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In Which (You are Forwarned) Nothing Much Has Happened to the $700 Pony (Part 5)

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  • In Which (You are Forwarned) Nothing Much Has Happened to the $700 Pony (Part 5)

    Dear Captain Mark:

    I have been having some difficulty with my young event prospect and was wondering if you might offer some advice. The $700 Pony has demonstrated some behaviors that I find mildly disconcerting given my expectations for her career.

    For example, she is afraid of all of the jumps in the indoor. It is a hunter farm, so the jumps are colorful, but they never move. Every single day she startles (well, tries to turn and run might be more accurate) at each and every one of them. Additionally, shadows on the ground frighten her into a state of paralysis. And she has tripped over every single pole she has ever tried to trot over.

    I have been thinking she has a lot of potential and thought you might like to give me some advice to get over these initial hurdles.

    Signed,
    Proud Owner of the $700 Pony

    Dear Proud:

    Are you by any chance blond?

    Signed,
    The Captain

    Hmm. How did he know that?

    It has been pointed out to me that my grasp of reality is tenuous at best. Pointed out by people who are generally in pretty close contact with my life, that is, like my mom, my husband, my trainer/therapist. “Delusional” is another word that gets tossed around a lot. They mean it in a NICE way, of course. I think.

    I mean, maybe “hopeful” or “overly optimistic” would be more appropriate language.

    But here’s an example and you can decide: we sell our chicken eggs at the end of our driveway. Theft has been high of late. EVERY SINGLE TIME we have a carton stolen, I BELIEVE, and I mean I BELIEVE, the kind of belief that would send Tinkerbell rocketing to Pluto were she within pixie ear shot, that the money will turn up in the box the next day.

    My husband likes to point out that this has happened exactly once in the past year while we get eggs stolen at least once a week. So, delusional or hopeful?

    [And for more on nursing hope, click here: http://chronicleforums.com/groupee/forums?a=tpc&s=6656094911&f=5566064631&m=701605053 1&r=655201015#655201015] Hey, if you're funny and no one reads it, there is no sound of laughter!]

    Well, I vote hopeful. It was with great hope that I purchased the Pony (for $700, did I mention that I only paid $700 for this pony?), despite the fact that I had promised my trainer/therapist that I would never, ever, ever, torment a green horse again. And despite the fact that I had not actually ridden a horse in, oh, say, Two Children (which translates roughly into 3 Human Years).

    I was discussing this with my therapist/trainer the other day and the conversation went something like this:

    Me: “But it’s not like I haven’t DONE this before! I’ve taken a couple of very green ponies from nothing to TRAINING level for pete’s sake, in just a couple of months! I’m not sure why I’m having such a hard time with this one.”

    Therapist/Trainer: “Well, let’s reflect on this a moment, shall we? Look back in time a bit, as it were. Now WHEN exactly did you do all of this before?”

    Me: “Well, it was a few years go, wasn’t it?”

    Therapist/Trainer: “You were 25.”

    Me: “What’s your point?”

    Patient beyond words Therapist/Trainer: “And how old are you now?”

    It hit me like a ton of feathers. Which, frankly, will knock you on your butt just as quick as a ton bricks, ‘cause, let’s face it, a ton is a ton, whether we’re talking bricks or feathers.

    Me: “HOLY HORSE POOP! I’m - I’m - I’m, FORTY!!!!!!!! Oh, my G-D!!! That was, like, FIVE CHILDREN AGO!!!! Where has the time GONE!!???? I’m a FORTY YEAR OLD MOTHER OF TWO RIDING A $700 PONY?? AND I THINK I’M GOING TO COMPETE??? I’M GOING TO LOOK LIKE AN IDIOT!!”

    The trainer/therapist has a much firmer grip on reality than I do. That’s one of the reasons I like her so much. She’s a tough love kind of gal. She did agree that, yes, I am going to look a little bit silly come spring if we actually get this pony going. The comments at the bottom of the dressage test that I used to get when I was in my 20’s about it being time for my mom to buy me a full sized horse are just not going to be there – I don’t look like I’m 12 any more. Two tiny children will do that to you. Now I just look like a big honking 135lb grown up (that would have been 125lbs Two Children ago) pounding a sweet little pony.

    BUT, and she reminded me quite nicely of some realities: I actually LIKE the $700 Pony. I enjoy riding her, she is making progress and while we did agree that I should not ride green horses any more, this particular critter, despite the fact that she is (a) a striking shade of emerald, (b) a chestnut mare and (c) a pony, seems to have a huge streak of forgiveness embedded in her chip. She is a kind soul and does not seem to be taking my colossal ineptitude personally.

    So about that progress thing. At my first, and thus far only lesson (reflecting the erratic weather we have been experiencing on the east coast, ice, mud, ice, mud, that sort of nonsense, rather than a lack of desire or need on our part) my trainer/therapist was careful to say brightly and in that loud, deliberate voice that makes me wonder if she thinks that my IQ and hat size are within striking range of each other:, “SO, looks GOOD. Things look very, VERY good here!”

    Although of course they really did not.

    The $700 Pony goes a bit like Pepe Le Pew. On cocaine. My trainer/therapist mused as she watched us careen around the indoor that it seemed the pony may have a combination of giraffe and sandpiper buried somewhere in her pedigree. But there is a REASON we pay our trainer/therapists beaucoup bucks, is there not? We pay for those golden nuggets of wisdom that will help us climb that mountain called PROGRESS!

    And it was in that bright, measured voice, that she distributed her golden nuggets, millions upon billions of golden nuggets, all delivered on top of that basic assumption (remember that basic assumption?) that “Things look very, VERY good here!”.

    Like, maybe I should try a full cheek instead of an eggbutt. Maybe my dressage saddle instead of the Stubben. Like I should try a standing martingale. Oh, and if I slowed my posting down what would happen? And, honey, WHAT are you doing with your hands, there? Can we PLEASE stop that RIGHT NOW and NEVER DO IT AGAIN, EVER, FOR ANY REASON? And, My goodness, taking Two Children off has not really helped your riding at all, has it? And so on. For ½ an hour. I am sure you can relate.

    Sigh. It was a little like showing up for work in a brand spanking new outfit and having your sophisticated, cool, tall, skinny, blond co-worker, the one who always looks so, well, TOGETHER, say, “Oh, honey, that suit is to DIE FOR. I mean, not everyone can wear that COLOR, and you are so BRAVE to wear that length and, my gosh, you really do look better than usual, don’t you?

    But PROGRESS, I did mention progress didn’t I? Drum roll, please: the $700 Pony has exhibited the canter gait. Whew. While right now, it is a somewhat fragile custody and a seizure by the Equine Gait Patrol seems possible at any moment, she does flail her legs in some semblance of a three beat gait.

    And so, in my hopeful, rose colored world, I continue to believe that it is possible that I will be eventing the $700 Pony in the spring. I mean it would only take a few, LITTLE things. Like that her steering improves a bit (HATE it when they fall out of the dressage ring), and that she learns to canter OFF the lounge line (while they do allow whips now, I believe lounge lines are still illegal, right?), and, oh, yeah, she’s going to HAVE to learn to jump (THAT’S a big one – need that for eventing).

    Well, hey, what’s winter for, but pounding away in indoors and dreaming (hopefully, oh, so hopefully!) of spring anyway?


    ++++++++++++++++++++
    A personal note: I actually don't think I'm ALL that funny - not fishing for compliments here, as we are all our worst critics. HOWEVER, the nursing Hope bit, well, even I think it's funny. I think it's worth reading
    Chronicles of the $700 Pony
    The Further Adventures of the $700 Pony
    www.blithetraveler.com <-- My Blog
  • Original Poster

    #2
    Dear Captain Mark:

    I have been having some difficulty with my young event prospect and was wondering if you might offer some advice. The $700 Pony has demonstrated some behaviors that I find mildly disconcerting given my expectations for her career.

    For example, she is afraid of all of the jumps in the indoor. It is a hunter farm, so the jumps are colorful, but they never move. Every single day she startles (well, tries to turn and run might be more accurate) at each and every one of them. Additionally, shadows on the ground frighten her into a state of paralysis. And she has tripped over every single pole she has ever tried to trot over.

    I have been thinking she has a lot of potential and thought you might like to give me some advice to get over these initial hurdles.

    Signed,
    Proud Owner of the $700 Pony

    Dear Proud:

    Are you by any chance blond?

    Signed,
    The Captain

    Hmm. How did he know that?

    It has been pointed out to me that my grasp of reality is tenuous at best. Pointed out by people who are generally in pretty close contact with my life, that is, like my mom, my husband, my trainer/therapist. “Delusional” is another word that gets tossed around a lot. They mean it in a NICE way, of course. I think.

    I mean, maybe “hopeful” or “overly optimistic” would be more appropriate language.

    But here’s an example and you can decide: we sell our chicken eggs at the end of our driveway. Theft has been high of late. EVERY SINGLE TIME we have a carton stolen, I BELIEVE, and I mean I BELIEVE, the kind of belief that would send Tinkerbell rocketing to Pluto were she within pixie ear shot, that the money will turn up in the box the next day.

    My husband likes to point out that this has happened exactly once in the past year while we get eggs stolen at least once a week. So, delusional or hopeful?

    [And for more on nursing hope, click here: http://chronicleforums.com/groupee/forums?a=tpc&s=6656094911&f=5566064631&m=701605053 1&r=655201015#655201015] Hey, if you're funny and no one reads it, there is no sound of laughter!]

    Well, I vote hopeful. It was with great hope that I purchased the Pony (for $700, did I mention that I only paid $700 for this pony?), despite the fact that I had promised my trainer/therapist that I would never, ever, ever, torment a green horse again. And despite the fact that I had not actually ridden a horse in, oh, say, Two Children (which translates roughly into 3 Human Years).

    I was discussing this with my therapist/trainer the other day and the conversation went something like this:

    Me: “But it’s not like I haven’t DONE this before! I’ve taken a couple of very green ponies from nothing to TRAINING level for pete’s sake, in just a couple of months! I’m not sure why I’m having such a hard time with this one.”

    Therapist/Trainer: “Well, let’s reflect on this a moment, shall we? Look back in time a bit, as it were. Now WHEN exactly did you do all of this before?”

    Me: “Well, it was a few years go, wasn’t it?”

    Therapist/Trainer: “You were 25.”

    Me: “What’s your point?”

    Patient beyond words Therapist/Trainer: “And how old are you now?”

    It hit me like a ton of feathers. Which, frankly, will knock you on your butt just as quick as a ton bricks, ‘cause, let’s face it, a ton is a ton, whether we’re talking bricks or feathers.

    Me: “HOLY HORSE POOP! I’m - I’m - I’m, FORTY!!!!!!!! Oh, my G-D!!! That was, like, FIVE CHILDREN AGO!!!! Where has the time GONE!!???? I’m a FORTY YEAR OLD MOTHER OF TWO RIDING A $700 PONY?? AND I THINK I’M GOING TO COMPETE??? I’M GOING TO LOOK LIKE AN IDIOT!!”

    The trainer/therapist has a much firmer grip on reality than I do. That’s one of the reasons I like her so much. She’s a tough love kind of gal. She did agree that, yes, I am going to look a little bit silly come spring if we actually get this pony going. The comments at the bottom of the dressage test that I used to get when I was in my 20’s about it being time for my mom to buy me a full sized horse are just not going to be there – I don’t look like I’m 12 any more. Two tiny children will do that to you. Now I just look like a big honking 135lb grown up (that would have been 125lbs Two Children ago) pounding a sweet little pony.

    BUT, and she reminded me quite nicely of some realities: I actually LIKE the $700 Pony. I enjoy riding her, she is making progress and while we did agree that I should not ride green horses any more, this particular critter, despite the fact that she is (a) a striking shade of emerald, (b) a chestnut mare and (c) a pony, seems to have a huge streak of forgiveness embedded in her chip. She is a kind soul and does not seem to be taking my colossal ineptitude personally.

    So about that progress thing. At my first, and thus far only lesson (reflecting the erratic weather we have been experiencing on the east coast, ice, mud, ice, mud, that sort of nonsense, rather than a lack of desire or need on our part) my trainer/therapist was careful to say brightly and in that loud, deliberate voice that makes me wonder if she thinks that my IQ and hat size are within striking range of each other:, “SO, looks GOOD. Things look very, VERY good here!”

    Although of course they really did not.

    The $700 Pony goes a bit like Pepe Le Pew. On cocaine. My trainer/therapist mused as she watched us careen around the indoor that it seemed the pony may have a combination of giraffe and sandpiper buried somewhere in her pedigree. But there is a REASON we pay our trainer/therapists beaucoup bucks, is there not? We pay for those golden nuggets of wisdom that will help us climb that mountain called PROGRESS!

    And it was in that bright, measured voice, that she distributed her golden nuggets, millions upon billions of golden nuggets, all delivered on top of that basic assumption (remember that basic assumption?) that “Things look very, VERY good here!”.

    Like, maybe I should try a full cheek instead of an eggbutt. Maybe my dressage saddle instead of the Stubben. Like I should try a standing martingale. Oh, and if I slowed my posting down what would happen? And, honey, WHAT are you doing with your hands, there? Can we PLEASE stop that RIGHT NOW and NEVER DO IT AGAIN, EVER, FOR ANY REASON? And, My goodness, taking Two Children off has not really helped your riding at all, has it? And so on. For ½ an hour. I am sure you can relate.

    Sigh. It was a little like showing up for work in a brand spanking new outfit and having your sophisticated, cool, tall, skinny, blond co-worker, the one who always looks so, well, TOGETHER, say, “Oh, honey, that suit is to DIE FOR. I mean, not everyone can wear that COLOR, and you are so BRAVE to wear that length and, my gosh, you really do look better than usual, don’t you?

    But PROGRESS, I did mention progress didn’t I? Drum roll, please: the $700 Pony has exhibited the canter gait. Whew. While right now, it is a somewhat fragile custody and a seizure by the Equine Gait Patrol seems possible at any moment, she does flail her legs in some semblance of a three beat gait.

    And so, in my hopeful, rose colored world, I continue to believe that it is possible that I will be eventing the $700 Pony in the spring. I mean it would only take a few, LITTLE things. Like that her steering improves a bit (HATE it when they fall out of the dressage ring), and that she learns to canter OFF the lounge line (while they do allow whips now, I believe lounge lines are still illegal, right?), and, oh, yeah, she’s going to HAVE to learn to jump (THAT’S a big one – need that for eventing).

    Well, hey, what’s winter for, but pounding away in indoors and dreaming (hopefully, oh, so hopefully!) of spring anyway?


    ++++++++++++++++++++
    A personal note: I actually don't think I'm ALL that funny - not fishing for compliments here, as we are all our worst critics. HOWEVER, the nursing Hope bit, well, even I think it's funny. I think it's worth reading
    Chronicles of the $700 Pony
    The Further Adventures of the $700 Pony
    www.blithetraveler.com <-- My Blog

    Comment


    • #3
      Maybe delusion and hope go together.
      Maybe you're delusionally hopeful?

      The winter is for having delusional hopes of the spring.

      I'm with you in that category, like - I will be able to finally buy a saddle that fits my horse, and I will be able to finally back the little stinker. We're both so sick of ground work.
      Just once, just once, I know he would like the chance to buck me off.

      I have no doubt you'll be tearing around a course sometime this spring.
      Whether or not someone is chasing you and screaming at you to get off the course is entirely up to you.

      In fact I really hope you do (legally that is), I want to read all about it.
      ____________________________
      “Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer.”
      Dave Barry

      Comment


      • #4
        LOLOL!

        You have SUCH a turn of phrase. I mostly speak in "dog"---"he's such and such in dog years", but now I can say, "I've taken two children (or more) off..." from whatever it is I'm talking about.

        And fragile custody and Equine Gait Patrol---what GREAT fun!

        Some horsey magazine has GOT to get its act together and publish the Adventures of the $700 Pony. Until then, I'm going to have to print off each and every adventure and pass them around to my friends!

        Comment


        • #5
          <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Reynard Ridge:
          And so, in my hopeful, rose colored world, I continue to believe that it is possible that I will be eventing the $700 Pony in the spring. I mean it would only take a few, LITTLE things. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

          And that says it all... equestrians own more rose colored glasses than any other sporting group!
          Carol
          "It's not having what you want;
          it's wanting what you've got." lyrics by Sheryl Crow

          Comment


          • #6
            LOL! Here are my list of questions for Captain Mark.

            How can I teach my poor horse that outdoor rings are not the devil's invention? He simply does not understand why he has to go around in circles when there are trails to explore and straight lines to take. Especially when the outdoor ring has nothing fencing it in except for some trees.

            How can I teach him that, even though the dressage arena at our fancy shmancy barn we trailer to has a nice bank as a wall he does not have to keep jumping out of it.

            It is bad enough that our first several trips to the fancy shmancy dressage barn consisted of him lifting his knees to his nose because of the rubber footing and that on our subsequent trips he spent running backwards because his shadow insisted on staying attached to his legs.

            And that Planks will not grow teeth and eat him.

            That he really really really can turn to the LEFT while galloping darnit. I appreciate his boldness in the great outdoors but I am quite certain that the XC course will have at least one left turn.
            http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

            Comment


            • #7
              Hope springs eternal! The $700 pony will jump! And this is coming from someone who's ArabX actually stepped on the poles for his first jumping attempt. At least the $700 pony is seeing the jumps!

              I love the tails of the $700 pony. Keep them coming!

              p.s. the ArabX was fox hunting 9 months later!

              Comment


              • #8
                Sounds like the $700 pony is coming along just fine. Your are making PROGRESS! Cantering is something my 17HH OTTB still doesn't do well and he was a race horse for God's sake.

                BTW...does that make any sense at all? How come the ex-racers can't canter? I don't get it. It would seem this would be one of their best gates (after the break-neck gallop, of course).

                Keep the stories coming....

                Elizabeth
                Member of the OTTB Clique, Re-Riders Clique and the Thread Killer Clique.

                http://community.webshots.com/user/esimison

                Comment


                • #9
                  Just about split my sides on the "nursing Hope" comment. You are amazing, RR, and I LOVE reading your posts.

                  Maybe you should start another thread that will allow us all to submit questions to the Capitano? I nominate you to call him and post his answers!
                  They don't call me frugal for nothing.
                  Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.

                  Comment


                  • #10

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      RR,
                      Natural blonde? = Delusional
                      Less-than-natural (or would that be, MORE-than-natural) blonde? = Hopeful

                      If you're a Less-or-more-than-natural blonde, I'm sure you see the inferences I'm raising. If you don't see the inferences, I'm not sure any of us can help you anyway.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Ok, so RR..... let's chat for a moment.

                        OK, so I bought a green but started horse about 5 years ago. Evented up to Novice (twice) and schooled some training stuff prior to his injuries. Was going to save up for the next project, but hello no time, so I buy...an OTTB. I hate them. i am the first person in the room who insists that older adult ammy rider SHOULD NOT buy them. Oh and he's 4 1/2 and he's been turned out since he came off the track and noone has touched him. He's also too small and the wrong color. Temperament rocks though. The rational part of this was that I was able to inlist the aid of someone else to ride hack him a couple of days a week while I am at work. We have put about 18 rides on him between the two of us. Noone has been injured :-) He has not spend one day running the fenceline, harassing my other horses or being at all roudy or obnoxious. My father, who is 79, thinks he's great and does not have any problem handling him.
                        My instructor has seen about 10 minutes of me trotting him on tape. I will most likley have our first lesson at the end of the month. I will be happy to post it with her comments RR ro make you feel better :-)
                        Shoulders back, hands down, leg ON!

                        https://clshrs3.wixsite.com/website

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          ...like Pepe le Pew on cocaine...

                          Riotus! Funny as always.

                          And yes, hope is good. Hope springs eternal, right?
                          View my photographs at www.horsephotoguy.zenfolio.com

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            rebegginer - That would be in fact "hopeful." I'm FORTY for heaven's sake. Not a lot of 'natural' anything left

                            Rhdobes - I have thought about publishing, but have decided now is not the right time. I just like writing this stuff. And if people like reading, well, sounds like it's working for everyone.
                            Chronicles of the $700 Pony
                            The Further Adventures of the $700 Pony
                            www.blithetraveler.com <-- My Blog

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Reynard Ridge,

                              You should consider submitting some of your pieces to the actual COTH Magazine. They remind me a bit (in how much I laugh) of Cookie McClung's articles she wrote for years.

                              I have to admit, I selfishly enjoy reading them on here.

                              Mel

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I keep thinking the same thing, Mel!

                                Thanks for treating us to another adventure, Reynard Ridge! You have a wonderful gift.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  "that her steering improves a bit (HATE it when they fall out of the dressage ring)"

                                  I so seldom actually laugh out loud (happens most often on these CoTH boards, however...) that I've got to congratulate you, RR!!!

                                  And we wouldn't LIKE these stories so much if we couldn't really relate to them. SO, you're not ALONE, RR...

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                                  • #18
                                    RR, you are tooooooooo funny. Please start posting these in Off Course. I just happened to catch this installment by accident as I usually hang out in H/J land.

                                    Searching for installment #4 now!
                                    Derby Hill~The Outside Course

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                                    • #19
                                      RR, as someone who evented heavily in my teens, watched my horsey-life peter away to riding OPH (Other People's Horses) after selling my horse to finance a house, finally seeing my riding dwindle to once a week, and now finding myself pregnant with twins(!) and no shread of horseydom in the near (meaning next 18 years) horizon.... your stories are inspiring and uplifting and let me laugh out loud about it all! I am a huge fan, and I know you can do it.
                                      ***
                                      The hardest to learn was the least complicated.

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