Monday, November 9, 2009

I need a better seat!

Yesterday was a bit frustrating for me. My 30 days of training is up, and it will be a few more weeks before I can pony up for another 30. I was working Lic in the arena area I have available (basically it is shaped like a large round pen, but no rail). She was good at the walk, we did a lot of practice being responsive to the leg and stopping with my seat only. I like to practice my own posture at these times as well. It took a couple times, but eventually she got to where she was stopping on a dime when I settled back. I try to make a point of driving my seat bones down, as my trainer instructed, but somehow it has lost some of the finesse it had when she was here coaching me! I'm not sure if it's a me thing, or a Lic thing (she was very distractible yesterday).

Finally, when we got it down, I moved on to some jogging work. She would be good for a while, but she tends to hollow out and rush at a couple of corners, but not the others... I'm not sure why. I made her jog small circles into the corners every time she did this, and then she would be good for a lap or two and do it again. In fact, she was trying to run out on me (like I said, this arena has no rail) and run up the hill that borders the arena area. Once again, I would put her back and make her do circles where she had run out until she was clam and soft. The problem was, I have seen my trainer do this until she is soft and jogging well, and she makes her jog nicely for quite some time before quitting time. I couldn't get more than one or two nice laps at a time out of Lic... she kept getting strung out and falling into a high-headed, rough trot. Sometimes I could settle her with my seat, sometimes not. I tried circles, I tried halting, backing, and pivoting (she can pivot on the hind now, it's not pretty, it needs practice, but she does it), I even tried making her circle at an extended trot for a while and then go back to the jog (I definitely need to take some English lessons- my posting trot position is awful! I was flopping like a fish and Lic let me know it with her pinned ears, too). I finally settles for a good 2-3 laps each way and quit before it could fall apart again.

Then, like a fool, I pushed my luck. I was actually attempting to end on a positive note. On this property are a couple of straightaway areas that Lic likes to canter. She cantered up one, nice as you please. Then, after looping around to the other straightaway, I asked for a canter and got the death-trot. After she continued to ignore my cue, I reached for the over-under and slapped lightly behind my asking leg (this usually works for her). Well, on this particular day, she decided to throw a good hard buck. I normally could have sat it, but apparently, luck was on Lic's side. She bucked, half-reared, bucked again, and I was on the ground.

I landed fine, but the problem is, this is Arizona. I don't have a nice, groomed arena. I have flat areas I make do on. If you've never been to the southwest, you don't know what it's like to fly off a horse and land in tumbleweed. In my particular area of AZ, tumbleweed is more common than dandelions were in Ohio. So, falling off your horse in AZ sucks way more than falling off your horse in OH. Just thought that would add some context, LOL.

Unhurt but pissed, I hopped back up and walloped her ass around, not hard, but enough to make her work to keep moving her hind away from me. And then I climbed back up and cowboyed her ass around and MADE her canter until I decided we were done. In retrospect, I'm not sure this was exactly the right thing to do, but I had already been working her for over an hour and a half at this point, and I guess maybe making my point and getting it done with was the best thing to do? I'm not sure. On the way back home, I flapped the over-under nonchalantly and made her just keep walking... I want her to respond to ME, not the rope, so I thought maybe swinging it around without cueing would help in that regard.

Oh well, got to take the bad with the good. I think I might lunge before riding today, LOL.