It's been kind of eye-opening in a way, to start piecing together different parts of the puzzle that don't necessarily apply undersaddle. I still have a lot to learn and still have a lot of patience to give to Annie and her learning abilities.
|And growing abilities?|
My readers and friends will know I am a chronic worrier. It's just who I am and who I will always be. Anxiety disorder and PTSD are something I live with and it affects not only my working life, but it also affects my riding and training.
Some will remember how borderline obsessive I became with the whole trailer incident debacle and how I immediately labeled myself as inept to bring along Annie and expand her training.
It's unfortunate and it isn't a progressive way of thinking.
|"Those voices in your head? They crazy."|
There has been some developments on the Annie front (some not necessarily new) that have left me both curious and a bit flustered. The thing is, though, that the measurement of a horse's behavior doesn't always directly reflect the handler. Horses are horses, and even the most well schooled and trained can have "off" days or little annoying issues.
Riding Buddy is the direct receiver of all my unfortunate tirades and anxiety-fueled meltdowns and during a standard "Calm your shit" reply, she brought something to light that I really resonated with. She basically said that there are all these little things that Annie has that are "issues", but the difference between me and someone else who has a horse that won't stand at the trailer or pulls back when tied is that I am currently addressing the issue to potentially eradicate it from Annie's behavior.
|This lady on left has been a large source of inspiration for me - she|
is mine and Annie's biggest cheerleader and has been on the
perpetual receiving end of my worries about ruining the horse since Day 1.
I feel incredibly lucky that I have a pretty chill horse - for as young as she is, and as inexperienced as she is.
I put a bareback ride on her a week ago after we had finished with some desensitization stuff (tarps, flying whips... all the fun stuff) and she was lovely. We worked on sidepassing and yielding her haunches - she got a bit sticky a few times in the sidepass and instead of moving over, would throw her head up and stiffen a bit. I just took my time, opened my rein to direct her nose to where I wanted her to go and asked her to move over. One step here... one step there... reward and walk off. It was a good thinking ride, especially since we were in the back paddock where the ground is uneven. We were able to put in some great trot work, which included her actually moving off my legs during the circle (sometimes our circles still look like potatoes).
And yesterday, I put a ride on her after snapping some photos for a saddle fitter and I found she reverted back to her old tactic of
|Striking a pose.|
Actually, she enjoyed the stretch I gave her
that she held it for a few seconds. What a weirdo.
I'm sure a lot of it can be attributed to lack of riding, fresh Spring weather, the increased wildlife activity (a young boy stopped me on my ride and told me a bear had just wandered down the next street), and just the fact it's a bit of an old habit (here , here too...)
The thing about the behavior is that it will die down into the ride and she won't necessarily keep jigging after a few steps. She just kind of settles into this super fast walk. As we went about our ride, I started to slow her down with my seat and kind of laughed at how annoyed she got, because she noticed she was slowing down and wasn't sure how to get past it since I wasn't using the reins.
She didn't really mellow out much on the ride. She was walking, which was good, but still felt really "up" and bracey in my hands. So, I figured we'd walk back to the barn and drop off Spud. So I dismounted, chucked him into the paddock and went back to remount.
Wouldn't you know it.
This ride kind of highlighted to me just how much riding a young horse can vary - within the same ride I had two very different horses and I had to almost sigh and laugh at the whole thing.
She's a good baby horse. The waves will come and as they do, I've just got to learn to ride them out and not take them so damn personally.
Horses, am I right?