Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Horse is a Cat

Yesterday was my second jump lesson on Tessa.  Leila, the girl who sometimes give her refresher rides for me, was there and decided that the pony needed to wear some pink polo wraps.  She disappeared and came back around with a bag of polo wraps...with flamingos on them.  Tessa has only worn polo wraps once or twice before and proceeded to dance around when we got to her back legs.  She was shooting Leila angry looks and kicking out with her back legs.  So Leila walked her around until she was used to the wraps.

Blink. Blink.  Polo wraps?
Pre ride happiness
I mounted up and started walking around.  She was a bit hot again, looking at things and trying to stop but we kept it together.  I moved into trot.  She was sticky and a bit cranky.  We trotted over some poles and I worked on sinking my legs into my stirrups so that my back wouldn't bear the brunt of things.  I could tell it was working because my thighs started to feel like jelly.  Yep, that's two point!

Then we moved to cantering.  I got her going, but just barely.  I asked for more forward and she hunched and kicked the wall.  I tapped her and she hunched again and kicked her leg up at me.  We struggled for a few minutes with her dropping back to trot and then snarking at me when I asked for forward.

"Hop off!", my trainer called to me.  "Leila's gonna get on her and work this out."

They don't have you hop off unless things are serious.  I think Laura was just tired of the pony's attitude.  It was time for a wakeup call about attitudes.  Poor, poor pony.

Laura knows my pony is sensitive.  She said it could be the polo wraps, it could be the saddle fits a bit different.  But there's nothing that's hurting her and she needs to stop copping an attitude.

Leila hopped on and was told "Ask her to canter.  Ask her sloppily and don't ask lightly.  (this was to simulate my crappy, heavy, sloppy canter departs since Leila is naturally a very light rider)  If she kicks out at you, keep after her until she's done."

The idea is that my pony needs to know that kicking out is never the answer and that forward is.  I'm really bad about not quite getting after her effectively about this.  Yes, I'm a bit of a nagger.  It's the chicken way of doing things.

So Leila asks for canter and my pony kicks out.  This began the funniest fifteen minutes I've ever seen.  I really wish I had videotaped the ride because it was kind of amazing.  Ever seen a horse walk on it's two front legs?  Me either...until last night.  My pony kicked out her left leg, then her right leg, then both legs, then her left leg, then her right leg.  She kicked the wall.  She kicked her belly.  She kicked the dressage whip.  She almost kicked the stirrup iron!  There was no space between the kicks and she was doing this weird canter/gallop thing the whole time on her front legs.  She looked just like an angry cat, hissing and spitting and trying to get something off it's paws.  Leila just sat still and kept getting after her.  Around and around they went, Tessa kicking and bucking and kicking and bucking and kick, kick, kicking.  One leg, the other leg.  She was practically dancing.

Then, finally, she decided that forward might be easier and broke into a hand gallop.  After that they did five more trot to canter transitions with Leila asking very politely and Tessa responding equally politely.
Our final jump of the night.  Twenty inches!!

Then I got back on my forward horse and jumped this.  Twenty inches of terror, right there.  But we jumped it.  It was interesting that after ten minutes of me riding, Tessa started to lose her forward again.  Not anything major, but it was there.  Just something else for me to chew on and figure out.

Sweaty pony in her cooler and polo wraps.
We were both exhausted by the end of our lesson.  She was a good girl about letting me take the polo wraps off the back and only waved her leg around a few times.  I'm gonna have to learn to put polo wraps on so we can work on this.


  1. I go thru that scenerio with my daughter a lot -Riva will give me attitude, daughter gets on and tells her to get over it, I get back on a very forward horse...

    I am confident we will both get there - be able to rectify those types of situations and go on with it - or better yet, not have them happen at all!

    Be proud of yourself! You are making amazing progress!

  2. Great you jumped that little fence!! Way to go!

    Sounds like she just needs a tune up on what GO means. Those up down transitions are just the key to fixing that.

  3. In my newbie experience, when I seem to make the horse less forward that usually means I'm gripping somehow with my legs. See if that helps?