I’ve been stewing on how to write about my lesson last week. It was one of those lessons where you just want to sit in a corner and cry about being the world’s worst rider. Or turn your horse over to a pro and say, “FIX HIM!” Or post an add and sell him. It honestly… sucked.
Nay was quiet. He was happy. The lesson just sucked.
We had a REALLY nice warm up at the trot. Nay was listening to my leg. He moved off it. He moved over. He bent. He did EVERYTHING I asked. I can’t remember if we trotted both ways but I THINK we stayed left. The trot wasn’t the issue. In the past the trot led to a cruddy canter. But not now. I mentioned that Nay is better when I lunge first which led my trainer to theorize that the canter issues are either ME or that Nay is sore. I think that the issue is me. Nay happily lands left from jumps. He is perfectly comfortably cantering left once we pick up the lead. He just doesn’t want to pick it up.
Anyway, we go to the canter and it takes a couple asks but we get it. It wasn’t actually all that hard. Our focus was basically securing my left left to his side, pushing my outside leg back, and tapping my spur to ask Nay to bring his hind legs in (while bringing my hands out). And it worked. He got it.
And we cantered.
And then we asked for it again. And what do you know? It went even better! Nay was good. Tap for the legs and launch into the canter. Could we have discovered a miracle?
It was that moment that something clicked and Nay just decided that he wanted nothing to do with it anymore. He had enough. I was struggling with my body. I wasn’t leading forward (thank god), but was tilting in. Nay was sick of it and pulling through not dragging. The use of the spur was pissing him off as well. He knew what we wanted and wanted nothing to do with it. We added so halts and backs and circles in. I regretting my decision not to wear gloves (actually I didn’t until my lack of gloves were mentioned). I have the blisters to show for the lesson…
Eventually, I said out loud my fear. I’m not good enough to ride this horse. I can’t do this. He needs a better rider than me.
My trainer’s response. To ignore me. And tell me he’s having a temper tantrum of epic proportions and to kick him. Kick him harder.
So I did.
And he launched into a left lead canter. What the fuck?
He knew what we wanted. He just didn’t care.
So we cantered. And cantered. And cantered so more.
I was exhausted when we stopped.
We then tried to trot over an end jump which he tried to nope out of. Not the jump. My steering. When we finally got over it (I needed right hand then left hand with right leg — awkward approach) we landed on the damn left lead and continued over it to the left and the trot and canter about 10 times before calling it a day.
Turns out I needed to have a bigger temper tantrum.
I needed to ride the next day but… life. And ended up not riding again until Saturday. Nay was up. Like run around the indoor up. I could have lunged but… I let him free lunge instead.
I got on and had a power keg under me. Despite all of that, he didn’t try and pop or do his vertical trot, but just wanted to go go go. So we trotted and half halted to the left over and over and over again.
Until he had enough and he decided we were cantering. I could have pulled him back but he picked up the most gorgeous left lead canter. Seriously.
So we cantered around for several minutes. Circles of all sizes until I needed a break. All while I questioned where the hell the canter came from. After a short break, I trotted and asked again. He briefly offered up the incorrect (right) lead but the second I brought my right leg back (way back) and tap tap, the left lead was there. We cantered, trotted, and leg back, left lead again. And again. And again.
We called it there because there was no reason to mess with my horse offering me exactly what I wanted.
I’m not sure if something clicked. I’m not sure if he understood. I’m not sure if I just got mad. I’m not sure. But Saturday was good. I needed good. It was a win for the day. I’ll take it.