It's hard work. Bobby is not an easy horse, and while I get uncomfortable giving myself praise of any sort, I know that if he looks like he's being a pleasure to ride, it's because of considerable skill on my part. This past week, however, I've felt like I'm slowly getting dragged down into the pits of despair by my horse.
Trainer is now in a position where health-wise, she's not going to be able to give lessons anymore. BM and I knew this was coming, though of course we were hopeful that we'd get to spend so much more time with her. She's without a doubt been the biggest influence on my riding, even through such a short amount of time that I got to work with her.
After a couple difficult rides in a row where I felt like I couldn't grasp even the most basic of concepts (How do I get my horse to fill the left rein?! I know I know how to do this, but my brain cannot brain right now and make it happen.), all I wanted was a lesson to get yelled at. Hearing that news instead, I took all of the mistakes I'd made this past week and every twitch Bobby did that wasn't asked for to heart and let it really get to me.
I feel like we're going to get stagnant, to get stuck where we are and never progress, and I want so badly to be past that point. Or even worse, we're going to slide backwards and undo all the work Trainer has done. I will try to take lessons with BM when I can, but she's more than three times as expensive as Trainer.
|"my hay wasn't put out here before i was.|
BRING IT TO ME."
Bobby missed two days of turnout due to the weather and the barn trying to eliminate the build up of mud. I rode him both of those days, so he did get out of his stall, but they weren't the best rides. I ended up getting off after fifteen minutes or so yesterday because he was throwing himself into the wall when I asked him to do a canter transition that didn't involve flinging the front half of his body skyward and shooting off upon landing.
I know. So cruel of me.
I put him on the longe instead, and while initially I tried to get him to maintain a chill trot, I quit engaging with him period. He simply wouldn't settle down and listen to me. I ended up standing still and letting him canter laps around me while I played on my phone. When he was too exhausted to canter, he brought himself back to the trot and trotted until he was too tired to even do that. I let him come in, gave him a pat, and put him away.
We'll officially call that one a write off day.
|free flowing forehead sweat.|
|thank god for a fresh clip.|
We're at a point in our training where he's being asked to take the next step forward. It's hard work, and Bobby doesn't like hard. I have to make every step super repetitive and easy so that when I do ask for a little more, he doesn't even notice I've done it.
He's such a dopey, polite boy on the ground that it gets lost on most people just how sensitive to things he is. He very much takes not getting things right to heart, and he has a hard time moving on when you correct him and tell him what he's doing isn't what you're asking for.
For example, he's mastered bringing his haunches in and out and crossing over with his hind legs to the point where that's easy for him. Now whenever I shift my weight, he thinks that's what I want him to do. If, instead, I'm asking for a leg yield, he has a mini meltdown before doing the leg yield on the next pass. If the pass after that I want to just go straight, his mind is thoroughly blown.
Letting go and moving on are not his strong points.
I feel like all of my rides for the past couple weeks have been about getting him to relax his back and let go of all his tension. I'd like to move on from that and do some real homework. I know that in the long run, knowing all these different tricks to manage the tension is going to pay off when we get to a show and run into the same problem, but it's a little discouraging at times.
|i longed before today's ride and got all the bronc stuff out pronto so we could go like this.|
I'd like to just bring out a pleasant horse one day, have an easy ride where he shows off everything he knows without making a huge pissy fuss about it, and then call it quits. Maybe I'm being too much of a defeatist. It's hard to look past the journey of getting to that point when you're solidly aboard the "This shit is fucking hard" train. We have to put in the time, do our homework, and keep crawling forward like we always do.
Instead of crying about it (definitely cried about it), I need to make a game plan, set some realistic if boring goals, suck it up, and get back to work.
There's lots of positive to pick out of these rides if I try. He's gotten better with me carrying the whip, and even let me brush it against his butt with only a minor meltdown before remembering that when it did such scary things, he was being asked to lengthen. And when he did lengthen? For the first time ever, I was able to sit it, and it was oh so easy.
Small wins. It's what we're all about here.