While we often have articles on here written by horse enthusiasts for horse enthusiasts, we don’t regularly get the point of view of the horse himself. This week, I’m introducing a new blogger for Eventing Nation. He’s French (which makes him both prissy and fancy), he’s larger than life, and he has way more opinions than any of the regular writers for EN. His name is Nyls (pronounced “Nilz”) and he’s here to tell you all the ways in which you can succeed at being a really B.A. event horse, and also a colossal pain the butt. Without further ado, I present it straight from the horse’s mouth.
Look, we all know the ways in which we horses are instructed to succeed at our jobs as Eventers. The basics are pretty much the same: be obedient and flick your toes on the first day, be brave and sure footed on the second day while also galloping fast, and jump high and pick up your feet carefully on the third day. This is simple enough….so when those of us who are obviously overqualified for these requirements get bored, we have to entertain ourselves with other activities.
If you’re a horse like me who has an agile mind and a willing spirit to pull a little more fun out of each day, you’re in the right spot. I’ve decided to share some of my trade secrets on how to win at Eventing, and life in general. Extra points to those who can stick to a strict schedule of repeated behaviors that drive your human up the wall.
- When being tacked up, choose something small to object to, no matter how many times it has happened to you before in your life. This way, your human knows you’re going to pitch a fit, but they have to do it anyway. It’s highly entertaining to watch them go from attempting to persuade you to behave, to denying that you are going to misbehave, to anger that you won’t stop, and then finally to begrudging acceptance that this is real life, and it’s happening every day. I chose being brushed on the right side of my neck, so no matter is too small!
- Pick something to spook at every single day while being ridden, and make it both irrational and consistent. Me, I like to spook at jump accessories. If there is a pole on the ground, or a standard on the side of the ring, it’s important that I refuse to go near it every time I see it. When, after about ten minutes, you finally relent and let yourself be forced near the dreaded object, be sure to always keep an eye and an ear cocked towards it, and never bend your neck the other direction.
- There should always be something that you refuse to do at home, but do perfectly fine at shows. Preferably, it should be something that embarrasses your human when he/she goes to lessons with other humans. An example is liverpools, something every normal upper level horse has to jump every competition. However, this is very funny if you act like an irrational maniac when it is brought up in a non-show environment. “Really, I swear he jumps them at shows!” will become something you hear a lot.
- While we are on the subject of horse shows, it’s necessary for the good of your human that you behave well at two shows, and then wild at a third show. When you’ve been practicing your dressage and doing very well at home, pretend like you’ve forgotten how to canter, or even better, act as though you have never seen those white sides of the arena before! This way, your rider never has to stop learning how to ride you. Really, it’s for the best that they don’t become complacent.
- This final part is very important to your continued success at life, and your longevity as a beloved yet rued
kingmember of the family. Whenever you purposefully enact one of these tips, you must act the part convincingly. The spooky pole actually WILL eat you, believe it and portray the character of the scared horse well. In addition, it is imperative that after an episode of spooking or freaking out in the cross ties, you behave very innocent and loving to your human, so that he/she has no choice but to snuggle with you, forgive you, and then feed you treats (obviously).
While I cannot guarantee that these tips will help you rise to Advanced, I can assure you that they will enhance your daily level of entertainment, and even strengthen the bond between you and your human. People like to feel that their horse is actually the weirdest, quirkiest horse alive and that every day is a challenge. This is something you can fulfill for them, with just a little extra effort! Good luck and go spooking!