Thursday, 7 January 2016

The Wheels

On the struggle bus are falling off. Or in Bridget's case, spinning rapidly out of control and dragging the bus over the nearest road edge :)

We've lost the steering again in a big way. It's partly my own fault, because I opted for a vacation and only rode twice last week, plus we've been struggling focusing on grids and gymnastics lately so dressage has been a bit ignored. (strangely enough though, my aids work perfectly fine when we're jumping, something to do with pony actually wanting to be forward/make the turns ?)

She warmed up really pushy and on the muscle. I picked that fight because I was tired and had limited patience. Big mistake.

Our lesson time started with Bridget in full on "I don't wanna" mode. My coach was unperturbed, and either hates us or simply reads the same blogs I do, because our warm up exercise was quite similar to the one Cob Jockey wrote about recently - half pass to spiral. Since we're not as advanced, our half pass is only for a step or two, then the bend changes to a leg yield, then back to half pass. The spiral also alternates, asking for a shoulder in position on the spiral in, and haunches in on the spiral out.

Bridget is super bendy, so even though she is green, she can do all this provided I stay coordinated. Whether she wants to do this is another story! Today, the answer to all my questions was a big fat no. Our warmup exercise turned into our lesson, and in a scene reminiscent of our struggles last spring, it only got worse before it got slightly better. That bendy ability can be used against me in a huge way since she is fully capable of bending around my leg while simultaneously falling through it. I have no idea how the physics of some of her naughty pony moves work, suffice to say I can have her in what should be a correct position yet somehow we travel forward or sideways where a fat green pony should not be able to.

Our interpretation of a spiral....
In the walk, I had a handle on it. In the trot, we were moderately successful, but needed to go back to walk to force the issue a couple of times, particularly near the gate. It wasn't ever smooth and flowy, but eventually it got done. Next, to add a canter transition on the spiral out. And then the wheels fell irretrievably off. Bridget could not canter last night, she could only gallop. Since she could only gallop on the forehand, she could not move her shoulders. Since she could not move her shoulders, she couldn't turn. Since she couldn't turn, she had to trot. So we spiraled in and made her use her bum and move her shoulders in trot. Spiral out and repeat. It was awful, for every pound of pressure I'd use to ask her to move, she'd push back with two. The entire lesson from start to finish felt like a struggle. I actually felt like I might throw up, I was so physically done in by the end.
Despite my negativity, there was a big improvement from start to finish. I did "win" that fight I picked and pony finished off cantering a spiral. It was never a nice canter, but we did the exercise. It was just one of those rides that I wish I could take back and approach from a different angle, one of those ones that as a rider really makes you wish you had some more tools in the toolbox. 

EC's input was essentially that Bridget was bullying me and I needed to pick the fight and get it done. OK, I get it. But I still can't help but wonder what piece of the puzzle I'm missing, because in a perfect world we would not have these rides where Bridget's answer to everything I ask from the moment I show up at the barn is "just try to make me!" Granted, these bad days are getting more and more infrequent, but they are still troubling.

Please if anyone out there likes me, if I ever publicly say I am getting a project pony/horse ever again, point me back to this post, and remind me why it is the dumbest idea ever :) (Obviously I am only joking here, I love my Midget pony and overall am very much enjoying the training process!)

10 comments:

  1. Too bad you last ride was a struggle! I hope you will be able to "win those fights" and that she starts to respect you more!

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    1. I just want to avoid the fights in the first place, but barring that winning them is a great goal :)

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  2. ha that graphic is awesome, i definitely relate! seriously those struggle bus rides are the worst... i hate feeling like i'm 'missing' something or somehow unequipped to handle a problem (even tho it happens somewhat often lol). anyway at least the bad days are happening less often! perhaps Bridget is figuring out that they're not as fun as when she behaves more willingly and is therefore allowed to do more fun stuff?

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    1. It was the first lesson in a while that didn't involve grids or jumping in some form, so I'd like to think she was giving us (a one time only) opinion on that :)

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  3. The #1 Rule in the "How to Pony Rule Book" for Welsh Cobs is give your rider a hard time. The only way I can handle my pony's wheels off the bus day are to try (key word TRY, I'm not always successful) to remember that it isn't personal, and to just give it my best ride.
    Good luck with her! :)

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    1. They truly are in a class of their own, I've never experienced anything like it! I not so secretly think it's kind of awesome theyre so smart and opinionated about things :)

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  4. Oh no, frustrating rides are no fun. :(

    I vote for making her do dressage stuff on the trail, she will be distracted by happy outdoor things...and just mindlessly cooperate. I am mostly joking but I seriously do this to Apollo all the time :P (must less complicated maneuvers though, leg yields mostly).

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    1. It's a struggle right now with the lack of daylight, but trails are a brilliant idea :)

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  5. I've had my share of rides where I looked like a monkey sitting on a giraffe tap-dancing sideways. I think that the talented ones are often difficult. Just think of it as teaching her to use her power for good instead of evil. :)

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    1. Using her powers for good would be kind of against her whole life outlook I think, but certainly a goal to keep me motivated! :)

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