I just woke up from a bizarre dream.
Well, not just. It rattled my stomach so badly that I had to go throw up first and then had to lie down on the couch for an hour to get the vertigo to go away.
I had a dream about eventing. Jumping brush fences, ditches, and lamb creeps. Every lurch of the pony, every thought of "Oh SHIT that's a big fence. Gonna die gonna die gonna diegonnadie right NOW!" was accompanied by the fence coming right at me, feeling the horse trying to evade left, evade right and then power down with a determined focus to that leap. Ears forward, chest thumping, legs driving, no evasion, no wiggles. Power Power Power Uuuup and land.
My stomach can't take the swooping any more.
Eventing? Oh sorry. Let me explain.
I only ever did it at training level, but eventing is where the horse and rider compete on the flat in dressage the first day, then cross-country over wide high natural obstacles (which do NOT fall apart if you hit them) at speed, and the final day the horse and rider compete in stadium jumping over mostly very high jumps with tight corners in an enclosed space. Three different disciplines to show that the horse is trained 3 ways.
Here's a good page with examples of different types of X-C fences: A description of Cross Country facilities.
Ditches scared the hell out of me -- which scared the hell out of the horse. Great. You can be asked to jump OFF a ditch or up onto a "step up". (Same structure, just approached from the other direction.)
When you jump a ditch, you basically are asking your horse to jump off a cliff with you and having him land on the other side. Jumping a step-up is obviously a bit easier, as he knows where he's supposed to land.
But the worst for me, for some reason were what they call "lamb creeps". It's sort of like jumping over a low shed roof. You can find examples on the page I just linked there -- pheasant feeders are basically the same thing. It's hard to judge their height, and the horse doesn't get a good sense that they're wide. It looks like a straight vertical fence until you're on top of it.
You just have to trust that when you give the horse the gas that he's going to take that signal and jump WIDE. Not UP. (That conversation obviously gets easier with training. But it's also just a trust thing.)
Anyway, I had this dream where I'm on a horse I haven't ridden for a while. I'm in the middle of a course, and I can't remember ever walking the course. Every time I approach a fence, the horse just almost wiggles. He probably doesn't even change his footfalls, but his weight is shifting while he's thundering at top speed to see if maybe he can avoid jumping this fence. Ugh. NOT what you want on a cross-county course. Go. Go. Go. Go. Do What I Say. Go.
Ditch to water. falling falling oh shit, land already. Step up to brush fence. wiggle. GO! Turn to the left, a wide galloping arc. Build your speed. Make up for the jumps. Gallop. Straight. Holy Christ a lamb creep. Wait. What's past it? Am I jumping an in and out? A corner? Damn. Are there TWO fences? Jump it as a corner and hope you can get the width to jump the far one.
Mid air. I'm sailing over the lamb creep, which was set up at right angles to a single low heavy rail, I look ahead and realize that the horse hasn't jumped wide enough. If I had jumped him farther away from the point, we could have jumped it as two fences. Jump into the box, jump out of the box. But I tried to get him to jump two fences as one in the corner, and we're going to crash.
I wake up just as his front legs connect with solid wood.
Apparently something in my subconscious would like to sit me down and have a little chat. Because it's pounding on the inside of my head as I sleep. I could have done without the motion sickness though.
Bagheera was happy to sit on my tummy though and purr himself into ecstacy.