It wasn’t new to me. Being told I post too darn fast. J used to get on me about that all the time. My time with Gem on the trail is mostly to blame. After that many conditioning and competition miles your muscle memory gets pretty honed in. By the time I retired Gem from endurance I could have told you precisely the mph we were traveling based solely on my posting. 5.5 mph….8 mph….12 mph. Spend that many hours trotting down a trail with a GPS watch attached to your wrist and you can’t help but learn pacing by feel.
When we turned to arena work it was the first issue, of many, that came with me from endurance. We careened around the arena in a very happy, forward 8 mph trot. Both Gem and I felt comfortable and at home. Trainer nearly had a stroke.
Slow your posting.
Feel like you are almost walking.
I heard those words dozens of times in every single ride.
When I chose H’Appy he came with a nice slow trot. He meandered around the arena. I felt like we weren’t going anywhere and my internal GPS was screaming “this is too slow! We are only going 3 mph!!!”
Trainer loved it. I lamented that we weren’t going anywhere. She responded that there was no where to go. It was a 20 m circle after all. What was the rush?
Over the months that I rode him I noticed that I was nagging him in the trot. He would be trotting along merrily and there I was asking for more, more, more.
Now he gives me more.
A lot more.
Good boy gave me what I wanted.
Now I don’t want it any longer.
During my latest lesson, C kept telling me to slow down. Post lower. Post heavier. Post slower. And when I did, he would relax, breathe and slow down. He never once broke to the canter.
I knew the issue was me. Fixing him would be easier. Fixing me…well that’s hard work. I can afford horse boot camp. I can’t afford a rider boot camp.
So that is my #1 homework while I figure out what lessons will work out for me. Slowing my body down. Stop asking for slow with my hands and fast with my body. That’s confusing. I imagine he feels as frustrated with me as I was with C and that is not how I want my horse to feel. No wonder he gets anxious and tense. Poor guy got stuck with me as his rider. Sorry buddy. We will figure it out though. I’m committed to that.