Apr. 12th, 2006

jennyaxe: Photo in black and white. I'm in profile, looking to the left, with a calm and content half-smile. (Default)
As I wrote earlier, I've decided to participate in a dressage competition this year. I've had lessons both on Samurai and on Skutt, and I've learned a great deal. I've got a much better seat and I'm much more relaxed, much more able to communicate clearly with the horse.

On Sunday we had a competition training day. For a dressage competition, the arena should be 20 x 40 metres (or 20 x 60). Our arena is 30 x 60. So we had to start by putting out small fences to make a 20 x 40 arena. There were five of us and we were supposed to start at 9. I hadn't slept well so I didn't get there until 9.20 (after having had breakfast in the car - how's that for a good start?). We still got the arena done by 10 am as planned. Monika rode Skutt first, then the stable owner rode, then it was my turn to take Skutt. I didn't quite make the round properly, mainly because I didn't know the course completely by heart and so sometimes I took the wrong turn, slowed at the wrong place, stuff like that. But it did feel as if I can take part in a competition without embarrassing myself too much.

Then I took Skutt out to walk him a while and cool him down. We went along the small road for a few hundred metres and then turned back. That's when we heard the motorcycles. We moved off the road and waited on a patch of grass some metres away. The first six motorcycles weren't a problem, but the seventh made a lot more noise, and Skutt took off like he was fired from a rocket. It took maybe fifty metres to get him down to a reasonably collected gallop rather than a wild bolting, and another hundred metres before I got him to stop. By then the motorcycles had also stopped and turned off their engines. I thanked them for doing so and got Skutt to walk past them with only a little prompting required. They didn't start up until we were well past them, and Skutt danced a little but didn't try to bolt again. I don't think he was really that scared, he was probably just taking the chance to get to run a bit...

I got back to the stable, Monika took care of putting Skutt back out in his field and I sat chatting with the stable owner while her sister rode the course. Then we all pitched in to move the fencing back to the outhouse. Once that was done I was very hungry, so I invaded [livejournal.com profile] jegra and her housemate's place to get some lunch.

After a large helping of spaghetti, Jegra and I went off to the stable where her two horses, Samurai and Campero, live. I got to sit and take it easy while she started mucking Campero's box and we let Samurai eat. Then I started caring for Samurai while Jegra did his box. Once the horses were ready we went off, Jegra riding Campero and I riding Samurai. It was lovely going out in the sunshine, it was about 10 C (50 F) and just a small breeze. Of course, both horses were eager for a run, so we had to be careful... Samurai did try to take off with me a couple of times but I got him to slow down without too much trouble. When we got back Jennifer cleaned the saddles and the girths which had gotten rather muddy; I helped a bit and learned a bit more about how to care for the tack.

After all this I drove home, took a shower, sat by the computer for a while, then fell asleep as soon as I turned the light off.

If anyone had told me two years ago that I'd spend a day riding a dressage course, getting bolted with when riding out, carrying fencing, riding another horse - in all spending a couple of hours on horseback plus doing some heavy carrying - I wouldn't have believed that I could do it. I'm deeply happy to feel so much better. I still have some bad days, when I can't get much done, but they're so much fewer than they used to.

Also it feels very good to know that when Skutt and Samurai were being difficult, I managed it. I didn't let Skutt run straight out into the field as he tried, and I got him to slow down and stop. I didn't let Samurai run off with me when he wanted to, and I did manage to keep him at a reasonable pace even though he was bursting with energy and really wanted to take off. These are greater victories even than having managed the dressage course...


jennyaxe: Photo in black and white. I'm in profile, looking to the left, with a calm and content half-smile. (Default)

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