His riding instructor Linda, and her partner Laura, are long time friends of Jessica's at Hilltop Stables where Jessica used to board her horses in pre-Traumhof days. Linda's daughter Nicki is trainer at Traumhof now. Linda and Laura are excellent instructors, teaching kids more than just getting on and riding. Here Laura supervises Ian in bathing his mount after the ride...and then left him to do it, confident he could manage... thereby giving him confidence. I could see what a supportive atmosphere Nicki grew up in, an atmosphere that, combined with her own natural talent and drive, helped her to become the top level trainer she is now.
On Friday Jessica drove Ian to school while I weeded at Traumhof. I love to weed. And I took a photo of the beautiful crooked stem bamboo that Ian and his dad recently transported and planted by the corner of the round pen.
That afternoon, I rode with Jessica to pick Ian up from school and transport him to his gymnastic practice. I took no photos there, just holding my breath as tiny children did backward flips on balance beams and other impossible stunts. Ian is with the much fewer-in-number kids in Tumbling and Trampoline. He does trampoline and mini-tramp but mostly at this practice session the T&T gymnasts did stretching exercises and tumbling.. for two hours. It wore me out just watching them.
However, there was no rest as we went from that practice directly to Ian's school's science fair with a gym full of science projects by the 1st through 5th graders. Some of the projects were quite entertaining... at least to my warped sense of humor. I loved the one where a girl attempted to train her two dogs to roll-over. Her hypothesis was that the young dog would learn faster than the old dog and that it would take the young dog five days to learn. Alas, her hypothesis proved wrong because, she reported, her old dog was too arthritic to roll over and her young dog too dumb. Neither ever did learn.
Another project that tickled me was by a young girl who wanted to see from how high an egg packed in marshmallows could be dropped and not crack. The experiment was never concluded because "Mom wouldn't let me climb any higher." Gotta love it.
There were many successfully concluded experiments, including Ian's. His experiment was unique and his hypothesis proved correct: vinegar, red wine and apple cider react with baking soda in that order (from greatest acidity to least). At least, I think that's what he proved. I was actually too busy laughing at dogs that wouldn't roll over and little girls not allowed to climb higher to pay proper attention.
We eventually got to bed that night, only to wake up early to drive an hour to the state gymnastic meet, where Ian was competing in mini-tramp and trampoline. I goofed up my camera setting on his mini-tramp routine, which was unfortunate as he scored very high, higher than he ever has before this year and higher than nearly everyone else in any Level 4 group. Kevin, fortunately, did capture that routine on his camera. I couldn't figure out how to steal his video off facebook but I did get a still capture showing Ian's dramatic splits-in-the-air dismount that was followed by a picture perfect landing. It's blurry but you can maybe see how high off that little mini-tramp he is. The judges are seated behind the mini-tramp with the regular trampoline behind and above them. Ian landed on the yellow mat in front of him... on his feet, knees bent, then stood and saluted the judges... making the difficult look easy.
I did get his trampoline routine filmed and posted on youtube. http://youtu.be/9k5UO28M6-o
Here are some still captures I took from that routine.
Of course, I also enjoyed Jessica's wonderful cooking, the jigsaw puzzle I work on every time I'm up there, and their two beautiful Bengal cats. The newest one, Jasmine, is quite, um, active and it was tough getting photos of her holding still. Here she is being towel-dried by Kevin after a shower. Yes, Jasmine loves water, loves getting wet, and takes showers with everyone.
|Jasmine blending into the hall runner|
I left Traumhof Saturday afternoon to visit friends Hazel and John and Kinnera and David in a nearby town. I had not visited them since they moved to Washington from Oregon over a year ago. It was fun to catch up on news and see their house. I did not, however, take any photos there. We watched Les Miserables, the movie, on video (3 hours worth!) that night, then fell into bed. I got up early and visited a little more before driving home Sunday in rain and wind.
That drive seems to take much longer than it used to. I've been catching up ever since. I'm glad I was able to see Ian's various activities, the new wild Jasmine kitty, family and friends... but I'm ready to stay home now for a good long time.