Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Lauren - 0, Inanimate Objects - 3.

I'm definitely losing the battle with inanimate objects today.

The first was my alarm clock. Now my old alarm clock, which was perfect, died a couple weeks ago after about 10 years. So I had to go on a quest for a new one. You wouldn't think this would be such a challenge. Or at least I didn't. I had two must have features and one nice to have. Dual alarms and a nap button were must haves. Gradually getting louder alarm a nice to have. Yeah well apparently that's an impossible combination. I did (w/ help from Mum) eventually find the dual alarms with nap button. Ok, good to go. Except the first time I go to use it I aim for 40 mins. Nope. 10, 20, 30, 60. Really? How hard would it have been to put the other numbers in? Sheesh. But ok, such is life. @ least it works -- I can do 30 and then hit snooze once. Nope, no snooze on nap. I don't understand why not -- makes sense to me that when you hit the snooze button it should function the same whichever way set off the alarm, but evidently not so much. So such is life, just accept that naps are going to be a little more restricted than I'm used to. But then the alarm itself doesn't actually get louder. I can sleep through this one no problem. My alarm goes off @ 5:20. I usually hit snooze twice then get up and ready and am downstairs to feed critters around 6 and out by 6:15. Today I finally woke up about 6:10. Was out of the house in 10 mins (a skill born of early horse-show mornings) but didn't appreciate the need for it. So that was Inanimate Object 1.

Inanimate Object 2 was my computer. Now we all know they weild special powers, so it's entirely possible it doesn't really fit in this category, but *technically* it does. I had half the vacation blog typed and then lost it. Even the saved file. Am not amused :( Boooo. So now it will def be the weekend before those stories/photos are up -- I hope you'll read them anyways *g*

Inanimate object 3. Now this is where my pride (not to mention the rest of me!) took a serious beating. I was literally *thrown* from my horse... No she did nothing wrong. Inanimate object remember? Yes I was thrown from my horse by a jump standard. *sigh* So on the plus side, Superpony was sound and feeling pretty full of herself. hahaha all good. Serious lack of muscle strength *sigh* but that'll come back. So this is now the third time she's been ridden after a month off and she was both high and ADD, as was to be expected. AND she seems to have forgotten almost everything I've taught her in the last year. Now I only had a short time to ride today as I had a surprise party to get to, so I chose not to pick a battle with her. This meant no dressage. Now if I have a student whose horse is not bending, not moving off the leg, and generally unresponsive to all requests they have a better chance of the Leafs winning in Hell than being allowed to jump. One of these days I'll learn to play by my own rules. *sigh* So yeah, I wanted to see how she'd do over fences (soundness wise). And honestly, these were not jumps so much as speed bumps. The MAX was all of 2'6" -- most were at a grand total of 2'. So I start out a little tentatively, trotting over a random one and carefully evaluating the landing and every step after. She's fine. And having fun. Ok no problem. Canter around and jump her over the course. She looks at a couple of the new ones (the entire course has been redone in the time she's been off and are all based off "problem fences" that have been encountered by various riders this season). But she jumps them all quite happily -- throwing in the odd buck for good luck (her bucks are not *real* bucks by any stretch of the imagination, but she tries hard :)

Problem is, 2' is really boring when my horse is happy and jumping well and evidently sound. However, I *really* didn't want to push the soundness issue, so I refrained from getting off and raising them. (see I *can* be responsible -- at least when it's my horse's welfare at stake). So instead I decided to make it a little more technical. There's a nice bending line on the course - an easy 3. BUT if you ride it straight and angle both fences it makes for a forward 2. And remember, 2' -- even with the worst spot in the world, it's not a problem. And from the very beginning she's been taught to hold her line.

Uh huh. Remember the start of this story? The part where I said our flat work was horrendous? The not moving off my leg? So my horse has a serious left drift that gets worse when she's tired (muscle sore) or excited (brain sore). She was both. It's *really* important when jumping related distances on angles that you hold your line. Landing 6' left of your line is NOT a good thing.

No problem, we can still salvage this. Superpony is focused on the second speedbump and eager for her job, all good. Except that when she jumped, she was so close to the left standard that my leg got caught IN it (think rectangular frame w/ one wooden beam on an angle holding it all together. The saddle brushed the side of the standard while my leg went in the space between the vertical piece and the angle piece.

This would be Inanimate Object 3. *sigh* I was moving with some speed at this point and basic physics says that much energy won't just stop, it'll be redirected. So my leg wrapped around the standard, which stopped me for long enough to wrench the left side of me back and throw me off the right side of my horse -- who was frantically trying to get away from the rather huge standard chasing her and the planks (that she didn't even touch!) clattering to the ground around her. Yeah I hung on for all of about 3 strides before hitting the ground. Hard. Hard enough that when I changed out of my breeches later there was arena dirt all down the inside as well. Never good. And Si went for a little gallop around the ring (yeah running martingale keeping the reins out of the way! I knew it had a use >;-P) I got up and went to close the gate before she discovered that it was open and brushed myself off before catching her and remounting. Discovered I couldn't turn my head left. Who needs to turn left? *sigh* Jumped the course a few more times -- she was quite frazzled and concerned after that one so it took a bit to get her confidence back, but we got there. And then finally got to finish.

Cool her out, bathe her, and put her away. And there are some people who were supposed to leave for a show when I started riding, still trying to load a horse. So we have the coach who's good and knows how to deal w/ this. The novice owner, who while a decent rider, has very little practical experience. And her father who is about the most dedicated dad ever and clearly loves the horse, but has absolutely no horsemanship skills whatsoever. So I wander by and mention to the coach if she wants a hand, let me know, and then get out of there (I know better than to butt in :). So a few minutes later she comes and asks for said hand. I watch for a second to evaluate. The father is standing in the trailer, facing the horse, and pulling. Yeah, prey animals always respond well to that. Daughter is trying valiantly to push (rather large) horse in. Horse, who is showing no signs of fear whatsoever, flatly says no. hmmmm fun game. So I took the horse and we had a little discussion about when I say go, you go. When I say stop, you stop. Backing up is not allowed and if you try it you'll *really* have to back up. And basically do as you're told. (all leading -- walk, trot, halt, trot, turn, etc. Real basics). And then we tried again. Got a bit farther, but not much. Played this game for a while and eventually, all of 2 mins before my critical "must be out of here time" and with the aid of a third knowledgeable person we were able to put a lungeline behind him (they had tried this earlier but with the novice people involved which I guess didn't go so well -- I didn't see it, but can well imagine) and convince him that the only way to get away from the scary rope was to go inside. Which he did. And stood there quiet as could be. Clearly not the least bit stressed by any of this. Gotta love it. Esp after just hitting the dirt -- was not a game I *really* wanted to be playing *sigh*. So raced home and did, in fact, have time to shower, change, and get to the surprise before the surprise *g*

I suspect I'm going to be fairly sore tomorrow!

And on a completely random note: Netfirms -- worst customer service ever. Just as a heads up. Took them 3 days with me sitting on hold for more than 4h to resolve an issue that when somebody actually bothered to fix it took him all of about two minutes. I spent the time on hold researching other service providers. hahaha just thought I'd share :)

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