Monday, February 18, 2013

Pony On Steroids

I showed up to the barn on Saturday with plenty of time to spare.  The drive over was warm and full of sunshine, but by the time I got to the barn the temperature had dropped about ten degrees and a cold wind was picking up.  I went out to get Tessa and she was waiting by the gate.  We meandered towards the barn.  As soon as we got away from the turnout, I could feel her body tense.  She spooked.  She spun.  She snorted.  The wind was colder and blew her mane in stiff spikes.  She grew about four extra hands as she minced alongside me.  It's moments like these that make me realize there are HUGE holes in our groundwork.  I had to elbow her hard to get her out of my space.  I'm not even sure she noticed.

We made it to the barn.  It felt like miles, even though it's about twenty or thirty feet at most.  In the crossties, she was alert but not fidgety.  I had ridden on Friday so I was going to just get on.  We went in the arena with fifteen minutes to spare.  Perfect for warming up and getting ready for the jump clinic.  Unless your pony is amped up.  She spun.  She spooked.  I got out the lunge line.  She was ambling along.  I could see in her eye that dangerous stuff was just underneath her lethargic trot.  I was about to push her forward to get it out, when suddenly the skies opened up and it began hailing.  On the barn metal roof, it sounded like bullets raining down on us. 

Pony lost what little mind she has.  She galloped with her head high at top speed.  She was like one of those crazy, wild horses in the round pen who don't know where to turn for guidance.  I began giving her checks and releases on the lunge line, trying to bring her in to a smaller circle.  Trying to get her to switch something so that her brain could click back on.  She couldn't hear me.  As gusts of wind blew the hail in sideways through the open end, she rocketed even faster.  Her back legs slipped out and she fell, but she righted herself immediately.  I continued to check and release.  After about ten minutes (maybe it was only five but it felt like forever) the hail eased up and she started swinging her head and looking for me.  I brought her back to a trot and we changed directions.  She was blowing pretty hard but her eye was soft and her body was no longer tense.

As I was adjusting the stirrups to get ready to get on, she spooked again.  At someone sitting on a chair by the arena (the same chair my trainer sits on every time).  Then she spooked and spun at a horse walking by in the aisle way.  I did a little work on her listening to me by asking her to move her hind end (sorry, can't remember the technical term for it...disconnecting?  crossing over?  Total brain cramp.) but she was again tense and hot.  This didn't help my already frazzled 'jump clinic' nerves.

Lucky for me, Leila was there to save the day.  She stuck her helmet on and hopped on.  It only took a few minutes of walk, trot, canter to get Tessa back to relaxed.

Then I got on.  And we had a great ride.  I told Marc that I didn't want to jump because it had been too long, I was too nervous, blah blah excuses.  We did ground pole work.  Then it was a cross rail with only half the side up.  When I started to look nervous he said "This is not jumping. These are cavaletti."  At the end of the ride, I realized I wasn't scared.  I wasn't nervous.  I was just having fun.  Marc made me promise to make a record of this, so here is my public declaration:

I was not scared.  I had fun.  I enjoyed the entire jumping clinic. 

This also includes Sunday where I went back and jumped verticals 'slightly' higher than cavaletti.  The only downside.  Saddle sore.  Ugh.  Something about the jump saddle that I use gives me horrible saddle sores and after two days of lessons, I now have a giant patch of bandaid on my behind.  I made it giant because I'm going back for a dressage lesson tonight!  Yes, that's right.  Three lessons in a row.  Whoooo!

Yes, she's getting ready to leave me a present in the aisle way as evidenced by her raised, fluffy tail.
Hopefully I will be able to get caught up on everyone's blogs in the next few days.  I'm so behind and I see lots of stuff has been going on!  Happy Riding everyone!!


  1. All I can think is thank goodness you weren't on when the hail hit! My girl was in her stall during one hail storm and they had to close the top part of her door because they thought she was going to jump out. Not fun! So awesome that you still managed to have a good ride in the clinic!

    My hunt saddle hurts me, too. I use it for shows, and that's it. It stays in the trailer!

  2. Try some mokey butt...heard it was great for that type of thing!

    1. What is monkey butt? I'm imagining all sorts of interesting things....

    2. It is a calamine-powdery-creamy diaper rash ointment.

  3. Yay, jumping! Oh, sorry - yay, cavaletti! :D