So I realize today is Tuesday but I am writing about yesterday so it still counts…right?
Anyway, yesterday was a whirlwind of a day at the barn. My trainer is out of town for a few days so asked me to work everyone for him. Nothing too serious or difficult, just basic walk, trot, canter just so they got a chance to stretch their legs but still, that meant I was riding 6 horses after work. I managed to procure a pair of “barn rats” to come help me tack up and hose off horses. The heat index yesterday was near 108 or something ridiculous like that. Having minions to help with tacking, untacking, grooming and hosing is a huge help. If you don’t have them on a regular basis, find some. Make friends with kids, smile at them, tell them they do a good job riding, bribe them with cookies, whatever you have to do. They are invaluable. I don’t get to the barn until almost 6 most days and with the heat and everything I never would have finished riding everyone if it weren’t for them.
Anyway, I jumped Dahlia again. We had some really nice moments and we had some real “misevents.” Although, to be honest, can they be considered misevents when I slightly expected at least some of them? We had a little bolting, we had a near crash and burn (both her and I), we had some really lovely jumps, we had some jumping the placing poles AND the jump in one fell swoop. You know, just a fairly average day for me. Sometimes I feel like the harder I work the more I end up screwing up but so far I have been able to laugh it off fairly easily and just keep going.
We warmed up over the little coops that he has set up. Just a nice, easy, slow, trot. I need to work on a) keeping my eyes up, b) not just planting my hands on her neck over the fence. I was really focusing on keeping my hands soft on the approach and not worrying myself too much with what she was doing. I did the preparation, got the slow, steady, pushing trot, and from there it was her job to maintain her balance and trot nicely over the fence. Definitely a success!
Then we had our first bad misevent. We trotted around to the roll tops and I had a little too slow and steady of a trot and didn’t add enough leg to keep her motor revving and we got this:
Ok, back to the drawing board, Miseventer, start riding your horse! Leg on, hind feet moving with power but not going super fast. More RPMs, not more MPH!
We did end up trotting and even cantering calmly over that jump though, no worries. She is quick to forgive, I will give her that! As you can see above, we are still working on figuring out the whole, soft hands and regulating tempo and speed with my body thing. It is a real work in progress. Trotting helps, but she is very enthusiastic and sometimes that means she just wants to run at the fence like a maniac…and using your hands (which is bad anyway, I know!) does NOT help the situation at all!
First time through the one stride was a little entertaining. The barn rats had set the placing poles and I didn’t check them as closely as I should have and they were a bit close. If Dahlia had a little more rateability I think they could have been doable but as it were…
We went through the grid like that. Who needs placing poles to make you jump up and over when you can just jump the whole thing, placing pole and fence, all in one leap! She can fly, she can fly, she can fly!
The two stride was just as easy as pie and calm as can be. At least the first two times we went through. I am discovering that she stays pretty chill (as chill as Dahlia gets, that is!) the first time or two through a line. After that she thinks she knows best and decides that faster is better. Let me let you in on a little secret here….faster is not always better!
I won’t share all our fails from the day, some have to be saved for the future…or for never sharing because I am horribly embarrassed and ashamed by them and hope they never happen again! We all know they will though, such is the nature of horses it seems….and being a miseventer of the top notch sort!