Monday, November 21, 2016

Hills and Valleys

Courage has not been on his A game lately. It's not exactly his "bottom of the barrel peace out yo" Z game, but riding has been more an exercise in mental gymnastics and patience than any sort of so-called "progress". 
did i mention it got cold? it did
I had a lesson in which we either EXPLODED FORWARD and basically ran down an (imaginary) hill or SLAMMED ON THE BRAKES and tried to reset. It was not pretty or fun. During Trainer's next ride, Courage was perhaps better, but I about gave myself ulcers watching him go around.

Then we added one last minute ride in a clinic because I don't know, I make good life choices. I lunged Courage in the outdoor before our ride time inside and it was... well... there was a lot of bolting and one time he ran backwards into the fence, but we did come to some sort of accord so that's good I guess.

Then I got on and the clinician asked how he was. I was like "omg hurray we're going the direction I picked!"
it's something
But apparently there's more to riding than that. The clinician pointed out that Courage was just sort of bracing his back and neck and turning his head without every actually yielding his body.

She put us right to work--overbend with him really deep in the neck to position his body to show him how to use his back.

And damn girls--when he got it, it felt good.
things are moving
We did not always get it. In fact we did not get it a lot more than we did. And even when we did get it, it sort of all fell apart when I tried to change directions without losing it.

But.

We did a lot of counterbend around circles with LOTS of bend, and Courage didn't check out. We asked him to really sit and push from behind, and he stayed with me. We did some GOOD changes of direction maintaining that loose, moving back, and he was right there.

So yeah, at about the 30 minute mark in a 45 minute lesson, Courage decided his brain was done and started running sideways and I made Trainer get on and she was like "he's legit done for today guys", but you know what?
little bay horse <3
This was good. Not in a "hip hip hooray such a fun day" sort of way, but in that Courage was able to accept and process and learn concepts that are legitimately hard for us right now and even when he got overwhelmed and needed to be done, it was a discreet "exit stage left" versus the full-on-flail that y'all know and love.
the wheels, they are turning

Oh and the kind auditors at the clinic took like 18 minutes of video for y'all but I was mid phone changeover and it all got wiped off the phone memory so all that remains are a couple still shots. Sorry not sorry.

16 comments:

  1. Discreet exit stage left is usually preferable to full on flailing, so yay for you and Courage!! And that last headshot 😍

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    1. Yeah I like that we can have a conversation about it now at least.

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  2. Being completely honest, that headshot made me temporarily forget what I just read. Damn, that's a sexy horse.

    I'm glad you had a good clinic even if there was a lack of "hip"s and "hooray"s, and I'm so very glad that he was able to ask discreetly for an exit instead of flailing. I bet that was very encouraging.

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    1. Sexy headshots make life better for sure.

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  3. Agreed with Brenna. How can anything be wrong when that noseband / bonnet double whammy is so right?!?

    Glad you got what you needed from the clinic ;)

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    1. No matter what happens in a ride, our outfits are dialed in. ;-) sometimes it's all we've got.

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  4. I am sad that I missed your clinic ride, but glad that you came away from it no worse for the wear. Donna will point the way! But without penis.

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    1. Haha per the usual, you didn't miss much.

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  5. Ugh, this is exactly why winter is SO FREAKING HARD. And why I've decided to just... sort of... not deal with it this year?

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    1. Dude I would be thrilled if we could limit this problem to winter. Fingers crossed for spring?

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  6. Dido on what Tracy said - I am exiting quietly stage left while all this stupid winter/crazy horse brain stuff is happening.

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    1. I respect that decision. It's not off the table for me either.

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  7. Oh hey! I know ALL ABOUT the "Oh I'll just brace my neck, but sort of crane my head around but not really bend at all through the body ... and then I will just CHECK OUT and fucking ignore my rider when I feel like it" trick! Except Hampton is not nearly as dramatic ... but .. I feel ya.

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    1. Haha yeah. Our problems are not unique but some of his solutions certainly are. ;-)

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  8. Definite progress for the better. I think it's a huge win in the big picture. The best things are never the easiest...

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  9. Courage seems to be coming around. After my ponys epic explosive flail, he began changing the 'How' of letting me know he wasn't happy, or had issues going to the right. Sometimes they need to get it out of their system.

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