Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ruby, Progress, and Generalized Learning.

It has been a very busy couple of weeks! I've been riding a lot and learning a lot. I've felt a little neurotic lately with respect to Brumby. I'll have a great ride and then a not-so-great ride. Then an ok one, followed by a great one again. Not necessarily in that order. Just when I start to seriously think this is not the horse for me, I have one of those great rides that plasters a smile on my face 'til I fall asleep. I suspect these are growing pains.
I am learning so much on this horse already, it is quite exciting. I've read and heard so much about getting the horse soft, round, on the bit, have impulsion, between your leg and your hand ...you know. But I haven't had many opportunities to feel it. Brief moments here and there but not enough to develop a consistently elastic hand.

It seems an interesting learning cycle - in order to learn to have better hands, I needed to feel a truly soft horse. Likewise, in order to keep the horse soft, I have to really have an elastic, following hand. The better he is, the better I am; The better I am, the better he is. I wonder if it's always this way. It makes sense, I think. But I didn't really realize that I would really learn once I got to feel it. I thought I would never feel it until I learned how to ask perfectly.

I think a big part of this is the other lesson horses. Sometimes they provide feedback that makes you think you're doing something wrong, when really they are very resistant. My usual lesson horse really resists going round. I can get him there sometimes if all the stars are aligned :) But this wasn't only a lack of skill on my part because the same riding produces very different, positive results on Brumby (usually!).

It was partly a lack of skill on my part though! I know this because now, somehow, the way I am influencing my old faithful school horse is changing. On Monday he softened. He was relaxed, in my hand, but not leaning. I was so proud of him! My instructor's response? A long, low "yeeeaaaah!" and then "I knew this would happen." I had to laugh.

Another difference- getting leads! I'm told my Black Beauty's previous owner sold him because he couldn't get his leads over fences or do flying changes. Ever. From what I'm told, she schooled him so much and so hard that I'm convinced SHE is the reason he never got them. He is a very sensitive soul, that horse. So I don't stress on him about his leads. If he doesn't get it we do a simple change and move on. I've actually noticed improvements in this area for a few months but two weeks ago my hubby gave me video proof. It looks crappy from the viewing lounge, but you can see the exercise well enough.

I know, it probably doesn't seem like anything special but for him, it's huge.

We also said goodbye to Ruby Tuesday today as she went back to the shelter to be spayed and then put up for adoption. She left us completely house-trained, with some good basic training, and well socialized. She is a superstar and I'm sure she will do great in life. I can't wait for an update though! Our house is not the same without her.


Golden the Pony Girl said...

congrats on your progress with Brumby. He sounds like the right horse for you in that he will mirror your improvements though may challenge you a little. I am jealous of you for getting progress on the lead situation, Bodhi and I are battling with the lead monster right now, I suspect it is something I am doing wrong b/c lets face it; it always is!

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

It is such a wonderful feeling to be able to ride a horse that is truly connected to you; soft, round, on the bit, and with an elastic, almost alive connection to the reins. I'm glad you've had some great rides on Brumby (love his name BTW).

RuckusButt said...

Golden, boy do I know what you mean! But I've learned it's important to remember that its not always something the rider is doing wrong...I have overlooked other issues by assuming too much that it was always something I was doing. So now I assume it's me 99% of the time but stay open for new evidence, lol.

It certainly is amazing Melissa. I look forward to improving more. Now that I know the feel I am able to get there easier but we still aren't quite put together as often as I'd like.

I like the name Brumby too! It's funny on a huge hanoverian...and way better than his real barn name.