February 02, 2009

Life is...

...what's happening to you when you're busy making other plans

Since Fame had worked really well all the week, I was inspired to get to work on Saturday.
The surface of the riding arenas was good, my head was full of input from Kyra Kyrklund’s seminar on Wednesday (more of that another day), and so I was READY.
The plan was to work more with the counter canter, as well as with transitions canter-walk-canter.
It’s just that my plans didn’t equal Fame’s plans.
My little dressage princess had the day off Friday.
So when we started to work, she was ever so nice.
In about 3 minutes.
Then she pretended to get scared of something, took off and after that she started the turbo.
You know the one where the passenger says “slow down, slow down” and the driver just pretends not to hear, smugly smiles and increases the speed. Hehe.
Well, the passenger then turned a bit grumpy, took over the steering and made the former racing driver concentrate on some canter work. When both participants had lost most of the excess energy we called it a day. The end was better than the beginning, but the agenda of the day had to be continued in the next session.
You can make as many plans as you like, but since we are dealing with horses and not footballs you have unknown X-factors in the equation.
It can be a stiff muscle, a cold or strong wind, or a day or two off.
So maybe you have to change your plans that day.
If your horse is out of tune, take him on a trail ride that day instead.
If he's full of excess energy, let him have a lot of canter work to let the steam off.
Don't make your plans so important that they ruin the joy for you that day. It will come a day tomorrow!
And if your best friend over time goes grumpy or acts out of the normal, consider calling the vet. Might be something there. It often is. Have a check before it turns into a major problem.

My daughter Elin was not well, so after riding my racing-wannabe/former dressage princess, I had to ride her horse as well.
He is a 13-years-old FEI pony, and can charm a stone.
He is such a sweet guy, always happy.
He was soft and nice.
We danced through shoulder-in and travers in trot and canter, and he just stayed on the aids and did his work. Transitions, counter canter, tempo changes, I just had to sit and enjoy.
Ah, well, maybe check the activity in the hind legs from time to time, but he is not more than a horse…
After riding only younger horses for the last four years it’s so nice to sit on a horse that knows the exercises, and that is balanced. I can check that I'm on the right track with my dear little rascal . And it’s great fun.

After that I tidied up in the cupboard where Elin keeps Charlie’s tack.
It looked about the same as it does in her room (she’s 14) .
Then I was done in.
So I went home, found my cat (the one that stays put and sleeps on my stomach) and my mp3-player, levelled out on the kitchen sofa and listened to "Agatha Raisin and The Quiche of Death & The Vicious Vet".
With Penelope Keith, which is a perfect match IMO.
Nodded off a bit.

Elin and Mac Gyver (aka Charlie)


stillearning said...

Can't remember which famous dressage trainer commented that he almost dreaded having a great ride because the next one invariably was not-so-hot. So true.

How lucky that you have a perfect pony to ride afterwards! He sounds wonderful!

HorseOfCourse said...

Hi stillearning! That was a good comment, I'll remember it...
I wonder why? Apart from Murphy's law, that is.
If the horse worked well day 1, maybe he is a bit sore and stiff day 2?
Or maybe we get so enthusiastic when things work out well day 1 that we have unrealistic hopes day 2?
Hm. Ponder, ponder...

stillearning said...

It was the latter--unrealistic hopes and expectations. I usually have a plan formed before I ride, but sometimes my partner (or nature) has a different plan!

The quote was from Walter Zettl. In "Dressage in Harmony" he wrote, "When you have had a good ride one day, it is wonderful, but it is also very dangerous. On the next day, as soon as you mount, you tell yourself, 'I hope it will be as good as yesterday...'. And the rider expects the same performance from the horse immediately....If the rider tries to get the feeling he had yesterday right away, then he will start to get tight. I cannot expect to start my search for a butterfly with him already in the net!"

Now that I've looked up the quote, I'm not as sure it applied to your post! Oh well, WZ is quite an interesting teacher, always.

HorseOfCourse said...

Hi stillearning.
I believe it was a very good quote, and we do fall into that trap, don't we?
At least I do.
Not that I _expect_ the same performance, but I do hope for it and am very excited because of how the things worked out on the day before.
And it seldom works out as good.
So it's just to go on working, and you get good glimpses and moments, and they come more and more often and one day the movement/execution you've been training on is there. You can do it.
And then you go for the next peak. And the next...
And sometimes you forget what you have achieved, and how you struggled with the earlier peaks, and you just see the ones ahead which can be tough to climb.
Once in a while it's good to look back too :-)