Here there be dragons...

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

A gallop down memory lane...

I'm not sure which horse I tacked up today.  She looked an awful lot like Lexi, and was the same snuggly social butterfly that my horse generally is.  But when I got on her?  That was a creature I've never sat on before, and one who reminded me far more of Zel than Lex.

For those who don't know Zelli (aka Princess Pony) was my horse.  *The* horse.  The one I'll always regret selling despite all the logic in the world that said it was the right thing to do.  But she was pre-blog.  So you had to actually know me, in real life, to know Zel...

Zel always made me smile.
This was our first XC school and I'm pretty sure I'd already 
hit the ground once before this photo was taken.

Zel had all the flashiness and all the personality to go with it.  She cleaned up in dressage.  Always. Pretty much Sasha could have ridden her to first in dressage.   Well enough that I actually did a year of just dressage.  Me.  I'm not even kidding.   And she had a super-cute jump and an awesome gallop. Sadly not quite enough power to do the levels I'd hoped to do at the time.  But everything else was there.  However, did you read the part about the personality?   Yup -- if you touched her mouth, you were likely to get bucked off in protest.  If *she* made a mistake at a jump, no worries.  But if *I* did, I'd better hang on when she finished saving us ;)   All drama all the time.

Gratuitous Zel/Summer/XC shot.  Mostly cause it made me smile.
But where Zel was the little sports-car model.  Stop, go, turn on a dime and always forward.  There was no laziness in that mare, ever.  Lexi...  Tends to be the opposite.  Big, generally calm about life, and - lately - nappy.   She *does* have far more power than Zelli ever did; Lex lopes over fences Zel would've struggled with.  And while she'll never match Zel for movement, she can at least hold her own.

So I got to the barn and the heavens opened.  So much for riding outside.  Booooo :(   But by the time I was actually ready to go, the rain had stopped.  There were approximately hurricane-force winds happening, but no rain.  So of course I rode outside.  Why not? ;)

Lex passaged her way to the sandring.  Arguably that should've been my first sign...  But she stood quietly enough while I rebuilt the course that had blown over.  I could still leave her and she'd stay about where I put her, but she wasn't her usual puppy-dog self.  Wait, maybe she was actually *more* like my puppy dog!  hahaha alert and enthused but not being ignorant.

Hop on, warm up in walk/trot with no issues.  She was actually being remarkably good given the weather.  Trailer door banging in a nearby shed, things blowing around, jumps falling over randomly. All nbd.  She was definitely high, don't get me wrong.  We did nothing that even vaguely pretended to resemble relaxation or submission, much less dressage.  

Yup, kinda like that.
I don't know why I decided not to canter in w/u.  Intuition maybe?  hahaha Instead I pointed her at one of the jumps.  And lets put in perspective, the biggest jump was maybe 2'3".  She could easily step over any of them.

And all of a sudden I was on a TB.  A very enthusiastic TB.   About a stride out she charged, landed, bucked (in stride fortunately) and charged.  
Athletic displays while moving forward are much easier to stay on ;)
I was totally run away with.  The sandring is *not* big enough for that and when I insisted, she tripped over her own feet and gave one of the giant "that did NOT happen" bucks and then was off again.  Fortunately at a more reasonable speed *g*

So okay.  That's new.  Not sure who this horse is, but glad she's at least enjoying jumping ;)   Probably best if I get it under control though -- this would not be a good game for her to decide to play on a regular basis.  

This time, I have the brilliant idea to jump one of the fences pointed into the corner.  Maybe with no obvious straightaway she won't run away.  Brilliant.  And it worked.  One flaw...  She was still super enthusiastic.  So since she had nowhere to go, she went up.  Bronc style, back all kinds of round (why can't I get that in dressage???) leaping in place.  Sweet.  Fortunately managed to get her going forward again before hitting the ground, but I feel like that one was close...

Tricky.  Maybe two fences in a row would help?   Yup.  Backed her right off the first one so she took it super quietly.  And then promptly charged the second *sigh*   And gave me a giant Zel-style F-you when I dared to touch her mouth.  This is my unfit horse who has never shown a true TB side before.  Hmmmmm okay.   I credit Zel entirely with the fact that I didn't hit the ground today.

This game was admittedly less than fun.  And when I started, I was alone.  Definitely had a moment of "maybe I should wait till someone else is here" but so did NOT want Lexi to figure out that if she does this, she doesn't have to work.  Do you remember the liverpool game?  She's a *very* smart pony and all about using her powers to best suit her ;-P

So instead we jumped fence after fence after fence.  Keep in mind, these “jumps” are really no bigger than a canter stride for her.  Just as well as I don’t want her hurt.  But quickly enough (yeah lack of fitness) her brain came back.  I still had tense and enthusiastic but the buck/bolt options seemed to have disappeared.

And then all of a sudden I had the most amazing, floaty, uphill, balanced canter.  I could make wickedly tight turns, balanced and in rhythm.  Not once in all the drama or the beauty did she miss a distance.  We were jumping lines and combinations and turns with all kinds of suppleness that I would've sworn wasn't even close to within her abilities.
Okay so Lexi's were maybe the size of the first rail over the flowers, but some day...
So then I lengthened my stirrups and did some of the flat work I'd originally hoped for.  She was still alert, but way more focused and soft.  I got some absolutely amazing results!  Of the "think of transition and it happens" variety.  I've missed that ;)   She was entirely off my seat, and the upward gaits (which have been ugly since the nappiness games began and tbh, never great) were gorgeous! Connected and  through and required so little effort.

At least we only had wind and no torrential rain
It was absolutely amazing and gave a tantalizing tease of what could be...  I suspect tomorrow I'll have a very tired horse.  And rider ;)


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