After I spent my most recent dressage lesson trying to teach my 18 hand, 86-inch-blanket-wearing pony how to better engage his hind end and collect his canter, I realized that my fitness level of “moderately fit but likes wine and cheese” may not be enough for us to be successful in the upper levels.
Hello my favorite horse peeps!
Mom is yet again “busy” so you know what that means…I get to fill you in and give you the uncensored updates on the goings on around the barn. And after all, isn’t that what you really want? The inside scoop and not Mom’s rose-tinted vision of our world.
We had our last big show of the year in October down in Lexington. I am not a fan of that show, because the stalls don’t let me hang my head out to visit. Why go to these shows if you aren’t going to socialize? And I had a bunch of my show buddies there. Did you know that I have two friends named Disco?! Also Lexi and Winslow were there. I hadn’t seen Winslow all year – his mom has been working on really hard stuff he said. He told me to play dumb for as long as I can to avoid things called tempi changes. Winslow said that they are challenging for us to learn even when the rider knows what they are doing. Great, then it should be even harder for me since Mom is a bit spastic with her aids. Heck, she even gets confused when it is time to ask for a single change. Maybe I should go ahead and send out a SOS now.
Well, Mom was not happy with me in our Second Level tests at that show. Called me a turd! She can be so mean, but seriously, we hadn’t done that test since last year. And she wouldn’t let me stop and poop during the test. So I was not my normal self. I find it difficult to perform under those conditions. So needless to say that we did not place this year. No biggie, I have a ribbon from last year that Mom confiscated. Not sure what she does with those things. I would prefer snacks or a boot to hang in my stall.
We also had to do a Third Level finals class. This level has been hard for us this year. Dad said that we have plateaued. Not sure what that means except that Mom will probably get her crazy-eyes-look and work me like a mad woman to get better. Mom came out of that test with a smile on her face. Unfortunately, the judges did not agree with Mom’s opinion that we did a solid test. Both of the judges said, “Nope, you don’t get it. Go back home and keep working.” Well, they didn’t exactly say that, but from the scores and comments, that was what Mom and Ms. C inferred.
Now, I am perfectly fine staying at Third Level based on what Winslow told me. So I was thinking that we would cruise through winter since we are staying at Third, but Miss C snuck in what she is calling the “winter improvement list.” Hmm, that sounds a bit suspicious to me – kind of like homework. I already work more than all the other horses at my home. Ladybug is the only other horse that ever wears a saddle. Not sure I’m cool with homework. I’m not sure what Mom thinks either, but since she is a bit of a nerd, she probably likes homework. She was probably that kid in school that did all her homework the first night it was assigned and did the extra credit too. I’m more of a “I’ll do it on the bus in the morning” kind of guy.
Well I was allowed to glance at this homework list and boy, do we have a lot to do…be better, do more, be consistent…I like to think that more of the burden lies with Mom. I mean she is supposed to be the captain of this team, right? One interesting thing that is resonating with Mom is the fact that the correct bend on a 10 meter circle, the correct angle for shoulder in, the correct bend for half pass, and the correct bend for turn on the haunches are ALL THE SAME. Wow, aren’t those dressage people clever. Now that doesn’t mean that we get it right all the time, but it does seem to help Mom using that as a guiding principle.
So being the team player that I am, I will try to accommodate our homework assignments as long as I get my regular downtime for playing with my brother. I hope Mom know that those 10 meter canter circles are hard for a big fellow like me, and that it feels like we are on a never ending merry-go-round but lacking any fun music or smiling children. (Mom really doesn’t smile much when we are training.) Can someone remind her that riding is her hobby and is supposed to be fun?
Until next time, be happy my friends!
p.s. Mom is nerdy enough to have our homework displayed on her desk as a constant reminder…yep, this is what I have to contend with every day.