Sunday 27 March 2016

Beautiful Day For A Ride

On the struggle bus...:)

Actually, it was more good than bad. It's more rewarding when you work hard for it, right?

I'm finding myself more and more resentful of the time I have to spend indoors at my work desk. Although I do enjoy my job (and like to think I'm good at it too), lately the horses have been calling in a big way. So, to say I was happy to wake up on Friday morning to sunshine and a day off with nothing to do but ride would be an understatement - I was up way early and had to force myself to wait until a civilized hour to head out.

Midge and I started with a quick 30min hack, and once again the pony was hot and spooky beyond reasoning. I think she was feeling pretty good about life too! Still, I'll be happy when it dries up and the horses go back to having larger fields to play in, they've all been quite ridiculous lately. It's pretty weird to think that my previously "safe" "quiet" "lazy" pony is currently the hottest/most sensitive thing I've ever sat on.

My timing was great, because by the time I got back to the ring it had cleared out a little. There were still a few people riding though, and Midge seemed to have an uncontrollable urge to show off for them all. I don't know how else to describe it - she just has the odd mare day where focusing on anything but the other horses is a challenge for her, and she has to try to get up in their space and make nasty mare faces every time I get distracted for a second. So rude, but also it's spring, and hormones and all that. She's normally not mare-ish at all, and see above about the turn out situation, so I try not to be too frustrated with her. 
More old pics as filler - I was so much better about taking pics last year!

My ride in the area was one of those ones where things probably looked really awful to start, but then ended quite nicely. 

Midge started out way over reactive to my aids, but also not giving me an option to sit quietly since she was pulling and wiggling and then sucking back and just generally being obsessed with the other horses and everything outside the area. Basically wanting to pay attention to everything but me, then getting wildly offended when I'd remind her we're working. Mares.

Keeping in mind the advice from my last lesson, I did a ton of walk/trot transitions and really focused on riding her forward and straight. She was horribly offended that the running off like a giraffe and popping the outside shoulder game wasn't one we'd be playing, but I tried to remember to just be unemotional about it and let the exercise work for me. The down transitions were also runaway train/llama style and pretty ugly. More about just getting it done, to be honest. I promise I wasn't hauling on the reins, but pony was trying to make out otherwise. I'm not sure in what world raising her head as high as she can and trying to run through the aids has ever got her what she wants, but it seems to be her latest go to evasion. Eventually the repetition worked for us and the pony felt soft and obedient enough to throw in some canter transitions. Those did not go well - I'm not entirely sure how we went from wanting a slightly quicker/more coordinated  response on Wednesday to drama bolting on Friday, but hey, hormonal overachiever ponies? So, we played some more of the transition game. Trot a few strides, get her really round and on a proper bend, ask for canter, and immediately back to the roundest trot or walk or even halt the instant she started running off with me. Wait for her to soften, then right back up to canter.
Actually, here's photographic evidence I have another pony who can do some inspired transitions. B may have learned those 'canter' departs from big sis Ginger!
 And, it worked. The transitions gave me the half halt I needed and we ended up with the best canter she's ever done, on both leads. Once she figured out that nice balance and tempo, she felt like she could go forever. Being greedy, I played with haunches in on the circle, leg yields from the quarter line and shoulder in on the long side (mostly on her stronger side, because I'd had enough fights for one day) Basically asking her to move her body around within the canter. "No problem", said the pony. "I get this now!" Huge breakthrough! It's almost like the light bulb went on towards the end of the ride and she finally started to understand why we've been "so mean" in asking her to carry herself correctly - it really does make things easier for her!
I laughed, I cried. B gives a bow after an epic performance.

So that's our recap. I felt like the meanest/most inadequate rider ever for the first part of the ride. It was really ugly.  But oh boy, did a little rider discipline and patience get us some nice results in the end. EC put a ride on her yesterday and I'm very interested to hear her feelings on things. My ride was very much the worst of the worst followed by the best of the best:)

I've been otherwise preoccupied this weekend, and am a little sad to have missed out on the xc schooling and combined test at MREC, but hey, tomorrow is another day off work and the sun is supposed to be shining! The countdown is on for our spring clinic too, so I'm pretty spoiled and shouldn't be envious :)

Also, in virtual adventure land, we're getting awfully close to the Oregon border, even after a detour to get us back on Hwy 101...I figure we started there at Mile 0, so we might as well continue on!



  1. It's a good thing when they make you work for it even if it doesn't quite feel like it at the time lol

    1. Maybe next time I'll just get a slightly less intelligent pony ;)

  2. Sounds like it ended VERY well!! Sometimes it takes some ugly to for mares to get the memo

    1. The mares I've owned have been so good at questioning EVERYTHING. Might be time for a gelding :)

  3. ooooh yay for such an awesome breakthrough! my mare definitely will try to evade straightness and a more correct way of going with speed - esp as she struggles to find a new point of balance. but what a great moment when they figure it out!

    1. I try to remind myself that a year ago forward with B wasn't happening - so now for her to be using it as the go to evasion isn't so bad :) But yeah, so cool when everything comes together!

  4. Progress is progress! If ugly bits lead you to great moments, its all good! My little mare is in heat right now which has made her a bit prancier outside haha

    1. I'm loving your little Mystic more and more, she's sure growing into a nice mare!