient selves on the lines. Tucker was, as always a bit lazy, but I gave him a good work. Toby was, as ever the "lungemaster." I had left the ring gate open and the two kids kept insisting on coming in while I was working him. No matter what they did, he just kept going at a good forward steady pace in all three gaits, completely ignoring them and focusing on my commands. What an angel he is.

Carrots all 'round and plans to do some riding tomorrow. It's supposed to be warmer, but not hot yet. That's coming on Sunday and Monday.

Anticipating that, I gave my last final exam today instead of waiting until Monday. There is no point in torturing my students by expecting them to think in the 90+ degrees predicted for next week. I dread it myself. So far the exam scores have been really good, and I am quite pleased.

Only four more days to go. Somehow I haved ended up being assigned two jobs for graduation night. I don't know if that means I get to choose or whether I am actually supposed to be at one or the other. It's either usher at the door or help kids with their caps, gowns and corsages.

Maybe I could usher kids at the door with corsages?????????????

Missed a Cool Day: Thursday


I had a doctor and physical therapy appointment after school yesterday, so I got home late.

Then, I needed to go back to school for a performing arts program.

When I got back home from that it was already well past nine.

It was perhaps just as well as the Boys were shod and trimmed yesterday as well. Normally that is no cause for a day off, but this time Scott put shoes back on Tucker's hind. I had already decided riding him would be a little too much with the added shoe weight and I was only going to lunge him. The time constraints canceled even that. Oh well, another cool day wasted.

But the performance at school was worth it. Eight students had competed in an audition monologue competition during the day and at night, they presented themselves before two professional actor/judges who critiqued them and suggested improvements. It really was a fascinating experience for all involved. What was most interesting was listening to the suggestions the professionals made and then watching the kids--teenagers--adapt and change their presentations according to the critiques. The improvements were amazing.

Our performing arts teacher, Maria Aladren, told me today the professionals were mightily impressed with her students and wanted to work with them some more. She said they would have readily accepted any one of the auditioners into their university programs right now since they showed such superior concentration, focus, and ability to accept and use criticism (notes) so well.

What a pleasure to see these kids in action. (Even the ones who somehow are managing to fail my English class. yeech!!)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Back to Work

Three for Three

Well, sort of.

I didn't really work Chance. I did lunge him a bit and he galloped around, perfectly willing to take both leads and when I finally managed to get him to trot, he looked sound. I don't want to jump the gun, however, so I am still keeping him in. After the bounding about I gave him a nice half-hour grazing session.

Tucker was next and I gave him a good school. There was none of the head cranking nonesense he had pulled in the lesson. Since I can't find anything wrong, I am beginning to suspect there was something about the bridle. It was his show bridle, so that is a worry. I will have to ride with it this week to see if I can find anything. Maybe there is something on it that rubs or sticks him.

We did some good basic work using a lot of outside rein as Gabriel had instructed. Tucker already goes to that rein, but it certainly never hurts to focus on the basics. I need to keep his canter a little more forward as he tends to bob with his head if he canters too slowly. But he really did work well.

I decided that if Toby might be asked to serve as a lesson horse now and then I need to focus on getting him legged up. I put him on the long lines for about 15-20 minutes of steady work. He was lovely and actually chose on his own to work in a frame. Needless to say I gave him tons of praise, pats, and a great big carrot.

I cleaned out the run in shed by the big Boy's stalls and dragged the arena as well, so I did put in a full evening of work. It was a gorgeously cool day after the thunderstorms yesterday, so I needed to take advantage.

Scott is coming to shoe and trim tomorrow morning. I don't know if he plans on shoeing Tucker's hind, but I'll leave him a note. Toby and Tucker are not going to be happy about having to stay in, but they'll be fine once they realize it's a farrier day.

Final exams are on schedule for school. The school year is closing fast.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Rain and Thunder

And the Shoe is On!

When I got home from school, my farrier was here shoeing Tucker. Well, shoeing his front feet anyhow.

I had a doctor's appointment for metabolic testing, so I couldn't stay until he was done. When I came home Tucker's front feet were done, but his hind were still bare. My farrier is coming back on Thursday morning, so it's possible he planned on finishing Tuck up then, or...he may have forgotten that I wanted the shoes back on the hind. With the show season upon us, and all the work Tuck needs to do off his hind, I think he needs the support, especially since the shoeing is a bit orthopaedic giving him extra support for his hocks. It's no great crisis, just a bit puzzling.

We had a thunderstorm earlier in the afternoon and by the time I got home from the doctor, thunder was rumbling again. Then the rain started.

I have several jobs to do outside I had to cancel and, needless to say, riding went by the wayside again.

The front is supposed to clear by tomorrow, so I should be back in gear. I might even feel up to it if the weather is cooler as my classroom might not be so abominable.

Only seven more days to go before summer break. I am looking forward to being able to escape the heat whenever I want to instead of being imprisoned by a class schedule.

And, gee, I will actually be able to ride any time during the day I so choose.


I Need to Get Out of School

My classroom is miserable. I wasn't even THAT hot today and my room was stifling.

After a meeting after school, I came home totally washed out. Not that I would have done anything with the horses anyhow as Tucker still doesn't have his shoe and the ground was still a bit hard.

It did finally rain, though, so tomorrow might be OK. I really need to drag the ring first to break up the sand. It has a little clay in it, which is good in some ways, but when it gets wet and then dries, if it's not raked, it gets a solid crust on it. It just makes it kind of uneven and not as cushiony to ride on as it is when dragged.

I probably need to start legging Toby up too in case someone needs to ride him in lessons. He really doesn't seem to want to work, but I think once I get him more fit, he will be happy to help out.

We only have 8 more days of school, so I guess I can make it before I melt. The rain last night/this morning may have cooled things off. I hope so. I really want to have the energy to do horsey stuff when I get home. This weather is making me feel old.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Nothing Really to Report

Shoe Lost

Tucker has lost a shoe, so I didn't ride him as planned. I can't seem to find anything obvious that would have made him shake his head and fight the bit. If it rains a bit as predicted and the ground softens back up, I may get in the saddle tomorrow to see if I can figure it out.

Meanwhile, I took Chance out for a little lunge and he looked pretty sound. There may be a hint of a hitch, but it is barely noticeable if there is. Another week or so and I think he will be fine.

I did a bunch of outdoor work, including some week whacking and a pretty thorough cleaning of Chance's little shed and stall--stripping. I let him out to graze on the lawn while I worked which was fine until he started to gallop around. Looked good, but it was a bit worrisome.

Toby and Tucker were way out in the pasture, so they didn't get invovled. They came back in soon after, though because ths mosquitoes were coming out in force. It's going to be a bad bug year with the rains.

Yesterday was a horse bust too. I needed another chiro adjustment in the AM, then, when I got home, I went to the Titus Farm dedication James' had organized. Thomas Titus was a freed slave who ran a farm in our Township that ended up being deeded to the public and preserved. James had managed to get a beautiful memorial marker for the site and held a wonderful dedication ceremony yesterday. His daughter, Shannon sang beautifully, and a young orator, Victoria did a fantastic presentation. It was a wonderful program and I'm really glad I got to go.

After that, I went to the wedding of a former pupil. Melissa is a lovely young woman and I am so happy the weather smiled on her outdoor ceremony. The reception afterwards was fun as well and I got home sometime after nine or so. By then it was dark, I was tired, and the day was done for me.

So, I've been busy all weekend, though not on the horse front. Hopefully the shoe will be back soon and the weather will stay kind.

Then again, we do have the bugs......

Friday, June 08, 2007

New Lessons

With a New Instructor
Gabriel on the right with a Florida rider and her trainer in Hong Kong. Gabriel was acting as groom.

The new trainer is Gabriel Meyer. Not who I thought he might be, but a good replacement.

He has his USDF bronze and silver medals and was hoping to earn his gold, but the Grand Prix horse he was going to compete died suddenly. He as extensive experience training young horses and lots of International training behind him. He is coached by Cindy Ashoy of Canada.

He has trained horses to FEI, but not yet Grand Prix, although he has trained many of the movements. He seems very unassuming and down to earth, which I like and, I must admit, I am in total agreement with the principles he teaches.

I watched him teach a lesson to a beginning dressage rider on a nervous Andalusion mare and liked what I saw. When he was done we had a chat and drove over to the indoor arena where Pat is trying to set up the lessons so I could take a lesson on Tucker.

I am a bit perplexed with Tucker, not the lesson. For some reason, he was tossing his head and fighting the bit, something he has never done before--at least not with the consistency of last night. I am suspicious that something physical is bothering him, but I can't figure out what. It's too darn hot to ride tonight, but if I can get on him either tomorrow--I have an event and a wedding to attend--or Sunday and he is still fretting, I will call my vet. It is very out of character for him to be that unsteady.

On the plus side, Gabriel is an excellent teacher. What as really ironic is that much of what he said was expressing what I consider to be the correct "feel" the horse should give in almost the identical language I have used to explain it to riders myself. When I asked him to explain what he meant by "light" he actually began to send someone out to get a whip so he could show me how the horse was supposed to go. It stopped him and said he didn't need to show me as I had used the exact same tool myself to show people I was teaching years ago. Freaky....

At any rate, the basic principle was getting the horse to correctly step to the outside rein. When Tucker felt good to me, Gabriel was saying he was correct, so in essence, his concepts and principles so far match mine to a tee.

In between the strange head flips, Tucker was really nice, so I was pleased with the results of the lesson. The plan is to set up a clinic and bring in the local riders who are interested in finding a trainer. We'll go from there. Right now, I will be delighted to take lessons with him. If he can get us to progress at the pace Tucker is capable of, that's more than I can ever want.

Meanwhile, we will try to figure out what's going on with Chris, my other trainer. He hasn't been in contact with any of us for over a month. I don't know if he has given up on trying to make it worth his while to come down, or if there is another issue.

It is hotter than hot here today--well over 90 degrees. I am not even going to attempt to ride. The Boys are all in the barn with their fans blowing on them so they are fine.

And the tree is gone. My tree service took it away today.

It's weird, but the yard looks strange without it. Funny how you can used to something like that so fast.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

To Tree or Not To Tree

Another Estimate on the Way

Since the broken tree is far too big for me to handle, I am still waiting for the professionals with their big chain saws and chippers. Last night the tree service I have used before called and their rep will be coming out this evening to give me an estimate. I am keeping my fingers crossed that his is reasonable.

I also submitted an estimate request to 8 firms through an Internet service. The website assured me they would all make contact "immediately." So far, one has called and I have no email messages from anyone.

I rode Tucker through First Level Test 4 last night just to see how it went and he was fine. Aside from being somewhat strong to the bit as I hadn't really warmed him up a lot, he was very obedient and, I think he remembered much of the test himself. It has a few changes from the last version we rode, but enough of it is similar. He knew when the canter lengthenings were coming and kind of started them on his own. As well he was very "into" the leg yields.

When I got off, I found out that I had accidently fastened his noseband over the bit on the right instead of under it. That might account for some of his resistance as the bit was not working properly. Overall, though, it was a good start.

I had a phone call from the women who owns the stable where my trainer give his lessons. He has not been down in months and her boarders are really concerned about not getting any training. As a result, she is looking into finding another instructor. She called me because she is going to see a lesson tonight and wanted someone with her who could help judge what was going on. I think I know who the trainer is, but since she didn't know his name, I will not make comment at this point. If it is who I think, I expect he will be very good, but my fear is that he will also be very expensive.

When lessons start costing upwards from $100 a shot, it gets pretty darn hard to take more than perhaps one a month. I am springing for that kind of money for Patrice Edwards already, but her clinics have been infrequent. Around here, the trouble is that trainers know they can get the clientele to pay high prices, so those of us who just don't have the dollars to spend are out of luck if we want more than the occasional lesson.

I am generally fine on my own, but Tucker is a bit tricky and at the moment I am not quite sure how he should be going to be working to his potential. I really would like to work for a while on a regular basis with someone who can really help me figure out exactly how to get him going well enough to pass the Second Level "bump." If we do that, I'll be fine again until we get to 4th Level--presuming I can still teach him flying changes on my own. Everything else is fine once I get him to carry himself better on his hind end instead of seeking to balance himself on his forehand/and me as a crutch.

His conformation gives him naturally good balance even when he is on his front end, so it doesn't really affect many of the basic exercises. However for the canter/walk transisitions and flying changes, that balance needs to change. I just need some good exercises, methods, and the "feel" of how to get him more correct without constant rein corrections.

Ah, well. I have done it all before with PJ and Toby, so you think I'd have a handle on all this. The answers are somewhere in my head already. I just need someone good to pull them out.

Times like this I really miss Lockie Richards. He was a gem. RIP.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Nothing Doing

Just Another Off Day

Post for Tuesday, June 5

I went to get my hair cut after school. It took longer than planned as the salon was really busy.

I got home later than planned and kind of crashed.

Part of the problem is frustration. During the storm, half of my apple tree broke off and fell across the back yard. Fortunately, it didn't hit or damage anything. Unfortunately, it is blocking practically all vehicle access to the barn. Which means that my farrier cannot get in to shoe the Boys until the tree is cleared.

This thing is huge--too much for me to handle, so it needs professionals. I've called three so far and two have given me estimates. $375-$275 to clear the tree and one insists the rest of the tree should come down too, so he's suggesting $575.

Now, it has been several years, but I had a maple tree much bigger than this one cut down for $150 and the stump gound down for another $150. I know there is inflation in everything, but we are talking more than double here. My friend suggests I get some more estimates as there are dozens of tree removal firms around. That's a great idea, but I need to get the darn thing out of there sooner than later.

I may be able to use the truck or tractor--though I think it may be too much for the tractor--to pull it off a bit more to the side, clearing the place my farrier pulls in. If I can do that I can buy some time.

In the meanwhile, stay tuned. This is another one of those "own your own house/barn" sagas.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Vet Report

Is No Report

Dr. Klayman came this afternoon to look at Chance.

He was still lame, but has improved since last Saturday at the show grounds. So, once more, the doctor ran through all the standard tests. Again, Chance does not react to the hoof testers, shows no swelling or heat, and does not test positive on the lower joint flexion tests. In essence, nothing shows up as being wrong except that he is slightly but definitely lame in his right hind.

We discussed the nerve blocks and while I was quite ready to do them on one hand, on the other hand, since Chance had improved with rest, neither I nor the doctor were sure the tests would prove anything really conclusive at this time. Dr. Klayman thinks the lameness is higher up--hip, stifle? It could be either ligaments or muscles. However, he also feels that finding the problem would be a problem in itself. As well, he said that you only get a few chances with the nerve blocks--injections--before some horses really start to protest--not a pretty picture with the hind legs.

Now, Chance has already proven to be pretty intolerant of pain. He was not a good boy for having his teeth floated and, when he had a scrape on his leg, he literally went down on his knees when I tried to clean it.

So, I eventually chose the easiest route for now. We decided to wait three more weeks, keeping him in his little run in to see how it goes. Then, on around the 25th of June, Dr. Klayman will come back to examine him again. If he is sound--good. If not, then we have to take more direct action.

I am fine with this. The little shed area is really shaded and nice in the summer. Tucker seems quite interested in keeping Chance company--to the fault of helping him break out. Chance does not seemed stressed about being kept in, and the fact is, he did improve. So, we will see whether rest cures the problem.

In the meantime, I plan on speaking with Chance through my animal communicator to see if he can shed any light on what's wrong.

Once the rain stopped this afternoon, I managed to get a few barn chores done--trimming some branches, fixing the fence, and cleaning Chance's shed out really well.

Then, mostly because there were some puddles all over the ring, I decided to lunge Tucker. Riding him with puddles is really annoying as he tries to tiptoe through the water and just loses his concentration when I am in the saddle. When I am on the ground, he works much better.

We did a nice set of turns on both reins and then I had him jump a little rail jump several times in each direction. He is really using himself well and has figured out how to lift his front and and jump off his hind. I must say, every time I see him go over a jump I am totally convinced he would be a super hunter/jumper prospect. I may take him over a little course eventually, but my heart is really in dressage. Gone are the days of 3'6" courses in the recognized shows. Every once in a while I miss it....then I don't.

Gotta get my entry in for Middlesex Dressage. First Level tests 3 & 4. I'll save Second Level until we both know what we are doing....*G*

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Cooler Day

Early Start on a Sunday

The choir had off this week, so I skipped church and just did "barn stuff" in the morning.

After I fed the Boys, I did some paddock cleanup with about 4 wheelbarrow loads of accumulated manure. I did the water troughs and by the time I got back inside it was all of 8:30.

So I did a little house cleaning--far from getting it all done--and decided to shred all the credit card offers and old financial papers I had left in my shredder basket. That took up a good bit of time.

But bless it's little heart, the weather stayed pretty cool as the sun was hidden behind some good cloud cover. When I did go back out after noon, I started off with Chance. I lunged him for one or two rounds to see how lame he was. He is still uneven behind, but I think it looks a little better. Since my vet is coming tomorrow, I guess it's still all right that he's not sound, but on the other hand, it is worrisome. I'm hoping we find out what's going on and that it is something easily treated. After the little lunge, I then took him out on the lawn for 20-30 minutes of grazing.

Tucker was up next for a good schooling session in the ring. He was very distracted today, but when he was paying full attention, his work was really good. All the first level moves are just a breeze for him. I made up a version of the second level test as well and aside from the balance issue in the downward transition from canter to walk, he has no trouble with the rest of the exercises. His walk to canter or even halt to canter is excellent and his trot lengthenings continue to improve.

I snagged Toby--who never quite seems interested in going for a ride--and took him out along the little road through the field that goes up to the farm two doors up. It's only about a 10-15 minute ride there and back, but the stops for grazing added another 5 minutes. I usually let him eat out there even though it's a really bad habit, mostly because he's basically retired. Thus, I idulge him terribly.

By then it was starting to rain in little drips and drops. We are supposed to get showers eventually.

At least it's cooled off.

Addendum: It is raining like crazy now. Apparently we are getting the remnants of the second tropical storm of the season, Barry. Hope it's not too soggy for the vet tomorrow. I have no indoor place to jog Chance.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Not Much To Report

Hot Again

Or humid. Just a little effort this morning had me sweating. Up in the high 80's but very damp.

Chance had managed--probably with help from Tucker--to until the corral panels from the run-in shed some time in the night, so he was out when I went out to feed this morning. Clever little fellow has been working on the knots for a while, I guess. I know Tucker knows a few of the ins and outs of the corral panel chain fasteners, so I am sure he was a partner in the great escape.

Cleaning the shed, the stalls and replacing the panel wore me out as the morning heat began to build.

After a respite, I headed off to the feed store to get grain and other supplies. By then is was early afternoon. I took another break and then headed out to do a bit of lawn mowing with the new tractor.

It runs beautifully, but until I get the mower set just right, I can't say it's as good as the old one in doing a good mow. Still, I played with the adjustment a little and the back lawn looks pretty good. I didn't start on the front yet as I need to get some gas and I didn't want to run out too far from the garage.

Came back in and my friend called to see if we were still on for dinner. I took a quick shower and he arrived shortly after. We went to a local restaurant--a nice place and had a really good meal.

Now it's dark and frankly, not much cooler. The grain is still in the car and the horses haven't been worked again.

I'll be going out for late feed after midnight. If it's cooled off by then, I'll get some chores done and maybe lunge Tucker a little.

In the meantime, I'm relaxing in the air conditioning, just making plans.

Is It Stress?

Hot Days and Misery

Claire asked if my neck issues could be stress. It certainly contributes. Today I went to the chiropractor in the morning as the problem from yesterday was not quite resolved. I felt good nearly all day until the afternoon.

Then the miserable heat--again over 90 degrees outside and in and my school principal aggravated the muscles in my neck to knot. I was back at the chiro in the evening for more work.

The heat needs no explanation. The principal does.

I have a student who was on both the school baseball and basketball team. As a consequence of many early scheduled games, he missed my last period English class dozens of times. (In class 2 days out of ten at one point.) He fell behind on his work and despite efforts to catch up, never quite did.

Enter student's mother who happens to be a teacher. Of course, from her persepective, her son is an "A" student and a star athtlete, so how could he possibly nearly fail my class? I compromised on the last marking level, allowing him to make up well overdo work. Something got messed up in the guidance office about his adjusted grades along the way and his last report card was still not satisfactory to mom. I called her and assured her it would be fixed. However, since his work was still not up to "A" or "B" level, she was not satisfied. By now, I had made more accomodations to my grading rules and policies than was reasonable.

Enter final marking level. Baseball games again. We were now reading a Shakespeare play. Our young man fell behind again. As a matter of fact, he even stopped coming to me to check on what he was missing in class when he was going to a game. He missed nearly every in class reading, nearly every discussion and wasn't reading any of the play at home on his own. (There is a really good online version with a simple, easy to comprehend. English "translation.") When he did show up to class, we were viewing the parts we had studied on video. So he told his mom all we did in class was watch movies.

Mom showed up at school to talk to the principal. She came armed with a list of grievances against me including a "D" worksheet her son had done. I saw her for a few moments at which time she attacked me for everything and waved the worksheet in my face, telling me I had graded it unfairly. (Of course, her son had only completed half of it.) She also accused me of just showing movies in class, and why weren't we reading any books? (Curriculum consists of short stories and plays.) I left, choosing not to continue being abused by the tirade.

Silence for a day or so. Then I was called to the principal to discuss the matter. I explained all. We called the student in and I handed him a list of the required missing work and he told us he understood what he owed me and ssid he was going to make up the work. But, he said he was still reading the play and was only on Act 2. (We were on Act 5 in class by then.)

A few days of quiet. The student eventually turned in two very badly written pages on a topic covered the previous marking level to make up for a worksheet and a test. Though it was completely inadequate, I gave him credit for it to bring his grade up for that level--several months past.

More quiet. Until today. Principal arrives in my classroom to talk again about student. Mom has called him once more to complain and to tell him I have failed to give her son the list of make up work and why should he be required to do more work than the other kids? (When a student misses class, make up work consists of one page of writing on the class topic. This will give him/her credit for any class discussion or participation grades he/she may have missed. Of course, it will never make up for the missing knowledge or learning.....) I tried to explain my policy, but Principal had his own solution. I must make up a folder with all the missing work assignments in it. He would come back during the last period of the day so he, student and I could again go over the requirements. (Fourth time, at this point....I have now given the student the list of required assignments three prior times --he asked me for a new copy of them yesterday himself.)

I spent a good amount of time making up the folder. I also spent time making up two more copies of the folder and copies of my class policy--handed out in September, sent home, signed by student and parent, including this student and mom--listing all my rules including the rules about make up work--one page of writing.

Last period came and went. The principal did not show up. I did not give the student the packet. I am not a total idiot. I need a witness. After school, I droppe in on the principal who had no time to talk to me because he was on the phone. I waved the folder. He said, "Did you give it to student?" "No," said I, "not without a witness." "Oh," said he, "Sorry I couldn't come. Give it to my secretary."

OK. I did. I told her to make sure he didn't lose it, as he often does lose things.

I will not be in school on Monday. Principal had assured mother that this would be taken care of today. She told him she would call again on Monday.

Can you picture her house? Student comes home with no packet of work. No one has spoken to him about this today. He will tell mom, and this time it will be the truth. Mom will call principal. Let him explain.

Meanwhile, aside from his required book report, student has not even handed in the work assignments he had had since the baseball season was over. One worksheet was assigned this week, three the week before. Nothing.

Ah, yes. He is an "A" student.

Way too overheated and hot to ride again. It is supposed to be better tomorrow. The horses were hanging out in the stalls with their fans blowing on them.

They are definitely "A" students.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Way Too Hot

Over 90 Degrees F

And no AC at school. My classroom also has no cross ventilation, windows high up, and no way to cool things down. It was miserable.

To top it off, all my unassigned time is in the morning. The afternoon schedule is booked solid with a hall duty at the front door, in a sunny hallway. I can't even get cooled of in an air conditioned office for that period. To say I was uncomfortable is a major understatement.

I also ended up with a bad neck by the end of the day and went to the chiropractor.

Where does all this lead? I didn't do anything with the horses...again.

Instead, I went back to school to see the Performing Arts dance concert. These students are really talented. They had choreographed many of the dances themselves as part of their course requirements. I must say, they did some great work. As well, there were several dances choreographed by professionals to add to the mix.

One of the most fun of all the dances was apparently a spontaneous invention when one 0f the students began to play with those big pilates balls. He discovered that you can do all kinds of really clever and effective moves with them. He created a great dance number using them.

As you can see the balls really get the kids flying.
The number had a lot of clever ideas and a great sense of humor.

Students in the Dance Program are hoping for professional careers and most of them look to take an Arts Major in college after they graduate from our high school.