Wednesday 5 February 2014

Lesson Update

Where to start?

I'm glad yesterday was a lesson day because Ginger showed off some of her worst spooky, anxious, crazy pony behaviour. Logic is telling me we would have had a good ride if I followed what is becoming the normal routine where I lunge then hop on for a pretty low key ring ride, then maybe hit the trails. However, this is the real world where life is not always completely predictable and a change in the program is always good for us both.
Ms Creature of Habit reminding me that it's time to go for a ride and she needs to be groomed now. Seriously, lately she sees me drive in, I open the gate, and she walks into the barn and waits where I normally tie her. So funny.
As soon as Ginger saw S get out of her car, she was eyeing her up. Not in panic, but in the normal-for-her 'all strangers are suspicious' way. Once S actually entered the ring, Ginny decided that she maybe didn't like this stranger a whole lot. S is very talkative and outgoing, and I'm sure she wouldn't mind me saying "loud". I'm super quiet and more introverted, so we are completely different as to what energy we put out there. I hate to say it - I know that with some people, Ginger is just reading my reaction to them. In this case, I actually like S, but Ginger is not so sure. While they spent a little time saying hi, S and I spent some time discussing the puzzle that is Ginger and whether I can get her more accepting of strangers. (Consensus - she's come super far, and maybe it's OK for her to have an opinion about people. We're at the point now where it's a fairly subtle reaction provided they don't pressure her.)

S spent a little time showing me how she lunges, then asked if she could hop on. Since Ginny seemed to have relaxed a bit with her I gave her the OK. Ginny immediately decided to try to bolt when the stirrup iron bumped her side. I'm sure S was seriously questioning whether Ginger has any saddle time at all. S talked to me about desensitising Ginger, and again I had to explain that when I do stuff like that or am riding she just doesn't care - I am not the world's most elegant rider so Ginny has dealt with lost stirrups and things bumping against her more than once. When I trail ride, I can have all sorts of things tied to that saddle. But when a stranger does it or the situation otherwise changes, she takes great offense. I'm not sure what to do about that beyond being aware (and embarrassed!) So, long story short, S got to ride a super spooky, sucked back, scared of contact Ginger. In retrospect, maybe I shouldn't have let her ride, but the bigger part of me feels that Ginger has had other riders before, and I'm sure is going to have them again, so it's good for her to have someone new hop on now and then. Particularly as S is a beautiful, soft rider and I knew there was no way Ginger was going to have anything 'bad' happen to her beyond her own self inflicted worries. "One person" horses sound all awesome and romantic in movies and novels, but in real life it's not overly practical.

They ended on a good note, with Ginger fairly relaxed and steady. S asked if I wanted to ride a bit and embarrassingly, I said no. My nerves were through the roof after seeing Ginny's antics with S. Also, I'll be honest and admit that inside, I was feeling quite discouraged and embarrassed by her behaviour - and those are not emotions that belong anywhere near horses. I may be able to fool some, but Ginger always knows right away when I am disappointed. She's the best at keeping me honest! I am not a touchy-feely-acknowledge-my-emotions type girl, so it's a bit rough for me to have a horse who reads me so well and makes me own up to some of the more negative things swirling around in my head :) Logically, I know Ginger has been pretty steady-eddy with me the past couple of weeks, but my body and emotions weren't listening to that. S was super about it and showed me the start of some pretty neat in hand work - a back up tool for the days when I can't or don't want to ride but still want to train or 'do something' to progress her under saddle work. I'm intrigued by that.

S says she has driven by and seen me riding a few times, and was quite encouraging that we looked good and that everyone goes through times where they are feeling less confident, that it's fine to pick your days and not rush anything. She really liked Ginger and loved how sensitive she is. She generally has a very positive outlook. So, although this wasn't a lesson I'm overly proud of or
happy with, I'm still left with a good feeling. I think even just having S's positive vibe and encouragement once a week will be invaluable.

Also, the sun is shining again today, so I'm going to redeem myself and head out for a ride :)

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