Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My Enigmatic Horse

The horse, should anyone be interested, was slightly less high this morning. I rode in three different rings, at an extremely lengthened trot, in an effort to get his giddy-ups out. Riding a high horse, a hot horse, is not easy because it's actually counter-intuitive. He's ridden in a straight-mouth rubber gag which is about as soft a bit as he'll take. Contact has to be light but constant and it involves half-halting for two beats and softening for two beats while keeping your leg on, but without pressure, and tightening the core muscles. I know, this sounds like a tantric sex move. He's light and sweet and not scary, but he likes to rush and he gets anxious. My whole responsibility is to sit as still as possible, not moving my upper body (using my arms only from the elbow, and mostly through the fingers) and to talk to him in a calming, sing-song way. Not that any of this matters, because over the fences he is lovely and light and sweet...but in the corners he loves to put his head down, throw his shoulder toward the inside and weeeeeeeeeee....motorcylcle around it. I like the challenge. I know he's a hard horse to ride. But I like that he makes me a better rider. I like that I have to think about it the whole time. I like that he's a little bit nuts and I have to pony him (this involves lying on his neck, his back, patting him on the neck, the back, the side, the bum, leaning off to the side while walking, as you would train a cow pony or an English gymkhana pony.) I do watch the ladies on their push-button horses and admire their easy rides but I wouldn't swap it for the world. He has more courage and grace (and beans) than most I see. Interestingly, none of this manifests itself until he's been out for approximately 20 minutes. Really gives meaning to the expression "tiger in your tank" (although, for the life of me, I've no idea where that expression comes from apart from a weird sense of foreboding that it might be a line from a really bad song called "Blue Jeans" by David Dundas, something that was very popular when we were about 14. Chorus: "I pull my blue jeans on; I pull my old blue jeans on.")

I called him Enigmatic because it seemed like a fine name for a show jumper, but with every day that passes, I realize that it becomes more apt. I never know how he's going to come out. It is, I would imagine, akin to having an alcoholic parent.

**UPDATE:7:50pm** -- Thank you, Anonymous, for this:

I think the saying "a tiger in your tank" was an advertisement for a gasoline company (Exxon?) that featured a tiger spokesanimal?

I stand corrected!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think the saying "a tiger in your tank" was an advertisement for a gasoline company (Exxon?) that featured a tiger spokesanimal?

Eddie Gehman Kohan, Pleasant Gehman and Cupcake Gehman said...

No, the gas co stole it from the Blake poem:
Tiger, Tiger, burning bright
In the forest of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry? Hibiscus Mele
In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?

SK said...

If memory serves, the gas company was Esso. Whether they knew Blake, I couldn't say.