Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Basics

(pictured to the left: Eddie meditating on all the things he has learned so far this year.)

The title of this post (ab0ve) is, basically, what Eddie and I have been getting up to all year long. Back in 2005, I acquired a lovely, sweet, and "made-by-God-only-for-Holly" horse. He was 10-years-old and had a checkered past. Fortunately, for me and Eddie, my friend Kelly Wallace bought him a year or so before I got him, so he had a good start when he came to me. Unfortunately (for Kelly), I ended up on him as a result of a fall she had taken from him which broke her leg and left her looking for another mount.

In the time since Eddie and I were brought together, we had some good success at what we will tentatively call "eventing" (since we did compete in the equestrian discipline of eventing, we competed in USEA recognized events, we qualified for the USEA Area III championships - twice, we qualified for the USEA's AECs - twice, we are both registered competitors with the USEA, and we have lots of photographs and personal witnesses that can attest to the fact that we were, in fact, eventing....although I'm danged if I know how we could possibly be defined as eventers). Eddie and I miraculously completed and placed in a number of eventing competitions. Who'd of thought it? But, now that time and experience are on our side, I have decided that our backyard, unpolished, scrambling, and sometimes harrowing approach to the sport of eventing would temporarily stop on January 1, 2010. We have gone back and revisited the following aspects of our equestrianism and given them a long, hard, discerning (and disapproving) look: impulsion, collection, suppleness, ridability (hahaha!), correctness (at the walk, trot, canter, gallop, flatting, jumping, wearing a name it), gymnastic exercises and balance over fences (big laugh, there), soft hands, soft back, strong legs, lightness, elasticity, a horse that moves into the bridle, a horse that is round and stretches over his topline, a horse that is willingly and capably engaging from the hindend. I could go on and on, but let's just stop there....for now. All of these things were seriously lacking and I cannot keep entering competitions, gassing up the truck, loading the trailer, and cleaning my tack (nevermind that final item) if we can't go back to the basics and start to fix some of the things that have been wrong in Eddie's training, my riding, and our partnership all these years.

So, things have been slow around here on the show front, but like the proverbial tortoise might have said (were he knowledgeable of our situation), "slow and steady-Eddie wins the race." We have many small victories that I will take as we build toward the grander victories that I believe we are destined for one day. Now, if I could just get him to trot through groundpoles without leaping over all 3 of them at once, we might get somewhere.

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