How to Break Your Fourteen-Month No-Falling-Off Streak
- Choose a day when the temperature outside has plummeted ten degrees Celsius. It should also be a day when your horse has had a week off without any human contact outside of feeding time.
- Decide that this is the day you want to work on relaxed huntery cavalletti lines.
- Get lulled into complacency by your horse’s good behaviour on the flat. Wow, nice bending and topline relaxation!
- While cantering and preparing to approach your first fence, observe the neighbours at the barn across the street beginning to repair something outside, accompanied by their big leaping dogs and the clanging of lots of metal tools. Horse’s head shoots up and canter immediately becomes tense and four-beat-y.
- Decide that today of all days is the day you’re going to ride through the spook and git er done. No wimpy defusing the situation! Cowboy up!
- Jump your first single, circle out of the line, horse’s body feels like a block of wood given his determination to stare at the source of the scary movement and noise across the street.
- Come back around to jump into the line. Rev up in the corner a bit – remember, we’re doing huntery lines on a long stride today! No adding!
- Continue down the line in a bold six strides, as the intermittent noise from across the street gets louder. You got the numbers! (Though not the relaxation!)
- Land from the second jump and feel the acceleration continue.
- Sit one big buck. This is one consequence of having a very athletic horse who you’ve been training all year to be stronger and rounder. Congratulate yourself!
- Horse says NOPE to your sitting his big buck, sticks head in the air, leaps and twists hard left.
- Fall off. Luckily, land on the area of your body that has the most padding, a.k.a. your ass.
- Get up, growl “Schmoodle!!!” at horse as he beats feet for the barn. Horse looks at you like Ah, the provider of treats is still alive – that’s good and promptly starts eating grass. Hope the guy across the street didn’t see you fall off.
- March horse back to mounting block, get on, boot horse into canter, put horse on the bit, jump the jump again.
- Porpoise-leaping continues. Jump the jumps many times over until you can add, double add, and get the numbers without risking your life afterwards. Insist to horse that he is able to canter in a circle without craning his neck to stare across the street. While walking out, consider the fact that the bucking, combined with the sticking his head in the air and scooting, combined with the twisting, is a lethal combination.
- Bathe horse. Take “angry” selfie with horse.
Attempt to take kissy selfies with horse.
17. Do not feed horse his usual mint. Walk horse back to paddock while he sulks about this. Turn horse out and he RUNS AWAY in a huff.
18. Reconsider your life choices.