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Thursday, 1 March 2018

Not Falling and Other Wins

Since our new saddle arrived back in mid-January Henry and I have been getting back into the groove.  I never really stopped riding him when I didn’t have a saddle but there were often long gaps between rides.  And when I did ride, I didn’t ask for much.  To be honest I never really was 100% comfortable riding him bareback.  He’s quite bouncy and narrow… and I was still a bit tentative after my hat trick of falls last summer.


<3




Our riding schedule is still unfortunately not the most consistent (sorry Henbot) due to my ankle injury/death flu and then the condo renovations taking over my life.  But I clocked more hours in February than I did in December/January combined.  I also look forward to riding him instead of feeling nervous about it.  I was really whiteknuckling it those last few months with the bareback pad.


I am hopeful that now that the condo is listed we can get to work for real.  And hopefully start cantering and doing some small fences again soon.  At this point both of our fitness needs work and I don’t want to rush him without re-establishing some communication/straightness basics. 



I ate only health foods while completing the renos 





We had one ST lesson in February (on the 10th) and our homework was to develop a proper forward trot.  A forward trot feels way too fast to me but apparently it just looks normal.  I’m used to a smoother shorter-strided drafty trot I guess.


I was working on our forward trot on February 24 when my dog popped out of the corner we were riding by.  After that the corner was haunted and Henry needed to be dramatic about it every time.  I tried a few approaches (mainly circling and slowly getting closer to the evil corner at the walk and trot).  I also at some point just decided to ignore him and make him go in there regardless of how weird and giraffe-y he was about it.  I was proud of myself for digging in and making him work through his tantrum.

This canine decided to pop out at a terrible time




Then, all of a sudden, as we were finally softly trotting through the corner… he exploded.  It felt like a rear but I think it might have just been a big leap.  I lost my left rein and stirrup.  My whip was somehow lodged under the left side of my saddle.  My brain was like “oh crap, I’m going to hit the dirt”. 


There was a split second in there after the leap where I was 99% sure he was going to start bucking.  I was in a very similar position (tipped forward and off balance) to what started the 1st and 3rd bucking incidences.  In that pause I could almost feel him thinking about it.  But after the initial leap when I calmly (in my mind I was calm at least) said “whooooa buddy” he stopped.   I praised him (almost in tears of joy) for making a good decision and listening to me.  I straightened myself out and we walked calmly through death corner a few times and then moved on to a different exercise. 

I know this is kind of a dumb thing to be so happy about, but I really am.  He had a very clear shot at dumping me on the ground and didn’t.  I attribute it somewhat to luck that I was able to stay on but also that I started stroking his neck and speaking to him in a calm voice when he panicked.  The other times I tensed up and gripped for dear life (not that I blame myself for that but it didn’t help matters).



 
I realized after the ride that the big “explosion” was likely due to water (like half a cup) getting dumped on his neck from the sprinklers.  I didn’t see it when I was riding but he had a huge wet spot on the left side of his neck that didn’t correlate with a sweat pattern.  He lives outside and you know... has been hit by rain before so it’s a bit ridiculous to leap into the air over it but…. for a baby horse getting back into riding life I can give him a pass on it this time.


After we finished our other exercises I hopped off to cool him off and we spent some time in the scary corner eating cookies and getting pets.


I am super proud of my baby horse for using his brain.  <3  And I’m very grateful to have stirrups!


20 comments:

  1. I still have no idea how you did so much bareback riding! I applaud you for it. And also really glad that the baby horse is stepping up and remembering you're up there when he starts shenanigans!

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    1. I hope it helped me with my balance/seat but I did not love it. Mystic and Apollo are still living the bareback life but to be honest they are so much comfier than Henry haha! I'm really happy to have stirrups and that Henry's brain is slowly being re-installed :)

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  2. I think that this is HUGE for the two of you.

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    1. I agree! Was very proud of us :)

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  3. Yay for not falling! Also, we have a haunted corner in our indoor as well. SO annoying. Georgie acts like she will dies every time she goes by it. I did much the same as you. Tried to work on making it better and then just getting uber annoyed, lol

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    1. Not falling is always the number one goal of my riding haha!

      Those darn haunted corners, they get you every time... My other horses don't seem to notice/care so I have to try not to roll my eyes too hard at Henry. But ugh it's so annoying!

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  4. My first thought was, oh no her ankle! If he started bucking.🙈

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    1. Hahah my ankle was probably more terrified than the rest of me! XD

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  5. Go Henry! I can see why you are so happy, that's a big breakthrough :)

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    1. I would like our next breakthrough to be him not being Dora the Explorer of finding things to spook at... hahah! But that will come with more consistent work (I hope!)

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  6. That is a really great improvement for both of you! Henry is growing up and I bet you felt more secure in a saddle this time when he exploded. Good on you both!

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    1. Thanks, I thought so too :) I definitely would have been in the dirt without my saddle... very happy I had stirrups that day.

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  7. I so love it when they stop and think. Nice work - you taught him that! :)

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    1. I just need to install the "don't spook at dumb things" button next :P

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  8. Progress is progress- I'm glad you were able to get so much riding in despite the setbacks earlier on!

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    1. I agree! I am so glad to have stirrups now to ride through things like this haha

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