Thursday, 12 March 2015

All The Drama

Getting ready to go out on the big mare. It was pouring rain!
Yesterday, I took Ginger out and had another not so great ride. She was REALLY being inattentive and silly, which is super frustrating and makes me feel very unsafe - I hate not having any pony brain present. She`s not herd bound at least when I take her out alone, but the focus in general is always an issue. She did eventually come back down to earth and try, and as soon as we found a happy place we quit the arena work, even though that meant a lot of walk circles and lateral work and only a bit of trot. She's like a border collie in that you can't tire her out - the normal longing or trot/canter stuff you might use normally to burn off steam only gets her more excitable and anxious. So slow and steady but keeping her mind busy it is. Rather than go straight home, she got to visit the trails in order to head up her most hated mountain and burn off some steam safely. My little plan backfired, because I let her trot it and Ginger adrenalin is strong and there is a super steep downhill on the way back to the barn and that's no fun on a panicky, bolty pony. She`s funny in that she respects her rider or handler in the moment, but the focus is totally lacking and panic sets in any time you aren`t telling her exactly what to do or where to put her feet. So she bolts off for a few feet, I react, she stops, I ride a few strides, then give her her head in an attempt to let her chose her path on the tricky slope, and she scoots off again. It`s the same issue I have in the ring - I find it exhausting to ride every second of every ride, and the minute I get distracted and let her make a decision chances are she will make a very poor one! At one point I let out a big sigh, more of despair than anything, but the big intake of breath made her spook. I forgot her thing about sneezing/coughing/sniffling/sighing if you're not already making noise or talking. It's ridiculous and something I do every ride. Oh well, at least she settled on the last stretch and we had a decent end to the ride (or maybe she just knew we were heading home)
Ginger ears on the trail headed home

I'm really reevaluating whether I want to keep Ginger in any kind of serious work. I love her, but I am simply not having much fun or feeling like I am making any progress. When it goes right, she`s amazing, but the rest of the time (vast majority) it just feels like a job I have to do. I am getting more confident, but pony brain remains incredibly fragile and unreliable and that little voice in the back of my head is telling me it's only a matter of time before one of the silly antics results in another bad fall for yours truly. Also, I hate to sound like an even bigger whiner, but I really want to be able to show and do clinics and go on rides with friends. And I do have Bridget. For this particular clinic, I`ve been riding regularly with a trainer, I brought a friend for Ginger, didn't trailer in last minute, and even stabled her at her old barn and chose a clinic at our old riding club. I don't know how to make it any easier for her! I had a conversation with S the other day and her opinion wasn't overly positive re: the quality of this particular pony's brain,  so maybe I'm just feeling a bit down on things. She`s not the first trainer to mention it (in fact she was the only one that hadn`t ha ha), so I`m not offended, at least - more just disappointed that even with her maturing a bit and having a bit better mindset these days there are still a lot of things that maybe are just `her`and can`t be trained out. I have tended to think it`s me and my riding that`s partly the issue, so when I hear people way better than I can hope to be express concerns about her general sanity it feels a bit hopeless.  I am nothing if not stubborn and persistent though, so don`t count this as my official notice quite yet.
Rain, not sweat! Picture of Ginny`s bum to show a baby step. See that dirt mark on to top of her hindquarters? For the first time ever that when I dismounted and accidently touched her with my boot she didn't lose her mind. (and yes, we've done all the sacking out and all that, but the first time you touch her anywhere and she doesn't expect it she still panics - after that you're good to go)

I booked a couple of lessons tonight, so keep your fingers crossed for a positive update...I`ve had my fill of pony drama lately and am wishing for a week in the sun with some margaritas sans horses of any sort :)

5 comments:

  1. This sounds amazingly similar to the Arab that I owned. I spent so many hours trying to desensitize her but none of it worked. She was fine with a tarp but as soon as I tried to do the same thing with a blanket she would loose her mind. Then three weeks later if I tried the tarp again it was like I'd never gotten her comfortable with it. It was completely frustrating and caused me to have so much self doubt so I completely understand where you are coming from.

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    1. Oh wow, sounds the same - you have my sympathies! It's like Groundhog Day, except not even remotely funny, and like you say it causes so much self doubt. The only way I've found to deal is just putting her to work and not letting her think about anything else. I enjoy having her around partly because she's different and quirky and interesting, but I seem to go through phases with how much I really want to work with her :)

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  2. Oh no, sounds stressful. I can relate because B. is very similar in temperament and my trainer has recently been suggesting that I might move forward faster if I found a more mellow horse to lease. Sending you good vibes and wishing you a week of good rides and great margaritas.

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    1. Awww, I'm sure that's a tough decision for you. Good luck with whatever you decide to do! Thanks for the good vibes! I will share my virtual margaritas with you :)

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  3. i'm so sorry - it definitely sounds like you're in a tough place right now, and it really truly is supposed to be fun and not feel like a job. my thoughts are with you. good luck at the lessons!

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