After the shit show that was my Thursday lesson last week I was less positive about my Saturday lesson. Especially when I was about 20 minutes from the barn and the winds were pushing my car around on the freeway. High wind wasn’t going to be in my favor on a baby horse.
I grabbed Aria and threw her in the cross ties. Normally I take her to the arena to groom her and saddle up but I wanted to avoid the wind. Plus she was carrying at least 75% of her shavings in her mane and tail and I didn’t want to leave that all over the arena. She’s starting to look a little…mothy? The flies are leaving welts on her body and I think the location is drier than my home which is causing dry skin and lots of itching. I’m going to add some flax seed oil to her diet to help with the dry skin and boost her immune system. I want to look into skin/coat conditioners to help with the dry skin until the oil does it’s job, so if anyone has any suggestions I’m all for it!
I groomed her and then led her to the arena to tack up. I really like to do this process by myself, although P is always quick to saddle or add boots/polo wraps while I’m busy with horse husbandry, but I find when I saddle Aria the saddle doesn’t slides to the left. I think it could be because I really, really pull the saddle pads up to remove pressure on the withers and that creates a better ‘seat’ on Aria’s fat round beefy withers. It’s all good when you’re an awesome GP level rider and don’t have to worry about the saddle ever slipping but I have slippage issues.
I lunged Aria. I think P loves how self-reliant I am because she gets to holler instructions from a sitting/relaxing position. Not something she does often with all the kids and new riders she teaches. Plus, okay sorry I’m going to go off on a small rant, if you are an adult taking lessons you need to learn how to saddle a horse because you look like an ungrateful asshole standing there on your phone without offering to help while my trainer—yes, she is exclusively mine when you’re being a dick—is trying to saddle up your horse and trying to instruct the end of a lesson. End rant.
Aria did well lunging. After about 15 minutes I got nice, relaxed movement and decent transitions. Definitely something I could work with under saddle. A boost to my confidence because she was working well even with all the crazy wind. At this point the lesson person from my above rant showed up and needed help grabbing their lesson horse from its stall (OMG) so I mounted on my own and started flexing Aria to the right and left. She was a little up, probably from all the wind, but settled after a few repetitions. Not always easy to get her to do because she will flex and stay flexed even when you release, giving her ample time to bite the leather fringe-flappy thing on my boot, which has almost pulled me out of the saddle before!
We walked a few laps to find all the spooky areas in the arena. She decided there weren’t any unless the wind really shook the trees. At one point a mylar balloon flew up and over us. She wasn’t too concerned about it which earned her a lot of praise. Then P returned with lesson horse in tow and we picked up a trot. It was way better going than the last lesson. We did some circles and we worked down the rail. Mainly just trying to put in a good easy ride to stretch her out for the harder stuff.
Then the work got hard. We did many turn on the forehands to leg yields to backing up and cycled through those three movements in a variety of orders with a focus on always stepping forward (except when backing up, obviously!). Sometimes Aria and I clicked and performed the movements really well as they were being called and sometimes Aria just backed up the whole time because she likes to work on that booty I wasn’t driving forward with my seat. That is definitely a me issue. I do need to focus more on driving forward and worrying less about whatever lateral movement or turn we are trying to do because I am clearly creating a wall with my hands and/or seat and not pushing her energy forward, into the outside rein.
After we put in a good enough performance for P I thought my lesson was over but she told me to take a lap and then as I approached her (she always stands between F and B) she told me to pick up a 20 meter circle, rising trot. What? Okay… Then after I completed a full circle and was approaching A for the second time she told me to start ‘blowing kisses’ every time I rose and cue for a canter.
Guys. I actually groaned like a child being told to clean up their room. If I had been P in that second I would have developed super powers, stretched my arm out, and smacked the ever living hell out of me. What a shitty attitude. I don’t even know where it came from but it was embarrassing and definitely reflected on an issue I needed to address. It’s one thing if I’m scared about cantering and do it anyway. I don’t want to be scared about cantering and then act put out when asked to do it because it’s not in my comfort zone. I know my last ride wasn’t good because Aria was in princess mode but there’s no excuse for me to ever have a bad attitude during a lesson.
I mentally slapped myself out of Princess Mode 2.0 and then cantered in both a 20 meter circle and around the whole arena. It went well. Aria feels my reservation but still moves forward when I ask like I feel confident about it. In fact it’s going so well no I have no reason or excuse to ever pause when asked to canter anymore. Which I can’t believe I’m writing because now I have no excuse to lean on. Haha.
Do you ever catch yourself approaching something with a bad attitude? Do you giving yourself an attitude adjustment or do you address it later? Have you found scary situations bring out bad attitudes?
For Avery: I sticked V, she’s 15.2 and downhill. Only a 14” difference between them and the sire is built uphill.