It’s been a weird few days. There has been breaking, there has been badness, and there have even been drugs to help prevent more being bad and breaking things. And the whole thing culminated with someone getting naked.
Wednesday I had a pretty low-key hack and then Thursday my plan was to get in a short school in the morning before work. Knowing I had limited time, I even keep the plan simple: One bending line set at about 3’3 with an oxer in and a vertical out, which walked in an 8 or so, leaving a lot of room to play with stride length. The idea was to practice doing the actual 8, opening up for the 7, and sitting down for 9-10 strides. Of course, even with a plan this simple and short, adding a time crunch never seems to go well where horses are involved.
For whatever reason, Val acted like he was super worried about every jump in the ring for absolutely no good reason. Down standards? Hiding demons. That box that is no more than 2′ even with the astroturf pole on top we just jumped a few days ago without issue? No. Absolutely not. Surely death awaits unsuspecting horses in those depths. After a few times over the teeny jump to chiil out and then a medium sized vertical (maybe 3’ish) which went pretty well, I hopped over each of the jumps in the line as singles without any weirdness. Cool.
So then I cantered to the oxer again to do the whole bending line. Val threw his shoulder coming out of the turn t the oxer pat the gate, then proceeded to stare down the jump. We got a a spot that was a little long, but nothing crazy, and tried to cip, realized that was bad idea, and tried to stop. Which resulted n his feet ending up right smack dab in the middle of the jump. So then he stomped a hole through one of the flower boxes climbing back out. Did I mention we’ve had the jump since Christmas? Ugh.
Obviously we popped over a few of the small jumps in the ring until Val was feeling a little more normal. I didn’t have time to get him 100% normal. But like normal enough. Gotta jump the jumps without being a freak. But head flinging in the air on the back side? Eh. At least we’re getting to the other side. Once that was better, I got off to put the jump he squished back together. But because we were already having a weird day and I was considering asking what the return policy on horses is, He started walking away, then trotting, aaannnnd then he galloped out of the arena with his tail in the air. Being your own jump crew sucks sometimes.
Not to worry. He picked a path with a dead end, I didn’t murder him, and we ended the ride popping over the scary jump with it set small several times, even ending on a nice easy canter up to the second jump of the bending line to end.
But then I spent all day at work (after getting there 15 minutes late…) reliving everything I didn’t do to make his job easier, and decided he was probably better off without me. You know. The normal roller coaster of self-doubt that is riding horses.
In theory I realize that unless I have put us into a dangerous situation, horse has got to leave the ground, even when it’s not the perfect distance or the jump is a little scary. But sometimes it’s hard not to heap all of the blame and guilt onto yourself.
Friday Val got the day off and a bath so that Saturday I could clip him!
It’s been a couple of years since the last time I body clipped him, but I mostly remembered he was super awful even with some ace, and we finally just gave him a dose of dorm to finish the sensitive parts. So I planned ahead, and had some ready this time around. My trainer gave him his cocktail (after it took me an hour just to get everything together and the blade swapped because I’m an idiot) and then the dorm only lasted for half of a leg. Whoops.
With a lot of patience and cookie bribes, I got him clipped just about everywhere, minus a couple of patches on his legs that weren’t worth my health, and then in keeping with the theme of the weekend, the clippers died right as I started on his face. (Sorry, Lauren. I have a curse I think.). Everybody cross your fingers it’s an easy fix! Lucky for me, a friend who was at the barn had face clippers that could be set for a pretty similar lngth. They were a little dull, so I just even out the sides and blended them into the longer hairs on the front of his face as best I could. He’ll be wearing a bonnet for a bit and we’re rocking lines since I had no way to go back and clean those up, but at least he’s naked now.
Even though he was a bit of a monster for his legs, he was actually quite saintly every where else, and next time, I may just skip the legs if we don’t have anything important coming up. We had no fussing over his belly, flank, or man bits. It went a long way toward me liking my horse again. So did the rest of the weekend, but this post is about the rough start to the weekend and the good bits will be saved for a later post. It’s (mostly) funny to laugh at it now, and really if I don’t laugh about it I’ll never get over it. I’m chalking Thursday up to a weird day, because he’s usually quite polite about hanging out in the ring, and he’s also been very brave lately. The clippers though, I have no idea what happened there. I’m choosing to be optimistic, but also the point of borrowing clippers was to not spend a bunch of money, and well, here we are. My horse looks handsome though!