Today I headed to the barn mentally prepped to spend as long as I needed to get him to stand properly for mounting. As Edward has commented in yesterday's post, he's developed a lot of muscle and has more energy to burn. Even if it's on silly things.
It took four tries before he stood properly. I mounted and we warmed up, and I was surprised by how supple he was right out of the gate. He would probably say the same thing about me. We're a pair him and I, such that it's often hard to tell who is screwing things up first (yes, I'll accept the comments that point out the faults are likely mine ; ) ).
Lately we're had a weird 'issue' that I'm not sure is good or bad. Often when we ride a 20m circle, on the open end I'll turn it into a three loop serpentine. So instead of continuing left on the circle, I'll bend right and serpentine into the arena. When we first started riding together he would wiggle a bit when changing his bend and then we'd continue on. Then later in our riding he would change his bend nicely when I asked for it.
Now before I've even ASKED him to change his bend and serpentine, he's done it. In my head I've been thinking he should wait until I instruct him to, not just do it on his own accord. So I've suddenly made him continue on the circle instead. At which point he gives me a bit of a temper tantrum.
For the last week we've had the same battle where he auto-serpentines. Disagreement after disagreement until today I realized he probably had EVERY right to get pissed at me. Why? Because if I'm coming through the circle and thinking to myself "Okay, I'm gonna serpentine here", chances are even if I don't realize it, my body is indicating my intention to Moon. My weight shifts, my hips turn, I'm looking right, and then at the last second like a jerk, I'm say to him "Nope, left".
? It's like some guy with his right turn signal on and then he pulls left. And chances are this isn't an 'auto-chage' in bend. This is Moon picking up the subtle clues I'm giving him. And here I am frustrated that he still doesn't need me messing around with him to get it!!! : O Bang head on barn-door moment for me folks. Wow.
So in today's ride, I stopped staring at his face and ears. I worked with a little more patience. He gave me a lot more patience. Not starting the ride with the battle to mount, meant we were both calm and relaxed from the OUTSET of the ride. Which meant he loosened up faster and in turn, I stayed loose.
We tried some more sitting trot. Guess what? Because we were both loose and relaxed, we had some success. I could detect when he was uncomfortable and switch to posting. He was more willing to let me bounce around for a bit, I think because we weren't fighting. We actually had some really fluid and soft moments where I could even use some leg to guide him. And now flopping hands or bouncing out of the saddle.
We practiced mounting a few times at the end of the ride too. Perfect gentleman. I was proud. Sometimes when your horse and you are too alike in personality, it causes friction. Sometimes though, when you learn to appreciate it, you get smoothness.
And W, who was instructing another student while I was practicing, gave me a huge compliment by saying that Moon now has a 'frame' and stays in it when moving. And she too noticed my sitting trot had improved from last week's lesson. : ) I swear, there's something about her in the arena that reminds me to have a few extra minutes of patience with the Mr. Moon. And yes, I love him dearly, even if he drives me crazy somedays!
P.S. What Halloween costume do you think would best suit your horse?
For Moon, it would be Eeyore. He has the same personality. "Oooookay. I'll trot arroooound. But don't expect tooo muuuuch of mee." : P