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We Are Flying Solo

December 7, 2009

Tarp Of Doom, I DEFY Thee!

I hate winter. It's always dark. And cold. And the footing usually sucks in some way or another. And it's dark and cold. Did I mention I hate the cold? And dark?

It's been raining like crazy here too -- we WERE in a drought, but no longer. Mud abounds and both Solo and I are about to pull out what's left of our hair if we are stuck in the arena working on dressage for one more MINUTE. Although I am undyingly grateful for BO's rainproof, stormproof, iceproof footing and her OCD which causes her to drag it nearly every day.

So when the sun came out on Sunday and the ground showed a modicum of respectability in a few well-drained areas, I told Solo we were going to jump-school, DAMMIT! I set up the video camera in hopes of some useful footage, although it turns out, with the camera just sitting on its tripod, alone and sad without anyone to push the zoom button, it's hard to get good footage of jumping. I did manage to catch a few snapshots from the video, which though grainy, were useful to me in seeing how we are coming along.

In good news, Solo was ON FIRE. He very clearly informed me that being stuck in the dressage arena all week sucks donkey balls and that JUMPING IS FUN FUN FUN! Everytime I asked him to canter, he'd flip himself all over the place with energy just shooting out of him. I couldn't help but laugh -- like the good boy he is, it was just a couple of strides, and I stayed soft and let him have it and then he came right back to focus on the fences. And as you can see at left, WE HAVE CONQUERED THE INFAMOUS BLUE TARP OF DOOM. I have been putting that damned tarp on everything I can think of. Under jumps, over jumps, beside jumps, over Solo's head. So help me god, that horse will now jump a blue tarp without hesitation or complaint!

I am also happy to report that thus far, stepping up our jump schooling in preparation for Novice events has been successful. I have been focusing hard on keeping my "landing gear" beneath me (thank you, P, you are a godsend!) and Solo has been developing a nice rhythm, staying with my leg and jumping around each jump with a lovely scope. I put a tape on all the jumps before I rode out and they ranged in size from 2'7" at the little green and yellow in the background to about 3'2" or so at the blue barrel Swedish oxer and I am happy to report that nary a one resulted in any problems. We even made a little fakey ditch with a shiny black tarp between two rails on the ground and Solo quite obligingly leaped it with gusto.

It's amazing what a difference it makes when things start to click. A few months ago, I looked at 2'9" jumps clearly thinking, OMG, you must be KIDDING me, who do I look like, Rodrigo Pessoa(ette?) Yesterday, I looked at a 3' jump and thought, Gee, that looks like a nice, doable challenge!

In Solo-world, at least, things are looking up! (and over!)


  1. Hooray! Glad to hear that things are progressing so nicely for you two. And, yes, Solo looks like he's jumping with joy. He's all, "Take THAT, you Evil Blue Portal to The Gates of Hell!"
    On a side note, Rodrigo ain't so great. Last year, I watched him go through many a duck-out and crash-through. And he had one very, very close call where he lost his reins after one of the aforementioned crashes and came within inches of eating dirt.

  2. You guys look great, congrats on mastering the tarp! I just gotta point out from here in blizzard-land, though... that is NOT winter, I want what YOU have instead!!! *sob*

  3. I gotta agree with sumaclab. We're gonna get 12 inches of snow in the next 24 hours & possible blizzard conditions are predicted for tomorrow, so I'm pretty envious of your "winter"!! You guys are looking fantastic. You can tell in the pictures that Solo is just brimming with joy at being able to jump!

  4. Yeah, I'm looking at a fresh 5" of snow down in the valley, and multiple feet up in the mountains.... you don't have winter! I've ridden in a t-shirt in NC in January......
    On a nicer note, you guys look AWESOME!!!!!!

  5. looks great! keep it up, even in the mud and gunk winter so gratefullt provides us.
    and I agree with frizzle, I really dislike pessoa, his horse is gorgeous but in every pictue you see his/her head at its chest and his/her mouth gaping open. thankfully it seems rodrigo has switched to a hackamore, which might be less painful to his amazing horse. Just to get over the fences with him hanging on his/her mouth is spectacular.

  6. hahah, thanks! No, I am not a huge Pessoa fan either, just the first person I thought of who jumps big jumps.

  7. Checkmark, Rodrigo's horse is Rufus and I'm not all that impressed with him, either. He had some very dirty stops last year, in the Prix ring, on the turf at the derby...pretty much everywhere. I was very surprised to see them competing at the FEI World Cup in Las Vegas (and mishap-free all of a sudden, too).