Monday, March 24, 2014

Valinor North (Lisa's POV)

So you've had lots of updates from the lucky few who were blessed to head south for the 2 coldest months of the year.   I was not one of them, so allow me to fill you in on what Valinor has been up to back in the deep freeze by summarizing the benefits of staying  North.

Ups of staying Up North

No Tan!! 
Erin, I saw your cute pictures showing off your horrific tan lines.  Up here, we are so bundled up we never have to worry about those pesky problems.  Also, not sure if you got the memo but pale white skin is waaay in right now.   Over tanning can be a health issue you know.  Better lather up or cover up!   You are going to have a bunch of ivory skinned beauties to compete against when you get back here.  

Remember all those beautiful jackets and sweaters you got during the holidays this year?    Why not show them off!!   No reason to plan what day to wear which outfit to the barn, because you can wear them all together and stay warm!!    You get to wear your entire wardrobe as layers, which is of course super stylish!  What could be more  sexy than waddling down the barn aisle like Ralph’s little brother in the Christmas story.  “Jericho, stop snorting at me!!!  What the heck is your problem????”     This goes for horses as well.   You spent hours tiredly looking through the sale bin finding the perfect medium blanket to fit your “difficult” sized beast only to send him south not to use it.  No worries,  at Valinor,  not only can your equine friend show off his new blanket BUT wear his old one with it as well as another layer.  Don’t  worry, just wait for the one day it gets a bit warm out (40s) and the mud will prevent anyone from realizing you have a purple plaid blanket on top of blue plaid.   You now just have …brown.     

No Sweaty horses!
After a hard ride, the last thing you want to deal with is washing your horse off and wiping all the sweat off of your tack.   Gross.   Hey, guess what? Not a problem.   When you’re riding in 20 degree weather, by the time you take the saddle off, your pal just needs a quick brush and soft hand to clean the icicles out of his whiskers….
Easy access to your horse!  
Why oh why would you want to walk all the way out to that 3 acre paddock to chase your horse around to ride?  No worries!!  He’s right in his stall because the weekly snowstorm has hit with wind gusts blowing 25mph  (refer back to no boring rides).

Reasons to eat crap!
Everyone loves to have a sweet treat once in a while.   I do love to indulge in a doughnut or 4 on occasion.   The great thing is you don’t need to feel shameful.   You have already burned the calories but shoveling snow, smashing ice from buckets or quite simply just shivering.   Any excess left over is just an added layer to survive the weekly deep freeze. 

Bipolar ponies
It’s that  time of year when you get to meet your pony’s twin.  Most of the horses I know only allow the twin to come out when they are overly excited.   “ YAY!!!!!!   OUTSIDE for the first time in three days!!!!!  Don’t worry about opening the gate I will just rear up and jump over it for you. “   Like I said, MOST of the horses I know.  Then there is Rocky….    Every summer I watch my students fall in love all over again with Rocky, Valinor’s steady beginner appaloosa pony.   He carries them around at a slow relaxed lope building their confidence.  Rocky will take a cross rail no matter how miserable a line he was set up to and completely throw himself and his happy little rider over it every time even if he is at a painfully slow western jig.   This is how Valinor and I, have come to love this spotted pony which is why we have nicknamed him,  “Rock Star Rocky”.     Well, that all changes come this time of year.  My beloved Rocky spurts horns and the white/red in his eye is ever present.  He takes every lesson as a challenge to completely do anything but what the student wants him to do.   This has included:  Rearing, taking off down the ring bucking, charging me,  and steering deliberately towards jumps to stress out his rider.   It would be an understatement to say he has helped many practice their gymnastic dismounts.   Hello twin Rocky aka “Rotten Rocky”   How is this a positive you ask?   It helps remind you how amazing your horse truly is, and able to hold off the evil twin 90% of the time(Rocky exception who seems to embrace it).  Truly amazing.  

Mythical creatures!
Sure Aiken you may have beautiful rolling fields, gorgeous soft cross country footing and tracks for canter sets BUT can you lay claim to having a mythical creature at your farm? Valinor North has its very own Jump Goblin!   He usually can be spotted under the jump wagon parked in the indoor but he does enjoy wandering the property and can pop up anywhere.  Not all at Valinor have been blessed with his manifestation but do not be fooled, he is there.    Horses have a sixth sense about these things and will definitely know he is there when you simply see/hear nothing.    There are even a couple horses at the farm who see him constantly, similar to the poor kid in the 6th sense.   Cozmo and Jericho are both very sensitive to his presence.  Age and experience has allowed Cozmo to eventually focus and get to work.   Jericho is still trying to cope and get on with his daily life without letting the Jump Goblin startle him, but it is a tough, long road ahead.

If you get down hearted there is always somebody to make you feel like you are complaining too much.
Conversation between Myself and my 5 year old student Kayla:

Lisa ‘Kayla,  it is pretty cold today, I don’t think it will be fun for you to ride.”
Kayla “No Lisa,  Brumby’s fur will keep her warm and I will let you hold the reins so I can keep my hands warm in my jacket.  LETS RIDE!!!”
Lisa ‘Ok Kay, that sounds good we can do some exercises like touching your toes.  Ready?  Reach for Brumby’s poll.”
Kayla “ No that’s boring I want to trot.  LOTS of trotting” (immediately starts kicking Brumby)
Lisa “Well, ok but let’s not do too much,  Brumby is out of shape. (aka Lisa)”

35 min later after trotting most of the time, being dragged around the ring by Brumby, and I am clearly out of breath

Kayla “Lisa, I did really good at trotting, Brumby is just so beautiful.  We are going to beat everyone in the competitions right??”
Lisa “Of course! You did so great today!!”
Nothing like a cute kid to make you smile and burn off some calories.  Now where are those doughnuts….

Being Part of History!
I made the mistake of watching “The Day After Tomorrow” the other day and became a little concerned.    Pretty sure we have experienced some of the most extreme weather this continent has seen in decades, possibly centuries.   The news stations even went far enough to call one of the deep freezes “The Polar Vortex”.  Hey wait a second , they called it that in the movie too.  Huh   Well, if you believe in climate change/global warming/freezing or not, either way we have almost survived this winter which will go down in record books for a list of things.  We can say we lived through it years from now.  This also makes me feel pretty confident we would be able to handle extreme weather change far better than our southern neighbors.   I mean a tiny little ice storm shut them down for how long??   Silly Aiken.

You never take Spring or summer for granted!  
No description needed for this other than a simple warm day (50’s) puts you in the best mood while your Aiken friends come back grumbling. 

Stuff it Valinor South!   -  Love Lisa & Jericho


  1. Lisa, you truly have a gift for storytelling :) Glad to say I experienced some of this with you this past horrific winter. And Boo has definitely seen that Jump Goblin.

    Ps. Riff wants me to tell you that he would never have an evil twin.

  2. This might be my favorite post ever!