If you’ve read this journal before you probably know Julie and I dive a lot. But we’ve got other hobbies as well. One of our other serious hobbies is riding horses. In Amsterdam we ride at a stable and take dressage lessons 2 or 3 times a week . In the US Virgin Islands we only ride western, as they don’t really do dressage here.
Last week I did my first dressage test and managed to get first place. A dressage test is where you must show proficiency at specific figures you must ride in the arena. You get graded on 35 elements and that gives you a final score. If you score higher than a certain amount you have passed and can continue to the next level. The person with the highest marks has won the event for your level, but this is more honorary than anything else. It doesn’t really mean much.
Julie snapped my test with a Flip Video Eric Cheng gave us. I should be getting a proper video of it later. For those that personally know me, this is the only time you’ll see me all scrubbed up like that!
Â In the winter Julie and I head to the US Virgin Islands to visit Julie’s mother. In the past we did a lot of diving during those weeks, but in the last two years we’ve started horse riding. It’s a nice change from riding at home in an arena. Here we can ride freely, on the beach and through the hills. Today we went to the top of a small hill to watch the sunset over the North Shore of St Croix. It doesn’t get much better.
This is Julie’s favorite horse named Pirate. It’s a stallion, that most people that ride here can’t handle, but somehow Julie manages with her soft touch.
Every year Julie and I go to the Virgin Islands for about three months to visit Julie’s mother. Unfortunately it’s really warm there as well, while here in Amsterdam it’s cold, rainy and gloomy. But we’ll just have to sacrifice ourselves. We’ll be on the island of St Croix, which is by far the nicest of the US Virgin Islands. Ok, maybe St John is nicer, but just too small for us.
We normally do some diving there, but last year we actually got into horse riding as well. We know a local cowboy there who we helped out taking care of about 15 horses. We had a blast, so hopefully we can do that again this year. We started to take more advanced riding lessons here in Amsterdam just for that occasion.