Friday, August 21, 2015

Middle Aged Tantrum

First, let me apologize for my lack of pony selfies and photos.  I currently don't have a case on my phone and am paranoid about using it at the barn!

Next, I'd like to share what happened during my ride today.  Enzo has been getting much more sensitive to the leg and we've been working on disengaging the hindquarters and using his hind end to stretch his gaits out.  All good, but there's a basic that he and I have still struggled with.

Whenever I take up ANY kind of contact he goes slower and slower and gets crabbier and crabbier, until finally we are at a dead standstill while he swishes his tail, pins his ears and threatens.  Two nights ago at my lesson, I had my trainer Elsa ride before me.  Then I got on and we did not have any problems at a..

So I go out today and we start out fine, though sluggish and then he pulls this crap.  And we get slower and slower.  Okay, people.  This is the part where I'm going to share with all of you the meltdown that I had.  I want to share this because I know there are other people with this problem.  There are other people who have anxiety (I'm so glad I have realized that this is not a confidence issue, it's an anxiety issue.  Totally different.) and there are other people who get stuck.

So, I'm sitting in the arena by myself on Enzo.  I have a light contact (no, really.  It's really light.  Pinkie promise, this is not a 'too much contact' or a 'too heavy hands' issue) and we've now come to a complete stop.  I'm tapping with legs.  I'm tapping with whip.  The most he can be bothered to do is to pin his ears and grump at me.  Which causes my heart to speed up, my breathing to go shallow and my body to tense up.

A zen meditation master would tell you to take deep belly breaths and let everything out of your body.  And though I have found this to be a great release of tension, it does not do much to create 'energy' for you horse.  Plus, I was frustrated and angry.  And wanted to throw something.

Instead, I opened my mouth like I was going to scream and let out a loud as I could silent scream.  I pushed that silent scream all the way out.  I threw my hands up in the air in double fists and shook them at the sky, then at Enzo's ears, then at his mane.  I stood up in my stirrups and flung my body from side to side like a little kid losing his shit.  And then I put my hands on his mane and went a little apeshit.  I didn't have a conscious thought except "I want to fucking MOVE!  NOW!!" and by whatever means possible.  I crouched forward like a jockey and flapped my elbows and wiggled my hips and my legs.  None of it was kicking or whipping or anything hard, it  

I finally get it.  I finally felt it.  I FINALLY got my energy truly up without tension.  And miracle of all miracles, Enzo stepped directly into a canter.  From there we came down into a lovely energetic trot.  And changed directions.  And circled.  And took up contact.  And moved hindquarters.  It really made me realize how much tension I was holding and how secure of a rider I am when I let go of that.  So good!

Then we opened the gate and rode outside, where I kept that energy and asked him to trot a few steps.  He lightly stepped into it and politely stepped out of it when I asked.  Brilliant.  Effing Brilliant.

I can't wait to see if this revelation sticks, but I'm so excited to have been able to have a moment of bringing my life up and having my horse respond in kind.  So fun!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Lazy Pony

Poor Enzo had someone come out and try him yesterday.  The only time she had available was at 5pm, which is the hottest time of the day and yesterday peaked out at 90 degrees.  Add in a black horse and he was not the happiest of campers.

Add to THAT that he has only been worked a few days a week by a friend of mine and has had barely any groundwork lately and he hasn't really cantered in five months and you get a hot mess.

He was honest and kind, but he was definitely behind the leg and making his rider work for it.  And since I wasn't cleared to get up on him and it was a friend of a friend, she just jumped on and rode.   Which is fine, but she didn't want to over convince Enzo without knowing his reactions.  Which I totally respect.

So, at the end of the ride she said she didn't think he was the right horse for her.  I asked why and she said she was looking for a horse that was more sensitive and willing.  Huh?  I told her to give me two weeks and come back on a day that wasn't a record breaking heat day to try him again.  Both trainers have commented repeatedly on how sensitive and willing Enzo is!

However, looking back without the emotions (what??  You don't love him??) I think she was trying to say that she likes her horses hot and spicy.  It's true that he doesn't shoot off like a rocket.  And even when he's at his lightest, he doesn't shoot off like a rocket.  He's a sensible dude.  He has energy (usually) but if you keep asking him without follow up, he will totally tune you out.  He's totally not hot or spicy, but he IS willing and sensitive.  When we connect again in a week or two, I will check in with her about that but my gut says she wants something with a bigger motor and a touchier gas pedal.

I have another person possibly coming out to try him who's interested in doing a half lease before purchasing.  As long as she takes lessons with a trainer and is trainer approved, that could work out just fine.  I wouldn't hold him for her, but I'm not in a huge rush to sell him anyways.

I'm finally getting back in the saddle tonight or tomorrow and am excited to actually ride again!

Monday, August 17, 2015


Summertime is challenging because my child is home from school and I go back to full time parenting.  I will be doing the happy dance in two weeks when school starts back up!

Lots and lots of things have happened.  I haven't written in a long time not just because of time, but because I've been doing so much and things have been changing rapidly.  So, here's the highlights....

I picked the name Enzo.  He seems to like it and it makes me giggle when I say it.  Plus, he can have the nickname Z.

He foundered.  Ugh.  Luckily, I caught it super early and he's fine, with clean x-rays.  However, vet has said he must be in regular work and have limited grass.  Limiting his grass isn't too hard as they have a great dry-lot available, but it does mean he doesn't get to hang out with his buddies.

I've been riding five to six days a week up until two weeks ago when I had a stomach ache and was transported via ambulance for an emergency appendectomy.  Suddenly, I couldn't work my pony.  Lucky for me, I had a friend who was available and she's been riding him a few days a week until I'm cleared for riding again.

Ambulance Selfie!

However, that really made me step back and look at my situation.  First, it's important to note that I have done a TON of ground work and relationship work and my horse and I are a team now.  We are at an entirely different place in our relationship.  We're riding outside.  We're purposely doing scary things.  He ground ties.  It's been incredible.

Proof of outside riding!

BUT...I don't have a lifestyle that is conducive to five days a week of riding.  And the barn I'm at isn't a barn that has a program available that he could be in.  It's just not the right fit.  He would be perfect for what I WAS doing, which was riding in a program working my way towards dressage shows.  Throw in some trail rides and he'd be a happy boy.

So, I'm putting the word out to my pony people.  Currently, I am not advertising him on the big sites or on Facebook pages because I'd like him to go somewhere recommended.  I would also love for him to go somewhere where some form of natural horsemanship is practiced or at least somewhere where they don't ride with a flash noseband just because that's what everyone else is doing.  :)  His personality has really come out in the last few months and he's a sensitive, people pleasing kind of horse.  He deserves a rider who will honor that.

His best match is a confident rider who will give him regular exercise and love.  He could probably do half days on grass with a grazing muzzle as long as he's getting regular work.

Stats are 16 hands, 13 years old, 1/2TB, 1/4 QH and 1/4 Percheron.  Has been a lesson horse previously, but I don't think he loved doing that.  Loves trails and arena work and has a wonderful, easy trot.  $2,000.  Perfect home a must.  Currently, I don't have video because I'm just talking to friends and friends of friends.  If I end up 'marketing' him, I will get better pics and videos and all that.  He's boarded in Fall City right now, if anyone local is reading this.  :)