I've been so looking forward to this post.
Last year I decided to change how I was approaching Spicy
. He was reactive, impossible to load on the trailer, anxious and unpredictable.
And, frankly, just not very fun to ride.
Training a horse takes for fucking ever. It's boring, repetitive, and frequently felt like we were standing still. I still feel like I'm getting nowhere sometimes, which is why the blog has become so important to me.
I recently had a lesson scheduled with my dressage trainer off the farm. He was not the best for the lesson, for a couple reasons that I'm choosing not to blame him for. Initially I was upset the lesson had gone poorly, and beat myself up a bit about it.
But then I read my 'baseline' post from last year
and realized that I tried to have a lesson off the farm last year at the exact same time, but ended up cancelling because I couldn't get my horse on the trailer after 45 minutes of sweating and escalating.
This time he self loaded, traveled fine to the farm, and stood calmly tied to the trailer eating his alfalfa. Honestly, it wasn't until we got in the ring that he came undone.
|Standing at the trailer|
When he tries to come undone now (and believe me, he still does), I can put my leg on and ride him through it. Instead of pinching my knees to keep my calf off and trying to hold him out with the outside rein, I can squeeze or even tap him on the shoulder with my dressage whip to get his attention back and his body straighter. In return I am more following with my hand and able to ride forwards instead of backwards out of fear.
|Free lunging at the canter|
The past few months as I've gone back for my fall semester and the evenings are dark, I haven't been as consistent and he's been more difficult as a result. We've had a couple bad rides that made me question everything. Taking the time to write this, I realize we actually have made all that progress I wanted and more. While I should continue to strive to make our partnership better and be a better rider and trainer to him, I shouldn't do it to the detriment of realizing how far we've already come.
I have plans and ideas for next year. But before I press relentlessly on, I'm going to take this moment to have my own victory lap. I did it.
It takes so much to step back and let the horse dictate what he needs instead of pressing for what you want, and I admire you so much for taking this journey with him!ReplyDelete
it's been a gigantic pain in the ass at times but on the whole, extremely rewarding. thank you!!!Delete
What you've done with Spicy is nothing short of miraculous - it can be hard to see when you're in the nitty gritty of it but I'm glad you have those baseline videos to remind you how far you've come!ReplyDelete
same - especially when I think he's being 'the worst ever' and I look back and realize he's so, so not.Delete
Take the victory lap. The definition of 'good' and 'bad' is constantly shifting. When I realized that my 'bad' rides used to be my 'good ' rides something really shifted for me. Congratulations on seeing how your hard work is paying off. the difference is striking.ReplyDelete
this comment is perfect - it's so true about how 'good' and 'bad' gets redefined as things keep getting harder and you can ask the horse more.Delete
Take two victory laps. Three even. You deserve them all!ReplyDelete
HEHE I think I will! I did take a gallop victory lap when the weather was nicer - and it felt pretty damn goodDelete
You deserve the victory lap. Progress is hard to measure while it is happening. Some things are easy to take for granted, like loading or standing nicely to the trailer, so that when they do it you don't remember how horrible it used to be. Congrats on all the hard work paying off.ReplyDelete
SO MUCH PROGRESS! It's hard to see it happening day by day but WOW, when you look back a year, how far you've both come. So much awesome, congrads!ReplyDelete
thank you! I know I kind of couldn't believe it when I looked at the gifs. I mean, he's still a potato.Delete
but now he is a potato I can put leg on.
YOU DID IT!!!! This post makes me happy-cryReplyDelete
:D :D thanks alli - and you know I couldn't have done it without y'all support.Delete
You guys are like two new beings compared to where you first started. I admire your ability to step back and see all the great things you have accomplished so far. Great job you've done!ReplyDelete
it's been so important to do that (step back) or I think I would've given up.Delete
Always take the victory lap when you have the opportunity!ReplyDelete
I’m super late to this party lol. But hell yes, take that victory lap. Celebrate every win, no matter how small or humble :D that’s what it’s all about anyway right??ReplyDelete