Here there be dragons...

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

In our game, the ball has a mind of its own.

Lesson booked for 9:30 this am.  So of course last night Lexi felt the need to throw a shoe.  Superstar farrier agrees to come at 8:30 to solve this problem ;)

However, this was an unauthorized change from Her Royal Greyness's regularly scheduled program.   And she was not amused.  Oh dear.  Lexi is usually remarkably good to mount.  Today...  Not so much.  I got on a vibrating llama who was moving the second my foot hit the stirrup -- if she ever paused at all.  hmmm okay then...  Fortunately after a few strides she remembered she is, essentially, lazy.  This resulted in a bouncy walk -- which, really, is fairly ideal.  So I was okay with it.  The llama aspect I was less thrilled with, but sobeit.

She was also, as is her tendency when she is high, being remarkably spooky.   She's *really* good most of the time, but when that little switch goes in her brain...  Oh dear.  Amusing when combined with the laziness aspect as she doesn't tend to go very far -- or just straight up with all four!  But still less than ideal when you'd like something that vaguely resembles dressage.  

So coach shows up and we work and we work and we work and eventually the walk is moderately successful.  And then a horse gets turned out nearby and we start all over again ;-P  Finally we get something that can progress to the trot.  The left - her easy way - is pretty atrocious.  Just to keep life interesting, the right is mostly brilliant.  Awesome.   While pretending we actually improved and didn't just change direction, move up into the canter -- also pretty brilliant.  Woohoo!

And then go back to the left.  Oh dear.  I'd wonder if she needed her teeth done if she hadn't just had them done ;}   Yeah, that kind of ride.  Grab the bit, imitate a giraffe, and run.   On the plus side, most giraffes run with their butts tucked reasonably well underneath them ;)   This is something we've been working on.   Yeah for hill work!

Yeah, just like that

Alright so eventually we get something that vaguely resembles an acceptable canter and do some work on transitions.  Of course my coach wants the transition to sitting trot -- which, now that we've actually *found* the trot is proving to be a remarkable workout for my poor, abused, abs ;)   Pluses and minuses really.  It was, shall we say, one of those moments I was rather glad my students weren't watching.
Yeah, just like that
 However, eventually pony found a brain and rider remembered (sort of) how to ride, and the world was good.  All done.

Or not.  Apparently now it's time to jump.  Sweet.  I see no way in which this could be a poor life decision.  And the left rein was our challenging one so let's opt for gymnastics off the left.

She was a little ambitious about our tiny warm-up fence *g*   hahaha but I took that as a good sign that she wanted to play this game.  Fence grew and was a very simple concept -- placing pole, 9', vertical.  Out of the trot, no problem.  Out of the canter, jump the pole and the jump together.  Every. Single. Time.  Coach's response: "well you know spreads won't be a problem."  *sigh*

Spread the placing pole out to 12'...   You're not new here.  Yup, same game.   Apparently it's just easier to throw yourself over the fence from a ridiculous distance than tuck your butt even a little for that one extra stride.

Oh well -- ignore that minor detail for now (with instructions to do lots of bounces for homework...) and build up the gymnastic.  Last fence in the end is not super tall (maybe 3') but very wide -- wide enough that it requires a pole diagonally across the top of it so she's not inclined to step down inbetween.  Ummmm really?   Have you read the last couple paragraphs?   Definitely had to laugh at that, but if any horse would oxer the placing pole and then bounce the oxer, it'd be mine.  So the pole stayed on top.

Anyways -- it was a significantly bigger fence than I've been jumping with her and I was really pleased that it required no effort whatsoever.  Just felt like she was loping over it.  Woohoo!  Seriously -- she was putting more effort into the pole at the start of the line than the oxer at the end ;)

This grid was set along the fenceline, and she was drifting in (left) slightly.  Now the gate was open and is in the corner at the end of the line.  So option instead, jump grid, halt, turn right. Which we *almost* got.  Except we skipped the halt.  hahaha most balanced 90 degree turn out of the canter ever!  Seriously shocked the two girls coming out of the barn though -- got one of those "did you mean that to happen or is something going horribly wrong?" looks.   They stuck around to watch the entertainment of the next couple rounds and seemed to decide it was just another odd thing that crazy eventer was doing ;)

Anyways -- by the end she was jumping beautifully out of the canter, treating the placing pole like a placing pole three out of four times, and landing straight and on the correct lead.  And through it all, was jumping like a horse who has some idea how long her legs are and what to do with them.  So overall, I was pretty thrilled!

And after our ride, and the completely uneventful hack afterwards (yeah!!!), I turned her out in the valley and was super pleased to watch her go through the river of her own volition.  I currently have no xc jumps to train over, but I have a ditch, two steps, and water and she does all of them.  My horse is going to be a xc machine :)

So certainly far from a perfect ride, but it feels like we finally have *some* of the pieces to work with to start to put the puzzle together.  This is a very good thing.   And on that note -- sweet dreams.


"Seriously -- she was putting more effort into the pole at the start of the line than the oxer at the end ;) "

Took me a few minutes to read the rest after this because I couldn't stop laughing. Not that I can relate, or anything. ;-)


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