Since I last posted about my frustration with riding, the rides have been great! It figures, just when I finally am frustrated enough to start complaining on the blog. His canter last night was more like scenic passenger train than freight train...still lots of power but also much more "pretty". Of course, "pretty" translates into uphill, rhythmic, controllable, AND I had breaks. The ride before was pretty good too.
I am hoping that this isn't just the "up" swing of the rollercoaster but that it's here to stay, more or less. I know, I know, there are always ups and downs, I'm referring to the major re-think-everything ones. Sometimes I think that if horses were men, a whole lot of them could be labeled "emotionally abusive" if not physically! Good thing they lack intent, as far as we know...lol.
So what happened? I'm not 100% sure, actually. As with most things, I think it was a combination of factors.
I met the farrier, which I found very insightful. He was great - taught me a few things and answered my questions happily. I love that kind of thing! I also learned about some of the challenges he's been having with Brumby. It gave me better perspective. It also made me realize that some of the issues I've been having is that I find it hard to be so "hands off" as a leaser. I think I just naturally want to be informed and involved and I'm just learning how to make this work in a lease situation. In any case, Brumby was perfectly sound after a trim and reset, and I had a good ride. (woo hoo!!)
Second, I just rode. Sometimes I get too caught up with the details of position etc., that I lose the feel. I think I have pretty good feel, but a lousy memory for piece-meal parameters, so I really need to not fall into the trap of believing I can ride better by doing steps 1, 2, 3.
Third, Horse of Course left me some comments a few posts ago on improving the downward transitions. I've been pondering them ever since, so perhaps that has helped. I seem to still be working out when to use seat versus legs because it still seems odd to me to stop with my legs instead of my seat. I mean, they are always there to keep the 'forward' in the down transition...but no seat?? I don't think I know how to do that, yet.
It's all 'clear as sausage water'. My new favorite saying, sure beats 'clear as mud' that we use here ;)
Fourth, I went back and watched some videos from the end of January, right before the abscess. Huh, you know, we don't look half bad! It gave me a little confidence boost. After all, if I got there with him once, I will again. He likely needs more strength and stamina after time off. It's possible he's tired from the jumping and that is making my rides more challenging. I'm not trying to excuse it, just explain it!!
Fifth, I rode outside!! Last night I managed to make it to the barn early enough to walk outside for about 15 minutes before we ran out of light and went inside to work. He was hesitant a few times, and thought about rearing, but he didn't and was pretty good about it. It helped having another horse out there - someone who just came. She is from my old lesson barn and I'm really glad to see her and her horse, maybe I will finally have a pleasure riding partner!
Sixth, I am warming up longer. I have to say that I am very conscientious about warming up, always. But the temperatures have been all over the place since spring has sprung, so it's been hard to gauge how much is enough. I've increased the time but I also do more interesting things at a walk. I think this is helping a lot, actually.
So naturally I'm no closer to a decision as the end of the month rolls near and I reach my decision date. Ah well, might as well see how things go in May, right? Sorry for the lack of pictures.