Monday, July 14, 2008

One step back, two steps forward

Saturday Willow was one moody mare. She really let me know that this new "up in front" stuff was not to her liking. There was a little bucking, a little cow kicking, and a whole lotta not going forward. I stayed patient, kept my cool, and kept driving her into a steady connection. It took 45 minutes, but after the extended sour period I got five minutes of nice trot and canter, which I gratefully accepted, offering much praise. And we called it quits.

Sunday I was too sick to ride (rotten summer cold), but I thought a lot about Saturday's ride. Was Willow telling me that I was doing something wrong, or that I was doing something right? I finally decided that her behavior was actually an indication that I was on the right track. I think she was hoping she could convince me to let her revert to long and low, wherein I don't bother her, and she doesn't bother me. Who can blame her? But it's up to me to stick to my guns in the face of an extended protest.

So tonight I steeled myself for another battle of wills. Willow was way sucked back in trot at first, so I gave her a smart pop with the whip. She bucked halfway down the long side. I popped her again, and she cow kicked. I popped her a third time and finally got a nice big trot. Praise and pats ensued. And after that, I had a lovely ride in the new, slightly higher frame. Progress! You just gotta be smarter than the horse -- and it ain't always easy.


Flying Lily said...

hurray for you for being persistent! It's tough to know how much pressure is the right amount. My mistake is always too little. You go!

20 meter circle of life said...

This post was well timed. I needed a reminder thanks

Micha said...

Horses are tricky ay? Sounds like you are well on the right track though. Congrats :-)