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Throwing in the towel, or just a bad week?

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  • Throwing in the towel, or just a bad week?

    Some of you have seen my posts about changing trainers recently and staying in the same barn, where the BO/BM is my old trainer. I have had some great rides since the change, but everytime the BO comes down from the house I have amazingly crappy rides. She is questioning alot of what I am doing, but when I talked to her about making the change, she said she was fine with it. Suddenly the care doesn't seem to be what it was, but honestly my horse doesn't seem to be singled out. I went on a branding last weekend with friends (in my dressage saddle, 1st time my girl ever saw a cow) and we had so much fun. Then Tuesday I had the worst ride EVER. Not only could we not even find round, she was so inverted and pissy I could see her nose from the saddle most of the time. For everyone over 40 I sould also mention my Dr is trying me on a new hormone. I don't really like to trail ride, brandings are not really an option, don't have the courage to jump anymore...really need some support here. Nothing seems to be going smoothly. I put a ton of money and time and heart into this, I'm having a "is it worth it" moment.
    Don't toy with the dragon, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup!

  • #2
    Deep breaths... I think most of us have those days. This sport tends to attract the overly analytical and self-critical

    Mare may have used different muscles during the branding and made herself a bit sore, especially if it was quite exciting and her first time at it, so I'd give her a pass on that, and see how things go later in the week.

    You are probably tensing up when you see old trainer, which would account for your riding deteriorating when she comes by. Which is perfectly normal. She will find someone else to work with sooner or later and you will be off the hook.

    I got into a ridiculous pulling contest with my horse on Monday night. I know better, he knows better, we just couldn't seem to snap out of it. I got off feeling pretty glum. But last night I had a lesson, fessed up to my trainer how awful the previous evening had been, she gave us both quite a working over, and things ended up pretty peachy. So life goes on. We expect too much of ourselves sometimes.


    • #3
      Oh yea, age related horse woes.

      I bucked up and rode yesterday in the driving snow with my trainer who is very good but young and brave. I was so uncomfortable in the high winds even though my horse was really good. I patted myself on the back for the effort even though we really didn't accomplish anything except unskilled exercise.

      The low point of my week was tonight when I went out to check on everyone and picked their hooves. My big guy just lays on you when you pick up a foot and in the 18 degree weather and the huge effort to hold his hoof I peed in my pants. Does anyone make full seat Depends?


      • #4
        Picture this,you are horse-less and haven't ridden in 3 months.

        If this image make you want to throw-up,then it's worth it!
        Equine Art capturing the essence of the grace,strength, and beauty of the Sport Horse."


        • #5
          ah, the life of a dressage rider. Sometimes i go thru the same stuff, and i will tell you in the 26 years of riding, the most stressful have been since taking up dressage... why? because now you have all the tools to do things correctly. you cannot ignore a bad day anymore, you pine over it, analyze it, hire this's and that's to help solve minor barely existant issues...

          It's the life of knowing better and living up to it. Wow, i said it.

          Keep your chin up, we all go thru it, we all have bad days... my horse can look like a rabid giraffe too.... that doesnt mean we suck, we failed, we should give up.. it means we had a bad day and we shouldnt be so hard on eachother... so fuggit lets have a fat and lazy day, who cares.

          Our horses absorb our emotions and our issues. If you find an aspect of your current environment stressful and effecting your time with your horse, then work to change it. If you cannot change it, change your scenery. This is supposed to be fun, you dont have to have a goal
          chaque pas est fait ensemble


          • #6
            When I'm sitting on the ground, looking up at my horse, contemplating finding a large rock, so I can climb on, I feel that way too.
            Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

            Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


            • #7
              Can I whine too? Seriously, I need to whine (not being facetious here). It's cold, my arena partially flooded then froze, the non frozen parts are desert like with dust storms applenty, I have ice surrounding my barn and my main horse drives me to drink - or wishing I could. Oh yeah and I'm over 40 too and am just pissy about it. It's time for some serious chocolate and a good movie.

              About your horse: last summer I took my mare trail riding a bit and she tended to be worse in her work afterwards. As someone said, could be sore muscles. Could be pissed at having to work again - though my mare seemed to hate trails.

              Hope you feel better!


              • #8
                hy? because now you have all the tools to do things correctly. you cannot ignore a bad day anymore, you pine over it, analyze it, hire this's and that's to help solve minor barely existant issues...
                Wow. That was quite brilliant. Honestly.

                New hormones may be affecting you more than you credit. I had a miraculous revelation in muscle tone following a change in diabetes med. Wouldn't have believed it, but even my teacher and his assistant noted change. That can go the other way too. Estrogen, progesterone and testosterone affect muscle strength tremendously. Be kind to yourself.

                I too have never been more despondent over lack of progress than since really, truly finding Great Dressage. It can't *all* be great.

                BUT-- I am constantly reminded to smell the horses. To treasure the moments of just *being* with them. And THAT is what it is about. Really. When it's all said and done.
                InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

                Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


                • #9
                  Don't give up !

                  Take back a bit, longe your horse for a few days, get a massage and ears plugs !

                  Next time your ride, it will be better.

                  Fighting ovarian cancer ! 2013 huge turnaround as I am winning the battle !..


                  • #10
                    Ha, I know what you mean. I had a string of bad rides about a month ago. I got so discouraged that during one ride, I got off my mare after about 10 minutes and said to my trainer, "That's it, she is for sale. I can't ride her." Trainer talked me through it and last night I had the best ride ever.


                    • #11
                      It is February! The month just seems to suck for some reason....ah yes it is still winter, it is cold and grey and it is still dark most times I ride.

                      You are not alone. I find myself trying to shake off the dressage blues. The arena seems smaller, the circles seem oval and getting a decent stride seems to take forever.

                      When I get that way I have to remind myself that change is good, it makes you grow. Just remember with anything new it takes time to find your groove, your horse is no different. In a little more time you will look back on these days and "remember when" will come to mind.

                      Chin Up!


                      • #12
                        I'm right there with you. After months of great rides and progress with my youngster, I suddenly feel like I can't ride, and he's doing everything possible to avoid work that he's never done before. I think he's tired of circles in the indoor, and frankly, so am I. We got into a serious pulling contest the other night and I got off feeling terrible.

                        We're checking a variety of saddle fit and basic health issues (teeth, chiro, and feet), and I'm going to try doing some other stuff with him for a while - jumping, cavaletti, and try getting out to trail ride.

                        Just keep your chin up and remember that February always sucks.
                        Here Be Dragons: My blog about venturing beyond the lower levels as a dressage amateur.


                        • #13
                          Full moon, lunar eclipse, long winter, cold, new hormones, ex-trainer watching.......I think you have more than enough reasons to feel the way you do. Remember...."and this too shall pass....."
                          Where's the glamour? You promised me glamour!


                          • #14
                            big cyber hugs

                            go eat some chocolate!
                            A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.--G. K. Chesterton


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Rusty Stirrup View Post
                              Full moon, lunar eclipse, long winter, cold, new hormones, ex-trainer watching.......I think you have more than enough reasons to feel the way you do. Remember...."and this too shall pass....."
                              My feelings on this too. Deep breaths....it can only get better! Also, in the immortal words of the Ellen Degeneres character (the blue fish...what was her name? haha my hormones need to be re-worked too ) in Finding Nemo.."Just keep swimming"

                              Best advice for late winter soul searching....
                              Last edited by Mozart; Feb. 21, 2008, 03:23 PM.


                              • #16
                                Hang in there!!! Sounds like a case of the temporaries, which I suffer from too!

                                When these hit me, I like to tell my husband how I'm going to finally sell the horses, take up professional aerobics, really organize the house and find new hobbies. I tell him it has nothing to do with perimenopause, bad horse days or anything.

                                After he listens, he asks if I'm done with the nonsense and will I be spending all day at the barn today?!

                                This 'throw in the towel' feeling hit me hard in November, so I challenged myself with only riding bareback. Worked a treat to mix up my usual schedule, and the horses liked the change as well.

                                But definitely consult the chocolate, there's always an answer to be found there!


                                • #17
                                  everyone gave great advice and anecdotes!

                                  It is amazing to me that more I learn, the more I know, the more it becomes obvious to me how badly I ride.
                                  a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


                                  • #18
                                    As long as knowing 'how badly <one> rides' is not going into the opposite extreme, and resulting in even more problems.

                                    I think someone who doesn't have a clear idea of what they're doing RIGHT, and of what has changed and improved, in the last year, half-year, quarter, month, etc, is JUST as messed up as the person who has an unrealistically positive view of their riding. I think one needs to have a balance, and be a little relaxed about the whole thing.

                                    Every single step in learning is going to be several times more difficult than the last, so you always have to give yourself some understanding. Many people are far kinder to their horses than themselves about this.

                                    I also think when learning new things one simply can't be all self conscious about making mistakes or looking less-than-Olympic, whether oneself or others. Among most dressage riders beginners are encouraged...but I think the ones further along are viewed as much more of a threat. For example, here, Stephen Browning will get treated like a streetwalker in an Afghan soccer stadium. HE gets on the horse and it's lost all desire to live and must be set free to frolic in the green pastures before it dies of despair. Nonsense. He's learning. Let him. Being forgiving of oneself learning should lead to being understanding of others too.
                                    Last edited by slc2; Feb. 21, 2008, 03:17 PM.


                                    • #19
                                      I am not quite 40,, but have been on the hormone rollercoaster for MANY years due to cancer,, SO I FEEL YOUR PAIN.. take a deep breath,, and go have a good cry, a piece (or a few) of choc. a glass of wine,, and start over!!

                                      It is funny how we look at our horse and want the one we see in the picture,, perfect and round and on the bit,,, but that is a snap shot of a snap shot of a snap shot,, that is to say,, we forget that we have so much riding and pushing and good and bad to get there..

                                      good luck and keep your chin up!
                                      "Energy efficient vehicle. Runs on grass and oats. CAUTION: Avoid exhaust!"
                                      I think we should eat trolls.
                                      Troll meat. Now that's good eatin'.
                                      by Hiddenlake


                                      • #20
                                        on the other hand...last Sunday (before all the ice and snow) in my lesson, I actually got my horse engaged and "on the bit" without contact, with my seat (at the walk). Not just one stride, but quite a few.

                                        Now, try and explain the high you feel to someone who doesn't ride dressage. Or ride at all.

                                        At least here you'll get support on both sides of the coin!
                                        a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues