Published by Eventing Connect
I have spoken before in other blog posts about the importance of being self aware and listening to your horse. Sometimes it’s a good idea to practice what you preach….
My son was a year old last Monday. A YEAR OLD. I have no idea where the time went. The last year has been the most monumental adjustment phase and a lot of it has been pretty shit,but we are surviving and for me,my horses are a large part of managing to….well…manage? I had an emergency C section and my horse had an interspinous ligament desmotomy about 10 weeks later (A what? Kissing spine surgery!!) so our combined recovery and weight loss meant that it was September before we were back in action. I felt pretty good when I got back on,strong enough and fit enough (from Mo Farrah-ing with the horse in hand-the ‘Rocky’ theme tune,anyone?) and we collectively made good progress. I then had a spectacular and stupid accident which resulted in a long fracture of my sacrum into the right sacroiliac joint. The only place I was comfortable was in the saddle so I kept riding,but I was (meant to be) on crutches the rest of the time. Oddly, since that fall I have taken on a blancmange quality in the saddle-I don’t know why? Anyway-I get away with a lot with Mist. He’s 13, and the ultimate professional. He doesn’t pay much attention to my flobulating around asthmatically,he delivers the same polished and beautiful work every day and he only objects if you are being a total fucktard. The other day,I jumped him and noticed he has drifted left in the air. He’s a bit of a physical train wreck so it could have been for many reasons,but I put it on my mental memo. Two days ago,he kept changing legs whilst doing canter poles on the left rein-this does periodically happen,but when I went to a light seat and a loose rein he was fine. Hmmmmm.
Today,I was working my 4 yr old over canter poles on 3 and 4 strides,and down a 1 stride grid. I noticed that no matter which rein she was on over the poles,she was drifting to the outside. I’m obviously not riding the outside shoulder around and straight,which explains a few other things I’m having trouble with just now. The beauty of young horses is that they can’t and won’t absorb your shortcomings-they will expose your flaws because they depend heavily on each and every step of the command process being clear and exactly what you want. My older horse might think ‘For.Fucks.Sake. Could you be any more stupid? Just shut up,SHUT UP and leave it to me’. My younger horse is far more likely to think ‘ right so,go over the pole and then drift to the outside? Yep,cool’. So it’s on me,really. Once I sat up and rode the outside of the horse-TAADAA-it went straight. Rocket science. So then we had a go at the grid. Same thing,control the shoulder and get straight or you’ll be jumping the 1.50 end of the cross pole. This young horse in particular is very deliberate,and it occurred to me that I was starting to jump ahead of her. Easy fixed,I just kept my shoulders back for longer and asked for more ‘oomph’ in my trot approach so she could carry us both. It’s a while since I had an intense lesson,so turning the outside AND staying straight AND waiting with my position was a bit taxing for my pea brain but the horse jumped-oh gosh did she jump-so I knew I was at the very least,out of her way and delivering her to the fences straight and strong.
I am lucky to be experienced and self aware enough to make corrections sufficient enough to educate the horses properly,but it advertises the need for regular training and also for taking care of yourself-I am about to embark on some physio and training myself so hopefully I can get to the bottom of why I’m so sore and crooked,and keep doing my job in the saddle well.
See? Horses tell you everything, if you just listen to them!!!