Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Chalk and Cheese

That's what the past two days have been :(


Quadi was booted up with slightly thinner pads and we set off for a hack. It was a little drizzly and windy so we headed into the forest. Apart from a little stop/start at the Fell pony field where a dog walker stood every-so-patiently waiting on us to pass, he was great on the way out, save being a little backwards. We had a little trot and once into the forest he was really using his back and working off of my seat and legs very sweetly.

I took the unusual, and not very safe, decision to listen to my iPod on our hack. Just as we approached the track I canter him on (naughty habit, I know!) a song came on that, for the whole time he was on loan, I couldn't listen to for crying. Dayvan Cowboy by Boards of Canada, I have no idea why but it reminds me of him. So I got to canter him along whilst listening to it, magic. We lost a boot but I dismounted and put it back on, and off we continued. We went around the loop again and cantered there AGAIN. Big smiles from me, just what I needed!

But today, oh dear:

Firstly I must say that I'm not proud of my reaction. In fact, I'm ashamed of my behaviour!

The weather turned dire as I brought Quadi in. Really awful mizzle. But I had it in my head I ought to ride him on the road, we're staying out of the school this week. So we donned high-viz and set off. He stopped as we turned off the driveway. I got him going but he was even more backwards than yesterday. But forwards momentum was maintained. As we approached the closed road, the 'Road Closed' sign was no longer there. How busy can it be, thought I?!

Quadi took objection quite early on to some tractors in a field (we see these a lot, so I was having none of it). As the wind started driving the drizzle horizontally, Quadi would not be asked, told or foxed and decided to physically express himself by rearing. Absolutely any muscle movement in me set him off. I got off and led him to the stationary tractors and made him touch them. We walked on to the next passing place on our side of the road and mounted up again.

The saddle seat, by this point, was soaking. And I was in beige jods with pink knickers underneath. Great(!)

We managed about three strides before he started again, exactly the same. By this point my temper was gone and instead of trying to understand what Quadi was objecting to (I can't say I'm any the wiser now), I was rude and obnoxious. As a human I am in control of my feelings and emotions, except I wasn't!

He kept gawking around, so to try and regain his attention I asked for flexion. He decided I was taking a huge liberty by asking him to focus and put on his F*ck You and Your Commands t-shirt.

In my full-on seething strop, I dismounted again and could barely get him past the invisible line he'd drawn for himself on the ground. We walked on a little and he went well until a tractor appeared behind us.

I trotted him on because there was nowhere to let them pass us, and he was good. Worried, but did as asked. I halted him at the foot of the next farm track so that he could see what was 'chasing' us. He settled and I asked him on.

Once again, we were going backwards and then he whipped round and reared, and stomped, and reared, and stomped.

So I dismounted for a third time, led him a little up the way and remounted. By this point my jaw was clamped shut and I was grunting through my teeth. Anyway, once on board for a third time, and by this point soaked through, we set off briskly. He took exception to most things on this track but as soon as we were at the foot of the long hill I sent him up for a blast.

He spooked this way and that but he kept going and we waited at the top of the hill to catch our breath and I turned him right around for home.

The same tractor was bearing down on us on the way back. I pulled Quadi into a gateway and asked him to halt. I could feel him clearly worried but he did stand, and the farmer was very kind to slow right down and give us lots of room. I thanked him very much and he set off.

Sadly a driver heading towards us shortly after did not slow at all for us and she zoomed past, despite my signalling her to slow. Quadi was great, he didn't flinch and moved himself to the verge to avoid her, but hardly the point!

The tractors in the field were working on the way back, so we ended up jittering on the verge again, and an oncoming van driver also failed to slow.

Just an awful ride, I wish I'd gone into the forest. I'm off to harsh in the corner about all of this, I'm really not happy about any of it.


  1. I appreciate your thoughts and self-criticism about this ride, I do, but I also think you're being just a bit hard on yourself. No matter how poorly the ride went (and there always will be those rides), you still took the time to keep it a learning experience for Quadi, and I respect you for that.

    I'm a rider working to overcome confidence issues, and I can't help but admire your ability to continue with a ride that I likely would have ended at the first rear.

  2. Hi Muddy K!

    Well, I'm not sure how respectable losing one's temper is with an animal, but thank you for taking the time to comment. I feel if I blog I ought to post exactly what happens and exactly what I feel, otherwise what's the point? :)

    I have confidence issues too, I hope you can kick your demons into touch!

  3. I am new here...popped over from Trudi's...really enjoy reading your post and exactly how it went. It makes me feel normal to have those uglies inside/out-sometimes about my ride and responses.
    Every day, is certainly a new one for us, and our equine loves!
    Thanks for the transparency!