Didn't get to ride Brave - they assigned him to a beginner, which I suppose was a compliment. Or not. I'd prefer to be positive and assume they figured I could handle Mr. Crazy Legs Teddy and they gave slow and easy Brave to someone else.
So Teddy and I started out with a good couple of days - rode Tues and Thurs...his walk and trot were far more relaxed, extended, we could keep to a rhythm.
I have to say up front he does not have a good western jog - slow and easy but more an english trot - flashy with a touch of manic. He was hopping much less I'm happy to say!! Teddy has a history of abuse but for the last three years he's been a school horse rides English and some Western and some trail and he's a little crazy so he just gets out there and does what he can.
But on Friday he's not riding so well. The Friday class is much larger plus other riders who were riding in the show joined in, so we had a very full arena of teams going at various speeds and directions. The other horses were okay. But not my Teddy.
On Friday, I couldn't consistently guide him to track left. Right is easy peasy, but left is a mess. He's noodling and twisting himself. I try giving him inside leg but it seems to make it worse. So I'm trying everything.
Then I try nothing. But nothing I try works. His left side is not good on Friday. Okay.
I figure he's overworked and maybe a little overwrought - so I think we'll do a minimum warm up the next day...not too much. I set up everything so it's a no brainer - I've washed and conditioned everything, his booties are set aside so they're dry and there's no shortage, his blankets are dried and dusted and shook out.
I figure I'll get there - a little bit of warm up and go. I felt by Friday, maybe we had overworked his head a little. And maybe I was getting nervous and didn't know it.
So I show up at the barn, gather up the tack, go to the stall, get the shiney stuff for his coat and begin grooming and talking and getting him ready. I'm right on time! Barely. But I put on my nice shirt and walk him over. Only he's walking me.....no slow beans this morning and I'm thinking - WOW! He's a morning horse. Maybe we'll have a good one today.
I get there, my instructor looks at my horse and says "you have the wrong horse!". Then she says "And she's not the one you want to ride this morning (SHE!). She can be 'bucky'". So I run us back to the barn and next door is my boy. So one of the kids helps out as we transfer the tack to my guy.
Now I'm a wreck - my plans are shot to hell. I'm sweating buckets, I haven't spent any time with him before hand. No special treatments and my heart hurts for that lack of attention. Because I think he needs that...I think it's helpful to us as a team. He's probably no better than I am yesterday morning as he's a spooky horse and I'm not being the relaxed person I usually am. I'm intense and feeling like an idiot. We run back to the arena. I KNOW I have my horse because he's mr. Reluctant goer.
Well, Friday was a good day compared to Saturday. I watched the videos and there it all was - the whole story was right there.
He was a lost horse. He didn't trust me to guide him to a safe place. He's watching everything. To the left, he won't go into corners and FORGET about the artificial barracades they put up to create a holding area. He kept trying to follow certain other horses closely, he wouldn't walk straight to the left, kept circling, working himself laterally. It was sad. He would accept no direction. It didn't matter what I did, where I looked, how I positiioned anything - leg, seat, reins. He was lost. Poor guy. I was no help. He never relaxed.
I didn't lose patience - his nervousness and discomfort made me lose my nervousness and concentrate on trying to get us straight. But I think it was too late.
So now I know what my mission is which is to get him to focus on me. He's a love this horse, but he does not trust me. He doesn't know me very well. I should have set aside more time before the show and next time I will. Even if it's to sit with him or any horse I'm riding in a show for a couple of hours and relax.
I'm glad to write this, this morning, to think it through. I felt terrible yesterday - very down. I felt I let him down, let us down. Mistakes happen. I snapped back and he could have too. But that's not HIS way and riding is the two of us, not just me and what I do. It's what he does as well.
Teddy and I need work. Destiny has brought us together. Perhaps I can help him work some of his issues through. And he can help me be a better horsewoman. He's sure fun to ride...even yesterday. The one thing, you can't miss is his soul.
So we kind of flubbed it but did our best. That's all you can do.