Since July last year, I’ve been keeping a log of all the different horses I work with, partially for interest’s sake, partially for research purposes and also with the vague idea that then I would at least have something more specific than “rides so much that good gloves last three months” to put on my CV. I lost half of my records when my dear old computer gave up the ghost, but I’ve managed to keep track of the whole of January. I record the horse’s name, its level of training, owner, breed, type of workout, and equipment used. Not all the sessions I put in are rides – I’ll hazard a guess that a quarter or more are groundwork sessions – and I also tend to add situations like loading difficult horses or doing their feet. I do this mostly so that I can go back and see what equipment we used, in case I come across the situation again and have forgotten. (Things tend to pass straight through my head without touching down, as the poor Mutterer could emphatically tell you).
So, January’s statistics:
- 118 sessions
- owned by 6 different people (including me)
- from untouched to Elementary dressage
- eight different breeds, including Quarter Horses, warmbloods and an abundance of Nooitgedachters (love those so much)
- eight lessons with two different instructors, one offsite
- no shows yet. My little grey barrel is still too fat to get around a course of more than six jumps without rolling any poles off with her big belly.
A great start to 2015, methinks. We wrapped up the month with a lesson yesterday afternoon, which was… interesting. The Mutterer, the ponies and I were all extremely tired after a long week (Saturdays aren’t particularly perky days for any of us). I was especially brain dead (I would have been really dead, too, if the Mutterer hadn’t noticed my loose girth and made me stop and pull it up; tacking up in your sleep is real) but luckily the horses were also too tired to argue and hauled my sleepy and undeserving bottom over the jumps whether the distance I picked at random was any good or not. It just really wasn’t our day. On the bright side, Magic was a sensible, level-headed superstar and even managed not to pull my arms off despite the fact that I was jumping him just in the snaffle. We also tried a fantastic new exercise involving a jump set on one long side of the arena and a set of five or six bending poles on the other; this way I was forced to bring the horses back to a trot and be able to maneouvre them through the poles after the jump, improving our steering, control and concentration. The bending poles were jump uprights, so I only had to whack my foot once before paying attention. Arwen’s flatwork was also superb, even prompting a compliment from the Mutterer. We do have to work on her head position a little more – she tends to drop it a bit low, and occasionally nods behind the vertical, although that is just her figuring out her own strength and should go away by itself – but there is progress. She had a fantastic rhythmic canter going that made me very happy.
Our place is bursting at the seams with horses at the moment; every time my poor dad turns his back another one pops up, although he is very good about it. I have the Horde and my sister has her mare, plus the stubborn and wonderful donkey who doesn’t seem to belong to anyone very much (I quite often have to cast my exasperated eyes skywards and say, “Lord Jesus, speak to Your donkey!”). That makes seven, added to which are the Mutterer’s threesome which I am busy schooling (anyone want to buy a saintly white gelding? And I do mean saintly). Plus today my vet is bringing over her chestnut Anglo-Arab filly with a dominant personality, which basically explains why she needs a trainer. This should be interesting.