Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Sainted Mare's Halo Slips...

See the outline of the tennis ball?  Threw the ball
for the dog, missed, and hit the mare's butt.  Karma?
Sometimes you just need to get out of the ring.  To my way of thinking, the ring is the equine equivalent of an office cubicle, or school, and I'm a big fan of playing hooky. 

When I rode with a dressage training maaaaaaannnnnny years ago as a teen, we rarely rode in the ring.  We rode out into the neighbor's fields and did all our work there.  Trust me, if you can get a good shoulder in when there's a hay baler or fractious Labrador in the next field over, you're doing something right.

The other night  Libby, Sophie and I decided to warm up with a small trail ride and then do some fitness work in the field next to the barn.  Seemed like a good idea at the time.  Then it wasn't. We came down the one hill and turned left up the next incline.  Stratego was in the lead, with the pony following behind.  I'd shortened Sugar up quite a bit to keep her from running up the pony's backside. 

Sug didn't appreciate this so much, and I guess her competitive nature kicked into gear a bit because she grabbed hold of the bit and took off.  We rounded the turn like Secretariat rounding for home at the Belmont with me clinging on like a burr.  We passed the pony and she was so pleased by this she let loose with a truly hellacious prop-buck-twist-buck sequence that almost popped my eyeballs out. 

It was a rather athletic effort, wasn't it?  I was quite impressed with myself.

Yes, Sugar. While you were impressing yourself, somewhere in the back of my mind I was remembering Jeff Cook's lesson, "Never look down during a buck or you're gonna land there."  So there I was, eyes to the sky (I think) while trying to plant my butt in the saddle (between bucks) and attempting to stop my rambunctious mare.  Bless her heart, she realized Mom was about ready to tip arse over teakettle and settled into a passage-headshake-passage-snort maneuver that was much easier to sit to.

Consider it a "balance assessment."  It's my job to help you evaluate the improvement of your riding, and I was just throwing in a random skill check.

Thanks, Sug.  You're a peach.  I did pull my big girl pants on and trot around the field some more, doing shoulder ins to keep Ms. Full of Herself busy and out of trouble.  I also made sure to position us either alongside the other horses or in front of them, as it seems while she okay not being trail boss at the walk, Madame Mare does not appreciate being left behind at the faster gaits. 

Lesson learned.  You've still got it, Sug, old girl.

Pfffft. I never thought I lost it.


  1. Silly girl! Nicely sat on your part though.

  2. And apparently so do you! Rock on!