jumping:dressage with obstacles as showing: ??

Remember when the SAT had that amazing analogies section that confused the fuck out of 96% of people, and the last 4% were major over achievers or just faking their understanding?  Yeah, those were awesome.  I finally understand how to do them, now.  Thirteen years too late.

this is my horse scratching his own sheath with his teeth because he’s just that flexible.
on the other hand, the mystery of how he bloodied his sheath is now solved.

We hear a lot of analogies in training; jumping is just dressage with obstacles, right? (Or, as I like to call it “dressage with shit in the way”).  And I’m going to try to push my own analogy for the forseeable future.  And please, chime in with your opinions on this because I am pretty sure I just made this up and it could be completely, completely invalid.

Showing: just schooling with field trips.

Part of this is a coping mechanism.  Murray and I aren’t anywhere near as “ready” for Twin as I hoped to be (though every ride we have as the show gets closer promises to prove me wrong), and if there’s anything I hate it’s being underprepared.  But my goal is to get him out and showing this year, and so even if we aren’t going out there totally prepared to finish on our dressage score or ready to take home all the prize moneyz, this will still be a valuable experience for us.  Every show that we get through without Murray being a) eaten by a pony-eating jump, b) murdered by his owner, or c) disqualified is another check mark in the “see, shows aren’t that bad Murray!” column.  And that’s what I want.

And really, should an impending show change the way I’m schooling and riding?  I’m trying to create a well-rounded and correct horse, not learn tricks to pick up points on a dressage test.  Sponging my hands or wiggling my ring finger or whatever other nonsense I could come up with to get Murray to look like he’s in a frame for a dressage test aren’t going to be long term solutions that teach him how to come on the bit and use his body better.  Sure, there are movements that need a little more practice and transitions that can be polished, but ideally, I’d be working those transitions in at home as well.  But those aren’t big things that I need be “preparing” for.


things i do need to prepare for: making my fabulous new stock ties!!

So for the rest of the year, I’m going to treat all of my upcoming shows as schooling field trips.  Or try to, at least.  Schooling field trips that I’ll get feedback from strangers on!  And where my tack is really clean and my breeches really white.

The goal is not to change my riding or training or stress out about the fact that shows mean things to people who like to win (I am also one of these people, so I’m trying to be less of one of these people).  Shows are just schooling away from home or schooling after a trailer ride.  We’ll see if this mentality works on Murray!

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anxiety dreams

I often have anxiety dreams, though it wasn’t until quite late in life that I realized that’s what these were.  Dreams where my teeth are loose or fall out, or more commonly where I’m driving and my car has NO BRAKES.  When that starts happening I know that there’s something going on in my life that I’m stressing about — but I never have those stress dreams about the actual event.  I’m never naked at my thesis defense, or at school without my homework, though I do often find myself in perplexing situations without necessary items, like on the savannah without a car.  None of my anxiety dreams seem to represent actual, real-life problems — except the teeth falling out one. I have terrible teeth.

The one exception is horse show anxiety dreams.  I have horse show anxiety dreams that are about actual horse shows, and while the scenarios in them aren’t exactly realistic, they aren’t far off.  More than once I have dreamed that I’m trotting down the centerline or cantering out of the start-box and Murray disappears from beneath me, and there’s nothing for it but to do the test or course on foot.  Weirdly, this has never dream-happened to me regarding stadium.

A few nights ago I dreamed that I couldn’t find my white stock tie, and the only tie I could ride in was a black, straight, men’s tie*.  It was mortifying!  To top it off, I spent a good three hours getting ready, and with about two minutes to my ride time I looked into Murray’s paddock to see that he was filthy, unbraided, and totally un-tacked.  I promptly woke myself up from that one.

* A straight, brown men’s tie was part of my winter school uniform from ages 6-13. I got quite proficient at tying a half windsor in my youth.

Before the July Camelot even in 2015 I had a ton of anxiety dreams, but the best one was also about a stock tie!  This time I needed to pick up a stock tie about 3 hours before my ride time — reasonable, right?  So we went to the local JoAnn’s fabrics — because that’s totally where one gets stock ties — and I hemmed and hawed over fabrics and finally picked a fabric and was ready to make my stock tie.  But I wasn’t allowed to use the sewing machines at the back of the store! (For those of you unfamiliar with JoAnn’s fabric, communal sewing machines are not something they typically feature.)  I somehow got my stock tie made/finished/purchased (it was some kind of glittery silver fabric, I know that much), but by that point my ride time was LOOMING upon us and the show venue was 45 minutes away.

So apparently I have serious anxiety surrounding stock ties?  I’d better make sure mine is finished (crafting it this weekend!) and packed well before we leave for Twin!