Ike and Alison. Photo by Connie Smith

Ike and Alison. Photo by Connie Smith

Greetings!  Sorry it has been a few days since I’ve updated the blog.  Ike and I have been busy enjoying the spring weather that has finally appeared in the Mid Atlantic region.

While enjoying the weather, I’ve also been contemplating our musical freestyle routine.  It seems simple enough on the surface: pick some cohesive musical pieces and then choreograph a routine with the music.

For the more musically inclined, I’m sure that it is simple.  For people like me who can’t tell an A from a C when listening to someone sing and who believes that sheets of music look like hieroglyphics, editing music pieces into a cohesive musical performance is almost an impossibility.

At least we have three pieces of music that I know work for Ike and I thanks to the Riding to Music Clinic with Michael Matson.  We have them on an audio CD that is either in the CD drive of my computer or in my CD player so I can listen to the pieces over and over and over as I try to determine which parts of the pieces could work for a freestyle. Too bad that I just can’t head down centerline with the pieces as they are right now.

Mr. Matson recommended some free music editing software called Audacity, so I have downloaded it onto my laptop.  I managed to do it without too much hassle.  I then copied the three music pieces onto my laptop so I had working copies to edit.  Yes, I was able to do that as well.

And then, things got sticky.  It turns out that the pieces were in a format that Audacity could not play or edit; the software which is smarter than I am about music formats suggested that I convert the files to .wav files so that I could edit them.  Back to the internet I went to find some software that could help me.  I downloaded that software (and a bunch of “crap” since nothing is truly free), and after a couple of false starts, I now have my three pieces of music in a format that can be edited…supposedly.  I stared at the Audacity screen for quite a while the other night.  The best I could manage was to play the music and then stop it.  Yeah, yeah, guess I will have to try to decipher the manual.  I don’t have high hopes.

Luckily I have a couple of friends and some friends of friends who are musically inclined.  I’m hoping that they can show me some basic music editing skills that will get me started in the right direction or at least past the start and stop buttons.

While I struggle at home to edit, I also need to overcome the obstacle of how to listen to the music while I ride.  Currently, I do not own an iPod.  Yes, really.  I do not.  Do I really want to invest in one just for this purpose?  While it could be helpful, it won’t help me if I enlist Ms. C’s help in the choreography for the routine.  How will she hear the music?  I have a Bose system, but do I really want it exposed to the dust and dirt at the barn?  Nope.  My only option right now is a small radio/CD player in our guest room.

Fingers crossed that the volume can go loud enough that I can hear it at the far end of the arena.  I think Ike is tiring of listening to my off-key humming of the parts of the music that I can remember.  Sadly, the only part of the trot music that sticks with me is the tune ”I’m dreaming of a white Christmas,” so poor Ike has been subjected to it repeatedly for the past week.  I’m most certain that he is decidedly not dreaming of any white form of precipitation.

Looks like the weather will cooperate until the end of the week, so we will give my little sound system a go in the next day or two.  Wish us luck!

Alison
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P.S.  Thought I would fill you in on Ike’s barn renovation work.  Sigh, I guess it was not enough that Ike decided to nibble on the critical infrastructure of the barn.  He has now broken off the chain of the ceiling fan hung above his stall.  Well, Ike, I hope you like the speed of the fan since we will no longer be able to adjust the fan speed.  I fear that we will have to raise the fan higher or risk Ike eating the fan blades.

Mountain Horse USA