The last two weekends were busy with horse shows. I am still impressed with how exciting the German shows are. The first show had a huge grass jump field surrounded by the grand stands and the food and tack vendors. The dressage ring was located behind in a beautiful wooded area. The show was hosted by a riding school with many of their own horses. There were kids wearing the school’s official sweaters and schooling their horses and ponies all weekend. There was even a special barn with shorter walls full of the cutest ponies I have ever seen. It seemed like a dream to be able to learn to ride there.
Last weekend’s show was at a regional show grounds. There was a big warm-up ring, a jumping field and three dressage rings. Again, a selection of shopping and food lined the pathways. This show was the championship for many riders, and the whole atmosphere was buzzing with people. Horse trailers were parked in a field as far as the eye could see with horses standing patiently on each trailer, waiting for their classes. The lunch lines were long and the seats filled around the rings.
Over the week I was able to do a lot of riding. Each day I feel confirmed in my balance with the more open hip angle that I have been working on since I arrived. Now, I can really feel my balance easier and my aids more independent. Each ride I practice getting that correct feeling myself as I work to train the horses and get them more through. I think for me, that “German seat” is the most important part of my experience here that I will be able to bring home and continue to use and share with riders in the US.
Sunday I took the day off to do some tourist things because my dad is visiting from Colorado. We went to Hamburg to get a tour of the harbor. We rode in a boat that took us down the Elbe river so we could see some of the yachts, hotels and houses of Hamburg. Then it turned and took us into the harbor, which is the largest in Germany and an important one for all of Europe. There were huge barges and cranes moving containers in all corners of the harbor. I have never been so close to a ship like that. We saw a few cruise ships with populations higher than the town I live in. We saw the theater along the Elbe for musicals, which is another important tourist attraction in Hamburg. The tour was fascinating. It helped that the weather was beautiful too!
We also visited a museum on an old barge named Rickmer Rickmers (the photo above is an emblem from the ship). The ship was built in 1896, and over the years was powered by sails, steam and diesel. All sails and engines are still there for us to see. The Rickers was used to move all sorts of cargo, from oil to rice to tea, all over the world for a total of almost half a million miles. The Portuguese confiscated it at some point and used it for naval exercises. It fell to disrepair but was towed into the harbor at Hamburg to celebrate the harbor’s anniversary. A private group has since been fixing the ship and now it is a museum and a restaurant. I was amazed to be inside the ship and know what kind of history it had.