Thursday, August 6, 2015

One step forward Two steps back

I unfortunately have no video or picture evidence of this event (Emma you were greatly missed!)...but my lesson Tuesday night with D was just an epic fail.

We were back to being on the forehand, miss sassy pants who couldnt jump any jump sanely and in non-warp speed.

I guess the good streak had to end at some point eh?

Tillie says "I'm cute" even when I am bad

Luckily, I didnt feel like I was mortified or silently serious like past lessons...I was able to sorta joke with D after running through very hairy jump sequence after jump sequence by shouting "well that was interesting...again?"

To which he would agree and simply say yes with more leg next time. Funny how more leg seems to be the magic solution to everything. 

Our warm up was quite lovely too before he got there. She was supple, moving off both legs and walk-trot-walk transitions were on point from what I felt in recent lessons. She was light and we even did some counter flexions to test our bend in addition to slower steps back to bigger steps all while staying connected. GREAT!

She was a bit excited at the canter tracking left (her harder direction) so we reined it in and it was fine. She was perfectly calm tracking right which is right when D arrived. 

So we went right into trotting X's of the same two-stride grid Tillie owned Friday which I captured in my post: weekend recap. Well different day different horse I guess, because right away she wanted to just run through it...**at this point I havent panicked yet and simply thought ok maybe this was like the XC clinic and she'll get it out of her system**

Oh no, Tillie had different ideas.

D likes to then keeps repeating more leg and let your reins go over jumps to let her make the mistake...well easier said than done when you feel you're going to die. I understand I'm sounding melodramatic right now...but let me tell you, when your horse is diving on the forehand and lunging while at warp speed it totally feels like a face plant is about to happen OR at any moment she will suddenly leap through the air to express how unbalanced she feels. The latter being more likely. 

Pretty much exactly like this

So we went back briefly to flat work to get her off my hands and lighter since she was wanting to drag me down so much. VOILA better on the flat. He made me over exaggerate my half halts and release making it painfully obvious I dont release enough. But releasing happened and it was better. 

Soooooo we added the jumps back in....and got:

Neither I was amused or D but Tillie clearly was.

I guess then D thought maybe higher and more complicated would back her off so he then had us do a 4 stride bending line turning to come back to a 6 stride line and end on the 2 stride grid. 

Ok easier to see then describe:

Well we got over most things...but landing from the line to the 2-stride X's grid was pretty impossible with Tillie landing and then running around like an which D finally said just add outside leg and make her do it. She needs to learn you can't always help her when she does this. 

So went through it again, got her through the 2-stride after an opinionated leap through the air and D simply saying ok...well I guess lets run it in reverse. Which, at the first fence of the bending line Tillie took a flyer and I literally had the reins on the buckle and me totally off balance. Thank god mare is honest despite her idiot self and took the second just off my leg. We landed, I said right she said Left-well ok right and I managed to stay on (which is exactly how I fell off her the last time in the SAME. EXACT. SPOT. 

Well the lesson totaled maybe 30-40 minutes and I think D just had enough. Not that I was was awful. I apologized at least 3 times for him having to witness that. To which we actually had a conversation about why we were experiencing the inconsistency. 

His theory: the footing. My theory: way too many to list here which may or may not include questioning my horse's sanity.

Anyway, he said with all the rain we have had its been fairly wet sand in our ring which is easier to grip and heavier in a good way which explains her greatness lately. Tuesday it was very dry, and light which he said skids out from under them causing much  more muscle fatigue promoting getting on the forehand. Imagine us running in dry sand on the beach. PLUS the depth of footing is inconsistent - some areas deeper than others and in those areas when Tillie slides or loses the grip she answers with a flying leap of protest. 

Basically the most ridiculous, illogical thing ever.

I am still stuck two days later though on such the big step backwards...and something as silly as footing. Tillie clearly is a diva...but is footing that hugely an issue? If it is, what on earth am I doing trying to make her an event horse. In D's opinion he said it was CLEAR she didnt like the footing. Meanwhile, I have a few ideas.

  1. I think she is in heat so a bit less focused and wound up
  2. Footing...shes always had issues with slipping, but this sand footing is a new enlightenment 
  3. Tired from the 3 rides in a row jumping (I dont typically jump so much but it just happened it fell in the cards that way with lessons)
  4. Shes a diva (or just an idiot)
  5. It's something I do when riding in front of D
Number 5 I should have listed higher because I think it could easily be the case. I tend to get nervous before lessons with D in general so I am sure I am more tense or something...which is a shame. I love and hate how hard his lessons are...but mostly love how they are so educational for both me and Tillie. Not just for me. But they have also been more on the hairy side like this last Tuesday conditioning my brain to go into *holy shit grab and hold on* mode.

Anyway...I have avoided riding again out of fear my happy bubble I have worked so hard to build will burst. AND because it was my wedding anniversary. More importantly my wedding anniversary...

Eventually Ill need to get back on...until then the pondering continues. 


  1. hrm sorry it wasn't the greatest lesson - tho he might be on to something about the footing! i was bummed to miss out on the ride, and especially if it might have meant getting media that would add more clarity to the situation.

    i'll add another idea to your list tho: she's plain old green. she's going to be inconsistent. and her swings from good to less good are going to be a lot more extreme than a broke horse. try not to beat yourself up or get stuck in the weeds trying to understand it. just get back out there and keep on keepin on!!! (like tonight - i'll be there around 6:30!)

  2. Lessons make me so nervous, so I hear you on the tension. I thought I was going to pass out when I took a lesson the last time. Make sure you are breathing in your lesson! I hope the next one goes better :) I agree with Emma, it's par for the course with a green horse to be inconsistent (I will feel your pain in 85 days and I am riding Mystic!)

  3. Ok, so this post made the ride sound about 5x worse than you described it to me lol. Just remember all the things you tell me about Dahlia and apply them to you and Tillie :) You two are doing great, I would say it was more like 3 steps forward, one step back. You didn't backtrack, she still was listening to your leg even if she was a bit of a goon, few months ago that was not even the case!