Superstar to Shitcanoe: The Story of CDCTA Dressage at Morven (Part 2)
|Sunday this chestnut superhero went away, and left behind a redheaded canoe full of shit that I vainly attempted to paddle through a 4-1 test in a partially flooded arena. Am I taking this metaphor too far? Probably. Oh well.|
Photo by Liz Stout
Our class was at 2pm, so we had even more time to burn on Sunday morning. Jan and I putzed around early feeding, grazing and watching rides.
|Also watching weather. It kept randomly raining then beaming brilliant sunshine, all of this with a high temperature of 55 degrees. Thanks, spring. You're so predictable.|
|More on the things we saw on Lyra's recap.|
|Post lunch Sunday warm up rings somehow always manage to be both empty and chaotic. Also Lyra looks super bored.|
|Locked/crossed jaw and tilted head and indicator of the shitstorm to come?|
|Love that hind leg. Do not love that dip in his neck, or whatever the hell I am doing with my hands.|
|Much more relaxed in the rising trot. Also, is it just me or does he look like an eventer in this photo? He's all lean and murderous-like.|
|Moooove sideways, horse. Goooooood horse.|
|Things are looking okay right now... but really they are about to go so downhill.|
|Our entrance looked good. I'm holding to that. |
(Fasten your seatbelts. This is going to be the best we're gonna look the whole test.)
|"Hello! I have arrived! I am also sure this ring is surrounded by demons, and I must investigate PRONTO!" -- Pig, probably|
I didn't show you the medium trot yesterday because it was awful. But today, I'm going to show it to you, because it's comedy gold. The judge was generous at this point (5.0) saying we needed "more ground cover and clearer suspension over X."
|"I'd like less puddles at X, kthnxbai" -- Pig|
The half pass right (6.0) was literally the highlight of this test. Enjoy the harmony while you can get it, folks. Shit only gets harder to watch from here.
|Such beauty, such grace, such... lack of suppleness in the back. Whatever. There was bend, he was touching my reins, and there was zero drama. I'm counting that as a win for this test.|
|"I am disinclined to acquiesce to you demands." -- Pig|
|No? Really? Tense? Who knew...|
|"THAT WATER IS POSSESSED WHY WON'T YOU BELIEVE MEEEEE?!" -- Pig|
|Consider this your educational moment of the day. Now, back to the catastrophic drama.|
|I think you can actually hear my teeth grinding together as I mutter "you piece of shit, just trot through the goddamn mud."|
|I think my favorite part of this is how we start to turn left and he goes "FUCK YOU WE'RE TURNING RIGHT" with his head. Yeah, uh. No. That's not cool, asshole.|
|I've never gotten a 3 on a circle before. Can't say this one wasn't fully deserved.|
I'm going to take a moment here. I know it's not cool to use harsh aids in the ring. I also know it's not a good idea to rise to my horse's mood and pick a ragingly huge fight. However, my nerves have been a bit shot the last month, and Guinness was being bad. This sort of behavior can quickly spiral out of control with him if you don't put a stop to it now. There's a difference between a horse being over-faced and panicked, or spooked, or in pain. This tantrum you're seeing here was none of those things. This was a dominant horse telling me in no uncertain terms that he is not playing this game today. And that is not an acceptable answer.
Could I have ridden better? 100% yes. (Let's start by suggesting I bend my elbows sometimes. Good lord.) Would that have resulted in zero tantrum throwing in this test? Maybe? Probably not.
Moving on, we put this heavy correction behind us and attempted a shoulder in (6.0). From there we had a transition into the extended walk (6.0, "keep hands quiet") that I was very much hoping would help loosen the rock in Pig's back. It did not.
|Why hello hollow back. How are you today?|
First he attempted his number one evasion, picking up the wrong lead. When I shut that shit down, he thought about rearing. When I shut that shit down, I didn't give him a chance to think about being backwards any more and I just booted him directly into the medium canter (5.0).
|"Fuck you" "No FUCK YOU" "No, FUCK YOU!" "Oh, fuck off, just GO!"|
Unfortunately, I was right. There were no goblins. The
|This half pass was nice. (6.0)|
After all this drama, the flying change was kind of a letdown. My horse felt like a bomb, but didn't try to eject me out of the arena. Honestly impressive (4.0)
|On my aids and kind of clean? Jesus, how is this movement one of the tamest in my whole damn test?|
|Yeah it's flat as hell, but this is one of the nicer extensions we've done in awhile.|
|Looks like the shoulders are ahead until we hit the mud puddle, but obviously I need to practice in front of a mirror more often.|
|At any rate, this change was late and very inverted.|
Feeling slightly better prepared, we rocketed down our line of 3 changes giving off this explosive "thing" to start...
|Well that was terrible.|
|This is honestly how I expected this line to ride all weekend. No big loss.|
|This is legitimately some of the best canter from the whole test.|
I looked her right in the face and said, "Ah well, I guess today he just wanted to do his best impression of a shitcanoe." She burst out laughing, and so did I. It's about all you can do in such a situation.
When she was done with us, I turned right back into the warm up ring. There was no way I was ending the day with Pig thinking he could continue to be so belligerent, stiff, and unrideable. We schooled transitions and lateral movements until his back unlocked, then a couple working pirouettes. In 5 minutes he was soft in the mouth again, and had transitioned from a stiff wannabe canoe to a bendy pretzel horse again.
|This shitcanoe and a half would like to be done now, kthnx.|
|Click for details.|
|Zero "fox" Given. Accurate shirt is accurate.|
|I also got a cup and this terrible photo of myself!|
|Though he did sit on the butt bar with his tail hanging out for the whole trip, sigh.|
|Here's to more adventures!|