So I'm all bright eyed and bushy tailed at the barn at 6:30am getting ready for my morning ride on rockstar mount Rocky, and upon cleaning his feet, I notice a loose shoe. Damn, no dewy, crisp morning hack for us today. I retire Rocky to his stall and I consider going back home and subsequently back to bed or at least the couch.
OR........since I'm all booted, half-chapped and spurred up, I could ride.....
Mcuk me. I glance at him in his stall trying to determine his good Bernie/evil Bernie propensity today......
......and I swear to God he looks at me like this:
And then he throws one of these at me:
You can just see the halo, can't you?
Okay, alright, I'll give it a go. But so help me God, Bernie if you kick me, bite me, buck me, rear me, throw me or in some other way cause me bodily harm....!
I will cry.
And then I will catch you and return you to your stall and cry some more over my latest defeat and your latest victory.
So, the odds aren't in my favor.
We get tacked up and the bridle is still fitted for Rocky's big noggin, who I rode yesterday morning. This means (deductive reasoning alert!) Bernie was not ridden yesterday (I often rely on others to ride Bernie). Which probably means Bernie hasn't done any work since......Saturday. Two days. In Bernie world, this is an eternity. By now he's probably forgotten he's actually broke and will revert to a bull named Fu Man Chu, bucking wildly upon mounting. Combine this with the fact that he wasn't actually RIDDEN on Saturday, (I only walked him, via lead rope across the street to the terrifying cross country course) and this isn't boding well. But..... he only tried to kill me once on Saturday by trying to run me over and then bucking and farting in my general direction, sooooo, maybe we've turned a corner.
Before riding Bernie, I like to lead him around the ring and let him stare at things and possibly react. This is more for me than for him. I like to know, before mounting, what things/areas he's going to pretend to be afraid of. If I was a betting woman (which I am) I would bet on the two large blue barrels. And I would be......
While Bernie is completely unoffended and unimpressed by these barrels (even when I smack them with my whip!) before I am rider up, once mounted, these barrels become inherently suspicious.
The only thing suspicious here, is you, Bernie. You scammer spooker. I just proved to BOTH of us that the blue barrels are NOT scary. Yet you still proceed with your wide-eyed looks and sideways dance. But I know the truth.
YOU ARE A FAKER BERNIE!
And the punishment for faking, is whipping. So just go ahead and trot on past with your head down and slightly bent to the inside. And we do.
And we trot pretty circles and then we canter, lots, because I need to practice relaxing and sitting down at the canter AND a tired Bernie eases my mind a bit. And then we canter some pretty circles, at least I think they are pretty and since there was no one there to observe and refute my statement, they were pretty. And I'm feeling damn good about this ride. Almost good enough to.....jump? But the jumps are all set higher than my Bernie-riding confidence level (I would like to note, I rocked through all these fences yesterday on rock star Rocky! Go me! And, well, Rocky, who did most of the work). The only thing I would consider jumping (height-wise) with Bernie is the coop. I WANT that coop. I NEED that coop.
......me, Bernie, and this coop....we kinda have this thing.....
This little bit of bad history, the three of us.
And it ended with me, and the left hand standard, on the ground, the two halves of the coop aggressively parted from each other and Bernie back in the barn.
There were tears.
There was swearing.
There has not been a Julie + Bernie coop attempt since.
Now, Rocky and I eat this coop for breakfast. But Bernie and I......should maybe wait until someone else is around to help pick up the pieces of potential epic coop fail before we try again. Sooooo....no coop. What we need is a cross rail. A small, unassuming, could possibly be called a cavaletti, cross rail. I would KILL for a cross rail. I would do ANYTHING for a cross rail! Except....dismount, set up the cross rail and then re-mount. There are several reasons for this: one being if I dismount, it is questionable whether or not I will have the confidence to actually re-mount. If I do re-mount, I will have used all of my confidence to re-mount, and will have none left to actually attempt the cross rail. The second being if I take too long to set up the cross rail and re-mount, Bernie may forget that we were having a very successful, obedient ride, or that he has been ridden at all, ever, and could quickly revert into what-the-f*ck-are-you-doing-on-my-back-get-the-f*ck-off-RIGHT-now Bernie.
So, no cross rail. We do trot over a ground pole (without incident!) and move in the general direction of the liverpool, so all-in-all it was a pretty successful ride. And by successful I mean I didn't fall off. And maybe someday, after another rider has already jumped the coop, on Bernie, ten times, from both directions, with me watching, I will be able to mount up with coop confidence coursing through my veins and have my Bernie coop redemption.