Yay or Nay: Learning moments

I’m sitting at work on a Sunday night falling asleep–what better time to write a blog post? At least if I can manage without falling asleep. I’ve been here for 7 hours and it’s getting slower by the hour… 1 more hour to go. #librarianproblem #wintersession

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I think I just watched the radar on and off for hours overnight/early morning… 

I’m going to start by saying I almost cancelled my lesson on Saturday. The weather SUCKED. Nay Nay was a mess in the morning–stressed and anxious and highly impacted by weather changes because he’s a delicate little flower of a thoroughbred. Overnight and into the morning, we had… 2 inches of rain. So, I pretty much tried to hold off turning out the horses because it was so awful. To top it off, Nay has been pretty terrible about hay consumption lately. He’s been picking at it, but not eating enough for my comfort.

So, by the time I finally turned out, the horses had been in for about 16 hours and it was still pouring. Subi was… FINE. In fact, he didn’t want to go out. Nay was high as a kite and ready to explode (and hadn’t eaten much hay). I turned out were he proceeded to pace and paw for an hour. [I think he’s a little ulcery and will treat accordingly]

When my trainer messaged me to see if I could come earlier for my lesson, I basically said I think I’m cancelling. To that? She told me I could always ride Bob [I should blog about my last awesome lesson on him, but I sort of forgot to…] I ended up agreeing to an earlier lesson and I’d show up with a horse.

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He might be eating my elbow… who knows.

A couple of hours later, Nay seemed more like himself so I took him over and… he was pretty darn fabulous.

We walked, trotted, and then I found out that JIMINY has been escaping and my neighbor has been collecting him… (I knew he’d gotten out but he’d been in my front yard… NOT down at my neighbor’s across the creek — neighbor rents part of my trainer’s barn). Following this aside, we cantered. 2 times around left lead and despite losing the canter early on, we managed to keep the canter 1x around for the right lead with some strategic kicking. Seriously some improved cantering.

From here, the wheels came off a bit as we over faced Nay a bit for the first time. We started over a cross rail which we did a few times with no issue and then added in the inside line. This is where problems came. Not, “I’m being bad” but “I don’t understand” and “I don’t think I can” and “Do I have to?” So the vertical with flowers he did, slowly (my fault), but he did, but the next fence was larger and he was convince he couldn’t. We struggled. We crashed it a few times while we tried to get him to walk over it (technically it was big, but he COULD walk it). We added a crop. My neighbor came it and served as a side block for me and my trainer was my lead. It took a while (it really wasn’t but for me in the moment it felt that way, LOL) but with a lead, we got over and once he decided, he launched himself over it (and I almost fell off…) and got the biggest celebration ever after.

Since he got over, they dismantled it and made it small — basically just the little flower boxes and we jumped that 3-4 times. He did that with no issues, trotting in, cantering out and enthusiastically JUMPING the snot out of the flowers (the last time he was less enthusiastic, but we still cantered away), celebratory pats after each. We finished by connecting all three fences, trotting in, cantering out of each.

img_2470So, while I wasn’t sure where that screwy fences would lead us, Nay learned that when asked, we do stuff (even if I’m not so sure… LOL). He also figured out the whole jumping thing and pushing UP and OVER and AWAY from the fence as every fences since has been a true push over and away.

I rode again today. On the flat Saturday I was told to add/introduce spurs because I’ve been squeezing REALLY REALLY hard. Good news? He doesn’t care. Surprised. Lol. But, it’s nice to be able to start pushing him out with my leg a bit and actually get a response. I can feel the wheels turning and he’s SO HAPPY when he knows he gives the right answers (he loves praise).

His canter today was lovely. I lost the left lead the first time around, but then kept it a full 2x around so we’re making progress. And the right lead is getting stronger as well. I just need to focus on the point where I add leg approaching the corner vs in the corner (too late). We’re finally OK at the far turn, it’s just the turn by the in gate, but we’ll get there.

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Nay can be VERY cute… Jiminy is a brat. Subi is just perfect.

Since we weren’t alone today, we worked on a cross rail with flowers. It was a bit wider than I thought, but small in height. To the left? No issues other than staying straight. Nay gained confidence each approach and by our last attempt (#4) was locked on that jump and cantering away like a star. To the right? First time I failed to keep him straight and we wiggled right to a stop while he looked everywhere but the jump. BUT once he knew where we were going? He carried himself to that jump and jumped the snot out of it first time. He didn’t drag me or pull, just carried himself and pushed off and over like a star. My job was just to keep him straight (SO MUCH HARDER to the right). But, the change in his understanding of jumping from yesterday to today? Amazing.

I need to get new video soon of him actually trotting, cantering, and a real “jump.” I was in a rush so I didn’t ask the person in the ring with me to video, but she had nothing but compliments about what a nice mover he’s turning out to be. And is stunned at the progress he’s made in the last month and a half. She was there for his first lesson when everyone thought I was a crazy person with this anxious little OTTB…

So. There you go. I’m in love.

16 thoughts on “Yay or Nay: Learning moments

    • He’s such a cool guy. And thanks to Ranger (mostly) and Bob, I’m becoming a better rider to hopefully give him a strong foundation with the help of a good team that hasn’t told me I’m insane (in the moment). As for his name, it’s growing on me. I’m not sold, but I’m getting there 😂

  1. he’s such a good boy, glad you guys are really figuring stuff out!! it’s always kinda a tough moment when you hit a horse’s “limit” for the first time. but ya know… that’s part of the process, is learning how to go through that together and learn to trust each other in those moments. sounds like you handled it well and he figured it out!

    • Definitely. That moment was tough. It was part confusion and part “I don’t think I can” but this is why I’m working with a pro. But, he was SO PROUD OF HIMSELF after he got over it. And that incident taught him so much because something clicked and he started pushing off and over and understood the jump aspect after.

      After, my trainer did tell me that she’s seen this so much with a horses jumping for the first time and it’s completely normal. And these mini “fights” are partially a test of wills — he does need to learn that, yes, he does need to do what we ask. And, the jump was big, but technically he could have walked over it, he just was convinced he couldn’t. It wasn’t the day to rinse and repeat with that particular size jump (hense dismantaling and repeating the tiny one), but based on his confidence over everything else after both Saturday and Sunday, he learned a lot.

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