February 23, 2010

Thwarted plans

I should never have cleared that terrace from snow.

During the week the temperature started to drop again, and we were down to the -20C/-4F again.
Then the snow came.

At Thursday evening, when I was to have my first training for Jimmi, it was windy and snowing.
Jimmi arrived late from Denmark, so I did not have my training until 10.20 pm.
As the stable closes at 11 pm, we just had to have the session at home in the outside arena. Jimmi was stoically shouting in the wind, slowly covering up in snow.
I was frantically trying to hear what he said.
My hearing has not improved over the years. Hahem.
Still he was happy with the progress from last time, which was nice to hear.

I was to have two more trainings, on Saturday and Sunday.
I had even booked my daughter as a photographer, so I would be able to illustrate this blog post with some pictures.
It is not easy to photograph oneself when training, and as there have been many photos of surroundings on trail with parts of a horse head, or some ears in the foreground, I guess a change would be welcome.
I was really looking forward to the training.

But I had not calculated with the weather.

During Friday both the wind and the snowing increased.
When I woke up on Saturday morning, it was as close to a snow storm as you will get in the lowlands here. Nothing like in the mountains, but strong wind and heavy snowfall.
And in addition -12C/10F.

I called Jimmi as I had a hunch that he would prefer to have the training indoors that day.
Funny enough, he thought that would be a good idea.
(And that is how you cannot see any photos of Fame and me doing upper level dressage. It would, of course, otherwise be filled with piaffes and canter pirouettes left and right.)

I wrapped myself and Fame up in layers, and started the ride of half an hour to the indoor arena.
The wind and the snow were beating against my face, and I drew the scarf even tighter up towards my eyes, bending my head against the snow so the rim of the helmet took off for most of it.
Fame heroically trudged on through the snow and the wind.
When we reached the forest, it took off for some of the wind and it was a bit easier to see where we were going.

I had calculated a bit extra time to get all the layers off once we got to the indoor arena, and to get Fame accustomed to the arena again.
When we got inside and reached her spooky corner at the short side (where I cunningly had planned to undress), the wind and the snow were beating against the wall that was partly covered with some plastic, creating an eerie sound.
My horse immediately turned into an antelope again.
All her suspicions were confirmed.
That corner had bogey men inside the walls.

I started to warm up, and even if Fame relaxed better on the circle around Jimmi at the other side of the arena, she was still somewhat tense.
I guess Jimmi could see the little black cloud hanging over my head.

So we marched over to the scary corner and played Ghostbusters until Fame finally relaxed and accepted that the tigers in the wall would not attack.
Which took most of the training session.

When I woke on Sunday, the weather had calmed down.
Then I got a phone from my friend who told me that they would be keeping the show jumps standing in the arena that day.
I was not happy to hear that.
Dressage riding in between jumps is not the same as having the arena to work in.
I conferred with the rider I was to share my training session with, and we concluded with “if you can’t beat them, join them” and put on the jumping saddles instead.

Now, Jimmi is every bit as good a trainer in show jumping as in dressage, if not even better.
But when we came down to the arena and told Jimmi we could just as well jump, he was a bit befuddled and said that we could work a bit at the circle and casually asked at the same time if we had jumped anything before?
I believe he was a bit worried about middle-aged dressage ladies etc – you get the picture. ..
I could fall off in the middle of a tiny jump and due to brittle bones have multiple fractures in arms and legs and such.
And the blingbling on Fame’s brow band could get dusty.
Now I have to admit I have not been doing much show jumping the last year as my trainer got pregnant, and I have no ambition in SJ except to have some fun, but we do pop a jump from time to time.
I have even done a bit cross country training, also just for fun.

So Jimmi started out very cautiously, with a super low X-pole jump.
When he saw that we managed to hang on, he gradually included more jumps and also raised them somewhat off the ground.
My horse loves to jump, and got going with great enthusiasm.
And I must say I find it fun as a change to the dressage work too.

In the end Jimmi had a big grin on.
He told me he had been impressed with me twice that weekend; first time with the sandwich I had brought him on Saturday (at which time he was ravenous, so that doesn’t count much), and second time with the show jumping (in which his expectations where close to zero).
Thanks mate.
What about the dressage?????

I have to get home and have a pep talk with Fame about that piaffe.

Could you spell that? P-i-a-f-f-e?? Must be some foreign language....


Irene said...

Kul att han tyckte att Fame hade blivit bättre sen sist. Tänk vad vi ryttare utsätter oss för. Det kan ingen fatta hur vi kan BETALA för att plåga oss i alla väder...

Di said...

We're not the only ones being thwarted by the weather then. We're forecast some sunny weather for next week , oh I hope it arrives!!

Claire said...

mad... you gotta be mad....but it looks lovely and i take it you didn't have to ride on the road as well?

i'm still doing weather reports and no work with the horse!

trudi said...

Another amusing post and yes you are mad, LOL, but in a good way!

Hope your weather improves for next time Jummi's over.

stilllearning said...

Good job making lemonade with the lemons the weather served up! Sounds like it ended up being fun, even if not quite what you planned.

Better luck next time!

Shanster said...

At least there was fun to be had and mentally it had to be interesting to mix it up for Jimmi and show what you can do. grin. I hope spring arrives this year... winter has gone on far too long for me!

mugwump said...

You are very gnarly. I would like to think I would ride to the arena....but I don't know, we always drive forever for everything we attend. Which makes it so easy to roll over and sleep through the snow storms.

RuckusButt said...

Oh, you make me laugh! What great descriptions and even better attitude! Jimmy might not want to teach you dressage after this, you know.

Too bad about the pictures...would have been lovely to see those piaffes and pirouettes ;)

Odyssey said...

Your ambition and positive attitude truly impress me!! To ride at 11 p.m. outdoors in a snowstorm when it is that cold?? Just wow. Congrats to you for "going with the flow" and making the best of an unplanned situation. I am sure your instructor has new respect for you, and I hope the weather is better next time!

And please never apologize for those pony ears in your photos - I enjoy the virtual trail rides very much!


Grey Horse Matters said...

You my dear are one very dedicated horse lady. Good for you, I'd probably would have wimped out.

HorseOfCourse said...

Thanks for your comments all!

Well, things don’t always turn out as planned, and they for sure did not this weekend.
There is a saying here: “nothing’s so bad that it isn’t good for something” and I think we got some nice things out of it after all.
I got good help with Fame’s spookiness, which has worried me now that the show season approaches.
That session, together with the jumping on Sunday, have made me think about whether I should start out with some show jumping shows first.
Fame then has to concentrate on the jumps, and not what might hide in the surroundings.
She hasn’t been out much to shows (I am just too lazy) so that would give her some training in getting out and about.

Claire – no, we kept off the roads. I would have been a bit more worried then, lol!

Virginia – on Thursday evening it was not that bad. Some wind and snow, yes, but between -5 to -10C (15-20F) and no such conditions as on Saturday TG. Then it would have been impossible to do any constructive training sessions outside!

Once Upon an Equine said...

You are my winter riding hero. I'm such a fair weather horsewoman. The weather frequently defeats my plans.

It sounds like that lesson in the scary corner was well worth the time. It will be interesting to see if Fame has conquered her fear next time you go to the arena and the scary corner.

Anne i Hannover said...

I want to hear about Göteborg Horse Show!! :D How was it?

HorseOfCourse said...

Not much happening here, sorry!

Life has been very busy this week, and I am late with updates, I know.
Dunno if I will be able to write so much this weekend either; my parents are coming to visit...we'll see!

Anne i Hannover said...

Ok:) Hope you have a nice weekend!

allhorsestuff said...

You go girl and horse!
hope that it lightens up for you...but, I know you will still be at it!