Had an interesting dressage lesson last night that kind of resurfaced some of my fears (specifically, the fears I have that Oats is going to be a twit and start bucking/getting humpy on me again).
Note- he hasn’t really pulled this stuff in months- since that one bad time in October?
But the fear is apparently always there, albeit not as close-to-the surface as it used to be.
We worked on engaging/pressuring ‘intensity’ at the walk and trot. BIG walk, tiny trot, BIG trot. It was starting to melt Oat’s brain, and I got kind of pushy with my hands when HE got pushy with his head. When his head came up, my hands defensively came up! I can’t seem to help it! When he started tossing his head and getting balky, I got anxious. I started remembering what he was like before, when we started increasing the pressure on him.
But then, Karen said (while I was frustrated and it felt like he was messing with my head!!) if his head goes up, your hands don’t go up! Think about your contact/hands like guard rails. They are there to guide. They don’t go sideways, up, down, anything. They are guiding.
And you know what? The super annoying messing around slowly started going away. My anxiety about his behaviour still existed, but it felt like I was more secure. I could do this! I could be solid, guiding, and push with my legs- it didn’t matter if his head went up, down, all around.
We did get some fab canter- and I sat the canter/gallop the whole way! Whee!! Go us!
And I felt a lot more secure, and my anxiety was starting to melt away. It’s funny, how deep the roots of stress and anxiety lay though. We’ve been having some amazing breakthroughs in lateral work, like every week, and then this week, some more ‘intense’ work at the trot and I have a melt down? Silly!
Of course my friend came to watch and this is the show we put on for her. SIGH! Hahaha, oh well. Horses- can’t live with them, can’t live without ’em sometimes.
It did make me want to start jumping even more though. I sure like that feeling more than wrestling through dressage some days, even if the cross-training we are doing is definitely helping us progress. It is hard-won, some days.