And the reality check that things cannot always be unicorns and rainbows.
I've been riding since my last post and also, some days, just lunging. Goals for the rides have largely been:
1. working towards helping her relax while not backing down from my ask. Which is what I used to do. I would assume I was doing it 'wrong' and maybe I was but really it just taught her to be escalate (not that i did that all the time but should we talk about intermittent reinforcement schedules? Nah, let's just say we did).
2. Being careful with my aids so that I reward when she responds and that I don't nag with my aids or hang with my hands.
3. oh yeah, and work on adjustability in her stride and transitions off my seat. You know, dressage sutff.
And it seems to be working. I am very black and white- this is acceptable. this is not. Some rides it takes a long time for to sigh and then just relax into the work. There is a lot of praise for that. Yesterday she was cranky from the get go and really wanted to hang on the rein and pull me along. We did a lot of 'follow the rein' and 'no, I'm not going to fight'. It becomes like a switch- one minute she's rampaging around and the next minute she gives this big sigh, drops her head and everything relaxes.
|turns out you can order this on Amazon. Or buy it life size like I did.....|
The key is very similar to raising teenage girls. Don't get sucked into the drama and do not agree that that bush is highly suspicious. Stay calm and relaxed. Which is easy to say but harder when you are riding 1100+ pounds of mare who's telegraphing that she's about to launch into the next county. But doing so keeps the pot on a simmer and not a roiling boil. And training is often just putting in the miles and on task.
Today I rode and she started tight but was trying really hard to listen. We had some great work at teh walk so we headed out to hack. At first she was tight again but soon was on the buckle. Of course Irish led the whole way. For those who think I should hack more, I'd love to but I only do it with someone. I don't have wide open spaces to deal with a bolt- instead I would be in a tree or down a gully and I don't fancy that.
I think I just need to persevere. I suspect hormones are causing some problems. I don't think it's ulcers because A. I work hard on prevention and B. she gets better in the ride not worse.
Starting tomorrow I'm on 2 weeks vacation which will be wonderful. I am headed off to a trail clinic this weekend and I'm looking forward to getting Mike and Nikki's perspective too.