Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Riding Diary: 26
I'd like to thank you guys for your comments on my last post - I really appreciated it, and it provided me a little pick me up. I must admit, I left the barn feeling pretty down and out about my boy that day, but - it's best to look to the positive right? I gave him three days off to get used to what the Dentist called, "a totally new mouth", and then rode him on Friday. We didn't do much, lots of minimal-contact walk-jog-trot, and lots of turns, and bends to the right and left, and he did well. He was still mouthing the bit incessantly (I didn't have his noseband on), but I asked him to stop numerous times and there was no head-shaking. So I quit on a good note and I think he was kind of confused like, "Hey girl, no fighting for the lope today - why is that?" He got some grain afterwards and didn't seem to be spitting as much as he usually does! (My Dentist said he might even spit more - translate to grain.everywhere.) and I think he's really liking his little Apple Cider Vinegar massages I do with him after his ride to loosen up those tense muscles and draw heat out of his jaw structure. He gets all zoned out and puts his head on my chest and let's me just rub and love all over him.
I worked all weekend so yesterday (Monday) was my first day I could come out and ride again - and it was my lesson! I was pretty apprehensive because I knew that my trainer would be asking me for more contact than I'd used on Friday, and pushing me, and ponyboy, harder than I ever push us. I've detailed before that I am a push-over owner, haven't I?
So, without further ado...
Bit: I don't know the technical name for this bit, but it's a harsher snaffle. It has a straight copper twist bar, as well as your standard jointed mouth piece, so that when you pick up the reins, the bar is acting more as a curb bit would act, but you are also combining the nutcracker effect on the top of their mouth.
Time: 1 hr
Ride: So, with my boys mouth-issues I was a little worried when my trainer pulled this bit out of her bag of tricks. However, now that the Dentist has come out and really detailed every little issue Jingle has with his mouth, I can better discern what of his is (or was) a pain response, and what is learned behaviour. His head shaking I think was a mixture of both, but since he's not doing it as much now (only when he's frustrated) I'm leaning more on the pain response side, especially on his right side. His hard-mouth definitely comes from an early pain response in his life, but has now developed into learned behaviour. Jingle is hard-mouthed with every bit I put him in, and by hard-mouthed I mean like... hard-freaking-mouthed. Plus, my trainer is amazing, and I respect her greatly - she wouldn't put a harsh bit in his mouth just because, she always has a reason for what she does.
In the end, I think the bitting-up for the lesson really helped him and I. I focused more on keeping my hands soft and quiet, and when I asked him for something I could almost feel that lightbulb go off like, "Oh, okay, stop means stop." Plus, he wasn't head-shaking!
To the left, Jingle is really starting to pick up the lope (and he was loping realllllly nice small circles too!), a couple times we were transitioning from a jog to a lope and I couldn't help but think, "woah, this is my horse!" He did really well, and I was proud of him. He also was really starting to stop with his backend, like dig in, and stop. However, he is still sticky to the right, (his bad-mouth side), and that's what the Dentist said was his bad side as well. So, that side will take time I think. He just needs to learn that going to the right wont hurt anymore. We went around, and around, and around, and when he did lope, he'd pick up the wrong lead, and for the most part he would just rush-trot everything. Finally, we quit, cooled down, and picked up from the left, and ended on a really nice note. It'll take time - but we're figuring it out!
To cool off, we went outside and walked down the lane-way. Leaves were falling everywhere and it was quite pretty, I'm not excited for the snow to come. I got off to close a gate and wanted to take a photo of Jingle and he kept following me like "Mahmmm, what are we doing?!", he's cute, I love him.
Oh ya! I went to pick out his feet afterwards, and for the first time in forever he was pulling his foot away! So I held his toe and told him to quit that, and all of a sudden he falls to his knees! Thankfully, I don't tie him (... remember that post I never wrote? ya well...), so he just kind of half laid there and looked at me with his big, "I'm sorry mom, that was dumb" look... yes, Jingle, it was.
For Next Time: My trainer commented that my upper body wasn't quiet enough, and that I was trying to "cowboy" him into the lope. Ahem... so I was flapping my arms and legs like an idiot. I need to focus on being quiet, and trying to use subtle cues, and then increase pressure until he responds to my aids. We're going to make this hard-horse soft damnit! I'm hoping I can get out two more times this week and we can just really work on staying on the rail, listening more to my legs, and working in those small circles he is starting to understand more & more.