Saturday’s lesson involved riding through some laziness and some mistakes on the part of both me and Eli. Eli decided that when I close my leg at the base of the jump, it means add a stride. I tend to tip my shoulder ever so slightly when closing my leg, so I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt and call us both at fault. (Although truthfully, I never really believe a horse is ever actually at fault. We are wholly responsible for what horses do under saddle.) My coach sort of started to carefully suggest that in addition to not leaning like an idiot, maybe I might want to consider a spur–um, yes! I’m going to go get one right now! I think she thought I would protest. Normally, Eli has zero need of a spur. But Saturday was yet again 90,000 degrees and humid, so instead of giving up like last week, which bit me in the ass this Saturday, I slapped on some Tom Thumbs.
No pictures, no video evidence, but the spurs definitely “motivated” Eli. We went from 0 mph to Oh-my-god-cookielady-OKAY-I’m-RUNNING in about .3 seconds. Spur-as-training-tool worked wonders. No more stutter step in front of the 3’3″ square oxer. No more dive-to-the-side in front of the planks. We went from business casual to white tie and tails. I found the experience to be extremely constructive and – weirdly – confidence building. Like, hey, yeah, I do know how to ride kind of, and I can work though and be coached through problems and everything doesn’t have to be perfect. Just get on and GO!
And now for 10 more questions, from Chasing the Dream:
1. If your horse was a person, who would they be?
I’m leaning toward Frank Costanza. Pretty sure Eli would be into Serenity Now and Festivus. Airing of Grievances? Yeah, that’s my horse.
2. What is one (or two…or five) piece(s) of equipment you CANNOT live without.
ALL PIECES. No, seriously, I need a girth, preferably a double elastic fleece-backed nylon one.
3. When did you start riding/ what discipline?
Age 9-ish. English, generally. Then started eventing.
4. Do you have a barn dog? If so, what breed?
Decidedly not. He’s a lap of luxury/bosom of affluence kind of dog.
5. Do you like doing stalls or nah?
I don’t mind it. I’d take it over feeding hay or hauling water buckets.
6. What treat(s) does your horse go nuts over?
He thinks if it’s in my hand, it’s worth smelling and probably eating, and if it’s in my pocket, it is definitely worth eating. He mostly gets carrots and Mrs. Pastures. I would characterize him as “treat motivated” for sure.
7. If you’ve switched disciplines, why? If not, also why.
XC fear. Also, lack of requisite focus and discipline for dressage. The lack of focus also mostly keeps me out of the hunter ring, where I have waaaayyy too much time to guess about which white gate was I supposed to jump next? Jumpers are short and sweet with pretty colors, so I doubt I’ll try much else.
8. What is your least favorite discipline and why (yeah, I aint afraid to be scandalous)?
Is bronc riding a discipline? Because I HATE it. Seriously. What the hell. I also have a love/hate relationship with horse racing.
9. Who is currently your favorite rider?
In light of WEG, how can I not be madly in love with Beezie Madden right now? Cortes C is incredible. I have also always strongly admired Laura Kraut and Anne Kursinski.
10. What is your BIGGEST pet peeve regarding horses?
If you are not ALWAYS putting the horse first, you’re doing it wrong. People who don’t put the horse’s welfare above all else have no business riding or caring for horses. A much more specific pet peeve is when people just throw the halter on the ground when bridling the horse and don’t hang it up.
Sunday’s weather did a 180 from Saturday, so Eli and I took a long walk in the property’s fields, and worked on cantering a cavaletti both directions. We have a schooling show on the 13th. The plan is to do the 3′-3’3″ jumpers, but if it is insanely hot, I’ll probably drop him down to the 2’6″ jumpers. It’s only our second show together, so I’m aiming for fun as the main goal.