My lesson today was a good one. It was good because I was so bad.
So, what did I learn?
1) never expect to have the same horse on any given day;
2) it may be more difficult to ride a grumpy horse;
3) the arena wall is actually a vortex that sucks my horse to it;
4) if he really wanted me off he could easily do it.
Let's start in order:
1) never expect to have the same horse on any given day: Yes, I rode Jag again. But today he was "grumpy. " His feet were trimmed on Saturday and they were trimmed a tad bit too short for his comfort level. So he was a little bit sore, not so much that I couldn't ride him but definitely too much that I didn't ride him at much more than a slow trot to mostly a walk. So he was sore and grumpy. This is the key ingredient to instigate "yanking my chain" and having a short fuse.
2) it may be more difficult to ride a grumpy horse: As you may know we've been having issues turning to the right lately. Today it was REALLY BAD! especially when we discuss point 1...
3) The arena wall is actually a vortex that sucks my horse to it: I never knew this existed but there is some magical force that makes it near to impossible to get my horse off the rail when you want to turn to the right! It's a vortex!! and when you asked him to get off the wall you received point 2 (grumpy horse).
4) if he really wanted me off he could easily do it: Let me first begin by thanking the owner of the facility for the kick boards. They were utilized to the max and I'm even more grateful that they are on a slant. That way, Jag couldn't smoosh my leg into the wall like he really desired. So then he tried to kick at my leg which was asking him to do something (such as turn to the right). He tried and tried to get at my legs when I would put pressure on him, then when he didn't get my leg he went after the kick boards. HARD! Then when that didn't get his desired result he threw a real tantrum and bucked. I stayed on. Mostly because he didn't really want to get me off. He just wanted to let me know he wasn't a happy guy. I got the message.
The majority of the problem came from me. I was annoying the heck out of him. My signals I was giving him would once in awhile get crossed and he lost confidence in me. He wasn't his usual forgiving self which I chalk up to his discomfort and grumpiness.
As for me, I found myself, when things weren't going exactly to plan, trying to steer him like a car! Hello?! Horses do not have steering wheels! Keep your hands level and don't try to turn right with your hands in the 10 and 4 position on a clock. Also, I have to let him know where to go. I want him to go right so I need to set up a road block to the left and offer right as the way to go. I would end up holding that right rein too tight and not giving enough. Betsy was a genius in getting me to offer up the right to Jag. She had me ask then pat him on the neck with my right hand. By patting him, I'm releasing the right rein thus giving him the avenue to go right! So it was "ask, pat, ask, pat, ask, pat" every time we went around a corner to the right. This also helped to settle him down when he became really grumpy. So that was all good!
But for whatever reason, we could turn to the right all day long as long as we were not sucked in by the vortex! Damn that vortex! I don't get it. This is a horse that really hasn't done much arena work so he has no excuse to be rail spoiled. I have a plan... My mission is to work on smaller circles, making them bigger and bigger until we are using the full arena and are next to the walls again. That will be one of the things I focus on this week when we ride.
In the meantime I hope my horse will feel better as his hooves grow out. I imagine it's like cutting your fingernails too short. Eventually the nail will grow out enough so the discomfort goes away. I have a feeling once he's feeling better we will have a better time of things. It sure couldn't get much worse...
Now if I could only delete those images in my mind of the two of us in a show going through what we did today...