Thursday, June 26, 2008

Those Damn Teenagers

A natural consequence of me reading adult people's blogs (Fugly, Mugwump, etc etc) is that I often see mentions in posts and comments about the dumb, reckless stuff kids do with their horses. You know, the stuff your mother and most professional trainers would cringe at. This generally stems from an utter lack of fear (/instinct for self-preservation/common sense, take your pick).

Don't get me wrong, I don't disagree. Kids in general and teenagers specifically do indeed do some stupid stuff, though the venues tend to go way beyond horses. I often see mention of the Immortality Complex, i.e., the way kids have no worries for their safety because they basically think they'll live forever.

I'm torn on this subject. On the one hand, as I get older and more experienced with horses, I too lean more towards caution and ditching the Immortality Complex. Yep, it's fun to see them run and buck, but I don't really want them to do it in a space not big enough. Yes, I really want to turn my horse out with new buddies now and know reasonably that they'll work it out, but I'd rather slowly introduce them over the fence. Yes, jumping big jumps is fun, but I don't want to push it before we're comfortable with gentler things. Same goes for flying changes. Yes, I want to be good at dressage right this very instant, but I know the basics are crucial. Yes, ground work can be boring, but I do like my toes. Yes, I can ride out plenty a nasty buck, but I'd rather not have bucking ever be an issue under saddle.


I also want to gallop hell-bent for leather bareback with just a halter, because I trust my horse and my riding ability and in the worst case the softness of the ground. I want to positively roar around a cross-country course, full of "Woo-hoo!"s and "YEAH BABY"s all the way. I want to perfect McKinna's neck reining, set up a big ol' dummy out in the field, and make my poor horse be a charger as I go jousting. I want to jump fences bareback and bridleless just to show off. I want to play tag and race.

And I sure hope that all of that doesn't go away with age. Sure, I'll get older and more careful and undoubtedly way better at riding and training. But I just want to get one thing straight: for me, riding is all about the woohoo's and the yeah baby's. Whether I'm saying WOOHOO about a perfectly smooth trot-canter transition (believe me, I have) or yelling YEAH BABY! after clearing a monstrous fence, I don't care. But that bubbling, powerchord-rockin', yeehaw-ing, can't-keep-the-smile-from-my-face adrenaline-filled rush had always better be there. I'll get it from solid flatwork, I'll get it from jumping, I'll get it from seriously good groundwork, I'll get it from galloping, I'll get it from riding my horse in a full batman costume (though that's a story for another post) -- I so don't care what the specifics are.

As long as it's there, I'll be riding.

So what gives you a serious case of the yeehaws? What really turns your crank and makes you go man, this is the coolest sport ever? What are you secretly dying to do when you've got all that horse underneath you and you're in your groove?
I challenge you to figure it out -- and then do it.


mugwump said...

I ride reined cowhorses.
I have spent many tough, expensive years learning how to train them.
I love the tradition, the intensity,the levels of horsemanship attained.
I have never in my life seen better horses or riders than at The World's Greatest Horseman competition, held in conjunction with the National Reined Cow Horse Association World Show.
My bridle horse is the most responsive, complete athlete I have ever rode.
We also go like a bat out of hell down the fence with our cow in competition.
The concept of controlling my cow through three separate maneuvers on an impeccably trained horse, all at speeds up to 35 MPH is the coolest, finest experience ever.
It's absolutely the best. Controlled chaos.

manymisadventures said...

That sounds absolutely awesome. That's definitely one of my favorite aspects of riding, the controlled chaos. Ridiculous power and speed under your direction.

Have you done a post explaining the maneuvers you do in reined cow horse? I thought you did at one point, but I can't find it, and I'm still a little unsure of what exactly you do. Is there reined cowhorse vs. regular cowhorse? Is it like a combination of reining and working cowhorse?

Sorry, I am mostly an English rider after all!

mugwump said...

It's pretty much one in the same. We cut, rein, and work a cow down the fence.
I did write about it once, about a million years back or so.
I'm enjoying your blog, you're a good writer!

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