Feeling discouraged...

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Feeling discouraged...

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    06-13-2013, 09:35 PM
Feeling discouraged...

So lately, like the past few weeks to a month, I have been feeling incredibly stuck and low about my progress as a rider and with Bunny.
I just don't really know what to do because a lot of the time when I go to get her she avoids me, which didn't happen before. She will gallop around her pasture for thirty minutes until I get her into her stall and can halter her. This was only a problem when she was having a rare off day before.
When I first got her almost a year ago we made rapid, continuous progress. I taught her things and my riding got better. It took work, but that work was going somewhere. Even if it was slow progress I was happy.. we learned to get a long with each other and even started going over a few low jumps, which she absolutely loved.
Today she refused almost every jump I tried to get her to go over, and when she didn't she didn't give it any effort and knocked the poles (Which is easy to do, they are just set on top of buckets).

I haven't changed anything, no pain, her tack fits right and she's very healthy. I guess I just need some encouragement. I don't expect anybody to fix this, I'm just feeling down about it.
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    06-13-2013, 09:51 PM
There comes a time when every horse and rider reaches a stage where they feel stuck. It may be time to look at changing things up. You mentioned that your horse refused all the jumps.. maybe with the help of an instructor you can find a way to help your horse get over them. It could be her own doubt in herself or she could be feeling you hesitate.

It can be a frustrating process but with the right help, you can definitely go back to slowly progressing.
    06-13-2013, 09:55 PM
Maybe she is getting bored?
    06-13-2013, 09:56 PM
I have never had an instructor, and won't be able to afford one for a very long time..
I do everything on my own, in my backyard or on trail grounds. So I was incredibly proud of our progress and now I just don't' know what to do. There are a lot of things she needs to learn, and I know what they are but not how to teach them.. it just sucks a lot, and is frustrating, as you stated.
I really wish I could get a coach of some sort, but that's just not possible right now. :/
    06-13-2013, 09:57 PM
You're stressed out, which means she's stressed out, and the stress just grows between you two!

I hit a rough patch with my gelding where all of the sudden, he wouldn't pick up his left lead. Saw a chiro, had a friend ride him (who could have him pick up the left lead every time), worked on it every day... and that was my problem! I was so worked up and so "in my head" about this problem that he started to dread work. We'd work to the right and as soon as we changed direction to work the left, he'd refuse, stamp, back up, hop... and we'd have a little argument at the same spot every lap. One day I realized that I was stressing him out. He wasn't being "bad," he just hated the anxiety of not getting it right! Some horses take things very personally.

So, instead of whapping him every time he refused, I decided to lean forward, pat him on the neck, smile and thank him for trying. Sure enough he'd move on after that every time! When he picked up the correct lead, we'd leave the arena and go walk around the property. Or, I'd pocked a few carrot chunks and make him do neck stretches around to me to get them after he did something correct (man did he love incorporating food into work!). I took a lesson to receive some outside input on our problem, too. For a few weeks after I adjusted my attitude, Jax would hesitate at the "spot" when we were going to the left, and I would encourage him first, then tell him second if that didn't work. Now we have no lead problems and no anxiety in the arena!

Just consider that (1) this is fun! Relax! And (2) sometimes your horse wants to be appreciated for all that he does.
    06-13-2013, 09:58 PM
Originally Posted by TBforever    
maybe she is getting bored?
I highly doubt that, I hardly ever do anything the same. Our 'jumps' are always different. I ride in different places and change up everything we are doing as long as its not something specific that I'm working with her on.
    06-13-2013, 10:00 PM
Another thing... everyone has a bad day. Every day isn't a bad day, but sometimes they pop up right in the middle of great progress.

Try going back to basics (maybe trotting poles) and praising your horse for doing such a fantastic job! Find a way to reward her, whether it's letting the reins go and allowing her to relax or popping a chunk of carrot out of your pocket.
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    06-13-2013, 10:01 PM
Originally Posted by Foxesdontwearbowties    
I have never had an instructor, and won't be able to afford one for a very long time..
I do everything on my own, in my backyard or on trail grounds. So I was incredibly proud of our progress and now I just don't' know what to do. There are a lot of things she needs to learn, and I know what they are but not how to teach them.. it just sucks a lot, and is frustrating, as you stated.
I really wish I could get a coach of some sort, but that's just not possible right now. :/
The great thing about instructors is that you don't have to regularly have one. Just if you really are struggling, they can help you to figure out what is causing the issues. You can see one every 2 months if you want.

What you could also do is videotape your riding and post it to the forum for some post-riding tips.

But honestly a riding instructor will help you to teach your horse the next step. How can you do it if you aren't sure what to do?
    06-13-2013, 10:04 PM
Consider her possible emotional state, I mean, maybe she is cycling now (in heat). Or have you changed anything else, such as who she is pastured with or feed, or ? If she is now healthier than before, her natural personality might be resurging, due to having the energy to resist, which maybe wasnt' there before? Good food and excersize can bring a horse back to strength and can sometimes mean they are more of a handful than before.
    06-13-2013, 10:12 PM
Exist: For the most part I don't really get stressed. At the start of our rides I'm always happy, calm and expecting things to go well (I work on putting myself in that state of mind beforehand) But she always decides at some point "Hey, I don't want to do this" and has even thrown a few bucks. She shakes her head a lot lately and I'm not sure how to correct that. I fixed the bucking and she hasn't tried it again, but any input on the head shaking would help. (Its only when she doesn't want to do something, not a pain thing)
Also, even if we are just walking or trotting she throws fits. I work through them and make her do what I'm asking, and make sure to praise every time she does it correctly or stops fighting. I'm very enthusiastic about my praising.. :b

Sky: The not so great thing about them is that they cost money that I don't have. I will try videotaping and posting, but I can't promise it will work. My internet connection is awful.
Also, I know that I can't teach her, and that's part of whats so frustrating!

Tiny: The days that she doesn't resist being caught, she seems happy and willing to go work and will be until she just doesn't want to anymore (From what I can tell.. might be something else but that's the closest guess I have) Through the year that I've had her I have never noticed her go into heat, she's not very "mare-ish" Of course she has been.. she just doesn't get moody. She has been the same health-wise since I've gotten her, just more fit now but not an insane amount or anything. She's been in about the same amount of work since I've had her.

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