Riding/Horses

A Very Wet Lesson

It poured all night Sunday to Monday and by morning it wasn’t looking any clearer. By 9:30am I was starting to think my morning lesson would be cancelled. I needn’t have worried though. Trainer is the best person I’ve ever met and once I verified that the footing was solid under the 3″ of standing water, she was game to come over and get drenched.

While the arena bugs me with the fight against grass, the base is solid and safe to ride on even under water. 

This is noteworthy because had it been with Gem I’d never have even thought of riding. The puddles would have made it impossible to get any actual work accomplished. But Eeyore is a different beast and after riding through a few puddles on Saturday I knew he’d be ok. Maybe not thrilled, but ok.

A very different beast. He stole the hoof pick while I was grooming him. 

I was a bit nervous going in. Trainer had come over to meet Eeyore once before and had seen him crippled but never under saddle. Would she think he moved like a camel? Would she tell me I made a mistake? There was only one way to find out!

Eeyore didn’t disappoint. He never so much as batted an eye at the puddles. He quietly squealed his disapproval of being worked in the rain a time or two but other than that he went to work happily enough. In fact, he was the most energetic I had seen to date and even dolphin leaped into the canter the first time. No worries though. If that was his worst I’ll take it! I never once felt out of control or uneasy on him.

I broke out my riding rain coat but quickly realized it was too hot for it. 80 and raining is hard weather to prepare for. 

There were three main things I wanted eyes on the ground for and Trainer was on board to see where we were at with him. She is a very hard sell when it comes to horse partners so I was interested in getting her overall judgement too.

The first thing was his trot. Of course the rain, cooler temperatures and earlier hour had him much more energetic to start than my previous rides, but he is still Eeyore and I’m still me so cooler weather didn’t make him magically more forward or me less of a nag. She was impressed with his natural rhythm and inherently steady pace. Both things that will serve us well as we progress in our training. However she noticed that he tried to ooze back to the walk and caught me nagging quite frequently. In the end she told me to be crisper with my ask, more proactive with asking for more before he starts to slow and then letting him be able to maintain it. It helped and prevented him getting annoyed. All in all though she thought the pace of his trot was just fine for the majority of our work.

Tried taking a picture of the drowned rat version of Einstein. Big headed Waggy got in the way. She is the most jealous dog I have ever met. 

The second item to cross off was his obstinate refusal to bend left when we hit the barn side of the arena and thus headed away from the gate. Which is odd since he didn’t do that going right. Again, laser eyed Trainer honed in on the issue. Me. Shocking I know.

I’ll back up a tad for this one. Gem hated my leg even thinking of touching her side. It forced me to ride with a too forward lower leg and absolutely no leg aides. Eeyore though needs those aides to keep his body in line. Thankfully Trainer never once told me I needed to bring my leg back under me so win for that! The position nazi had nothing but good things to say. However, since I’m not used to using leg aides I sorta dropped the ball.

While I was playing in the rain, the hubby built me a sliding barn door for the pantry. This part of the house was once a garage and the floor slopes. The bar at the top is level so that the door stays where we put it, but the bottom is not. Gotta love old houses. 

Eeyore is responsive to my left leg and dull to the right. This results in him blowing through my right leg aid. On a left hand circle it means his hindquarters bulge out and we lose our geometry. On a right hand bend it means he circles in making the circle teeny tiny. I really needed to be firmer with my right leg, set him up way earlier than I thought and keep that inside rein still. The moment I went to bend via the inside rein all it did was let his hind end slip out to the outside and make matters worse.

She recommended that I set up cones to mark a circle and then work on staying on the inside then the outside of them to really focus on controlling this.

The last item was his head. For the first 40 minute he was light in the bridle, offered up some really lovely low stretching and elevated his back. Then he got tired and decided that real work is hard and he couldn’t hold his head up at all. His chin was dragging on the ground.

A good sign of a great ride: muddy and wet tack. 

Having never dealt with this before, Gem is a natural giraffe, I was clueless what to do though I suspected the answer was more leg, more forward. I was right and wrong. Yes he needed a cue to move his lazy butt. He also needed me to hold my core, bring my darn elbows back to my side and loosen them and refuse to get tugged on. This was hard. Very hard. My core was yelling obscenities at me and my shoulders weren’t far off.

We livened him back up with canter both directions which worked for a while but he quickly remembered he was tired and couldn’t horse any more. It was a rough last 15 minutes but I think we both started to improve by the end. Trainer plans to hop on him on Thursday to get a good feel and figure out some tricks for me.

Her end analysis? He is mostly a good boy who wants to do the right thing. Until he gets tired and then he quits. She saw his worst behavior I’d ever seen and it was laughable. She thinks he is a good match for me and we have some work to do but it should get there in time. He isn’t going to let me get away with being lazy but won’t punish my mistakes either. Exactly what I was looking for.

If it ever stops raining, 10 day forecast says rain at above 60% chance every day, the plan is to do another flat school at her place to judge how he does away from home plus have her get on him, then do some jump schools and mid summer hit up a cross country course.

The best part? Even soaking wet and covered in mud I walked in the house with a big grin on my face and a hankering to ride again. It’s an unbeatable feeling.

Too bad our three hate each other

19 thoughts on “A Very Wet Lesson”

  1. whooohoo sounds like a great lesson and all things you can work on and do with him. And um yeah the amount of times Remus has had his head almost to the ground with the IM TIRED act. Hint they aren’t tired but they are lazy 🙂 HA this will be fun to watch you guys grow as a team too! I cant wait till trainer gets on him too. And what a ham he is. Glad the three amigos get along 🙂

    Like

  2. what a great first lesson – sounds like you got a lot of great insights on how to keep doing what you’re doing, and what to focus on, as you and Eeyore get to know each other!! regarding your third point – him getting tired at the end and kinda dragging you down…. that sounds a LOT like Charlie haha, esp in the early days. the good news is that it goes away as the horse becomes stronger and more conditioned to your program. the bad news tho? yea, prepare your abs for some workouts lol! i like your trainer’s approach tho – it sounds similar to reminders my trainer gave me with charlie: like about how when he pulls down it should actually pull my seat *deeper* into the saddle vs pulling my arms out or tipping my upper body forward and pulling me *out* of the saddle. anyways sounds like you guys are gonna be having a lot of fun getting to know each other!!

    Like

  3. A great lesson! Sounds like a doozy of a weather day tho lol yeah Whisper used to think she couldn’t horse after a bit, but once we lunged her a lot to get her fitter, the work under saddle became much easier and she found she could horse lolol. Eeyore sounds like he’s going to be such a good one for you, and that you guys will have great adventures!!

    Like

  4. Woohoo! Sounds like a wonderful lesson where you actually got to work on YOU and accomplish things! And Trainer is definitely a champ for standing out in the deluge. So happy for you!

    Like

      1. No! I wish. So there is a door to the bedroom but then there is the bathroom which has the tub and sinks then a doorway with a door to the toilet and shower. But there is no door blocking the bedroom and bathtub. I can lock the bedroom door but there is the “private loft” over the master with stairs in the hallway. So anyone can go up there and look down on the bedroom. Wyatt has woken me up plenty of times by shooting nerf bullets from above.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. What a great first lesson. It’s so good to read about how well of a match you two will be for one another. I love his “worst” behavior, too! What a change from Miss Gem. The smile on your face after the ride speaks volumes. I am so very happy for you!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s