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Deschutes 02-20-2013 08:34 PM

Sobering Experience
Lately I have been having a lot of trouble handling my lease. When I first initially rode him, he had all these bells and whistles, I was ecstatic to have him as my lease. He seemed to be the perfect horse to learn on. And, I got a lesson out of it, to boot!

Fast forward to the next time I got the chance to ride him. New rider, new horse. We were riding along and he spooked at the same place he spooked at the day I first rode him (but his owner was riding him then, and schooled him out of it) and went bolting to the other side of the arena. I was able to stick it and calm him down, and go back to working.
Since then, I have been having trouble syncing up with him. I tried the cues I was taught, but I don't think I executed them correctly, and it just made a mess of things. I was constantly off balance, and I felt my seat was becoming poor. Then he started getting in the habit of trotting at specific points, and then eventually breaking into a really fast canter. I stuck them all, except for today. It had become progressively worse, the last time I rode I nearly hopped off after a bolt because it was becoming dangerous, and he, harder to control. It wasn't until today, when all he would do was bolt. And it wasn't the kind I could stick. My nine lives were up. He stopped very abruptly at a fence line, and launched me onto his neck. I realized I wasn't even in the saddle any more! So I somehow managed to fix that mid canter as he stopped abruptly again at the fence line, once more launching me on his neck and I did a quasi-emergency dismount.

I decided that I needed to nip this NOW. No more excuses, no more holding off. I put him back in the cross ties and asked for his owners help. Poor dear... She hurt her back and you could tell she was in serious pain, but she actually helped me.

Turns out it was all my fault. I was teaching him bad habits, and I was just enforcing him to behave badly. Instead of turning circles when he raised his head (a sign that he was ready to bolt), I just tried slowing him down. I let him dictate speeds we were going instead of properly using half halts and using my seat. All the things I was trying NOT to do, I did... And I feel really bad for it. I let him push me around instead of being a leader and taking control. The imbalance I was feeling? I caused myself by leaning forward instead of rolling my shoulders back. Once she told me to, I felt so much more in control and balanced.

I have decided until I can better control his bells and whistles, I will only ride during lessons with his owner. At least the ride ended on a good note, when I was able to actually collect him, control him, and get him working his butt and round out a bit. It felt great being able to do that, and having a beautifully collected canter out of him instead of some messy thing where my butt flops in the air and my hands are fussing with the contact and stuff.

Bleh. I just needed to get this off my chest. I still feel pretty crappy about it, but I can only learn from it. I hope.
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enh817 02-20-2013 09:16 PM

Don't feel bad! Everyone goes through issues like this at some point or another. Only difference is, most people take far longer to figure out/accept that it's their fault and not the horse's. All you can do is be proactive and try to improve your skills as a horsewoman (which will in turn translate to an improvement in your horse), which is what you're doing :)
I agree with your plan of just sticking to lesson for a little while. Once you get more comfortable and confident with the horse, you'll be able to go back to riding outside of lessons.

CowboyBob 02-20-2013 09:22 PM

Good idea to stay with the lessons, you will get better faster with the help, and you horse will too. Keep with it. It was a good thing to learn, I'm glad you weren't hart.

Good luck enjoy your lessons

Deschutes 02-20-2013 09:30 PM

Thank you! I had thought it was just him being fresh from just being put back into work, and that the weather was putting him off. The spook was also my fault because he had grown too fat for his girth (we got an extender which works perfectly now) and I managed to tighten it up on him, when I should have asked if there was another we could use.

Yeah, my confidence is pretty crushed right now. I try to be really careful, but today just made me feel like it was one (stupid) mistake after another. After lunging, I wasn't watching my excess rope and he stepped on it, it slipped behind him and he panicked. Kept backing up, almost into the edge of the road where rocks line it. Instead of risking injury, I let him go and he ran off into the arena to kivits with a mare. Luckily he came to me once I entered and it was all kosher.

I made another stupid mistake that I really shouldn't have done as well, but saying what it was would make me look like a complete idiot for it. Bah!

Gonna be walking on pins and needles for a while. I especially hate that I had to have his owner school him for me while she was in such pain...

Thank you again. I really hope that I can benefit from this.

Skyseternalangel 02-20-2013 09:36 PM

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To me it sounds like if you want to continue riding this horse, you need to take lessons on another horse to get your confidence back so you aren't "stepping on eggshells" because that won't help this horse or YOU either.

enh817 02-20-2013 09:36 PM

Try not to let your lack of confidence get the best of you. Horses can pick up on that and many will try to take advantage of that. Fake it if you have to ;)

You'll be fine, I promise. The desire to learn and improve is there. Just be patient with yourself and try not to get frustrated. Just continue to look for the lesson to be learned when things don't go according to plan. Things will get easier! :D

Deschutes 02-20-2013 09:40 PM

I do ride other horses for equestrian practice. Its more a thing of: I don't want to mess up again and potentially ruin a great horse, so my confidence on that particular one is a little iffy.

But yeah. I want to take a lesson with my equestrian team instructor this weekend and pin point all my trouble spots so I can work on them during practices.

Deschutes 02-20-2013 09:44 PM

I think one of my problems was that I was over careful in the first place. Didn't want to do something that could ruin him, or give bad habits, yet that's what I did in the first place. Doesn't help he has a dominant personality anyway.

I probably just need to suck it up and not take any bull.

Skyseternalangel 02-20-2013 09:46 PM

730 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by Deschutes (Post 1904802)
I do ride other horses for equestrian practice. Its more a thing of: I don't want to mess up again and potentially ruin a great horse, so my confidence on that particular one is a little iffy.

But yeah. I want to take a lesson with my equestrian team instructor this weekend and pin point all my trouble spots so I can work on them during practices.

I think continuing this will help you in the long run :)

LeahKathleen 02-20-2013 09:52 PM

I actually think it takes a very educated and selfless rider to admit when you are the one making the mistakes. It says a lot about you and your desire to better yourself as a rider.

I feel like a lot of people, myself included, reach a certain point in their riding sometimes where they feel like they can handle anything, so they forget their good habits and get a little sloppy. Sometimes we all need a reality check from our horses that they can only do what we ask for if we are asking the right questions.

Kudos for realizing that you aren't ready to handle this horse on your own. You'll certainly be a better rider for it in the long run. :)

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