My original plan for this past weekend was another Prelim CT at our favorite little schooling venue. Then I realized that Trainer was XC schooling at Pine Hill the same day, so I scratched the CT and made plans for XC schooling instead. Sure, our dressage and stadium need a lot more work, but I will never say no to XC. It’s not in me. That’s like… “Hey do you want to go do hours of advanced calculus and chemistry or would you rather eat cake and win the lottery and take a nap?”. Like duh.
But then it rained a crapton at Pine Hill the day before, effectively shutting down our plans for all things fun, and it was too late to re-enter the CT. Trainer is quick on her feet though and quickly came up with a plan for stadium lessons at a private barn just an hour south of me. Only having to drive an hour each way for a lesson is like a win in and of itself. Plus… let’s be honest… we need stadium lessons. Lots of them. LOTS OF THEM.
I asked for the earliest time slot, since the one hour drive does require me to trek directly across Austin itself. If I’m in and out early, traffic is no biggie. No one wants to be stuck in downtown traffic, especially not with a horse trailer. Still though, I didn’t ride til 9:15, which meant I didn’t even have to get up early since it is literally impossible for me to sleep past 6am no matter what day it is. Plus I was the first and only person into the freshly dragged arena. Plan C was looking better and better.
We kept the jumps small and the lesson simple. As usual, I am overthinking and trying to do way too much. Really I just need to focus on my canter and my rhythm and on being straight and omg stop it with the rest. Doing more than that does not work with this horse or with me. It’s funny, when I was in Katy a couple weeks ago working the Luxe EQ trailer, my old trainer from many years ago (before he moved to Houston) was helping me set up the racks on the first day. He’s married to the shop owner… it’s complicated. Anyway, I told him my stadium was real shitty these days and he said “Well, are you overthinking it and doing too much?”. As usual, he’s like a friggin’ oracle. Always has been. Either that or he just knows me really well by now. I nodded and replied “Yes, of course.”. Clearly this is not new behavior for me. He said “And the horse is actually doing what you tell him, isn’t he?”. I just sighed and nodded. He chuckled and raised his eyebrows, “Yeah that’s not good.”, then launched into his patented Horses Only Know Four Things speech that I have heard many times but obviously have not ever actually retained very well.
My current trainer is in total agreement with The Oracle (as am I), so we really focused on me just sitting and waiting and supporting with my leg, and using my upper body to adjust him. Sometimes I was successful, sometimes not. Doing LESS has always been really difficult for me. I’ve also always had the tendency to shut him down way too much in the turns, effectively ruining my rhythm, so we did small courses with lots of tight turns that forced me to keep riding him forward. If I pulled, they didn’t work. If I kept my leg on and just used my upper body to rebalance, everything came up perfectly. The beauty of self-correcting exercises.
Really, Plan C worked out perfectly. Especially because we were done and pretty much home and unloaded by the time the gross nasty cold front blew through.
BUT WHY IS RIDING SO HARD?