Murray’s face is much, much, much improved. Thank you all for your sympathy, kind words, and healing thoughts. Murray’s eye is so much improved that he looks normal and I love him again — no more FrankenFace!!
We are cleared for riding, just no turnout, so Monday night we had a thriller of a lesson. It started out as perfection — Murray and I were both spot on and he was taking the long one or the deep one as I desired. I was able to control the quality of our canter easily, and kept him at an uphill, bouncy, powerful pace. Even the 1-1 combination worked out okay after we schooled it at a lower height, and though Murray had to save me a bit the first time we went through at 2’9″, I didn’t abandon him entirely.
It was one of those rides where my first priority (getting Murray over all the obstacles from a good spot and a quality canter without fighting) was right on, so I started to work out some of the little issues in my position. Sometimes when I’m not thinking about it, I feel my heels come up over big fences. I know this is because I grab with my knee and calf instead of sinking into my heels and grabbing with my ankles.
So I worked on that! And I could feel my heels staying down over the fences. And I put my stirrups up a bit and really focused on my equitation. I didn’t think about following hands, because sometimes when I think too much about my hands they do weird things. AND IT WAS WORKING. We didn’t have any refusals, even to weird fences, or fences Murray would have been looky at a few weeks ago, and there wasn’t even any hesitation. It was awesome.
Right up until it wasn’t.
After a few go-throughs of the 1-1 combo, we came into it and Murray did some weird shit with his body. We were crooked coming in so I tried to push him straight and forward at the same time. Murray pathetically deer-leaped the first fence and knocked it down, along with the standard, and seeing that we were completely discombobulated and had zero power, I pulled him out of the second fence, knowing that even if we crashed through that vertical, we’d definitely never make it over the oxer at the end. Close review of the video reveals that Murray was pretty strongly thinking about refusing the fence, and just had too much momentum in the end to truly stop, so was forced over it some kinda way.
Murray: nope don wanna, oh fuck gotta go anyway, shit it’s all coming down
And that started a long string of Murray being like “nope, can’t do it, no confidence left” and Nicole being like “FUCK YOU THIS IS FUCKING BULLSHIT HORSE”
To say I lost my temper would be an understatement.
Assistant trainer put down the verticals into Xs and Murray went over the first one with a strong ride, backed the fuck off to the second one, and there was once again no way we’d make it over the oxer, and I pulled out when I felt the brakes slam on. Assistant trainer put down the oxer to an X as well and I beat and screamed Murray through the combination, but it wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t fun, and I was so insanely let down by Murray going from absolute rock star to ???(*#@$??? (symbol of true unknowing, not a curse word — you know I don’t censor cursing in this blog) in the turn of one jump that he…. just decided he didn’t really want to jump?
After that second refusal I actually felt a huge adrenaline dump — my heart started racing, adn I was struggling to properly control my breathing a little bit. I wasn’t rationally scared of the fences or the oxer or the combo, but something about that refusal really fucked me in the adrenals. Probably that’s exactly what Murray feels when he suddenly is compelled to refuse a fence for no reason — “oh dear ponyChrist I’m so scared I can’t jump that fence holy shit my heart is racing and my body can’t do this and she wants me to jumpg ANOTHER JUMP WTF OMG”
So I feel a little sympathy for Murray and his random refusal to do things, occasionally. I’m not happy about it, but I’m sympathetic.
Plus, because it’s Thanksgiving week, I get another lesson to try to really sort it out. And we’re going to grid the shit out of our lives so we can get over this!