Let me explain.
Yesterday I applied by awesome powers of persuasion and convinced Cynthia to ride. It went something like this:
Me: Want to ride today?
Cynthia: What time?
See how persuasive I am?
Anyway, before our ride the horses were being goofy and running around the paddock. By the time we had them saddled up they were sweaty. I looked at Carmen in the cross ties and I could see the whites of Carmen's eyes. I have not seen those in a long time so I decided that I'd better lunge her first.
She was fine on the lunge so I got on. I could feel that she was tight and tense. But she was not spooky. That was great, I could work on getting her to bend and stretch at the walk. I normally can't do that because I have to get her forward and working before I can get her settled enough to think about it. But not that night. We did a some trot and walk, just focussing on relaxation and stretching over her back. I was thrilled. She was 100% with me for the whole ride with one wee bobble. She was so with me that when a car backfired on the road she jumped but stopped right away. And settled back into work.
I've been trying to find a ride that I keep short because she's listening so that she can figure it out (at some distant point in the future) that listening is better all around. So I ended the ride after about 30 minutes and walked back to the barn. She was happy and snuggly. This morning she was affectionate in the stall.
Today I rode by myself. I know that she's more settled with Irish but perhaps I didn't realize how dependent she's becoming on him. That's because she was a spooky, hot mess. I had to go to working her and keeping her brain busy.
I did my best to ride with clarity and give her room. And overall it was working. I could get her settled and then she would lose it but I stuck it out. Then we totally lost it. We were going one way and suddenly we were going left and leaping around. I about a foot of air between my butt and the saddle.
WHOA! I yelled and she stopped and then carried on spinning. I was so out of balance and pretty much over her neck that I baled. I landed on my feet but with the impulsion I spun around and fell on my butt right in front of her chest. I couldn't hold the rein and felt my shoulder pull.
whoa I said weakly but with no hope at all that she wasn't going to run off.
When I looked up she was standing right beside me with her head down. I got up and limped over to the mounting block. With a sigh I got back on. I pulled up my big girl panties and we went back to work. I made sure that I was centred over her. I had allowed myself to get unbalanced so when she was spooked and spun I wasn't able to stay with her.
We were cantering and as I we turned she decided that the upside down wheel barrow with the blanket on it was overwhelming (you know the one that she's been going by for the past week). She deked and spun but I was centred so could go with her. Good thing too because that might have been enough for her to learn she could get rid of me. I honestly believe that that spook was because I was making her work and she was trying to get out of it. So we spent a long time cantering and trotting a circle by that wheelbarrow until she stopped spooking. I then switched direction and we started all over again. Fortunately she has these braids so I reached forward and used one as a grab strap. I was not getting off this horse until she was soft and listening. Finally she gave a breath and relaxed as we approached the wheelbarrow. I let her stop and think about that.
After that when I picked up the rein I had a soft and listening horse. I walked her all over the ring asking her to leg yield, half pass, turn on the forehand and just tune in. I didn't allow myself to avoid any corner. I could feel her thinking about it but then deciding that that was just too much work.
Good. We finished with a trotting figure 8 by the wheel barrow (I wanted to make sure that we were clear on that).
I know that I rode for a long time. I have no real idea how long but at least 90 minutes. After I hosed her off and cooled her out. Then I realized that my back and shoulder were sore. So I treated myself to a cold pack and 2 advil washed down with a glass of wine.
I'm trying to not be bummed about this- there has to be bad rides. And she still hasn't gotten close to the number of times Irish had me off as a youngster. Right?