Accountability has been the name of the game with me and Princess Murray lately.  I made all these goals at the beginning of the quarter, and a big part of achieving them means that we have to start getting serious about some things.  For example, no more yucky transitions.

IMG_3788(Memo to Murray: inverting is not the appropriate response to a request for a transition.)

No more sticky walk where I nag for forward with my seat.

No more rooting the reins out of my hands because I put some leg on.

No more dinosaur screams just because you feel like it. Kidding. Dinosaur screams accepted at all times.

It wasn’t until today that I realised that this means there is much, much more for me to be accountable for too!  Of course I knew that I was the one who was supposed to be setting Princess Murray up for these beautiful transitions, and encouraging him to respond to my aids instead of react to my aids.

So today, as is our program, I flatted a bit in my dressage bridle and jump saddle and reminded Murray that we are polite even on jumping days.  And then I popped around a few fences to work on my “prep” and “maintaining” seats, and Murray was a champ.  He popped around like it was his job (er, duh, it is) and I felt no hesitation from him even when we were approached the quarter round without standards or the scaryscarytires.

I’ve been jumping around on a fairly loose rein so if I get grabby when I get nervous I don’t mess with Murray’s mojo, and after I took a white gate on a floppy rein and tried to turn left, Murray kinda inverted his body and fishtailed around and changed leads up front but not behind and I was like “oh”.

The turn was shitty because I didn’t ride it properly.  Surprise!  And I didn’t ride it because I was so busy flopping around on the loose rein.  Oops!  But in all honesty, if I want us to improve, I have to be accountable too.  I can’t expect Murray to execute a nice turn if I don’t ride it right, and I can hardly expect Murray to remember that turns are to be executed nicely in general if I only ask him to do it half the time.

This requires a bit more planning from me.  If I have to ride up to the fences with a bit of a loose contact, for now, then I need to figure out how to get organized enough on the other side to give Murray the ride that he needs.  It’s not fair to Murray to expect this sometimes and not others, and then get cranky at him when he doesn’t do what I ask sometimes.  I mean, you study animal behavior, Nicole.  Pattern building.  Operant conditioning.  Pattern learning.  Get a grip, girl.

All of this to say that it’s time for me to be accountable all the time too.  Time to ride with more thought and reasonability, to ask what is fair as well as what is right, and to keep my pimp hand strong!!! keep both of us on course without flying into some kind of rage.  If Murray has proven anything to me lately, it’s that he will perform above and beyond expectations if only I ride properly.  It’s cool, Nicole, it’s just time to ride better all the time.  Ride right and don’t mess up and be fair and have good transitions and don’t twist my body and sit up straight and leg on and soft hands and and AND.

Ugh I can already feel the need for a hack coming on.

IMG_20150125_113058Posting this picture makes me wonder where that shirt went.