So, a couple of posts ago, Carrot asked me how I was going to style up my pone for the big test…

Still no pone. And I see how this could be a problem.

Even though I have been riding Malabar for a good long time now, it’s still not the same, is it? And I only ride him once a week, unlike the horses I’ve been riding for years at Carrickmines. I know that Delilah and I would absolutely kill this test — but even still, it’s only this year that I discovered that she loves to do dressage. We were doing a Prix Caprilli test in the Tuesday night lesson, and she — we, she and I, were all over that bad boy. Even the jump from the twenty metre circle. It was magic.

Last week magic with Mal; this week, as I’ve written, not so much. And of course it was fifty per cent down to me. So I can only do so much, which for a recovering control freak, is terribly instructive. And since dressage, to me, is like the control freak’s dream — here’s a list of things to do! Do them! Do them well and you get a prize! Fantastic! — I am learning that adhering to a list will only take me so far.

I haaaaaaate the notion of fucking up in front of a bunch a people. But I hate the notion of giving up even worse. So all I can do is do the best I can. If there’s a twelve step programme for us managing types, it should totally involve dressage tests. I can only do my part. In doing my part well, it allows the horse to do his part well. But I can’t ensure that Mal’s had enough rest, or not too much; that he had a relaxing time in the field, or blew out his fidgets sufficiently. If I had my own horse, then I could control for those factors… and still, and still, only up to a point.

One more excellent learning from this whole process: be sufficient unto the day thereof, and enjoy!

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