You Can Ride a Magic Carpet Without a Genie
The little red rocket
at the Turkey Trot 75 Last Weekend in
Isn’t it wonderful when things fall into place ‘just so’? I still get a little nervous before getting on Far – there’s a sense of anticipation, risk, the unknown and the unpredictable all rolled into one little chestnut gelding. And yet he keeps exceeding my expectations. Everything in the world is just right when I ride him.
Stories of magic carpets started in biblical times, but it was the collection of Arabian Nights that really stirred the fantasies of western cultures. I rode my magic carpet through the McDowell Turkey Trot 75 Mile Race on Saturday in Easyboot Glue-Ons. The 11½ hours of floating in the saddle gave me a chance to pause and reflect. Meditation in motion; literally.
We had a good ride all day. I had the privilege of riding for the first time with Kevin Waters and Stephanie Palmer DuRoss: two endurance heroes. We finished just a little while behind the front runner, and Far even got High Vet Score. Kevin rode Tahoe in Easyboot Gloves and got the Best Condition award.
I think it’s the first ride I’ve been to where there were fewer shod horses than booted horses in the mileage category I rode in. I’m not sure what the proportion of boots versus shoes looked like in the 50 mile event, but the winner, the Best Condition horse and the turtle were in Easyboots, and there was healthy booted representation throughout the pack. Times are definitely changing.
When you stop and boil it down to basics, things just have to be right starting from the ground up. If you don’t have four healthy feet on the ground, your chances of success are unnecessarily compromised.
Turning Down The Chatter
One of the teachings in yoga is about tuning out the noise around you and becoming focused on the moment. The horse communicates many things to us and we have to focus to hear what he is saying. You will increase your chances for success if you tune out the chatter and focus on your horse’s message.
- Watch the stance. Does your horse stand square; does he seem to point one leg more than the other when resting?
- Look at the symmetry. Is one foot drastically different than the other side?
- Feel the gait. Is one foot consistently more sensitive than the other? Which foot is the horse’s weight usually on when he takes a tender step?
- Diagonals matter. Do you make a point of changing diagonals throughout your ride? Every single ride?
- Re-evaluate the hooves. Again and again and again. How often do you take a rasp to your horse’s hooves and keep him in balance?
- Look for pain. Look into his eye. Is it bright and alert - do you notice when it changes? Is your horse more irritable on one side than the other? Are there certain things that make him react negatively when you tack up?
Each of the messages above should influence the actions you take in your strategy for success.
Boot Your Horse; Be Present
One of the great things I’ve learned as a novice rider and boot user is to look more closely at my horses. I know what each foot looks like in a way that I’d not noticed when I put my faith in steel shoes. I’m more in control of how his feet evolve – I’ve taken on more responsibility to make sure each individual component of the horse is in step and in harmony. And I love it.
Ride The Magic Carpet
Much of the race last Saturday in
If you get the various pieces in order and invest a little time in getting to know your horse and your equipment better, things might just fall into place perfectly for you to ride your own magical carpet.
Keep up the bootlegging!