Thursday, May 31, 2012

Falling Behind

I'd like to blame my lack of blog posts on something as awesome as "I was out enjoying the great weather and riding all the time!" but it's not so.  I've only ridden sporadically the last few weeks due to some family illness stuff.  This month I have had two people close to me end up in the hospital!  Not okay, people.  And then yesterday, some friends of friends were brutally gunned down at a local coffee shop.  A coffee shop where my sister has played her music.  A coffee shop in a family neighborhood full of moms walking their kids.  It's been an emotional week to say the least.

Monday night I had a lesson and despite being exhausted from hanging out in hospitals and being sick with worry, I went to my lesson.  At one point, Tessa reached over to nip me and without thinking I walloped her in the muzzle.  It was not a rage filled punch, it was just a reaction to "here comes her teeth".  She threw her head back, rolled her eye and appraised me.  I kept brushing her shoulder, too tired to experience my usual questions about if I did the right thing and how is she taking it and did this work.

We saddled up.  It was a cool evening and Tessa was on high alert.  We walked into the arena and to the mounting block.  My body was exhausted and I sighed deeply.  I swung a leg over and Tessa stood stock still. I gave her a scratch on her withers.  Then off we went, Tessa's attention darting to and fro.  I may have been slumped in the saddle, but my mind was quiet.  My anxiety was gone.  I was simply too tired to be anxious about things.  Tessa slowed down, lowered her head and walked on, matching my loose quietness.

Later in our lessons, she stopped listening to my leg.  Usually this brings about a cycle of panic.  Thoughts of 'OMG I will have to get after her and she might do something naughty' usually zing through my head and move quickly to my muscles.  Which then translates to the pony and sure enough, we get some naughty.  This time, when Linda said "Get her off your leg!", I simply brought her down to a walk and asked her to move off my leg.  Tessa pinned her ears and hunched her back and kept going straight.  I took the whip and asked again, this time zinging her hard with the whip.  Her hindquarters swung over and we were suddenly facing the other side of the arena.  "Good girl", I said as I scratched her withers.  I resumed asking with a light leg and we went back to working as if nothing had happened.

Then it was on to canter work.  Yes, we are actually 'working' at the canter.  Sort of.  We had been doing lots of leg yielding and shoulder in and shoulder fore while trotting.  Our goal while cantering was to canter long straight lines and then just turn our shoulders and see what that did to our canter.  What turning my shoulders did for Tessa's canter was to kill it.  Every time.  We'd get a straight line, I'd turn my shoulders and she'd drop into one of those awful bone jarring trots.  So, we've got work to do.  But, as Linda pointed out, we are now working on things in canter.  Compare that to a few months ago when I wasn't sure I ever wanted to canter.

In turnout news, her buddy Sophie is still lame and not allowed on turnout so she's going out alone.  She's a sad pony when she's alone, even though there are horses in the pasture next to her.  So they tried her with this cranky pony, Taunta again.  Nope.  Taunta ran her into the fence this time, which resulted in this lovely scratch on her butt.  Poor pony.

No pictures please!  Though notice her beautiful dapples on her summer coat.  Such a pretty girl!

Also, she's been rubbing her tail on the top.  She's regularly wormed and her lady bits cleaned out regularly.  Any ideas what I can do to help this?


  1. It's hard when you don't know what's causing the rubbing, but a tea tree based product or shapley's mtg are both great for soothing the skin and keeping them from rubbing. :) A fly sheet will also protect the tail.

    Sounds like you're starting a new fad for us anxious folks, exhaustion training! Lol ;)

  2. She looks beautiful with her dapples!

    I have experienced the same thing with "exhaustion training." I remember there was one pony who really had my number when I took lessons in high school. One day I had horrible allergies or a sinus infection or something that left me in a floppy, not-able-to-process-anything fugue. That lesson was possibly the best I had ever ridden in my life up to that point.

  3. ! "Exhaustion training"? Wow, never even thought about it, but wow, it sounds like we could all use a bout of that sometimes. You know...without the exhaustion, terrible life events and worry. : ( Sorry things have been rough lately for you, and I really hope everyone gets well and you can carry on carrying on. And especially cantering on. ; )

  4. Your day ended positive - that was something - in the midst of chaos and grief.

    Canter on my friend.

  5. Love her dapples! Have a relaxing weekend :)