Friday, October 23, 2015

Where there are highs there are lows

So my lesson post two days ago was so over joyed that I admit I felt like I was on top of the world. I have to really watch and manage my emotions better when it comes to our progress because such highs make the lows that much lower.

Let me stop right here and preface the rest of this post by saying, my ride last night was not a low worth complaining about at all by any means. It just feels that way after having THAT fabulous of a ride...and in all fairness, I did get on knowing I would probably not get even a shadow of the ride I had in my lesson with C. I know it will take way more time for both Tillie and I to achieve the consistency of what we can in a lesson setting, outside of one at home.

Sweaty Tillie says "I tired"
The tone of the ride didnt start of well for a number of reasons. First, there was a HUGE lesson happening with 4 or 5 students in addition to two other rides (aside from myself) also trying to get in rides. Now, I can share my space...and I also teach beginner lessons at my barn so understand the difficulty of trying to herd the students and remind them of ring etiquette...But trying to ride amid the chaos was really frustrating once I tried to start our trot work.

Look, I totally understand, these students are learning and just don't always have the degree of control and sometimes cut the ring corners, come off the rail..etc. I ALSO understand I am an adult advanced rider that should be capable of navigating and adapting to this environment. I guess though I was on the struggle bus because I felt like every time I began to ask for our trot we would have to suddenly veer or dart out of someone's way.

I at first was frustrated with Tillie...Why mare cant you just soften like the wonderfully flexible cloud I was riding the day before? Why on earth are you falling in left and speeding up tracking left? Well take a stressful day at work + the chaos of that many riders in the ring = a very tense me. 

I pulled a few one-rein stops because she would tense up, especially tracking left, brace and cross her jaw - to which a spectator would think I am crazy for flexing my horse into a one rein stop. Can I add: I HATE getting after my horse in front of other people. I know sometimes you have to and I feel terrible too because I know it wasnt her fault exactly...but I still really get unsettled by it. 

The wonderful thing about horses - they dont hold it against you.

Hey mom, dont be sad! 
So the ring cleared out a bit and all was left was myself, fellow blogger Emma and a lease rider. So all perfectly capable of navigating a ring. Well struggle bus was still full force because I STILL felt in the way. 

I also admit my homework from C is to stay off the rail so Tillie can balance herself without the rail as a guide so I am probably the one at fault here. 

I basically threw up my hands at one point and just took a minute to try to erase the first 20 min and start over. After a few more conversations with Tilie and pushing through tension, I felt like we FINALLY got over the hump and parked the struggle bus for the night. 

A very worn out Tillie just wants to go to bed

I did a lot of changing rein again, REALLY trying not to let her rush to the left or pull her out with my right rein. I played around a bit with my weight like we did with C and VOILA!! Magically we got left bend. 

From there, things got better. Cantering was a huge win...I could throw away my inside rein and she would stay bent, turning off my outside aids. Right lead especially I got the most lovely soft connection and downward transitions. Something really clicked in the canter for me and I felt like I could use leg and ask for more without thinking "OMG this is way too fast!"

I let her stretch at the end and played with her moving off both legs and a stretchy trot...which shockingly Tillie did without pulling or yanking the contact down like she normally wants to. 

All in all, I walked away from the ride feeling a bit let down on myself for not having patience and not adapting to the situation (considering its the perfect show ring warm up scenario) and feeling incredibly happy my horse is resilient...for the most part. 

How do you guys turn off and reroute your frustrations? 


  1. yay for canter wins and ending on a positive note!! turning off frustrations, leaving my baggage at the door, staying patient and fair.... these are among my biggest struggles as a rider. esp bc there seems to be a snowball effect when things start going south.... all we can do is keep trying tho!

    1. Absolutely!! I have been around during your frustrated days and they just suck! Its hard to dig your way out once you go down the hole...My sincerest apologies if we almost crashed or I was just a terror.

  2. Reading your posts can be so eerie for me because I basically feel like we are the exact same rider.