thoughtful equestrian

I can appreciate any horse.

-the legs on a thoroughbred

-the beautiful head of an Arabian

-the feathers of a draft

-the colors of a pinto

-the booty of a quarter horse

-the neck of a hunter

-the cuteness of a pony

-many more.

Every horse is special and I don’t understand why some people cant see it. Just because you’ve never ridden/shown that breed of horse, doesn’t make them a lesser breed.

Equestrians.

Our thighs could crush bones.
We have abs of stone
And calves of steel.
Our arms can lift 80 pound hay bales
And we could knock someone out with a kick.
We fall 7ft to the ground.
We jump towering objects
On animals that weigh 10x more than we do with minds of their own.
We slide, spin, pirouette, run, jump, and reach the sky from high above the ground.
We ride through storms with a smile on our face and rain in our boots.
Our ambition is fierce
Our competition is long
Our hearts belong to half ton beasts.
Our souls are tied to whinnies and hoofbeats on pavement.
Our shirts smell like horse sweat.
We’ve got hay in strange places
And dirt on our faces.
Our teammates can’t speak our language
So we know how to listen to words that can’t be spoken.
We get kicked and bitten.
We get thrown from the air.
We’ve flown and we’ve fallen
We’ve won and we’ve lost.
Our best teachers have hooves
And our classrooms have dust.
We risk our lives every day
When we sit atop the animals that are our best friends.
Our mentors.
Or co-workers
Our families.
Life is about horse hair on our clothes and peppermints in our pockets.
Failure comes daily
But we learn from it all.
Because we know we are equestrians
And we
Are
Always
STRONG.

So I’ve been practising for my eq test a little...

Yesterday, my trainer invited me to a spontaneous jumping lesson. On the speedy mare.
Mind the fact that I have jumped less than 10 fences and haven’t even had a jumping lesson more than twice. And one of these times, I fell off the speedy mare. Who - ironically - was to be my ride.

My trainer and I set up some jumps at the path right beside the motorway. And by “right beside”, I mean 15 meters from the street. She needed help because a smol horse bucked her off and her knee - which has been in need of a replacement for like 10 years - kinda popped out of its place, lel.

Then we rode there and I told my trainer that I was sorry that she would have to remember this beautiful day in May as the day I died and she actually got nervous and asked me if I didn’t want to wear a back protector, but of course my dumb ass declined, hahah.
I asked the other girl - who rode the moose, my former lease horse - if she wanted to go first. But she didn’t.

So I kinda reluctantly pushed the speedy mare forward, and she went into a nice, well-controlled trot. I was still sitting there like “fuck - fuck - fuck”, though. Got over the jump fine. She didn’t go too early or slow down or anything, we just hopped over it nicely. Although of course I was feeling terrible. The jumps were like 50cm, and she’s an ex jumper, so they were but a lame joke to her, lol.

Which meant she needed to spice things up a bit. Rode a turn, took the second jump - mare took off earlier than expected, I was left behind, then nearly landed on her neck, but kinda managed to stabilise and slow her down.
Halted, turned around, tried to ride the same combination again. Speedy mare went into a canter right after turning, took off approximately 5m before the small jump and landed 10m after it. Nearly lost a stirrup, but hung on. Second jump, same game. But I was prepared for an earlier-than-scheduled take-off and managed to somehow, kind of move with her, leaving me with a decent feeling.
She got fairly headstrong as we cantered away from the jumps, but I managed to talk and slow her into a trot and eventually halted her near the grass, where I let her graze. Only then did I notice that my heartrate was probably at an unhealthy level and I was breathing heavily. I just didn’t know what to expect from jumping, and - knowing the speedy mare - I was kind of afraid of not being able to stop her after the jumps; She has the tendency to gallop off with shitty riders like me, hahah.

Anyway, the other girl started driving the moose forward, but the big boy didn’t want to play. He stood there, reared, turned around, kicked out with one of his hindlegs; Seriously, he looked like one of those mechanical rodeo cows, just much more gangly and a little less abrupt.
So of course the girl became afraid, didn’t manage to make him go on, and my trainer let me do another round with the speedy mare. This time, we flew around the course, I barely managed to slow her down on the turn, and probably made the 50cm fences look like 1.5m water jumps. But I felt my position become a little bit more secure and managed to slow her down alright as we came back. I was so glad I survived.

Then we swapped mounts. The other girl - now on the speedy mare - didn’t even manage to pop the red monster over the rails, though. Eventually, my trainer chased them over one fence and they managed a full round.
The problem: She was unable to stop the horse as she came towards me from the last fence. My trainer yelled to me to block the path somehow, and I managed to urge the moose into her running way, so she slowed to a trot and wiggled around us and eventually went into a walk. Nothing happened, but the girl’s knees were weak and her hands shaking, either way.

So I got my turn on the moose. Sent him forward. He started his usual game that he had played with me when I was leasing him and he didn’t want to leave the property. Kicking, half-hearted rearing, canter pirouettes, head shaking, snorting, bouncing, the whole program. I kept waving the whip at his side and once accidentally scolded him “Attila!”, lol.
Then we finally managed to go for the first fence. We were supposed to take it in a trot, but he was cantering slowly and I thought: “Well, better to go over it in a canter than to hold him back now.” So I just went with what I got and he went over like a champ.
Had a hard time slowing him to a trot at the turn, then he caught the next fence in his eye and went boom. Long, flowing stride, ears forward, head down. I slipped the reins and leaned forward a bit, brushing the side of his neck, and right over we went.
Halted, turned around. Different horse, same problem: Hopped into a canter - although a less bouncy one - from a standstill, zoomed towards the obstacle. Didn’t go over it very well, but it was alright. Took the last one, slowed him down, let him graze.

Trainer told me to turn around and go for another run. This time the moose didn’t protest as much, we wiggled towards the jump at the trot, got over it fine, though. He didn’t let me slow him to a trot on the turn again, and there are some rocks on the inside of it, so we added an extra jump over those that made my trainer think we had fucked up completely, haha.
Anyway, the next jump went very well. I was actually able to sit down deep before the jump and moved my hands forward instead of just letting the reins slip and had a great feeling, basically. Like I was actually jumping instead of hanging on like an idiot.
Turned around, went over them again, had a decent feeling, although we went way too fast, lol.

I was dead after all that excitement and holding myself in position over these few jumps, but I’m glad I didn’t die and I’m starting to feel like jumping might be a fun thing to do after all.

Small equestrian problems:

  • having to hold the bridle above your head to untangle the reins so they don’t touch the ground
  • saddling horses; just… in general
  • trying to clean a horse’s face when it keeps trying to hold its head too high for you
  • washing a horse and all the water running down your arms
  • getting on a horse
  • not reaching below the saddle flaps with your legs
  • brushing the back of a tall horse
  • leading a horse and having people think the horse got loose because they can’t see you walking beside it
  • literally anything horse-related unless you’re riding a small pony tbh

The majority of our up-coming young riders think like children on fair ponies and not trainers on animals bred for performance. They should strive to better themselves and their horses, not solely the size of the jump they can manage.
Our grade school, and the majority of our teenage riders, focus on simple accomplishments, not the overall goal.

Riding is about how you ride in between the fences, what you do over the obstacle is of much less importance.

They need to know how their and their partner’s body works. The horse is a complicated, yet simple creature. Teach him how to use his body, how to stretch and be supple, not just ride in false roundness. Our uneducated young riders think dressage is having a horse’s head “on the vertical” when they don’t even know where or what the vertical is. (Let alone what poll flexion stems from)

Teach our naive generation, and the those after us, to train the horse, not just ride it.

—  mseventer
(Thoughts and conclusions from what I have seen)
Take Me To WEF (eq remix of Take Me To Church)

My pony’s got bad luck
She’s the bucker in short stirrup
I saw the glares of disapprovers
Should’ve switched my barn sooner
If the judges ever did speak
They’d suggest a harsher mouthpiece
Every show day’s getting more bleak
Disappointment each week
“We can’t do this,” You heard them say it.
My new coach is no pushover
She tells me, “You need a do over.”
The only riding that I should do
Puts my horse and me in tune
I can do this
Cause I love it
Teach me to do well.
Train. Train them. Train them. Train them.

Take me to WEF
I’ll worship like a dog at the size of that stride
I’ll tell you my faults and you can sharpen my eye
Offer me that groom position
Trainer let me give you my life

(REPEAT)

If I’m a jumper I’m the good kind
Steady leg into the two stride
Keep the timer on my side
Double clear with concealed pride
Back on at three
After the grand prix
Tricky rollbacks in the first course
That’s a fine looking eq horse
Who’s the head of your stable?
Heard he deals under the table
Soften my knee
Maintain the speed
Channel our flatwork

Take me to WEF
I’ll worship like a dog at the size of that stride
I’ll tell you my faults and you can sharpen my eye
Offer me that groom position
Trainer, let me give you my life

(REPEAT)

No martingales or sticks when the undersaddle begins
There is no better incident than a horse on the bit
In the madness of the warm-up, a sad, fad flooded scene
Overcome the indifference
Overcome the routine
Ooh, Oooh, train them, train them, train them

Take me to WEF
I’ll worship like a dog at the size of that stride
I’ll tell you my faults and you can sharpen my eye
Offer me that groom position
Trainer let me give you my life

(REPEAT)

I can’t worry about anything else when I’m at the barn, it’s 100% my safe place. I feel most like myself, the most free. Horses will never judge me & I know how to handle them. It’s something I can do, & it’s something I’m good at. My weight doesn’t matter, nor do my grades. I’m happy, my best friend is at the barn. Horses calm me down & cheer me up. They’re my best therapy option & the reason I keep going.