And life continues to be...well, endlessly entertaining.
It's odd, this revives at the most opportune of moments! Insofar as, well, it's finals week. And I have a 3,000 paper due tomorrow. (On Autism and education and technology. Needless to say, it's an interesting topic but not one I'm exactly married to.) So what does any good college student do?
Well, not do it, of course!
The big news: Our first show is in eleven days. I'm excited. Sort of.
They've gone and changed up our dressage test this year, for which I am eternally grateful. The last one was full of stupid short diagonals. It goes without saying that I hate a 20x40m arena. The way my instructor puts it is that I drive a cadillac. He can't maneuver like a sportscar, but he's got more staying power and more push/pull. Not to mention a smoother ride. ;D
(Great. I have the middle-aged-midlifecrisis for american men car, of horses?)
I like a little more space than 20x40 gives me. Though I suppose it's convenient that X is at the top of both of my circles? The nastiest thing they threw in for me this year is an odd A-X-M entry. Trot in off the left (my preference) and then have that bizarre little diagonal. Oh well. We'll live, if that's the worst.
Today I had a dressage lesson-normally I'm on fridays, but Diane is going to be out of town so we've got the day off! The last time I rode was actually my last lesson, on friday. We went outside and played on my barn's cross country field.
There are hills, and all sorts of interesting things. I was actually extremely impressed with the big guy. There was all sorts of commotion (horses running in pastures alongside where we were riding; construction machinery coming up and down the driveway) but he was 100% solid. Strong and forward, but..well. Thoroughbred. What else do I need to say?
Eagle learned how to jump brush-unintentionally. We have a pile of saplings that make up a really inviting fence that's just like a 'log' fence. However, it's been a while since someones maitnenced it and apparently one of the saplings is trying to regrow! Sort of. Anyway, Eagle took it in stride. Go figure.
The hardest fence for he and I, stylewise, are coops. While they're super inviting (so I'm told) there's something about them that just unnerve me. I think I don't like the wider bases? I don't really understand what the mental hangup was, but we played with two of them on friday!
Here's a bit of information that I've known for a while that I really had to pay attention to on friday.
When you're jumping downhill-and uphill-just let them jump away (or up) to you. What I was faced with on friday was a coop that the ground fell away from on the backside. I really had to work on keeping my shoulders back and down and just let him go. While I get off his back over the fence (the decline isn't that steep) when I land it's the "British butt tuck", as Diane says. Imagine someone grabbing a hold of all your belt loops and just pulling on strings attached to them (more in the front than the back). Your seat slides into the saddle and your spine lengthens as you come down into the saddle and the horse (provided you haven't caught them with the reins) comes right up to you on the landing and you're in position to rebalance as you depart from the fence.
Setting Eagle up for the fences was one of the expected battles. He wanted to go and sometimes you just have to recognize the best you're going to get and roll with it. When approaching a fence at the trot, I recognize that (provided the fence isn't "skeery" and holds him) the last two strides will be canter. So I have to set him up for the most successful trip I can by being soft and elastic in my back and in my arms.
All in all, friday was a rousing success. Except for the tan. Farmers tans are epically uncool. And so are pale legs.
But hey. I'm a rider. What more can I expect other than horrible tan lines? (I've already got a hellaciously noticable glovetan going..)
Today was a different kettle of beans. Bowl of cherries? I like cherries better, so I guess I'll go with that.
Feeling particularly brave (or stupid..) I switched Eagle's normal bit (a slowtwist D-ring snaffle) to his old french link lose ring. He loves that bit, and we use it for dressage but most of the time I don't know what the traffic in the arena is going to be, or if I'm going to hop over fences...so we mostly just live in the slow twist.
I'm at the point with him though, where I'm willing to try the french link for most things.
The one thing that I noticed today is his propensity to get heavier in my hands. You really notice it when that much horse is expecting you to hold him up! So we'll have to work on that, and the canter but by and far, he was much better than I expected.
And that goes for the dressage portion, too. The stupidest part of my test (beyond the A-X-M entry) is the fact that out of a canter circle (canter circle right at C) you have to trot between M and B.
B? Really? You're doing that to me?
Hell, I'll just try to trot right out of the corner so my horse doesn't think he's the little (big) engine that could!
Urg. We've got work on our hands, but I think that schooling him in the french link for responsiveness will certainly help.
Anyway, Eaglehorse is growing up!
Mostly. Sort of.
He turned 9 on April 22, so I guess I can't say he's my "baby" anymore, either. I've been told by people that thoroughbreds gain a brain between nine and ten.
I'm conservative. I'll give him till 12. Generosity and all.
But we're getting there!
"It is in our choices that we show what we are, far more than in our abilities." -JKR