Like The Eventers Do
|happier, warmer, drier times|
If you're on Facebook, you may have seen the posts of eventing legend Denny Emerson making the rounds - posted under the name Tamarack Hill Farm. Denny has been riding and eventing since the dark ages, and still competes, trains young horses, and jumps big jumps today in his 70's. With countless championships and an Olympic Games under his belt, Denny's been there, done that, and offers his bottomless wisdom up to the masses via Facebook on a daily basis.
One thing that rings out loud and clear in Denny's posts is that he's a strong believer in hard work. He espouses that the great, winning riders of the world don't just ride when they 'feel like it.' They ride day in, day out, regardless of the weather. They take the time to train and condition their horses slowly and correctly, and they WORK.
These little nuggets were rattling around in my brain yesterday as I did my barn chores, wrinkling my nose at the chill rain that was drizzling down. It was a relatively warm day, clocking in around 50 degrees, but wet, miserable, and windy all the same. I hadn't really ridden since my lesson last week, but it was raining... and dark... and there were puddles in the ring... and did I really want my new saddle to get wet?
Then, in a strange spiritual experience, from somewhere up in Vermont, Denny Emerson spoke to me and told me to get my ass on my pony and RIDE. So I did.
And despite getting totally soaked to the bone and being completely cold and miserable afterwards, Dino and I had a great school.
I worked on staying in the more-dressagey-less-hunter-perchy position that my trainer had helped me with last week, and found it easy to get there. I love my saddle more and more every time I ride in it! It's so secure without being restricting, and so balanced, and Dino goes so well in it. Whether it was the cold rain or he was just feeling perky, Dino was very alert and easy to get in front of my leg. His trot work was super energetic and uphill, and while the little bit of canter we managed in the sloppy ring wasn't fantastic, it was balanced and I tried to remember to let my arms flow with him. I also worked on keeping Dino's uphill balance through a series of trot poles, and by the end of the ride it seemed like he was really starting to catch on. I also halted a few strides after the last pole so that the pony would start anticipating that and begin to balance back on his hind end on his own.
But really, I'm still just tickled that I can softly pick up the reins and my pony goes round. Broke ponies are fun.