Friday, June 29, 2018

Best Laid Plans

I sometimes say that horses have a way of laughing at our plans.  That's how I felt today, when I was doing my final show prep.  I wanted to practice some elements of the tests, but Cupid decided he wanted to practice jigging and scooting sideways instead.  Sigh.

We got off to a bad start when I saw the sprinklers were on in the dressage court.  Usually the covered arena is dragged and water first, from about 7-8am, then around 8 then do the dressage (outdoor).  So usually I ride before work, in the covered arena while they are watering it.  (It's a guy with a hose, and I just stay on whatever end of the arena he's not working on.)  Since I ride there most often, Cupid is very good in the covered but can be a little spooky in the outdoor.  Which, I mean yes we go there less often but we've been there at least 100 times already so it shouldn't be an issue!!!

So I stall a bit, and around 7:45 the sprinklers are off and I go in and Cupid is a jigging spooking mess.  I spent the next 15 minutes mostly just trying to keep him walking straight.  He can spin around pretty quickly and seamlessly if I'm not paying attention, all of the sudden we'll just be facing the opposite direction!  He was finally starting to settle and I thought yay we can get to work, but of course I see the tractor heading down, so much for that.  We had to go to the covered arena, which is bigger than a dressage court and also full of jumps so I couldn't go down the centerline or proper diagonals.  But I did make Cupid work, since he seemed to have so much energy outside. Overall our ride was okay, but we were having trouble with the left lead again.  Double sign.  The first few rides after we got back from Oregon it wasn't a problem at all.  The best strategy I've found is to counterbend him a little, then ask for the canter as we straighten back.  The bigger problem is a lot of times when we get it incorrect it takes several strides to get him back down to a trot, then rebalance, before we get it - way too long. 
Looking contrite after finally deciding to behave

I'm not feeling optimistic about our show this weekend.  We'll be in the outdoor ring at Yarra Yarra, where Cupid was a bit spooky last time, plus we'll probably blow the left lead.  Oh well, we'll do the best we can and try not to embarrass ourselves too much!

In other news, earlier this week I asked my trainer for a lunge line lesson.  I wanted to work on sitting down and back, especially in canter transitions.  I have a bad habit if leaning forward and raising my hands when I ask for the canter, so not helpful!  I tied and dropped my reins, and just held my whip under my thumbs and it was great to be able to focus on less things.   Cupid was a really good sport about it.  (Of course he's almost always good, in the covered arena at home!  We just need to learn to take that relaxation elsewhere.)


  1. Horses are always keeping us on our toes! I hope your show goes better than you think it will :)

  2. Oh man, hope you have good luck at the show despite the less than ideal prep!