Wednesday, 2 March 2016

A Hippo Qualifies for Sainthood

So, its been awhile since I shared some stories of the Hippo's progress.  At last update, she was making the difficult transition to acting like an adult.  I'm pleased to say this is almost complete.   Spooking is almost non-existant except for the occasional "Hey, I'm super bored/this is hard.  Can I distract you a little? No? Ok, never mind"

We've been luckier this winter, not so much snow.  Lots of mud though, lots ... and lots ... and lots of mud. The Hippo loves mud. Every day of thaw she rolls, frolics and generally wallows. I arrive to a horse covered in mud from eyeballs to toes, sincerely grateful for the miracle of winter blankets and hoods.  So much for the idea of mares preferring to be clean.  Its ridiculous.

You think I'm exaggerating?  I wish! 
The past weekend was so gorgeous that we were able to get out of the ring and hack on the logging trails for the first time in a couple months. Not that I need 'good' weather, but it was the lack of ice that made it possible.  (Ice + rocky terrain and hills = Staying home thanks.)   Off we went, over hill and dale, through puddle and bog.  We even got to throw in a few hand gallops on the logging trail, to the delight of horse and human.  Go all the places, see all the things.

Rinse. repeat on Sunday.  I will say that it was a different experience settling into the saddle on Sunday though.  Not for the horse, she was still keen and thrilled to be headed away from the arena. I discovered that I had a few bruised & sore spots in, um, delicate areas.  Note to fellow riders, 'saddle sores' are a fantastic motivator for 2 point practise as you ride across country at walk, trot or canter. Your ... butt (yeah, that's it) ... will thank you.  Your thighs, however, will not.

The real qualifier for sainthood through was last night, as a big mare carted my tail over my
first 3' jump combinations in a decade.  See, that 3' marker is a big deal for me.  Its that line where horses can't just pull their legs up to jump, they have to rock back.  It requires a better horse and a better ride.
How do I feel about 3'+ jumps?  This sums it up perfectly
Its also where things fell apart with my last 2 horses.  The chicken had a measuring tape in his head and it was an utter crap shoot whether he'd jump or not it came to 3'.  Even if I didn't know, he did.  And the rocket?  Let's say her cantering her towards 3' with little control, and less idea from where she would decide to jump, was a worrisome prospect on a good day.

Well, I decided that I was going to give it a go last night.   Cranked some tunes, planned the ride with a good friend and off we went.  Pick up canter, leg on, throw the reins at her and pray the mare will ignore the doubts emanating from my hands/legs/seat.
Did someone say 3' combination?
First fence, powers off the ground, awesome. Leg on for the one stride, don't grab her face, leg on for take off.  And BOOM, big mare hits the boosters and blasts off the ground. I find myself squawking profanity and and wondering if I'm going to need a parachute.  Horse canters away wondering what the big deal is.

We repeat a few more times so I can set it in my brain that SHE is fine at 3'.  I just need to do the same thing as always.  Sit up, leg, and throw the reins at her.  She's got this, for which I am supremely grateful.
Yes, she's that awesome.  Well, today she is.

1 comment:

Bif said...

Love this... especially the floating unicorn!

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