These were the words I uttered as I started untacking. After a series of great rides, last night we had kind of a bad one. It seemed like no matter what I did, Tucker just would not stay off my left rein. I had moments where my left fingers were actually throbbing. I tried everything I could think of - leg yields, haunches in, spiral circles, counter-canter. The only thing that seemed to work was the counter-canter (tracking right, holding the left lead), so we did lots of that. The plus side is that his counter-canter, which I haven't worked on in a while, felt amazing and balanced.
We also had a, um, "moment." I was trying to work on straightness at the canter, on a circle tracking right. He did his leaping thing, which doesn't surprise me, but then midway through his leaping he realized two horses were leaving the ring, so decided to mix it up and run backwards/sideways. You know, variety is the spice of life, and all.
Wouldn't have been that big a deal except that we have a metal trash can where we store jump cups alongside the ring, and Tucker almost side passed right over top of it. I had a vision of him knocking it over, scaring the &%*! out of himself, and killing everyone. All our lives flashed before my eyes. Thankfully I had the good sense at that point to drop the reins, lean forward and cluck. Not the prettiest move, but sometimes you just have to Hail Mary yourself out of a jam.
So, to review, we had a horse show on the 9th, a lesson the second week of the month, and a horse show this weekend. It's kind of been all dressage, all the time. In fairness, we did take the boys to Baldpate and I've done some trail riding at home in between. But now that I'm looking back, I haven't let him jump around a course since last month. Which means all my ring work, even though I work on different things each day, has been dressage stuff. I've basically been feeding him brussels sprouts every meal. (Sorry, I'm sure some of you love brussels sprouts. You know what I mean.) I think he may have just had it up to here last night. ("Here" is really high when you're a Tucker.)
In an effort to tell myself that I have not destroyed our chances of a successful show this weekend, he has today off (which was planned) and on Friday when I go to the Horse Park I'm going to make the ride as pleasant for him as possible, focus on the stuff he's good at, let him do lots of stretching, and just ratchet back what I'm asking for at the canter a little. Not that I'm going to let him be as crooked as he wants, but I feel like I need to make it a ride he enjoys.
Thankfully, my bad ride notwithstanding, it was a great night, because my barn is awesome. It was one of our barnmate's birthdays, so this happened.
And we found out that the Riverview Wine and Pony Club's affinity for Sauvignon Blanc extends to some of the ponies, as well.
After all, nothing erases the memory of a not-so-great ride like a glass of wine and a cupcake.