Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sheer joy and pride.

I woke up at 9am. It was a nice, sunny day, a mild 73 degrees. I didn't ride yesterday because when I woke up it was overcast, so I said screw that, and slept in.

So I said, wow, it's perfect for riding!

I got out to the barn...all the horses were already in because they've switched to night turnout for the summer now. So I didn't even have to walk down to the pasture to grab my beast mare.

She was in an excellent mood, so I tied her up and ran out to the arena to fix some trot poles. Okay, I'm a moron with spacing on poles. I can count strides, but I have never really set up my own poles before... so I guessed. I didn't want them too close so she's get short, but I didn't want them too far so they'd do no good.

I ran back in and Amber was just chillin'. One foot up, half asleep. Cool, she's in a good mood today. I loved on her and brushed her down and threw some tack on. We went out and lunged a few minutes...and then...RANDOM, I mean freaking RANDOM rain. That lasted maybe 1-2 minutes tops. Long enough for me to stop lunging her (because for some reason, the rain drops were freaking her out and she was dancing), and take off the sidereins lest she murder herself if she got away from me and ran off in her fear of the SCARY rain drops that were melting her.

And then, as we were about to run it, the rain stopped. I really, really wanted to ride, and Amber was chill now, so I said I'd give it a shot.

We got on and walked the poles, stretched, looked around at the scary woods, and then we trotted. She started off at a good tempo, but got a little quick and at first didn't respond to my half halt. We went over the trot poles. I had obviously spaced them wrong. After the first one she had to awkwardly hop the rest. Now, if she were a little fitter and had a better handle on timing her own strides and putting her feet in the right places, she'd have been able to adjust herself, but she is young and wasn't thinking about all that no-fun stuff.

She had a little easier time with the closer placed set...although that wasn't quite right either. About the third time we tried, she started to actually get a little rhythm to her awkward hopping. it was almost like she was doing teeny tiny gymnastics. She cantered the all the ones after the first because it was apparently easier. I let her keep the canter because when we got over the last pole it was nice and deep, good, quality canter that wasn't rushed. I let her go maybe 5 strides and took her down to trot and praised her. We took a break and went the other direction. Even worse luck on the poles that way.

We practiced more speed up/slow down. Half halts were sinking in pretty well. She was listening to me much, much more today and looking around less. Then, as we came out of the trot poles in the bad direction again, I asked for a little canter. We did half way around with nice, slow and easy, quality canter. She got a little speedy but LISTENED to the half halt, albeit I had to make it a little firm. She came down easy. I was hugging her and praising her before she even transitioned down. I was sooo proud of her. I'm so happy things are finally starting to sink in with her again.

Today was a huge milestone for us going forward. For a little while I was starting to doubt myself and my abilities to train a basic w/t/c greenie like Amber. Which is basically what I had when I got her, and what I'm back to now. Yeah, I've been riding 12 years, worked with some amazing trainers as of recent years...worked with a handful of very different and sometimes challenging horses. But things started to fall apart and I couldn't pinpoint what was causing our problems, wasn't sure what I should do to fix them, so I was basically doing nothing but trying to ride like normal, which made it worse. My own self doubt I'm sure confused Amber all that much more.

I think we are back in action though. If we can focus this energy, I bet we will be jumping again by the end of the summer.

1 comment:

  1. Turned out to be a great ride!

    Trot poles are hard. I usually place them apart by one of my own strides first so I have something to judge by. Then, I adjust them after I ride through. So much depends on the horse herself, and, in this case, you wanted them to be comfortable for her, so they needed to be "just right."