Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Frog In A Well

I came home from my lesson today thinking about my overall progress with riding Jag since we started in training. We had taken 2 steps forward, then one step back - the proverbial "Frog in a well." Now we are back to moving forward again but it's still not to the point where I think (wish?) we should be. I need patience.

In a nut shell, we are still arguing over leaving the wall and turning to the right. There's only a couple places in the arena where he seems to enjoy mocking me. It used to be he'd ignore my aids at any place in the arena. I guess we are making progress.
After last weeks lesson his feet still seemed sore so I gave him a few days off and didn't ride him again until Sunday. In the meantime, I focused on being clearer with my aids and had Toby to help me with this. It seems to have helped. By the time I rode Jag I was ready to do turns in any direction. So I thought I'd keep his mind active and worked on never going in a straight line in the arena. We were constantly circling and changing directions to keep him guessing as to what we were going to do next. It was a good exercise and did help him pay attention to me and my aids rather than concoct some game to play with me. I repeated this the next day and then we had our lesson. Each time I rode him, we were better and better. Soon the turns will be easy!

The bottom line is that Jag isn't respecting my aids. He views me as that human with treats and fun times off his back. On his back, he's doing whatever he wants to do because he can with me. He knows I'm not an olympic level rider and is taking full advantage of my lack of high quality skills. I've become Rodney Dangerfield to him! So I'm on a mission to get his respect back and him working with me. With Betsy's help we will get there.

But in the meantime, while I'm struggling, I'm learning a lot. For starters I'm much better with asking Jag to turn. Fewer mixed messages being sent. I'm still not perfect but I'm much better! I also had a couple "ah ha" moments understanding better what Betsy is asking me to do particularly with using the reins together to keep Jag's shoulders in between them and straight.

I'm happy I'm improving my riding skills and in the meantime, I'll get Jag's respect back. I'm that frog in the well and not about to quit climbing that wall!


  1. Good post Wendy! Robin and Jag are very similar :)! Betsy sounds like a good trainer and you are lucky. Finding someone good in my area is tough enough without adding OTTB to the scenario to which one dressage trainer (currently riding Prix St. George) told me she would work Robin at the walk and trot but not at the canter? It's perception and it stinks, but it's her loss and my gain :) You GO GIRL!! ..er frog :)

  2. You'll get there! Jag just takes advantage because he can! He know you luv him bunches.

  3. Thanks for the comments. Betsy is very good and makes us work hard and still keep it fun!

    Jag really has a wicked sense of humor when left to his own devices. This morning he was eyeballing his blanket after he was turned out. I know darn well he had images of removing that blanket and leaving it in the mud! We will find out later tonight if he was successful. Smart, smart horse...

  4. Does Betsy ever ask you to counter-bend him and move away from the wall? Sometimes a good, temporary trick to get those shoulders to move in the direction you want him to go...and for him to pay more attention to your leg aids. Also, I am sure she keeps reminding you of where YOUR weight is, right?
    Keep up the good work - you'll get there!! :) Kat

  5. She sure does! He'll do it well and then all of a sudden he stops listening, like he became bored with me! sigh... I wonder if this is how my dating life went too. No wonder I'm single. ;)