Last night The Boy and I had to leave work a bit early to get to dinner and a National Geographic lecture series that we absolutely adore (cool people, fabulous photos... great date night). Having forgotten most of my High School American History (sorry Mrs Allenduff!) I was moderately confused as to why there were protesters swarming about downtown and causing a ruckus. After a refresher on Labor rights, unions and the significance of May Day from my brother - I was up to speed, but not that interested. Its not that I don't think the country is going to shit, but since the biggest inconvenience seemed to be that there was a protest march between me and my oysters/martini/lecture, I figured I'd just keep my mouth shut and skitter inside to Happy Hour.
I'll skip my discourse on "the 1%" now as I find myself on several different sides of that particular discussion. Also, anarchists really don't want to talk to you about "finding a decent boarding facility" for your two mares. They just don't, it's not a good conversation starter...
Wow. Tangent. anyway, leaving work early meant that we couldn't maneuver the trailer out of it's parking spot (too many cars) so we waited until after our evening out to come back, hitch up and head home. Having the trailer already attached to the truck meant I pulled out of the driveway bright and early, putting me at the barn by 7:20 to meet S and get the ponies ready.
Our Field Trip buddy had a last minute substitution (due to a pulled shoe) so Prairie ended up having her neighbor Boulder join us on our adventure. Boulder is an adorable OTTB who is super athletic and very fun, but moderately unpredictable (especially on the ground) and kind of an ass to deal with. We don't give him too much flack though, because he's had a rough life up to this point and over the past year has morphed into a much happier, much healthier horse.
Anyway, everyone loaded up and we rolled down to the big park.
The park was EMPTY. Not a soul was there which was great, but also too bad since I was hoping for some "atmosphere" to test the mare with. After hand walking around the grounds (and three arenas) we headed back to the trailer to tack up. P2 was alert, but forward and put her nose on everything that spooked her (good mare). Boulder was.. feisty. He has this neat trick where whenever he gets annoyed at something he spins, pulls away to the end of his lead then cow kicks at your head. It's a crappy trick, but he knows how to do it really, really well.. He doesn't try to run away per se, but he makes hanging on to him a bit of an unwanted task. Oh, he also doesn't trailer tie, so poor S was holding him, digging through the tack room and dodging kicks all at the same time (she's a multitasker).
This was the point where S realized that she had forgotten a girth - and my spare Dressage version was of no use. She then calmly declared "No problem, I'll just ride him bareback"
uhhhhh. ride what bareback. It looks more like you're flying a kite than holding a horse. You're going to slide off...(is what I was thinking)
But what I said was "wow! ok, that's cool"
P2 was a good girl while I tacked her up (thankfully I remembered my girth) and she was pleasantly not alarmed by Boulder's antics. She walked nicely back to the ring and even stood calmly at the mounting block/picnic table for me to get on.
|such a good mare...|
As soon as I took up my reins I realized I had forgotten gloves (waaaah) and complained as such to S, who was less than sympathetic given her no-girth situation (much like the anarchists apathy toward any "horse problems"), so I shut up, stopped whining and got to work.
The footing was mostly pea soup, but not too slick, so we got to work. We started in a smaller warm-up area and worked through some of our normal stuff. Serpentines, leg yields, transitions, a few lengthenings.. etc. Boulder joined us in some gait work and S gets FULL points for riding a bronco. Bareback. Away from home...
After a few minutes we moved into the bigger ring which has that endless there-are-no-boundaries-to-stop-any-bad-behavior feeling. Prairie stayed with me and stayed tuned in. She gave a big snort at the grandstand and a bit of a tensed step (not a spook) at tree stump that had been carved into a horse head. But she didn't try anything that a strong half-halt didn't immediately correct her out of.
After a few laps of trot I let her walk with Boulder on a long rein and just march around the ring. She was calm, relaxed and swinging. No sweating, no chomping, no jigging, no spooking.
Finally I gathered her back up and having reviewed all the First Level tests we ran through everything (albeit in a random order). 10 meter circles, zig zag leg yields, lengthened trot, lengthened canter, canter loops, halts, you name it. We worked it and worked it well. I finished with a series of square(ish) trot-halts and called it a day.
Back at home, Boulder walked off agitated and sweaty but P2 was calmly munching her hay.
Even without all the flower boxes and the hustle/bustle of the show, I'm pretty sure that we can skip the Intro Level tests next month.. Something tells me we'll be ok to warm up at Training Level and dip our toes into First at our grand debut. So here it is:
Show First Level in June 2012. Mark your calendars June 10th is our magic day.