Last installment of the “Catch-Riding” saga.
The horse that won’t go…
The owner was there for this ride. In addition to the owner, there were several other helpful ladies in the arena who each had a suggestion on how to ride the horse. I don’t think I went more than 2 steps with someone suggesting I do something different (kick, turn, etc).
To be honest, it was.. uh, stressful.
Riding someone else’s horse in front of them, while feeling judged by half a dozen people who keep calling out how to make the horse actually move… it’s really not as much fun as it sounds.
I don’t think the were actually judging me, it just felt that way.
I think they were trying to be helpful.
Anyway, I had the same issue of getting the first trot of the ride. It wasn’t quite as bad as the previous ride, and I successfully worked through it (once the horse was convinced I really meant it, again). After that, he got right down to work and motored along like he was enjoying himself. He actually seemed more willing to keep going without reminders this ride. I didn’t even need to use my legs except to remind him for bend or capture the outside energy on a turn.
The owner suggested I do several walk/trot transitions, which I had assumed would exacerbate the balking issue, but those worked great at making him sharper off the leg.
Reminder to self: Transitions done correctly really do work!
I felt like I was gaining more control of the entire outside of the horse this ride. Less drifting. We went were I pointed him and he wasn’t escaping (too much) out the outside.
He felt like he was more honestly powering from behind, and reaching into the bit (not honestly accepting it yet, but wasn’t backed off of it).
He was really fun to ride once he was motoring along under his own power. I find it so weird that the horse has such an aversion to forward at the beginning, and yet acts like he really enjoyed working once he got going.
I’m still confused how they consistently get him forward, so I asked the owner again how they made him go. Like, what special tricks did she have up her sleeve. She responded with that’s why they use spurs. I think it was a glib response, but then she made the comment that I must have calves of steel since he was going without spurs for me (I don’t actually have calves of steel. More like jello.). I still really want to see one of his regular riders ride him so I can pick their brains while they’re working through his issues.
I was really stressed with all the eyes on me this ride… I didn’t ride very long and was glad to get off.
After the ride, I got a bit of the ‘barn drama’ from the cast and crew that was there that day. I wanted no part of that discussion. Ha! It made me glad I don’t board anymore.
I told the owner after that ride that I couldn’t come out as much anymore, but if she wanted a one time a week rider than I’d be happy to help for another month (it’s a 45 min one way to drive to ride her horse). She didn’t pursue that option.
However, the owner did graciously offer to let me take lessons on her horse if I wanted. I think that’d be fun, and beneficial, but…. I’m having severe cash flow issues now. Of course no one believes me when I say I’m broke, so it’s always interpreted as “don’t wanna”. I guess it makes sense. I mean, who doesn’t have an extra $30 lying around? Oh right, this girl… 😕🙁
I really want to see owner and the other rider ride this horse now. What do they use to snap him out of his “I don’t wanna” moments. Learning new tools to resolve this issue could be really useful in the future.
All in all, a massive learning experience and I’m thrilled I had a chance to learn from this horse and his owner and other rider. Plus, just being able to sit on a horse of this caliber was a dream come true! I did find that my self-confidence, or lack of, really hindered me in this experience. I felt out of place and lacking (my own issues at play). I had a hard time staying focused and not being worried how others saw me. It’s something I’ll have to keep working on.