Outdoor Arena #2
Clip clop clip clop clip clop.
The noises of Brownie’s hooves drove faster and faster as I pushed her to quicken her pace from a collected trot to an extended canter. Beginning from the far end of the arena – the one closest the fields, not the barn – I directed her in a serpentine pattern. As we closed in on the last curve of the dressage pattern, I nicked the side of her belly with the heel of my riding boot and tightened the leather reigns, cuing her to change to a collected canter. A few seconds after she did as I signaled, I pushed into her left side with my left stirrup and boot and slightly pulled back the reigns to my own left hip.
The goal was to finally nail the dressage skill of a canter pirouette, which my team’s coach had been trying to instruct me on how to do for the past 5 weeks. Each and every time that I think Brownie and I are going to do it, something small always messes it up. Granted, not all of the blame can be placed on her; it’s the rider’s (aka my) fault too. We’re a pair, a team, a duo – we have to accomplish it together.
As we moved as one in a circle, I could feel Brownie’s legs traveling further towards the white fence which encircled the arena. Immediately I pulled her out of it and back into an extended canter.
Wrong again. Why can’t
I we get this right??
“It’s hot, and Brownie looks a little dehydrated,” a shouting voice sounded from the open barn doors. It shook Massie out of her own negative thoughts. “You’ve almost got it, so why don’t you take a rest? Try again another time.”
I looked over and held my hand up over the tip of my riding helmet to shield the sun in order to see who it was. Go figure, the one person I didn’t want to see me not doing the pirouette correctly was standing there, leaning up against the wooden barn: the coach of my competition team.
“Almost isn’t definite; I need to get this before the next competition,” I hollered back after slowing my show horse to a walk, and eventually approaching the fence which separated my coach and I.
“…And you will, just not today. Now hop on down and cool off. Make sure to turn the fan on in Brownie’s stall before you lock her up for the day. I’ll see you tomorrow afternoon.”
“No, I’m going to do it one more time…and we’re going to get it. You’ll see,” I argued back. I was more persistent in my hobby than she liked me to be. But then again, that’s what made me a great leader and therefore great team captain.
I directed Brownie once again into the routine we’d been practicing. Extended canter into a serpentine shape, switch to a collected canter, then into the skin-crawling, nerve-racking pirouette.
I could’ve sworn that I felt my heart skip a beat every single second during the pirouette. And I most definitely would have fainted if I hadn’t been so happy when we finally did it! There was no traveling, we stayed in the same little spot of the sandy arena during the skill and we did it! We accomplished our goal and I could guarantee that Brownie was as happy in her mind as I was in mine.
I looked over to see Coach smiling and clapping her hands together, applauding for our success. She tipped her cowboy hat forward and yelled, “Now go get your partner some water. She’s earned it.”
At a halt a few seconds later, I swung my leg over Brownie’s back and dismounted. As we strolled back through the halls of the barn and made our way to her luxury-sized stall, the stable’s new intern joined us and informed me that he’d be taking my horse out to wash her once she gets some water. While Brownie lapped up water from her trough, I quickly thanked him and checked my phone – just as I always did after a riding session. Didn’t want to miss anything important.
Too late. I re-read the newest message in our PC group chat and could feel a big pit forming in my stomach.
Dylan: iPad. Right now. 911.
Bonjour wordpress lovelies,
Wonder what’s in store for Massie and the girls when they meet up? You’ll find out on Monday in my next post.
I have a new Alicia: http://aliciasanecdotes.wordpress.com !