Been There, Done That

commentary on many different thoughts

Month: February, 2014

B2s, here we come!

Just had to pat myself on the back for surviving another year!

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Finishing Lines

Anyone who isn’t into dance (or gymnastics) may not recognize the term “finishing lines”.  What it means is that when you extend an arm or a leg, you follow that motion all the way out – through your fingertips, and then send the movement on further.  It’s an element of control and shows attention to detail.

This photo (photo credit Park West Photography) shows one of the (few) times that I actually managed to follow through and finish a line!  Enjoy.

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Balance

Previous post mentioned “fighting for second place”, when you’re competing against someone so far out of your league that they would have to not show up for you to beat them.  There are times when this happens in an open event, and then it’s just a question of “manning-up” and dealing with it.

It’s different when they compete in a restricted level below their standard, just to collect the prizes.  Unfortunately, this happens a lot in the dance world.  When the pro wins, he (or she) brings in prizes, and some of them can be significant cash awards.  When the student is dancing below his or her ability level, needless to say she (or he) will win more often than not.  Makes it hard on those of us who are appropriately at that level to be treated as springboards to fortune.  So we soldier on and grumble quietly behind the scenes.

What bothers me is what are those students thinking?  Yes, it’s great to win every time out, but where’s the challenge?  Why not take on the big boys (or girls)?  I’ve always felt happier when I’m doing something to the best of my ability (whether or not it’s good enough for a prize) at a level slightly beyond my comfort zone.  I personally don’t get the same satisfaction from winning when I’m not pushing myself.

Thoughts?

Happy Valentines Day

To all of my friends – thank you for being my friends!

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Interesting Point

Nobody mentioned that the top Russian pairs figure-skating couple danced to music of an Armenian composer!  Bravo for life’s little ironies.

Cast a Giant Shadow

Everyone loves  a winner.  Sure.  It wouldn’t be trite if it weren’t true.  So I’m watching the Winter Olympics as the pairs figure-skating gets going.  There is a second Russian couple in contention for the gold medal.  Unfortunately, they’re on the same team with Tatiana and Maxim (don’t even try to pronounce their surnames).  Ain’t gonna happen with those two out front.

Same thing happened to a friend of mine from way back.  He teaches ice-dance.  He and his partner skated on the British national team and competed at the Olympics.  To those of you with long memories, he skated on the same team at the same time as Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean.  To those of you born after 1984 or having shorter memories, check out the postings on youtube and prepare to be amazed.  It’s hard to know that you’re doing your absolute best but you’re living in the shadow for the greatest.

Happened in horse-racing in 1973.  Two three-year-olds, Secretariat and Sham.  In any other year (and I mean that literally – look at the times posted) Sham would have been Horse of the Year.  Unfortunately, his yearmate cast a giant shadow.

It takes a certain kind of heart and soul to give of your best when you know you’re fighting for second place.  Here’s to all who do!

Spaghetti anyone?

These are my latest cupcake creations!  They went over well at the studio.

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Speaking of gymnastics

That’s a non sequitur.  My current vent is for the idiotic ear-guards that all the fancy warmbloods are wearing these days.  As a friend of mine says:   “exqueeeeeeese me”!  I can understand ear-nets when you are out in the swamp country (or, as I recall, the DC area in the middle of summer) when the midges and gnats can drive you crazy, and your poor horse is trying to defend his ears.  Then yes.  But indoors?  In the winter?  Let’s not get carried away.

Gymnastics – physical and mental

The Chronicle of the Horse is streaming the David O’Connor clinic for rising-star young riders.  The post on FB featured work over some poles on the ground, and regulating strides between the poles.  Apparently some of the fancy young-rider horses were having extreme difficulty with this.  O’Connor pointed out that tension over poles on the ground can (and will) lead to evasion over combinations.  Duh now!

From this writer’s cynical perspective, the reason these riders are having trouble with poles on the ground is that they’ve never done the foundation work on a good horse.  Daddy’s money has bought them horses which already have winning records, and so they get on and get carried around.  They’ve never learned the fundamentals of balance, rhythm and spring, which are only learned by doing.  And doing a lot.

I remember watching O’Connor do a clinic years ago.  He was having the kids do a combination in a set number of strides, sometimes long, sometimes short.  They were having an immense amount of trouble with it.  After the dust had settled, O’Connor got on a horse.  He demonstrated how you can ride a six stride (hunter distance 6-stride) in 6, 7 or even 8 strides, and then he turned around and did it in 5.  Some wiseass on the sidelines took up a betting pool and said that he couldn’t do it in 4.  He did.

O’Connor had the benefit of growing up and learning to ride under his mama, one of the finest trainers ever.  And he learned from the ground up.  This is, unfortunately, what many of these rising stars never had, and never will have.

It Could Be Worse

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Grundlsee in Winter