Other things to catch up on - Oxers. I have a question to answer from eventer79's comment on the "Jimmy, do I have all my teeth" post. I'm not sure I can put into words how to jump "across" an oxer, and even Jimmy said it probably implies more than reality, so I think I'll call it a mental state more than anything. I don't get those horrible straight-up in the air oxer jumps on cross country - yes, we are going more forward, but I think it's also about having the sense that you're going someplace. After a big wide galloping fence, I've got a field to gallop across. My job doesn't end at the base of the fence, because I have someplace to go. In show jumping, I seem to get stuck at the base of the fence, trying so hard to get there just right - that I don't ride over and past it. I just ride to it. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but I also talked to Lucinda about the issue briefly this week. She asked if I am getting SJ time penalties - I said, yep. And she said, "I think you're trying too hard." Yep. She said that a horse that has those issues in SJ but not in XC has to be ridden, for now, in the SJ as if we're out on the XC course. Yes, make the turns. Yes, keep the balance as best as I can. But get in there and GO! As our training and skill improves, I will be able to collect more and still keep that power, but for now, I've got to set my biggest priority as keeping the engine running - up to the fence, at the fence, and over the fence! But, not to forget Jimmy's gospel of rhythm - the GO does not mean increasing at the fence. It still means regularity and rhythm (counting, 1...2...3...4...5...) - with an increased pace and lighter contact - just like I do on XC. Sounds so easy. If only.
I also have to announce that last Monday night (in the Holiday Inn Express bathroom!) was either a low low point in my life or one of my biggest accomplishments (I'm not sure which!) - I successfully removed the 3 stitches from my own face. This was definitely one of those "don't try this at home" moments. The ER folks told me the stitches must come out on Monday or I would end up with Frankenstein lines on my eye - and I tried to explain how I was going to be out in the middle of no place on Monday with my horse (yes, Ms. Nurse, I'll be with the horse that just busted up my face) - so they gave me a take-home suture removal kit. No worries, they said. HA HA HA! I assumed in that little kit there would be Ikea-like directions... big pictures, lots of arrows pointing to this and that, step 1, 2, 3... Nope. Kit included scissors, tweezers, gauze pad, and alcohol swab. Some assembly required. No instructions included. And as the stitches were on my eye, it's not like I had watched them put them in, so I really had no concept of what had been done or how to get them out. As I was going for my eye with the tweezers in one hand and the scissors in the other, poor Kerry just about lost it! But, thankfully she has more than a little of her own experience with stitches and she became my own personal instruction sheet - actually, she was like my own little talking Garmin of stitch removal as I spouted out about 100 times "I CANNOT *&?!$ BELIEVE THEY GAVE ME *&%!# SCISSORS WITHOUT ANY %*!#$ INSTRUCTIONS!" It was not pretty, but the stitches are out and my eye looks almost normal. Please oh please let me never ever have to go through that again!
And the final missing item from this week's posts is showing off Atticus - The Blue Batman (that's his new Warmblood Racehorse name) - wearing his matching blue ribbon from his first recognized dressage show at Morven Park last week! Kerry put on a lot of dressage miles last weekend and was forced to deal with all kinds of craziness - but when things came together in their second test on Saturday, The Blue Batman rocked and won a well deserved blue ribbon to match his costume!