In a land far, far away and a time long past, I had another horse named Fuzzy. He was beautiful and fancy and an amazing jumper. He was supposed to be the horse that I did my first prelim on, my first 3-day, my first intermediate, well you get the picture.
|Fuzzy at Ledyard in 1994|
I spent the winter getting to know him better and that spring we once again made an attempt at novice. I had ridden the novice there several times and was quite familiar with the track. It was straightforward and relatively easy. Or so I thought. Fuzzy ran away with me and flipped over a table - the same table the fence judge told me was the easiest fence on the course...
I think this was the first time I ever remember not wanting to get back on. I was knocked out and can still remember coming to and going through the checklist - am I breathing? can I still feel my hands? do my fingers still move? what about my legs? can I move my toes? Not a fun experience at 14. Fuzzy apparently had dirt from the tip of his ear to the tip of his tail. I was covered in dirt and relatively unharmed - concussion, dislocated thumb, and sore but that's it. Not bad in the grand scheme of things. But what took the worst beating was my confidence. I still struggle with it to this day.
I continued to ride Fuzzy and we continued to compete, eventually cantering around prelim. If I'm brave, I may even post a video in a different history lesson. My point to this particular history lesson is I rode for the next 2 years after the fall scared. And it wasn't fun. I couldn't eat for about 3 days before cross country and wanted to throw-up every time I left the start box. In Fuzzy's defense, he never did anything that naughty again. In fact, he was a pretty genuine guy. Sometimes I wish he'd slammed on the brakes more often and maybe I would have realized it wasn't fun a bit more quickly. Fuzzy was a great horse, a phenomenal horse even but I hated going cross country. I was terrified I was going to make a mistake that would end up with him being hurt or me so I rode backwards. I think I was secretly hoping he'd make the right decision for us. But he just kept on trucking despite me.
I wish I'd realized sooner that we were not an eventing match made in heaven. We could have spent some quality time in the jumper ring and had a total blast. Coulda, woulda, shoulda. He wasn't the easiest horse to deal with on the ground and dressage was tough to say the least but he saved my butt more times then I like to remember and for that I will always be grateful (and that's the reason he had a home for life - we had to put him down in Jan 2009).
|King Oak Training - Spring 1995|
Onto more practical matters - I had a jumping lesson on Wed. As usual, Charlie was great. We spent the first half of the lesson working on the flat, applying what we'd learned from Carolyn. In talking with Janna, she described Carolyn perfectly - she's very, very subtle. We had some great flatwork - once again, Janna had to remind to keep my upper body back. As soon as I stretch up, his balance improves significantly. Especially in the canter. I practiced that today and could feel a real difference when we went down the hill. Then we did some grid work starting with a placing rail and a cross rail and ending with a double bounce, one stride to a 3 foot oxer - eek! Charlie was great and I really worked on trying to keep my upper body quiet, letting him jump up to me. I had so much fun! I think Charlie did too as his ears were forward the whole time.
It was beautiful out yesterday and today - Charlie got to spend both days without a blanket! Yay! I always feel bad for their skin in the winter - always covered with a blanket, it never gets to breathe.
|Charlie and Sadie enjoying the sunshine and 70 degree weather.|