Thursday 28 July 2022

Let's Just See

 Bridget's coming back feeling GOOD. 

I mean, the wiggly pony with less than desirable coordination is still very much alive and well and all the things we used to work on are still there waiting.  Two years of mostly trail riding on a loose rein followed by 3 months off didn't magically create an upper level dressage pony.

But, she's feeling very sound and strong. Mentally, she's night and day from a few years ago. 

Long term readers will recall she used to often be worryingly dull and uninterested in working (or much of anything, really) many days. 'Predictably Unpredictable' I think I used to call her because some days she'd come out ready to work, but the majority of days I never did find the key to getting her to fully participate. In my defense, she came to me that way and vastly improved with all the lessons and help we had, but I was constantly feeling like we were missing something NQR with her and I was letting her down, whether it was mental, physical, training program, my riding and management, or a combination of it all. Maybe she's simply not a 5-6 day a week riding pony. I truly don't pretend to know what is/was wrong even now, I just know on her 'on' days we had the most fun ever and that's what kept me going all that time before I finally just decided enough was enough.

With hindsight being 20/20 and slowly figuring out that there's a super energetic, fun, curious pony under there, there are obviously a lot of decisions with her and ideas I had about her personality and work ethic when I first had her that I've love to go back and have a re-do for. 

With B reverting to main riding pony this summer it looks like this is my chance for that re-do. I don't pretend to know everything that's working for her now vs then, so my expectations aren't high. I certainly have no plans beyond continuing to do my best by her. I'm really curious to see if a more ES based training approach will be helpful, but mostly I'm going to just keep doing what we've been doing the last 2 years as the vast majority of the 'plan'.  

Bribery via super lush grazing

Sorry for the ramble - I find this whole thing so fascinating, but I'm very much figuring it out as I go and putting it on a page helps. Glimpses of the 'dream pony' were under there all along, so I'm not hugely surprised that with the right combination of things B is not at all the dull and quiet pony she first came advertised as. Funny though how with the lack of expectations or focus on her she's really come out of her shell. Perhaps we can add that because I thought she was a certain way... she was? to my list of possible things that originally weren't quite working for us.

Current barn status from the back...we're there working for at least an hour or two before and after work but B works extra hard supervising every detail.

Perhaps it's possible to have Happy Sound Bridget and the odd small competition or advancement, perhaps not. We'll just see...right now she's saying she wants to do more again. I happen to already have some adventures booked and paid for with Sophie in mind, so let's go see what that looks like this summer with B instead :)

One of those adventures is a xc clinic next week. This should be interesting!



  1. I think this is such a lovely opportunity to use new skills, a new perspective, and the ES methodology. Good luck and happy riding!

    1. Thank you! I'm feeling like the ES stuff might be just the ticket with her...of course our old coach used to teach very similar, but I don't think I really 'got it' until recently. This is so weird but I think I had it reversed that the lightness and self carriage and independent cues were things to work towards...not things I had to be starting with as the very basic foundation. I had a lesson on her recently and over time I'd installed those buttons, but do I ride that way? No! Ughh.

  2. I would like to learn more about the E.S. methodology. Can you recommend where I should start?

    1. Books/articles by Andrew MacLean, Jody Hartstone has good videos, Mary Wanless of course!