Toward the end of a day, I write in shorter bursts, interspersed with taking a look at Elphick Event Ponies, Life on the Left Rein, Footluce Eventing, and other vlogs involving horses, both training and competing in things I like to watch. I also listen to music (non-vocal usually) to keep the longer sections of prose “in tune” with those around them. One of the signs of healing from the 2018 concussion is that I can now write to music again, rather than being distracted by it.
Yesterday, having switched from Sousa marches to Rossini overtures, for a break from something involving the military to something quite different, I made the delightful discovery that Rossini overtures (e.g. “The Barber of Seville,” “Semiramide,” “La Cenerentola,” and of course “William Tell”) are great background music for horses being schooled for jumping, eventing, dressage. I’m very familiar with both the spoken parts and the music the vloggers chose to go with their videos (I usually don’t like their music and after many viewings am not as interested in what they’re saying) so I turned off the sound for the video, and just listened to Rossini. And it varied from “wow, that actually works” to hilarious. Because of You Tube ads, it’s impossible to predict which musical phrases will hit which actions exactly on, but horses being schooled develop (if they didn’t have) perfectly rhythmical movement. A composer of lively music, from an age in which horses were the primary motive power, tends to pick tempi that suit horse gaits. Horses don’t all have the *same* tempo, but I found one of Holly Lenahan’s training compilations, on a TALL Irish TB/warmblood cross, worked just as well as one of Meg Elphick’s, on a Connemara pony, and on both the very experienced older mare and the young green one.
I’ll have to ration myself to keep from spending way too many hours this way. But Meg jumping four bounce fences right on the beat several times was SUCH fun.
Meanwhile the book is racing on, swept toward the end like a tidal river in the ebb phase rushing to the sea. If only my hands were twenty years younger!
2 thoughts on “Music, Horse Videos, and Approaching Completion”
When the farm had a Freestyle Dressage clinic, a major component was finding out each horse’s natural tempo and then playing music at that tempo to ask the horse whether (or not) the music was acceptable. One of the horses really liked big band, another liked Broadway style. Jazz had one horse glaring at us. Some of the horses (when hearing the music) would alter their gait slightly to be in time to the music, others were more, um, musically challenged.
I’ve always sung (amateur singing, not anything great) to my horses, often just the melody and rhythm in “Dum de dum-de de-dum de-dum” kinds of things until I found something that worked for me and for them. When I first started taking hunt seat lessons, singing (too low for my instructor to hear) helped me get the posting rhythm right before I could feel it. There’s a part of Beethoven’s 5th that was perfect (for me and for the school horse I rode at first.) Ragtime’s quick walk goes well to one of Scott Joplin’s rags–it’s just a tiny bit syncopated. When I was a kid, I used to imagine horses moving to music, and even make up patterns for them to do (no, at that age, I’d never seen dressage, but I had seen some horse shows in which music was used…there used to be two gaited horse classes at one of the county shows…and the county mounted sheriff’s posse did square dance patterns to music. THAT was gorgeous: the horses for each pair were as close to identical as they could get, color and markings, and the rider pairs each had matching shirts for that pair that complemented the horse color.