Saturday, May 30, 2009

Strange Things About the Horse World

Lately I have been noticing some ridiculous things about the horse world. Some are general, some are specific to me.

1. Your longe whip [/lead line/longe rope] always ties itself into knots of Eagle Scout proportions, but you can spend ten minutes flipping it around trying hard to get it into a knot with no success.

2. You can have the worst ride one night - so bad it makes you wonder whether you know what the heck you're doing - and the next night, you wonder who this angel is you're riding and what they did with your horse.

3. Walking up to anything new? Terrifying. Cantering towards it with a clear intent to jump? No problem.

4. You're standing in a group of horses. Yours has been doused ears to tail in fly spray, and the others have had a light spray. Which horse has the persistent cloud of flies around eyes, ears, and flanks? Yours.

5. The scissors for cutting hay bales ALWAYS disappear. I swear, it's like a horse version of Sock Gnomes.

6. On that note, hoofpicks. I can never seem to keep track of any one for more than a couple weeks. But where the heck do they go?

7. You can fall off at terrifying speeds and get up with just a bruised butt and ego...but you can also slip slowly off at a halt or walk and break something badly.

8. Your horse can walk past the same frightening object every single day for weeks (or months), and yet every single day it's newly terriying. Thankfully, Pandora is not one of these types because it drove me nuts when Bailey did it.

9. Sometimes I swear they do things just to irritate us. For example, Pandora poops in the cross ties. Every day. Several times. She's not nervous, she just poops. I pick it up and by the time I'm back from dumping it, she's pooped again. Lather, rinse, repeat for three or sometimes four times. Ugh.

10. I don't know about you guys, but McKinna has white shirt radar. The instant you're in her grasp, she firmly wipes her dirty, slobbery nose on your shirt, leaving you with a lovely streak of dirty slime. Bonus points if you have to go somewhere like the store before you get home to change.

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I had a fantastic lesson last night - the weather's finally warm enough that the Pony Club Friday lesson was held at our Lesson Coordinator's house, where they have a cross-country course. It was pretty hot - actually quite unpleasant at first - but cooled off after awhile.

The course is set on a couple fairly big hills. There's not a lot of super flat ground, but the hills aren't uncomfortably steep. A really nice variety of fences makes it interesting - they're all simple, but well constructed. Tires, railroad ties, some half-rounds, a big brush made of a street sweeper thing (THAT one was cool!), several hanging logs, and one skinny made of a water trough. Our instructor designed our course so it was mostly uphill, which was really nice.

We started at the base, then hopped over a small bending line. Then uphill over a 2'6ish RRtie fence and a couple strides to a low tire fence. Then downhill a lot - had to come back to a trot for the narrow trail and steepness - and a tight right turn to ride down the little valley between the main hills of the course. In the valley we jumped a line over a big half-round to a stone wall, then a left turn over a ditch - she disliked the lack of approach to the ditch - and a nice long gallop up the second, bigger hill. Over the brush, another hanging log, then loop back and over a white fence before swinging wide and jumping the ditch with a stone wall and log in the back of it. Then straight uphill to the skinny water trough, which rode really nicely!

On the first hill, there were a lot of trees and little paths, while the second hill was very sweeping and open. It made for a good combination - the trees on the first hill made the horse really focus on where you were telling them to go, while the big open hill really encouraged some nice forward movement. The uphills backed Pandora off just enough that she was with me the whole time. I never felt like she was trying to go too fast, but she was magnificently forward.

All in all I had such a positive, fun, educational ride. It more than makes up for my frustrating ride at the Foxhunt Derby last weekend, where I had a speed-demon partner rider and was fighting with Pandora the whole time to not go too fast.

Dressage lesson today, then next weekend is the eventing derbies at Inavale!

4 comments:

Albigears said...

Ooh, excited to hear about the eventing derby at Inavale!

Andrea said...

#3 = STORY OF MY LIFE

FD said...

#2 - One of my mentors swore blind that when you have a ride like that, some horses go away and think about it overnight, and that's why you get the turnaround the next day.

I gotta admit, all possible accusations of anthropomorphism aside, when he first said that, I nodded politely and secretly thought "Whatever."
However with years and experience, I have had a certain amount of anecdotal experience that suggests that actually, he was right. YMMV of course.

jacksonsgrrl said...

Ahhh yes. Quite familiar with #8! The equine eating bush, trashcan, mudpuddle, tiny unseeable pebble in the road....All walked by and previously noted by your horse of course. Then OH MY GOD! Suddenly, these things all come alive to get them; with no warning of course. I sat an amazing kick out at two monstrous traschcans (he's seen them before, BUT they had a hugh mudpuddle in front of them which I asked him to go through) with a 360 and a right then left sideways leap into the air 2 days ago. My friend said she saw AIR b/t me and the saddle and was thinking about how HARD the pavement was gonna feel.... On the way home he stopped at another trashcan and tried to open it because it had empty feed bags of his brand and he could not believe someone would throw away his feed! I just shook my head. Horses are strange, I do agree, but I wouldn't have them any other way!
Enjoy your blog BTW...
Slainte'
--Mindy

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