Monday, August 12, 2013

Lazy Days or is that Lazy Pony?

Tessa has been doing great since I changed my warmup and took contact on a long rein from the moment I get on.  She spooks less and goes into corners better.  She's more focused and attentive.  It's been lovely.

This weekend most of the barn was at a show, so after my ride I hopped on bareback.  This made two things immediately clear for me.

One - my balance is horrible.  Terrible.  Craptastic.  I felt all cattywompus (how do you actually spell that word??) at the walk and when I got her to trot (okay, it was more of a jog) I had to ask her to walk again after only three steps.  Okay, that's also not true.  She didn't want to trot so she jogged for three steps while I bounced around like a sack of potatoes.  Then she walked without me asking because who wants to trot out with a sack of potatoes on their back?

Two-  my pony is a chubster right now.  She has this tiny little chest, no withers and then this belly.  Her back is comfortable if you sit far enough back, but boy does it feel like you're coming off the front because her front is so......tiny.

In other news, I've hit my limit with her kicking out/bucking issue.  We haven't been able to jump in a month, so maybe it's from that.  I'm going to look at past posts and see if I can find one where I say she didn't buck at all in a lesson.  Her bucks and kicks aren't bad and they don't scare me anymore, but I don't WANT to ride them out EVERY SINGLE TIME.

My trainers are pretty busy with shows this month and through September, but I'm planning on talking to them about this.  If it's a matter of training, then I want to pull Tessa out of use for lessons (they use her a few times a week.  One is with a ten year old girl who looks so cute on her it makes my heart hurt.  I kind of want to give her my horse they're so adorable.) and have them put the training on her.  I want this problem fixed.  Done.  Solved.

The other issue is that it could be that she's bored and she just really wants to do something else.  There isn't an opportunity to do 'something else' on a regular basis at my barn, so that would require moving which as I've said before is a really big deal because the care I get at this barn is amazing.  

I've had a few people tell me that it's just the way she is.  That you have to have the argument in order to get her to work.  It's true that once you work through the pissiness, she gives you a lovely ride.  But I don't want to have to do that every ride, every time.  To me, it's a warning flag that something isn't working for Tessa.  

I know that in the past, I took it all on me.  But I've noticed that she does this with every person that rides her.  It's just the better riders get it out of the way faster, but it's still there.

Also, just in the spirit of information....she still was pissy when I trailered her to the outdoor arena and asked her to move forward.  And, she has been chiropractered, saddle fit checked, supplements reviewed etc. so I don't believe it is a physical issue.

At any rate, I have given myself an end date of December to figure out what to do about this and see some progress or make some decisions.


  1. Whisper "bucks" when she gets really unbalanced onto her forehand in canter... Or when the saddle slips forward, perhaps. I adjusted how I buckled the girth to help with the saddle slippage and I'm re-evaluating my padding system. Consider evaluating your saddle fit! It's always changing!
    Does she do the same things in the same situations on the lunge? It might be worth lunging her over some jumps to see if she is just as naughty!
    Good for you for setting a deadline. And for recognizing when it quit being fun and doing something about it!

  2. It may be that she's just gotten the kicking out/bucking into her routine to the point that she just thinks that's how every ride is supposed to be, so she has to go through the motions no matter what. Horses can be very attached to their expectations of what routine they do. Red had something like that going with his balking/bracing on the first walk/trot transition - it was very baked in. The only thing that worked for him was to forget about the balking/bracing and keep my focus on what I DID want, and insist that we have it immediately - for him to go into trot smoothly and with softness. Problem's pretty much gone away. I think the key may be in not letting her go through the routine - short circuit it to immediately - microseconds - get what you want. Every time she repeats the routine, it bakes it in even harder.

  3. When you're reevaluating your padding system, try checking if the saddle is slipping forward too. We had a bad problem with that that caused bucking.

    The Le Tixerant girth solved that problem for us. :D