20 Days and Counting

Hey ya’ll, I apologize for not being on top of the blog in the past week. It has been a tough time for me and the horse this week, and I haven’t been in a very positive mood and haven’t wanted to subject you all to my griping and moaning. How training can go from such a high two weekends ago to such a low all last week and this past weekend astounds me.

I made a statement that I would not always be positive but I want to always try to be honest on here, so that is what I am going to do even though it definitely has not been a week I would like to repeat anytime soon. I decided after the hard schooling in the double bridle that I would throw him back in the single all last week. I don’t remember where I read it but it said that if you are using the double bridle right then the work in the snaffle should become easier. Well apparently Val missed that memo. He has been a very large pig about all the work – from basic warm-up to schooling the required elements of Third Level that he certainly knows. It’s said that our sport should always be about the enjoyment and fun – but for the past week I have been asking myself where did the fun go to and can I bribe it to come back? Sometimes I feel like I am not a normal kid – my entire world is riding. It hurts me when I have a bad ride; I will literally sit up at night running over the hour on replay agonizing over everything I did wrong. And with my too-smart horse it probably isn’t the healthiest thing for me to do. Everyone says their horse is smart, but I am pretty sure Val screws with me just to send me into a panic. He is good at it too.

Today’s ride was better than yesterdays which was better than the day previous and although we are still not where I would like us to be I know that it is my inner type A, perfectionist speaking and not reality. I ended up tying off the curb for warm-up and just riding off the snaffle. When I was satisfied I ended up fully picking him up and running the Team Test for the first time. I haven’t been so close to tears on my horse in quite some time. He knows everything I am asking for, he just sometimes shuts down and will not do it. Enter A Collected Canter turns into an explosion of flying changes. My walk pirouettes are a sit and spin while not keeping the correct stride and lifting and placing of the hind leg. My rein backs are crooked and sometimes non-existent. My collected trot to canter transition at A is more like a rocket launch than anything. Don’t let me mislead you, there were good moments and I didn’t end up bawling so I would call it a success. I just need a lesson to help settle me – I ended up forgoing mine last week in an effort to be able to afford more lessons later on. We are 20 days and counting from Aiken however, and so if it could please his highness I could really do with a good ride.

After my mediocre day riding, even if we did have a good grooming session afterwards, I came home and got just the thing I needed however. I am not a big fan of MTV but they have a show called The Buried Life which is about a group of four friends trying to complete a list of 100 things they would like to do before they die. Along the way they end up helping other people to complete the one thing they would like to do before they die. On the show tonight the group encountered a man who said he would really like to ride a horse again before he died – he rode as a child. The catch? The man is completely and hopelessly blind. After making numerous calls ending in failure because people didn’t want to take on the ‘liability’ the boys found a stable that agreed. They ended up surprising the man who thought he was meeting them for lunch. The love in this guy’s voice and his complete joy with being able to once again sit on an animal I sometimes don’t appreciate as much as I could really did move me to tears. It was really what I needed to see after beating myself up over possible failure. How can I fail when I still get to ride everyday?


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3 responses to “20 Days and Counting

  1. ellie4uga

    i totally understand your frustration, but perhaps my dear dressage diva, you need a little perspective…
    today, my horse trotted ONE 20m circle with her neck relaxed and accepting a light contact on bit and i was thrilled- over one circle! so give his highness some credit- even on the bad days, of which there will be many on your road to grand prix domination one day! ya’ll are awesome and will be amazing in aiken- don’t beat yourself up!

  2. paigley

    i do the exact same thing all the time, especially close to shows. Just take a breath and remember that “Yesterday is gone, we only have tommarow”

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