April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

Happy Easter everyone! And for those who don't celebrate Easter, I hope you all had a wonderful weekend with friends and/or family.

This weekend my room mate and I took a spontaneous trip to Wisconsin (where my room mate lives) to celebrate Easter with her family. She wasn't going to go, but ended up feeling bad about not going so we left Saturday and decided we would drive back Monday morning. It is about a three hour ride.

I do have some good news, Mr P is doing much better and all of the horses are going back to work. Since Sadie is still on vacation, my boss, Alli, and I planned to ride on Saturday morning. The agenda was to just have a fun time riding, nothing too serious since the horses had been out of work all week, and Jealousy has been out of work since she coliced, (is coliced a word?) on May 26th. We all groomed our horses and they were all super calm, well except for Maddie who refuses to stand still for more than three seconds because she is afraid something is always going to eat her. Mr P was a delight to groom and I didn't even have to tie him up to groom and tack him. He stood in the middle of his stall, away from his hay I might add, when I asked him so I could tack him up. He was praised like he was the best horse in the world. Some days he really does surprise me. Him being so calm made me very optomisitc about the ride, and I couldn't wait to try some of the things I had learned recently to fix him problem about doing circles in the arena. To fill some readers who may not know in: Mr P does not like to work on the opposite side of the arena that he comes in, and doing circles is almost impossible without slowing from the trot to walk. once he gets into the middle of the ring he just veers his shoulders and body towards the enter gate and ignores all of your cues. It has been a real problem for me, more because it is aggrivating and there is no need of it. So, back to the story. We all tacked up and warmed up in the ring and had all the horses on the buckle. Eventually we started playing follow the leaders and really focused on staying off the rail, which is the best spot to be according to all of the horses. Eventually the boss lady had us all just grab the buckle with one hand and do some neck reining. Mr P yet again took me by surprised by neck reining beautifully without me having to put much leg on him.

After a while I could tell that Mr P had enough and just wanted to go back to the paddock. He started his business of wanting to be by the gate and acted like he knew nothing about neck reining or what my legs were telling him. My boss lady really didn't want us to work the horses, but I told her I really want to work on this problem that he has. So I took up the reins and got him in a nice working and calm trot on the wall. Eventually I tried doing circles and Mr P did the same shenanigians that he always does. Before I had attended the clinic and watched some clinics online, I had always assumed that when Mr P decided that he wanted to go towards the wall, that if I either stopped him or slowed him down in order to get going in the right direction, he would learn that doing this buisness would get him out of work. After these clinics I got a new perspective on my assumption. I learned that slowing your horse down in order to go in the right direction makes the horse actually listen to you, and then you turn them around to said direction, and then pick up the gait that you were working on.

So, when Mr P decided that he was going to break at his shoulder I slowed him down actually right to a halt and then preceided to turn him around and trot off in the right direction. At times, and I am sure many people won't agree with me on this and a part of me thinks that it was just out of my frustration at this point in time, when we were walking in the circle and he would pull the stunt, and if he was ignoring all my aids, I would take my outside foot out of the stirrup and reall make it known that I wanted him to go the other way. I firmly belive that part of the problem is me, I always believe that most problems are the rider, and I know that I tense up when he does this little stunt and it might make him confused about what I am asking, but I also know that he takes full advantage of me tensing up. So I'll fully admit I wacked him in the side with my outside foot when needed. Was it right of me? Maybe not. Did it get the job done? Yeah it did. Eventually we were able to make a few nice circles at the opposite end of the arena and I ended it on a good note.

If people disagree with how I handled the situation, please speak up. Critisize me I don't mind at all, but give me some feed back on what I SHOULD have done better. I don't mind constructive criticism at all. Trust me, if my instructor asks me why something when wrong during a lesson I say that it was my fault, my form was way out of wack, etc, etc. I am usually super hard on myself, so I can take it from others :)

Thanks for reading!

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