Tuesday, October 4, 2011

To Work...or Not?

I received an email last night from T saying that she had to work this evening and therefore has to cancel on our weekly trail ride. I'm bummed to say the least.

And I've also exposed a new problem...

Busy Barns.

I've lucked out the last couple of days at W's because everyone showed up after I had finished riding. However, silly me forgot to check the lesson board and I'm also unfamiliar with the weekday riding pattern at her place. So I'm not sure how busy the barn will be tonight.

I'm actually contemplating NOT going to the barn tonight because I'm hesitant to ride in the arena with other rides, ESPECIALLY those in lessons. The lesson thing is more about respecting other rider's time since they're paying for the lesson and W's attention, and should have the arena all to themselves. But riding with others is more...

...more about self-consciousness? And not even really about Moon or how he's going or when he's calling like a devil. More about me, thumping around in the saddle, being poorly coordinated that I crash into another rider, or not knowing where to tack and groom when everyone is using the crossties...

It sounds silly I guess. The best way for me to get comfortable is to just do it. If I have any dreams of competing, I need to get out there. Ride with others. Be judged. Look like an idiot. "Ride the ugly".


I video recorded yesterday's ride, and Moon's still not relaxed. He's still calling and still getting worked up. I'm just trying to be patient and wait for him to settle in and settle down. I also noted that I'm tense, I'm tipping forward and I still have chair legs!!! Aurgh.

How much of his tension in the ring is my tension in the ring?!

W asked me yesterday if I had any thought of showing next spring. Um, YEAH! Whole point in being here W!!! Point of lessons with you!!

So after our conversation, she's now well aware that we're aiming to head to the shows with her and the other Stable Riders (I believe there's 2 other girls). Which means asking for all the necessary show gear this Christmas.

Tomorrow D's coming out to trim Moon's feet, which is clearly past due. I unfortunately can't get his new trail boots on, leaving me wondering if their too small, if they changed the boot sizes from my friend's, or if he's just that desperately in need of a trim??

After D trims him tomorrow, I'm going to ask W if she can add him to the next rotation by her farrier. I'd like to have a second opinion on him, and if there is anything that can be done about his flaring then I'll keep him over the winter in their farrier's rotation. Otherwise D can continue to come out.

So for tonight, I think it'll be an easy hack out. I have some nagging concerns that the change in barn and the new friend 'Wiggy' may be turning my normally carefree horse into a herd-bound lunatic. And I have a desperate need to ride him away from the barn and see if he's still that wonderful run-like-the-wind partner or a new obsessive horse I previously didn't know...

I'm also stuck in another dilemma. How should I react to his herd bound behavior? When he's calling or anxious in the cross-ties, should I smack him with an open hand or my crop? My gut says no. But I concede, sometimes when I'm riding and he just won't refocus, or when he throwing his butt in my direction as I toss the saddle on, that's EXACTLY what I feel compelled to do!

W says to ignore him and keep working. But when I do that, while he eventually settles down, I don't know if this is BECAUSE I'm ignoring it and he's refocusing on the work, or if he simply gets distracted by something else for a bit??? Aurgh.

I should say, that he's become a disaster to cross-tie. And a disaster to saddle and bridle. And a disaster to mount. All since the move.

What I can say, is that he's wonderful to mount AFTER our 1 hour rides. I've been trying to reinforce standing while I mount and unmount, and AFTER our practice rides, he's a dream. : ) I just need to find a way to get him focused and stay focused sooner.

...obviously this is all bugging me, since I can't even focus on my work or homework. WHY did he have to get all silly?! And how do I get him back?! : P


Evening Update

So I wound up going out and riding Moon. I can't help it. I just NEEDED to find my ol'boy.

I groomed him (noticed he has either a rub or a bite on his side...blue spray and long pad until that goes away...) and then took him to the far end of the ring to practice. Someone was having their first lesson in the front of the ring, so I wanted to make sure I gave them plenty of space. I've noticed W normally only uses half the ring for lessons since it makes it easier for her voice to carry, so I didn't feel like I was invading.

I started working on loosening up, flexing all of my muscles and joints while Moon walked on a loose rein. After a few circles (he kept trying to look out the back door), I gathered my reins and started working him. Not letting him gaze out the window and just moving through the movements he's fairly well schooled in now.

And he was reaching down and out!! He was SOFT! He was slow and rhythmic and responsive. He was awesome.

As we performed a near perfect 3 loop serpentine in only 1/2 the arena, W called out "He's moving great! Look how well he's going!"

I could have died and gone to heaven. He WAS!

After another 15 or 20 minutes I brought him back to a nice loose rein walk. He gave me his best turn-on-the-fores yet, without even taking any forwards (or backwards) steps! In both directions!

He finished his ride just walking like a nice boy, long and loose. I was grinning.

I didn't want to over work him since he has a lesson tomorrow and today was day 7 of a 7 day riding stretch. That's a LOT of work for a horse (but he gets a week off starting Friday so I need to make sure he's nice and tired for a week of no work).

I hoped off and gave him lots of love. I was pleased and stunned. WHY whenever I think we're hit a road block, does he prove me wrong??! And WHY does he always preform BEST when I don't bring my video camera?!

When I got back into the barn...

...crap. Just realized that I forgot to pick up my pony poo in the arena!! Aurgh. I'm a bad horse owner! Bad Arena user!!! Let's hope W forgives my first error as a new resident...

Where was I?

When I got back into the barn W told me he's looking amazing, with his awesome coloring and the way he's moving. She seemed certain it was just the natural progression of things. I'm certain it's something to do with her in the ring calling out instructions that gets Moon and I feeling relaxed and focused!

So there you have it. Moon is NEVER what I expect of him, he is awesome and awful at the same time, and riding is the most confusing, unpredictable and exhilerating sport I know. But it's all worth it.

Wonder how he'll go tomorrow?!

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