This is the face I make when it comes to arena work. Bending, shmending. Can we go gallop please?

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Ellie. Formerly known as Miss Divine N on all the race tracks I’ve conquered, and there is one big thing I need to get off my chest: my human, the tall one, the blonde one, the feeder of my favorite third meal, the one that brings me extra hay, the one that sings me ridiculous songs.. my human is, by definition: chicken little.

I’ve heard this term used a couple of times before. Mainly in the pasture by my fellow mares talking about a couple of geldings we call “Chicken Little”. Chicken Little means big baby. They always run around screaming that the sky is falling and that something is going to get them! Calm down, please. For one, they all look so silly when they panic. And two, the dirt they kick up ruins my white hind socks. I’ll ruin those when I deem appropriate, thank you.

 My human means well. She does. And sometimes when she’s justifying her behavior for riding me only in the arena, I hear her say words like “I grew up a hunter”, “I have no desire to jump non-moving obstacles”, “I just don’t have the mental capacity to handle three riding disciplines in one weekend”. Now I will say I am glad she doesn’t blame her preference of keeping me in an arena setting on ME. I have a list of qualities that make me sturdy enough to take out on the cross country course.

The first is: I never spook at anything! Ever! A Thoroughbred that doesn’t spook. This should get me out of arena work on a daily basis automatically, don’t you agree?

The second is: I love love love love love to canter. The other day, she let me canter around the arena for 7 minutes straight! She just sat there and didn’t move and let me show her how fast and collected I could be outside if she’d just LET ME.

And the third isn’t so nice but I pull it anyway: I ONLY walk when she takes me outside. This means no relaxed walking for any reasonable amount of time in the arena. So you see, I reward her for taking me out on trail by streeeetching to the buckle and moseying along. Really, try it. It’s a great training tool for your human and she’s been taking me out every day after every arena ride since I’m such a good girl out there.

This weekend I heard the words “hunter pace” and I’ve never been so excited. When I first came off the track, I was leased by a whipper in for a whole fox hunting season and I got to run and jump things with no regard for human life! But this weekend it rained too much, and my person is right in saying that there will be no controlling me once I get out in those woods to run my heart out. But she is coming around, and if I keep being the good sturdy mare I’ve been being in the arena and on our walks, I think I just might win her over and show her how fun tearing through the woods can be. But she will still need that protective vest, because I think I can play a pretty good looking dirt bike….

Ellie, also known as: Elinore, Nora, Snore, Snora, Ella-beast

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