Whatever’s not working at the current barn has become irrelevant because it is clear to me after my ride last night that I need to leave. I’ve been questioning if it is J’s teaching style, my riding style, the pony, or the other people but it just doesn’t matter because it isn’t working.
Last night, after giving Katai a week off, I went out to ride her and I was able to relax because I didn’t have to worry about my lesson on Wednesday and the complete disaster that they have become. I had been toying again with the idea that maybe this just isn’t what Katai wants to do and had thought about possibly finding her another home with a kid but when I saw her pretty face and fuzzy ears last night I was strongly reminded that it doesn’t matter. I’m with her through whatever happens and we are going to be a team for a good long while.
I brought her in and took my time grooming her. She’s been blanketed so she wasn’t dirty but she was enjoying being brushed since I’m sure she was itchy under her blanket. Her feet have also been concerning me and showing signs of Thrush again, probably because she stands in manure at the round bale all day and never moves around enough to dislodge the crap in her hooves. I cleaned them out as well as I could but I’m going to wash them out tonight and get them really disinfected and clean.
I tacked her up and went to the arena but there were two lessons so I took my time just walking around with her and showing her things that she’s been squeamish about. I tried to spend some time just hanging out with her and took my time tightening up the girth.
After about 10 minutes one of the lesson people left so I brought Katai over to the mounting block and climbed up. She was initially a little tense and quick. I just rode her long and low with loose reins but expecting her to be reasonably straight and to listen to my leg cues. She did relax a lot and I was doing ten meter circles off my seat and legs with my reins on the buckle.
Eventually I did some trotting in both directions and since this is where J’s been putting the most pressure on us I knew she would lose it but actually after just a couple circles in each direction where I didn’t demand anything she relaxed enough to reach down into contact and even slowed just off my weight cue. I decided to quit on that positive note.
I brought her back into the crossties, got her untacked and was actually doing some clipper desensitization when this is where the story gets really good. I was just putting her blanket back on when J comes out if the arena and marches right over to me. She said, “I noticed you were working her in hand a lot tonight.” I kind of paused and said, “Nope, I was just hanging out waiting for the arena to clear out a little.” J then says, “Well if she’s that against you maybe you should take a driving lesson with me.”
First, why is there nothing between me riding my horse in a third level frame which causes her to fight me and deciding that driving is just better? Did she not see that when she was ridden low, loose and relaxed tonight she was great? Again, Katai is an intro/training level horse and at this point I am an intro/training level rider which to me means we should be working on intro/training level things such as relaxation, rhythm, going different speeds within the gait, stretching, long and low, and working on other things like desensitization to clippers and riding on the trail. NOT transferring most of her weight to her hind end and trying to work on half pass or only allowing her to go forward when she is straight. Second, I know J probably knows how to drive but that doesn’t mean that I would go right into taking lessons with her and finally if there was ever a time to say green on green equals black and blue this is it! An instructor who doesn’t regularly drive teaching me, who has never driven a horse, to drive my young admittedly difficult horse just seems like an extremely horrible idea that is fraught with peril. Add to that the fact that I’m sure we don’t have any equipment that would fit her, I’m not sure that driving is something I’ll ever be comfortable after seeing my sister in a driving accident that resulted in three broken ribs, and the fact that I certainly can’t afford to go buy a bunch of driving equipment. Finally, even if she is just talking ground driving its silly because Katai is the ground driving queen! I did a ton of this before I ever climbed on her back and she does it just as well, or poorly, as she rides at this point. Since I’m not scared of falling off or getting hurt when I ride her I guess I just don’t know what that will accomplish in the long run.
At any rate I’m going to stop my whining. I am really looking forward to this new opportunity and think I have a couple of barns picked out. I boarded Sora at one previously and the other I’ve heard great things about. That one I’m going to go tour on Friday and I can’t wait to look around! They have only stall board available and while it’s not something I ever thought I would do I also think it would be a great opportunity.
I typed up this post at work today on my lunch but need to add a postscript. I went to the barn right after work to see H ride in her lesson since its been awhile. She was doing really well! Afterward though when I told J that I needed to give my 30 day notice she fought me and declared, after I stubbornly refused to listen to her trying to get me to dump my pony at an auction, "You're going to regret this, that pony will never be worth anything."
Yep, I made the right decision to get out of there.
More positive and wonderful posts to follow including pictures of the new place as soon as I can get them!