Cut The Bull

Like most adult ammies I go to a day job to support the cushy lifestyles of my horses. When work and life get crazy that can sometimes carry over to my barn life. Recently this has led to some pretty meh rides and me lacking some confidence in the saddle. As much as I would like to I can’t just play with ponies all day so it is time to get my butt back in gear.jobthing

Yesterday I finally got to haul over to my local trainers. I was originally supposed to have a lesson. However, after a less than awesome ride on Saturday I asked if he would mind putting a ride on the ginger dragon. As I eluded to earlier Annie and I have been a bit at odds lately. I was hoping that a training ride might help me get a better feel for what I need to be doing to accomplish more with our rides and I was not disappointed.LaineyClinic4.1.17-68

Having a ridiculously athletic and smart mare is a blessing and a curse. She can legitimately jump the moon and actually moves pretty well when she wants to. Key words being when she wants to. The minute that she decides something is tough she looks for a way out. She has in effect trained me to back down when she has a tantrum and thus I am most of the problem. No surprise there since its usually problem humans not horses.

I have let myself get talked out of pushing her towards correct work. I will ask for something and she will giraffe and throw herself around in a way to avoid it and then I will get nervous and back off. This used to be limited to the sandbox but lately when she doesn’t get what she wants over fences she has started flailing around as well. I don’t really blame her. I set the bar low and let her totally trample my expectations by constantly backing down.

beepbeepThankfully my trainer is a no nonsense kind of guy. He got on Annie and while there was some conversation (read: theatrics from Annie) he finally got the point across to her that no matter what she needed to participate. It didn’t need to be perfect and it didn’t have to be constant but she had to try. He reiterated that I need to stop making excuses for her. No more letting her get her way. I definitely need to figure this out with Annie because I am relatively certain that Luna is going to be a whole different kind of difficult under saddle.

Annie doesn’t like a noseband? Too bad – just put a normal bridle on and let her figure it out.

Annie doesn’t like a bit? Well – I have done everything in my power to try to find one she deems acceptable. It is clear it is not a bit problem but rather an attitude.

Before you all ask – yes she has seen the vet, chiropractor, and massage therapist etc etc. Bottom line is that I need to set boundaries and stick to them. There is nothing cruel or harsh about it. Just saying nope this is where you need to be. Try again if she doesn’t get it, reward if she does. Such is life with green horses. Just when you think you have something figured out they are like nope. Not today! When I am at my best I can ride her through most of this stuff. Six + months without regular lessons and bad habits were bound to form.nottoday

Lastly do not sit in trainers saddle because it will probably make you wish you had one. Which is literally the last thing you need right now! Thanks Amanda

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18 Comments

  1. Glad your trainer had some ideas for dealing with Annie’s shenanigans!

    I made the mistake of riding more than once in BO’s Biarritz … and I really don’t need another saddle.

  2. I have been experiencing similar things lately with my horse. I’ve found that sucking it up is really hard, but once I do things can finally move ahead. For me it has really helped having someone else remind me of those things and it sounds helpful for you too.

    re: riding in other people’s saddles? Unless you’re shopping for a new saddle, it often makes things really, really hard. Well, hard in the fact to keep your current saddle and not want to buy a pretty new one.

  3. Glad you had a productive night after a subpar week or so! It can be so tough dealing with some scary behavior – I went through it last year and there is still a trace of it being evident so i’m just trying to make things incredibly black & white, despite my stomach feeling like it’s in my throat half the time!

  4. Oh man! That sounds familiar. I had to sit through over a month of literally only walking around the ring not letting Pig escape from contact before he finally sighed and went “I guess my life contains accepting the bit. Fine, I give in.” Sometimes we still have to revisit that lesson. It sucked, but was it ever worth it! I hope you’re able to figure out ways to get your point across to Annie without making things a fight. It’s definitely not an easy feat!

    I was talking to a friend recently about how some horses really need to have things explained to them before they’ll do it, where others will let you just push them around until they do the thing. For example: Teaching Pig to do a shoulder in was a big process of explaining minuscule step by minuscule step that I wanted him to move off this leg but bend around that one without moving his haunches. There were huge blow ups when he felt like he didn’t understand, and thought he was doing what I was asking. The minute he really did the thing and I praised him for it, though? He had it for life. It’s kinda crazy.

  5. I’m living this too! Mostly with Romey. I can handle Jamp and Rio’s perfect of course. But Romey is full of tantrums, and I get nervous and back down. Trying very hard to don the big girl panties and get my point across. But it’s intimidating, especially when you ride all alone. Trainer hasn’t been able to make her schedule mesh with mine unfortunately, but I’m thinking of reaching out to another one instead. Us ammies need assistance sometimes, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. Good for you for getting the help you two need to get past your issues.

  6. ugh sorry it’s been so tough lately! thank god for trainers setting us straight tho. esp early on in charlie’s training, my trainer had to basically sit me down and tell me that i needed to draw firm, clear lines for the horse on what he could and could not do. and that the horse would be happier but would also better understand his job if i could do that for him. being that disciplined is just plain old hard for me tho too haha. sigh… good luck tho!

  7. It can be really hard to navigate the thin line between “is something wrong” and “you’re being a jerk” when your horse behaves badly. I hope things keep going in the right direction for you!

    1. Fingers crossed. It definitely is a hard line to toe because I always try to make sure nothing’s wrong but at this point I just have to accept that she’s being a bit of a tool and I need to ride better to get us through it.

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