So I'm going to vent/confess(you've been warned!!!) as my work day is drawing into a close and I must face my horse in two hours.
ugly week+ ugly weekend + long hours = bad ride
My roommate w/ her new olympus SLR wanted to shoot some controlled movement (i.e. not geese and their gooslings wandering around aimlessly) so she said she would come down to shoot us for kicks.
Had a nice hack and came back to do our basic we need to stretch into the bit arena work... cause thats all we are capable of working on.
I have borrowed a KK ultra and this is our second ride.... first was amazingly relaxed considering he hadn't been riden in almost 2 weeks. So I was excited to get to see results about how it work and his reponse.
Walking ... great... he stretched nicely and relaxed right down.
Trotting. Epic Fail.
he is even WORSE to the right, almost a completely left bend when trying to track right... forhead completely parallel to the ground in anticipation and frustration.
needless to say I walked away with 100+ beautifully clear pictures of me having a big ass fight of the anti-dressage. I finally quiet trying to get him off that leg and just tried to get him to relax while trotting, any direction with the head any way but giraffe...
I felt like an asshole- I know he doesn't mean it.. and I know he tries even when he is being a jerk he can try and it mostly has to do with me not knowing how to get him off that inside leg.
I was so ashamed of myself.
It took me another 15 minutes to calm down and brush him out... hopped bareback and walked down the lane w/ my barn buddy which was about the only good ending that could have come of it.
I know this is a long road to haul and its never easy... but damn.. I really didn't expect to lose it this badly and blow it... I feel like I betrayed his trust. Doesn't help there are a crap ton of photos in high quality to show this to me.
so dressage... epic fail. and jingles for better riding today and more stretching to the down and right.
But the bit is nice... and my horse is kick ass when his rider doesn't have her head up her ass!
haha, photos do sometimes bring out the worst, and then you have a moment of "omg!!! thats HORRIBLE". but hey, I bet it'll make you a better rider in the long run. and you had a bad week to begin with. I'm sure he felt your frustation and reacted to it. go out and give him a carrot and a pat and he'll forgive you!
In my opinion, a horse is the animal to have. 1300 pounds of raw muscle, power, grace, and sweat between your legs - it's something you just can't get from a pet hamster.
Some of my best riding as come on the heels of a really bad ride. And I have heard others say the same thing. Maybe it causes us to try harder, or maybe it was so bad that anything is an improvement? Who knows!
I hope this is your experience. And take the time to really study those pictures, no matter how much they make your toes curl with embarrassment. They just might provide a valuable insight.
Good luck with your next ride!
Guaranteed to happen when someone you want to impress is watching, or when there's a camera nearby!!! And likely (at least with me) because even tiny cases of nerves in the rider makes the shoulders and arms a little tense, and the horse can feel that a mile away.
To be ashamed of a not-great-riding-day just shows that you have good horse sense and really want the best for your horse.
Here's how I work it:
The moment I get frustrated, my ride is over. If I can't control my frustration, I just get off, and try again tomorrow. It took a lot for me to realize that I didn't absolutely need to force a good ending on a ride, but just relax, let my horse graze, and tackle it the next day. Even if I was just on for 5 minutes, it was beautiful out, and I had people watching me--if I got frustrated, I'd stop. It just isn't worth it to get upset, because as soon as you do, you just should not be on a horse. ("you" meaning a general you)
Better luck with the next ride! Usually my ride after the bad flop is great!
At least it was at home. Mine was at a show; the one test I paid to have video taped and THE only time EVER he decided to ignore my right leg and exit stage right at A. I have owned him since he was 2 and he has never ever shown any interest in exiting an arena until then.
So use the pics as a training aid. Forgive yourself; your horse forgives you. And try again next time.
We had a seat clinic two years ago, and my ride was taped. It was embarrassingly bad, and I never looked at the DVD. The next week, my horse went lame. Last fall, out of nostalgia for my horse, I finally watched it. I realized that my horse was not making one single move that wasn't his idea. It sort of summed up my year and a half of riding him. He was never working. Watching it really changed my opinion of myself as a rider and gave me huge insight into my fear of forward.
Your account of your bad ride is hilarious now, but I bet something really great comes out of it.
Aw you guys are so sweet. Thanks for the support I needed it and the vent. I went back out there, very humbling after some time to reflect....
and had a fantastic ride. we still sucked ass... and I seriously want to punch him in the throat for the fact that turning right on the west side of the arena somehow is way more complicated than turning right on the north, east or sout side. don't ask I don't know.
but FINALLY got a stretch in the trot for a few steps and some real connection from inside to outide, which is pretty much a completely foreign concept for us.
AND more importantly... I didn't lose the battle... cause I remained calm. I have a temper and I know as sooooon as I lose my temper, I lose what I am doing with him.
So we worked that for about 30 minutes and went out and had a lovely hack.
and he flew and on the way back he had a lightbulb... even if it was arab flung out gynomours strides... but he realized he COULD actually trot stretching down! like not just step or two... more like 15 minutes on the way home, good solid stretching.
I was so glad that he finally realized it was safe to do that- sigh... what a relief! I was so very pleased... that horse has a heart of gold.
thanks for the support I'm lessonless due to medical issues so its just us for this month and next I think! so moral support from the COTH guro's is wonderful =)
we all have those days. I have days when I have goals that I want to achieve but because of outside influences I am not in the right mental state of mind to do it.
I clearly remember one day out riding, ansolutely nothing was going right. I remember fighting and getting more agitated with myself and with the horse for 10 minutes before I gave up. I didn't give up on him, because he could have done it but for the ninny on his back, so I got off. We were cantering in a circle, I made up my mind and I simply brought him to a halt and got off, walked up to the barn, gave him a good groom, cuddle, and asked him to forgive me.
Of course he did, and the next day we nailed it, and achieved some of our best work ever.
When I am teaching I encourage people to take into account their body, and their state of mind, and focusing on how they affect their horse. I also encourage photos, as being a visual learner myself, I think it helps everyone with their riding. What you feel, and what is happening in actuality are two different things and seeing those visually makes a huge difference.
If you want to feel rich, just count all of the things you have that money can't buy.
I know exactly where you are coming from. When you go to the barn, and it's your final time to relax and enjoy, and you've had a day from hell, and then...nothing goes right.
I try and very carefully assess where I am before I even get to the barn, and where he is from the moment he sees me and pricks up his ears and whickers. I might have a plan in mind, maybe that has to go out the window. Is he stiff? Pumped? Sleepy? Am I tight and tense in the shoulders, wheezy? Is it cold (makes him happy, not me), is it warm (makes me happy, not him!).
And I try to do what is the best thing for him, to make him stronger, and more supple, and more balanced, within the range of what I know I can do. And always better to cut it short than to keep drawing it out.
But you know what? We all go through times when we feel we just suck and are worthless at this. And horses are very tolerant.
Bet you'll have a fabulous ride today - because there won't be any record of it!
You are SO not alone. Glad to hear you had a good ride the next time out. I've been blessed with a couple nice rides, so was riding the high. Last night we crashed -- not literally, thank goodness, but my 'big accomplishment' last night was that I got on. Sigh. I walked around and we didn't wig out at the gale force winds and the odd flutters and creaks they caused, and I got off and called it a win. Some days you have to adjust your plans. I had hoped to conquer my newly developed canter-phobia last night, but it was clear that even working on making friends with the really forward trot was going to be a Bad Idea.
So you see, it's all relative! You even rode your horse out down the trail, so you're WAY ahead compared to me. We each have our own crap to deal with and we just deal with it the best way we can. It is very frustrating though when you spent the whole crappy workday looking forward to barn time and realize when you get there that your lovely imagined ride is NOT going to happen. This mare has been teaching me to roll with it though...