Tuesday, June 4, 2013

When Eventers Go Behind Enemy Lines

In the last couple of weeks I've done a lot of things, and lots have happened, good, and bad.  Lets start with the bad.  Again with my no patience thing I set up an appointment to go try what looked on paper and the video as a really nice trail/low level eventer in a nice mellow AQHA mare package.  Now remember I said I wanted something safe, sound and honest, plus quiet.

And the mare was all those things with one little thing that I couldn't wrap myself around. I had never met the equine equivalent to a zombie until meeting that AQHA mare.  She had zero personality.  And while she was a great trail horse, her lumber gaits, and hard mouth made her unsuitable for anything but walk-trot lessons for children.  At the end of the test ride I tried to give her a peppermint and she didn't refuse so much as just stand there unresponsive. It was very strange. Needless to say she did not come home with me.

The good.  I plotted what to do next.  In my area of Virginia there are very few eventing barns, and even less that have lesson horses to do said eventing. So what's an eventer to do? Most would take dressage lessons until they found their equine soul mate. Not so with me. Dressage is lovely, and I actually enjoy it, but I know where I really need work is jumping.  So this Friday I have an appointment to audit lessons with a h/j trainer thats about 20 minutes from my house.

A long, long time ago I was a hunter rider. Then I came over to the dark side and never wanted to leave, but with no eventing barns within a reasonable distance I decided to go back behind the enemy lines and venture over to hunter land once more.  I am bitter sweet about it. I want to ride and jump, work on my equitation, possibly even show. But I'm not looking forward to the other aspects of hunter world that made it easy to leave the first time.  First I will not do a flat class, period. My life is not worth getting side swiped by an eight year old.  Second I want functional whether it's pretty or not, if it gets me safely where I want to go fine, but I am not doing the pretty perch thing that  I have been training myself out of for the last ten years.

What am I hoping for in this sojourn in to hunter land? Confidence.  I lost it somewhere on the last two green horses I had. And the last time I cantered the High Queen to a fence was last June, and that was a baby table jump and we had just flown up a bank and I just let her continue on in a good rythym to the bench. It wasn't exactly planned because usually at a canter she hits race horse mode four strides from the fence.  This I wonder if I think back on it might have been caused by whatever hidden issues she has that also cause the lameness.

The other good.  I finally got new orders to a new command in my area, and its looking like it won't interfere too much with my riding, and I'll have all my weekend and afternoons free. YEAH! Soooo happy about that.

The last bitter sweet comment. Today I was moving my much loved Pessoa saddle from the horse trailer where it had been living to the house so I could take out Seneca's narrow plate, and put in the medium one. This was sad because it meant I really had come to terms with retiring my beautiful drama queen.  As I was carrying the saddle to the backdoor that faces the back pasture Seneca called out to me in her deep, soft voice.  It was as if she thought I was going to take her for a ride.  I wanted to cry, but sucked it up and went in to the house. I still ache and feel like I let her down somehow in not finding the cause of her issues. So on Thursday while I have the day off I plan on giving her a spa day, a bath, beautification, the works.  Just because I can't ride her doesn't mean she can't still look like my princess.

Keep it between the flags everyone.


  1. I hope you find what you are looking for. It's never easy.

  2. Hi! I just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for a Liebster Award! http://nolongerfiction.blogspot.com/2013/06/ride-times-liebster-blog-award.html

  3. L. Williams) Me too, someday the right one will come along. It reminds me of that three part series on COTH that draws parallel lines between horse shopping and online dating. There is a prince/princess charming out there for me somewhere.

    Hawk) THANK YOU! I can't tell you how flattered I am that you would do that. I do the blog mostly for myself as a way to vent, but to have other people read it, like it and maybe take something from it is more than enough. But thank you so much for the nomination.

  4. Just found your blog so I need to do some reading so I know what's going on! Lol! I hate the AQHA mare didn't work out, my Quarter Horse was originally a zombie kind of horse due to just not feeling good, now I can't get him to stop cantering/galloping and he's made friends with the "evil" and "bratty" horse at the barn. Crazy how things change. ;)

  5. Kalin,

    AQHA's have a warm place in my heart as I've ridden quite a few and loved my last one dearly. Althought OTTB's are growing on me as well but I'd really love to have an Irish Draught, although I've always had a secret dream of owning a Friesian. The feed store/boardings stables has a pair and they are gorgeous.