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Rider Recap: Riding The Roller Coaster

Thanks to our Austin Eventer Lorrie A. for her musings!!!

Remember as a kid when you finally became tall enough to ride the ultimate roller coaster at the amusement park? That tingly feeling in the pit of your stomach as you approached that measuring hand that would deem you worthy? How that tingling turned to joyous anticipation when you finally passed muster? That rush of fear and adrenaline as the safety bar clicked into place, the cars jerked into motion and you were catapulted into a twisting, turning, upside-down, inside-out ride of your life?

That’s how I feel about riding cross-country. Except I never liked roller coasters. Even as a kid. So what the *&*%$ was I doing last Sunday out on a cross-country course with my Percheron TB cross who was up and eyeballing everything in sight, while the cookies in my tummy were planning a violent revolt?


Since the first time I saw cross-country, I’ve wanted to do it. Watching roller coasters hurtling and spiraling along their rails never once drove me to ride them, but the combination of horse and rider, testing their skills in the wide open against questions daring to be conquered, had me willing to battle my worst fears of speed, heights, drops, and dependence on another being.

*&^$*$# ironic, isn’t it that I need a therapist as well as a trainer to do this sport?

For those of you who don’t know her, meet Lisa Bauman of Austin Eventing, trainer/therapist extraordinaire. What is her technique that got me and Heidi Star through the water, up the bank, down the bank, over the log and back to the barn safely and triumphantly? Mind Over Matter? Breathe And Relax? Grab The Mane? Just Do It?

Frankly it was a combination of all of the above with a little zaniness thrown in to detract from my insidious little moments of Today is a Good Day to Die. Ultimately the art of training is knowing when to apply which technique. Grownup humans with baggage are an especially fragile species. If effective training (and bolstering) could be put in a book, on a DVD, or in a bottle, everyone would be eventing and trainers would be millionaires. But it doesn’t work that way. You have to find an awesome trainer, get your ass on your horse and put yourself into their capable hands.

As to why this desire to ride cross-country is so relentless that I would torture my psyche to fulfill it when Pigs Would Fly before you catch me riding The Rattler at Fiesta Texas, well, if you ever loved a horse, cared for a horse, rescued a horse, rehabilitated a horse, talked with a horse, wept over a horse, laughed with a horse, danced with a horse, mourned a horse, or flown with a horse, then you know why


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