So this weekend wasn’t a lot of Oats-riding, as you may have guessed. I had a good jumping lesson on Thursday, and then took Fri-Sat off and rode on Sunday.
Sunday Oats was good, we rode in the outdoor, but I wasn’t. I was having trouble breathing, and it felt like my whole chest was constricted. I was gasping and having the hardest time catching my breath, it felt like a mild case of ‘getting the wind knocked out of you’ but it was like, the whole ride? Scary! My hands were shaking and I just kept trying to breathe.
So, despite his rider having an apparent asthma attack, Oats behaved himself and we trotted a few fences, and cantered and then I had to stop and slide off, because I was fairly sure I was going to faint and fall off.
Monday, I went to ride and poor Oats’ eyes were swollen shut. The return of the flyborne eye-infection! ARGH. I cleaned the goop out of his eyes, put polysporin eye cream in them, and put his fly mask back on. No riding for me on Monday.
Tuesday we had our lesson with Karen Brain and Robin. And it was intense. Not physically challenging, as sometimes they are, but just…Jesus. Oats was NOT HAVING IT. He was upset, pissy, rude, bucking, stalling out, humping his back up…All in the name of progress, ha.
What was it that had him so flustered? Well, surprisingly it was mostly walk-trot work, we barely even cantered! We worked on holding a bend, and asking for the horse to go with just a ‘tap tap’ from the whip. No pump, no legs, nothing else. Body relaxed, a sack of potatoes but they had to GO and they had to BEND. This was mindblowing for Oats.
He would go, and his head would fly up! He would resist! He wanted to go faster! He didn’t want to bend anymore! Buck! Backwards! Stall out! Pull!
We fought for awhile, but at the end of the lesson (after a lot of hissy-fits) he was licking, chewing, shaking his head, and blowing and snorting. It was obvious that he was holding a TON of mental tension during the exercise, and was letting it go after.
He was really sweaty after too, and I wasn’t. More proof that the tension he was holding made him work harder. Karen cautioned us that this kind of work was very hard for a pony like Oats (who is used to doing his own thing) and to not practice it without supervision.
No worries there- yikes, it was so challenging that I would not want to do it on my own anyways. The risk of screwing up is too high for us, on this kind of work.