Friday, August 12, 2011


Ever try to explain to a thoroughbred mare why we do lateral work? It's a funny conversation.

"Shoulder in."
"Because it's good for you."
"It's going to make you more supple and it will be easier for you to lift your back and go on the bit. And we have a dressage show in three weeks."
"Those are stupid reasons."
"Okay, fine, do it because I told you to."
"Do it because I'm sticking a spur in your side."
"Ha ha. You don't own enough Saddle-tight to win this one, mom, and we both know it."
"Do it because I have those molasses and oat treats you love in the barn and tomorrow I'll take you out for a gallop."
" . . . you've got a deal, but I still think this is stupid."

Needless to say, the princess does not enjoy doing her lateral work. Traveling in three tracks does not make sense, and she thinks we need to just forget this whole nonsense and go jump something already. Or maybe do some lengthenings, those are a lot more fun. Anything that does not involve leg yielding on and off the track. Or anything that does not resemble a counter canter. I know her flying lead change was one of the things that sold me on her, but it is damn annoying to try to canter a bending line on a horse that will do a flying change if I so much as glance in the direction of travel. I sneezed and got a flying change, for pity's sake. You should see her tempi changes out on the trail when she's trying to guess which way we're going to turn next. If she could do them on a straight line, and when I actually wanted them, I'd have a Grand Prix horse on my hands.

Instead, I have Fiona. And she does not believe in shoulder in.

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