In case you were wondering how Ike and I did at the ride to music clinic today, I can inform you that I could not be prouder of my big boy. We came home with three awesome musical selections. But before I fill you in on the clinic details, I must share that we almost didn’t make it to the clinic.
I arrived at the barn early today since someone decided to take a mud bath yesterday and was too wet and icky to scrub clean. Great, I love chipping caked on mud out of a winter coat first thing in the morning. Thank goodness that the luck of the Irish was on my side this morning, because Ike managed to remove most of the mud himself. He had obviously rolled in his fresh sawdust last night and those lovely chips of wood did a bang up job at removing most of the funk. After a brief grooming session, we decided to load up early so that we could watch my two friends ride and select their music. Ike had other ideas, “No, I do not wish to leave the farm today and you can’t make me get on the trailer.”
That is right, someone showed off his mule genes for almost 45 minutes. I had to dig deep into the recesses of my memory to remember all the lessons that Mr. Revelle taught us last year: do not back away or walk away from the trailer, use the stud chain appropriately, reward any effort, say “load up” as you lightly tap the hind end with the whip (note to self – purchase a longer piaffe whip or have arms stretched to reach the go button on the back-end), remind Ike that the only correct answer is to get on the trailer….I seriously thought that we weren’t going to make it on time if at all. Finally, Ike sighed and calmly walked on. Huh? Why all the fuss??? He would not share his rationale.
Made it in time to see one of my friends ride and select their music. It is a fascinating process. Mr. Matson first establishes your beats per minute at the walk, trot, and canter. He then looks through his 1400+ musical selections and finds music with the correct beat. The music is played. Both the rider and the audience give feedback. No, just not right. Yes, that works. No, that overpowers the horse. The selections are narrowed and the rider gets the ultimate say. Amazingly, you could tell when the rider and horse liked the music – things flowed easily and beautifully.
Then it was our turn. I let Mr. Matson know that Ike was young at that we were not always consistent with our rhythm and tempo. He said not to worry, we would have music. I’m still thinking that we will get Pan Banging Baby music. So after our warm up, he had us ride on a circle around him while he used his electronic metronome to establish our beats per minute. Beep, beep, beep. Okay, time to pick music.
First up, the trot. Amazingly enough, the first piece worked and worked well. Was that really that easy? Yes, yes it was. Turns out, Ike likes swing music. We tried a few other pieces, but the first one was spot on. The walk was next and finally the canter. I have to say, I love our canter music. All three pieces are swing – I guess it is in keeping with his namesake, Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was a five-star general during the 1940s when swing music became prominent.
So we came home with our music, now comes the hard part for this non-musical person – editing the pieces and creating the musical freestyle that meets the USDF requirements as well as our limited Training Level abilities. Stay tuned!
p.s. Big man walked right on the trailer to go home. Good thing, I don’t think I had enough energy for another epic battle.