|also this spring|
And that's bad.
For example. Last spring/summer, the very notion of cantering on the right lead in less-than-the-whole-arena (let's not call it a circle) would cause a pretty epic flail-fit meltdown. It was hard and he couldn't handle the mental pressure.
|this. this took months to fix.|
I recognize that both are valid, but I tend to fall heavily into camp #2. In general, it works pretty well for Courage. There are certainly things that need to be ridden through, but if I just keep ramping up the pressure on any given ride, I find we take large backward steps in our training that can take months to correct.
Monday, for the first time ever, I was able to keep Courage up and forward and balanced around a right corner on the right lead canter for several strides, without the fence to "babysit" him. Not faking it. Not leaning. Not crooked. Not braced. Not inverted. Not running. It was amazing. I let him quit for the day after that.
|it's happened before|
And then Courage was like "GTFO OF MY BRAIN CRAZY BITCH AHHHHHH CAN'T EVEN CAN'T NO CAN'T JUST CAN'T" and we went galleaping (it's our special gait) all the way down the longside into a cluster of horses and pedestrians who THANK GOD did not die or get overly offended while I yelled profanity at my horse until he slammed on the breaks at the gate.
|nothing to see here|
And someone asks "what did he spook at? I didn't see anything."
No. It wasn't a spook. That's Courage under pressure. It's all good until he can't take it any more, and then we're just DONE.
|he deserves better|
It doesn't matter that he's talented. It doesn't matter that it felt good. It doesn't matter that I think this should be easier for him and that he should understand this by now. I pushed him past what he thought he could do, and he checked out. That's piss poor horsemanship on my part.
Courage is a very cool and capable horse. That's never been the issue. The problem is that I tend to forget that his mental game is far more important than his physical prowess. Bolting sideways and leaping is him screaming at me that he can't take it any more. It shows a huge violation of his trust of me, which means that I have failed him, and not the other way around.
|our entire world is built on trust|
And then I have to remember not to get greedy.