Here there be dragons...

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

The British Smurff and other adventures . . .

So this was one of those weeks that reminds you why we keep going through the nasty weather, illness, and just plain grumpy days. Hahaha

Monday was a very short ride in which we warmed up, jumped perfectly around a tiny (like 2'3) course, and went home again. Just a fun, easy day.

So Tuesday was not such a good ride, I will admit. I was not in the right frame of mind to be riding a greenbean ottb, and I knew enough to know that was an issue, so as soon as I got something remotely good we quit. Nowhere to hack (boooo) which in the past has always been my escape from days when ring-work just isn’t going to happen, so instead we went and grazed out front. Sienna took a long time to find “suitable” grass, but I have to think it was still better than dressage *g*

So Wednesday I load her up and off we go to visit my dq coach. N it turned out to be a good thing I didn’t pick a fight w/ Si on Tues, because she was an absolute superstar. And the lesson was a riot. Can’t remember the last time I laughed so much in a lesson I was actually taking *g*. Teaching, absolutely >;-P hahaha but fairly rare in my own lessons. Laughing like that at least guarantees the relaxation side of things hahaha even if it does make applying the correct aids a little tricky. My horse, it turns out, is a British smurf. This explains so many of her issues, because it’s really tricky to be the stereotypical stuck-up, proper, elegant British while being blue w/ a white hat and a squeaky voice. So basically, when she’s having a meltdown, it’s mostly an identity crisis. And my sincere apologies to all the British and all the smurfs I’ve now offended. Hahaha

Thurs I was teaching a lesson at a friend’s farm but all my other lessons were cancelled, so I brought Si with me there to ride before-hand. She was super-high (hmmm let’s see, cold and windy, different place, scary animals in the trees….) but really good. Took a little while to find her brain, but once I did it was amazing. I was sort of amused in one of our “not-quite-listening” moments we jumped a pumpkin. Consider the accuracy it requires to jump something that skinny. I wish I had it on tape :) hahaha and it completely didn’t phase her – it’s in the way, so we go over it. End of story. The British side was clearly in charge *g*.

Anyways eventually she settled, so I decided we’d jump a little. There was a “ditch” set up (read two poles on the ground w/ feedsacks between them and barrels for wings), which I thought was brilliant. Ditches are the one thing Sienna really doesn’t like and unfortunately the only thing I have nowhere to school on a regular basis. Booo. Unfortunately this did nothing to help our ditch issues as Sienna took one look and thought “feed sacks on the ground – these aren’t worth jumping over” and treated the whole thing like a trotting pole. Hahaha ok that’s a slight exaggeration – she *did* jump it reasonably high the first time but very quickly decided it was a trotting pole. And after that would even step on the bags. Sheesh.

So continuing in the vein of scary jumps I put two barrels on their side w/ two poles on top in “corner jump” formation and stuck my blue jacket underneath to make this a waterjump. I also took Sienna’s cooler and tossed it over one of the verticals. Which was a big waste of time as she literally didn’t even acknowledge the cooler jump. Although all summer of jumping a hoola skirt probably helped prepare her for that! Hahaha. The water jump had some hesitation followed by a giant cat leap and the rider grabbing some mane! Future attempts proved smoother though and by the end I could canter it off a 15m turn easily in stride. And no concern at all if she had a longer approach w/ time to think about it. And of course we had the requisite trot fence w/ poles on either side. This was set at about 2’9” and was the biggest of our obstacles which should put this in perspective a little *g* We’re not heading for Rolex here people, just trying to get my greenbean jumping well and confidently.

Afterwards Si had to hang out w/ me while I taught and she was an absolute saint about it. Stood quietly. Stood when I ground-tied her (which she’s not trained to do in the least) so that I could help my student w/ her horse (complete w/ the “don’t try this at home” codicil *g* Fortunately student is an adult and gets it). Followed properly and stayed out of the way while I was setting fences (this she *is* trained to do :) and just generally behaved herself. Now she was probably a *little* tired by this point, but that’s not tragic *g*

So fast forward a couple hours to my Fri am jumping lesson. Our flat work was ummmm less than spectacular as she was clearly tired. Understandable! Our jumping however… Well maybe we *are* going to Rolex *g*. hahaha we almost always start w/ the same exercise – a trot vert w/ poles on either side. Great for both of us as it’s almost idiot-proof so it’s an easy way to get into the whole jumping thing in a relaxed and easy manner. Except this time after we tripped over the first go-round cause she couldn’t bother jumping it, the fence went up a couple holes. Ok so this time she jumps it but still no effort involved. Up a couple more holes to the point that it’s now about 3’4” and getting to where she-who-hasn’t-jumped-consistently-for-two-years (umm that’d be me :) starts to notice the height. And we’re still trotting. So we give it ago and because I was actually thinking about it, I rode it text-book style (my coach was happy) and her jump . . . OMG I could’ve reached out to pat her knees. Up around her ears, bascule like I haven’t felt in a looonnnggg time. The comment from my coach “ok, *now* she’s jumping. Do it again.” Hahaha So we did it a couple more times and every time she was brilliant. I was thoroughly thrilled.

“Ok so from now on, everything is easy,” my coach says as he lowers the fence back to a more usual level. Sure enough, the course he’d been setting up while I was doing this suddenly didn’t look nearly as impressive. The biggest was @ 2’9” which I could now look at and say “well she could trot that w/ no problem.” Hahaha now I always tell my PE/E level students that when we’re walking courses and they’re concerned about something, because let’s be honest at PE/E it’s true. But I never realized just what a relief that actually is till I caught myself saying it to ME! Hahaha and then I realized how sad it is that I haven’t jumped real fences in sooooo long that these things are starting to seem big. Although I have to admit that may be partially because she feels the need to clear them all by an extra foot! Anyways – she jumped around the course that had some of everything (skinny, combination, hoola-hoop skirt, oxers, etc) and I have to admit I was somewhat disappointed w/ my riding. Blah. But my pony? She was a pro. Even gave me her leads over every fence. So we left it at that, because really? She’s worked hard all week and it’s hard to improve upon perfection *g* And she’s not at the level yet where that’s easy for her so it’s certainly not time to put them higher. So she’s done.

Tomorrow off and then a show on Sunday :) hahaha could be interesting! I’m far more concerned about the w/u than the actual show ring… But we shall see…


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