Sunday, July 13, 2014

Lesson #114: Mare-ish

Today's lesson was another one focused on us getting ourselves together to work on some jumping and cantering. Usually, Ariel is either already near the gate or walking over or at the very least, not making a run for it. This morning was a completely different story: I walked in and she wanted to get a drink so I let her... then as soon as she was done (and before I could put that halter on) she turned around on her heels and made a dash for the other side of the paddock. NOT COOL. But, it's too late to reprimand an animal once they've done what they've done so I begrudgingly walk over and pop the halter on.

During tack up, I notice her legs are pretty yucky... good ol' Ariel is in heat (again). In the arena, we were asked to get out on the rail to do the warm-up and I couldn't get Ariel to move off... I had to give her a slap with my hand on her rump. *sigh* A premonition of the lesson to come.

Despite the start, my warm-up was great. I bet it was because of that iffy start that I had such a great warm-up where I was clear in my communication and I was large and in charge. Things started to fall apart for me when we got into the canter. I started on Ariel (and my) crappy side: right. She was not only giving me a lot of fuss, but she was falling in and giving me lip for wanting to start that canter. It was such a frustrating part where when I did get her into a canter, she was falling all over the place and zipping about.

Next, we started on a low jump on the quarter line. I was asked to canter it and to not cut the corner before the turn. I wasn't insistent enough about wanting to keep going and then last minute, Ariel would decide for us, that she'd take a pretty sharp turn just before the wall. Sheri proceeded to add a ground pole here and there and eventually she made a mini course of a single jump with several ground poles that would otherwise represent the fence. The task laid out before me was to take the whole thing at a canter with the appropriate turns in and out. Not to mention at a reasonable controlled pace. The first couple of times I wasn't making the appropriate decisions in advance and Ariel wasn't clear so took her own decision to go one way or the other. We both looked completely out of control and +ADW mentioned to me afterwards, that it looked more like a gallop than a canter. Yikes! Sheri also mentions similarly in the sense that I looked like I let Ariel take over.

My other issue is letting Ariel "win". When she disagrees, I just stop us both from doing anything further. Sheri tells me that that's not okay because that signals to Ariel that she won and she'd just do it again and again. So, it is better for me to keep moving and insisting to get what I want from her. Once I do that and make a more concrete decision about (something like) left or right of the barrel, then things come together much better. I have control and Ariel yields to take my direction. But what a messy way to get there! Yeesh!! 

My homework is to continue doing my physiotherapy exercises of stretches and strengthening as well as trying to mentally prepare myself more thoroughly for rides with Ariel.

No comments:

Post a Comment