Since I last wrote, we experienced what they’re calling a “1,000-year flood” out here in northern Colorado. At first, it seemed like any other fall in Colorado – temperature fluctuations, a couple of rainy days, drivers fearing the clear wet stuff on their windshields and being idiots. But on the morning of September 12, it became clear this event was anything other than ordinary, as Boulder, then my hometown of Longmont, started to flood. The damage was immense and the cleanup will last for several months, if not years. We were evacuated from our home for two days as our nearby creek became a raging river and threatened our neighborhood as it grew wider. I cover my experience and that of my company in a blog post on my company site, so I won’t go on and on about it here.
Suffice to say, it was a bit wettus muddus interruptus for my new lease for a little while. Luckily, my new barn is not close to any creeks or streams, so it has dried out nicely and all that remains are about 8 million mosquitoes who patiently await my arrival in the evenings after work.
I mentioned in my last post that I was still trying to figure out what I had gotten myself into with Luna, my new ride. Since I wrote that last post her owner and I have exchanged some stern emails regarding her training, which went like this:
Me: So, just curious if you’re planning on taking any lessons to learn how to ride dressage so you can train your horse to be a dressage horse, since you keep telling me she’s a dressage horse but all she does is careen around the arena and try to buck me off when I ask her to use her hind end?
Her: I have kids, a full-time job, and I’m broke – are you kidding me?
Me: I fully respect your situation at home, and with all due respect – are you kidding ME? Do you really expect someone with a clue about riding to spend the next months trotting/tilting around on circles on an untrained horse so I can pay you to train her/with no hope of her ever improving so you can show up at your convenience and then undo everything I have worked on for weeks and weeks in one ride? Good luck with that.
Her: I’ll schedule a lesson next week.
So needless to say, the verdict is still out. Luna is a nice horse, but until she gets into regular training and her owner commits, I am fairly certain this won’t be a long stop for me.
In the meantime, I think it’s a good lesson for me to learn how to train a horse in dressage (which I highly recommend doing AFTER you train yourself in dressage, in the event you may actually need to show progress at some point). Since Otto and Primo were both already well-trained, this was not something I had to think about while learning not to flail around in a dressage saddle.
To start, I went out to audit Luna’s owner’s lesson last weekend, which was mainly focused on getting her moving forward confidently and not tilting alarmingly to the left and dropping her left hip, which can be minimized with a strong left leg sitting far behind the girth and pushing her body right. Now, she seems to more careen around the arena at a higher rate of speed (some may call it impulsion, in this case I’d just call it speed), but at least there is less tilting. I have been working on getting Luna moving forward more confidently while trying to keep her balanced at least and not messing with her face. Now, I’m struggling not to flail while Luna flails underneath me. It doesn’t feel super awesome, but this time around it makes a lot more sense as I now know what level of the dressage pyramid we fall into (somewhere between rhythm and blank space at the bottom of the pyramid) and what we’re working toward (possibly relaxation without running into the side walls of our indoor arena).
So, what do you do when it rains on your parade? When your wacko days continue and your therapy involves mass amounts of flailing, and then the floods come?
I’m sure you thought I was going to say “you whip out your umbrella and dance” or some philosophical crap like that. At the time of the floods, I was more thinking “where’s my bottle(s) of wine?” But then we took in evacuees and drinking took second tier to taking care of other people, which is really what I do best anyway.
When I asked them how they were doing, given that their home was likely to be unlivable for many more months and their hometown had been almost washed off the map, they said simply: “We take it one day at a time. Tomorrow can only get better.”