Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"Ugh!" Seems to be the theme

This post is from Sunday actually, I'm been writing, I'm just behind in posting.

Ugh… that’s the best way to describe life right now… ugh. Lots of good things, but what a roller coaster!

I will be starting a new job next week which will not be nearly as flexible on taking off early to go ride, and is too far away to ride on lunch breaks. So for the next month or so, I’ll still have daylight to ride after work, but once winter hits I’m going to be riding by the light of two measly flood-lights on stands, or only on weekends. Ugh…

I have fallen way behind on my reconditioning training plan, and can’t even remember what I’ve done since the last blog… ugh! So here are some highlights in no particular order: ridden him with a bareback pad at least 4 times now, lunged at least 4 times, been out on the back roads with both him and the old mare (ponied him, then switched and ponied her back), trot poles about three times. All of this is going great considering his age and the total inconsistency that has been our training regime lately. He does have suspicions that mini-donkeys might just be tiny creatures from hell, but at least they’re not llamas!! Of course the llamas didn’t move or stare him down the last time we passed by them, so he didn’t even bat an eye at them.

So today it was hot when I rode, yesterday was hot and although I didn’t get to ride I was still out working in the sun, and Friday when I last rode it was hot! UGH! I am done with the summer heat, REALLY! So today with the heat and the physical and emotional exhaustion from all the other UGHs in my life that I won’t bother going in to, I had a tantrum while riding Bear. I had a tantrum, I’ll admit it. It was dumb, and based on completely unfair expectations from a horse that puts up with all my crap, and still trots up to me in the pasture. Basically I was crabby that he wasn’t acting like an old broke horse, which he’s not. I didn’t come unglued and beat on him or anything! I just got frustrated and fed-up, which is not the attitude for handling a young horse with limited training. I think of all the times I’ve seen him buck in pasture, and I remind myself why I want things to be positive in our training. I’ve ridden sour horses that explode when they get frustrated, and I know that if I screw Bear up and make him into a sour cranky horse, I would have a snowball’s chance in hell of staying on.

Let me be clear here, HE did not have a tantrum, just me. HE was being a green horse that is out of shape and looking for the easy route. He was in general wanting to go back up the hill to the old mare, the place for untacking, dinner, and all other good things in life, but its irritating to ride a horse that is only thinking about going up the hill, and I was getting crankier and crankier, until finally I just roared at him and hopped off! Here’s what we were doing: pick up the trot, go over the trot poles, collect the trot a few strides, halt, turn around and do it again. It’s a simple exercise and the idea was to work on getting him a bit more balanced. We had started out with walk-halt transitions and he had been doing great! He was really stopping off my seat, which was the whole point since I really wanted to work on half-halts, and he was moving out at a nice walk. So we did a few trot to walk transitions using the half-halts, and again good, but that’s when he started veering in the general direction of the hill each time we trotted. So we start the trot poles and first he veers around them, which of course is him being lazy and me not thinking ahead, but added to my crankiness. Then we crossed back over and he just sort of blew threw the half halt and rushed forward falling on the forehand and throwing his head in the air when I really sat down and made him stop, and then he wouldn’t even have the decency to turn around. I think this is about where the roar happened. So I leap off of him, and make him move his shoulders away in a sort of turn of the haunches way, I run down the line of poles with him trotting along side me, I slam on the breaks and stop after the poles, and turn him around and do it again. He followed me step for step, and stopped on a dime each time. So I laugh at myself a little, because he’s being so patient with me, and when I hop back on he does it perfect, like “Oh, is this what you want mom? Why didn’t you say so!”

We did it a few more times and he still rushed a little bit trotting the poles the other direction. It must be sloping down a little going back that direction, or it was still that he was thinking about the hill… but whatever. He could do it perfectly going towards the driveway, so I figured I better quit before got snippy with him again for innocent mistakes. Overall, he was getting the exercise, good trot departure a couple strides before the poles, nice big pushing strides over the three poles, half-halt and sit a couple strides to collect him, then halt. Lots up of down transitions while keeping that forward energy.

Tomorrow he gets his feet trimmed so he’ll get a break, but that means that Tuesday I will probably trailer out for a ride in the arena for the soft footing just to play it safe. So that will be the third training ride in a row. I’ve been trying to go every other with trail riding for just some easy conditioning, so hopefully the fun of trailering somewhere will make up for all work and no play lately.

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