This long weekend turned out to be a dumptruck load of fun; a nice way to unwind from the end of the fiscal year at work.
I gave Eli a day off on Saturday, and coordinated a Monday jump school with my trainer. He earned some grazing time, as he often does. I have been keeping an eye on his left hind — I think he banged it up a bit playing in turn out, so I threw an ice boot on it and let him eat grass for a while.
Saturday afternoon, I headed over to another barn in the middle of prime real estate in Austin to participate in some end-of-summer activities, including many bareback games for the summer camp counselors and maybe even some (like 2 games instead of 6) for the adult contingent. I am sure many readers have had barn play days or participated in Bareback Olympics. But if you haven’t, figure out how to do one ASAP! We all were laughing so hard for most of it that our faces hurt! Doughnut relays were probably the funniest — hang doughnuts from trees, divide bareback riders into 2 teams, and GO.
I am not sure how those of us spectating remained on our feet because of how hard we were laughing. The girls did Egg-In-Spoon, Red Light/Green Light, and the riff on egg in spoon with a cup of water. Whichever rider with the most water left in the cup after w/t/c and jumping wins!
But wasting no opportunity to be silly around these hard-working young ladies, the adults joined in the bareback shenanigans on different horses and ponies. Hold up, I just realized that 3 of the 5 adults were on ponies (including me) but NONE of the girls were on ponies. Wtf? Anyway, the adults agreed it was a bit hot to do much more, so we did what we’ll call Drinking and Riding, and Red Light/Green Light. I was lucky enough to be on an absolutely wonderful saint of a pony mare who is one of the most unflappable, push-button equines I have ever known. I am not sure if the goal of Drinking and Riding was to keep as much wine in our cups as possible, or to be finished drinking it by the end of the contest. It was a great laugh for everyone, and no adult escaped photographic documentation of super awkward facial expressions. All of the adults agreed we would need to do another bareback fun day very, very soon.
On Sunday, I had a ton of errands, but fit in a lovely, if extremely humid ride on Eli. We are still working on the collection, but I try to do some bigger steps at the trot and canter, too. I am starting to feel a difference in Eli’s carriage, however slight right now. He has been handling our rides so well and I couldn’t possibly ask for a better horse than the one he is.
It was a holiday weekend, and I may have done some shopping because of the sales. I have two new helmets on the way, and I picked up a Noble Outfitters winter coat for $55 from Riding Warehouse. Couldn’t resist that one.
My trainer and I had set up a Monday lesson, and lesson we did. Eli is much more adjustable now, but still gets downhill in some corners. We worked on piloting through that kind of thing without drama. A lot of my issues are mental, though, and that will take a little more time to redevelop my sports amnesia, to keep going no matter mistakes. That was usually pretty easy for me in the jumper ring but more difficult for me to do on a hunter. In the hunter ring, the fear of making a mistake that will harm or injure my horse is much stronger …. I am not sure why. But wise words from my trainer that were related to that helped immensely. The jist of it was get comfortable with screwing up and keep going to the next fence.
Monday evening, I jumped from the cliffs of erudition into the sea of wine in a can … not terrible. Could come in handy wherever one sees such signs as “no glass containers.” I wouldn’t seek it out much, though.