After last week’s ‘episode’ of bad behaviour, I was really hoping for a nice easy ride this week, but as usual, Luc had other plans. The giant grey giraffe unfortunately reared its very tall head for most of the ride, gawking every which way at every single thing within sight of the sand ring. I would have chalked it up to the start of the fall friskies, but well it was 20 degrees out and sunny. Plus, friskies to me implies there is some kind of forwardness. We were going in slow motion. Again.
The walk and the trot were slow. The canter, however, was somehow even slower. So slow it must have defied the laws of physics. I’m pretty sure we covered more ground in less time walking than we did cantering. With a few notable exceptions – like when he tried to buck me off. Again. Okay, so this time I can confidently confirm it was not a full on buck (I’m pretty sure that requires too much energy on Luc’s part). But it was a full kick out when I asked for the canter. I’m beginning to think it’s just me, since he hasn’t pulled this stunt with my sister in quite some time.
At least once he finished kicking out and I made it clear that we were going to continue calmly in the canter, albeit at that ridiculously slow pace I couldn’t get him to move forward from, he cantered on. Right up until the invisible monster right next to the ring jumped out and attacked us. That resulted in a bolt, stop, spin and bolt in the other direction. It was a big enough spook that my sister thought I might be on my way to becoming much more intimately acquainted with the dirt. Thankfully, the dirt and I are still strangers. I did lose a stirrup and get tossed forward (not out of the saddle), but managed to right myself in time to haul Luc up and evaluate what the heck just happened. It was one of those spooks that seemingly comes out of nowhere – and vanishes just as quickly. When I asked him to canter past the scary section again, he did it without hesitation. I really don’t think I like Luc testing me anymore.
I also tried and failed to get a flying change out of Luc this week. He knows them, and I know how to ask for them, so I thought it would be fun to try. Luc did not agree. Instead, he decided he would much rather practice counter canter – lovely balanced counter canter, all the way across the direction change and then around in a nice 10 metre circle. If it had been what I’d wanted it would have been beautiful. Instead it was a little on the frustrating side. In the end I had to resort to just asking for the simple change through trot and moving on to other things. Like jumping! Luc likes jumping, I like jumping, so it seemed like a great way to end the ride.
Or maybe not. Luc had been trying to convince me we should be jumping the entire ride, locking on to any fence we passed in hopes that I would take him to it. When the time actually came to jump, he was looking elsewhere. On our first attempt I’m pretty sure he didn’t catch on to the fact we were actually headed straight for the small x-rail until about a stride away. It was not pretty, but we made it safely to the other side and managed to leave the rail up. I was sure the second time would be better now that he knew what we were doing.
Sadly, it was not. He started with that incredibly slow moving canter, something I wished had disappeared when he realised we were jumping like it normally does. It did not. Not until about three strides out, when Luc finally decided to listen to me telling him we needed more impulsion. He took it upon himself to make up for lost time and lengthen his stride way too much. For once I actually could see a distance and knew we were coming in too hot. I asked for him to wait. He flipped me off and took the flyer anyways. It was not pretty either. I looked like a chicken trying to take flight with how far out my elbows were. Had the fence been any higher than the 18 inches it was, I just might have.
Thankfully the third time proved to be the charm and we floated down to the fence and jumped it perfectly. Or as perfectly as someone who hasn’t taken lessons in over a decade is capable of. We jumped it once from the other direction and when it was lovely as well, I called it a day and cooled Luc out. I got a lot of nickers when I got off. They no longer make up for his antics. He will need to find a new ploy next time to remind me how cute he is and how much I love him.
I sure hope next week goes a whole lot better. I am getting a little tired of Luc creatively coming up with new ways to try and ditch me in the dirt. Okay, so maybe this week’s title is a tad misleading. He wasn’t actually a moderately better beastie. He was just as bad as last week – maybe even worse. But we got to jump, and that makes everything seem a little better than it actually was. Plus, next week I’m sure our ride will be all sunshine and rainbows. Right?