Thursday 12 January 2017

In Which I Ride...Poorly

The arena was super busy last night, and Bridget was unimpressed. Pony mare was feeling the need to let the others know she is super tough by making nasty faces at each and every one. Obviously that  = a pony mare who is less than focused on her rider. Also included for free with every angry pony who doesn't like to share arena space:  An extra dose of independence! "I am so bad ass no rider tells ME what to do!", says Bridget.

Obviously we worked through it, but we didn't get to a great place, more of a compromise place where the pony mostly kept her ears on in a neutral manner and went forward politely where I pointed her. Soft and relaxed might have come eventually, but I ran out of time. I'm coming for you again today, Midge :)
At least she's cute.
 I've been feeling a little lost with Q mare of late. The trails are too icy to safely navigate, and it's dark so early that I've been forced to spend most of the time in the arena. I need help in there! So, I chose Q for my lesson mount du jour. As I explained to EC prior to the lesson, the super forward big stride that makes me happy out on the trail is slightly intimidating to try to contain in the arena. Particularly as she's very large and powerful and quick to be offended should you really get after her about slowing the train down...quite the opposite of Bridget pony, really.

Q mare was feeling very very fresh last night. You know that yucky feeling where their back is so tight you just know the explosion is imminent? Just like that. On Midge, I tend to laugh about it and poke the bear to see if she'll bite. On giant drafty freight trains, I'm a big chicken. We did a ton of transitions to get her to actually stop/wait/slow down, but that seemed to increase the tension, so we did a bunch of lateral work to try to loosen her up that way. I stuck it out for about half the lesson,  rode poorly because I didn't want to press the wrong button and die, then gave up, got off and lunged the sillies out.  I got back on to cool her out, but am sort of beating myself up about it. Particularly as the lunging just made her more energetic and excited! Shes 3/4TB, and it shows - she's got an incredible base level of fitness, unlimited energy, and has no concept of quitting. She can be kind of intense!  Combine that TB brain with a 16.3 part Percheron body, and I'll admit to feeling overhorsed last night.  That's fine, but rather than stepping up to the challenge and using it as a learning opportunity, I backed off and took the easy way out, even though I had EC there to help. Confidence is such a weird thing!  

Q mare, I'm coming for you again too. I'm feeling in need of some redemption. (Also, some warmer weather and turnout for the horses so the winter crazies go away. I want my forward, but sane hacking buddy back!)
Pretty AND cute :)

On the plus side, our lesson mate was my hot, quirky Ginger mare and she looked positively straightforward in comparison to my two rides. Good girl! (But, we cannot underestimate Ginger's lease rider, who does a super job with her and makes it look easy. Pretty sure if it was me in the tack we may have had a trifecta of poor rides :) Maybe, just maybe, the big mare is finally all grown up.


  1. I am a total wuss on big horses, too! This time of year is just tough, though. Our guys are all starting to get a little cabin fever from not being worked regularly and being stuck in their muddy paddock more often than not. Dino has entirely forgotten how to gallop off his forehand or at all politely, and has been throwing every evasion in the book at me! Hopefully more turnout will help everyone chill out a bit!

  2. When Murray's back is tight like that I literally feel like I'm riding down a hill. Usually it coincides with him being unwilling to bend his hocks, so he compensates in his gaits by popping his croup up to swing his legs around his hip joint. It puts him in prime bucking position (and he's already usually in that attitude, honestly).

    I recently came to embrace the fact that I don't have to ride it out. I can lunge it out. I don't use the lunging for Murray to just play on the line or be stupid, but I try to make it a productive learning exercise. I'll send him for a couple of laps just to get forward and moving and loose, and then strap on some work equipment (chambon, side rein, what have you) and get to proper work. I find it really helps me get his focus before I get on and try to get anything done. And it helps to know that he's already warm and started to work, so most of his objections should be done with.

  3. It's still taking me a long time to feel out Charlie too. He is a good boy and I trust him.... But he's also not 14.3 Isabel. The size thing is real. As is the whole "new partnership" thing. Q seems cool tho, so awesome you can try lessons with her too! She sounds like she's worth figuring out!