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-   -   Am I EVER going to get this?!? (

serafina 06-20-2011 01:05 PM

Am I EVER going to get this?!?
Argh! I had a great lesson last week and felt like everything had clicked, but my last lesson was like Frankenstein's monster.

Horse wanted to run through his trot every time we faced the barn, and wanted to slow down to a crawl every time we faced away from it. I kept forgetting about this, and so every time I gave him the usual squeeze into a trot he'd leap out if we were facing the barn, or I'd have to give him extra leg if we were facing away from it. So the transitions going up were either super fast, leading him to run through the trot, or super slow and clonky.

At every corner, he start either taking me RIGHT into the rail or cutting the then I had to start guessing which one it was going to be. Trainer was encouraging me to stay a mental step ahead, but it seems like if I guessed "scrape the rail" it would turn out that he'd planned to cut the corner (and vice versa). So I spent the lesson either making these big wide swoopy turns or really short harsh ones - and then the length of the arena was getting spent correcting whatever I'd screwed up in the turn...just in time for another turn.

And with all of this, my hands were noisy and I kept forgetting to keep my heels down. And I kept losing my balance (see sharp turns and lots of corrections, above).

Usually I have a lot of patience with myself on this stuff, but today I want to pull my hair out. The only silver lining is that I almost always picked up the correct diagonal, and that I was managing to stay on it (or switch to it) while all this other stuff was going on. So: Diagonals Going Well. Pity about the reining...

gigem88 06-20-2011 02:29 PM

Don't worry about, we all have our off days.

serafina 06-20-2011 03:25 PM

Thank you for that validation, gig 'em. :)

It seems to have been something in the air. At one point my instructor's attention wandered off to the side and she walked RIGHT in front of me & my trotting steed as we were working a pattern (a pattern she'd just set us on, no less). I felt like a moron by the time we were all done, but at least it wasn't just me.

gigem88 06-20-2011 03:38 PM

You're welcome! I feel as long as I have more good days than bad, I'm on the right track!

Hlover 06-20-2011 07:06 PM

Bad days happen often I find myself beating myself up over bad days but often it just depends on my mood that day. I'm giving kids lessons at this day camp at the moment and everytime I screw up I hate myself because I'm setting a bad example. But bad days do happen and it sounds like you did yourbest throughout the lesson:)
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DaraT 06-20-2011 08:18 PM

Treat bad days as a lesson. Learn from them. Don't beat yourself up over them. Bad days happen to everyone.

Allison Finch 06-20-2011 08:37 PM

Yup, bad days happen. I rode one of my greenies hoping to work him over some low jumps. Our flatwork was just not there, at all. After agonizing for almost an hour of inattention, stiffness, non engagement....I stopped, patted him and went for a hack instead. Sometimes you just stop, have fun, and save the work for a day when you "mesh".

serafina 06-20-2011 08:59 PM

Thanks for the encouragement, y'all. I really needed it today!

This horse is a terrific instructor. Not because he's easy to ride, but because he has a virtually bottomless bag of BS to pull tricks out of for his rider. He's a safe mount - none of his tricks are things like rearing, bolting, bucking, biting, or kicking. They're more along the lines of taking initiative and trying to trot without having been asked to trot, or battling for control over the reins, or cutting corners, etc.

I feel like he works creatively to match his tricks to the demands of the rider. That is, when I wasn't really demanding anything of him other than to walk forward and stop on request, he was totally compliant and stopped on a dime...but he was kind of a butt on the ground - pushy, leaning on me when I picked his hoof, butting me with his head. Now he behaves in a princely manner on the ground, and saves his little tricks for under-saddle.

Usually, he just picks one trick, seemingly at random, per ride. It's great because it's giving me lots of practice at dealing with Horse Nonsense. They key, as my trainer has told me 1,000 times, is to figure out what he's challenging me with, and then stay one step ahead of him at all times (and she provides great suggestions for ways to do that).

This was the first time he's brought multiple tricks out of the one point, he had three of them going simultaneously. Given how we know that he ramps up his challenges to meet the skill of the rider (or at least, the level of demand the rider is placing on him) I am telling myself this must actually be a compliment. :-)

And it really, really helps to hear that people who are much more accomplished at this than I am still have bad days, so thanks very much for sharing!

tinyliny 06-20-2011 09:06 PM

Yes, and remember that your horse can have a "good" day or a "bad" day, too. In which case, you get the joy of living it with him!

MaryMary 06-24-2011 12:31 PM

It actually sounds like a great horse to learn on! You will be grateful to him some day, honest.

I just wanted to share that I recently had a bad day becuase the horse was having a bad day. He didn't want to focus and when I got after him and made him do several small circles, he went sideways and I didn't. Actually, it didn't hurt to fall off! But my trainer had a talk with me the next day about not expecting the horse to be the same every day, and he could have bad days, too, and maybe that wasn't the time to "force" an issue. So I'm sharing that with you (although I think your bad day was more related to your horses "confidence in you" lol)! Hope your next ride is better!

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