Sunday, March 25, 2012

rinse, repeat

After the disastrous ride on Friday, I knew I needed some just training rides. Not to worry about miles, or destination, or speed, just behavior.

But I also knew I needed to set him up in a similar situation. Riding around the arena doesn't work for us. Yes we're rusty on some finer points, but he listens and stops and rates just fine in there.

So the rain rinsed everything clean Saturday night, and we headed out to repeat. But just the trail, NOT the behavior.

I was determined. Picture steely-eyed Clint Eastwood, gritting his teeth...well, except being a woman, with glasses, and a ponytail. But other than that...exactly. That's the picture. But really, I thought from the beginning that Major wasn't going to put a foot anywhere I didn't specifically say.

The forest was a soggy mess, but there was no avoiding puddles or his random pull over to the side antics, well, he tried, no luck. I did have to let him choose his way all-wheel-drive style through a really sloppy area. Glad that each foot can get independent traction!

And I randomly stopped. And backed up. And trotted. And whoa'd. And walk on. And back, nope, keep backing.

And out at the lake, no momentum allowed. We'd trot, he did great, but I never let him ramp up to full speed lest his brain fall out. I wanted to keep it on a good note, even if it meant slow.

And he got it. Or he seemed to. As we went along I trotted a bit longer section, and asked to slow within the gait, and got it without a pulling contest. And over rocks, he'd choose to slow, I'd say keep it up keep going, and we did. And whoa. And back. Again.

Even back through the neighborhood, much better normal not crazy fast trot. And we even had two other riders follow us home, then switched to be in back, mostly good.

Was it me? Did he get it? Or sense I was not putting up with crap today? Or the weather? Or get up on the right side of the pasture today? Who knows. But I feel better (for today) and am going to continue my Clint Eastwood impression for awhile.

On the saddle fit issue, his back was fine this morning (or I wouldn't have ridden of course). I took my other Haf pad and trimmed the newer foam in it, added the felt inserts I have too, and tried that. We'll see, after the ride he was fine, but we didn't do very much. I had been meaning to buy new foam, as I know it degrades over time, and I have a lot miles on this set of inserts.

Hopefully things are looking up. I understand set backs and issues, but in the moment it is hard to see. Forest for the trees, etc. Remembering to go back to basics, to dial it down, to just take a walk...just might work.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a good save after Friday's ride! You just have to stay vigilant, Clint ;)

    Dixie often does better with other horses - even racing endurance horses - than she does alone. Her brain exploded and fell out of her ears at our first LD, but after that wild 3 mile gallop at the start she was pretty good and rateable. You just won't get the same horse at a start as you do at your barn, but sometimes it's a better, easier horse. And the more rides we've done, the better she's gotten mentally!