The past 2 weeks!

9 Jul

Long time, no write!

It’s probably easiest if I just put things into bullet format in an effort to keep the babbling to a minimum!

Amber (1):

· Had a rather awkward Amber moment last week out at TB’s. As I’ve mentioned previously, Amber has a bit of a pulling back issue so she cannot be tied. No problem, she stands like a dream without being tied.

· Last week I was taking her out to the dressage ring to ride and TB was opening the series of gates while I ran down my stirrups etc. I saw that TB had missed the main ring gate, so I took Amber over to it (still not mounted). I have no idea what happened to startle her, but she flipped out and pulled backwards, seemingly out of nowhere. I was caught by surprise so my first reaction was to hold her and say “whoooaaa”, which did nothing. She continued to back up so I just let go because I actually thought she might strike out at me with her front feet. She took off and bucked like mad, reins flipped over her head, and all I could think of was a) what the eff happened to warrant this? and b) oh shit, what if she damages TB’s gazillion-dollar saddle and c) I’m pretty sure I will be asked not to come back here.

· After about 30 seconds, she stopped, so I walked over to her calmly, took her reins and walked her around a bit.

· TB saw the whole thing and said to me, “what do you do when a horse pulls back like that?!” I looked at her, somewhat stunned and said..” I’m not really sure…let her go?” I was then informed that I should have kept a hold of her and kept moving backwards with her so that she didn’t feel any resistance. Fair enough, I’ll know for next time.

· I felt really terrible about it because TB was clearly upset – you know when you can tell someone is holding back because their voice trembles? Yep, that’s what I was faced with. She then walked away for a few minutes while I got on.

· I don’t really know TB very well so I’m not sure how to take her sometimes. Fair – I didn’t do what I should have in that situation, however I have never been in a situation like that before either and it all happened so fast that my first reaction is just instinct. In retrospect, I don’t think TB was upset with me per se, I think she was upset that the horse freaked out and was upset because her horse was upset.

· Surprisingly, Amber and I had a really great ride that day and she was extremely relaxed.

· I made a point of apologizing to TB afterwards and she told me that it was okay and that we all have to learn that lesson some time, she had to learn it too.

· I cried the entire way home.

Amber (2):

· I rode her again last night and she was incredibly relaxed, probably one of the best rides I’ve had on her yet.

· She offered to go long-and-low for me within about 15 mins, which is incredible given that it normally takes her about 15 minutes to settle.

· Murphy’s Law struck and of course TB was not around to see any of this, but two of the boarders were so I know I’m not crazy.

· TB texted me later to see how things went and I told her of our successes and she was really pleased saying that we should have another photo and video session soon.

Corona (1):

· I don’t think I’ve mentioned before about the hacking situation at the barn. There is a nice quiet road to hack on fairly close to the barn, but in order to get there, you have to go down a busier country road. I hate going down this road for two main reasons, 1) there are some real asshole drivers who do not slow down or give you extra room, 2) and the end of the road, there are some rather “trailer trashy” type houses that have so much junk in their yards and who don’t think not to turn on their chainsaws/rev their engines/throw garbage around while you ride by. It’s not a matter of them not seeing you, I make an effort to say hello when I go by, they just don’t realize/or care.

· I sucked it up for a long time, but it got so bad that I’m actually terrified to go down this road and haven’t hacked down there for at least a year. The thought of it makes me sick to my stomach. I can’t help but think that Corona will spook at something and jump into traffic and we will get hurt.

· I should note here that Corona is actually very good with traffic, even when people come a bit too close for my liking he is well behaved.

· Corona is not 100% good when it comes to motorcycles (loud, roaring engines, even when they slow down) or bikes, and he does look and/or spook at the yards filled with Christmas ornaments in July / dogs lunging on their chains / wood being thrown around / etc.

· The problem arises when the non-horse-friendly drivers occur at the same time as the spooks.

· I’ve wanted to work on our confidence up the road for a while now, but it literally makes me nauseous. On Sunday, CG and I decided to start the process. My goal was to get about 200m up the road. We did this no problem and conveniently the neighbour decided this was an excellent time to get on his ride-on lawnmower as well, the horses looked and were hesitant but were good about it. Once we got to our “target” we crossed the road, heading towards home. We decided to go past the Boss’ driveway and walk another 150m or so. No problem. I wanted to do the circuit again so off we went. As we were heading back to the Boss’s, I saw that a cyclist was coming. Excellent timing as we were just arriving at the Boss’s driveway. We stopped the horses and turned and faced the cyclist. Corona became a giraffe, but I stayed calm and talked to him, said hello to the cyclist in hopes that Corona would realize there was a human on that bike, and that was that, no spook. He got lots of praise. We did another circuit. As we were heading towards home, there was a truck coming towards us, no problem. I kept checking distances and saw that 2 motorcycles had passed the truck and were approaching us from behind travelling rather quickly. I had hoped that we would have made it back to the Boss’ driveway but they were coming on too fast. Neither slowed down AT ALL and both Corona and Roller jumped out of their skins. We settled them down and asked for another circuit. We made sure to end on a good note.

Corona (2):

· It’s official – we both love the loose-ring French link bit. Why didn’t I switch sooner?!

· Our 3rd show is this coming Sunday.

· In addition to the normal training level classes, I’ve also entered us in our 1st first level class!

· The first level test requires lengthening at the trot and canter, as well as 10m half circles, and 15m canter circles.

· I think the trickiest part of the test is that there is less time between movements – I’m really going to have to work to keep Corona’s attention and focus.

· CG has offered to call the test for me on show day, so that makes me less nervous about forgetting the sequences.

Corona (3):

· I just love him .

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2 Responses to “The past 2 weeks!”

  1. magreenlee July 10, 2013 at 2:12 am #

    I like the suggestion someone made on Haynet about leading Corona along the scary bit of road, but I’ll had my own tuppence worth :
    Both my horses are safe, sensible, seasoned hackers and have seen pretty much anything that life can throw at them (someone on roller blades with a huge backpack whizzing down a quiet country lane in the foothills of the French Alps? You don’t get more unexpected than that!) but if I’m hacking either of them along a busy road I’m still on the alert. Every horse (bar boring robots which I’m guessing you wouldn’t enjoy riding) will react to the unexpected, so you can’t switch off, you’ve gotta be reading the road all the time. I’m saying be alert, but not nervous!
    You also need to expose them to as much unexpectedness as you can, which you’ve started to do by riding along the first stretch of the scary road. Stick at it and build it up. Maybe set yourself a goal of taking him out there every single day, sometimes in hand, sometimes under saddle.
    And yeah, sometime someone is gonna start up a weed whacker or whatever just as you’re passing, but ya know what? It’s really an opportunity for habituation, not an annoyance!

    • pacesandtails July 10, 2013 at 11:03 am #

      Thanks so much for saying this, especially the last bit about the opportunity for habituation and not annoyance 🙂

      I definitely know that my nerves come from me worrying about things that *might* happen, which is of no benefit to Corona as it doesn’t keep me / him relaxed. The part I forgot to mention is that the owner isn’t very open ( for lack of a better word) to anything that’s not as it “should” be in her opinion. For instance – she firmly disagrees with dismounting and leading the horse by something scary, her solution would be to use your whip on him until he passes it. She will not accept that if a horse spooks, sometimes you have to gradually desensitize them (her opinion is that the horse is an idiot and shouldn’t have spooked in the first place). It’s ridiculous (have I mentioned I’m excited to take Corona and get out of there?!).

      Anyways, your comment sums up exactly how I’m going to proceed and the attitude I’m going to have about it!

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