Tuesday 3 December 2013

5 Day Challenge: Day 4

16. One thing you’d like to change about your horse

I'd make her a lot more confident/sane. She's come a long way, but there are still days....

17. Your horse’s future

This is ever changing. I know she'll be with me for life. Two years ago I would have said I wanted to event her, now I'm pretty sure it's not her thing. I have my heart set on dressage for sure, but even that gets her pretty stressed out, I think because she tries so hard to be 'perfect' that it's very hard to teach her and correct her without getting her anxious. If she was a person it would go something like this:

Me: "Wow Ginger, you are doing this so well, but you know if you used your hindquarters a little more like *so* you'd find it easier."
Her: "OMG, I suck. I am terrible at this. You hate me, I can tell." "This arena is scary and now I'm basically all alone in here and potential barn kitty prey because you hate me and won't keep me safe"
Me: "Settle down...you're fine. See what I showed you? It helped, right?"
Her: "Yes, but I can tell you still hate me because I didn't figure that out on my own. I'm a total failure. To try to make up for it I'm going to use my hindquarters like that ALL THE TIME. Then I will be perfect and you'll love me again"
Me: "OK, lets just go back and do this other thing - you're really good at it!"
Her: "Yes I am! I am awesome at this! But I can do it even better! Check this out!"
Me: "I appreciate the effort, but that's not really something we can use in a dressage test"
Her: "OMG, I suck. I am terrible at this. You hate me, I can tell. But check out this neat trick I just learned with my hindquarters..."

Depending on what we're working on, this scenario can literally play out a few times a minute and it's exhausting for both of us, I'm sure. Our training rides outside of lessons are more low key - she is less anxious because there is less of a focus and I`m pretty patient...I`m quite content to keep the peace and do 5 minutes here, 5 minutes there, rather than 45 minutes of more concentrated work, so we may just get there yet via the really slow and steady route.
 I thought that was just 'her' , and she's so kind and polite it's easy to just keep on and make fun of her 'drama', but after seeing how she is on the trails (focused on a mission and loving it!) I'm wondering if we can't explore some competitive trail or something instead for now. I'm not ruling anything out in the future, but I'm pretty sure she doesn't want to be a serious show pony at this point in time.

We're contemplating a second horse for now to satisfy my more driven side and my desire to event :)

18. Your worst show ever

When I was a kid, a friend and I took our ponies to a local show. We really had no clue and the people were not overly friendly or helpful that day either. I didn't show again for many years, because it seemed overwhelming and with the way we were treated I thought I'd better wait until I could put in as near of a perfect class as possible. Little did I know in the intervening years, the 'crowd' at that show had completely changed and now they are the most helpful and supportive bunch you'd ever hope to find.

19. Favorite horse show venue

I've never shown at a big venue...mostly just smaller, local type shows and clinics. As a spectator I've been to Spruce Meadows and it's amazing, but a little overwhelming. We went to Thunderbird this summer and it's gorgeous and a little less intimidating to navigate. On a more local level, High Point Equestrian has some pretty impressive facilities - if only I had a million dollars (truthfully though, I think you'd need substantially more to live/board there :).

20. Your show day routine

It been a while. I usually bath and get the horses looking their best the day before, then show up early in the morning to braid and do the finishing touches the day of. If there are patterns of any sort to learn beyond the norm( I do the odd trail class or equitation pattern where it's posted day of), I'll do that prior to my morning ride if possible. I always get the horses out and about over the show grounds in hopes they'll be able to see everything and settle in prior to our classes.  I don't get dressed into my show clothes until just before the class. G usually comes along to hold horses for me and generally keep my nerves steady. I'm usually too nervous to eat, so part of the tradition is a big, over the top dinner later on :)


  1. I know I have said this before and I don't want to dissuade you from getting another horse (!) but she WILL grow out of that. Connor used to get so flustered when we asked him for new and complex things, we couldn't push him very hard at first. Then he turned 7 and suddenly he was mentally able to handle things - he stops and thinks first instead of getting frustrated. Cobs take so long to grow up!

    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence, and I believe you Jen! It's funny Connor went through the same thing. I think they're such overachievers they hate to be 'wrong'. Ginger's come a long way for sure, and I have no reason to believe we won't continue to surprise everyone.
      I worded my original post funny - don't worry everyone, we're not giving up and replacing Ginger :) A second horse is an option, but for many dfifferent reasons.