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View Full Version : Had my first refusal yesterday after several years....



kiwifruit
Mar. 30, 2011, 01:38 PM
Yeah. Went schooling yesterday for the first time for the year (for me....not horse) and had some unnerving moments over cross country fences. Usually my horse is very bold and forward but yesterday he was a bit different. He spied some sheep running around in the next pasture as I was making my approach and he took his eye off the fence, realized it was there and then scrambled over it. Schooled it again, a bit better but very spooky heading towards fence. Then we went to school a bank combination to a cheveron fence at the end and he spooked at the cheveron and stopped on me. I represented and he jumped it. Did the whole combination again and was fine. My instructor (who was there) was not really too upset that it happened but just that one stop after having several years of not having a stop on several of my horses has me unnerved. Now I'm being obsessive about it and overanalyzing every moment of the stop and how it happened. The rational person is saying "take it as a learning opportunity" but the irrational person is screaming "oh no...one stop equals more stops" Please tell me that I'm crazy and that many of you have the same thoughts. Misery loves company! I'm even questioning why I'm in the sport if I can't allow for mistakes once in awhile. And yes, as a percaution, I'm having a vet out to check him out just to be sure it is anything physical.

mjrtango93
Mar. 30, 2011, 02:03 PM
Deep breath, this is most likely not a sign of things to come, or even an issue at all unless you turn it into one. From the sound of things your horse didn't even truly stop at the fence (I know that makes no sense typed out as he obviously stopped at a fence, but I digress....) Sounds like you had a spooky situation early on with the sheep that your horse just didn't quite recover from. I have a feeling that it wasn't even about the fence at that point as much as he wanted to get a good look at things before he jumped something that the horse eating sheep would be waiting for him at. So I'm with your trainer, no biggie, try to erase it from your memory. Get the vet out if your really truly worried about it, but I chalk it up to you need to go hacking with sheep more often.

RAyers
Mar. 30, 2011, 02:18 PM
I say just avoid any horse trial where there may be sheep present on course.

Reed

poopoo
Mar. 30, 2011, 02:29 PM
You are just the perfectionist who is lucky you have had no stops. He was just being a horse and spooked. He just kept looking for the Boogie Man. I am the same way as you are, so I know how you feel. Think of it as a learning opportunity, and you will be an even more sensitive rider. Really, stop obsessing. It's not about not making a mistake, it's about using the information you learn from the mistake to make you a more educated rider. Would you rather have had that mistake on course or in schooling where you can make a game plan of what to do if you sense it on course?
P.S. You don't want to have a horse that never stops. I did not understand that until I had one - stopping is a better reaction to distraction than jumping and then crashing.

purplnurpl
Mar. 30, 2011, 02:40 PM
I'm there with you.

My horses also never stop.

I started riding my mother's horse this year and he was brilliant at the beginning--then he started throwing in one dirty stop each time we would school. (so he's stopped three times with me)

At the rec HT he stopped after several hard efforts--the fence he chose was the smallest 18" log on the course. :confused:


He was in need of a soundness exam and some joint juice.

How's your horse feeling these days?

poopoo
Mar. 30, 2011, 02:51 PM
My best events were actually after my worst schools, probably because I was that much more hyper-aware and vigilant about things.

riderboy
Mar. 30, 2011, 02:57 PM
I say just avoid any horse trial where there may be sheep present on course.

Reed

Ha Ha! And your instructor :lol: Seriously, I remember reading something I believe it was the Perkins sisters from Vermont used to say to each other before heading out on XC. "What kind of horse are you riding?" Answer: "A dirty low down S.O.B!" Or words to that effect. Point being never take even the sweetest horse for granted to a jump, even though we all do. I also find schoolings FAR more difficult than running XC at a show, the stop/start, lack of flow all make it harder for me.

kiwifruit
Mar. 30, 2011, 02:57 PM
Thanks guys. I appreciate the support. As I get older, I feel that I have more pressure not to make mistakes in my riding. Which is crazy, of course but I just don't understand my thought process. In theory, I totally agree with my trainer and use it as a learning experience or as she would say, that is what schooling is about! And yes, I will avoid all sheep/cow events in the future. And for the record, I love GMHA's events but I will never go there again because of the cows across the street from dressage and the sheep on the hill next to cross country. Just saying.....

xitmom
Mar. 30, 2011, 03:24 PM
It's worth getting your guy checked out if you notice any other symptoms that are off. Mine stopped at a pretty benign fence for the first time in a HT last year. He just did not seem to be his usual 'pumped up to go' kinda guy that day. I had him checked out when I got back and he had Lymes. It could just be that yours was still dwelling on the sheep though.

See my recent post in the On the Farm board. Gotta start working on getting over the cows for GMHA this year.


Thanks all for your great tips and suggestions. I will take it slow and use a buddy who does not care about cows. Gh's suggestion of putting cow poop in his pasture/stall is a great idea as it is the smell that initially sets him off. I might start desensitizing him there and then work to the live ones.

Oldenmare- Good question of why should I bother as he is not a cow horse. First, he will now have to pass the cows when hacking out on the road and out to the trails. Second, there is a venue where we compete and the dressage rings are right across from a cow farm. So much for that relaxed dressage test!

This will be an interesting journey.

scubed
Mar. 30, 2011, 03:33 PM
I had a lovely young OTTB that I evented at Novice and training. All of our "refusals" were due to non-jump related issues (though I had no problems with them being called refusals). The first was when jump #4 was on a significant turn just past trailer parking. He was so busy looking for his buddies at the trailer that he actually ran into the fence (jumped it second try). Another was when a jump judge stood up and waved at a friend when we were between the A and B elements of a bank to a vertical he spooked sideways and missed the vertical. No worries. Silly ADD ponies. My super reliable, nothing bothered him, went years without refusals guy had some definite stops early on and would also never go near pigs (sheep and cows, big dogs, farm implements all good - pigs bad). I just can't see one stop as a big thing

wsmoak
Mar. 30, 2011, 03:42 PM
Yeah. Went schooling yesterday for the first time for the year (for me....not horse) and had some unnerving moments over cross country fences. Usually my horse is very bold and forward but yesterday he was a bit different. He spied some sheep running around in the next pasture as I was making my approach and he took his eye off the fence, realized it was there and then scrambled over it. Schooled it again, a bit better but very spooky heading towards fence.

This is pretty much like the time Patrick stopped at a *cross rail* because the barn owner was wheeling a bale of hay out to the pasture horses. The little pea (okay, walnut,) sized brain can only fit so much information, and FOOD (or in your case, SHEEP,) just overrode the "canter and jump" thing that was originally going on.

And then the next time through he's understandably concerned about both the sheep *and* the fence that just appeared out of nowhere and whacked him.

GotSpots
Mar. 30, 2011, 03:47 PM
Seriously? You're going to stop going to an otherwise lovely event because you might get a look at a cow across the street?

Here's the thing. Horses will stop. They will run out. They will put their head up like a giraffe on crack in the middle of your dressage test and Refuse To Move Forward. They will usually do this at exactly the moment your mother/spouse/best friend/person you're dying to impress is watching. They're uncannily like small children in the ability to find the least opportune moment - and if you let it get to you, you won't enjoy riding or competing. None of us is perfect; all of us make multiple mistakes in the ring, in schooling, and out on course. If you beat yourself up about it, you're going to spend a lot of time in your own head.

One stop in schooling is so not a big deal I can't even begin to underscore it. You're fine, the horse is fine, no one got hurt, you came round and did it again just fine. Phew. Give yourself permission not to be perfect - riding's much more fun that way.

fooler
Mar. 30, 2011, 03:51 PM
Seriously? You're going to stop going to an otherwise lovely event because you might get a look at a cow across the street?

Here's the thing. Horses will stop. They will run out. They will put their head up like a giraffe on crack in the middle of your dressage test and Refuse To Move Forward. They will usually do this at exactly the moment your mother/spouse/best friend/person you're dying to impress is watching. They're uncannily like small children in the ability to find the least opportune moment - and if you let it get to you, you won't enjoy riding or competing. None of us is perfect; all of us make multiple mistakes in the ring, in schooling, and out on course. If you beat yourself up about it, you're going to spend a lot of time in your own head.

One stop in schooling is so not a big deal I can't even begin to underscore it. You're fine, the horse is fine, no one got hurt, you came round and did it again just fine. Phew. Give yourself permission not to be perfect - riding's much more fun that way.

You are brilliant!!!!!!

Fractious Fox
Mar. 30, 2011, 04:15 PM
Hey, you kind of sound like me - the over analyzing part. I like what everyone has posted so far, but I'll add my quip..

Get over yourself! Seriously, that's what I have to do every single day. I remind myself that there is never a "last fall" or a "last stop" or a "last mistake". They are out there and will meet me in the future. In terms of mistakes, well they meet me every day :) There is no perfection in horses or in riding. Be worried about safety, but be sure to separate your concerns about safety from your concerns about perfection.

Keep your chin up!

Festivity
Mar. 30, 2011, 04:25 PM
I wouldn't worry about it. In fact I would just be glad that you haven't had to deal with stops more often. My guys are sure that they are smarter than me and that means that sometimes they need to stop and get a good look at something before they go over them. Fortunately the breaks start going on and the wobbles start a good fifty feet out, so I get plenty of warning. Right now the problem is horse eating fake flowers. Of course the ones at home are fine, it is just the ones at shows that eat horses. :)

VCT
Mar. 30, 2011, 04:45 PM
I think you just need to forget it ever happened really. Obviously, keep riding to the best of your ability but you can't keep focusing on the one bad thing that happened once, etc.

My horse has never stopped with me, but I only jump little things so far so even if I screw up he can hop over it no problem. I have seen him run out on bigger jumps with another rider, but only twice and they were prelim/int. height and very wide and he got to them *very badly* (I was GLAD he did not go), if he ever runs out on me it won't bother me, I'll know he was actually saving my butt! ;) Now, in other aspects, my horse can be a nutter but I can't constantly think about how tense and silly he can get... or it would always be our worst ride ever.... I think about how good he can be and he is improving all the time.

Grasshopper
Mar. 30, 2011, 05:02 PM
I would also add: human nature (especially if you're a perfectionist) is to mentally revisit the stop, over and over and over again.

Each time you find yourself doing that, REPLACE the 'mental video' of the stop with a mental video of you two doing the whole thing smoothly and confidently (even if that's not how you'd describe what happened when you represented and he did go over, imagine it that way).

I think I read this in a Jane Savoie book and it really does help. If you tell yourself "don't think about it"--you will think about it! Instead, give yourself something positive and useful to think about to replace the episode you are naturally dwelling on!

Edited to add: another option is to envision yourself encountering the same problem but then dealing with it effectively (if you don't think you did so). For this version, it helps to talk with your instructor first about what went wrong and what you could have done differently. For instance, I sometimes worry about falling off, especially if I haven't in a while. So I picture myself falling, rolling in a neat little ball, springing up unhurt and laughing, and it really does help remove the fear. Or I picture myself with heels deep, position solid, shoulders back and kicking the horse forward to resolve whatever silliness has me worried about falling.

Kairoshorses
Mar. 30, 2011, 06:36 PM
Seriously? You're going to stop going to an otherwise lovely event because you might get a look at a cow across the street?

Here's the thing. Horses will stop. They will run out. They will put their head up like a giraffe on crack in the middle of your dressage test and Refuse To Move Forward. They will usually do this at exactly the moment your mother/spouse/best friend/person you're dying to impress is watching. They're uncannily like small children in the ability to find the least opportune moment - and if you let it get to you, you won't enjoy riding or competing. None of us is perfect; all of us make multiple mistakes in the ring, in schooling, and out on course. If you beat yourself up about it, you're going to spend a lot of time in your own head.

One stop in schooling is so not a big deal I can't even begin to underscore it. You're fine, the horse is fine, no one got hurt, you came round and did it again just fine. Phew. Give yourself permission not to be perfect - riding's much more fun that way.

Will you tattoo that on my brain, please?

sheltona01
Mar. 30, 2011, 06:51 PM
Most horse who have not seen sheep before really do not like them. One of my old saint of a horse thought the world was ending the first time he saw sheep. I would not worry about it.

whbar158
Mar. 30, 2011, 11:15 PM
Agreed it happens sometimes. My horse has only stopped a handful of times with me in the 10 years I have owned him, and out of that maybe 2 were "dirty" ie no distractions, not a bad distance etc. The time period we had the most was when he was just being a pain and didn't see the jump until it was too late and instead of stopping he just sorta went through it, after that for awhile with bigger jumps he would stop if it wasn't a perfect distance.

That same horse leased to a girl was being shown in a storm and was startled by some lightening (hates storms) and all the sudden a jump was in front of him, he stopped, she didn't. She made it into a big deal and spent a lot of time having stops because she created them. I could ride him and he didn't think at all about stopping. So my advice as hard as it is to do, you just have to say it was a fluke and move on and not dwell on it.

Good luck, sounds like a great horse to have been so steady and honest for so long!

Kairoshorses
Mar. 30, 2011, 11:58 PM
<snip!>
She made it into a big deal and spent a lot of time having stops because she created them. I could ride him and he didn't think at all about stopping. So my advice as hard as it is to do, you just have to say it was a fluke and move on and not dwell on it.


Ok, how DO you "move on"? How did the girl you mentioned "create" the stops?

Just trying to figure things out in my own world. Thanks!

deltawave
Mar. 31, 2011, 08:25 AM
One stop in schooling is so not a big deal I can't even begin to underscore it. You're fine, the horse is fine, no one got hurt, you came round and did it again just fine. Phew. Give yourself permission not to be perfect - riding's much more fun that way.

Yay. I'm so imperfect that this thread makes my eyeballs hurt. :lol:

Ajierene
Mar. 31, 2011, 09:48 AM
Ok, how DO you "move on"? How did the girl you mentioned "create" the stops?

Just trying to figure things out in my own world. Thanks!

Anticipating the stop can create the stop. I have done this before and basically the mental image that the horse is going to stop means I take my leg off and get really defensive in my ride and the horse is trying to figure out what I am so wigged out about and maybe horse needs to be wigged out also!

So, incorrect steering, taking leg off, rushing horse to compensate, hauling on the horse's mouth, etc.


Yay. I'm so imperfect that this thread makes my eyeballs hurt. :lol:

HA! YEAH!

This is how it went with my mare:

*heading towards a bench jump with some Garland on it, about 5 strides out*

ME: Hey, look, they put garland on the jump, how cute!
My Mare: What's garland? where's garland? ...... AAAAHHH! A jump, you didn't tell me a jump was coming up! *insert refusal here*

This is how it is with the mare I ride right now:

*heading towards a bench jump with some Garland on it, about 5 strides out*

ME: Hey, look, they put garland on the jump, how cute!
Mare: Get ready lady because I don't know what garland is, but there is a jump about four strides out and I plan to go over it.

One of the good things about my mare is that I learned to make sure I am focused over a jump. Even though the mare I am riding now is great, she can still get distracted. At a recent cross country schooling, we were coming around to a jump and she suddenly looked away at a horse across the field. I was aware enough to redirect her focus to the jump.

It is one of the dangers of riding such a good horse - you get so used to the horse doing everything right that you may not be as quick to be aware when something finally does distract him. I would not count one refusal as a bad thing, just a learning experience.

cyberbay
Mar. 31, 2011, 11:08 AM
Well, GotSpots is sorta on the mark...

What it comes down to is Priorities. What is most important to you when it comes to riding? If being perfect is, then will your horse benefit from that? If giving him the best ride you can on that day is the priority, then will your horse benefit from that? Just decide what your priorities are and live with the consequences, good and bad.

As GotSpots noted, horse and small children do the naughtiest things at the worstest moments. It's b/c our priorities are messed up at that moment, and the kids and ponies remind us of that.

I laughed but good at GS's post, as I can relate:yes:, but it's not a mystery why there's acting up. It's b/c we're focussed on a skewed priority list that leads to low success. And the kids and ponies don't like being victimized by the sudden change in plans.

Also, OTOH, every horse I know who started to stop who were never stoppers before had started to develop a soundness issue. Worth checking out, as the stopping -- if he's hurt -- is his way of protecting you.