Thursday, April 10, 2014

Courage success

The number one priority on my agenda for the weekend was to ride both horses.  My number two priority was to put my big girl panties on and finally canter Mia on the trails.  My hesitation?  Her random bucking/kicking in the canter that she has given over the past few months, her unsteady, unbalanced canter she has had over the past few months and no walls to stop her if things go badly.  I kept telling myself it wouldn't be too bad, she hasn't actually bucked/kicked in almost a month now.  She is also rocking the canter in both directions, she is now giving me a pretty nice canter even to the right which is her bad direction!  The final straw was that if I wanted to event with her or even go cross country schooling NEXT WEEKEND(!?!) then I need to grow a set, put on my big girl panties and deal with whatever she gave me.  Time to
Tallahassee from Zombieland
On Saturday I grabbed Mia and also a crop for our trail ride, our last/first trail ride went awesome until the sign incident where she had a meltdown and I almost couldn't get her by it.  I wanted a crop in case it happened again so I had some sort of reinforcement if I had the same issue.  Apparently having the huge spook at the big sign shook her confidence, she wasn't a confident horse at all.  She would go a minute or so and would then either shy away from nothing on the side of the road (STICK!!!!  LEAF!!!  ROCK!!!) or would stop and stare hard at something/nothing.  I used the crop to remind her to go forward off of my leg, staring does not equal ignore the person riding you!  She was fairly decent about trotting until she found something that made her grind to a halt, I guess this isn't a problem that I mind having.  I finally talked myself into it, I trotted her and gave the cue to canter.

Mia responded to my canter cue by trotting.  Uhhhh.... I asked for a canter again, trot.  Well, at least she wasn't taking off I told myself.  I gave her a pretty solid kick in the ribs and brought her down to the walk.  I messed with her head position and made her do some lateral work, if she was going to ignore me, she can try ignoring me through dressage.  After a few minutes I bumped her up to a trot again and asked her for a canter, this time she want into a fast trot for about 6 strides and picked up a nice left lead canter.  It certainly wasn't an arena canter as it was a bit fast and not completely balanced but I also wasn't holding her position for her and it wasn't an actual hand gallop.  She maintained the canter for about 4 strides before dropping back into a trot.  I laughed and told her I will take a going problem over a stopping problem!  She got a treat and a good rest for her effort.

After a walk break I asked for a canter again.  This time she gave me the canter right away but also trotted right away, apparently my not holding her in a frame and making her accountable for herself is hard for our girl!  I asked again and got a canter for about 6 strides before she broke into a trot.  Again, this is not a bad problem to have.  We got to the last third of our ride where there is a pretty decent hill going up in the road.  I took the opportunity to use the hill as a way to canter and she picked up the canter and held it the entire length of the hill.  Success!  While she did shy away from (STICK!!! LEAF!!! ROCK!!!) nothing 3 times in the canter, they weren't bad in terms of a sideways scoot and I didn't feel like I lost control so I will take that victory.

I am very proud of Mia and also proud of myself.  I have no idea why I was so anxious about cantering her outside but I really had to force myself to do it and I am glad I did.  I need to do it again this weekend to prepare for our schooling next weekend, how exciting!  There has been some changes, however, in our schedule.  After schooling I am away for a weekend.  Our May 4th show has been cancelled by the event holder and so I am now bringing Mia to a clinic for a dressage and xc lesson that weekend.  It will be her first time hauling out alone, first time hanging by the trailer all day and first time being required to do something once we get to our destination other than being adorable.  The following weekend, May 11th, is TWH's first show ad it is a big show, a horse trial!  I have my work cut out for me, time to get riding!

1 comment:

  1. Good girl Mia! I suspect Chrome is going to be the same way about having a go problem instead of a stopping problem, but I'm still anxious to canter him. I need to ride him more consistently before I try it I think. I'm also anxious about riding him on the roads by myself... I need to take your lead and just go for it. :D You have some fun outings coming up! I can't wait to read all about them.