Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony. ~ Thomas Merton

Monday, May 3, 2010

Typical Cricket . . . Ugh!

I got on my horse on Friday. I don't know if I can say I "rode." If you define "riding" as the "mere act of not falling off" then maybe I rode.

We pulled out of the Centered Riding clinic because of the severe weather predicted for Saturday and Sunday. I took the opportunity to play with Cricket on Friday. All I can say is Ugh!

Cricket was . . . well, she was typical Cricket. Everything I asked for she didn't want to do and everything she offered she immediately hated. Most of our ride went something like this:

Me: Hey, Cricket, let's pick up the trot.

Cricket: NO! I hate trotting . . . I want to CANTER.

(canter depart, half stride, buck-up)

Cricket: I HATE cantering!

Me: It was your idea.

Cricket: I don't care, I hate cantering. I want to trot . . . but I hate trotting so I want to walk. I hate walking . . . I want to canter.


Enough is enough. After a few repetitions of the above sequence, I decided to help her find an idea and stick with it. She is, after all, a LBI and psychology works better than anything else. Since her idea was to canter, I picked the canter and went with it. The next time she offered a canter I decided we were going to canter until she could relax. It took a few circuits of the arena with more fits and starts and buck-ups than I can count. Finally she eased into a smooth canter and blew out. Brought her down to the halt.

Turned her to the left and we did the whole thing over again. This time, I managed her on a circle around half the arena and the goal was a relaxed trot. When she accepted the trot, we stopped on the rail and dwelled.


I don't know what was wrong.
  • I made too many changes for one ride - pad, stirrups, bridle and reins. I was riding in jeans and half chaps and gloves. Maybe she was just as uncomfortable as I was.
  • She may be having issues with her heat cycles. I'm considering adding red raspberry leaves to her feed. At least for the spring so I can see if that makes her more comfortable.
  • It had been about two weeks since our last ride and my expectations were too high.
Things I learned (or learned again and maybe this time they'll stick):
  • Cricket is not - and never will be - a "pick up/put down" horse. She requires consistent work in order to offer her best.
  • My seat is a hell of a lot better than I thought. Not once, in all her stops and starts and intermittent crow-hops, did I feel as if I were going to come off. I never felt afraid, even asking her to canter when I knew she was popping her butt.
  • PNH is not giving me the answers I need to unlock Cricket's exuberance on-line. It's time for something different.
  • In order for my riding to progress to a point where I can offer Cricket the under-saddle leadership she needs, I need to ride a horse that gives me time and space to improve my skills.
Saturday I went up and audited the first day of a L3/4 camp at Carol Coppinger's farm. I'm super excited about my camp this weekend. I'll post some of my insights in a separate entry.


Naturally Gaited said...

Very interesting. I love your thought processes (and your commentary!).

Too bad about the Centered Riding clinic.. Please post about your Carol C. experiences!! My clinic is next weekend and I'm NERVOUS (performance anxiety).

Lisa said...

I'll grab my clinic notes and post some observations later today or tomorrow.

Don't worry about the clinic. It's about learning, not performing ;o) Just remember to address the horse (and human) that shows up and the best cure for something that isn't going well is Friendly Game.

Hmm, sounds like a need to take my own advice!

~ Lisa