I had a joyful ride last night. You know, the kind that leaves you smiling the entire way home from the stable. The kind of ride that makes you sign up for a hunter jumper schooling show, even though you haven’t been schooling for more than a week.
Last week, an idea occurred to me. I thought I should try to do a weekly vlog of our rides. I filmed a trial video and realized how awkward I am on camera- talk about a candidate for voiceovers. I constantly gesture with my hands and get all shifty-eyed. Why? The arctic tone of the wind bummed me out. It’s about to become the hardest time of year for the local horse-obsessed. Snow will soon be here and avalanches off the arena roof will make scary sounds, it will be freezing and dark, there will be fewer people to ride with, there is less motivation… To combat this, I thought I could produce videos where I state a goal, show our current state and work towards progress. If you set a goal and put it on the internet, that’s an iron-clad commitment to yourself, isn’t it? ISN’T IT?
Of course, I want the first video to feature us at our current best. This summer was intense. I tore my meniscus and had about 10 weeks out of the saddle. As I improved, I lunged, long-lined and liberty-worked Cello, but it wasn’t enough to keep him in shape. I thought I should put in a few serious rides before beginning. I read a few George Morris articles, I reviewed some Natasha Althoff videos and set out to the barn with determination. Cello and I warmed up before I turned on my iPhone and recorded 5-minute increments of riding. I hopped off, gave my horse a breather, reviewed my video, picked three things per video to work on and hopped back on.
You guys: this worked. I don’t have an instructor nearby and I don’t have mirrors. It’s so easy to develop awful, terrible, embarrassing habits when riding by yourself so much. Since when did I flap my elbows to encourage a forward canter? Gross. I learned that I can self-instruct and that it makes a difference.
I had such a great time with my first few rides that I called a local ranch that’s hosting a schooling show. I sent in my registration this morning. What am I getting into?!?!
Still, off to Crystal Springs Ranch we will go! That’s the point of schooling shows- rack up miles in the saddle, see new things, meet new people and horses. I will kick off my winter training this Saturday!