Progress…isn’t linear.

After such a fabulous lesson on Friday, I had a shitty ride on Saturday.

It was bound to happy.

From the moment I arrive, Nay Nay’s brain wasn’t with me. And I never really got it collected.

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His opinion of work

My new routine when I get to the barn is to groom and tack up in the cross ties. Except, the cross ties were full so we walked down THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BARN ISLE. Brain. Blown. Seriously, you’d have thought I took him to a different country. I stuck him briefly in the wash stall before moving over to the cross ties (someone was leaving and I prefer the cross ties to the wash stall now), but, the slightly unfocused horse I arrived with was a little unsettled. Now, he’s stood in the wash stall before so who really cares, but… yeah.

This was the pattern for the day.

Everything was fine. Nay never did anything wrong. But he wasn’t relaxed either. We groomed, we chatted, we tacked up. We headed inside to ride where we were joined by 2 little white ponies. It was fine.

Except it wasn’t.

First, Nay Nay needs to get better riding with other horses. I know this. But, this day appeared not to be the day to work on this. When you start off with a horse that isn’t relaxed? Working on something he’s not great at, not great. He’s typically fine with 1 horse, but more than that? We’re not there yet. So, when the first little white pony is canter circles around us, next to us, up our butt (not quite, but almost), relaxation just wasn’t happening.

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He’s lucky he’s cute… 

We walked and started to get there. Other white pony came it. This was a test ride so lots was happening… Rider(s) of this pony were respectful, but… still. No one was calling directions… After Nay started relaxing and stretching his head down, I figured we’d try and trot. And we did, but I couldn’t repeat the relaxation. We were tight and tense. Instead, Nay gave me a tight, up and down trot, with energy, vs a long and loose trot with the same level of energy. Energy is fine, but not when he’s popping up and down (I’m trying to say that he’s trotting, not rearing, but his head is popping up and it’s more vertical motion than a ground covering motion? I hope that makes sense!)?

After an inch of improvement, I walked. I took a few steps of progress and called it success.  We walked until I was able to find that relaxed walk again. It came. Then we stood and I asked him to move left and right with the spur. The right spur took a little work but after a few spur taps, he moves right on my leg. The left leg? Immediate. So, for all the activity, he remembered that at least.

After large grey pony left, we trotted a tiny bit (it was better) and I asked tiny grey pony not to canter up our butt (tiny kid seemed confused). Kid hopped off and another trial horse came in. Nay and I trotted a few minutes more and I SHOULD HAVE CALLED IT A DAY.

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Crappy weather today. 

But, I decided I’d wait and canter. Trial horse left and we trotted a minute or 2 more (he was fine) and then cantered. Our canter was a mess. Relaxation was gone. We couldn’t hold the canter. Leg resulted in flying heads. It was a mess. At that point, I realized, find a good point and calling it a day was the best thing I could do. I was on longer than I should have been (not that I was on long, but his brain was gone considering it was never there) and he was done. We probably got 3 nice strides and I pulled up and was ready to hop off when he started screaming for other horses.

Quit while you’re ahead people. Quit while you’re ahead.

12 thoughts on “Progress…isn’t linear.

  1. Ugh sorry but you know it will not be easy. I am hoping the next ride is better.

    One thought with other horses in the ring. Can you haul an hour earlier one weekend or stay later and just stand in the ring with him in a halter (Out of the way of course) and let him just deal?? Just a thought.

    He is still cute when he is not focussed. You are riding him so much though I am proud of you!! 🙂

  2. Some days are just like that. I’m glad that nothing really bad happened though!
    I call that motion your describing “spinning their wheels”. Like there’s lots of energy coming out, but you’re not actually going anywhere. Jamp was king of that motion!

  3. I know that vertical energy feeling. It sucks. Like the horse isn’t being bad per se but it still isn’t good either. It took Eeyore forever to be ok with other horses in the ring. He still isn’t always the most focused on me, instead wanting to stare creepily at the other horse but it’s better. Nay will get there

  4. I know that trot very well. It’s a PITA. You did well. Maybe you should have ended sooner but he learned that he doesn’t die if he canters with other horses around. So there’s that. 🙂

  5. oh man, i feel like the first “shitty ride” is its own ‘right of passage,’ sorta like the first fall or whatever. we all know that it has to happen eventually, even if we kinda dread it… honestly tho, for me with charlie, some of our best moments of trust building came from those early not-great rides, where we really started to figure out each other’s limits and stress points, and how to keep communicating throughout. it’s obvi crappy in the moment itself, but usually there are a lot of takeaways for both horse and rider!!

  6. I’ve for sure had these rides before! And definitely had way too many “I should’ve quit while I was ahead” moments. That one took an embarrassingly long time to learn, so I feel you. Don’t worry though – you and Nay will get there!

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