My sister-in-law (my brother has passed away) and my older nephew met my Aunt and me for lunch today.
This is the nephew who has just earned his doctorate in Asian studies with a dissertation on the Island of Kwajalein. He earned the degree in Australia and will be awarded it this summer. His dissertation will eventually be a book and is published in book form right now. Info about Greg can be found here: http://rspas.anu.edu.au/grc/students.php
OK, I could be prejudiced, but I looked at it as an English teacher and let me tell you, it is an impressive work. What is particularly wonderful about it is his conversational, really readable writing style which covers tons of historic and anecdotal (stories he gleaned from natives and many others) information in a very accessible way. There are dozens of pictures making it a truly wonderful piece. Honest! I can't tell you how amazing the whole thing is. He is also working on a documentary film as well. And, apparently has been contacted by a writer who composed a fictional work on the Island who is planning a major motion picture.
Greg, my nephew, told me one of his judges said it was "the finest dissertation" he had ever seen.
I can see why. This was one beautiful creation. My nephew spent much of his childhood on Kwajelain where my brother was an engineer on some missle projects. During that time, he traveled throughout the South Pacific. This led him to Japan where he spent numerous years while he became fluent in the Japanese language and even acted as a translator for the Japanese government. He is an amazing, accomplished man. Wow!
Lunch was, as you can tell, a really special way to spend the early afternoon.
When I got home, I did a few indoor chores, then headed out to the Boys.
To my endless surprise, Toby was hanging about the riding arena and actually wanted to be caught. I may have spoiled it all by giving him a workout in the arena. Mostly easy work, but I did end with some of the upper level exercises including canter pirouettes, and some trot half pass zig zags. What is really cool is that even at age 18 he is still supple, sound, and full of extra energy when he's challenged to do something tricky.
I saddled up Tucker next. My biggest frustration with him is getting him to go forward right away. It is probably that his short back doesn't afford the looseness he needs without some effort on his part, but I do wish he'd put more energy into his work from the start instead of needing to be "wound up" before he really startes to work.
He is not a breathtaking mover, but he can go quite well. It just takes too much effort to get him there. I have been "waking him up" with lots of transitions, especially trot to canter and back to trot. I must say, though, he is really getting a handle on the simple change of lead, so that is a major accomplishment.
After the workout, we went on a nice little hack in the woods to cool out. Mind you, it was around 50F and I didn't want to get any of the Boys too sweated up. And, I hate to say it, but the bugs were out and, unless I am mistaken, the mosquitoes were biting. Colder weather and rain in the forecast, though, so don't envy me too much.
I decided to stick to the plan an long line Chance. Interesting. He does fight the bit on the right rein, but stays quite composed on the left rein. He tosses his head enough on the right to make me think that perhaps, like Caroline with George, I might try a solid snaffle to see if a different bit settles him more.
We did get some nice work, though, but I had to be extra active when he was on the right rein to try to keep him steady.
If it does rain as predicted tomorrow, I will rest on everyone's laurels.