Tonight’s horseback riding went a lot better than last week, and I’ll tell you why…
1. The coach & I discussed the horse I was to ride, Dawn, before I got on. She is “being pissy”, & Coach M couldn’t figure out why. She wanted to see her in motion from a distance, to gauge her reactions to things.
2. I didn’t push this week as hard as I did last week. I was so over-eager about riding last week, that I transmitted my nerves to the horse. Yes, they pick up on emotions. They’re a lot like little kids – they’ll push your buttons just as far as you’ll let them, & then try for more. We walked most of the lesson’s hour, with small bursts of trotting. It helped.
3. Dawn was wearing a different bridle, one with a “broken bit” (the bit isn’t actually broken, but it does have 2 pieces that are connected in the middle, & it handles differently). Believe me, it can make ALL the difference in how a horse reacts to commands. And it did. Dawn was much more receptive & accepting of commands.
4. After watching us ride for a while, Coach M figured out that she’s pretty sure Dawn is going into heat. Yep, Dawn’s PMSing. Dingdingding! We have a behavioral winner!
5. My confidence was up tonight, with fewer distractions in the arena to pull Dawn’s attention, she listened to me more, & it paid off for both of us.
6. I talked to Dawn almost the whole time we rode. She was more comfortable knowing I was calm, & I kept my voice low & encouraging.
All in all, I felt really good about tonight’s ride. It made me feel good, knowing that Coach M trusted me to handle her “Problem Child”, & with Dawn listening & responding as well as she did, we both did much better. My nerves were calmer, which made her calmer. And she realized I wasn’t going to let her be the boss, which can be half the battle with a “shirty” horse.
Goddess, it’s good to be back in the saddle again…
(Dawn’s picture from last week)