So we survived our second competition in Germany! I have to say the conditions leading up to the competition were really not ideal and I had many sleepless nights dreaming about overcrowded warm up arena’s and things like forgetting my jacket and helmet. In the week before the big event, Lotus decided that she would come into season. Whilst it’s not the end of the world, we have learnt the hard way that an in-season Lotus means a very hot Lotus with endless energy.
She was being ridden twice a day, plus time in the walker and she was still the energizer-bunny. She is still very good despite the increase in energy but she made me work for every little movement for the whole week. My fall in the stables the week before had done some damage to my leg so I was limping around, I managed to get both the flu and a stomach bug which meant I kept no food down for four days, and our test wasn’t until late Saturday evening .
You get the class start time here but not your individual time until the class starts. We left the stables and headed off to Ankum and whilst I am used to leaving for shows in the dark, it is usually not at night! We arrived an hour and a half later to a huge storm, massive winds and torrential rain. The three of us sat inside the car for a minute just staring into the blackness outside at the wild weather.
As it turned out, my class was due to start at 8:30pm but they were running 10 minutes late. We were very early, so we had some dinner and waited around. My test time was 9:49pm and I was last in the class. On the plus side it meant that I had the warm up arena mainly to myself with no crazy chestnuts. The weather just got worse, and the three of us got soaked walking up to the arena as our stable block was separate to the main facility.
Lotus waiting for our start time.
I ended up walking around the arena for nearly an hour as they were still running late. In the end I entered the arena at 10:15pm which was certainly passed my bedtime! Lotus was good all things considered, and our score improved from the first competition even though we were riding a level up. At the end of the test, instead of getting a score sheet, the judges like to talk to you instead. He was very nice and kind which I was grateful for as I had this feeling that he was about to tear my head off for the mistakes we had made.
In the end he was very positive about us as a combination but felt that we were a very young combination. Lotus is just 7 and still has a lot to learn, and we are still working each other out. It is hard to imagine that I have just been riding for her for three weeks. We headed home through the storm, and arrived home at 1:30am. Lotus was very happy to see her stable and of course her dinner.
As the morning outside is not ideal for bike rides and it’s rainy (no surprise), I thought I would write about some of the things I have come across living in Germany. As we don’t train until the afternoons, the morning is supposed to be dedicated to University however I find procrastinating infinitely more entertaining. The story of a student’s life!
The German’s themselves are a funny breed, and I shouldn’t really be surprised considering I have lived with them for my whole life! (For those of you who aren’t aware, my Mum is German and my German grandparents are also living in Australia). Everything is very strict and structured, and if the appointment is 9am, they mean exactly nine-oh-clock and zero seconds. Not nine-oh-one. My Oma for example, would serve afternoon ‘kaffee und kuchen’ at precisely three in the afternoon. If you turned up one minute late, you missed out. I used to think it was just Oma, but after many trips to Germany I have realised that they are all like that!
I have also learnt that when you rent an apartment, you don’t just move in with your furniture, but you are also expected to move in with your kitchen. It is unusual here for apartments to come with kitchens, and when you leave a rental, you take your kitchen with you. This is a process I have yet to come to terms with. Although it seems next year I will be Ikea’s most frequent customer.
There are entire shelves in the shops dedicated to books solely on cooking potatoes. Whilst I am not the world’s best chef (the fact that I recently learnt NOT to microwave cutlery will attest to this) I have yet to find so many potato recipes that require an entire collection of cook books. Potatoes are the main staple in the diet here and therefore the front section of nearly every supermarket is used for the potatoes. You can buy any sort you want. Depending on what potato cook book you own apparently.
The language itself, whilst not overly tricky, can sometimes be complicated. Aside from gender-orientated words and very long, long words to describe something simple, they have a very literal name for almost everything. I have spoken/understood the language from a very young age but I still find moments where I have to think about it for a moment and wonder why I find it so hilarious. For example:
Staubsauger = “dirt cleaner”. (Vacuum cleaner).
Handschu = “Hand shoes” (Gloves).
Fußfingernägle = “Foot finger nail” (toenail).
Nacktschnecke = “Naked snail“ (slug).
Flugzeug = “Fly-thing“ (Aeroplane).
Almost everything is closed on a Sunday. The only thing I have managed to find open is a fuel station. Absolutely everything shuts down on Sunday, and as it is our day off from training, I find myself with very little to do! This of course means that Saturday’s at the shops are just crazy, and last weekend I had the unfortunate experience of an Opa knocking me off my pushbike in to oncoming traffic because he simply didn‘t look whilst barrelling his way out of the carpark with a bike load of shopping.
Road rage is a huge no-no. Apparently if you give another driver the flick of your middle finger, you can be fined a thousand Euros. Anyone who has driven with me knows my lack of patience on the road, so restraining myself is a huge effort for me here.
Today we are off to look at some more apartments before heading to training at the new stables. I am really looking forward to having an indoor where we don‘t have to dodge showjumps! Dad has been holding the fort at home, and sent me a picture of a very fat little Pea. I am very excited to see her foal!