I have been super AWOL, but i've been working on this behemoth "year in review" post, and writing these posts in-between, and getting mad at myself for posting other stuff before my resolutions, but then not having time for the behemoth post, yada yada yada, and between all that, life has jumped in my way ft. never-ending car problems, and a birthday trip to Vegas! I will attempt to be a better blogger, soon.
You guys get to hear about two of my lessons today! Woop Woop! My trainer was gone for most of the holidays, meaning no lessons for me. I rode Jingle pretty regularly throughout the holidays, and also tried to do a day of groundwork a week (blogs to follow haha), but towards the end of our trainer/lesson break, things got a little hairy. I rode one night and Jingle was a firey bubble of crazy - he would.not.check, he would not slow down, he just extended trotted his heart out around the arena like a fire breathing dragon. Finally, almost an hour later of jogging and trotting and trying to lope, I got his brain back and we finished the lesson on a decent lope.
Then, the next time I rode, his warm up seemed calm, which is generally a really good sign - wrong. Demonponyboy was back - his left lead that he never, ever, ever misses - gone, buh-bye, can't pick it up to save my life. So, perhaps he'll finally pick up his right lead? Nope. Fuck you Mom, I hate my leads. By this point we were both sweaty and frusterated, so I decided to switch up the ride, try to come back to our happy place and work on some slow stuff. It was going well until I asked for some sidepassing whilst facing the wall. Cue my horses new trick "watch how fast I can run backwards away from this mother-fing wall", no fun. Okay Jingle, you are getting frazzled over the wall - and you are showing me you can sidepass at a fricken run down the wall, so let us attempt a calm sidepass in the middle of the arena - nope. My horse begins to crow-hop when I ask him, then he begins to attempt to rear, then he full out fricken' rears on me! Bad. By this point he was having his head hauled to my foot and the words "QUIT IT" were being growl-yelled at him, It doesn't really surprise me that when he get's frusterated like that his instinct is to go up. I always figured the time would come when he would try a rear, since he's never, ever bucked in his life, but I have seen him rear up before (such as the time he jumped a 7 ft. round-pen to be with his friends - he started that little escapade with strikes and rears at the panels). We finished the ride working on transitions, I just wanted to get his mind back, so we would walk a semi-circle, and either stop, or transition into a jog, and then vice versa. He was okay with that, and we side-passed one more time, no rear, and quit.
37.I went out on a Saturday for a lesson, I had done some groundwork and desensitizing the night before, and was hoping and praying it would help. Jingle was a bit messy, at one point his steering failed me, and he ended up trying to lope on-top of, and over, my trainer. However, overall I felt the lesson was really productive - Jingle is starting to pick up his right lead more and more consistently, and I'm beginning to really not have to even "ask" anymore for his left. With my trainer there she was able to walk me through dealing with his pissy run-away-i hate you behaviour, so that really helped. So although it was a tough lesson, and not the prettiest, I felt like we worked really well together.
Ponyboy got a day off, and then I was out again Monday to ride. Ponyboy was rushing me at the warm up and my trainer reminded me to post slow, and to not rise as much, and just to keep really steady and calm and it helped, and right away I noticed him slowing down and responding to me. In our previous lesson, my trainer commented that Jingle reaaaaally works off of my body language, and so that is something I'm going to really start focusing on during my ride. If I have a horse hyper-sensitive to my body, the second I get tense and frusterated, he's going to do the same. Once Jingle was a bit more calm, we started loping, and opened up our loping to the entire rail-length of the arena, from there, we just really focused on transitions from jog to lope, and picking up his left lead on a straight-away - he did great. His jog-lope transitions are actually coming along so well, like they are beautiful, so smooth and straight - I love it.
From there, we finished up with some sidepassing, no rears this time! and it was super helpful to have my trainer there kind of walking me through what I should and should not do when he starts to get so frazzled and far apart. She had me hold a crop because a couple times he would refuse to move an inch, and reminded me to start small and build - so a little leg, more leg, big leg, little spur, more spur, big spur, and then finally - if he is totally ignorning me - pop him with the crop. He hates the crop, I barely have to even brush his bum with it and he flies away, after one little pop - he was listening much better, and we could side pass really effectively, and he wasn't as frazzled and attempting to avoid whatever I was asking him.
So, all in all, really successful lesson.
Afterwards, a friend, Caron and I got to discussing "Pissy Horses". Her horse, Jager, affectionately known (by myself) as Prince Big Ears, and Jingle are both "pissy horses", but in different ways. I've been thinking a lot about what it means to ride a sometimes pissy horse, and she put it better in words when she said that she has to ride Jager the same, even when he is being a royal pain in the ass. I think that holds true with Jingle, obviously when he is zooming around like a maniac and attempting to run over people, I'm not going to be like "Oh whatever horse, do yo thang", but at the same time the minute i'm like "fuck you, you ass, stop being such an asshole", Jingle generally flips me the middle hoof and keeps on dancin'... sigh. Thus, I generally have to rememeber to ride him the same, i.e. when he is being a big pain in my behind, I have to gently remind him, "hey, remember me, your rider?" and then release, and keep it going until he remembers who I am, and what we came to do.
Things to think about.