Austrian Adventures

It’s been a while since I wrote, so I’ll fill you in on the exciting activities that filled my (ridiculously) long winter break.  While I temporarily returned to my home in Massachusetts for the break, my horse, Bailey, stayed in Michigan to enjoy the cold months of December and January.  (They didn’t get that big East Coast blizzard, though, so Bailey didn’t have to deal with too much winter weather.)

 After being home for just a couple of weeks, however, I went on a family vacation to Vienna and Budapest for 10 days.
 
I must say, the cities were amazing, but the highlight of my trip was my visit to the Spanish Riding School in Vienna.  We got to attend one of their Lipizzaner shows in the main arena, which is actually located in the Habsburg Palace.  (Trust me, it looks like a place for royalty – there were chandeliers, stone pillars, and a royal balcony overlooking the arena!)

The show was amazing (I’m sure some of you have seen them on their US tour or some of you have been lucky enough to go to Vienna also, so you know what I’m talking about).  Though my brother (who is completely uninterested in horses), was relatively indifferent, I was transfixed for the entire show.

Google images provides much better photos of the riding hall at the Spanish Riding School than I ever could. The trip was AMAZING!

 
They started by bringing in some of their young stallions, whose performance included some misbehaving like taking-off, bucking, etc.  (It’s always good to know that even professionals get to deal with these things, though.)  As the show progressed, however, they brought in more and more experienced horses and riders.  We got to see them perform their “airs above the ground” (I have no idea how the riders stay on those without stirrups – which is perhaps why I will never ride at the Spanish Riding School…), as well as advanced dressage moves.
 
Anyway, the rest of the trip was great, though less equine-related.  When I returned home to Massachusetts, I leased a pony from the University of Massachusetts to ride over the remainder of break; his name was Patriot and he was about 300 pounds overweight, quite fuzzy, and loved peppermints – a.k.a. the perfect lesson horse.  I took a couple of lessons from my trainer at home (who is also the coach of the UMass hunt seat team) to try to stay in shape.
 
Even though I had a great and adventurous break, I am very glad to be back to Albion.  Bailey has had 6 weeks off so he was also very excited to see me (possibly too excited), but I was equally excited to see him.  While he is getting back into work, I will be preparing both of us for our IHSA home show and for regionals, both in February – and with any luck, I will make it through the regionals and on to Zones!

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