I went for my jumping lessons with high hopes and a trailer full of bright, shiny horses due to Barby's hard work. We were very excited to go jumping with Micheal Tokaruk, a sucessful Grand Prix show jumper based here in Aiken.
The day before was not ideal. It was Barby's day off. Now I have become very very spoiled with Barby around. She hands me horses all day long and takes care of everything in between. When she is gone, I can't find anything and it takes me all day to get anything done. Needless to say, I got hung up with various issues around the farm and put my horses off 'till the end of the day. Thinking they would be easy to ride and I would have enough time to prep them for my upcoming lessons, which meant a lot to me. Boy, was I wrong... Then the rain came, and with it lots of lightening so I couldn't ride my horses. Well, I thought, they'll be good. They know how to jump, don't they?
Next Dance exited the trailer with smoke shooting out both nostrils. Michael had never met the Three Devils before, and I had descibed Next Dance as a "real softee." He was, of course, the complete opposite. It's a very good thing I know how to sit back in the saddle as his devilish horns were protruding so far out of the top of his head it was by pure luck that I was not impaled. We did not progress beyond two cross rails. Micheal was very polite.
Peter Pan was next. Our first exercise was a 2 ft.high cross rail with a small flower box underneath. He jumped it so high I nearly fell off. You get the picture.
Next comes Pickles, whom I had described to Michael as being my most difficult horse. He was the only good one. I was allowed to jump a course.
And then there was Riverdance. My Superstar. Michael had seen River in a previous clinic and thought a lot of him. Thought he'd make a serious equitation horse. A huge compliment. Well I was SO SURE I would redeem myself with him. He was a MONSTER!!! I was asked to jump with one hand behind my back so I wouldn't use my hands so much - a very good excercise that I hadn't used in ages. But, I have to tell you, it felt like I was about seven years old and back in pony club! Certainly by now I MUST be allowed to ride with two reins don't you think? (Obviously not!)
In conclusion, I had a great time as it is always an honor to ride with someone so experienced at their craft. Michael was VERY kind and kept his horror to himself. It just goes to show... don't get too big for your breeches hotshot.
I headed for home with my tail very far between my legs. After beating myself up for the 20 minute drive, I then got on a wonderful 15 hand Indian Chief here at the farm that made me feel like a star. I could actually jump 2'6" without a pull. There was hope...
The point is simple. If you are going to go have a big day somewhere - an event, a show, lesson, a hunt, or even a group ride with friends, you'd best be prepared. Don't skip your horses. Don't leave any stones unturned. I shan't soon forget that lesson. Michael look out, I'm coming back!