Daily Archives: May 27, 2012
Romeo! (I called it.)
This is how he’s described by Sun Pony Ranch:
Riding Level: Advanced;
Ground Work Level; Advanced Beginner.
Well trained horse, highly sensitive to weight and leg aids. Leg gripping tension from the rider will cause him to want to run. Pulling on the bit can make it worse, so rider must understand how to use loose rein (or light hands) and relaxed leg to keep him calm and under control. Romeo has also become a beautiful jumper when ridden English. He is a sweetie-pie on the ground and loves attention. He only gives a problem if you are leading him and he sees some nice green grass; he will strongly pull to get to it.
What a lovely ride today. The entire lesson was good for me, it was nice to end on a high note. Romeo was so responsive, that after Jack it was a great change, because I had to go from being heavy handed and strong-willed to light hands and a gentle touch. Romeo had a beautiful trot, which helped me to finally put all the pieces together and really take off.
EDIT: I forgot to mention that Romeo is aptly named. He’s a lover. And what he loves to do is rub his head on you and butt you with his head for attention. Think cat-like, but if you’re not prepared it can knock you off your feet. He also loves to be groomed and practically purrs when you’re brushing him.
I think what I appreciated most about the lessons was how each horse had something different to teach me. Patience, perseverance, conviction (oh, Jack I love you!) and then trust. Each one handled differently and it was as much about learning to read my horse as it was about proper technique.
I haven’t said much about the people involved, but they were key – both fellow riders and the instructors. Tiffany had her hands full with us, though I suspect we are a breeze compared to the kids she teaches the rest of the time. I like how she pushed us and at the same time reminded us that there’s a thousand things to remember while riding so cut ourselves some slack when we were frustrated.
Katie is a high school volunteer and I’m not sure what I would have done without her. She’s terrifically patient and always there when I needed a saddle check or encouragement. Honestly I don’t think I’ve met a more mature and graceful teenager.
Ginger who owns and runs the place was so much fun to have around. She joined in as a rider on two lessons and had lots of encouragement and helpful tips. And that was also the way it was with all the other riders. There was a team spirit of encouragement every day.
I’m not sure you could ask for more: great people, great horses, beautiful location and perfect weather. I don’t think we’ll be able to top that this summer. Oh, yeah, that’s right, this summer we’ll be getting together to do semi-private sessions when we can fit them in. That would be that team spirit I was talking about.
Now I think there should be napping….
Too many pictures to post them all separately so I’ll do a slide show. I will leave out the sweet corn pictures since I treated that aspect to a post of its own. This was put on by the Johnson clan and friends and was well attended although there have been years with more folks. A good time was had by all, despite the heat.
Main course was pork steak with an able assist from some grilled chicken breasts, along with a tenderloin from a wild boar from a recent hunt in Texas and a chunk of beef that looked good on the plate. I have no idea what the cut was and forgot to ask. The grill master used a secret recipe dry rub that was very good. I think it had garlic powder, salt, sugar, paprika and cayenne, probably onion powder and black pepper. Mr Johnson promised to leave a sample with me for an analysis. Stay tuned!
Most of the usual sides made it to the table, but there were no baked beans! I wish I had known because my potato salad was one of four, and I make a killer baked bean dish.
Sweet corn cooked in its husk on the grill was one of the picnic’s high points for me. The hybrid sweet corn they have these days is great and grilling them on a fine summer day makes them taste even better. There are a few different ways to go about this, our host at the picnic did it the easiest way: Soak the ears in ice water for 15 minutes then toss them onto the grill and close the lid. This method steams them in the husk. Alternatively, one can strip the husks back and remove the silks, then tie the husks back to the ear with a twist of twine. Takes a bit more time at the beginning but makes them easier to deal with when they are hot off the grill.Here the cook is peeling the husks back while wearing gloves against the heat. The silks come off fairly easily, and the husk makes a nice handle for dipping the ear into a pot of melted butter.
The sugars in the corn caramelize nicely when the corn has had enough time on the grill.
Another method is to lay the bare ear right on the grill after brushing with oil. It takes more attention to business to go that route but you could easily argue the points in its favor.
I’m working on the post covering the big Memorial Day picnic a neighbor throws every year. A good time was had by all.Mrs J made one of these a while back and liked it so well that she made another. This recipe calls for a different crust, Mrs J used a pre-made crust of crushed vanilla wafers that worked great.She also put together a blackberry pie using ready made pie crusts. It worked OK but she swears she will not make another using them, claiming dissatisfaction with how the crusts turned out. She will be making her own crust next time. It ate just like any other blackberry pie – yummy!I made a salad of grape tomatoes, mozzarella pearls, and black olives with chopped basil and a red wine vinaigrette. Also made a potato salad with new red potatoes and bacon in a very creamy dill dressing. It has mayo and sour cream and heavy cream in it, and several cloves of garlic. Did I mention the bacon? It has bacon in it. Mmm… bacon! Also diced celery and a sweet, sweet, Vidalia onion.