“The Winter Without End: 20th Century Western New York Edition” – I have not actually read the original book of that title, but I am pretty sure I know how it goes. In my own perfect storm of events, its Easter vacation and my indoor is in the process of getting new footing put in and (wait for the big surprise) it is taking longer then expected. Shamefully, I have been a pansy about riding in the outdoor this week. The snow is gone but the sub-freezing temperatures and 20mph winds remain. Also, last week Whitman hooked his shoe in the no-climb fence (whoever came up with that name is a big fat liar) and pulled several sections of fence down. Thankfully this did not require a visit from my dear vet and my husband was reasonably mellow about it. My husband would love to sell nitWhit. So, I have not ridden the dear little beast in a week and he has been worked in the indoor since December. Tonight, the choice was made that I would ride my horses regardless of wind and weather.
Thus, after an entire day of turnout, the wisest course of action was that first I would longe the melodramatic son-of-the-mother-of-my dog horse until he was too tired to misbehave. I believe that in a previous post it was mentioned that said animal broke away from me and has been trying to replicate the experience since. His opening act this evening was to try charging in at me. This got him beaned with the rubber stopper on the end of the longe line and that nipped that one in the bud. Then he commenced the bucking/bolting portion of the program and tried to rip away several times. I was doing pretty well when he gave it one more mighty try. It was a true battle of wills with my heels both literally and figuratively dug in, until folks, the f-ing line snapped. Both of us nearly fell over with that one.
Of course, I did the only thing I could do. I congratulated myself on having shut the gates before hand and whipped out my cell phone to get some video. Out of good sportsmanship, I took a few seconds of video and sent it to Chunkie’s owner with the caption of “my warmblood is a bigger ass than your thoroughbred”. I chased the evil twin around for a while and alternating between calling him names and admiring his truly lovely trot. Once he seemed reasonably tired, I caught him and hopped on. The ride was less exciting, though I kept him “deep and bent” most of the ride.
Now a mia culpa – a few years ago, I was reading an article about Edward Gal and Totillas. Gal stated that when he first tried Totillas that he only rode him for a few minutes and got off because he was a little scared of what the horse would do. At the time, I had an uncharitable thought about dressage riders and that event riders would have never said that. I rode my horse for more then a few minutes, but certainly have a greater understanding of the sheer power these horses possess and I know my horse is not the next Toto. I have ridden a lot of horses with significant behavior issues, and the power of a “regular” horse versus one of these warmbloods is not even in the same ball park. The potential energy and strength of these horses can only be experienced and not explained. There is a reason that the upper levels of dressage are dominated by horses whose breed registries are usually in a foreign language.
In defense of the evil twin, the riding portion was quite uninteresting beyond the fact that he is a seriously fancy mover. My husband’s herd of Belgians was tearing around the pasture next to us and nitWhit held it together. However, in my pursuit of the lightness and harmony of dressage and not being lawn darted into the ground, I had boogers streaming into the wind because I refused to take my hand off the reins for a second to wipe my nose.
Reporting from Portland – Beer Budget Dressage, y’all.