Well, I haven’t been doing a whole heck of a lot. Only Flash left to ride, and most of the time we get rained out. Yesterday I did manage to get him on a trailer and take him on a trail ride (only brief showers), and his inner mare made only a few short appearances. Inner mare? Yes, I can explain. When we humans look at Flash, we see a large, handsome bay gelding. When Flash looks in the mirror, he sees a chestnut mare. Unfortunately, this chestnut mare also happens to be in season and has the IQ of a doorknob. So, as long as I remember to ride that inner mare and not what I think I saw, things generally don’t go too badly.
I have also hauled out of my (sadly) seldom used library of wisdom the 101 jumping exercises book. It has once again pointed out my failure to impose proper basics and discipline (largely in fear of the inner mare). Steering is key to jumping. Probably the most important part of jumping, because if you can’t get your horse to the jump, who cares if he can jump?
The first time this was pointed out to me was many, many years ago by Michael Page. I was lucky enough to be at a barn where he taught regularly, and managed to get in on that. I was just out of the army, and apparently a cocky little, well, yeah, fill in the blank. I had a talented horse (more so than me), but he was very green. Finally, probably in sheer disgust for my inability to follow simple directions, he said something like, “Honey, I can make a course of poles on the ground that will kick your butt all the way to Kentucky.” I probably responded with something like, “Yeah, bring it!” Which, in retrospect, after my complete failure to do anything correctly that day, was probably not the best answer.
12 poles on the ground later, I put an advert in the paper for someone to find my butt, which had landed somewhere in central Kentucky. I deserved that.
But it did make me a better rider, and for years my horse thanked Mr. Page for my complete and utter humiliation that day.
Flash and I are trotting poles. 😉