Monday, September 22, 2008

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back.

Pat Parelli say in the first part of his book Horse-Man-Ship (which, by the way makes me think it's a relationship between a horse, a man, and a boat) that You MUST be willing to accept that when things go wrong, the fault is YOURS and not the horse's. I'm paraphrasing, but still. I do accept this as a fundamental truth. Some exceptions exist, but I'm sure my horse is not one of them, he's a good boy. I'm sure it's me. And don't get me wrong, he's really not doing anything bad, he's just not doing everything as well as I know he can. I also know we're just beginning week three so I shouldn't be so hard on him. I ALSO know that I don't want to do anything to UN-train him or make him not enjoy his job during this very formative time in our relationship. We seem to do better in lessons. HIS concentration is better or he's more relaxed. *I* seem to do better when we're alone. When I'm in lessons I tend to catch myself zoning out. Maybe that's better because *I* am also more relaxed, but I need to be able to work on my own and have progress. I KNOW I shouldn't overreact to these little setbacks, but well, did you read the title of this blog? That's what I do. I ordered that 101 Arena Exercises book so I can do something more than circles and serpentines. When he's "on" he's ON. So supple and smooth, relaxed neck, easy transitions. I can do shallow serpentines with *almost* just leg pressure and body weight and can halt with *almost* just my seat and "whoa." But when he's "off" it's like he's never been ridden before. He takes all cues to the extreme or not at all. He picks his head up when I ask him to put it down. He walks all crooked unless I ask him to turn and then he cranks his head around but veers the opposite way. Yesterday I decided to just see what he would do if I let him go where HE wanted to and hold his head how HE wanted to. What did he do? He walked into all the corners. And I mean straight into the corners. Would've tried to take us into the mess of jump standards if I hadn't pulled him out. Finally he walked to the rail and put his neck over the wall and just stood there. Just stood there. I didn't do anything. He didn't do anything, he just stood there. I let him stand there for a few solid minutes and figured he really DID NOT want to work. So I pulled him back and over to the gate, bent down and popped the latch open. We walked outside and around the building out into the hay field and did a few trips down the fenceline and back. He relaxed a little so I called it good and put him up.

So I know it's me. It's my skill or my balance or my...something. I just need to figure out how to fix it.

In the mean time, I really do love my horse. He's pretty neat.

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