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.
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.
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.
Thankfully 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.
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…