Something weird happened on Thursday evening- I had a bad ride. I know that may sound ridiculous, but I’ve gotten accustomed to always having enjoyable hacks. Maybe we have a trying lesson occasionally (you have to get outside your comfort zone if you want to grow and all that), but our hacks are always easy going and enjoyable. But not on Thursday.
Rio was fine while grooming and tacking, acting like his normal happy self. When we got into the ring he was walking great, on a long rein and totally relaxed. I always pick up the trot on a long rein and let him warm-up without any interference before taking any sort of contact. He was superrrr fresh, wanting to trot 90 miles an hour. That’s not that unusual, but what was unusual was him attempting to evade every single aid I threw at him in an attempt to slow his damn trot down.
Straighten my hip angle and post slower? Nada. Sit the trot and use a heavy seat to slow him? Nope. Take a firm feel and then release when he slows? Right back to racing along. So strange. Usually in the canter I can barely get him to hand gallop, but of course that’s all he wanted to do Thursday. No relaxed hunter canter to be found. Everything I tried failed miserably. I was frustrated and confused and eventually did some lateral work in the trot to finish the ride. Hard to run-trot in a shoulder-in/haunches-in half last etc. I figured channeling his energy was the best I could do at that point.
I was hoping he’d be back to his level headed self on Saturday for our jump lesson. He hasn’t been that unruly for a flat ride in…. 8 month? A year? It’s just not like him! Thankfully, he was much more open to my suggestions on tempo Saturday, even though it was super chilly all of the sudden. Still not exactly the level of quiet you’d want to see in the hunter ring, but at least he was considering my suggestions again and seemed very happy to be jumping around. I made some superrrr questionable decisions concerning distances and he wasn’t phased in the slightest.
At one point we were jumping into a 5 stride line and I just did NOT see the spot, and could NOT make a decision. I’ve been cautious lately and any time I’m hesitant I go for the add, but my trainers have been trying to get me to relax and let him flow better because I sometimes add completely unnecessarily. Well, when I didn’t see the distance clearly I had quite the internal struggle. I wanted to add, but I wanted to NOT add because I knew I should try not to. This led to a TOTAL brain freeze and thank goodness Rio took over and jumped- taking the long spot. The resulting pic is me grinning ear to ear while thinking “I HAVE THE BEST HORSE EVER” because I know many horses that would not have jumped at all with a ride like I gave him. We even made the line in a respectable 5 and jumped out well.
Although our lesson wasn’t perfect, it definitely reminded me not to sweat the small stuff, like the occasional crappy flat ride. I am so lucky that Rio doesn’t sweat my mistakes, and I should cut him some slack on off days too. I’m not saying I will let him do whatever he wants when he’s naughty, just that next time I will try not to get to upset and frustrated over a single rough ride.
Sunday was lovely weather (sunny and low 40’s versus cloudy and low 30’s Saturday). I had a perfect hack, Rio is even more response and softer then Sunday. Our canter was lovely and I was really feeling him soften and relax. We went for a long walk around the property, and then an even longer hand graze. I spent a long time cleaning my tack and catching up with fellow barnmates. It was essentially a perfect barn day. Can every weekend please be as amazing?
How about you guys? Who else had a horsey filled weekend? Any rough rides & recoveries lately?
All photos by Liana. Thank you SO MUCH, this blog wouldn’t be the same without your hard work!