truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
[personal profile] truepenny
Someone asked about riding.

Yes, I still am. Milo turns eleven this year; I've owned him for seven years as of some time this month. We're schooling 3rd level, for those of you that means anything to. For those it doesn't, the levels of competition are: Training, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, Prix St. Georges (PSG), Intermediate I, Intermediate II, and Grand Prix. ("Intermediate" means intermediate between PSG and Grand Prix; Grand Prix is Olympic level.) Milo has shown at PSG with some of the women who have leased him. I can't afford BOTH to own him AND to compete, and I'm happy just schooling.

I got into dressage because when I turned 35, a little voice said, Y'know, if there's something you want to do in life, you'd better start doing it. And then it said, You want to learn to ride a horse. The internet told me that the nearest barn to my house was a dressage barn, and also that dressage was probably a better fit for me than basically any other discipline. Which turned out to be true.

I love dressage because I will never be "done" with it. There will always be something more to learn, something to improve, something to come back to and learn on a deeper level. The farther I progress, the harder it gets to talk about it, because the more the things I'm learning are things that English doesn't have words for. It's all kinesthetics and communicating with an animal who doesn't have language. (He knows several words of English--I frequently suspect more words than I have any idea of--but he can't use them.) And I'm constantly fascinated by how different horses' thought processes are from mine, or from my cats', or from dogs'. They're prey animals, and their world is made up of things that might eat them.

For instance, a tiny play in three acts I wrote a while ago:

I.
MILO: What is that?
ME: What?
MILO: [attempting in a completely suave and not-pathetic way to travel sideways instead of forward] That.
ME: [insisting on forward] The hayshed?
MILO: [walking forward on the extreme right side of the driveway] Not that. That.
ME: [looking for monsters to our left] The round bales on the trailer?
MILO: Round bales?
ME: Yeah, you know, your natural prey.
MILO: [side-eyeing the round bales dubiously as we pass] Are you sure? It could be a cunning Round Bale Mimic.
ME: Keep walking, Batman.*
MILO: What? It's totally a thing!

II.
MILO: What are those?
ME: What are which?
MILO: [nonchalantly edging sideways again] Those . . . things.
ME: Um, flowers in pots? Also your natural prey. Keep walking.
MILO: [choosing a line as far away from the flowers as possible] There have never been flowers there before in the entire history of ever.
ME: Well, there are flowers there today. Cope, bro.
MILO: [grumbling] It's a stupid place for flowers anyway. Nobody in need of a snack could possibly reach them.
ME: At a guess, that's why M's mom put them there.
MILO: Some people just have no consideration for others.

III.
MILO: What is that?
ME: That would be the working student carrying a bucket of grain.
MILO: . . . Oh.
ME: The working student whom you see every day of your life.
MILO: Must've been her bad side.
ME: I would also like to point out that grain is, once again, your natural prey.
MILO: It was out of context!
ME: This is why you wouldn't survive five minutes in the wild.
MILO: Oh shut up.

---
*Milo in his black fly bonnet--which actually isn't primarily for decoration, although it amuses me no end. It's to keep flies & other horrid biting winged insects out of his ears.
Milo in his black fly bonnet
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truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
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