Monday, November 30, 2009


It was 40 f here yesterday, which seemed ridiculously warm. I took advantage of the last day of break to ride. Izzy started out well. We went to the right first to mix things up. he warmed up nicely at the walk, then we started trotting. She was pleasantly forward, and after a few large circles, she offered a lovely canter. So far, so good.

Things started well to the left. Walk was good, trot was going well... just as I thought that we would canter and be done, she threw a massive fit. She was bowing her neck to the left and pushing out her right shoulder into the side of the fence that she usually hates. It was strictly locational; only on one side of the circle did she try. I tried changing my balance. I tried circling right and moving her off the inside, then holding that bend for counter-bending circle left which would have shifted her weight onto her inside shoulder and eliminated the problem. She would have no part of that. I tried keeping my outside rein short to keep her from overbending her neck.

Nothing was working. Sh quit going forward at all and just ran sideways out her right shoulder. She absolutely wouldn't cooperate. I could tell she was mad by the way she flipped her nose and threw herself around. Unfortunately for her, I was just as mad, and I wasn't getting off until she trotted forward around that corner without throwing herself at the fence.

Eventually, she did it. It wasn't perfect, but it was ok. I immediately dropped the reins, patted her, told her she was a good girl, got off, and loosened the girth. I don't know why that was so hard. She's done it hundreds of times before. I don't know what I would do differently if she does that again. I seriously contemplated calling my trainer and asking her to ride Izzy this week while I'm tied up with homework, but she knows us too well for that. If I'm not comfortable on a horse, I doubt she'd just leap blindly aboard. I do want to be there if/when Cathy rides her, though. I learn the most by watching. If I had more free time, I'd have Cathy ride her, than I'd do a lesson on her. Hm...

Izzy is getting her feet done this week, so I'll be out to hold her for that. Maybe I can get Cathy to ride her around the same time and do it all in one trip. I want to see her with someone else up, but I have to balance that against the fact that Izzy likes testing new people to see what she can get away with... Any ideas? Exercises that will help? I'm pretty sure I'm not dealing with a saddle fit/pain issues because of the way she manifested her anger. If the saddle hurts, she immediately stops. Besides, with our ansur, it warms up with her and begins to soften and move better, so the longer we go (to a point) the better it should be.

I want to pull my hair out. That may be related to the homework stress I'm experiencing right now, though.


  1. Were you sitting to the inside? Chance tries to escape me--not so violently--when he is on the right lead. It's a matter of balance as he has a bit of difficulty carrying himself correctly on that lead from behind. Outside rein has very limited effect unless I make extra sure I am NOT sitting too much to the inside.

    With the Ansur, it is easy to get yourself seated more on one seatbone than the other because there is no tree to "catch" the horse's wither and hold you in place. The saddle will, therefore, make you ride straighter in the end, but sometimes deceives you into thinking you are straight when you are not. But your horse will definitely tell you!

  2. Like Jean said, definitely check your balance and make 100% sure that you're evenly sitting on both seat bones, right in the middle of her back.

    Are you able to carry a dressage whip? I remember having a similar problem with Promise at that age (and still sometimes to this day, lol) and my trainer at the time had me carry a crop or whip (if I needed to be able to reach her butt, too) on the side where she was throwing the shoulder. Typically, I would just push it against her shoulder to remind her, and if she ignored that, I could follow up with a tap.

    The other trick I used to use is riding with my outside foot forward, so my boot was touching the edge of her shoulder. When she started throwing it out around a circle, I could push back with my toes.

  3. Thank you both! I do carry a dressage whip, but I don't use it a whole lot. I'm going to try and take a lesson soon, but between the weather and school, it's not going to be until next week at the earliest.

  4. Salem sometimes tries to bulge to the outside with his right shoulder when tracking left. The most helpful thing for me is "building a wall with my outside aids." Even just hearing "outside leg, outside rein" didn't help too much until I had that visual of building a wall. It helps tremendously.
    I also make sure I'm driving him forward. With Salem, it's just his bratty little Greenie moments, so I just push him through it quickly and without drama.
    Like others have said, a little pop with the dressage whip can also be helpful, and it's my "last resort" with Salem. I don't want to always have to carry a dressage whip, but if he ignores my other aids, a little pop will get his attention refocused and stop the bulging.
    Aren't greenies fun? They sure do keep ya on your toes!


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