Along for the ride:

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Only a Dish

A beautiful morning, this morning, without extremes of heat or wind. Much appreciated as my riding lesson was cancelled on Friday due to the chilly and turbulent  wind storm. The covered arena was full of pony-club camp kids and the prevailing opinion was that alone, up in the jumping paddock, if falling branches didn't kill me, Jeddah just might.
Today was perfect. 10 am on a Sunday morning, a few minutes early so I grabbed my schooling book and went over the aids and figures for leg yielding. I have ridden Jeddah twice before and he has the sensitivity and responsiveness of a thoroughbred, ex-racehorse tempered by a few years of being ridden by somewhat inexperienced riders. The first few times I applied some serious leg I was met by tail swishing and kicking out. He also has an opinion about cantering only on the right lead, whether we are going clockwise or not and is in the habit of falling into the slowest walk imaginable, rather than maintaining forward movement, when we transition down from trot. He is not fooling me. I can feel his potential and achieve some tangible results during my half hour private sessions. After a dozen minutes of warm-up we got good rythmic trot gaits and improved downward transitions. Half halts, serpentines and repetitions of trot to walk, trot again, then back to walk and repeat. The leg evasions have greatly diminished and he is tracking-up with his rear end, so very nice in my hand.
The leg-yielding went well, now that he is no longer flipping out when I pull my leg back behind the girth. We had no more of the pokey nose, upside down neck and back feel that was in evidence initially. Progress is progress. Little steps forward are fine with me. I've asked to ride Jeddah again so that we can keep at it. Once or twice a week is not enough, of course, but it's better than nothing.
Back home with a sweaty smile on my face, Hubby was launched into the preparations of Saucisson de Lyon en Croute, a large pork sausage boiled with leeks, potatoes and carrots then fished out, wrapped in pastry and baked in the oven. The house was already filled to over-flowing with tasty aromas.
I wanted to share my pleasure and try to explain why I get a kick out of riding. I haven't completely given up on some kind of understanding dawning one day. (It's only been a few decades, I don't give up easily).
As Hubby was preparing the pastry it caught my eye that the electric stove-top ring, on which he had placed an empty pyrex dish, was getting redder and redder. I should stop here and explain that this issue has come up before. As far back as 1982, when I took my Artistic Frenchman on a tour of Britain, to meet his soon to be family-in-law, we had a similar incident at my Aunt Helen's house in Scotland. One cracked pyrex dish, a melted plastic spatula and eggs, milk and cheese gratin dripping everywhere sent poor Aunt Helen off to bed with a headache and a twitchy eye. We cleaned up, purchased new kitchen equipment and tried not to frighten any other family members during our stay.
It is hard for me to understand someone who repeats the same behaviors expecting different outcomes. A sign of madness, arrogance or optimism? I retrieved the dish from it's glowing perch and went to gently place it on the metal stove top. (I knew not to put it on the cold tile counter). It was too far gone already and began with a small cracking noise, like an ice cube going into an aperitif. It blew. Glass crystals spread far and wide all over counters, stove and kitchen floor. I left to go take my shower. Nothing to say on my part, that has not been said before. "I always hope they will improve the quality of their dishes" said Hubby. " Now I must find another one"
Lunch was great and very tasty, we were lucky that the glass bits didn't make it into our food. I swept up and we opened a bottle of wine to enjoy with our lunch. I did not go down the thorny path of recriminations, although I had lost my "Buzz" from my equine encounter rather more quickly than usual. C'est la vie!


  1. Oh dear, the highs and lows...

    Perhaps Jeddah is the pony you've been pining for, just the grown up version ? Sounds like a lively one, at any rate, and I enjoyed reading your fairly technical description of the riding session here, even if I'm ignorant of the finer meanings...

    As for the pyrex explosion... sounds almost like something passive-aggressive going on there... but why ? Glad no one caught it in the eye or something...

  2. Owen, pretty much any horse will do to please me. They all have something special. I enjoy working out which buttons to press on a new mount. No passive aggressive this time, I don't think. Oblivious to the inconvenient facts is more like it, a bit like his driving technique:)

  3. H-m-m, Jeddah sounds suspiciously "Thoroughbred" to me. *G* A bit of my Tucker in there and a touch of Toby. The trick is to get his brain engaged and convinced you have his number. Your riding him is probably the best thing he has going for him.

    Hubby and the Pyrex dish? What can be said? Guess Corning needs to make totally indestructible goods? *lol*

  4. Jean, I spent a lot of years on German horses and then French Saddlebreds. I'm getting back to my roots with a thoroughbred. Still have more hope of mastering a horse than a husband:) Every day is a new challenge.

  5. What happened to Gary Cooper?

    You have my sympathy and understanding about the 'same behaviour' syndrome. I despaired of my French wasband ever learning that to back up required first checking the rear-view mirror. After I while I began to think that something more than attentiveness was missing.

  6. I'm delighted to hear that you got out for a good physically- and intellectually-engaging ride. It seems like the ideal pre-antidote to Merlin's most recent turning of perfectly good cooking equipment into trash––alchemy at its worst...

    I never fail to marvel at your European reserve. Being on the English side does come in handy from time to time, it seems, in the 100 Years War!

    And I am delighted to know that lunch was, as always, delicious, and that no one lost an eye to Pyrex's vexation at having been rudely overheated and then flash cooled.

    It's not nice to fool with the rules of physics. 'Though some people never, ever learn, which, in the end, is very entertaining for the rest of us.


  7. Hundreds of years ago that would have been seen as witchcraft or voodoo. Thank God for science, eh? Pity you still need to buy a new dish though.

  8. You are very good not to mutter a wifely word of advice.
    Perhaps more than a pyrex dish would have been shattered.

    Sorry about the buzz wearing off so quickly, but it sounds like you retrieved a bright spark or two during the day.

  9. It sounds like you're enjoying your riding. I love it when I get the buzz, it makes my day. I understand completely the 'same behaviour'syndrome - do they ever learn?

  10. Deborah, Gary Cooper is a polite and reliable horse who is now fully booked for summer camp and trail rides. Jeddah is not trusted on trail rides or a source of happiness for day-camp, therefore he is perfect for me.
    There is a deep seated belief in my husbands heart that the rules of the universe should revolve around his needs. I was passenger in a car in England once, in the quiet early morning hours. (We had flown 11 hours and then driven 300 miles).He had switched back to driving on the right hand side of the road and we were faced with an on-coming car. He flashed his lights and waved his arms until the English car changed sides and also drove on the wrong side, for them.

  11. Fr'Amie, as you say, "they never learn" and we do have a choice to be vexed or amused. Sorry you missed the show.

    Steve, Witches and Warlocks, that's us to a tee. Luckily I am not emotionally invested in dishes and such.

    Friko, acceptance that one's comments would be futile is very liberating:)

  12. Di, I always enjoy riding. It can be a struggle to schedule and not let other things intervene. Just the usual time and money issues. That makes it doubly valuable as I have to fight to fit in my personal pleasures. I forget everything else when I ride, which is part of what I like.

  13. Yup ! I'm married to his twin! (Not Jeddah's , I hasten to add.) Maybe it's a man thing ? Bless them .
    But the resulting lunch sounds delicious , anyway .

  14. That will bring you down quickly, eh. My hubby has bipolar disorder so sometimes I can't see a line between that and some of his usual meanderings. Cooking on the stove top on too hot temps results in burnt food. He is just now coming to understand that. But I love him anyway and in our house we don't make a big deal out of the small stuff. Not when we have so much of the great stuff.

  15. S&S, there is always a balance between pros and cons. It is interesting to realize how different another's point of view can be. We really don't all see the world through the same eyes.

    TechnoBabe, Bipolar and creative are often found in the same package. I stopped stressing about burnt pots when I decided not to soak and scrub and try to get them back. I toss them in the trash and accept that I have one less pot. No big deal. I must say it makes buying things at garage sales and flea markets a logical path. We started out that way when we changed continents long ago. We do still have the first four fake porcelain, indestructible plates we bought here. Those that I would least mind losing.