Monday, 26 June 2017

Held Hostage

The above title courtesy of my coach's feedback during our dressage % day rides.Can you guess how this story is going to play out? :)

Dressage day morning dawned early and hot. G and I were on the road to the barn and already the AC in the truck was barely keeping up. I was feeling pretty guilty for dragging him around to all the horsey things all weekend - it's the first time in quite a while he's been able to come this way for a weekend, so it would have been nice to do some hiking or beach time instead. Thank goodness he doesn't seem to mind baking in the hot sun watching dressage...he has more patience than me, that's for sure.
At least B's tail is looking good ;) All pics are from our warmup

Our trailer ride was just a quick one up the road to the area equestrian club grounds. I was a bit worried, because I rode first of everyone, and the trailer is only as quick to leave as the slowest person...in the past this has sometimes been a bad thing for me, since I do like to have a few minutes to warm up before I go in the ring! EC is pretty good at wrangling the kids and/or having the repeat offenders take their own trailers, however there's reason this is referred to as the 'slow coast' lol....punctuality in these parts is not the norm. This time, though, it all worked out, I had a few minutes to warm up and didn't feel rushed, they had a couple of cancellations and were super strict about times. They were sort of just making sure everyone was riding in the correct order and that's about it. Midge was NOT on her game, and in fact was being quite obstinate about things like bending, moving forward, being round, you know...those really complicated things she can't possibly be expected to do at a show *gasp*
B's "can't even" face

And so, my first ride was average to poor. I could not get her forward, and she was wiggling around behind the bit. The lengthen trots basically didn't happen, except for maybe half a diagonal where I booted her so hard I lost a stirrup. She still quit on me early in the first canter. Our whole test was a little bit like so:

me: "hey Midge, we're going to do this next thing soon"
b: *crickets*
me: "OK this is happening now"
b: *crickets*
me: "now!"
b: *crickets*
me "NOW LIKE RIGHT NOW OR ELSE"
b: "ARGGHHH OMG why u so mean I AM GOING NOW STOP BEING SO MEAN!!!!1!!!"

I'm sure my rider marks will be amazing, lol.
"Help! This person is mean to me!"

EC's comments: It wasn't as bad as a I thought. The canter work was decent, the geometry was great, the walk work good. I rode just fine, but Midge was 'holding me hostage'. Her advice: smart ponies like Midge learn very quickly that their rider is not going to pick a fight in the test and just figure it's fine to sort of go around and give half an effort, Advice: for test 2, pick a fight if needed, circle if needed, use it as a schooling opportunity and let her know that she's expected to show up to work.

So, that's what I did in my second test. There was a discussion, it wasn't pretty, then the rest of the test rode decently, but not brilliantly.

And then I got off and cried a little, just because I'm still a kid at heart I work really, really hard with B and it stinks to still sometimes feel like I do not have the tools to get her working on my agenda. Also, I HATE being *that* person, Particularly, as once again, the suggestion was to 'stop being so nice to her, pick the fight I need to, and oh yeah, wear big spurs next time'. I'd prefer to outsmart her and somehow create an honest and reliable work ethic, but I'm beginning to believe that's just not possible. I HATE being 'stong/tough/mean" or whatever adjective we want to use. She knows it, she tests it daily because she knows I'm not 100% committed to it. Sigh, life with ponies. Always interesting.

As for judge feedback and scores, I have not picked up my tests yet. Honestly, I was so discouraged, I didn't want to dwell on it. I did watch the bit of video I got and it doesn't look anywhere near as bad as it felt although there is some minor weird head wagging going on due to her being behind the leg. She's a nice/big enough mover it's not super obvious beyond that and my kicking. In the interest of keeping honest, I'll post my test results and edit some video for a later date, once I am feeling a little less depressed about it. For now, I'll be proactive and order those bigger spurs, but keep editing the XC day videos because that's far more fun  :)
Seriously though, at least her tail looked great :)

14 comments:

  1. You guys look good! Sorry to hear that it didn't feel good. I can totally empathize with the not wanting to be tough/mean, I would be the exact same (but actually even worse because I'm useless with spurs). I've been reading some horse personality books lately, maybe going down that route might help you find something else to motivate her? It's all too easy to be your own worst critic though. With how well XC went you must be doing something right!

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    1. We HAVE made so much progress on the "getting pony to show up to work" front, but oh boy do we have more work to do.

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  2. If you're not a chronic fightpicker, then it is okay to drop the hammer, or perhaps introduce a lil religion into ponydom. It is not ideal, obviously, but sometimes required. Think of Future T and Future Midge. Or think you would let your boyfriend or spouse or BFF walk over you. It is so much easier to encourage you to be tougher, lol, than it is to be the one doing it. But it sounds like you know.

    And that is a great tail.

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    1. I actually read over my tests last night and got an 8 on the movement directly following our CTJ moment. And a 6 on the actual movement (followed by -2 for going off course to deal with drama) with a 'well done!' , so it seems judge was in agreement with my actions lol. But yeah, it's super hard for me to lay down the law over, and over, and over again over the same silly issues...I thik they're fixed, and them BOOM, there they are again. Next time I'm buying a less confrontational pony...if there is such a thing ;)

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  3. i kinda love that 'held hostage' analogy. it's really really fitting. if it makes you feel any better, my friend's ottb would do the same damn thing to her, so it isn't just pony 'tude. he would get into the dressage court and suddenly be all like, "LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU HAHA." infuriating.

    also i totally know what you mean about not wanting to get after the pony and wishing there was another way to be more clever or whatever. what i'm figuring out with my guy tho (who definitely does *not* look at me with the same respect that he reserves for his herd boss) is that his herd boss doesn't outsmart him. he just tells him what's up in no uncertain terms. and charlie's like, 'cool. got it. roger that.' so... yea. i gotta try to channel more of *that* into my communication. sigh.

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    1. Love this comment, sorry your friend is a hostage 'survivor' too :) I loved the hostage analogy too, so apt!
      I watch B in the herd and the other horses BEAT on her to get her to move. She's pretty much the bottom of the pecking order, and yet she still pins her ears and saunters off slowly like "la la la, I am a tortoise, I move when I please..." So, unfortunately, I don't think there's respect there, more like a sullen teenager sulking over not getting her way. On the plus side, her herd mates are equally infuriated by her 'tude and none of us have really made it better? lol

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  4. I have been held hostage in a test too- Irish was the opposite he would rush, rush, rush and ignore all my gentle half-halts. I finally wised up and had the 'come to jesus' moment. It helped a lot

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    1. They're so freakin smart sometimes!

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  5. I love the other comments and you guys really do look great. I hear you though, it is sometimes tough to not think about how this is supposed to be fun :) Also, yeah that tail is fantastic!!

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    1. It's funny, the pics don't really tell the story that well...you can see it's not perfect, but the media I got doesn't nearly convey how awful it felt.

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  6. That is exactly how my last test felt and yes, I cried. Also spur shopping now. ponies. <:(

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    1. Boo, ponies! :( G thought for a second I was crying because I was mad at B. I was like "No! It's just I work so darn hard at this and it's incredibly frustrating to feel like I still suck so bad at it!" B's new spurs have been ordered from Greenhawk, they should arrive in time for her birthday *evil laugh* ;)

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  7. Oh gosh, yes, I totally understand feeling held hostage by a pony in the dressage court and not wanting to pick a fight in front of the judge! What helped me a lot was starting to think more about what I needed to do in the moment to get Dino forward/round/bending/whatever, whether that was a swift kick in the gut with my spur or another 'mean' thing. If I get in, correct him, and get out, the rest of the test is usually MUCH better than when I try to just play nice and handle him with kid gloves hoping that I won't do something to upset him. He TOTALLY takes advantage of me when I do that!

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    1. I've been learning this the hard way. we don't get to that many shows, so I get stuck in the mind frame that I need to make it count result wise rather than treat it like a schooling opportunity if needed, which is obviously the way better long term option. Dino and Bridget = soul mates and pony power couple most likely to take over the world ;)

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