Friday, February 13, 2015
Hola Ride #8- Dropping in on a Group
On Tuesday night Laurie and I took Hola and Ella out to drop in at a group lesson with a trainer I know quite well. The idea was that I would take Hola in tacked and just keep out of the way and get her exposure to a busier arena with some "strange" horses and at the end of the night, if everything calmed down, I might hop on for a short ride. Well, for starts Hola was j.a.c.k.e.d.. I am also surprised at just how reactive my quiet little filly can be! But then Hola is not "quiet" in the typical sense of the word. She likes to move her feet, is very interested in everything going on around her and she is so athletic, so free in her body that her reactions are fast big. On one hand I love this because it is part of what makes her so cool. On the other hand, it is scary to think about riding a filly who's small spook can take her from one spot to another (ten feet away) in 2 seconds flat. On top of that she is going through a bratty stage. At least I like to think it is a stage. She is smart enough and sensitive enough to know when I am around people that change my posture/habits. All but one of the people there I knew personally so I wasn't nervous, but there is that small change that happens when I am around other horse people and there is a certain expectation/hope that Hola will behave perfectly and she also seems to know that I hesitate to school on her around new people. I lunged her on the short line and she bucked and farted and acted like a idiot in general. She did settle down and was pretty quiet for the next hour. I decided to get on her. Well! First, I took a while to prepare her to get on, took her back out and lunged her around, stood above her on the mounting block and waited for her to settled, rocked her saddle a little, gave her time to think about the fact that I was getting up there. I stepped on her and for a few second she stood, and then she took a few steps forward and everything her body went "F-U! Get off! Get off! Get off!" She didn't buck but her back felt high and I was able to pull her head around and she stopped and came back to me. So I tried walking her off again. Same thing. I pulled her around the other way and waited for her to soften. Again we went off and again she just felt totally not with me. I finally decided to stop her and just sit for a few minutes until she really relaxed. Just then a new horse came to the (high) door of the arena. F-ing perfect! And this horse was young, bug eyed, and a wildly colored paint. Needless to say, I got off in a hurry. To Hola's credit, she did stand. But a minute after my feet touched the ground she was blowing around have a melt down as the other horse also had a melt down. Ten minutes later both horses were settled again and I knew I had to get back on. So I did. Which was when I found that my guiding/steering had gone to hell in a hand basket! Hola was walking out nicely but I didn't have much control and once again I think I might have been a little to conscious of eyes on me. In the end she did guide a little better (but not great) and she did relax so we ended on a good note but it wasn't overly pretty and far from perfect. As much as it sucks to admit it, I think Hola and I both need more time spent out and around people. Damnit! I really don't prefer riding with a group, no matter how friendly and non-judgmental. But I need make sure Hola doesn't learn to be the same. I might go again next Tuesday only I don't think I will get on again until I feel like we can go and stay together mentally.