Plan C

My original plan for this past weekend was another Prelim CT at our favorite little schooling venue. Then I realized that Trainer was XC schooling at Pine Hill the same day, so I scratched the CT and made plans for XC schooling instead. Sure, our dressage and stadium need a lot more work, but I will never say no to XC. It’s not in me. That’s like… “Hey do you want to go do hours of advanced calculus and chemistry or would you rather eat cake and win the lottery and take a nap?”. Like duh.

Image result for so excited gif
How Henry and I feel about XC

But then it rained a crapton at Pine Hill the day before, effectively shutting down our plans for all things fun, and it was too late to re-enter the CT. Trainer is quick on her feet though and quickly came up with a plan for stadium lessons at a private barn just an hour south of me. Only having to drive an hour each way for a lesson is like a win in and of itself. Plus… let’s be honest… we need stadium lessons. Lots of them. LOTS OF THEM.

I asked for the earliest time slot, since the one hour drive does require me to trek directly across Austin itself. If I’m in and out early, traffic is no biggie. No one wants to be stuck in downtown traffic, especially not with a horse trailer. Still though, I didn’t ride til 9:15, which meant I didn’t even have to get up early since it is literally impossible for me to sleep past 6am no matter what day it is. Plus I was the first and only person into the freshly dragged arena. Plan C was looking better and better.

We kept the jumps small and the lesson simple. As usual, I am overthinking and trying to do way too much. Really I just need to focus on my canter and my rhythm and on being straight and omg stop it with the rest. Doing more than that does not work with this horse or with me. It’s funny, when I was in Katy a couple weeks ago working the Luxe EQ trailer, my old trainer from many years ago (before he moved to Houston) was helping me set up the racks on the first day. He’s married to the shop owner… it’s complicated. Anyway, I told him my stadium was real shitty these days and he said “Well, are you overthinking it and doing too much?”. As usual, he’s like a friggin’ oracle. Always has been. Either that or he just knows me really well by now. I nodded and replied “Yes, of course.”. Clearly this is not new behavior for me. He said “And the horse is actually doing what you tell him, isn’t he?”. I just sighed and nodded. He chuckled and raised his eyebrows, “Yeah that’s not good.”, then launched into his patented Horses Only Know Four Things speech that I have heard many times but obviously have not ever actually retained very well.

like, sometimes I can’t even turn right.

My current trainer is in total agreement with The Oracle (as am I), so we really focused on me just sitting and waiting and supporting with my leg, and using my upper body to adjust him. Sometimes I was successful, sometimes not. Doing LESS has always been really difficult for me. I’ve also always had the tendency to shut him down way too much in the turns, effectively ruining my rhythm, so we did small courses with lots of tight turns that forced me to keep riding him forward. If I pulled, they didn’t work. If I kept my leg on and just used my upper body to rebalance, everything came up perfectly. The beauty of self-correcting exercises.

Really, Plan C worked out perfectly. Especially because we were done and pretty much home and unloaded by the time the gross nasty cold front blew through.


20 thoughts on “Plan C

  1. Thinking too much. I probably need to think more but i know what you mean. Like you get so deep in your head you can’t even do basic things. Glad the Oracle (LOL) and your trainer agree. sorry your cc school got cancelled but this sounds like it was a worthy replacement! GO Henny!! (Mr Eager he is)


      1. Come on, Amanda! We need to know and I know you can summarize it for us. Short & sweet would suffice if you don’t feel like details.


  2. “Is the horse doing what you’re telling him to do?” “Yes? Well that’s a problem.” –> yea this is usually not the greatest thing for me either lol. i’m not nearly accurate enough to be that influential….. lately i’m trying so hard to rewire myself to push forward in turns instead of always trying to pull or “collect.” it’s hard tho….


    1. Yeah if I start thinking collect, I inevitably start going a bit backwards and BAM horse is behind my leg. I have to think of really riding the hind leg forward and up instead.


  3. I am such an overthinker in the saddle. I love lessons though, because for some reason I can actually stop overthinking for an hour and allow someone else to do my thinking for me haha.
    My poor horse always tries his hardest to do exactly what I’m asking – although I think he is beginning to learn that I don’t actually know what I’m doing, because he constantly is saving my butt and making the better decision.


  4. I feel like we could lesson together, because we do similar things. I love to “help” way too much, and if I don’t see my spot when I come out of the corner (which is generally never, who can see them that far away?) I keep my leg, but lock up my arms. So basically I just leg and pull and go nowhere till I find something that’s usually too close and kinda weak. (See why I have to stay in hunter/jumper land? I’d die outside the ring!) Maybe you don’t do all of that, but it reads pretty similar. I think I get a lot out of your lesson recaps. They hold me over until I might actually get one myself! (If my yellow horse ever gets his foot grown out…)


  5. OMG I am in such suspense. What are the four things a horse knows??
    If I had to guess it would be:
    1. When I hear tires on the driveway at 7am, I get breakfast.
    2. When I look like this [derp], I get cookies.
    3. When I keep the human from falling off, I get carrots.
    4. When I come in from the field, I get dinner.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I have been told to do less more times than I can count. By more than one trainer. With my current horse, I like to squeeze him with my leg constantly. It’s not helpful. Trainer always has to tell me stop bumping him with your leg unless you mean it. But I feel like I HAVE to do something. My brain understands the concept of less is more, but my brain and body can never get on the same page to actually make that happen.


  7. I have a PhD in overthinking, so I feel you. It is funny how we can know something to be true, but damn it if we cannot actually MAKE our minds and bodies listen LOL! (And you need to enlighten us all to the four things horses know, please…???) 🙂


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