Training and Heartbreak
As much as horse training is amazing, it sure has its heartbreaking moments. I had to endure a pretty heartbreaking episode yesterday.
I started my boss's little Lippizaner/Halflinger mare several years ago. She was amazing. Light enough to read my thoughts, yet safe and reliable and without worry. She was soft in her mouth and in her gaits. When I was starting her, I had to be extremely thorough, take my time, and do what was appropriate to her because she could have gone either a great quiet, realxed and happy horse, or a scared nervous and defensive horse. People ask me all the time if I get close to the horses I spend time with, and of course I do but this particular mare was extremely special. I always said if she were 16 hands + I'd steal her for myself.
Anyway, once the time came for my boss to ride her, she did every now and then and never had a problem. Maya was always a sweetheart. Until recently.
My boss has been taking her Holsteiner gelding over to a different trainer, a dressage specific trainer. She is very German in her methods. Her gelding is one who needs constant motivation, constant giving of the aids. She seems happy with what they're doing with him, as it might work for that type horse.
She has been taking Maya over there for the last few weeks, and I volunteered to ride her in a jump lesson yesterday because my boss would not be there. Previously, I had done quite a bit of jumping with her and she was always amazing. Jumped like a big horse, just bent in half underneath me. :) I thought she'd make an incredible event pony.
I was immediately overwhelmed with sadness as I walked Maya around our jump field. Maya was not Maya anymore. If I let the reins be soft, away she'd bolt. I could not ride her with my body. Everything was done in the reins. She had become so dependent on the reins that she had forgotten everything I had taught her. She could not carry herself. She could hardly steer. Her balance was so far forward it was ridiculous. She'd charge the jumps because she was so tense on not knowing where to be in her body. Her canter was a disaster. As the lesson went on, she got quite a bit better, but that was heart wrenching to say the least.
I try to be an neutral to different ways of riding as I can. A kind of chew the meat and spit out the bones type attitude. lol I realize this is the reality of the horse training world, but nonetheless it is hard when you had such a success getting a horse to where it needed to be, and have the horse remain happy and relaxed.
The methods used I believe are okay for the gelding, even though he has become even more withdrawn and introverted. I do not believe they are doing what is right by Maya, and it saddens me. How quickly one can destroy a horse is amazing.
Any of you had to go through this?
In riding, a horse's energy is like a river- guided by the banks but not stopped by them.