A few things have got the wheels in my head turning. As the month of June is coming to a close I find myself starting to piece together next month's goals for Suzie and what we would like to accomplish. While I am well aware we have many things to work on, I am simply stuck on what goals are attainable within a month time-frame and what goals are even realistic anymore.
It isn't necessarily a bad thing. Some of the goals from last month are accomplished well in some rides, but in others, they are simply not up to par. Is it because Suzie's having a bad day? Because I'm having a bad day?
But it also has a lot to do with the fact that I don't know how to fix some things when they go wrong. Perhaps Suzie has learnt a new evasion tactic or has decided to be extra stiff and uncooperative. Do I continue to ask for bend, roundness, suppleness in the same way I normally do? Or do I implement a different tactic?
And then there comes the "mother" in me that prevents me from truly getting some quality work out of her. When she is going good and really bang on with my aids, I tend to shut down my riding and let her carry on quiet and willful. But once things fall apart I am already 10 steps behind in the sense that I "stopped riding" and am not there to back her up when she needs it most. And often, I find myself questioning if I am being to hard on her or am trying to get her to do something that is too difficult. She certainly is older and is not as flexible as she used to be, but am I asking her to do something she physically cannot do? Or am I not asking enough?
Make no mistake, I CAN ride my horse. I know how to make her walk, jog, and lope. I know how to get her to yield her haunches, forehand, and spin. I know how to correct problems that crop up. But am I asking her the wrong questions? And when Suzie poses a question, am I giving her the wrong answers?
I am an English-taught rider and this foray into Western is confusing. We are finally starting to piece together a nice jog, a quiet lope, and a decent stop but I can't seem to leave my reins alone! The next steps are where we need help, and I think we are finally at that stepping stone. Suzie knows what to do - she's been through this before, but I can't seem to get the success I'm yearning for. It's frustrating as hell, since I know what we should both look like. If we have a nice jog, Suzie is dumped on her forehand (see above photo) and if we have a nice lope, we have no bridle connection whatsoever.
There is a bit of a fog in my riding and another pair of eyes would help us figure out where we are, where we should be, and what we can do to fix it and make it better. Right now we are just looming around in purgatory with no real sense of direction and it is quite foreboding.