BY LAUREN MAULDIN
The adult amateur, regardless of geographical location, is typically skittish in the winter. Less sunlight, colder temperatures, and holiday stress make a trifecta that can result in some interesting behavior. While many trainers and horses recommend medicating your adult amateur, it is not an option for everyone. To help gather more data for this specific case study of riders, join us as we receive a play-by-play of an adult amateur’s evening winter lesson.
3:45 PM: If I can wrap up my meeting a little early, I can sneak out the door in time to give my horse a good curry and get all the mud off of him. That will be so nice.
4:02 PM: Meeting continues.
4:15 PM: Meeting continues.
4:23 PM: Everyone in the meeting is arguing over a white paper.
4:53 PM: Okay, okay, I’m finally on the road but maybe traffic won’t be terrible and I can still get to the barn in good time.
5:11 PM: The entire world is out on the road. Millions of cars driving, or trying to drive, everywhere. Except there is not really a lot of driving happening.
5:53 PM: Finally at the barn. Surely I can tack up in 7 minutes. That will be fine, right?
6:12 PM: Mounts up and walks to the ring (late). His ears are perky. Is he fresh? Is he going to spook? Should I get off and lunge?
6:14 PM: Horse marches around the arena. Trainer compliments on the forward, commanding walk. Oh god, he’s wild. I definitely should have lunged.
6:20 PM: At least I can trot around without feeling like I’m going to hyperventilate because I don’t have to leg every single stride.
6:21 PM: Trainer informs that yes, you still have to leg every stride.
6:27 PM: Rider hyperventilates regardless.
6:33 PM: While walking and catching breath, trainer informs rider for the 317th time that she needs to stop pulling the inside rein.
6:34 PM: Rider picks up the canter. Pulls the inside rein.
6:36 PM: Oh god, his ears are forward. His ears are too forward. He’s going to spook at the tractor!
6:38 PM: He’s going to spook at the viewing stand!
6:40 PM: Rider contemplates trying to convince trainer it’s too dark to jump around. Even with the football stadium-esque amazing ring lighting, horse probably can’t see well enough… right? Probably should wait to jump around the daytime for weekend lesson… right?
6:41 PM: Asks for a pole lesson instead.
6:48 PM: Poles were a bad choice. Immediate regret.
6:49 PM: Pulls the right rein… excessively.
6:50 PM: Rider to do the exercise “just one more time.”
6:52 PM: Just one more time.
6:55 PM: Rider is too tired to look for things the horse might spook at. Also, just one more time.
6:57 PM: Unclear if rider has executed exercise somewhat correctly or trainer has given up and reconsidering a career in accounting, but the lesson is over and it’s time to cool out.
7:06 PM: Rider unmounts in the ring to avoid the 250 yard walk back to the barn in the dark past things horse might spook at. [Horse does not spook].
7:08 PM: The adult amateur sneaks horse a mouthful of treats (not in a bucket) when she thinks the trainer isn’t looking. You are the goodest bestest boy. Thank you for making good choices tonight.
About the Author: Lauren holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of California Riverside, and is a lifelong rider and writer. She writes as a way to explore life. She’s interested in the impact horses have on our lives as well discussing body positivity, mental health and addiction through personal narrative. She enjoys showing on the local hunter/jumper circuit in Austin, Texas.
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