The unfortunate truth is that my horse and I both suffer from the same mentality: passive aggressive stubborness.
It causes us a lot of trouble while practicing and training, one which W never hestitates to remind me could be rectified if I simply relaxed, unbraced and remained fluid. We get a lot of nice rides when this happens, and these rides most often occur during lessons. Why? Because W is there to chastise me into behaving myself!
So Saturday I was back at the barn doing some work with Moon and it started out rough as it had the last two rides. With Moon refusing to stand at the mounting block. Now I will conceed that I lack a great deal of patience. The first time he misbehaves I'm fine being gentle and re-asking. The second time, I'm frustrated. The third time, I'm just mad. It's odd since I'm normally not an 'angry person', but he just knows how to try my patience. Yesterday when he acted like the mounting block would eat him (as another very talented rider was trotting around, certainly watching our antics) I told myself to take a breath and keep asking.
We circled the mounting block 6 times before he finally stood and let me get on. By this point, the other girl had unmounted and left the ring!
He started off rushing, and I again, was so tired of him starting every ride like that. I turned him right into the arena wall. You wanna go, well then go. Right through the wall. He's not stupid. He stopped and we continued on with him moving a lot better.
He was still calling. I've noticed that this only happens during our daytime rides...when all the horses are out on pasture...and I noticed the last two times, it wasn't Mr. Moon doing the first call. It's his girlfriend. She runs the fenceline and their paddock is right next to the indoor ring. When she calls, he calls back. And then we get into an argument about behavior. W had suggested bringing Ebony into the barn so she wouldn't be running around frantic, but I think that's just feeding the herd-bound behavior. I won't do that. They NEED seperation. Technically, I think I need to get on him and ride him down the street a couple times. This is why I HATE keeping just 2 horses together. They more frequently become inseperable.
Regardless, we had some lovely movements at a walk. Soft and supple. At a trot we were doing well all things considered, and I (again, losing patience) started to actually give him a kick when he swung his butt out on the circle. He KNOWS better. But he can be soo stubborn!
Then I went to practice my sitting trot. W started me working on a small circle to develop my sitting trot and I thought I'd use the same routine, but without stirrups so I wouldn't be able to cheat and start posting.
Let me say it's a battle of wills.
The sitting trot is crazy hard for me. It requires you to relax through the hips and swing freely. I pinch at the knees when riding normally, never mind when being bounced off a horse.
Our attempts at sitting trot go like this:
Ask Moon for trot. Trots off beautifully.
I sit a few strides decently, but still bouncy.
Moon thinks I'm bouncing too much and shortens his strides 'cause I'm thumping on his poor back.
I'm now bouncing worse b/c he's short strided. So I clutch his sides with my knees.
He thinks it's getting worse and begins throwing his head in the air and moving with his neck twisted.
Now I'm bouncing clear out of the saddle, clining with my knees, slapping his mouth since my hands are flapping in the air and he's upset about the whole thing and trying to rush off out from under me, because I'm now a bouncing sack of rocks on his back that's pinching his sides and smashing his mouth.
Yip. And every time it fell apart, I halted, walked off again and asked for another circle.
After 15 minutes of this, I think we were ready to kill each other. I'm embarrassed to admit I was actually snapping outloud: "Well if you'd just trot nice and slow I wouldn't bounce so dang much! It's your own dang fault!".
And yes, there were people in the barn. I think they were likely pissing themselves laughing. Seriously, it's not like Moon understood and the truth is, if I could sit the trot he wouldn't be trotting so stupid!
We finished the ride with a bit of serpentines and I asked him to give me 3 nice 20m posting trot circles without falling out or taking away the bend. He did it. End on a positive note.
Stubborn (and always needing to win) I made him stand while I mounted a few times. I jumped on the mounting block while he stood still. I jumped on and off of it. I bounced in the stirrup. I bounced on his back (poor bugger), and I got on, asked for a few steps, dismounted and then did it all again. He didn't move an inch unless asked.
Someone tell me why he can't START a ride this way!!!
P.S. I rubbed the sides of my knees raw from pinching. Seriously. : P