Long time readers will know that a certain nerdy bay horse has been absent from this blog a lot this summer. Fear not, it’s not due to any hidden injury or drama that I can’t post about. Simon is being Simon, and things are going well.
The reason that I haven’t been blogging about him, is that my barn life isn’t really all that exciting right now. I haven’t put a saddle on my horse in three weeks, and although eventually I want to write about my progression with tackless riding (we are up to WTC with nothing but the bareback pad & neck rope) I’m waiting on some media to go along with that post. My competitive drive for horse showing is completely gone right now. This is due for a variety of reasons (including some big news I’ll be sharing in the near future), and at first I was a little confused by it.
If I don’t want to constantly take lessons to get ready for shows, and push myself in the show ring… where does that leave my relationship with my horse? How does that characterize me as a rider?
I guess right now, my horse is a well trained pet and my riding is pretty backyard. About twice a month I’ll take a jumping lesson with my trainer so Simon doesn’t turn feral and I don’t completely forget how to ride, but mostly we toodle.
A typical day afternoon at the barn goes like this:
“Hello beloved creature. How about I take a long time currying all your itchy spots?”
Yes you should do that because it’s been DAYS since I’ve seen you and I’ve been NEGLECTED and I am SO ITCHY I MIGHT DIE.
“I see you have a giant rip in your fly sheet. Didn’t I tell you that we were undergoing budget cuts?”
What mean “budget cuts?” Also I sure do love these fancy new fly boots and now I require them to live happily forever plzkthx.
“It’s really hot. How about I sponge your shoulders & neck down, and we do a bareback hack instead of tack up?”
This is one of reasons why I love you. The other is cookies.
“Let’s teach you how to neck rein and see how slow you can jog around.”
These tasks are below my talent level, but I will do them because they are easy.
“How about a little slow canter so I can improve my balance bareback?”
OH MY GOD WE ARE CANTERING AND I LOVE TO CANTER AND I CAN START SLOW I THINK MAYBE BUUUUUUUUUUUUUT I SHOULD PROBABLY GET FASTER NOW BECAUSE I AM A FAST RACEHORSE AND I CANTER CANTER CANTER HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY CANTER CANTER CANTER!
Then I activate every underused muscle in my flabby core to simmer my horse back down to a walk.
We go through this pattern a few times a week at least. Other rides with Simon’s half leaser are more intense for him, and occasionally I’ll make him perform proper flatwork to remind us that we both can. But overall right now, toodling is where it’s at for me. It calms my brain and makes my heart happy, and a little part of me thinks Simon says the same about our low key, hot afternoon rides.