Hey Mojo … Where Are You?

What mojo looks like at the end of the year. Photo by Holly Covey What mojo looks like at the end of the year. Photo by Holly Covey

What mojo looks like at the end of the year. Photo by Holly Covey.

In keeping with the theme of New Orleans, let’s talk about the mystery of mojo.

So when we talk about “mojo,” I think we are talking spirits, endeavors, emotions, ambitions, and forms of non-thinking activity. Does that cover riding jumping horses well? I think it does.

We get the mojo when we first dream of riding a horse; then we want to ride a horse over jumps; then we want to compete; then we want to win; then we want to get on a team; then we want to win with the team. That’s sort of an unhealthy progression of “wants,” but it is fairly accurate if you know anything about eventing or grand prix dressage or jumping, that is, competing horses at the highest levels.

Those who are most successful probably have the greatest amount of mojo flowing for them in the best most advantageous direction; but alas, for the vast unwashed horde of the REST of us, mojo is a fickle mistress.

Half the time, we don’t recognize when the mojo is flowing our way; we’re halfway through the greatest cross-country course of our lives before we realize we’ve jumped all the obstacles so far basically in stride and had no scary short ones yet. The other half of the time we spend anxiously awaiting the mojo to arrive, after six chips in a row in the Novice show jumping round that your husband finally showed up to view.

Mojo and me have a tricky relationship. I need it and hope it sticks around when it drops by, but it never seems to want to stay very long. I am jealous of my friends and others whose mojo is more consistent and much friendlier to them, who seem to be able to summon it when needed. These are the people who never fall off, whose leg looks like a queen’s, whose helmet is never dirtied, horse never misses a change, saddle pads always remain clean. I hate them.

Many people do not believe in spooks, or mojo, or the Easter Bunny, but I am here to testify that in my life, I have ridden horses that do believe. Unless you have super velcro butt saddles, you had better respect the believers that you sit on. They know mojo is alive and well, and lives in the corner of the indoor with the wheelbarrow and pitchfork. It does not matter that they have seen these a million times. Your horse believes, therefore, it lives and can pounce exactly when you are trying to improve your shoulder-in.

So mojo is the thing that makes the horse spook; well, not exactly. It’s more like the thing that doesn’t; it comes to calm and provide direction. Still not believing it? Ah ha. Well, there are convincing arguments in life for just about everything. I mean, just because someone tells a lie and everyone believes it doesn’t mean it is true. And, just because something is true, and no one believes it, doesn’t mean it isn’t truth. Mojo is like that. It’s true even if you don’t believe.

It’s enough for me that my horses believe in it. I’ll trust them to judge it, I’ll take it when it comes, I’ll try to get it to stick around a bit more. Perhaps mojo is just really hard work in disguise. Yah, that’s it. I’ll bake it some Christmas cookies, leave a stocking out full of goodies for it, and pay it respect; maybe that will help. That, and two-pointing without stirrups three times around the ring. That makes mojo happy. All the ribbons and awards, and pictures and applause — just a way of acknowledging mojo stuck with you for the year because you worked pretty hard to keep it around. I think I’ve found the answer to the mystery of the universe. It’s a dirty saddle pad and sore legs, isn’t it?

Go eventing.