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I wish I had a more elegant title to this post, but this is basically where I am at. Saturday ended up being a decent day weather wise. Sure, it was damp and in the 40s, but it wasn’t actively raining. So I was able to ride in the outdoor. All good things. My plan was to put in a Dressage ride with a focus on connection and bending since May was coming off of back to back jump lessons. (by back to back, I mean lessons on Tuesday and Thursday but no flat ride in between)

The ride started out well. I carried a crop, just in case I needed to reinforce the leg aid, but she was in front of my leg and even a bit spicy. No big deal. We did a lot of walk/halt/walk transitions before stepping into the trot. When we moved into the trot, she threw her right shoulder into my right leg to come off the connection and fling her head up in the transition. UGH.

I brought her back to the walk and tried again. Same result. I halted and asked her to move her right shoulder around in a turn on the haunches. Nope. Nope. Nope. She did not need to do these things, she is a JUMP HORSE now. NOT a DRESSAGE horse. (These pics disagree)

MMMmmmmk. Let’s break it down further. Walk on a small circle and bend her neck around the circle. NOPE. She flung her head up and threw her whole body to the outside, stumbling sideways and flinging her tongue out of her mouth.

Alright, I am thinking… maybe this is physical. Maybe she is pretty sore and stiff from the jump lessons and bending her neck hurts. (Anyone else immediately fall down this rabbit hole?) Then, she saw a horse being ridden over across the field from the other barn. And She Lost Her Mind.

Suddenly, she could bend all the way around to the right, while cantering, to try and see the horse behind her. Any kind of half halt was met with head flinging and tongue wagging. It was 45 minutes of me just trying to get SOME kind of response from her so that I could end on a good note. I ended up just riding her super straight and doing some collected/extended transitions in the trot (where to be honest, she had some moments of actual suspension).

Unfortunately, I still got off feeling frustrated and annoyed. I gave May a proper cool down, put some thrush stuff in her feet (standing in the mud at the hay bale for hours on end is a great recipe for thrush), and used from probios cookies to do some stretches JUST IN CASE.

However, it is one thing to have a really bad ride and have to go back to basics consistently with a horse that has talent. It is another to do it with a horse that is basically a BN horse AND has been a BN horse for 3 years.

I know other people have worse rides. Rides that are genuinely dangerous. This ride wasn’t dangerous. It was just like… (trying to find a not super crude thing to write here)…. it was like writing a post where every time you finished a paragraph, it totally disappears on you.

I think May got Sunday off, so today will be the follow up ride to Saturday. Then, my half leaser is out of town for the holidays, so I have her to myself for a while… and some extra time to actually ride. Maybe the weather will hold out, and we can go on a hack. BUT as Michele knows… it will probably rain.

Anyone else just want to turn their horse out into a field for the rest of winter and hope that Spring is better? (Also, gave up on the new WP editor and went back to the classic. Best decision EVER)

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  1. Sarah (threechestnuts)

    FYI – It will never not rain. Rain is our future, forever. I am so sick of rain. It’s not raining today by some miracle but rain is coming for me this weekend… Because I need more rain? Sorry you had that kind of ride. Been there, done that. So frustrating!

    1. Emily

      ALMOST as frustrating as the rain hahaha. At least it makes me feel better about my decision to pull May’s shoes. There is no way she would still have them in this crap.

      1. Sarah (threechestnuts)

        Seriously, what is with all this rain?! I need my guys trimmed, they’re so overdue, but I think they’re doing better without the farrier since their feet are so soft. I’m worried everyone is going to be foot sore. HOPEFULLY in a couple weeks they will have a place to spend some time out of the mud… and I can get there feet take care off.

        1. Emily

          I LITERALLY toweled off May’s feet (top and bottom) on Saturday so that they were somewhat dry enough to put some keratex/tomorrow on….

  2. ksmcilwee

    OMG! YES! I have frequently had that thought over the last two months (well really since it started raining last May AND NEVER STOPPED!). We only have an outdoor and it’s a grass ring. It’s nice. But when it’s rained for the last six months, it makes for terrible footing. I’ve been battling hoof problems, too. So my strategy for this winter is: ride when it’s nice, don’t beat myself up about not being able to ride or get out to the barn as much as I would like, and focus on coming out of the winter with healthy feet and be ready for some real training in April or as soon as the days get longer and the weather gets consistently better here in Central VA.

    P.S. I use WordPress at work and switched back to the classic editor yesterday. I couldn’t edit any of our pages! It was terrible.

    1. Emily

      Yeahhhh Saturday morning consisted of a trip to tractor supply to pick up Tomorrow because the purple stuff just wasn’t fighting off the thrush anymore. AND the season ended up being SO SHORT because of it.

      Here’s to a better 2019!

      (My final straw switching back today was that gifs would embed in Gutenberg… but they embedded just fine in the classic editor)

  3. emma

    aw womp, sometimes ponies will be ponies haha! every now and then i’ll have a ride where it’s like, “wow we’re really figuring this stuff out!” and then…. like the entire next week will be more along the lines of, “oooh ok, nvm, can’t steer, can’t stop, can’t go… maybe we still kinda suck after all!.” horses always seem to love that humble pie haha

    1. Emily

      hahaha so hummmmmbling. Progress isn’t linear. Right?

  4. martidoll123

    ugh this is why i refused to update to the new editor. I am glad you figured out how to go back to it. I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU OLD WORDPRESS EDITOR EVER! πŸ™‚

    And May. OMG i have had those rides with Remus (NOT THIS Past half year but hey I just dont ride now) where he is just a rebel including the I CANT MOVE OFF YOUR LEG and LOOK AT THAT HORSE CAN WE FOLLOW THEM? Sigh.

    Frustrating. And she will probably be perfect next time. And this mud is really horrible I went to tie haynets outside the gates this am and when I stepped out of the first stall literally sunk over my short muck boots (Which are above my ankle). THANK god they stayed on. And it is finally drying a bit (No rain for a few days) but nooooooooooooo rain coming tomrorow and staying til like MONDAY? Santa all i want for xmas is no f*cking rain. thanks…UGH

    I am over here in a fetal ball. And if something buckskin colored gets delivered to KY it is because I think you need a challenge since May is so boring (NOT) HA HA HA

    1. Emily

      hahaha I think that, from the comments on this post, people are way more fed up with mud than I am fed up with May.

  5. Kristy B

    I have had very few BAD rides on my horse … ever…But my god, the last week has been terrible ! So behind my leg and just racing around like a doofus !
    I read an article with Laura Graves yesterday about having them in front of your leg and it was a bit of an ah-ha moment in our ride last night We only walk/trotted for 20 minutes but it was great work finally !

    1. Emily

      Yeah.. the issue was probably a combination of her being tense and her continually falling behind my leg. Tonight? More leg hahaha

  6. Centered in the Saddle

    I know exactly what you mean. This kind of ride is so frustrating. A week or two ago in my lesson, my trainer characterized it as Duke not receiving my inputs. It’s like he stuffs his hooves in his ears and just does what’s easy, no matter what aids or cues I use. SO. FRUSTRATING. Like to the point where we were cantering a circle and he was throwing his shoulders to the outside while still somehow refusing to bend his neck. Eventually it did get better (not before I half-shouted “Duke, RECEIVE MY INPUTS!” which weirdly helped…maybe it subconsciously made me be even firmer with my aids?). It will eventually get better with May, too. Stick with it.

    1. Emily

      Yes! This is what it was like. Circling and just not able to keep her hind end, shoulder, and nose on the circle. Every time we got close, she would just have a meltdown because I guess its hard? Jumping is easy I guess (or at least more interesting) hahaha

      1. Centered in the Saddle

        I don’t know how helpful this is (it feels very keyboard warrior-y) but doing working turns on the forehand have been SUPER helpful for me to overcome these types of problems with Duke. Even just at the walk. It helps me to think of pushing his hip out, shoulders in, and him stepping through the outside hind. Or thinking of doing a shoulder-in on the circle. Both exercises help me keep control of that outside shoulder, and if he has a hissy about it I don’t react other than to keep applying the aids consistently until he finds the right answer. Just a thought! Take it or leave it. πŸ™‚

        1. Emily

          Thanks for the tip! I’ll try it tonight. I use a lot of shoulder in to get her to fill up the outside rein while tracking right, but don’t often do it on a circle or as a “correction”

          1. Centered in the Saddle

            Good luck! I hope it’s helpful and that you have a wonderful ride! πŸ™‚

  7. nadsnovik

    I swear to God horses are like “Oh, it’s December? Time to start being a shit!” Even perfect Georgie was being so naughty her lesee had to get off and just let her gallop around like an idiot for ten minutes…

    1. Emily

      bahahaha. There’s an idea. Just let May run it off

      … knowing the attitude she’s been in, she would probably just roll in the sand/mud in the outdoor arena.

  8. draftmare

    I’m actually not hating the new WordPress editor. I find I end up with a lot less weird spaces between paragraphs and photos that I have to remove in HTML mode because they won’t disappear otherwise.
    Riding can be so frustrating sometimes, you think you’re getting somewhere and then you’ll have rides where your horse acts like a green broke half wild mustang. Oof. Hang in there!

    1. Emily

      hahaha you’re probably right! If it’s hard, it’s probably working.

  9. roamingridersite

    Oh man. I remember a ride last spring right before I retired Gem where I fought for 45 minutes just to get her to halt without it taking 15 strides between the aid and her response. It was so frustrating! The mare knew how to halt. She just had no interest in listening to me. Then she got retired. HA!

    Hang in there. I think we need these rides to keep us humble and aware that in reality our partners perform because they choose to not being we are forcing them.

    1. Emily

      You’re right. And tonight was better ?

  10. the_everything_pony

    Rides like that can be so disheartening. Because you KNOW they can be better, and it’s never nice to have a ride so dominated by frustration. I feel you! Hopefully you can ride her more through Christmas, and the next rides will be better! Mares tho right? LOL

    1. Emily

      Last night was definitely better (despite me putting my drop noseband AROUND the bit rather than under it….) Oh mares. Sometimes they just want to have fun.

  11. Liz

    Yes. Let’s just turn them out and call that good. I’m totally with you! lol

    1. Emily


  12. Karen & Hampton

    Suppose to warm up a bit in the next few days! I am always down for a little hack! πŸ™‚

    1. Emily

      Yessss! My only day off is Christmas lol No rest for the weary

  13. L. Williams

    Rides like that can be super frustrating and sometimes its best just to hang up your spurs and try again the next day.

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