Monday, February 09, 2009

warm weather and mosquitoes!

It took two days of 70+ weather to bring out gnats and mosquitoes. I don't recall ever seeing this many mosquitoes since we've lived here - I hope this is a freak hatch-out that live and die quickly. I actually made up a batch of fly spray and used it at dusk to deter them, which seems bizarre for February!

Otherwise, the warm weather is really wonderful. A taste of spring.

The Big Bay and I had a good ride today, working on being very correct and moving well, and me focusing on using half halts correctly. On the advice of my daughter's trainer who was here on Saturday, I also worked hard on a hand position issue - involving making absolutely sure I'm not breaking at the wrists.

It's amazing how big a difference that has made in Keil Bay's head and his ability to go on the bit.

And I forgot my half chaps and really enjoyed that extra "feel" with my legs.

I also got an invite to audit a Mary Wanless clinic with Kenzie's dressage trainer, who will be riding. I hope I can go - I've been intrigued with Mary Wanless for a long time, and it would be fabulous to see her in action.

And as if that isn't enough, Cindy Sydnor is doing a Sunday afternoon book club, and we'll be studying Walter Zettl's Dressage in Harmony, which she translated from the German for him back when it was published.

At the end of the book club, we'll meet at her farm for some demonstration, and I am sure she'll be riding Windsor, the young Hanoverian that reminds me so much of Keil Bay, and was bred by Keil's previous owner. If I had a spare 50k lying around, I'd plunk it down and bring him home!

A little bit of spring fever seems to have hit already. :)


Grey Horse Matters said...

Gnat and mosquitoes already! Oh no, I guess you have to take the bitter with the better in this case, I might trade some gnats for some really warm weather about now.
Good for you having a great ride. I'd love to go to the Mary Wanless clinic with you, I've read all her stuff. And how exciting to be going to the book club with Cindy Sydnor, I believe I have Mr.Zettl's book and enjoyed it. You seem to be having a lot of horse fun down there. Oh, and Windsor sounds lovely, take some pictures.

mamie said...

Interesting that the pests are back, Billie. We were walking in the woods this weekend and I was thinking about the ticks, hoping the cold weather had killed them off for a month or two. And at the rookery on the island there wasn't a mosquito to be found. Very unusual. Maybe they're all at your house?

ponymaid said...

Billie, you must live near the equator - gnats, mosquitoes? Good grief. I hope they haven't found their way into donkey ears? The woman saw Mr. Zettl at an equine event a couple of years ago and assures me he is very dignified and distinguised: someone of whom I would certainly approve and obviously a donkey lover. I would be pleased to show him my classical dressage if he should drop by.

(gnat-free for now)

billie said...

Arlene, I wish you could come down and go to the Mary Wanless clinic too. I think it will be the perfect thing to roll into spring with.

billie said...

Gosh, Mamie, I HOPE they're not all here! This almost seems like some small pocket of eggs that must have been lying in wait.

billie said...

Sheaffer, it is the price we pay for the moderate temperatures we have for so much of the year - pests and varmints!

I am quite sure Mr. Zettl would be totally charmed by you AND your classical dressage. I was thinking you might want to start doing clinics of your own, for young donkeys who are longing for real work.

the7msn said...

Here I go, braggin' on living in the desert southwest...but truth be told, I have never seen one mosquito at the 7MSN...ever! No matter what time of year. I suppose the total absence of water, except for the boys' stock tank, has a lot to do with that. We do get the no-see-ums for a week or so in June.

Hey, was that conference where Bill Gates let loose the mosquitos somewhere near you? Maybe you can blame him.

billie said...

Oh, no - don't tell me Bill Gates not only put Vista out into the world, now he's responsible for our mosquitoes too??? LOL. (typed on a Mac, btw, and I will take anything Apple wants to send me)

All I can say, Linda, is: can I deal with mosquitoes? Or gynormous spiders? Weighing the pros and the cons, here. What do the horses make of those monster arachnids?

Nachodonkey said...

What monster arachnids? On second thought, I will take the ice and snow! No spiders for me!

Lovely weather on the week end. The sun seeps through your coat and warms you right through. There is still about 2-1/2 feet of snow in the woods. The trails are packed down but the snow is quite banked on either side. Some brave souls have been riding but you can see where the horse's feet have gone through about a foot down. Very hard on the legs.

I am almost looking forward to the black flies!!

I went to a Walter Zettl clinic last summer and heard rumours that he will be coming back to Ontario this summer. He is a true master. Perhaps I could take Nacho for some early work?

billie said...

Nacho, you can head over to the 7MSN and search the archives for Linda's battle with the monster arachnid!

I am not a fan of ticks, mosquitoes, or fire ants, but I am not sure I could deal with those giant spiders in New Mexico. Although many other aspects of that state appeal to me. It's so beautiful!

I can't believe people are riding with horses' hooves sinking down a foot! My gosh. Keil Bay would go on total strike.

How lucky you are to have seen Walter Zettl! He did a series of clinics here but it was before I returned to riding, so I missed them.

I think he should do a special series called The Classical Donkey. We could fill the clinic just with our own little cyber-group, couldn't we?

jme said...

i have a huge problem with breaking in my wrists too - i actually had one trainer tape two crops to my arms so i couldn't bend my wrists!

i'm glad for the warm weather too and, even though i'm not looking forward to the bugs, i'm with these guys; i'd much rather cope with the mosquitoes than confront those spiders :-\

billie said...

I knew I did the breaking wrist thing, but I had never seen so dramatically how much it affects the horse until I watched my daughter ride Cody. Each time the trainer said "check your wrists" Cody would suddenly round up and get very correct in his frame and movement, in response to my daughter correcting her hands. I immediately decided that would be something I'd work on with the Big Bay. :)