Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Horrible Lesson

I had a shared lesson this afternoon and it was horrible!!!!! I should have warmed Sam up at home but I didn't have time so I jumped on and started to walk down to the riding school. I could feel that I was going to be in for a fun ride. You know when you can feel them dancing under your seat? People probably can't see it but you sure can feel it! When we got there I asked if I could borrow a lunge lead and I took him into the round yard and started him on the lunge. He wasn't too bad and I made him do a lot of transitions up and down. He had a wonderful time bucking and I reprimanded him each time. He started to focus more on me though you could tell he was having a lot of trouble with this. I jumped on him in the round yard to make sure I was happy to ride him. He seemed ok so I took him into the arena where Sarah had already started the lesson.

He was working ok until we went into trot and had to follow Sarah. Benny is a lot more forward than we are and I am not sure what happened, I was asking for more bend, Benny was going away from us and we were on the part of the circle that he always tenses up on. He just went up! Came down and went up again! Scared me too pieces. When he came down he just stood there while I composed myself. I think he scared himself a little. It took a bit to get him to walk forward but he did and was quiet while I hyperventilated!!!! I picked up the contact and kept going. He was still so tense but I did got some nice work out of him as well. About 50min into the lesson I was really over it all and ready to call it a day but Jenny (the instructor) wanted us to do some cantering. I said no and worked Sam on a small circle in the middle of the arena. He coped well with Benny cantering around but I could just tell he was really over it. I asked him to collect up again and he got really antzy again. He probably felt that I was over it so figured why do we have to do this! Jenny thought he was better today than last week though.

Unfortunately my confidence has plummeted and now I am having second thoughts about the competition. I will still take him but I will decide on the day if it is worth it or not. I know I need to take him out more so he gets used to it but maybe I am not the person for that. You know what I think Sam would really like - I am not sure what it is called but it is like orienteering on a horse and at each stop you have to do something, jump a log, open and shut a gate without getting off, things like that. I think Sam an I would both really enjoy that. I find he relaxes on a slightly looser rein but I keep getting told to shorten my reins, shorten my reins, shorten my reins! I told Jenny that I have never ridden with this sort of a contact before and I just have to keep shortening those reins!

Tomorrow I think I will just ride Sam in his halter again and relax! Or take him up the road and ride in the vacant lot. We will get there I am just having a bad night!

Thanks for listening!!!!!!!

I booked Sam in to get clipped Sunday morning!!!!! I'll take photos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Kate said...

Those bad moments can be real confidence-busters! You're right, he was probably as disturbed by what happened as you were - horses aren't happy when they blow up or feel worried or upset. You did well to just keep riding.

One thing, in addition to making sure he can blow off any excess energy before you get on, is to help him focus when you're riding - give him a job - sort of like your orienteering idea! - you can set up a little program, with lots of stops, turns, small figures, etc. Like: walk in hand to the third post from the end, touch it, back four steps, turn on the haunches and walk back to the mounting block, mount, circle the mounting block three times, ride to each of the 4 corners of the ring using the diagonals, do a serpentine from one end of the ring to the other on the quarter line. It's your focus that will make this a job for him - if it's important to you it will be important to him. You can think of endless variations - but not a lot of boring straight lines or regular circles - that will cause you to likely lose a little focus and he will then have a chance to become distracted again. Just some ideas!

Thank you for your comment on my blog - I left you a comment on your comment there!

Nina said...

OOOHHH They are good ideas! I do try and do different exercises when I first get on and he is worked up I guess now I have to work through my own fear as in pushing him again. I am also wondering if I should continue with this instructor. She told me to work Sam in side reins on the lunge until he is exhausted and then ride him. I disagree with this strongly. I don't believe he or I will learn anything from this and then when I do ride it won't be enjoyable for him. He will also get fitter and fitter and it would take longer and longer.

She also told me that the only way Sam will start to respect me is by making him scared of me! Why on earth do I want to make my horse scared of me? He already trusts me (I believe) because he will stand next to me when so much is going on around him, he walks up to me all the time even in a 15 acre paddock full of grass, I have other reasons I beleive he trusts me but anyway I just wonder what I can learn from a person who believes these things.

I also wonder for a horse who has never done this sort of work, working on the bit, why we don't do more round, long and low work to work his back muscles and really asking him to use his hind quarters. I feel that all I am doing is jamming him up in the front, his neck is high and round but his back feels very hollow.

Nina said...

Sorry I didn't realise you can only post so much!!!

When I work him my way at home he feels a lot like there is a bit of a swing happening, it is also more comfortable. If I ask the way I have to during the lesson he becomes tense straight away. He also has started to grind his teeth!

Yes at home his little nose does poke out the front but considering we really have only started this sort of work I guess about 2 months ago I don't mind. If he is relaxed, listening, forward why can't we work this way for a little longer?

Thank you for your posts I look forward to reading them everynight when I log on! I will go and check your blog now!!! :)