Another Chapter?

By Adara, a German Riding Pony, as recorded by rider Michele Harn

Photo by Sara Ryerson

There’s a strange light headed towards my pasture. What’s going on? It’s 5:30 a.m. (after the time change) on Saturday March 19, so it’s pitch black. Fox Hunting season is over so I’m confused. I should be on break! “Darry Doodle, where are you?” she calls out into the night. I try to hide behind a tree, but my glistening white hair, thanks to the bath I had to endure yesterday, gives me away.

“We have a new adventure today. You’re gonna love it!” She must be writing a novel because I’ve lost track of how many “new adventures” we’ve gone on. Let’s see, there’s been carriage driving, Combined Driving, Competitive Trail Riding with Obstacles, and Fox Hunting so far. Turns out this one is new for her too; something about dancing and jumping. Maybe this has something to do with the endless roundy-round trotting we’ve been doing lately. I’m happy for the hay net in the trailer and pleased I didn’t have to be confined for long. She says we’re going to Southwind Stables in Olive Branch. Mississippi for a CT (combined test).

It’s still dark as we arrive, but I smell horses, so I’m sure it’ll be okay. My girl takes me on a walk in an arena with lots of painted, cut-up trees. She says something about trotting over these painted branches later this morning after we do a dance in the covered arena.

After brushing me so much I thought I’d be bald, she puts on my saddle and bridle and we go ride with the painted branches. Other horses and their people join us. Soon we’re headed over to the covered arena for our turn to dance. The lady at the table dings a bell and we go off to the right. I hate going to the right, so I let my girl know about it. Then the lady at the table dings the bell again. Oops, my girl kept me trotting when I was supposed to walk. I’m patient with her, knowing she must be nervous trying something new.

After some time at the trailer with my hay net, we go back to the painted branches. I was so excited to canter, but my girl said, “No, we need to trot and develop rhythm and relaxation.” I think she over-uses those words. I like trotting over the painted branches and hope she’ll bring me here again. Before we leave, they give her a paper with numbers and words on it. The lady at the table wrote that I have “nice bounce,” but that my girl needed to keep me “between the legs.” I hope that doesn’t mean more roundy-round trotting. Oh, and they also give my girl a pretty ribbon and a cup filled with peppermints for me. I like this place!

On the way home, I think about how fun the day was and how I hope she’ll take me to more CTs. I tell the other horses at home about it and now they want to go, too. But I’m the special one who goes places and they stay home. I guess it’s good to be sparkling white so I’m easy to find.

Southwind Stables CT (combined test) on March 19, 2022 was the first of several events in the 2022 Memphis Eventing High Point series. These Combined Tests include a Dressage test and a jumping course. More information can be found on the Memphis Eventing Facebook page.

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