Time: 2 hr
Ride: You know those rides that you just... don't want to talk about? I had one of those rides on Monday. I really don't even want to post about it, but i've never not posted about my rides... sigh. It was potentially the worst lesson I have ever had on Jingle.
haha, I think I have mentally blocked on the scene-by-scene details, as i'm having a hard time recollecting some of it. We started off a bit rough and rocky, and for awhile my trainer has been commenting that perhaps we should try a bit again. I am, at this point, pretty anti-bit when it comes to my horse. It's tough, because his bit-issues are all behavioural/mental, and for two years he was ridden exlusively in a bit, and although it wasn't hard work - he went well. So I waver back and forth on whether or not to include a bit in his training schedule every once and awhile. However, what happens when we add a bit into the combination is a complete and utter stress-ball underneath of me. He becomes worried, anxious, and worst of all - the epitome of pissy, he's almost vindictive (I know i'm placing human emotions on a horse, bad me, but that's honestly the best way to describe how he acts).
So, my trainer was saying let's try a bit again, and I was gently saying "uhm, I don't really know, I'm not super comfor..." and then my horse started to completely and utterly stop moving. Of course today was the day I figured he'd be fine if I rode in my short loop reins. Generally, if I'm riding in split reins I can give him a tiny flick of the rein towards the hip and he's back to normal, I don't even really have to touch him. My loop reins don't provide that luxury. I asked for a crop. One would think that a small crop would be the same as a tiny brush of a rein... nope... Jingle loosssessss it when a crop is introduced. Monday was no different, except for the fact that the second I touched his hip with the crop (please note - I don't even smack him, I literally just move the crop from infront of my knee to my hip so he can see it) he went ballistic. I had a run away on my hands. Not good. My trainer was headed for the door to grab a bridle before I even had a chance to think.
I was stressed. My horse was stressed. & now we were introducing something that makes us fall apart. Well, long story short, it kind of helped, but in the end, i'm still on the "no-bit-for-my-psycho-horse" side. I understand where my trainer is coming from; my horse was acting pretty dangerous, not just naughty, and she can't have me running down children in the arena. However, she's not the one on his back, I am, and I can feel every bit of fried muscle running through him. She also kind of got after me for letting him get away with things, and I was a little hurt. I'm not letting him get away with things - he's a fricken disastor mess, and I'm trying my absolute hardest to make sure we don't kill anyone. The thing is, i've ridden horses that i've had to discipline, they shake their heads, you bump them with your legs, they figure out the pressure, they quit. With Jingle, everything is tied into this big emotional wrecking ball, and so I'll bump him with my legs, he will absolute melt into a puddle, and i'll lose him for the rest of the ride. It's frusterating to say the least.
Anyways, by the time my lesson was over, my horse was jogging really nicely, but it was all fake, and it was all done with aids, and I was pissed at him, and at myself.
For Next Time:
So, what am I going to do about it?
Well, I have a game plan.
First - I need to talk to my trainer about taking a step back. It's just not working. We have to re-evaluate, and figure out a different path that works better for my emotionally-damaged horse.
Second - no bits. I'm done. I don't want to use something that already causes my horse anxiety just to punish him with it.
Third - "Intensive". I have not been riding enough, I've been riding twice a week, maybe. Generally, on my other ride of the week, I fool around, or bring friends out. This is because all my friends have been home for reading week, etc. I'm not getting anything done. I'm not working on anything. So, what happens is my horse gets 6 days off to f-around, even when I do ride, and then Mondays come and I ask him to do a shit-ton. No wonder he wants to murder me. So, this week I'm trying a week-long intensive. I'm going to ride everyday except today (Wednesday), that's 6 days straight, we're going to work on transitions and stops, we're not going to canter a lot, when we do, it'll be our right lead - the one he's more uncomfortable and unbalanced on, and we're going to figure.it.out. Wish us luck. :)
& Finally, things to look forward too... I cannot wait until school is done, so I can ride without feeling this guilt cloud of papers and exams strangling me. However, March is going to be a good (although, very expensive, and very busy) month - we have a better fitting saddle, we're figuring out tack, I have a Chiro/Massage coming March 7, Jingle will have his feet and teeth done and finally, super exciting news - we'll be going to our first sorting!!! - we're gonna get it together, it's just going to take a lot of time and patience, and a total re-working of, "the plan."