Friday, September 1, 2017

Training the Not-Hot Horse: Part the First

I've been contemplating writing a draft cross vs. ottb sort of comparison (because trust me, ITS WAY DIFFERENT), but the truth is that I haven't had Zoe two months yet and there is so much more for me to learn that I have no business saying too much. Yet.
thx google photos!

I think one of my favorite (and least favorite, haha) things about Courage was how hard he pushed me to learn and do better both by him and in my own life. It was a challenge, but I definitely think I'm a better horseman and human because of him.

The whole point of Zoe is that she's NOT LIKE THAT and I can just go DO THE THING.

But Ms. ZoZo Bird is still a horse.
my talking face ruins another great photo

And when Roxie's mom came out to play last week, I showed her what we were working on. We talked about where Zoe was at and what I was doing and why and what she's done with her drafties and why it worked.

That got me thinking.

Zoe is a lot of things, but none of those things is a thoroughbred with track baggage. Which like. Is the entire freaking point.
yeah never had a thoroughbred do that. twice. in a month.
But then why am I riding her like she is?

I mean, the "horse" thing transfers a lot--we take baby steps and build from the bottom up and do ground work and go slow. But there are differences. For example, I just spent four years riding a horse that LOST HIS SHIT if I ever sat down on him. So I just didn't. I'd do a happy lil jumper perch and go around off his back and everyone was happy.

But you know who motorcycles around COMPLETELY OUT OF BALANCE if I get way ahead of the motion like that?
pictured: not out of balance

Oh yeah a Zoebird lady. She actually prefers I sit down and give her half a chance to get her balance. In spite of being a big girl (15.2 and 1200lbs per the weight tape), she's soooooo sensitive to what I do in the saddle.

She's quieter than Courage, that's for sure. But quieter doesn't mean passive. Quieter just means I have to listen better and think differently.

And if I ride her the way she tells me she needs me to, the little lady tries her hardest.

And that, folks, is the coolest damn thing.

24 comments:

  1. <3 this - so happy for you and Zoe! i love how each individual horse has so much to teach us about them and their own needs. i'd even say that beyond a certain point it's not actually about comparing one breed to another (as i'm about 99.75% positive that anything you would ascribe to being an "ottb characteristic" from C vs a "draft characteristic" from Zoe would get blown up when tossing in the example of my own ottb lol) and more about just taking each horse where they are, for what they are. it sounds like Zoe is doing great with your approach!

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    1. Every horse I've had has been very different. So much to learn from them. :-)

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  2. I think this is my favorite thing about riding such a wide variety of horses. I learn something new from each one and each one broadens my skill set. I can take lessons I've learned from past horses and tweak them to benefit current horses. It's a never-ending process, but is so rewarding in and of itself. I have a few clients who have horses who are polar opposites of each other (Grace and Mica for example) and I always gush to those owners about how lucky they are to have these horses side by side. Sometimes, the owners just stare at me like I've lost my mind, which I may have. I LOVE that you are getting that same experience and are so self-aware of it :)

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    1. That is definitely the upside of being a pro--so many more horses means so much more experience. I top out at one so I just have to be extra self aware.

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  3. hah i just imagine you riding her like courage and her being like oh my god this poor girl is so scared i dont know what she thinks is going to happen but ima just trip a little.

    i guess thats why 'they' (collective wisdom) says its good to ride a bunch of different horses. cause theyre all snowflakes: special in their own way.

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    1. Hahaha yeah that's probably what's going through her head. I'm definitely getting braver on her every day.

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  4. As someone who went the opposite way, I find this really interesting to real. I went from the lazy and very chill pony you had to kick every stride to a hot, sensitive, TB. He's a very good boy, and he can take me wherever I want to go, but I sometimes miss the chill.

    So excited to see where you and Zoe end up.

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    1. Hey, there are a lot of cool things about the more forward ride for sure. I did it for years and loved it, but for where I'm at in life right now, Zoe couldn't be more perfect. :-)

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  5. It's always fascinating to me adapting training styles and lessons we've learned to different horses while trying to factor in their personality quirks. Especially when it's such a massive paradigm shift (like from C to miss ZB). Really fun to follow along on your journey! ☺

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    1. C and Zoe are definitely polar opposites, so adapting is (intentionally) pretty challenging.

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  6. No offense to my OTTB's of past... but I much prefer the Zoe type. Maybe it's just my old age...
    I say it every time, but I'm so glad you've found each other!

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    1. Yeah same. It was definitely time for a change.

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  7. Pretty & flattering browband on Zoe.

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    1. She is turning into a fancy little model. :-)

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  8. What I've been relearning after my hiatus is that if we can fix ourselves, the willing horse usually complies with our request. I'm really grateful right now to be working with a trainer willing to painstakingly work on ensuring I'm in the right place with my position and aids so I retrain my muscle memory to both my benefit and whatever horse is under me! Keep up the similar, great work!!!

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  9. Love it! And yeah,shes still gonna teach you lots. But in a fun, safe, unicorn way

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  10. I'm new to the party, but in a similar place. My person has a bigger, sometimes hot headed OTTB and then there's me. All my little 3 year old, 13.1h calm as can be self... The Princess Pony!

    I don't know shit about this being ridden thing, but she's taking her time with me, teaching me new stuff and we're trucking right along, making progress in leaps and bounds. It's pretty cool learning all these new signals and cues nd what they mean. Go Zo!

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  11. "Quieter just means I have to listen better and think differently." This. This is so well said.

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    1. Thanks! It's really a fascinating switch for me to puzzle out. :-)

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  12. Zoe just sounds like SUCH a cool horse. :D

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