Saturday was the last boot camp lesson before Nationals. I was assigned Lola. Back in the spring, Lola and I showed to good effect [Report & below]. However, that was a class of four horses in huge ring. Boot camp is twice as many horses in half the space. Lola does not appreciate crowds. She had made her feelings known the last time I rode her [Boot Camp Bucks].
Of course, bad behavior causes worry causes tension causes bad behavior. Lola hopped and fussed around the ring while I snarled hysterically at anyone who got too close. There were small children present, so I tried to keep my language clean. Instructors kept telling me to loosen my reins, loosen them even more, and ignore the fact that I was going Mach 2 at a trot.
Finally, I called her a bitch, dropped my hands, and rode like a hunter. We got along ever so much better. I have far more authority riding from nearly 50 years of hunter/jumper/eventing/dressage experience than I do riding from one year as a saddleseat student. Plus, we moved on to canter. I am less likely to fret about a horse running away at a canter than at a trot. Go figure.
I can ride effectively or elegantly. Pick one. While the ablity to fall back on being effective is good for my ego, it does not bode well for my future as an equitation star. Before I congratulate myself too much on my equestrian brilliance, we cannot overlook the possibility that
a) We changed directions. Horses have definite preferences from one side to the other.
b) She got tired. Exuberance tends to diminish as the work goes on.
c) I am deluded. I am simply telling myself a pretty story to cover up the fact that I made a hash out of the ride. Witness accounts may vary.
If you wish a more concise summation, see Dana’s Doodles here.