Not a lot of media due to being there without ground crew so I’ll keep this short and to the point.
Eeyore was amazing.
Trainer AB continues to build my confidence in leaps and bounds.
I left thinking “We can do this. We can actually do this!” for the first time since trying this sport the fall of 2016.
I met up with Trainer AB and one other rider at FENCE Sunday morning for a go around the course. I’d been there three times with Gemmie and have found that there are a few teeny tiny jumps I’m ok with popping over and figured I’d at least spend time in the water.
Eeyore started off with his head firmly up his rather rotund buttocks. He was so fixated on the other horse during warm up that you’d have thought they knew each other for years not just 15 seconds. Trainer AB eventually hopped on his rearing, sassy butt and galloped him up the massive hill a couple times which not only instilled the fact that he can work away from another horse but also had the added benefit of being strenuous enough to make him realize life can really suck when you don’t get in line.
Once she handed him back to me it was on to some jumps. I looked around a little dismayed that there was only a single jump in the immediate vicinity that I was comfortable jumping: a tiny red jump on the starter course that I had jumped previously with Gem. I figured she’d work the other girl who is showing BN and schooling N for a planned move up after AECs this fall and we’d move on to find some jumps for us.
She told me to take the red starter ramp and well, there is just something about the combo of Eeyore under me who never says no to anything and Trainer AB on the ground with her quiet confidence and insistence that I’m a better rider than I give myself credit for, that make me just go and do the thing.
So I did.
We went over that a few times and then she said “ok…do the next one”
I looked around for “the next one” but didn’t see anything. Then it dawned on me. She meant the BN bench. Uh….
She nodded to me and well….if she thought we could it then so did I. I approached at the trot and he flew over that thing like it was 4′ tall. Trainer AB chuckled and commented on how big he had jumped and I laughed back that it felt even bigger!
The next time I backed way off and let him drift to the right. He glanced off the side though being a Good Boy he still jumped the side of it. We circled around again and came with me actually riding and over he went no issue.
I felt like I was flying. I felt like I had wings. I felt like I could do absolutely anything. Riding folks. It gives you confidence for all your life.
By this time he was blowing hard and was radiating heat. The sun was covered by a heavy cloud bank and while the heat was nicely blocked out the humidity felt at 90% and the sweat was pouring off me like a waterfall.
We all agreed it would be best to head to the water next for some cool down play time. Eeyore hadn’t seen water for over a year yet he waltzed right in like an old pro. The jumps in and around were N and up so she had us work on coming into the water from the steep down hill approach through the water and out the steep up hill. The whole goal was maintaining the trot and forward momentum while not letting him fall on his face going down or speed up going out.
Eeyore very much enjoyed the water and we had a good time playing through there before heading up the hill to the cluster of banks. We attacked the tiny middle one that I’ve done with Gem a few times.
I was taken completely off guard when he took one look at the bank and slammed on the breaks in alarm. It was the first time he ever gave me an honest “no” as an answer. I think it just caught him off guard and he didn’t know what to do so in his safe way he stopped to look for guidance. We came back and let him walk up it and from there he gave a hearty, and rather obnoxiously large, yes each time.
It took me a while to get my own rhythm and body under control up the bank but eventually I got Trainer AB’s approval.
As one final task she had us go back to the water, come through it then over to the bank and up. By the time we did that Eeyore was done. He was blowing hard and overheating, so she told us we graduated and I headed back to strip tack and dump water on him at the trailer.
I was so so so so proud of him. Outside his obnoxious warm up behavior he was amazing. It took a bit to get him to settle when the other horse would go off to do his thing but that is just an experience thing. He was honest, brave and bold all day long and handled the terrain and insane humidity very well.
I drove back home with yet another grin on my face. He may not be fancy. He may have a wonky gait at times. He may have his head firmly up his butt. Folks. This horse though. This horse. He makes my life better on the daily. He brings sunshine and hope and dreams. He is amazing in all his odd ways.
Ok. So maybe that wasn’t short or to the point.