Friday 5 April 2019

Jinxed It!

After my post about being so grateful that Ms Sophie ended up in my life, obviously the universe felt the need to humble me a little and my little mare was a bit of a jerk this morning. Babies - always keeping you guessing!

Here comes trouble.

Last year when I bought her, my coach really, really wanted to call her Sass. I've had a few sassy mares and didn't want to tempt fate. There are days where it's the perfect name for her, though!

"My friends have my brain over there somewhere"

Sophie forgot her brain out in the pasture with her friends, which was unfortunate. I'm not much of a fan of screaming ponies, and Sophie is definitely one to ramp up the behaviour if I engage it, so the easiest thing to do was walk away and wait for her brain to reinstall.

Pony had a temper tantrum to end all temper tantrums, while I went off to the pasture and said hi to the other horses,  then she gave up and settled and I came back and gave her a good grooming. For today, I thought we'd that a good enough win. I was tempted to do some groundwork and get her working a little, but reconsidered...even though it's not normally an issue, standing tied alone at the barn was really, really hard for her today and maybe I just need to respect that.

Being a baby is exhausting sometimes

I feel like as time goes on, I'm less likely to try to push things, and it's working just fine for me. I might be way off base, but when I watch the other horses in the herd with her the treatment is similar...none of them really engage her when she's being rude, but she's also not welcome to hang out with them if she's in that frame of mind. Being a very sociable pony, she figures it out pretty quick and calm and order is restored without anyone doing much of anything.

Go away, Banana Pest.

I've been reading up on the "less is more" concept with training horses, and also newer research showing popular theories about herd dominance are incorrect and outdated. I'm intrigued. I'm not a trainer, nor an expert by any means, but I'll post some of the things that struck me as useful and/or interesting later next week.

Anyway, enough with the deep thoughts.

Bridget was also feeling pretty sassy this morning and it resulted in a really fun ride!

I took advantage of how active she was feeling and was able to use some of that energy for good - we had quite respectable collections and lengthenings in trot and canter and even a couple of strides here and there where I was able to get her haunches in and shoulder coming around...I'm sure it was not recognizable by any dressage gurus as a pirouette canter, but the right feel was there and it was fun :D

Pouring rain today, but too cute to resist posting this one from last weekend.

Those of you who have been reading for a while know that the biggest problem I have with Bridget is getting enough energy coming from behind - she's often disinterested and behind the leg, and often feels underpowered even if she looks like she's really moving. So, the days she brings 110% are really treasured by me.

Bonus to not showing? No mane taming. It's natural state is quite...something.

Like with Sophie, I feel like taking the path of least resistance/celebrating the easy wins is creating some good changes in Bridget. (Lets be real though, there is no master plan to it, mostly I am just a lazy and non confrontational person ;) She's feeling very good and way more forward and agreeable than when I was putting pressure on us to move up the levels and be all serious about this dressage thing. No regrets on "retiring" her, because we're both happier now.



  1. I’m too exploring the ‘less is more ‘ approach. I think it’s a good idea. Especially for young ones.

    1. I almost feel guilty with how little time I've spent in the last year, but she's meeting my expectations, so why drill things?

  2. "left brain with friends" is the best description ever. Q does that a LOT when we're working at home. I think I'll adopt your phrase!

    1. I forget my brain at the barn quite often, so it seemed natural Sophie might forget hers in the field with her friends ;)

  3. I think celebrating the small wins helps change our own brain chemistry and outlook

    1. I have definite success in improving my outlook when I focus on the small positives rather than the negatives. I read somewhere that your brain is what you feed it, and feeding it good things to think about seems to work for me.

  4. Yah, less is def more. Annie is the same way!