Oct 182014
 

Here’s the video from my helmet cam of Lila’s cross-country round at the Greenwood Farm Horse Trial in Texas. (That was last Sunday.) In sum, Lila jumped wonderfully boldly from a gallop for so much of the course — until disaster struck! — and then we recovered to complete the course nicely.

Here’s the video, but you might want to read the description below it for context before watching.

The bold jumping that Lila gave me throughout this course is exactly what I’ve been struggling to get from her for some months. Her hock injections, plus some changes in how I rode her, made a huge difference.

In particular, I was so proud of her (and me!) for how we jumped the trakehner. Trakehners are logs set over ditches, and this was a max height log (2’11″) over a deep ditch. Lila isn’t great with ditches, and I’ve always been freaked out just by the thought of these fences. We’ve not ever schooled over them, although we jumped a log with a half-ditch under it in the horse trial at Santa Fe. (We didn’t do that very well, however.)

Over this trakehner — which you’ll see right after the white fence — I cantered her into it with plenty of gusto and determination, and I kept my eyes above the horizon. She jumped it without the slightest hesitation, and you can hear just how pleased I was by that.

Not too long after that, we had our minor disaster at the log fence headed into a gully. I was quite tired heading up the hill into the pasture. (My stirrups were a hole shorter than they’d ever been, which was good, but extra-tiring.) So I didn’t sit her down in the way that I should have in the few strides before the fence, and I probably didn’t give her any leg. I was just a passenger, and that’s never good.

So as you can see on the video, she stopped suddenly in the stride before the fence, and I was thrown forward, hard. I ended up in front of the saddle, arms wrapped around her neck, with my face looking close-up at her ears. I really really didn’t want to fall off, so I shimmied backwards when she raised her head and neck. That took just a second or two.

As soon as I sat up — still in front of the saddle — Lila decided that she’d had enough. She began cantering back up the hill, and I started getting pretty scared as she went faster and faster. I realized that I could have a pretty bad fall unless I stopped her pronto, so I put on whatever brakes I could, stopped her with some difficulty, and then wiggled myself back into the saddle. You can hear the panic in my voice during that segment. Yes, that is funny! Laugh away!

Then we jumped the fence properly, and we finished the course just fine. (Well, the ditch to the brush was a bit rough, but we got through it.) The only casualty was my glasses, which I never did find.

Despite that bit of craziness, I’m soooo proud of Lila for jumping so well. Obviously, I need to work on my balance and endurance in my cross-country two-point, and that will get done in the next few months. (It’s already underway!)

We ended up in last place, but that’s fine. Lila showed me a whole new level of potential on this very difficult course — the most difficult novice course we’ve ever done — and that pleases me greatly.

Shire Horse Race

 Posted by on 22 September 2014 at 2:00 pm  Horses, Sports
Sep 222014
 

Now here’s a horse race that Lilapotomus might be able to win… maybe:

Dressage in Harmony

 Posted by on 6 September 2014 at 10:00 am  Horses, Sports
Sep 062014
 

Last weekend, I found this lovely bit of dressage from the World Equestrian Games. It’s Dutch rider Diederik van Silfhout on Arlando. He makes some mistakes — the piaffe is all wrong, for example. Still, I love his harmony and lightness with his horse. He’s not dragging back on the reins or digging in with the spur. His horse is not compressed behind the vertical. There’s so much of that in high-level dressage right now that this ride was a real breath of fresh air.

Schooling Lila over Training Level Questions

 Posted by on 30 August 2014 at 10:00 am  Horses, Personal, Sports
Aug 302014
 

Here’s some video from late July — when Martha Deeds, Jill Garzarelli, and I schooled cross-country at the Colorado Horse Park. This was Lila’s first time over training-level fences. We had a few refusals (e.g. at the corner), but she was really great overall. Who would have predicted that my lazy, opinionated, on-the-forehand draft-cross would be such a capable eventer?!? She’s my girl!

Excellence Takes Time

 Posted by on 23 August 2014 at 10:00 am  Horses, Personal, Sports
Aug 232014
 

I like this:

About 10 years ago, I sat down with Phillip Dutton and asked him what I could do to be more competitive. The first thing he told me was to “never underestimate how long it took me to get mentally strong enough to be this good.” He didn’t say I needed better horses, more lessons or more money. None of those things hurt, but they will not take the place of mental strength. I think other sports focus more on this than eventing, but we need to realize how integral it is to our success.

Personally, I feel like I’m gaining experience in all the varieties of mistakes that I can make every time I compete. I figure that so long as I’m making new mistakes, all is well. Also, once I start competing Phantom, I’m going to have to make a whole new slew of mistakes, just because she’s so different from Lila.

So when I get impatient with myself, as I often do, I need to remind myself, “never underestimate how long it took me to get experienced enough to be this good.”

No Live Shows This Week

 Posted by on 13 August 2014 at 10:00 am  Announcements, Horses, Personal, Sports
Aug 132014
 

Tomorrow morning, I’ll head to Santa Fe for a weekend competition on my horse Lila. We won’t return until Sunday evening. As a result, I won’t broadcast any live radio shows this week… and I won’t do much more blogging for the rest of the week.

However, that doesn’t mean that I’ll leave you high and dry! I’ll post a brand-new podcast on Sunday. It’ll be the lecture entitled “Moral Conflicts and the Virtue of Justice” that I gave at ATLOSCon in 2012.

Here’s the abstract:

As we live our lives, some people will harm us by their moral wrongs and honest errors, and we may commit such wrongs and errors ourselves. Objective moral judgment is an essential part of the rational response to such events. Yet circumstances often call for more than judgment: sometimes, forgiveness and redemption come into play. In this lecture given to ATLOSCon in 2012, I explored the nature, function, and limits of forgiveness and redemption in relation to the virtue of justice. Then we applied that understanding to common examples of wrongs and errors.

So be sure to be on the lookout for that… and have a fabulous rest of the week!

Rider Error in Jumping Cross-Country

 Posted by on 9 August 2014 at 10:00 am  Horses, Sports
Aug 092014
 

This is a fun video showing some of the errors that riders can make when jumping cross-country, comparing that with correct riding.

I wish that they’d shown more variety in the errors, but mostly I think that this horse deserves a medal for putting up with such deliberate errors! Then again, Lila deserves a medal for putting up with my non-deliberate errors!

Via Digital Horse

When Traditions Go Awry

 Posted by on 31 July 2014 at 11:00 am  Culture, Sports
Jul 312014
 

This article on the tradition of a golfer who gets a hole-in-one buying drinks for buddies (if not the whole club) — Why Golfers Buy Hole In One Insurance — is quite fascinating. Because of the cost involved, the tradition has given rise to insurance against seeming good luck. But it’s also a bit sad:

Other golfers admit to fearing the wrath of a spouse if they treat the clubhouse, and therefore having agreed with golfing buddies to slip away quietly without telling the clubhouse if anyone scores a hole in one. It’s a rather sad result of the tradition — instead of celebrating a hole in one like the once in a lifetime accomplishment that it is (the odds of getting a hole in one, very roughly, are 12,500 to 1 for an amateur and 7,500 to 1 for a professional), it pushes golfers to slink away like they crashed a golf cart in a sand trap.

If your cultural traditions transform a fabulous bit of good luck into a financial calamity… it’s time to change those traditions!

Dixie Jumps Cross-Country

 Posted by on 26 July 2014 at 10:00 am  Horses, Sports
Jul 262014
 

Last week, Cyndi Meredith? and I took our horses over to Spring Gulch for some work on their cross-country course. (Lila needed work on ditches in a big way.) As a result, Dixie got her very first school over cross-country fences. Even though she’s only jumped a few times — and not since December — she was super-chill and took everything in stride. Here’s the video we took:

With just a few weeks of work, she’d be ready to compete at “beginner novice” level, I think!

Dixie is for sale, I should add. She’d make a fabulous horse for a younger rider who wants to do Pony Club, 4H, etc. She’s super-quiet and willing to do whatever you ask. If you’re interested, shoot me an email and I’ll put you in touch with Cyndi.

Jul 052014
 

Here’s the video of the grand prix jumper whose bridle fell off in the middle of his course just yesterday in Paris. As you can see, the rider (Gregory Wathelet) to hold the bit with just the reins (with the bridle flapping below) and the horse (Conrad de Husmanaged) jumped the rest of his course perfectly. Amazing!

Three thoughts:

(1) That’s a well-trained horse who loves to jump!

(2) That’s a damn fine rider to keep his cool over those last few fences.

(3) The stupid ear cover probably allowed the bridle to slip over the ears. I’ve always hated those useless bits of decoration. Now, I hereby request that someone shoot me if I ever compete my horse in such silliness.

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