"She's a pony and you're only human, of course you are going to lose your patience sometimes."
-My mom :-)
I adore the holidays but this is always when my riding seems to suffer and true to form I had a horrible ride today. It wasn't that Katai was that bad, it was that I was a total asshole to her. I was gritting my teeth and gave some half halts that were way firmer than I should be giving.
The worst thing is that I knew that she had a reason to be stubborn and full of energy because I hadn't ridden her enough this week and then when she carried through and was stiff and full of energy I got frustrated. Instead of pushing her when I knew that she was feeling up at the beginning of the ride I should have found a good note and quit.
I know that the important thing is to move on, learn from my mistake, and not do this again but all I want to do is go back in time and take it all back.
We have been getting better as a team. We used to get into arguments like this every time I rode, then it was once a week, then once a month, and finally now we're only arguing once every couple of months. This relationship between the two of us is why this blog is named Stubborn Together. My goal is that instead of being stubborn against each other, like we were today, we are able to both be stubborn together to accomplish something and most of the time that seems to be the case. Anymore days like today are the exception instead of the rule but I'm still frustrated with myself that I behaved the way that I did.
So I put together a plan since that's the best way for me to move on rather than just dwelling.
First, if I know that I can't ride 5 days per week (like during Christmas week next week) I'm going to lunge her and let her do some "proper" cantering but without me onboard to get frustrated with. That way she can burn off some steam, I can enforce what I need without being a jerk, and I'll still get the pony some exercise.
Second, I need to get back to riding 5 days per week on average. Katai does great at 5 days, ok at 4 days, and not good at 3 days. I can usually make 5 days work but I've been having a tough time being motivated to climb in the car in the dark and make the drive to the barn. I need to do this though for both of our mental health.
Third, if, when, I start getting frustrated I need to find something good to end on and just quit. Get off the pony and keep it positive. Letting her pick a fight with me is not doing anything good for either of us.
Fourth (the tough one), I need to forgive myself like my mom is telling me and move on. I'm not going to be perfect all the time and while I certainly wasn't nice to her it's not like I was beating her either. We will bounce back and be alright.
I'm looking forward to L riding her again tomorrow to see if she can provide me with further guidance about what to do when Katai is doing what she was today. Fingers crossed that it will go as well and I'll learn as much tomorrow as I did last week!