Recipe for warm up

Warm up Ring…/ Practice Ring…. /Collecting Ring…./Hell…..whatever you like to call it yourself. 
That place you must pass through before you can compete.

  1. Take a dozen or so highly strung riders, mix them up adding a smattering of rude, nervous, loud or oblivious character types.
  2. Make sure the setting is turned to ‘nerves’ and ‘stress’.
  3. Mount said riders on a collection of horses who are all at the verge of a panic attack (afterall what horse isn’t always 3 breaths from a panic attack?)
  4. Now put the above in a small confined space.
  5. Sprinkle with an assortment of people shouting, loudspeakers blaring and dogs barking, don’t forget flag waving.
  6. Add ring stewards, don’t forget to also stress these out
  7. Bake at 100 degrees, if you would rather your warm up be slightly damp, add rain.
  8. Mix for anything from 10 to 40min
  9. Serve up with a grimace that can sometimes be mistaken for a grin…..sometimes.

The Universal Law of the Wheelbarrow.

I’ve mentioned the Universal Law of Wheelbarrow Tipping only briefly before.  There are many Horse Logic Laws that come into play in the world of horses, the kind of universal truths that are only encountered when you spend too much time with horses. This is where the nerdy science girl comes out in me. Apologies ;-)

A few variables come into place in this law. The length of time the wheelbarrow is unattended. How full the wheelbarrow is. The length of time the horse is unattended. Other influencing factors are the slope the wheelbarrow is on and the mood of the horse. Also Quantum Physics and Schrödinger's cat come into play as the amount of tipping and spreading of contents is also influenced by an observer i.e. if you can see this happening but you are too far away to stop it, then it is more likely to happen.

Simply put if I am standing across the paddock and Harry and the full wheelbarrow are on the other side of the paddock he is more likely to tip the wheelbarrow if he knows I’m watching but I can’t do anything about it. This can also be put down the perverse sense of humour of my horse of course. Yah Schrödinger had absolutely no need to put a cat in a box. He should have just filled a wheelbarrow and watched a horse.

Here’s a simple graph taking the two most important elements - Time Unattended V  Wheelbarrow Tipping.

Cirque du Soleil Lunging

Can someone please explain to Harry that behaving like one of the Cirque de Soleil acrobats on the end of a line is NOT lunging. That antics and displays are not impressing me, that bouncing off the ground like it’s a trampoline is not funny. That other horses can and do lunge beautifully and it can be helpful to their riders. That lunging is like a dance between a rider and a horse where the horse pays attention to the slightest cue. That what he’s doing at the end of the line is not lunging. *Sigh*

The Pièce de résistance to this particular grey horse is to buck and fart and generally carry on for 10 minutes, followed by producing about 30 seconds of nice work and then just on a horsey whim he turns in,  halts and gives me the horsey equivalent of a look that says TaaDaaa! “Are we finished now?”

Breathing while riding. Must remember to do that.

Breathing -  that useful thing that I seem to forget to do.
Once we enter the ring I’m concentrating on our canter, remembering to half-halt, keep the rhythm, leg to hand, keeping my outside rein, I’m looking for next jump, balance, turn, keep the canter etc. etc. 

But by the time we’re half way through the course I resemble some sort of bloated purple fruit that’s been left in the sun too long and my poor horse is thinking what the hell is she doing? Yup there’s something I’m forgetting. I’m forgetting to breathe. Basic stuff really. 

The Evil Shoe Throwing Fairy

Is the weather forecast good for the weekend?
Did you pay your entry fees?
Have you the horsebox loaded and everything ready?
Have you cleaned your tack and packed your bag?

Then prepare for a visit from the Shoe Throwing Fairy. This little evil individual will accost your horse in the dark of night and pull, tug, wrench and wrangle his shoe off. You will be met in the morning by a butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth expression from your horse. He will be standing there in all his show-ready glory. But no shoe. NO SHOE! And if you look carefully there will be little fairy dust sprinkled on his fetlock. Commiserations you’ve just been visited by the Evil Shoe Throwing Fairy. 

Don’t try to diffuse a bomb when my dog has a tennis ball!

April Fool came by her name because we picked her out of her many squirming siblings of questionable heritage,  on,  Yes you got it….April Fools Day!

I don’t think we grasped the significance of this at the time.

She has many delightful quirks but some of these extend into the realm of obsession.
One obsession in particular is Tennis Balls! 
Especially fun are tennis balls when you’re trying to do something.

Trying to do the laundry….you’ll get a tennis ball dropped into the basket and a hopeful expression from the Fool

Trying to muck out the stables…’ll get a tennis ball lodged in the pitchfork prongs and the fool waiting for you to do something fun about it 

 Trying to vacuum…yup….a tennis ball with April hopping around your feet.

Trying to diffuse a bomb…..Tennis BALL! 
Not a good mix
but it's ok, because we still love her :-)

Empty-Headed Dressage

“That lovely feeling of heading down the long-side with absolutely no idea of where to go”
Great comment isn’t it! And so true. Dressage is like that for us, once you enter that arena time moves differently and your brain doesn’t quiet respond in the way it should. Feeling light-headed? Feel like you're having an out-of-body experience....then you're doing a dressage test! Congratulations! That sinking feeling as you pass M wondering if you’re supposed to do something at B! But what was it?? Blue tweetie birds and floating golden stars are really no help at a time like that!