but calla seraphine taylor had never been very subtle.
and so she stepped up right in front of the man, crossing her arms in front of her and narrowing her eyes down at him where he sat. "when are you gonna start coaching again?" it came out more like a sentence than a question, and then she barrelled forward. "i have a show coming up, my first show since, like, june. and i could use a dressage coach who actually knows what he's doing."
Now? It was just plain annoying.
He sighed and leaned further back in his chair, tempted to just ignore her, see what she did. Except she was already standing there, glaring down at him, and her glaring down was something so much harder to ignore. Normally she had to look up (he wasn't exactly short, and she wasn't exactly tall for her age). It made it much easier to say no to her, he determined. He pursed his lips a moment, eyes narrowing. Perhaps he could kill two birds with one stone.
...Fine. But you're riding Tempo. Bout time you learned what real dressage is.
He paused a moment, but reluctantly raised to his feet, spine straight and shoulders back only from years of experience, an inability to hunch now. He swept over to the fridge first, rummaging in the back for a beer with a twist off cap. He took a sip, since he'd be here a while longer than expected now.
...Oh. And if you ruin my Olympic horse, you won't live long enough to regret it. Now run along and get him.
she took a moment to really hear this, and then smiled bright. "okay," she agreed. tempo was a beautiful horse, had a quality of movement that she thought would feel like a dream to ride; it didn't matter that she and stitch needed to prepare for that show. stitch knew what he was doing, it came to him naturally. she could practice with him on her own time, without a trainer at all. she could learn more from the brilliant combination of simon flynn and his horse.
the man stood, towering over her at his regular height, and crossed to the fridge, where he retrieved a beer. calla didn't think too hard about it. if he was going to let her ride tempo, he could do whatever the hell he wanted, as far as she was concerned. taking a sip of his drink, simon surveyed her and added, almost as an afterthought, "oh. and if you ruin my olympic horse, you won't live long enough to regret it." a pause, in which she nodded and tried not to look too terrifyingly wide-eyed, and then he added, "now run along and get him."
"oh. okay." calla turned automatically on her heel, brushing out of the lounge and down the stairs in search of simon's horse.
he hadn't been ridden enough recently, seemed a little reluctant to step outside of the safe cocooned world of his stall but perked up once he was clear of its door. in nearly record time, she was leading him into the arena, half-excited and half-terrified now that she was so close to mounting this horse, of all horses, in front of this dressage rider, of all dressage riders.
He was given the opportunity to finish his beer and grab another by the time he heard the clattering of horseshoes on the ground in the aisle. That would be Tempo. He sighed, then pushed off the counter he was leaning against, heading for the barn and, then, the arena after. She hadn't quite gotten on yet by the time he made it there and he hesitated at the sight of his horse. Tempo recognized him, flicked an ear to him and shuffled his hooves impatiently. Simon's eyes instead fell to the ground, unable to bear that all-knowing gaze.
When you get on, you start with reins to the buckle. He likes to stretch out first, or he gets stiff later.
He cleared his throat a little as he spoke, the knowledge of his stallion slipping through without a second thought. He'd trained this horse from the ground up. He knew each quirk, each special trait that made him uniquely Tempo and not any other creature. He glanced over, found a place to settle so that he wasn't stuck standing the whole time, and set his half-empty beer can down on the ground next to him.
Give him two laps each direction. Change rein across the long diagonal. He likes his habits.
"give him two laps each direction," orders simon. "change rein across the long diagonal. he likes his habits." calla nods again, collects her reins and urges the horse forward. she thinks she likes the man's style of coaching; he's matter-of-fact, straightforward. she wonders if he'll snap like eloise has been with her lately, when she doesn't do things right.
she discovers that she likes the way that tempo moves. she's watched the horse before, knows this already, but it's different from her position in the saddle. he moves smooth and steady, and it's easier to hold herself the way she's supposed to without looking as stiff as she knows she often does with stitch and gracie, since the accident.
notes // sorry, she literally doesn't say anything??? at all??? but a post! amaze.
Loosen your elbows. You're going to pull too much at him when you pick up the contact. He needs to be able to move. We've been over this.
He doesn't sound as strict as he used to, he realized a moment too late. No, now he just sounds tired. Defeated. Maybe a little bit bored, but that's just the alcohol talking. He's still holding on too tight himself, though; Tempo is his, yes, but he is not the one riding. She doesn't know this horse, not the way he does. He raised the stallion from the ground up; now it is Tempo's turn to do the same for her. He shouldn't interfere, not too much. She'd learn all on her own. The chestnut stallion was nothing if not a strict teacher, he'd noted. One wrong tug, one wrong flex of a muscle, one moment too stiff - and working was no longer a thing he did. It had been their downfall in the London Olympics. He'd learned that for Rio and relaxed, and look where that had gotten them. On top of the world, if only for a moment.
That'll do it - trot on. Pick up your contact before the transition. And... Maybe hold a bit of mane. He'll have a lot more elevation and suspension to his step than Stitch. Might bounce you right out if you're not careful.
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