Muddy K gave me great advice this afternoon to not worry if every day wasn't great. The timing of her advice could not have been more perfect. The sun was out for a brief moment today so they were mowing the lawns out at the barn. Pony was in the cross ties, one leg cocked half asleep while the lawn mower went by her outside. The horses in the paddocks were bucking and running, but not my pony. She was calm as can be and flicked an ear at it briefly before returning to her pre-ride nap.
She woke up briefly to throw her usual fit about being saddled, which involves her scooting to the back of the cross ties until they are tight on her face and then swishing her tail and pinning her ears. She's not a fan of saddling. I try to go slow and reward her for the times she doesn't react, but she only doesn't react if something scary has her attention.
She was super mellow, but I was sticking to my new plan of lunging before riding. Boy am I glad I did. I put the lunge line on and sent her out. She ambled around at a walk that was really more of a shuffle. I asked for a trot. She trotted two circles around me, doing the minimum amount of work as if she could barely keep her eyes open for this. Then the lawnmower moved and she lost her tiny little Arab mind.
She galloped, she farted, she threw her tail over her back and her head in the air. She went so fast I got dizzy. I continued to give her half halts on the lunge line, circling her in smaller and smaller circles while asking her to trot. I found out the Princess can gallop a 10meter circle with no problem. Well, at least she's athletic and I know she can bend. I got her down to trot....for two steps and then it was back to the maniacal galloping. Trainer #2 came out and encouraged me to just keep asking her to come down and then do transitions until she looked quiet.
Twenty minutes later she seemed much calmer so I decided to get on. I was pretty nervous though after seeing her acrobatic meltdown and it must have translated to the pony because I just did NOT have her attention today. We were unfocused, above the bit the ENTIRE ride (okay it was only a ten minute ride so maybe that's not fair) and just generally a hot mess. But, I got on and that is an accomplishment.
Then I did my best to cool her off, which included hosing off her legs. This caused a mini meltdown in the wash rack with kicking and scooting desperately forward. Even with warm water she just wasn't having it today. I got her cool, but even after wearing a cooler and hand walking she is a hairy best and was still wet. So clipping is in our future. That should be fun.
How do you all get so many cute pictures of your ponies? I try to make pictures of the Princess and she either looks awful or they're totally blurry! Plus, when I'm out at the barn I always forget to bring a camera. Clearly if I'm blogging I will need to fix that. :)
So today I am patting myself on the back for going out to the barn. For getting on even if it was for just ten minutes and for realizing that not every ride will be the perfect bonding experience.