It was the first, but I’m sure it won’t be the last. Last Thursday my lesson felt like our first total wipe out. I was so, so excited to show our trainer how much progress we had made since our last visit, that on reflection I had set myself up for a fall. Both my trainer and Dominica’s owner have since told me numerous times that it really wasn’t as bad as I’m making out, but to me it felt like the trailer had been hijacked on route and my ginger best friend had traded places with a flaming formula one car, with no instruction manual. I don’t no who she was, but she has not been seen before, or since. It left me with that fleeting feeling that I was crap and I should stop wasting my life trying to ride. Of course I was being utterly ridiculous and it was just the raw emotion and I have since built a bridge and got over it.
It is just the reality of horses, especially the youngsters. They build you up and make you feel like you can actually ride, then you usually land face first in a pile of sh**. She’s young, she’s very green, it’s spring, she’s a mare, she’s fitter, she’s stronger, she’s growing, her balance is continually changing as a result, she’s getting more worldly and it’s inevitable that at some point she will test the boundaries. Take your pick of excuses, I don’t want to use any of them. it was one lesson, one day and is a drop in the ocean in terms of the journey that we are on. There’s no point getting emotional about it. It’s done and that’s that. (I can of course say all this now, at the time I wanted to cry!)
We have also been having a problem keeping her shoes on. Again any one of the many excuses listed above can be blamed, but who cares which one, its happening and I need to deal with it or she is going to end up with no feet. On Monday she over reached while I was schooling her and pulled off her 3rd front shoe in as many weeks and I was at the end of my tether. Subsequent crisis talks where held with her owner and my fantastic farrier, about what to do for the best. One option was to take off all her shoes and try to manage her without them for the time being, until she has a bit more control over what she’s doing with her fancy flamenco legs. As I try to hack her a lot and the fields have been wet, the main reason she has shoes is so that I can hack safely round the many tracks and lanes on the farm, without shoes this isn’t really an option, although the weather is currently drier, so soon it would be more practical I hope. The farrier was keen to try a different type of shoe and so that’s what we have gone for, for now. She is in the last chance saloon and if she destroys anymore of the Jimmy Choo’s I work all night to pay for, she will be going without. She will end up with no feet if she carries on the way she is and as the saying go’s ‘no foot, no horse’ She’s too good to ruin.
Angus is still enjoying his Easter holidays from nursery. We’ve done lots of fun things, like starting to plant a vegetable garden at our new house, adventure walks through the woods with picnics, a lunch time outing to burger king and he even washed my phone in a mop bucket full of dirty water………..that one was really fun! As a result I’ve once again lost lots of lovely photo’s, but we’ve all survived. It’s also the Easter holidays for my sister, who is a teacher (deputy head) and so we enjoyed a visit from her too. She brought her perfect horse Fergal for a holiday (I am slightly biased as I sold him to her, but he is actually perfect!) and we took him cross country schooling for the first ever time. Of course he was amazing and perfect as always, but watching was a stark reminder that for the first time in ages I don’t have an eventer on the yard, something I will have to remedy very very soon!
Other than the car crash, Dominica has been going well. We have been experiencing some beautiful weather and as a result, I can ride on pretty much perfect going in the field. This is making life so much easier time wise, as it cuts out the travelling to the arena hire and also it doesn’t cost me anything! I’ve got the white boards out now too, which means I can school more effectively as I actually have references points to help with my accuracy and especially straightness.
The other main reason for getting the white boards out this week is that this coming Saturday is OUR FIRST SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have been so so excited for this day since the very first time I sat on Dominica, but now the nerves are starting to creep in. Not about whether or not we will win (although the mental instinct in me only ever wants to win!) its more a nervousness about if I have prepared her sufficiently. Is she really ready for a Prelim test, have I shown her enough of the world to prepare her for what she’s going to see on show day. Will we be good enough. Will we end up getting 45% ARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!…………………..The actual reality is that it really doesn’t matter. It is an educational outing and all that matters is that it is an easy, stress free, positive learning experience for her. The same as every time I ride her. Except she will be plaited, I will have my white expensive Pikeur breeches on and so I don’t want to fall off and ruin them, because I sure as hell don’t have £200 for a new pair, there will be a judge there, judging us, there will be other people there, judging us, I will be judging us………Shut up, stupid girl. We will be fine it doesn’t matter, we will be fine it doesn’t matter, we will be fine it doesn’t matter. It does though, doesn’t it, I just have to not let her get a whiff of that and try to keep calm and ride her the same way I do every day. Oh and smile, because I am lucky to even have the opportunity to go to a show.
This Thursday we have a lesson. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, it is also the venue of the show. So the plan is to use Thursday as a dress rehearsal. I will put some plaits in and we will put out some white boards and my trainer will sit at C and pretend to be the judge. We will have an easy, confidence building session, not trying to improve her in terms of where she’s at education wise. Just trying to help her feel settled and confident and solidify her way of going. That’s the plan anyway, we all know plans and horses are a very grey area!
We will just have to wait and see!