I’m way behind on my journal, which was the whole reason I started this blog a couple years ago. I just need to sit down and write it and try not to whine too much!
When I last journaled, I was longeing almost every day and asking for lots of long-and-low in an attempt to build her into a round front end. After a day off with an incredible migraine, I went right back to the longe. After kicking her butt on the longe (it’s really all about kicking butt with me and Rob. I should have named my blog something along those lines. “Kicking Butt: Establishing Dominance Between an Alpha Mare and an Alpha Woman”. I like it), I got on and Julie attempted to enforce forward by longeing us and smacking Rob with the longe whip when necessary. It…didn’t really work. Rob doesn’t respect the longe as a “scary” tool. I know now that incessant, loud, violent kicking works better than abusing her with the whip.
(I sound like a horse killer. Sheesh.)
Saturday we were going to go on a trail ride, but Julie didn’t feel well so I groomed instead. Clipped hairy face and bridle path, trimmed her feathers and tail, considered for the millionth time roaching her mane. All in a day’s work!
Sunday I had a very crappy lesson. Nothing bad happened but…I didn’t come away with any takeaways. The way I see it – I just paid for half an hour of lesson that I could have accomplished myself. I hate wasting money, I hate having unproductive rides, and I hate that I’m upset with Michele for not being able to help us when it is truly not her fault. (I know that she’s frustrated with us too, which is another reason this lesson particularly bothered me.)
For two days I fiddle farted through the cold, not doing any riding. And trying not to think about riding.
Wednesday and Thursday I tried changing the subject by setting up some jumps – I need to start jumping again if I’m going to get over this stupid fear. So I set up what is now a big jump for me – probably around 2′, with cavaletti on each side to make a tiny hogsback. It looked scary – all 2′ by 2′ of it. So we did it once, I was scared but pleased with myself, and I didn’t want to mess it up so I quit there. Sheesh.
Thursday I planned to tackle it a million more times, but Robbye managed to break her reins (totally my fault but ugh…worst timing ever. Couldn’t it have happened when I was in a good place, psychologically?) while I was setting up the fences. So instead of one larger fence, I made several small ones (18″, mostly. Baby steps!), put on Robbye’s halter and roping reins, and jumped that way.
Which ended up being a great confidence booster, because if we can do it without a bridle, of course we can do it with!
That Friday I took another day off, then Saturday I set up a course of poles on the ground and rode them bareback and with just my halter and roping reins. It was fun and pointless.
(This is what happens when I have a pointless ride. I take stupid selfies. The horror!)
Sunday Julie and I took a trip to The Tack Trunk, my childhood tack store, which it closing/moving at the end of this month. Very bittersweet for me – but I managed to spend a gift certificate and some more money besides, so that was fun. We also visited our local Dover store, which we had never seen before. It was nice, but no Tack Trunk.
(Bye forever, Tack Trunk…)
After that trip, I didn’t feel like going out to the barn. And I didn’t feel like riding the next day…or the next. I ended up taking an entire week of from riding, which is very unlike me. I cleaned my stall, I handed out cookies, and I didn’t do anything else. Maybe Robbye needed the break and maybe she didn’t, but I know that I did.
Saturday, I was ready to get back to work. We were hosting a clinic at our farm (!!!!) on desensitization on the ground, which I’m still working on documenting. I was planning on riding before the clinic (I was just auditing/photographing), but when I got to the barn there was…a lot of mayhem. I wanted to back out, but I ended up riding and am proud that I did. It felt a lot like a show atmosphere in a familiar environment, and I was forced to work through my nervousness. Good lesson for me.
Sunday I rode with draw reins and Rob put in a great effort.
Monday I had my first official Zero Day, but the Zero part of it ended up being a bust because Robbye was FORWARD. So I basically sat in two point, with no saddle or bridle, while she galloped around. MY MUSCLES.
Tuesday I had my lesson!
Last night I worked on what we had learned at our lesson. Overall, I am very pleased. I got a few great upward, butt clench transitions – I would have taken even one, so to get three or four was a great accomplishment. Her downwards are not immediate, but I can feel her immediately trying. I know that it takes muscles and effort to stop correctly, so I’m happy just for her to immediately react, even if that doesn’t result in an immediate cessation of motion.
So that’s the past three weeks of horsie for me. I think that my small psychological downfall was inevitable considering how stressed out I’ve been about her progress. But the break and especially the lesson have brought me back up to hopeful and excited.
As a sidenote: if you haven’t yet read SprinklerBandits’ Ammy Manifesto, please go do it. It’s inspiring and uplifting. I know I really needed to read it!
my creativity: worked on my pony room, wrote lots of blog posts, got out my big camera and took clinic photos, started a blog for work