Here there be dragons...

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

Impossible? No problem.

Ok so for a few of you who have asked I’ve opened anon comments again; will stay like that until the next time I get spam flooded… No idea how long that may be, but we shall see :)

Just cause it amused me – the line of the night: "when looking for a bird, it's going to be hard to find a didgeridoo". You definitely had to be there. But I thought I’d share anyways. Which of course reminds me of “writing well means never having to say ‘you had to be there’.” But sometimes the story is just much better left at that.

*edited after writing to add: this post turned out to be long, and in the blog’s original “horse related” theme…. So for those who are not of the horsey inclination the short version: I'm tired of having ignorant students and trying to fix that, and my superpony really is super. The end :)*

For the dedicated of the Truly Intelligent People:

So I have discovered that many of my students while turning into decent riders, have a really disturbing lack of knowledge about those wonderful animals they claim to love. Like not even D level pony club knowledge. This particularly worries me as experience has shown me that good riders who are not good horse people tend to lead to disastrous consequences. Things like "training" a horse through punishment due to lack of understanding of their natural responses, or causing a horse to tie up from being put away too hot because they don't understand why it's critical to cool them out, or having their horse go permanently lame due to not recognizing poor shoeing, etc etc etc. Bad - very bad.

Now I regularly "slip" theory into my lessons (in the same way my hs english prof used to smuggle in grammar even though she wasn't allowed to teach it :) and I have to admit, my students not only refrain from rolling their eyes, they actually seem to make a genuine effort to learn it. I've decided to assist that with once a week online theory. Over time will cover the Pony Club and Rider Level curriculum as well as some random things that I feel should be covered :) Theoretically anyways. But we're gonna start with the real basics cause really it's very sad the level of knowledge I'm seeing... This'll end up on the GRS blog methinks :) Since Friday is Flash Fiction Friday, I'm thinking Thursdays can be Theory Thursdays. Cause you know, I have time for another writing project; really I do.

Awesome ride today. Sienna pulled a shoe on Sat and so hasn't been ridden since then so she was, understandably, a little high. Was a lesson starting just as I went in; two riders who are entirely competent and the coach was kewl with me riding around them even if she was a little bouncy. So I warm up with them and it occurs to me that I almost never ride with other riders who are actually riding (I often ride with others but they tend to be novice and or hunters who kinda walk/trot maybe canter a little.... nothing fast or exciting and nobody ever jumps but me). So as Sienna's busy shying at her scary corner, one of the other horses has an overly-dramatic leap into the canter, which entirely fried her little brain. But eventually she got accustomed to the fact that the other horses were going to trot and canter around the ring and maybe even make noise once in a while and while she'd still flinch whenever they did anything, she very quickly realized that running away was not required.

Now the ring was all done up because the BO has a lesson tomorrow, so nice course built with pretty jumps -- complete with decorations. Since coach is kewl and students know how to ride, when they started jumping I asked her if she'd mind if I jumped Sienna as well (while not an explict rule at this facility, jumping around an in-progress lesson is generally considered a faux pas at best and both disrespectful and dangerous at worst so it's not something I'd ever do w/o asking first, and most days I would never even ask -- but it seemed such a perfect schooling opportunity, and the riders are not nervous or concerned so worth asking...) Anyways she was kewl with it, so as they trotted around over their w/u fence I did the same. Sienna jumped it quietly, absolutely no problem, cantered away like an old school pony... And then one of the other girls jumped the fence, and as Sienna heard her horse land and canter off she left. hahaha got her back, rinse and repeat. She fairly quickly got to the point where she didn't even flinch as they jumped (woohoo superpony) -- well, until one of them knocked it over *g*

Si had a good run around at the sound of the jump falling and an even bigger one when we tried to go past the person setting it back up; standards are *not* supposed to move! Reinstall the brain and continue jumping -- until she too knocked over the fence, including the standard (they're a little fragile @ this barn). She lost it -- and of course the boos and commentary inspired even more dramatic results -- she even tried to buck! hahaha poor girl but after Zel her drama just doesn't seem nearly so dramatic!

But we just kept going. I'd trot around while the others were jumping so she'd get used to continuing to work even with other horses doing scary things like landing and cantering, and then occasionally jump things. N by the end she was absolutely awesome. And even when she got chased by a very high and very mad mare, she shot forward enough for self-preservation, but didn't loose her brain. N then of course the eventer in me looks at the course they've been jumping and sees far more interesting lines. Which I suggest to their coach -- "why not have them try this to that?" This being a skinny on an angle, the other being planks on another angle, about a 10m circle. She looks at me and scoffs "yeah sure, you go try it if you want." Thinking that'd be the end of that. hahaha doesn't know me very well yet. So when her student finished her more-interesting-than-hunter/less-interesting-than-jumper course I trotted off to try my little line, picked up a random fence on the way and she realizes what I'm doing it's "you've got like 2 and a half strides there". "No problem, we'll do it in 4." I told her.

The first attempt I actually overdid the turn. Was very impressed w/ my pony since I didn't think she was strong or balanced enough to do that, but she cantered a tiny little circle inside the two jumps; not a runout or disobedience, entirely pilot error. She clearly thought that was what I was asking her to do. hahaha the second attempt, seconds later, I made it clear to her that it was only half a circle and then she should straighten up and jump the fence. Flawless. Jumped the first one perfectly quietly, nice round balanced canter, smooth turn, over the second fence, nice lead change for the new direction, and no explosion on landing. "And that's how it's done." hahaha I love shocking the hunter people :) I was thrilled with the superpony. Proving yet again that the impossible is not so impossible -- even on a green horse who's never done anything remotely like that. And for the record -- we did it in 4 strides.


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