dancing horses

dancing horses

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Ow.

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?


Sorry, cannot horse today. 


39 comments:

  1. Bleh I always hate it when babies get us! My mare is NO LONGER allowed to be a baby but she was tricky today for me...

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    1. Yeah me too. I'm trying the 'you're not a baby' One day it will work!

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  2. Sorry for your fall. Owweee. I like your determination.

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  3. OMG! I live on advil and wine.. without the horseback riding.. a walk to the barn can = a dose of advil! You are my goddess.. you ride even after you have hit the ground. I am cheering you from ringside!! You go girl! Sounds like you have this. Might take your pony a bit to catch on that you do... but I have confidence that she will.. cause you are a goddess! :D

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    1. Aw, thanks. Maybe more of a Sprite than a goddess. :D

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  4. Hopefully you're not too sore! Good job sticking with it.

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  5. You ended it RIGHT and you were the winner of that conflict. She will think twice about doing it again. I've been there recently and know the adrenaline that gets going in you--and its ability to mask pain until hours later. You should be proud of yourself and the way you handled it!! Maybe now that you know she's so herd bound, you can work on things to diminish it. Herd bound is awful.

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    1. Thanks. I really hope so! Today she was snuggly again. It's harder to work on herd bound with 2 horses.

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    2. Leah has always been worse at home--where she can see or hear her buddies.

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  6. Man. I hate bad rides like that :( Hopefully it wont be a common occurrence. I'm glad you're OK though and I hope your shoulder doesn't hurt too badly!

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    1. Yeah, me too! I'm just a little sore this morning. I'm tough like that. ;)

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  7. Owie, hope it doesn't hurt more come morning!

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  8. It is interesting that at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna all young horses are ridden together. When one does a take off there's usually a few others that want to go with him. The riders all ride these horses really forward. It makes spooking and bucking much more difficult.

    One of the ways I've dealt with horses that spook etc is by keeping really busy. By that I mean that I'm always asking them to change direction, do a lateral movement, but no long diagonals and no long side of the arena. I want to get my horse to listen to me so I have to keep him really busy so he starts thinking "OK, what's next?." You did exactly the right thing with your mare and getting back on is important for many reasons. I think the adrenaline gets us past the pain. You are all so right that when you ride from your centre and are in balance, riding those hind feet forward it is much harder for them to dislodge us and harder for them to do a big spook.

    Your mare is one of those horses that you have to be exceedingly clear with and very consistent. Not a horse to ride if you are tired or feeling overwhelmed!

    Keep up the good work!!!!

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    1. I do try to do all those things- forward, busy etc. That was one her ' nope, not going there'. Either way , she will figure it out. I can't only ride if Irish is being ridden.

      And no, I don't ride when I'm tired.

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  9. What a bummer :( congrats for almost sticking it tho?

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    1. Ha! I'm more happy that she didn't run me over - I fell right in front of her - and that she stopped.

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  10. You are super bad ass, way to get it done even though it wasn't easy. Silly baby Carmen. Hope you're not too sore.

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    1. More like stubborn and no, not too bad

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  11. Good for you for sticking with it and make that tough work for her. I hope you feel better soon and I'm sure your next ride will be better. I feel like Katai always got worse before she got better so maybe that's what this is ;)

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  12. Glad she didn't run you over when you bailed, those are never fun. Glad you are not seriously hurt though. Pulled muscles and what not recover with time, Advil and lots of wine. Good for you for not letting her get away with it, work work work until she decides to work with you instead of against you!

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    1. I was very happy that she didn't take off and lead to me chasing her.

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  13. I remember the days when my rides on Gem were like that. No fun. I hope you are not too sore. Getting back on is hard, but is necessary. She will learn!

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    1. So that means that it ends at some point? Good!

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  14. Horray for landing on your feet! Stay positive - there will always be bad days. She's had her whole life to establish her reactions and just a short time of learning better ways to handle her emotions. Its going to take time. So impressed with your determination/courage to just get back on and keeping guiding her through it all!

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    1. Those are good points- it is recent that we've done the changes. Thanks!

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  15. Oh no. I'm sorry you fell. Fallings sucks. I'm glad you're okay though. Carmen looks so thrilled in that last picture.

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    1. Ha! yeah. neither one of us was looking too happy!

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  16. What a ride! Yeehaw! Sounds like you turned it around and made it a learning experience!

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  17. I hate coming off, but on your feet nice one! And maybe she will learn from it, been a long time since I had a green horse and you are reminding me why

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    1. I hate it too! Hopefully we'll get through this silly stage!

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  18. I know Tesla traumatized herself when I came off - glad you are OK! and good girl Carmen for coming to a stop!

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  19. Sorry to hear that you had a tumble, but I think the two positive are:
    1) She stood with you.
    2) You got back on and took charge.

    Baby horses keep us on our toes :)

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