This last blog post pre-championships has, of course, been in my schedule for tonight for several days. Those of you who know me, even a little bit, know that I am just a wee bit of a control freak. (Seriously, guys, I used to be worse–I’m a Zen Master compared to just 4 or 5 years ago.) Regardless, I’m still a scheduler–I’m not good at soft deadlines and spontaneity. So my lists have been made, cross-referenced, and are being checked off, and I’m right on schedule.
Bravo, however, is another story. Animals and children really humble us adult humans. They don’t care about schedules, or your “big” plans, and live in the moment. Right now. No list, no planning out the details.
This has never been more apparent to me than today. Yesterday I had–bar none–one of the nicest rides EVAH on Bravo. He was soft, pushing into the contact, reacting to my seat and legs without snarkiness, and rideable every single step. WOW! I didn’t do any test movements–just circles, serpentines, and diagonals with very frequent changes of gait and gear–it was literally intoxicating. “WOO HOO! We’re READY!”, I thought.
And then, I had a lesson today with Dawn Weniger. I’ve been going once or twice a week to her place for about 3 weeks now. We’ve been doing a little “classical–let’s get to the root and fix that” and a little “slap the bandaid on the hemorrhage to get through the show”, pretty much in equal measure. We’ve made a lot of headway in Bravo’s topline, which had gotten too curled from my defensive riding, and the lengthenings are coming along, albeit hit-or-miss. But, often his first reaction to the half halt is to stiffen, he still is hollowing in the trot to canter transitions, and all of a sudden I can’t ride a straight line to save my life. Bottom line has been that the overall picture is greatly improved, but the details (ah, the devil) are clearly still lacking.
I could tell from the moment my butt hit the tack today that this was not going to be pretty. The boy was wound TIGHT! His back was tight, his neck was short and tight, and his focus was not on me. We started out warming up to the “opposite” as I like to call it–if they want to put their head down, you ride it up; if they want to be pokey you kick ’em on, etc. So we started out under powered and under tempo–think Western jog–just trying to loosen the back, supple the neck, and regain the focus. Intermittently there was an “outta here” stage left in one of the corners, and a few “hopping and dancing” moments–nothing that escalated, so it could have been worse–but where was my soldier, my “yes man”, my partner, my worker bee that I had been gleefully enjoying for the last 2 weeks?
Clearly Bravo does not realize that we are on a SCHEDULE!
Honestly, I’m not worried (yet). It’s still 4 days until my first finals class, and there are many miles to go before then. I’m blessed with a talented (if opinionated) horse, and will do my best to make sure I get my “yes man” back when it counts. But if not, we’ll have fun, we’ll learn, and we’ll keep practicing until we do peak at the right time. The jacket would be a welcome “destination”, but deep down I’m in it for the journey!