Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Always Get Back On

January 28th I got a day nice enough to ride between snow flurries and rain. I tacked up western for a change and headed off in the field. Today was different for two reasons; I didn't have anyone with me, just my cell phone, and I didn't lunge first. We just headed out.

We walked and jogged to the far end of the field and I put us on a circle in the corner of the field to practice trot/canter transitions. She got mad and stopped, went up a little. I pulled her head to the side to short circuit her attempt at rearing and then kicked her forward to get the canter that had made her mad in the first place. She cantered. She tossed her head a few times, but didn't try anything naughty again. We trotted down the side of the field and did another circle about halfway down the length of the field. We trotted, cantered, trotted and as I asked for the canter again she started bouncing around and by the time I realized what was going on I was way off to the left and she was still bouncing and going forward. Crap. I grabbed for mane and ripped some out as I fell, I landed still holding the reins. She looked like she knew she'd messed up. Somehow my glasses broke in the fall. The right stem was barely connected. I bounced back up in the saddle and we went forward again. We trotted and then I asked for the canter and she started bouncing again. I short circuited her by pulling her head to the side, then kicked her forward into the canter. We trotted, cantered, trotted, did figure 8's with trot in the middle, and more circles of transitions. There were no more naughty moments.

I'm sure lots of people experience this all the time, but I make it a point not to ride naughty horses. Dazzle is usually good, but I pretty much always lunge unless I have been riding everyday. When she tosses her head or does anything that could knock me off balance I slow her down to a speed I can control better. At my riding lessons last winter I learned that I have successfully taught her to be naughty when she's tired or bored as I will let her slow down. I had never fallen off Dazzle before. She is usually pretty good. The big thing is that I have never fallen off and hopped back on with no worries and just determination in mind. I wasn't scared at all. We were just going to do what I asked. I wasn't angry, I wasn't shaky, no tears were rolling down my cheeks. I wasn't concerned about falling off again. I was ready for her. And it went well. I rode again the next day with a friend and she was just as respectful with no issues at all. We did the exact same pattern. Out to the far end for a circle, to the middle of the side for circles. She was a good girl.

So, I seem to have earned the respect from her that Melissa already had. It was very liberating. That's the best way I can describe it. I wasn't scared of her anymore. I feel like I can get so much further with her now that I'm not scared. I don't know what changed. Nothing that I can think of. I ALWAYS get back on when I fall off. But usually I'm weak and shaky and I will be scared the next several times I ride. It seems like that is over.

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