Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"You're so weird!"

So, Sunday was Tucker's debut showing at 3 foot. He was a superstar!

He has been to the show grounds where we were a lot, so he was non-plussed by the whole adventure right from the minute I unloaded him. We went for a little spin, and I actually had to pick up a longe whip (not that I had to actually use it, because he's such a giant chicken that just the idea that I had a weapon made him suspicious that I might at any minute develop a split personality and bludgeon him within an inch of his life). Then he got to chill on the trailer while I cheered on a friend in her come-back of the year. . . she and her horse have both fully (thankfully) recovered from some not-too-pleasant injuries and are back in the ring looking better than ever. So being her cheering squad was great! Plus, I got to walk the jumper course with her and Alicia, which was fun. I don't exactly do that too often over in hunterland.

Then I got on and hacked Tucker around while Alicia schooled the other young horse she was showing, and he was very relaxed, I'd say even half-asleep, just like we like him at horse shows. Alicia got on and schooled him and he was terrific. His mother, on the other hand, was a nervous wreck. I was chewing the finger of my glove, my heart was racing, and I was getting some pretty odd looks from the trainers schooling their riders standing beside me. I've realized that I'm a little nuts. What did I think was going to happen to him? The boy isn't made of glass. And he's so big and scopey and athletic that 3' is a piece of cake for him. But I'm his mom, and he's my baby, and I worry. I actually said to Alicia, as I walked him up to the schooling ring, "Are you sure these aren't too big for him?" She just laughed.

He showed pretty brilliantly. He is still obviously green, and gets a little distracted between fences, but he's just got the best jump ever (just like his daddy!). His knees actually hit his throat latch a few times. He did have a major baby moment. I'm not sure whether he got distracted because he saw me standing there or if he was just spacing out and forgot where he was, but he pretty much ran himself into the rail after the first fence in the first class. He looked totally stunned. Like when you're reading while walking and walk into a pole. (I might have done that once or twice. And don't pretend you haven't. . . .) It was very Kramer of him.

Later on back at the barn, we all had a good laugh over the fact that he was probably stunned because his rider did not throw herself between him and the fence to prevent any possible injury to him! There was a lot of good-natured teasing about how neurotic and worried I get about him. I am starting to realize that I am totally one of those crazy over-protective mothers! I have to learn to put it aside though, because it clearly effects my riding. It's difficult to concentrate on my job when I'm thinking things like "I hope this isn't too much for him," and "I hope he's not too worried." I should just trust in his athleticism and courage and stop being such a worry-wort. My fellow rider (the one who made her fantastic come-back on Sunday), made a great observation: "You are so weird! You're a lovely rider, he's a wonderful horse, you're both perfectly capable, what are you so worried about?" Once I caught my breath and recovered from laughter and her brutal (and spot-on) honesty, I realized she's got a great point. I need to just get over it!

It's tough though. He's such an amazing animal, and I feel so blessed to call him my own, that I worry about not doing right by him -- or even worse -- ruining him. But, I need to remember that he is a lot more resilient than I think, and if I don't make a big deal out of things, neither will he. Sort of like when he sees something that might be scary on a trail ride through the woods, and I just pat him and tell him he's okay. He will, without fail, take a deep breath and walk toward whatever he thinks is lurking in the bushes, so long as mom says it's okay. Which should tell me that if I don't worry about it, neither will he; but if I do worry about it (the distance, the strides, the lead change, whatever), he is taking his cues from me and will think there's something to be scared of.

Bottom line is that he's 100% capable of doing his job, and beautifully, at that. So I need to trust him more, and stop being so over-protective. And if it's not perfect, well then I need to just shrug it off and tell him (by staying relaxed) that it's no big deal.

Easier said than done, but it never hurts to set goals!


  1. He seems pretty special to me - glad things went so well!

  2. Awww...what a milestone! You are going to look back on this post in a year and laugh. I know you and Tucker and agree that you are both capable of doing 3' no problem, but I also understand the nerves thing since I looked at a 2'6" jump set in the ring and swore I would never jump anything that big again! I think nerve is just the kind of thing that takes time. Congrats to you and Tucker!

  3. He sounds fantastic - you sound fantastic! Relax, enjoy him and just drink in his Tuckerness!!!!!

    Food Issues I think I could write a book about them! I didn't think I had a problem until the girls at work started to point them all out! Vegemite - yes I eat it but only on fresh hot toast where the margarine has already melted and then light covering of vegemite. I can't have it for breakfast because otherwise I feel a little ill - generally about lunchtime I can eat it.

    I just love reading your posts!!!!!!

  4. That sounds like a really successful weekend! Big Congrats! I can completely relate with your 'weirdness'. My trainer trained by 6 year old mare from scratch and I swear I worry like crazy that I've completely messed her up over the past 4 months that I've owned her. When we had our first run-out in a lesson I was MORTIFIED, she'd NEVER stopped with him. But, deep breath, I am an amatuer, he is a professional who runs around Advanced level courses on 2 different horses. He exudes confidence out of every single pore of his body at all times, I do not, haha. We/I will worry and I will make mistakes :) I know though at the end of the day if anything, I might have just made her better than she ever has been because now she knows how to deal with an imperfect rider.

  5. I love that approach! We are making them amateur-proof with our silly mistakes, and they'll be better off for it -- great outlook! Like your trainer, Alicia exudes confidence out of every pore. The thing I appreciate most about her, though, is her ability to remain perfectly still and keep everything completely the same no matter what the horse is doing beneath her. It teaches the horses she rides to be so consistent and not to overreact to anything. I'm constantly impressed with her. You make a great point, though, that we need to remember that we are the amatuers and they are the professionals! After all, there's a reason we pay them the big bucks!

  6. Congratulations! Great on the show, good attitude recovery, and I think our 'horses made of glass...omg I'm going to ruin him' attitudes were separated at birth.

    Holy cow, you remembered it was FUN. That's huge. :-)


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