redroanchronicles: In Harness (in harness)
I've got a whole list of incredibly in-depth, thinky articles I need to write about all the breakthroughs I've been having in my horsemanship and myself. But you know what? I just can't do it right now. I can't even look at the list, much less write any of those things. Some days it's all you can do to drag yourself out of bed, much less make yourself useful. (Upstairs neighbors, please try sleeping at 4am instead of rearranging furniture. WTF are you doing up there, building a makeshift nuclear reactor?) Some days, there is simply nothing for a blogger to do but post links to some horse-related awesome via youtube. Enjoy.

Ever wondered what it's like to ride cross-country, but don't actually want to risk death and maiming like actual event riders? That's why they invented the helmet-cam, I'm pretty sure. Here's Peter Atkins riding at Ocala CCI* 2010.

Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling, with his horse at liberty in the wilderness. I don't know much about Klaus Hempfling, but I've been poking around a bit and I'm kind of fascinated. If I could say nothing else of him, I could say this: unlike basically every other horse trainer out there putting out a video, Hempfling apparently understands the necessity of production values. (Well, okay, Parelli gets that too. But I feel I shouldn't mention them on account of I work there. It's like... favoritism or self-referentialism or... some other word I made up. By which I mean our videos are good and you can buy them.)

Edward Gal aboard Moorlands Totilas put in a jaw-dropping performance at World Dressage Masters 2009. I don't really know much about dressage except that I like to watch it, but you know a pair has finished a nice round when every movement looks both flawless and effortless.

This crazy sport seems like a natural extension of the old British canal-boat horses, except ten times more rad. Yeah, I just used a word straight out of the 1980s. It is RAD, you guys.

A Ride in Middle England: 10 days and 250 miles of horse touring in the UK. I wish I could get Horse and Country TV here in the States. RFD is not nearly as awesome.

This demonstration of garrocha is impressive, and then you notice that he doesn't even touch the reins and your mind is BLOWN.

This working equitation speed test in Portugal is compared in the comments to the extreme cowboy race, only this looks, you know... much more difficult. And the horse is gorgeous, unlike American "cowboy races" where everybody's riding Quarter Horses. I'm sorry, okay? But I just don't like Quarter Horses. I'm prejudiced. I'm a breedist and I think Quarter Horses are the most boring horses ever bred.

The Metropolitan Mounted Police at Olympia. The part where they take off their saddles while riding still impresses me, a dozen viewings later. I am never, ever going to get tired of watching this. Ever.

Lorenzo the Flying Frenchman. You know what? I have to support any guy who calls himself "the Flying Frenchman." That's just too awesome. You're all, "Oooh, that's beautiful, a young man and his horses frolicking in the ocean waves! I wonder why they call him the Flying--" And then you see him roman-riding with six in hand, and you realize that though you may one day be known as a war hero for your sacrifices in the war against the jellyfish (it's coming people, prepare yourselves), you will NEVER be as awesome as Lorenzo the Flying Frenchman. You can also watch his performance at Olympia. I'm beginning to sense that this London International Horse Show is something I need to attend.

Western vs. English showdown! Or is it Western ♥ English? It's hard to tell. It's one big inter-disciplinary lovefest, is what it is.

Do you enjoy the Musical Ride? Of course you do. It's Mounties on horses. What's not to love? If you enjoyed that (and I know you did), you might also enjoy the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery, which does a Musical Drive, and you know what? Those maneuvers look harder with teams of six and cannons. CAAAAAAAAAANNONS! I'm shouting a lot today, aren't I? It's just because I'm so excited about the cannons.

In other news of awesome videos, some time ago the ex-roommate and I were watching a program of highlights from stadium jumping at Spruce Meadows, and there was a clip of a rider -- I could swear it was Ian Miller, but my google-fu is turning up nothing... maybe it was Rodrigo Pessoa? -- who loses his reins halfway over a very large combination jump, and just goes on to jump without them. It was kind of epic and I wanted to share it, but I cannot for the life of me find any reference to this online. Anyone know what I'm talking about? Got a video link? It was pretty sweet and I want to share it with the world.

And while you're at it: entertain me! (Dance, monkeys, dance!) Share a link to some awesome horse video I might not have seen. I wish to make it my mission in life to watch every single awesome horse video that the web has to offer. It's the sort of job that lasts a lifetime, but as a dedicated student of the horse, I'm okay with that.
redroanchronicles: (farmersmarket-corn)
For a few months now, I've been on a bit of a health kick. And I don't mean that I've given up my Twinkie habit -- I mean that I've been changing my life, utterly and completely, into something better.

It all started with a confluence of events. I stepped on a scale and realized that what had been a bit of extra weight had become a weight of over 200 pounds. I needed new jeans and had to face the fact that the only way they were going on was if I bought up a size. I adopted a dog named Trudeau who strongly encourages frequent exercise by begging for walks (and rewards running with an immense, tongue-lolling, joyful stride that is uplifting just to watch). I bought a pair of really crazy-looking shoes -- more on those and my newfound status as a runner in another post later on -- which turned exercise from a chore into a momentary return to youth. I decided that I was tired of being tired, and I was sick of being depressed, and I wasn't going to let my life pass me by thinking about how I wish I looked, the things I wish I could do, the life I'd lead when I found the time for it.

I'd like that life now, please.

One of the most difficult parts of this transition for me has been changing my diet. I never thought it was that bad to begin with; I ate fast food maybe once every few months, tops, and usually only in moments of desperation for sustenance. I'd long since cut out soda, and for a couple years I'd been living with a general rule that if I picked up something off the supermarket shelf that listed any form of corn syrup as an ingredient, I'd put it back down again. But it wasn't really enough. I started logging my meals on SparkPeople and started looking what was really in the food I was eating: it most mostly a lot of calories and not a lot of nutrition. So I started being more careful, buying more produce, trying to teach myself to cook, and here's what I found: in the average neighborhood supermarket, there is hardly anything on those shelves that is good for you. (Michael Pollan, author of such fucking incredible books as The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food, puts it even more simply: stick to the edges of the supermarket. Supermarkets put all of the fresh food -- meats, produce, bakeries -- on the outside edges of the store, closest to the loading docs, where it's easiest to rotate in new deliveries.) I've utterly confused and confounded myself with the array of fascinating and opposing ideas of what constitutes healthy eating, but for the most part I've just settled into Michael Pollan's simple advice for a healthy diet: "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants."

A big part of educating myself about food has also meant educating myself about food systems overall, about how we got into this mess and how we can get back out of it again. So in case you're also interested in these topics, I want to recommend a few video resources (I'll have some books to recommend later on):

Jamie Oliver's TED Prize wish: Teach Every Child About Food
Jamie Oliver (who I have been informed is in fact TV's The Naked Chef) gives an outstanding presentation as part of the TED Talks series about the relationship we have with food, and how we need to change it. You can watch the full presentation online at this link, or just watch the embedded video below (they're the same thing).

I was really struck by the video he shows of a classroom visit where children can't even identify fruits and vegetables -- and we're talking tomatoes here, not anything too exotic. It seems almost too incredible to be true, but having been one of those children (having been one of those children well into my mid-twenties) I can tell you that it is a fact. In fact, it's kind of still my reality. I tried to buy parsnips just a few days ago and walked away with rutabaga, and until you've been there you have no idea quite how horrible it is to realize that you're nearly 30 and you don't have the first idea what a parsnip looks like. Also, it's kind of humiliating when the checkout guy says, "Are these rutabagas?" and you're all, "Er, I think parsnips?" and he's all, "Uh. No. These aren't parsnips."

LOOK, I CAN'T RECOGNIZE A PARSNIP, OKAY? Maybe I should get a smartphone. I'll bet there's an app for that.

In any event, the filmed segments he shows are clips from his new show, Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, which premieres March 26th on ABC. I'll definitely be tuning in.

We Feed the World

Years back I saw a film called We Feed the World. It's about the globalization of food, the ways in which our food systems have gone absolutely mad, and the brink that all of this is driving us to. This film is one of the most incredible documentaries I've ever seen; all my love to Food, Inc. and every other film on the subject, but We Feed the World is a film that has haunted me since the first time I watched it. There's an image early on in the film that's really stuck with me: a dump truck dumping a load of perfectly good bread -- harvested, baked, and then wasted -- while millions of people across the globe are undernourished or outright starving. This film will educate you not just about the global issues concerning food -- from GM crops to factory fishing to the damages of import/export foods -- but also about what exactly you're putting in your body.

You can watch the documentary in its entirety -- thereby completely blowing your mind -- for free.

Anywho, I'll be posting more about food and fitness and my crazy shoes and all that nonsense as time marches forward. I know there are some fantastic chefs and fitness nuts reading, so hopefully you'll all help me out. We don't want a repeat of the Parsnip Incident.


redroanchronicles: Juno - Kiss Me (Default)

August 2011

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