I’ll be riding Tiny, the horse who believes “forward” to be a risky act of tremendous insanity. There’s a legitimate reason for this, but part of his psychotherapy is to get over it.
I learned an assortment of humane (and very inventive) tools to get him more forward from his owner and my trainers. I often have to use these tools in combination during a ride. I was using them all five of them yesterday (he really didn’t want to go), when I noticed my trainer glancing over with a speculative and stressed-out look on her face.
I could see the cartoon bubble over her head: “how on earth am I going to help her tomorrow?”
At the exact moment she looked over: My irons are crossed in front of the saddle. I have the reins in a dressage-type one handed collection attempt. I’m wildly whapping his sides with the flat of my calves while snapping the extra long, white ground training dressage whip in a cowboy over/under move. (Without making contact. It’s the whistling in the air that helps.) We’re sort of loping. I’m going for the – gasp – canter. I apply the P of W spurs and lean forward, shouting urgently at the top of my lungs:
“Tiny, MOUNTAIN LIONS are after you…MOUNTAIN LIONS….a huge pack with big claws, GO Tiny, GO. CLAWS!! Run for your life…RUN!”
Yup, that was me. The one with no stirrups, no collection, no contact, nada…waving an enormous whip over his head, using spurs and shouting mountain lions, mountain lions…GOOD BOY” in front of one of the top riders in the world.
Maybe you should forget wishing me luck and send your condolences in advance.