Saturday, 30 May 2009


Mixed up day today.

Since he went so well on Thursday I decided to have a little sit on...against my better judgement it seems. I was wondering if I ought to because of my back and seat being so tight. But I'm also sick of worrying about the what ifs.

Lunging was fine. By the time I had set up his poles and come back out there was someone else wanting to ride. They didn't mind sharing and neither did I, although it meant we have to have our own halves of the outdoor school. It meant I couldn't use the full school to make lunging interesting, and also I had something else to concentrate on, but it was fine.

He warmed up really well. I got a driving whip to lunge with and this seems to have helped a lot, although he lacked respect for it (I couldn't point it at his side to bend him around it so easily!). I do find it easier to move him in and out, and up and down in tempo with the lunge whip.

Pessoa went well again, although he got a little arsey with me on the right rein as I asked him for a bigger stride in trot. The bottom swung at me a little but he goes through several stages of 'warnings', he's not explosive that way! I backed off, I'm not sure if my body language was too shoutey or whether he found it too hard, or whether he was just expressing an opinion at having to work at all!

The Pessoa was removed and we did a bit more pole work. He's getting good at looking properly and lining up for the trot over, he clunks them less in trot. Walk wasn't so good but he did improve each try. Throughout the session he was harder to bend in on the right rein. There's always a bloody tractor doing something on the farm, it's really distracting so he was good to ignore it with the groundwork.

I lacked focus today because, if I'm honest, I was looking forward to sitting on again. He was great to tack up and mount but immediately went on the defensive. I don't mean with his back, but just refusing to leave the yard. He walked off the other day no bother??? Two fellow liveries were returning from a hack as we were trying to leave. He got his knickers in suck a twist that wretched NS bit came through his mouth. I still use open baby reins to guide him so I hope this wasn't me, I don't usually need much hand with him.

I got off and fixed that, not sure what the two liveries must have thought at the sight of us. I led him further down the yard and remounted. Same song and dance. I can't, I shan't. I think it was a perfectly reasonable request to leave the yard!

After a small exchange we got onto the road and he stopped. Just stopped. I just sat with him. When he tried to move off I stopped him. I asked him to soften his jaw and return is head to a more fitting position, which I gained with so little of an aid (I'm delighted with that!). So eventually he seemed happy to walk on. I should mention the road is dead quiet and you can hear cars coming so I didn't mind too much, plus we were on a straight so could be seen playing statues from afar :)

We drib-drabbed further along the road where Quadi drew an imaginary line in the road and just couldn't possible go further. Spun on his quarters (I'm sure it would have been even more beautiful if it was intentional) and tried to whisk me home. I stopped him. Cue one temper tantrum. Hand on heart, I was completely passive. I was giving him a verbal command to halt, my seat was as passive as it ever is with me. I tend to tense up more thinking about schooling than naughtiness! My legs were quiet by his sides and my fingers were with his mouth. Eventually we were stationary and pointing the right way. He tried to move. I said no thank you, let's stand. Again this worked and we moved on. What a good boy, lots of encouragement from me.

Just when I dared to think "Oh good, we're on our way now", he whipped again. This time, when I requested a ceasefire and a peaceful sit-down he retorted with piaffe and fire-breathing and a couple of fairly spectacular-yet-balanced rears. My requests were friendly, passive and suggestive. He didn't seem scared because he kept snatching at available food, mid-tantrum...

Since he seemed more determined than I to stand in the middle of the road, I dismounted and we walked for a bit. I showed him there were no monsters and that I can be trusted to look after him. I remounted at a suitable spot further along the road. All seemed well. A little onward bound in his walk, like the last time, but I'm willing to take any forward motion at this point. I walked him further than the last time, and asked him to turn around calmly. I got that, two thumbs up. When he shied at various detritus along the way he moved off my leg into the side of the road so easily. I managed a bit more softness up front too. It was sporadic but this is normal at the moment. I was happy.

A little more tense and onward bound on the way home. I tried to give him his back by inclining forwards ever so slightly. I tried to ask for less of a giraffe impression and more of a horse-shaped head and neck please. I struggled with that. He seemed to think lighter seat meant blast up the road.

Then, a car! It was the livery who was schooling earlier. I asked him to step up into a trot, she had very kindly pulled into a passing place but I didn't want to keep her all day. He tried to canter, but was happy to come back down to trot. I stopped by the livery to thank her for pulling in, and she said he looked very fancy coming up the hill. As I moved him off he threw up his front end and then levelled out a buck, and then tried to storm home. I can only imagine what we must have looked like in her mirrors! He came back to walk at my behest, but was just so intent on getting back to the yard, he'd have trotted into his stable if I'd let him.

I think I went too far. I shouldn't have ridden. What should have been a ten-minute pootle ended up being a sizable foot-stomping tanty! Maybe I ought to have arranged company? He was fine the other day, I thought it was reasonable to expect him to be fine today? Especially with the lunging going as well as ever. It's not so much that he had a nap, it was that he didn't listen to me.

I didn't lose the rag with him, I just sat there. I despaired more than anything. I can actually deal with these issues better than the schooling ones but it's been a while since he's been like this.

I think I'll stop riding. He can just be an in-hand professor. His back looked dippy when we came home. Usually his posture improves with work.

Oh, I did give him a little bath. He still has muddy patches, but mane and tail are silky and he smells divine. I caught him rolling as soon as he went out but they all do that :) I also took piccies of his neck, tummy and quarters to see if I can condition score them. Muzzle was ordered last night, I'm sure he'll be thrilled(!)

I'm off to sit in a corner and obsess about all the things I ought to have done differently...


  1. molly does that sort of thing! very is usually the cure....but it's a pain, all ways.

  2. Each day is different, I've found. When I was first riding my mare - who did some of the same things your horse did - I had a lot of trouble knowing how far to go so that I could challenge her but not push her to a point that she couldn't cope - sometimes the getting off and leading, or ground-driving, can make a real difference. I guess you just have to take each day as it comes.

  3. Claire, it's always nice to hear other people are in the same boat, so to speak.

    Hi Kate :) You are so right, it's about feeling when to ask for more and when to back off. I took him for an in-hand hack today and he was much more sensible!