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Ribs up, chin up, eyes up, heels DOWN!

October 14, 2009

Really, when everything else is going up, how do they expect us to keep our heels down?  It is like a complete and total physical impossibility!

That’s a lot of what we’ve been working on in my lessons – proper leg position, I mean.  No stirrups is mostly good for this but a little bit not – it huuuurts so I must be working those nonexistent leg muscles, but whenever it gets too bouncy – like faster trot – I get all “arghh!  Must hold on!” and my leg starts moving up and my knees start pinching, which make the horse go faster, which makes tensed up me fall forward, which makes my leg begin to move up and back, which makes me fall over the horses shoulder.

I have done this on bouncy trot Cass plenty of times while bareback…I haven’t really got past the leg scooting back phase in my lessons yet…

Anyway, in yesterday’s lesson, I rode the Slow Sailor, an old quarter horse that did a little bit of western pleasure in his younger years so does know how to trot nicely for poor, stirrupless riders, but has recently decided that he would rather be a dressage horse and has been practicing his very speedy extended trot diligently.

Mostly we practiced mini, dressage-like patterns,  Go down center line, circle here, etc.  Lots of suppling exercises as well.

It went pretty well, nothing amazing, but alright.

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Haven’t been able to get out to see Cass much lately.  I did go out last night and it was raining (and cold, and windy, and a little bit foggy) so the aluminum or whatever it is barn roof was making some apparently very scary sounds.

Cass hates sounds that surround him – he is usually alright with loud things he can see like clippers or leaf blowers – but invisible things that are everywhere?  No way.  Much too scary.  He has only been like this twice before – once when someone had a super duper loud lawn mower or something that echoed off of a wash that was right next to the barn, and once when there was a rock concert going on on the next block.  He gets super nervous and refuses to listen to anything.  He isn’t just being an idiot, like he sometimes is when he decides something is scary – he is genuinely and completely scared.

Which makes me feel bad for getting mad at him, but what am I supposed to do when he keeps almost running me over as I try and remove his blankets (yes, plural.  It is cold here!)?  He is normally pretty respectful of space – he might rub or want to stand right there but he listens when you tell him to back off – when he is this nervous, though, it is like nothing is even there; he’ll spook into walls, run into fences, trample whoever is in front of him.  I am glad the barn owner’s four year old wasn’t out today – he likes to walk right in front of the cross tied horses.

I am not sure if it possible to flip/break your neck/do something else dangerous in the cross ties (these ones are fairly tight), but if it is, Cass was going to figure out how to do it.  He would be somewhat ok – nervous and shaky, but standing still – and then it would rain bigger drops or harder or something and he would rush forward and get pulled back by the ties, and then would start acting like he was thinking of rearing.

I ended up just waiting until he stood for a whole minute and then taking him on a walk – outside in the rain where he was fine, and down the aisles where he was not.  Then he had to stand with me for around ten minutes while I talked to another boarder who asked me why I moved away from sunny California to come here.  Cass was standing still but was still more nervous than I have ever seen him before – he makes the weirdest faces when he is afraid and likes to have something to chew on.  Normally I don’t let him chew things, but i let him have part of his lead rope today.  It helped calm him down.  Weirdo.

After, I turned him out in the indoor where he spooked at invisible things that were never scary before and ran around and called and paced the wall line.

Not a super productive day.

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It is freezing!  Almost literally – right now it is only 42 degrees, but there is a possibility of snow tonight.  I think we skipped fall entirely.  The trees have only just started turning pretty colors…can’t way to see what Cass thinks of the nice green pastures suddenly turning white, though!

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For the first time ever, the world equestrian games are being held outside of Europe.  They are going to be in Kentucky for 2010!  Kentucky is kind of close to Missouri, I think.  A lot closer than 2006’s Germany games, anyway.  Rolex is in Kentucky too…In April.  The WEG is in Sep-Oct…Maybe I can get out for both!

Hmm.  Okay, probably not…

…But if I were going to go, and I were a billionaire and could buy a ticket to every single event, I would put them in this order of importance:

  1. Eventing.  Duh.
  2. Dressage. I have never been to a dressage show, and have never watched anyone doing anything above third level.  Watching international dressage riders would be my second pick.
  3. Show Jumping.  I have seen olympic and grand prix level jumpers before, so I know what to expect here – but it doesn’t get old!
  4. Reining.  Reining has always just looked fun.  I never even realized it was an international discipline.
  5. Endurance. Not sure how interesting endurance would be to watch…unless we get to follow the riders in our shiny new jeeps (which were given to us by the FEI because they thought we might get bored if we were seated on our checked picnic blanket at the ten mile mark and waited a long time and then, all of the sudden, saw a horse for 7 seconds before it disappeared down the course in a cloud of dust)
  6. Para-Equestrian.  No idea what these people even ride, but if a disabled can go to an international competition, then I can at least go novice.
  7. Vaulting.  Gymnastics on horseback…would make for an interesting show, I think.
  8. Driving. Erm.  Not so much interesting.
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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 14, 2009 12:50 pm

    Go to Rolex. You will have a better time for cheaper (WEG tickets are OUT OF CONTROL). I’ve gone for many years, we started going back when we moved to KY in the late 80’s, my parents live about 45 mins from the Horse Park. It’s not too far from MO, you can drive there in a day. I volunteered to work at the eventing phase of WEG but haven’t heard anything (I signed up like a year ago) so who knows.

  2. October 14, 2009 10:49 pm

    Not as close as you might think, unfortunately ): Pretty much a full day’s car ride, although you can get their mid-late evening depending on how early you leave. I think it’s a 10-11 hr trip. But really, Rolex is so much fun! The year I went, it was pretty much the highlight of my entire year!

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