Friday, June 19, 2015

Jump like Michael, Move like RuPaul

I had a really good jump school on Mo yesterday. I was pleased that I was riding well, anyway. He was fresh and green--two things that are inevitable when you have a 6yo OTTB that you restarted less than a year ago. Especially because he was in overnight last night due to threats of storms, so he had a lot of fuel to burn.

Adding to the fun, I did something weird to my back the night before. I think this actually helped: I wanted to get the lesson done and dusted before my back really started to fall apart. So when he gave me bullshit shenanigans, I was like "seriously, get the fuck over yourself and jump that" and it worked. I was able to stay in the professional mindset that I found in the jump and XC schools last week. Thank god, because there's no crying in eventing, right?

So anyway, the take-home point is that I need to find Mo's jumping canter and keep it there, with soft arms, and just keep every stride the same. This is easier said than done on a horse who apparently does not love to canter (see yesterday), but it's a goal worth working towards.

I swear once or twice the horse jumped the standards. He's so much fun when all the fish are swimming in the same direction in his brain. (Part of me is all "DO NOT MESS UP THE NICE HORSE," but that's the part of me I'm trying to silence. I have M. She won't let me mess him up.) Anyway, at the end of a good round M asked if I wanted to leave it there or push it a little more on the height (we'd been jumping about 2'3"-2'6", not exactly a scope check). I told her I wanted to leave it because he'd been SO good. She seemed pleased with this choice, and we talked about how incredibly important it is to never ever show a horse what they can't do, only what they can do. She said the horse should think we're saying, "It's not easy; you're just that good." And then creep the jumps up over time.

Today I had a kinda frustrating flat school in which he inverted and got stuck behind my leg and acted like a tool. M wasn't around so I just worked it out for myself. Remembering what Brian Ross told me, I ignored the shenanigans he was pulling with his head and just put my leg on to keep his hind feet moving up under the girth and his body straight. Disclaimer: I was operating on about 4 hours of sleep and had already been doing chores for hours by the time I got on him at, oh, 7:30 this morning. So I was maybe just the tiniest bit loopy, and when I get loopy and am riding alone I just talk to the horses like they're people. I was explaining to him that what I was asking wasn't hard, he just needed to get in front of my leg and accept the contact and then I'd leave him alone until Monday. I'd only budgeted 20 minutes of riding time, and 40 minutes into the ride, I just said to him: "You need to TROT like a DRAG QUEEN on STAGE, Mo! Think RuPaul!"
Hair fan and all. (Note: this is over the winter. He is shiny now.)

 And that worked in my brain because it put the picture of his ideal trot in my head and then my subconscious helped me get him as close to that as we were gonna get today. I wanted his trot to be fancy and bold and with a lot of sparkle (because when he trots like that he CAN'T invert, and also he likes it because he's an athlete). So instead of harassing him endlessly about giving me the right rein or whatever, I just sent him down the long side all "now werq!" And he did. Voila. The last ten minutes of the ride were as good as they were going to get today.

And you thought I'd given up being gay on this blog. HA!


  1. That's the best mental image ever! Totally channeling that into future rides for myself.

  2. lol that's awesome - my mare could definitely stand to 'werq' a little harder haha

  3. ROFL at the last sentence. You'll get it.

  4. Lol what a great and accurate description of a good trot!