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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
I had another riding lesson today. I wouldn't say it was great, but it wasn't terrible, either. It had just poured, the horse was grumpy, and I'm really finding it difficult to get him to do things. He's the type that won't do anything unless you ask correctly. So my seat, and my hands, and my lower leg, etc all have to be juuuuuust right, or he won't even walk. I did get him trotting, and got to work on posting a bit, but he tried to run off with me a few times to see if he could. A few good things: she said I have a rock solid lower leg, my heels stayed down, my posting did improve, and I worked through him getting too fast on me without feeling panicked about bolting or falling off. Unfortunately I start my new job tomorrow and the instructor only teaches until 5 pm, so I'll probably have to wait until I get my schedule figured out and see how flexible they are before scheduling any more with her.

I didn't have much time after my lesson, but I had picked up some pool noodles for working with Dylan and really wanted to try them out. When I got there, my friend and her boyfriend were hanging out with his gelding. He wanted to see how his horse did with the noodles. It wasn't great, but I also don't blame the horse for his reaction... definitely not how I introduce Dylan to things, that's all I'll say.

While that put a bad taste in my mouth, I didn't want to let that get in the way of our progress. Dylan was a smidge concerned when I came in the pasture with the noodle, but I think he's getting used to me coming at him with weird things and happily ate dinner. I didn't have enough hands for his halter and rope so we worked at liberty. I would say I got probably 5 good minutes out of him, and beyond that initial "what the heck is that?!" he was fine. He did attempt to taste test it, even though I told him it wasn't spaghetti 馃槀
Sky Horse Cloud Working animal Liver


Horse Sky Plant Cloud Liver


I think my next steps will be to start with something he's used to in the field, like the flag, and then move him into a "yellow" zone for a few minutes and see how that goes. I really think I'm ready to ride him again but I don't know how it would go to ride in the field with the mare.

I did text the owner of the place where I've been taking lessons to see if she's got room for him. If it's not incredibly expensive, I'm seriously considering it. I am afraid to make my friend mad but I can't watch horses be treated like that, and I think it would just be better for us to have a safe place to ride with trainers and instructors around. At the last place, the owner was willing to do lessons on him even though we were both "green" at dressage and I really, really enjoyed it. She said she would be willing as well, although she doesn't typically work with gaited horses. We will see what happens!
 

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Discussion Starter · #42 ·
I had a big post planned for tonight, but I'm pretty tired so I'm going to cut it short. I got back on Dylan today! I was feeling very nervous about it, especially because it was evening and he seems to be most worried around that time. But my friend and her boyfriend agreed to go at my pace for however I wanted the evening to go, so that was really great of them. I borrowed a western saddle that fits him well vs using my dressage saddle, although I ended up feeling a little uncomfortable myself in it because I'm just not used to them anymore! My friend led us for a loop around the pasture, and then I rode him for a loop myself. And then I was done! It wasn't much, but I really wanted a good experience for both of us. Most likely he would have been fine to continue with the other horses around, but I feel happy with it anyway. It was a big step and I'm very relieved to have gotten past it. It did remind me how much fun he is to ride, and now I'm itching to go again. We walked around and hung out with them after that, with me on the ground. It was a good evening.
Horse Sky Plant Working animal Halter
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
I have ridden the past 2 evenings. Last night was wonderful. I was in the saddle for probably 30-40 minutes and felt great the whole time. My friends (I'm going to start calling them M and D as that's easier) commented that I haven't smiled that much in months. He had moments of worry, and I did get off once and work with him a minute before getting back on and continuing to ride, but overall I felt safe and he was very willing to do everything I asked.

He got more worried as it got darker, so I am wondering again if his eyesight is maybe an issue. At one point I was working on "touch" where I ask him to reach his nose out and make contact with an object. He would immediately touch it when I presented it to his left eye, but didn't move at all when it was on his right side. Once I moved it to where his other eye could see it, he would immediately make contact. He also gets really worried if someone is walking him on that side. He often will crane his head and neck around when we're walking, and the spook where he tossed me was at dusk as well. There are times where he stares off with complete focus for a minute or more at a time, like he's trying very hard to see something in the distance. I'm going to bring it up to the vet again, but last time I asked, she said he was fine so maybe I'm just trying to justify his antics so I feel better lol.

Tonight wasn't as great. Dylan had a huge spook right before I was going to mount, so I decided to stay on the ground for a bit and just work on getting his attention. But I couldn't get his focus, no matter what I did. After probably 20 minutes, I attempted to mount but the saddle was loose, and then D joined to ride with his gelding, and in the mix of everything I lost my nerve. I rode for maybe 5 minutes, but we did lots of ground work and I don't feel like the evening was lost. I hoped just getting over the hump and being back on him would be like a switch was flipped and I wasn't scared anymore, but I guess that's not going to be the case. I keep saying I just want to fill our bank with good experiences, even if it's only 5 minutes in the saddle at a time. Another part of me thinks that I should just push through the nervousness and keep riding as long as he's acting okay, but I'm worried that I'm telegraphing my nerves to him and making it a bad experience for him. I want us both calm and happy.

I think we're going to ride again tomorrow, but I'm going over earlier so we can see if he's less worried with more light as we're riding.
 

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I hoped just getting over the hump and being back on him would be like a switch was flipped and I wasn't scared anymore, but I guess that's not going to be the case.
Sixty two years ago, I got a serious concussion when a horse bolted with me, stepped in a hole, flipped, and fell on me. If I am on a horse that starts running and I can't stop him, if I pull on the reins and get . . . pure iron . . . no response, I still get a panicky feeling. I've learned to deal with it somewhat, but it's always there when a horse takes off with me out of control. You'd think I'd have gotten long over it, with the millions of successful rides I've had, but it comes back pretty strong when a horse is bolting out of control with me.
 

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I think it鈥檚 a fair thing to panic over @knightrider! It didn鈥檛 used to bother me as a kid, and my mare was a notorious run away. As I got older it bothered me more and more, never on her, but any other horse who鈥檇 runaway. I see the same thing you see, holes, ditches, fences鈥

Keno really got under my skin with his effort to run into objects. If Queen drops her shoulder at all, I kind of get that panic back. I have worried many times over if she acted like Keno. I think it鈥檚 normal for our minds to attach to something like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
Sixty two years ago, I got a serious concussion when a horse bolted with me, stepped in a hole, flipped, and fell on me. If I am on a horse that starts running and I can't stop him, if I pull on the reins and get . . . pure iron . . . no response, I still get a panicky feeling. I've learned to deal with it somewhat, but it's always there when a horse takes off with me out of control. You'd think I'd have gotten long over it, with the millions of successful rides I've had, but it comes back pretty strong when a horse is bolting out of control with me.
I can (usually) get him stopped at this point after a step or two. I feel like I should be less worried because of that. The saddle slipping was what caused me to fall. I haven't had the guts to use that saddle again, yet. I'm using a spare western saddle of my friend's. It actually fits him way better than every other one I've tried, including my expensive dressage saddle, but it's a very low quality brand so I don't know if I would want to use it long term.
 

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Discussion Starter · #51 ·
I had a great lesson tonight! I was on a 23 year old retired eventer. He felt a little stiff at times, but he was so good and it was like he could read my mind. I barely thought "go" or "stop" or "turn left" and he did it. The instructor told me before I got on that everyone calls him Mr. Perfect and he makes everyone look like a professional rider and I can definitely see why! Both horses I have ridden there have been OTTBs and I really think I'm in love lol. They're both forward without being hot or feeling like they'll just take off on me, responsive and kind. Of course they're way bigger than Dylan, but I don't feel intimidated by the size at all. Just overall a good lesson and I hope I get this horse next time too 馃檪

I didn't end up riding last night, as my family requested I spend some time with them lol. I probably won't have the chance again until Sunday, because we have to go school shopping this weekend. Here's hoping my nerves settle even more before then!
 
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