Monday, 16 April 2018

Can't Talk Now, Riding Horse

Oh yes I am! I sort of knew that having my horse at a barn with an indoor would be good for me and Shiraz, but guys! I am riding a lot!

And with a lot of riding comes a LOT of rolling. Love that derpy lip :)
And what happens when you ride a lot? Progress, that's what. It has only been two weeks but I have already had three lessons, and ridden 6 other times on my own. That is more riding right there than all of January, February and March combined.

I told you about our first lesson which was all sorts of tense. The great thing from it though was we worked through to a very good place by the end and it left me feeling quite confident that I could manage the same on my own.

Instead of riding videos, enjoy this incredible floating horse head
Every ride following that lesson was a bit better than the last. Shiraz completely stopped the tail swishing/ear pinning half way through the week and by my following lesson we were able to have a regular walk (without any jigging!) right from the start.

I think this is the most excited I have ever been about being able to ride a horse on a circle at the walk and trot.

My first two lessons were with my trusted Pine Ridge coach K, but the third was with M -- new to me on-site instructor who is certified for western and english (and personally rides western). I had a chance to ride with her earlier in the week as she has her horse boarded there as well, and I talked about where Shiraz was at training-wise and what I hoped to work on. I told her a bit about the bucking that had shown up in the canter and that I was really still not terribly confident about it.

Sweaty pony wishing I would just stop with the pictures and take her outside already.
So at the beginning of the lesson M gave me an overview of what she would like to work on, including rollbacks, trot poles widely spaced down one side of the arena and playing with the barrel racing pattern, all tricks to encourage Shiraz to want to canter on her own. The thought being if canter is her idea, perhaps the bucking would be less likely.

The verdict? Success! We actually ended up cantering many times (for brief moments of 3 to 10 strides) and all of those moments were drama free. I also found that working on things in a completely new way was quite refreshing and good for both of us. Even though Shiraz was very 'up' and jiggy for most of all of the lesson, I did not find it worrying and we were still able to focus on the tasks.

An earlier ride on our own *trying* to walk but girl loves her springs
We still have not jumped anything though. My jumping/eventing clinic is this coming weekend...I am still optimistic that I will get over some cross rails before the weekend though. And to be honest, I am not worried about Shiraz's ability to make it over little jumps. My main concern is her being settled enough for me to ride. If she has enough marbles for me to walk and trot, then everything else should be just fine! :)


  1. Yay! Such a positive update :) Enjoy your clinic - I'm betting it will be fine!

    1. Thanks! I think the only thing worrying me are the unknowns--it is at a place I have never brought a horse to before so my head is basically exploding with all the little details I don't know. Luckily though we are scheduled as the last group of the day so I can go on my own in the morning and watch a few groups ride and get the 'lay of the land' before I bring Shiraz over!

  2. That sounds awesome, I’m so happy for you! And I love the philosophy of using exercises to get the horse thinking positively as if “it’s their own choice” - really seems to help engage the horse’s curiosity and happiness in the work! Good luck with the clinic - I’m sure it’ll be fine!!

    1. Thank you! And yes, that lesson was so useful in helping Shiraz feel more confident with getting in front of my leg. I have been noticing Shiraz hates being told what to do (resulting in sucking back/tail swishing/ear pinning), but at the same time can be very insecure if I am not giving her clear direction(becomes much more spooky), which is...complicated to ride to say the least. So, exercises where I can ride every step yet get her thinking on her own are key.

  3. Aww, this is such a wonderful update! And I love the gif of her springs lol

    1. lol, who needs walk when you can be Tigger and bounce around the arena?