Monday, May 22, 2017

A Recap of Everything

Finally, I have a quick moment to sit down and recap (essentially this entire month, because lets be real, I sucked at blogging the last few weeks).

Annie: "You suck at blogging"
I rode quite a bit this month, asking new and different questions almost each ride. I've upped the pressure on Annie little by little and have also literally asked nothing of her. We've (well, I can't be so sure about Annie, but I know I have been!) having quite a bit of fun lately and it's been interesting seeing her unfold and develop more.

As with all young, or green horses, the progress is painfully slow but also promising. A glimpse into this mare's future has me smiling and although I still get that weird ping of nervousness every time I tack-up for a ride, I've managed to enjoy almost every ride I've put on her.

The nervousness is normal and I'm starting to get less and less freaked out when it shows up. We are still new to eachother, still developing, still figuring eachothers buttons.

For the most part, we have had really good rides.

Note the tail flip.
There was one wherein we had a disagreement, but it was resolved and sorted right quickly. I had trailered Annie and Spud to the fairgrounds vs riding her over since I wanted to trailer her somewhere without going too far or pushing my luck. The five minute trailer ride to the grounds seemed like a good option. She unloaded just fine and I was quite pleased with her as I tacked her up and clambered aboard - we haven't had any more instances of her moving away from the mounting block on me (save for once at the arena when I had to climb up the arena fencing to get on because yanno... no mounting block, but she is fine with it now).

When I got on her, she was a little jiggy which seems to be her MO - when we leave the barn to go hack or even when I took her for lessons back in February she will start out incredibly forward, almost like she has a volt of electricity up her butt. She tried to scoot off in a trot a few times, and each time I brought her down quietly and asked her to walk.

In an attempt to figure out how to calm her down (because we are still playing around with what works and what doesn't), I started to ask her to leg yield, halt, and do some TOH and TOF.

She. just. could. not.

Suzie just could not when Spud tried to steal her grain.
So when I had asked her to back up, she tensed, froze her back solid, and when I demanded she back up, she hopped in the air and shook her head.

I immediately got after her and we backed up just fine and continued on with our ride.

So, a small hiccup. But it reminds me of when she just. could. not. when I put my leg on her a few weeks ago when she was a bit jiggy/tense and she took great offense to it.

And so, we've been playing around with me asking her to do things earlier into the ride. Mostly, with the hacking out, I'll let her walk as fast as she wants so long as she walks and earlier this month I had started to incorporate half-halts and slowing my own seat down against her so she has no choice but to slow down.

As I had mentioned in a previous post, her "calm down" time has drastically gone from 20-30 minutes to a little over 5. I paid attention to how she acted when I took her out yesterday with a friend and not even 5 minutes into the ride, she settled into a loose-rein walk and altho she was a bit speedier than my friend's horse, she was quiet and walked without rushing or acting up.

Things in her hair, she don't care.
We have also been having some good success with "leaving" other horses and continuing on home. Annie has never really liked when other horses turn around to go home (because we live on opposite sides of the sub-division), and although she has never escalated past trying to turn around and not wanting to go forwards, I feel pretty happy with where we are in it so far. Riding alone can be tricky - riding in groups can be tricky, especially when your group peaces out and your horse is like "Uh... where are all my friends at?" So I'm pretty pleased that altho she's a bit of a dingus about it, she hasn't freaked the eff out because a buddy left. Usually, it takes a good tap with the whip and we walk fast for a good 30 strides and she's all business again. 

Back to the point of what I was trying to explain tho - each hack we do and each ride I put on her, I start asking for leg yielding, bend, stretch, etc. Some rides (like last weekend) I literally ask for nothing other than plodding along on a loose-rein with her neck stretched out. The rides where she is a bit more "uppity", I make more effort to put my legs on her and ask things simply because I want her to realize that she can be tense or flighty, but her passenger is still there and can handle it for her.

This was near the end of our "rearing" ride.
All in all, good rides. We are still piecing together a lot of things and it sounds supremely boring, but it's all important things. Sometimes (especially tonight) I get jealous of everyone who is taking lessons or going to shows, but what is happening with Annie is just as important and has just as much of an impact. The clinics and shows will come, and even though I am missing out on a lot of things right now (not necessarily due to the horse's lack of ability, but moreso due to lack of funds because #poorammyowner), it is important to not sell myself short.

All of this desensitization and rides we do around the block with and without friends are all things that are important. Learning to pony Spud, loading and unloading from the trailer, being calm and quiet as I fly-spray her, etc, all these things are building blocks for the future.

Other building blocks - standing for pictures.
So. Yeah. Boring stuff, but really important stuff.

And I am really happy with her. We will have more outings soon, just to get her desensitized to a busier atmosphere but with how she acted earlier in the year at a busy barn and how she acts with the coming and going of other horses, I anticipate she will be just fine. The unfortunate thing about my area is that there is only a certain amount of events/clinics that happen per month and if you miss one or two weekends, you miss everything for the month.

My recap of this month and goals for next month will be posted soon, as the BF and I are headed to Nanaimo to visit the parents and will be gone for a week and a bit. Hopefully the ponies will behave themselves and Annie and I will resume regular riding when I get back. I think she deserves the mini-vacation so far.


  1. Sounds like things are going well - enjoy the vacation!

  2. I really truly believe that slow, steady progress is the best kind, and it looks like that is just what is happening here :)