Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Life at Twinwood

Rijkens and I are quickly becoming accustom to life at Twinwood.  The shredded reeboks footing has added percentage points to Rijkens' gait score! 

The level of care at Twinwood is really amazing: all three tackrooms are air conditioned, the multiple washracks are scrubbed with bleach, and a nice woman named Maria wipes down and dusts both the outside and inside of my individual tack closet.  Maria also broom sweeps the stalls for cobwebs every day.  No wonder the barn looks brand new.  Stalls, including both water buckets, are cleaned meticulously daily.  Rijkens has constant access to hay in his stall, which he is only in for 10 out of every 24 hours.

Rijkens goes out each night in a 3/4 acre grass paddock with a lovely oak tree and his own run-in shelter (with clay tile shingle roofing no less!) and buddies on all sides.  The farm has enough paddocks and acreage for seemingly thousands of horses so the few dozen horses that actually do live at Twinwood make the place seem huge, which indeed it is:

On our second day a new barn buddy and I went for a trail ride.  We left the barn and headed south on the race track, and at the end of the track we just kept going.  After 30 minutes of brisk walk she asked if I wanted to turn back or keep going.  "How much farther does it go?" I asked.  She replied that the path keeps on going south for several more furlongs.  Rijkens can't believe how big Texas really is.  But you should see the swinging, elastic freewalk we have!

Near the front of the property there is a large open paddock with rolling topography perfect for hill work.  Yes, it's a real hill, especially for east Texas.  Next to that is the outdoor dressage court, the stadium jump course, and a large section set up with logs, rolltops, coops etc for cross country schooling. 

Our first week of training with FEI trainer Andrea Seaman Attard has gone smoothly. 
 Andrea and Addie, a five year old Holsteiner pupil, showing at training level this year.  Andrea's personal horse is a beautiful bay four year old, also a Holsteiner.  As you can imagine Rijkens and she are getting along famously.

Our lesson with olympian Jan Ebeling was impactful.  We're looking forward to riding with him again in December when he's back at Twinwood, and all through next year.  

 Jan Ebeling, Rijkens and me after our first lesson

Rijkens thinks he's in bootcamp.  But with his can-do work ethic and biddable attitude, I have a feeling Rijkens will respond well to the increased expectations here at Twinwood.