Sunday, October 30, 2011


Sometimes things get a bit bassackwards around here...
I have control issues.  Lots of 'em.  If you've read this blog on a regular basis, or even once or twice, you're probably sitting in your chair thinking, "Uh, DUH, Amy. No earthshaking revelation there!" 

Anyway...years of therapy, scads of self help books and hours of introspection later and I can occasionally surrender my need for control and attempt to roll with the punches of life.  As my father has said on more than one occasion, "The boat of life has a tendency to go tits up.  Better be ready to grab a life preserver and start swimming." Frank is a font of pithy idiomatic statements like that.  I shoulda saved all that money I spent on therapy and those silly books and just listened to Frank.

Anyway, on to today's topic....Nothing serious, just by this point in the year I'd hoped to be confirmed at 3'3" and winding down my show season with a few 1.0m classes.  I'd also hoped to have improved my riding by improving my general fitness level.  Instead, as a result of (thankfully minor) injuries sustained during a fall, work insanity, family commitments and other unforeseen incidents such as Dad's recent minor heart attack, I'm stuck at 3', saddle time has been limited at best and restricted to flatwork. Workout time hasn't fared much better.

Given what other people face in their lives, this is NOTHING.  I get that. About 5 minutes into my ridiculous pity-party I put a quick halt to the festivities with a very stern self-administered Come to Jesus session. Really, Amy?? You have a healthy family, a roof over your head, a job, and you're complaining about WHAT, exactly???  Really??  Silly cow, get over yourself. 

The thing is, the riding is what helps me deal with the fact that the rest of life is so out of my control.  So when the riding thing gets wonky, I get a little goofy.  Hence the self-talk, where I breathe in and out and tell myself, "Life can't be controlled.  The only thing that CAN be controlled is how I react to what happens."  You can make a plan to get to where you want to be, work the  plan as best as possible and, when things don't go according to plan, you need to be able to pull your big girl pants on, deal with the disappointment, and come up with Plan B.  Or, as my Dad says, grab one's life preserver and get swimming.

One sees that in horses as well as life.  How many times has your trainer given you a plan, and you enter the ring with every intention of riding that plan, but for whatever reason things go cattywumpus. You can either react positively and readjust to riding plan B, or you can go to Control Freak Default Setting and micromanage and nitpick the situation until either the horse stops in confusion or something worse happens.   Do you "just ride, dammit" or do you panic and go fetal because your need to control the situation has been surpassed by your ability to control it.  Again, you can't control the situation, only how you react to it.  (Can you tell I'm hoping that the more I write that, the better I'll get at it?)

So what do you do when your life has, for the moment, gone a bit sideways and your #1 stress reliever is no longer as much of an option?  What's your Plan B? (Hint: Imbibing copious amounts of your favorite adult beverage and freebasing Oreos may NOT be an advisable option. Just saying...)

What's wrong with this picture?
For me, at the moment Plan B looks like doing what I can for Dad and what I need to do for work (after all, the job is what pays for Princess Sugar Britches' Jimmy Choos). It looks like accepting that the horse thing will have to happen in a different way than I am used to for a while. When I can get to the barn, we'll work on our flatwork, which is always a good thing. When I'm unable to get out there, I'll need to rely on my trainer and friends to keep her in work.  In the meantime, I can use my new subscription to to fill in some of the gaps in my learning.

As for the fitness thing?  Certainly Dad's recent heart attack demonstrates the importance of diet and exercise in overall health.  So what if I'll be doing more walking and yoga than running and weightlifting, and it'll take longer to reach the fitness goal I had for my riding.  I keep telling myself, it's all about the journey, right??

My Nana had a saying she'd trot out anytime life got crazy.  She'd say, "This, too, shall pass."  Back then I would ask, "When?? When will it pass?  How can I make it pass faster?"  Nowadays, my Inner Control Freak still wants to ask that, and to try to figure out 80 different ways to make it pass more quickly.  However, now I've gotten a little better at telling that Inner Control Freak to hush for a moment. Now I can sometimes tell it to just let me sit with the situation, figure out what I'm supposed to be learning from it, and then grab my life preserver and figure out where to swim to.

What can I say?  I'm a work in progress.  It's slow going, but it's progress none the less.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wanna Win an Ear Bonnet??

I want this one in my barn colors. 
No idea why it won't let itself be posted right side up,
but you get the idea...
C'mon, you know you do!  I certainly do.  I lost mine when I came off my horse at a horse show last month. 

So, pay close attention and do what I tell you to and you might find yourself the brand new owner of a De La Coeur fly bonnet like the ones Cortes C, Coupe de Coeur, and Hickstead wear.

All you need to do is spread the word about their bonnets.  Check 'em out, pick a favorite or two, and then tell everyone you know about it via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, email, text -- any way you can spread the word is appreciated. 

THEN, you need to go to and tell them what you did in the comment section.  Not too difficult, is it?

Carly at will pick a winner via and announce it on that site next Monday, 10/31. 

So what are you waiting for??  Get on it!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Pony's Letter Home From Camp...

Let me give you some background on this: My dear friend (who happens to be my very first riding instructor) lent my kids her daughter's first pony, Cookie.. We joked that she was sending Cookie away to Summer Camp. To keep my friend and her daughter up to date on the pony's life, I began writing (in Cookie persona) letters home to Cookie's stablemates, as if she were writing home from camp. Sonny, John, and Santos are Cookie's barn buddies from back home.  So now you are up to speed. This is Cookie's most recent letter home . As you can tell, Cookie is a smart little pony, with quite the personality and very high self-esteem.

Dear Sonny, John, and Santos,

Greetings from Camp Altea. Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve written. It’s been crazy busy down here.

We did some showing over the summer. We even went away to a big show called HITS. It’s been years since I’ve done such a big show. I’d forgotten how much fun, and WORK, they were. I got lots of treats and hugs, so I didn’t mind the work so much. And it was nice to get all gussied up. Hair done, mani/pedi, the whole nine yards! You know how I like being fancy. Check out the pics – do I still got it, or do I still got it???

Did I mention how much I liked the treats and hugs?  They were my favorite part.  I even got a teensy taste of ice cream.  I like ice cream!

We did a clinic with a man called Eric Horgan.  He used to event for something called Ireland.  He liked me a lot (how could you NOT like me??) although he said that I deserved a better name.  I think he’s silly.  There’s nothing wrong with my name.  He said together Sugar and I sound like something that should be taken with tea.  Sugar and Cookie? What on earth can he mean?  Of course you can’t have horses with tea.  Anyways, we did flat work, which I excelled at, and some jumping, which I was even more excellent at.  We even jumped a skinny!!

We have lots of fun here at Camp Altea.  I like when Sugar and I go on trail rides.  Sometimes Billie Jean, the donkey, comes along too!

Sophie had a birthday and she wanted to have her party at the barn so all her friends could meet me.  That was fun! I like being a party pony.  It’s an easy job.  You just walk ‘round and ‘round in circles, and let little girls fuss over you.  Sophie’s Mom said I had so much glitter on me I looked like a disco ball.  I even got a small taste of cake.  I would have liked a bigger piece, but you know how Sophie’s Mom worries about my figure.  Darn Jenny Craig pony diet!

Anyways, that’s all the news for now. I’ll write again soon. Miss you guys!



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Visions of Sugarplums...and New Show Shirts...

If you follw the retail calendar, you'd think it was Christmas already, not two weeks away from Halloween.  The local Walmart is all decked out in Holiday paraphernalia, and I'm getting at least 2 toy catalogs a day.  The kids are starting to get wound up and are putting together their lists -- never mind that said lists will be lost and revised a gazillion times between now and 12/25.

Personally, I'm trying to be proactive this year by starting my shopping early, so I've been paging through catalogs and surfing the web. I've seen a bunch of great Christmas presents; unfortunately, they are all for me.

For example, I'm sure I need at least 2 show shirts from a new company I found through  I am in LUUUUUUUUUUUV with this new Cerise Toile show shirt from Cheval Fashions.  In a word? Yummy!  It's something you can wear in the ring, and also as an every day shirt that expresses your sense of equestrian style as you go about your real world activities.  Additionally, it's 100 thread count cotton, so it's luxurious, and durable (key piece of information if you are prone to involuntary dismounts, as I am!)  Sadly, this beauty is from the 2012 line, so if you want it now, you'd better get your tuckus up to the Royal Fair and Horse Show, you're in for a bit of a wait!

I'm also feeling the need to acquire one of their belts.  Is anyone else a bit of a belt addict?  This one is calling my name in a big way.  Bit of a dilemma, though - which name to use?  I don't like putting my own name on things, as then strangers tend to use it and I look like a twit until I realize they're not psychic. I could use my horse's name, however, my mare's registered name, Obottie, is a bit odd, and her barn name, Sugar, well that may raise a few eyebrows or imply I think a little too highly of myself.  Will have to think on that.  I guess I could go for the belt without the letters, but what would be the fun in that??

Happy birthday to me, maybe??? I think Yes!

Anyway, just go check them out.  You could wind up with one of these under your tree!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

On Seeing A Distance...

Sophie Jumps the Kiddie Prix
at the Vermont Summer Festival
Was watching some more and am absolutely gobsmacked.  I now know why my 10 year old daughter kicks my butt seeing distances/counting strides to fences!

Epiphany!!  Thank you, Bernie Traurig!

Previously, I have relied on my Higher Power/St. Martin of Tours/ St. Christopher (for those of you not forced to go to parochial school, those are the patron Saints of Horses and of Travelers - I felt both are appropriate when jumping a course) for help in seeing distances.

If I'm understanding this video correctly (and I'll admit, it's Friday night and I've had a glass of wine so I may not be) Bernie suggests that kids can see distances because they practice by jumping courses on foot, which improves their sense of rhythm, pace, and distance.  My daughter jumps around our rings endlessly, and puts me to shame darn near every lesson we have together as she repeatedly nails her distances. Am I going to have to canter my 41 year old chunky butt around a course after her?  Multiple times??  Think of the humiliation as I wind up gasping for air and signalling for the defibrillator at Fence #3. Only silver lining? It'll help a lot toward my fitness goal.

All I can think of when I picture myself "cantering" around our indoor counting strides is this video from one of my favorite comedy teams, French and Saunders.  My barn buddy and I HOWLED when we saw this, as yes, we have been known to to all of these things, even without the benefit of children or wine...

Wait for it. That would be us towards the very end....

Friday, October 14, 2011

My Prayers Have Been Answered! Someone Has Combined Soccer and Horses!

Like many Moms, I find myself shuttling my kids to one activity after another.  In my world, that would be mostly soccer and riding.  Thankfully my husband takes the boy to Krav Maga, or I'd be in one of those little white huggie-jackets by now.

Six days out of seven I am schlepping my 10 year old daughter to the barn or to travel soccer practice or tournaments.  On weekends it's usually a two-fer, resulting in what my buddy calls a "sot-ton" of miles on my truck.  In case you didn't know, "shit-ton" is a Mid-Western unit of measurement for a lot of something.

Anyway, you can see why the idea of combining this soccer thing with the equine thing is appealing.

Horse soccer, of Hoofball, as the Europeans call it, is played by 2 teams of up to 4 members, a goalie and 3 linesmen.  The field is approximately 225 x 100, and the goals are delineated by either cones or barrel racing drums.  The ball is a 50" inflatable anti-burst ball. Horses are allowed to walk and trot only, and horses that habitually show a liking for kicking other horses, or demonstrating other aggressiveve  behavior, will be penalized or red carded, depending on the infraction.

There are a good deal many more rules, but I'm not going into all of them.  Feel free to look 'em up over here.

Take a look at the video below.  Looks like a hoot, right?  The only problem I can see is that the ball looks bigger than my daughter's pony....

For more info, or to find a league near you, contact the America's Equine Soccer League.

I guess this trio was just looking for a little pick up game....

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My Name is Amy, and I Am An Addict...

Whoopie Pies. YUMMY!!!
(I Make a REALLY Fabulous Version.)
Or maybe I'm an Obsessive?  I'm not sure.   After a bit of researching on the Internet, I learned that addiction is a chemical dependency on something, while obsession is an intense mental preoccupation or fixation.

Okay, so the cheese, wine, Whoopie Pies, and Oreos thing is an addiction, and the horse thing is an obsession.  Glad we cleared that up.  (What can I say, I'm an American.  As such, I have a compulsive need to label things.) 

So... I have a brand new obsession.! Yippee!!  (Cue call to therapist! We've got a visible manic high!) For my anniversary present I asked for a year's subscription to Bernie Traurig's  Don't know why I've never subscribed before.  When I counted how many equine related DVDs I've purchased over the past couple of years, I could have gotten a five year subscription.  The site is the brainchild of Bernie Traurig and is a compilation of videos from the best trainers in different equestrian disciplines.  So no matter where you are in your riding or geographically, or what your budget is, you have access to the best equine knowledge on the planet.  Count me in!!

I've been watching videos after the kids go to school and before work.  Also before bed.  Sometimes at lunch.  If I had one of those doohickeys that plugs your laptop into your TV, I'd watch while I was on my treadmill, which is what I do with my DVDs. (PSA - Do NOT attempt to count strides while watching show jumping and running on treadmill! Can result in one going a$$ backwards off the back of the treadmill.)

Yup, I'd say we've got an official obsession here. My husband calls it my "horse porn."  He made that comment in the grocery store, and we got a LOT of funny looks.  Lovely. It's not as if I didn't already have a rep in this town.  Show up in public in my town sporting breeches, boots, and spurs, and you'll get asked what "industry" you work in.  Seriously, people talk.

Today I headed off to the barn determined to work a plan from the Controls Of The Horse Part Two - Leg Aids video on my lazy mare. Well, maybe not lazy. She's apparently "electric" off my trainer's legs, decidedly less so off mine. 

We warmed up on the buckle for 10 minutes, and per Bernie's advice, I kept her marching.  If I didn't get a response from a light leg aid, I'd give her a tap.  If that didn't work, I'd "nudge her up" with my spur ( a very blunt Prince of Wales).  If that didn't work, and a couple of times it didn't, I'd do what Bernie called a "hook" with the spurs, which is a quick upward motion with the heel.

What the heck???

Well, Sug, you weren't listening. Hence the "hook."

I was too listening.  I just didn't think you really meant it!

We repeated light aid, tap, and nudge if necessary at the walk, trot, and canter, aiming for consistency, and lo and behold (cue sound of heraldic trumpets) I soon had a very forward going mare underneath me.  Also per Bernie's advice, I did my best not to nag her.  If her rhythm stayed consistent, I kept my leg steady.  If she slowed, I added a forward leg aid.

We paid particular attention to our downward transitions, making sure to absent the leg as much as possible, sink into the heels (as much as possible with my concrete ankles)  while using the direct rein aid.  The problem with Sug is she drops completely behind the leg during downward transitions, in an "Oh thank God, we're done" kind of way.  This meant I had to figure out the right amount of direct rein aid to apply and then when to apply the leg aid, and how much leg aid to apply.  Let's just say this took a few go-rounds to get to point where we both could live with the results.

Speak for yourself.  I could have lived with the results a LOT sooner.

After I'm done with this post I'm going to re-watch the video to go over canter transitions, flying changes, counter canter, and where, when and how to use the displacing leg to achieve them.  That'll be my next session. (Hopefully. Depends on where Sug's at that day.)

I've also been enjoying the Team Karazissis' videos on Bending Lines and Setting Up the Lead Changes on  Watched both of those 2x each -- love their teaching style!  They break things down and make it VERY SIMPLE, something my aging, overtaxed brain appreciates!  Am planning on using the lead changes exercise with my daughter's pony.

Clearly this is one obsession I'm not going to take steps to eradicate!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Little Hiccup in the Fitness Challenge...

Look, Ma! I'm On The Bit!
So my attempt to drill for oil using my cranium as has put a big old monkey wrench in my fitness plans.  Previous to my prayer to the dirt gods I had embarked on a plan to get my ammy a$$ in shape.  A couple trainers I respect told me my riding would improve more quickly if my fitness/strength level improved.  I reasoned that since I spent what felt like a minor fortune on lessons, clinic, DVDs, and books devoted to improving my riding, it only made sense to take their advice.  Time to get thighs that could crack walnuts, or at least motivate a lazy mare, and a core capable of holding my position better over fences.

Things were going well at first.  On average, I ride 5 days a week when I am not traveling.  I began riding my mare without spurs, spent 5 minutes warming up trotting in two point, and incorporated lots of work without stirrups. In addition I added interval/hill work on the  treadmill or eliptical 5 days a week, and weights or Pilates 2-3 times a week.

That lasted all of 10 days, until I face planted at a horse show after jumping ahead of my mare (Literally.  A word to the wise -- do NOT do this!)  My little unintentional dismount resulted in a concussion, a sprained neck, and potentially some instability in the ligaments of the ondontoid process, which I'm told can be A VERY BAD THING if I fall off/get rear ended/do something else stupid involving trying to insert my melon into an unyielding surface. 

So, no rigorous exercise for the time being.  Not good, considering when I'm bored/sad/happy/confused or just breathing I eat.  A lot.  And I don't exactly go whole hog on the veggies, either?  I'm more of an Oreos/Pillsbury vanilla icing/Ice Cream/Cheese and Butter kind of gal.  Which ain't great if you're not moving much, you know what I mean?

So no running.  I've been traveling a lot for work, so I haven't  been riding much. When I have ridden, it's been more like really light hacking, which Sug is totally on board with.

So what's a creaky, achy, semi-breakable broad to do?  Lots of treadmill intervals on an incline, only at the walk.  I've also done what little light Yoga and Pilates I can without straining my neck.  I've gone back to doing a little light belly dancing.  Although I've pretty much lost what little improvement I'd made, one good thing is that the hill work has made my legs stronger.  Or at least they felt that way when I rode tonight. Just stronger and more secure, if that makes sense.

So I guess I'll keep up with the kinder, gentler fitness regime until I'm cleared for more intense stuff.  Backsliding is frustrating, but the fact that my legs felt a bit more secure tonight gives me some hope for eventual success.  Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Contest Alert!!! Potential Bucket list Experience!!

Photo taken from 2010 Royal Winter Fair Galleries
Sponsored by Nikon
Hey horsie friends!  As some of you may know, I have been fortunate to occasionally contribute posts to a wonderful new(ish) blog out there, Horse Junkies United.  I quickly became addicted to the site because it focused on folks like me -- amateur riders.  HJU focuses on the experiences and adventures of amateur riders of all disciplines, as well as using connections to take us behind the scenes into some our professional idols' lives in a very real and accessible way.

Horse Junkies United is currently running a contest in partnership with The Royal Winter Fair Horse Show, held in Toronto (that would be Canada, in case you were wondering) from November 4th-13th.  “The Royal” is, to some, Canada's penultimate horse show, and is a ten day festival of all disciplines. The competition is by invitation only, and so the best of the best -all the big names from North America, South America and Europe - will be there.

What you'll win:
TWO lucky winners will each receive a pair of tickets for one evening at The Royal, along with a welcome gift, and the opportunity to meet some cool people behind the scenes.  Even better, they will get to blog about their experience to HJU's global audience of Horse Junkies!!

How to enter:
Email HJU ( a story about your Best Memory of the Royal. Or, if, like me, you've never been, write about Why You Would Like To Come to The Royal.  Email your article to – with photo if possible and let the HJU staff know which date works best for you.  Here are your choices and the key events scheduled for each date:

■ Friday November 4th:   Talent Squad, Canadian Show Jumping Championship Presented by Greenhawk and the Good Crop Indoor Eventing (Mark Todd is coming!!!)

■Wednesday November 9th:  Dressage Grand Prix CDI*** presented by Dominion Regalia and the FEI World Cup Show Jumping Grand Prix (Umm, perfect opportunity to gawk at Eric Lamaze!!!)

The deadline to receive entries is October 27.

Again, get crackin' and get your entry in to ASAP!  This kind of chance doesn't come around every day, ya know....

(Ummm, I'm wondering if either my boss or my husband will catch on if I plan a business trip to Toronto that week...)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Remembering Red: The 22nd Anniversary of the Passing of a Legend...

It's been 22 years since Secretariat was euthanized at Claiborne Farm on the morning of October 4th, 1989, due to complications arising from laminitis.  He was 19, and his handlers had expected him to have years left as a sire.  He was survived by the key members of his team: Owner Penny Chenery, trainer Lucien Laurin, beloved groom Eddie Sweat, and jockey Ron Turcotte.

The passing of the great horse was like few others; flags flew at half mast in Lexington, he was buried entire wrapped in the golden colors of Claiborne's racing silks, although he'd raced in the blue and white of The Meadow.  His funeral was a private affair, unlike the ceremonial lying-in-state awarded the great Man-O-War.

One of my earliest memories was of Secretariat winning the Belmont.  My parents and I were at my grandparent's house, and we all gathered to watch the race in the living room.  I can remember the sun glinting off the big red colt's coat looked like the sun bright diamonds reflected off  the drinks in the grownup's crystal highball glasses.  At the start of the race we all yelled encouragement, as if he could hear our exhortations and respond to them. However, as we watched Secretariat demolish the rest of the field, we quieted, almost as if we were in church.  No one in my family said a word as he lengthened his lead; it was as if we were almost afraid to breathe, as if that act would upset the delicate balance of the perfection we were witnessing.

I was already a horse crazy little girl, but that day I thought that Secretariat was pure magic, capable of anything.  I guess in some ways, I still am that little girl, sure that all horses are magic.  However, there's no doubt that Secretariat was one of a kind, the most magic horse in all of Thoroughbred racing.

His legacy lives on in the recent Disney movie, inspired by the book by William Nack,  that tells his tale.  My family and I have watched it countless times, and we still all yell at the screen as if there was some doubt that this time he might not win the Triple Crown, and we still cry at the ending.

Thankfully, there are a lot of excellent books that also provide fans with more Secretariat lore. Some of my favorites are:

The Horse God Built, by Lawrence Scanlan
Secretariat, by William Nack
Secretariat's Meadow, by Kate Chenery Tweedy, and Leanne Meadows Ladin
Secretariat, by Raymond G. Woolfe Jr.

Thanks for the memories, Big Red.  You are much missed.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

WAAAAAAAAHHHHHH! Or, Get Over It Already, For Heaven's Sake...

Hi. My name is Amy and I am a Chicken.
Today I had my first lesson since I attemtped to emulate a lawn dart at my last show.  My travel schedule for work as been crazy, so it's really only the fourth time I've ridden since I damn near found oil two weeks ago.  Certainly the first time I've jumped.

Well, as you probably picked up from the title, things did not go well.  Number one, due to the severe neck sprain I gave myself (the Doctor's terminolgy, not mine) anything more than light exercise has been VERBOTEN for the past two weeks..  Think "gentle stroll on treadmill." So, my fitness level, never great to start with, is close to non-existant.  (Can somebody PLEASE tell me why it takes a 40 year old woman MONTHS to gain any kind of muscle and a nanosecond to lose it???  PLEASE?  That my friends, is one of life's nasty little ironies.  The others involve childbirth, but that's another discussion and you'd need to buy me a drink before I get started on that one.)

Plus, I'm still sore, so some things, such as turning my head to look for the fence, were uncomfortable. Thus,  I didn't execute them well and we had missed distances, awkward jumps, and some "Oh Sweet Baby Jesus!" moments.  So why was I attempting to lesson under these circumstances?  Well, if you haven't realized I'm not exactly the brightest bulb in the string by now, you haven't been paying close attention to this blog.  I suggest you go back and read a few more posts.  You'll get what I mean soon enough.

Basically, I rode to each fence in a state of high alert, fearing the worst and rendering myself darn near incompetent.  My trainer said I was exaggerating ( this would not be unusual, I am known to amplify things a bit) and not riding badly at all, but you know how you it is when you feel like you're only moments away from a trainwreck.  At this point I was about one sniffle away from starting to bawl.  Not just tears, but a full-on, snot pouring from the nose, howling like a crazy person meltdown.  Luckily my mare turned to me and gave me one of her LOOKS.

What is going on?? Are you leaking up there?

No, Sug. (sniff)  I'm fine. (sniff)

You don't look or sound fine, and you're clenching. Stop that, please.  Do that breathing thing, would you?

Sorry, Sug. (Sounds of deep breathing ensue.)

So how do you take one ad incident and stop from making it into the 800 pound gorilla in the arena??  For some reason the Friends episode where Phoebe, Rachel and Monica do a cleansing ritual to rid themselves of bad boyfriend karma.  I thought briefly about a cleansing ritual, but I saved up a gazillion Dover's gift certificates to get that hunt coat, darnit, and knowing my luck I'd set the house on fire anyway. 

I asked my trainer to lower the fences and to let me work on easier groups of combinations of fences, rather than entire courses, which she did, and things still weren't going great.  I couldn't keep a consistent rythym, partly because my mare was feeling herself  and dragging me to the fences, and partly because I was picking at her till we went from a gallop to darn near going backwards.  You can imagine what kind of jumps these resulted in.  Let's just say I was inadvertently dropping some words that would have gotten my mouth washed out and my behind blessed with a wooden spoon about 30 years ago.  Thankfully my kids weren't in the arena.  Her Highness Princess Sugar Britches was not impressed either.

Hellooooo! Koninklijk Warmbloed Paardenstamboek Nederland!

Gesundheit, Sug.

Sigh.  Translation: Royal Warmblood Studbook of the Netherlands. Such language is inappropriate in front of an equine of my eminence.

You know, you may not want to take that tone with me today, Miss Thing.  Ain't no Royal Netherlanders standing in line to pay your massage bills.  Just saying...

So I told my trainer I thought it would be a good idea to go back to basics.  More longe lessons.  More gymnastics, more work on my form and the security of my position and leg, until I feel secure again.  I have the chance to show again this week, and quite frankly, I'm hesitant about doing it.

I like feeling fully prepped.  Knowing I CAN do something (usually by the skin of my teeth and feeling I've just received a miracle) and feeling like I can do something succesfully is a big difference.  I feel that when I ride with confidence, I can ride well.  When I don't ride with confidence, things get dicey and I'm worried one day I really will hurt myself and my horse.  To be fair, my trainer does prep me well, working on exercises that she knows will prepare us for the courses we'll face.

George Morris famously said that he "faught chicken" all the time. Sometimes that makes me think, "Wow, even George has moments. How liberating!" Other days I think, "What a load of crapola. If he were chicken why was he jumping 5 foot fences so well for so long? If George really wants to see chicken, he should come see me approaching a 3' oxer. You can see the "Oh sh#$! Oh sh#$!" cartoon thought bubbles over my head!"

So what's the deal?  Am I just a big whiny ninny who needs to pull on her Big Girl Pants, pull down her skirt, and suck it up?  Or, do I pat myself on the back for getting back on and giving it a go, and then realizing I'm still hurting and the more prudent decision is to retrench and go back to basics until confidence is restored?
Or, do I hire a Native American Shaman to burn sage and do a healing dance for me?