It Takes a Village

Life has unexpectedly gotten in the way the past few weeks. Damn work – why does it have to get in the way of my riding and blogging? Seeing as it’s been about a month, and my last update said my first combined test was in three weeks, you might be thinking there is going to be a show update here. But the show update will be as invisible as my balls – my trainer had a family emergency and was out of the country for a few weeks. Thereby making the Poplar combined test not feasible. Wah-wah.

BUT. MY MEAN FRIEND SARAH has talked me into doing a 2′ jumper course at a local show this weekend. Just for fun. And by “fun” I mean HOLY HELL SHIT-MY-PANTS TERRIFYING. I am not expecting greatness. Or even mediocrity. My only expectation and hope is to not fall off. I might even go off course and/or totally forget where I’m going. And Ollie might very well run me into a standard. But  I need to remind myself that hunter shows terrified me at first, but by the end of my last show, I was actually feeling OK. And now, the thought of going in and doing a small hunter course actually sounds not so stressful. I imagine I will get there with jumpers – and eventing – too.

But lots of updates. First, a shiny new dressage saddle! I will name him George, and I will hug him, and pet him, and squeeze him.


I reeaaaallly wanted a Prestige to work, as I luff them apparently, but their shape doesn’t work for Ollie’s beastiness, according to my saddle fitter. I need to yell at his DNA and ask why it couldn’t have been more Thoroughbred-y around his withers. But this Trilogy is quite nice too.

But most importantly, my friend Sarah has come to join me at my new barn and try eventing with me, and it makes me happier than a pig in shit.* Her big boy Phoenix arrived at the barn about two weeks ago, and we had a lovely first ride together. Also joining us in riding was another boarder, Kelly. I think Sarah and Kelly got together and started to plan my demise when I wasn’t looking. But Sarah was at least kind enough to remind me to put my tall boots on… before I tried to ride in paddock boots without half chaps.

So we were taking turns jumping, and Ollie started by refusing the smallest crossrail ever by having a gentle but strong (does that even make sense?) runout to the left. (always the god&(**!@ left).  I eventually got him over it a couple times, and we spent a lot of time trotting jumps that day to get him listening.  But the biggest thing was that by the end of the ride, my Enforcers had decided that to improve my seat more, I should really think about cantering without stirrups. I hemmed and hawed and made excuses, including:

– He’s kind of up today. (OK, so tire him out a bit more first)
– It will be hard to navigate in here if I’m paying attention to sitting rather than steering. (OK, let’s go to the dressage arena).

– I don’t wanna. (MAN UP)

– I really don’t wanna. (Seriously, Wendy?)

– I don’t want to die. (Well, you’ve had a good run).

And before I knew it, I was in the dressage arena missing my safety blanket and cantering away free-legging it. And I am shocked to say that I did not fall off, and I managed to get him to turn. I think Ollie was just giving me a false sense of security for when I try it again so he can pull a fast one on me. But by god, did it feel good to take those stirrups away and not fail! Since failure and I are old friends and all.

I noted to them that it seems it takes a village to raise and train me. Hopefully I will not be that village’s idiot this weekend at the show.

And to wrap it up, a photo Sarah took of Ollie this week, begging for a treat. He’s so damn cute. I can never be mad at that face.

Ollie beg

* Excuse my Southernness coming out.