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Posts Tagged ‘Equestrian Life’

Grooming

On the left: That’s me at five years old. On the right: My son at eight.

 

I had my son in front of me on the back of a horse before he was three, hoping—like any formerly horse-mad woman who did little else than muck, groom, and ride throughout her childhood might—that maybe, just maybe, he’d have a little “horsiness” rub off on him. But it was more than five years and many wheeled vehicles later when he finally, out of the blue (although admittedly after rewatching A Knight’s Tale for the thousandth time) asked if he could ride a horse.

I jumped at the chance to see my kid in the saddle at long last. Luckily, while I currently do not own a horse of my own, TSB Managing Director Martha Cook has a Morgan who draws children to him like moths to a porch light.

We arranged for an evening introduction to the ritual of riding…the cross-ties, the currycomb, the names of the different brushes (are the bristles hard or soft?), the order of go when it comes to tack. And while I stood back and allowed my son to learn from another, I felt an intense rush of pleasure, tinged as it so often is, with a distinct sadness.

Gone are my long days of dirty fingernails and face and boots as I passed the time raking aisleways, shoveling the track smooth in the indoor, bringing horses in and turning them out. Oh, and how I used to love to clean tack! The community of the warm room filled with steaming buckets and leather things on a cold day, as I rinsed and wiped and polished alongside others. The satisfaction of the bridles neatly wrapped and hung evenly along the wall, the saddles oiled and covered for another night.

Time used to pass slowly then. Whether it was the slower rhythms of barn life or merely the fact that I was literally counting down the minutes between the horses I’d get to ride, it is a pulse I can barely imagine now, when I sit down at my desk early each morning and suddenly look up to find that it is already time to make dinner.

But for an hour that evening last week, I tasted it again: time slowing. I allowed myself to imagine that I was five again, my first brush strokes on a pony’s side, my first steps beside him, leading him to a mounting block, my first attempts to direct him with a pull of the reins right and left. For that hour, all my worries about the world and our places in it fell away, and I felt, in all its simplicity, happy.

 

riding

Then…and now.

 

Why should little boys ride horses?

Because it will, even if only for a moment, make their mothers very, very happy.

 

Rebecca Didier, Managing Editor

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When it came time to write a follow-up to her bestselling DRESSAGE FOR THE NOT-SO-PERFECT HORSE, FEI/USEF dressage judge Janet Foy knew what she wanted to do.

“I thought it would be a great way to answer all the questions I have from my dressage friends,” she says. “It is my hope it will help readers on their dressage journey…making learning easier and more fun.”

So far, from Janet’s reports, the release of DRESSAGE Q&A WITH JANET FOY has inspired fun—for all involved!

“We sold out at the Madison book signing last week!” says Janet. “The WDCTA chapter of USDF is a very active group, and Mary Hanneman is the best organizer in the world! I always enjoy doing clinics for them, as they are well attended with good riders and also many auditors.”

 

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And how do the horses get in on this?

“Since attending Janet’s USEF Dressage Judge clinic in Colorado last September, I have been reading her first [DRESSAGE FOR THE NOT-SO-PERFECT HORSE] and now her second book [DRESSAGE Q&A WITH JANET FOY],” says USDF Bronze, Silver, and Gold-medal rider Michell Combs (she’s also an L Graduate with Distinction). “The other night I pulled a chair into Cosmo’s stall expecting to hang out with him and read while it was raining, but he kept coming over to snuggle and get attention.”

 

Cosmopolitan is an eight-year-old Dutch/TB cross that is schooling First/Second Level dressage. He's in his second career. "I was looking for a new project horse to lease and train while Cosmo's eventing trainer (Barb Crabo) and owner (Paige Hipsley) were looking for someone to train him full time in dressage," explains Michell Combs. "I've been riding 'Cosmo' for four months so far."

Cosmopolitan is an eight-year-old Dutch/TB cross that is schooling First/Second Level dressage. He’s in his second career. “I was looking for a new project horse to lease and train while Cosmo’s eventing trainer (Barb Crabo) and owner (Paige Hipsley) were looking for someone to train him full time in dressage,” explains Michell Combs. “I’ve been riding ‘Cosmo’ for four months so far.”

 

What was it about DRESSAGE Q&A that had Cosmo so interested? Perhaps it was the chapter on how horses learn (or perhaps, more importantly, the one on how riders do!)

“Remember that each horse will teach you something,” Janet writes in her new book. “Sometimes, the horse will also teach you what not to do. Take these lessons in stride, and keep learning and questioning. With dressage we are never really a ‘finished’ product! When you think you know it all, you will fail.”

If you and your horse have been so busy this summer you haven’t spent an evening just snuggling and reading together, take a tip from Janet, Michell, and Cosmo. It’s essential to keep learning and educating yourself…but even more important to spend quality “friend time” with your horse.

After all, he’s the most important “dressage friend” you have.

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

CLICK IMAGE TO ORDER

 

DRESSAGE Q&A WITH JANET FOY is available now from the TSB online bookstore, where shipping in the US is FREE.

CLICK HERE for more information and to download a free sample chapter.

 

Check out the article about Janet judging at the upcoming Australian Dressage Championships on EquestrianLife.com!

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