The Somewhat Disturbing Audience

I hopped on Joy to play with a few of the exercises I had found. She was extremely distracted from the get go, looking for things to spook at, tense, tight, and amped up.

I went through the normal warm-up routine and was getting frustrated that I couldn’t get her attention on me.

As we’re trotting across a short diagonal, I look up and see a doe staring us down from less than 20 meters away.

She was standing in the clearing between the arena and the woods, next to the small drive we use to access the back yard. Just standing there… watching us… seemingly at ease with the situation, with no intention of moving.

I tried to ignore her. I tried to get Joy to focus on me again.

Nope.

Let me tell ya, it’s not easy to ignore a strange animal staring at you. It leaves you a little unsettled.

And Joy wasn’t having any better luck ignoring the doe than I was.

I stopped Joy at the edge of the arena closest to the deer.

Me to the deer: *sigh* “Do you want to learn dressage too?”

Doe: No answer

Me: “I’m looking for a new eventing partner. Do you like to jump?”

Doe: sidles closer to the woods.

Me: “Come on, I bet you’d be a fantastic eventing mount. We could go far!”

Doe: slinks into the woods and hides behind a tree.

Apparently she isn’t keen on eventing.

I really thought that was the end of it. And then I realize the doe is watching us from the treeline. She hung out there the rest of my ride.

I swear to you, it really seemed as if that doe was enjoying watching us.

I’m expecting to go one day and find that doe in my arena practicing dressage moves.

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Escalating Issues & Popped Shoulders

I’ve had some time to think about the ride I had on Monday, and how poorly it went. These issues have been escalating the past few rides. Monday was the worst, and I felt rather defeated and unsettled by the ride.

Joy is hollow on the right, stiff on the left.  Up until lately I could bend her to the right without her popping her shoulder out too much. I felt I had control of her outside. However, the past few rides, that shoulder pop’s left bad. No matter how hard I kick with the left leg she ignores it, half-halting the outside doesn’t help, and dragging her right doesn’t help (heh).

Here’s the video from the 2nd (Monday):

You can see the overly bent neck and popped shoulder in the video (above) at 43 and 53 seconds (etc).

Here’s the video from the 5th (Thursday). This is with a whip to back up the left leg aid:

I’ve also been working on my position more, although it’s not going so well. My arms have developed a life of their own. I’m riding around pleasantly when all of a sudden I realize my hands are in my face. How did they get there?!  It’s embarrassing!

Feel free to chime in with what you see (I’m a little hesitant to say that because I know it looks horrible, but give it to me straight!).

 

In other news:

Joy saw her first deer this week under saddle. I know she’s seen them in the pasture numerous times (the deer like to cut through my pasture), but I’ve noticed that for some reason if a horse is under saddle then wild animals are FEARSOME CREATURES that are intent on killing all horses. Joy did pretty well with it. The first one we saw was standing about 15 feet from us, Joy and I were alone, and I was praying it wouldn’t move as we passed it. It didn’t. The second and third time they were much further away and we were with another horse, so it wasn’t as scary. The third time (alone again) we only heard the deer crashing through the woods, and although Joy got a bit snorty and prancy at first, she stayed level headed about it and settled down quickly (Win!).

We also had our first car pass us (not close). Joy shot forward like the hounds of hades were on her tail. I ran her up the butt of the gelding that was with us.  Who doesn’t love a stoic, wise gelding? Best horse to have with us that day.  Joy regained her composure a bit after realizing the steady eddy wasn’t scared, but she still jumped and shook horribly when the second car passed us. I was very happy that she improved with the second car. I don’t think it’ll take her much time to realize the cars aren’t scary.

The other thing I was proud of Joy for… I was riding up to the neighbors barn, her horses were in the pasture which borders the path I take to her barn. Her horses come up to the fence and start to follow us. Then they get a mad hair up their butts and they just take off! Madly galloping around, bucking, farting, the works. Joy immediately wants to bolt off too. After an initial “Eeeeekkkk! I’m going to die!” I got Joy back and we did bendy lines at a walk all the way to the neighbors barn. She actually came back really quickly. I mean, she was still a wound up ball of tension, but she listened! And once we got to their barn she just stood there calmly while I chatted with the neighbor. Yay!!

Thursday, Joy and took our first solo ride around the back field. It has some pretty scary things going on back there. There’s a house and a pole barn being built in two different areas, and lots of weird things to hear and see (hammering, saws, flappy things, tractors, and weird soil to walk over). Joy was tense, but she kept her composure. That was the furthest we’ve gone without having another horse with us, and overall I thought it was a big success. It wasn’t calm, but she was well behaved and listening.

We’re going to be curtailed in our trail riding soon (hunting season), so I’m trying to get in as much as I can before the 15th.