So *takes a deep breath* I did it- rode in my lesson yesterday with Karen (as I mentioned in my previous post, I was soooo undecided about it).
Even right up until when she came to the arena, I was like no, I’m not riding. Yes I am riding. No, I’m not. Yes. No. Yes.??
I kind of felt like tearing up when I went through how I was feeling with her, but funny enough she said hey let’s go ahead with business as usual, and act like he’s going to be perfect. If he isn’t, we will deal with that when it happens.
So….I just didn’t have a lot of time to get angsty and dramatic. I had to stay focused, on the game, and couldn’t let my mind wander.
We worked, and when I said he felt like he was getting rude or pissy with me, we worked constructively through it. Very positive, and very thorough.
I learned some really good tools to help me cope with his behaviour, like working on right-bend from the left side, using the wall to help me if I felt unsafe or concerned, and getting after him in a tighter circle if I felt like he was going to try to toss me off (it never got to the bucking point but I did use the circle once or twice when I felt uneasy).
In short? My heart was in my freaking throat!!! But I was committed to work through it, and determined to see this through. Every time he ‘threatened’ or tried to intimidate me, I wanted to FREEZE and grab.
The tools I am learning are helping me move beyond the ‘frozen’ fetal position, and get more proactive in managing how I am riding Oats.
And it is tough! Particularly when my first instinct is to grab upwards and ‘save myself’ when he bucks, instead of being able to ‘feel out’ when and if a buck or pissy behaviour is going to happen and proactively deal with it, before it escalates into a buck.
We even cantered, though I said NO WAY at first! Right lead 3-4 strides, left some good circles, though I was grabby and nervous at first.
It was a good, extremely productive lesson. Oats was coated in sweat (needs clipping SO HARD right now) and I was sooo sweaty too. It was not a pretty ride, but it was one that we honestly needed to get us over this dangerous plateau we are on.
So, while I am not exactly over the moon happy, and frankly still worried about what the hell I’m doing with him most days- I’m also committed to at least trying what I am learning with him.
And I asked how long it would take to get us through this rough spot and Karen said it can take months- 3 months or 6 months or whatever. WTF? I was like, nooooooo I’m doomed to be a walk-trot rider forever!!! (dramatically).
Hah, well she said it is like training a child- lots of reminders, pushing boundaries, etc. You can’t just do it for a week or 1 lesson and be done, blah.
I just can’t help but feel like I get/got frustrated because my version of progress right now feels like a freaking circle, nevermind a linear line or squiggle line. What gives?