Perhaps the comment was blunter than I meant it to be (I can be fairly direct) but I think I was misunderstood- I'm not a cold person. But sometimes how you 'feel' about something isn't going to change the task. I certainly did not enjoy nor want to hol down my 2 year old daughter while the doctor put stitches in her head. But how I felt wasn't relevant- it had to be done. Or perhaps I am a cold person. Whatever. (that was a joke).
By now you may be asking how this relates to himself.
|can you get to the point?|
I completely understood how he felt. The riding is new so it heightens his level of awareness, he was separated from Irish and he was honestly wary of the waving greenery.
However, it was completely irrelevant.
The truth is that he was not worried about it when I was doing my groundwork, he would stand there just fine and if he was loose he would be right there grazing in it without a care in the world. He needed to figure out that he would work with these distractions and it really was no big deal. And even if it was a big deal, it was my worry not his. In the show ring I will have no control over distractions outside of the ring. So rather then allow him to avoid those spots or drive him to these spots I completely ignored them and carried on with my schooling as though we were in a bubble.
This bubble thing is tricky. I can't override, or let him do what he wants, I just have to ride like it's all fine. So I had to make sure that legs, hands and weight were right where they needed to be if it was all perfect despite how he was behaving. My tendency is to over do an aid if it doesn't work- as a result I end up leaning too far to taking too much rein or I can do the opposite and give too much away. I decided to let him figure out where the comfort zone was. For example as we travelled down the long side and he tried to pop out his inside shoulder and gawk suspiciously as the grass I simply kept my inside leg on and my reins/hands stayed where they should be. This caused him discomfort but I ignored it all and let him find me. Which he did. And then he lost me. And then found me again. Wash, rinse, repeat. Each time it was a little quicker.
Once when we trotting down that side he gave a spook by planting his hind legs and doing a pretty good turn on the haunches to the inside. Because I was balanced in the saddle I simply went with him. We stood there at a 45 degree angle and 4 feet from the fence. "oh" I said. "this is not where I wanted to be" and without any drama or emotion I simply asked for a turn on the haunches back to the rail, walked 2 strides and then carried on with the trot. I could feel him thinking about all of this.
By keeping my emotions away from my bubble and letting him figure out that his 'feelings' about the distractions were not the most important thing we took what could have been a disastrous ride and turned it around.
Were we perfect at the end? Nope. But we were better. Much better. And both of us have more confidence in each other.