The 12th Earl of Derby and You

Thursday, September 3, 2009

My friend Landis who lives outside of San Diego has an interest in the origins of words, just like me. Today he called me at work to convey two histories he had recently come across. The first was "Dom Perignon" (blind guy who made great champagne yadda yadda yadda). The second is much more interesting: "Derby." As in The Kentucky..!

A nobleman named Edward Smith-Stanley and his other wealthy buddies were very into horses and racing them. The arranged for two races that they took very seriously. One was named The Oaks after Edward's fancypants estate. The other he almost didn't get to name himself but they flipped a coin and he won. So he gave it not his name, but his title. And his title was The 12th Earl of Derby.


And here's the old rich guy himself! Are those riding pants he's wearing?

I am happy to report that our weather the last few days has been as noble as the old Earl himself! The last two nights I hurried to Bill's after work and saddled up Lilly. There's nothing wrong with getting a little lesson in before night time hay!


I set up some poles that could be like barrels and took her around them a few times to get her used to the idea. Look, she looks innocent enough there!



And we got some good flexing in! because I wanted her to curl around those poles like a gumby. Brumby=Gumby. Well, that's what I was thinking anyway.


Here we are racing around the third "barrel." She was good at first. And then she decided that she didn't want to canter, and wasn't going to. When we went to make the turn around a barrel, she'd turn her head to the left (which was good) but run to the right. Sideways! Toward the gate! Let me tell you something: I couldn't have gotten her to flex to the left while sidepassing to the right at a trot if I died trying! But there she was stubbornly doing it, just to avoid cantering to the left and away from the gate.
My brumby was being a spoilsport!


Brandon took a lot of pictures of a very bad brumby and some very very bad form on my part. I'm not good at maintaining good posture when she's trying to race around to the beat of her own drum. I lean forward and look ugly. Lilly throws her head around and tries to outsmart me. It looks bad. And I feel bad. But I will be damned if that brumby is going to get the best of me!
I kept that brumby cantering. I got out my crop and rapped her with it. I yelled in her ear to GO. I tried to mean business. She kept the canter going, but it felt very fast and reckless. It probably wasn't as fast as it felt, but I was compelled to keep her at it. It's good practice anyway, to ride a fast canter. I could see the dirt swirling by underneath me! But I was not going to let my beautiful brumby get away with murder!
In the end, of course she is just too lazy to keep zooming around like a race car. She settled into a nice lope and I felt a tiny little triumph bloom inside of me.
The next night I wanted to do something that did not involve a power struggle. I brought our old shower curtain down to the ring. We haven't worked with tarps in a while....


Lilly was not too sure about those stripes.



But they didn't worry her too much. In fact, the shower curtain training was not as dramatic as I thought it might be.


I think I am trying to get Lilly to flex here. I am glad these pictures are small because my butt looks very enormous in the big version of this photo..


Here is a nervous me riding bareback!

3 comments:

Kate said...

Good brumby/gumby work - sounds like you got too much gumby at some points!

juliette said...

I think Lilly looks so pretty with you on bareback!

manker said...

a picture truly is worth a thousand words.. then you can really see what you're doing... I know as a newbie i'm constantly working on my equitation (read maintaining the full and upright position".. )

you and the brumster look great... i've ridden my qhorse bareback but havent yet gone there with gazi (my arabian!) :) Stay tuned

happy trails from your "2nd home state" :)
gp

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