Friday was frustrating. It felt like 18 steps back, and it left me in a bad mood. I intended to give the mare Saturday off regardless, but I ended up giving her the whole weekend and just keeping my mental space away from the barn. I didn't really mean to, in fact I spent all day Sunday "planning" on heading to the barn after "one more thing." but I realized about at about 4pm (after a tragic Seahawks loss..) that I was just fooling myself and I really had no intention of riding the mare at all.
All in all it was fine. Yesterday was as gorgeous as fall gets around here, so The Boy and I headed off for a big walk, found some salad and beer, stumbled into a movie (holy god Secretariat was disappointing..) and walked slowly home. It was an ideal Sunday, so I really don't feel too guilty about ignoring the pretty Miss Pia.
So.. back to Friday. Friday was a lesson, one that I had high hopes for after our Wednesday and Thursday rides and their increasing relaxation. Such was not the case.
I tried to replicate my "good vibes." I mentally committed to a calm session, I opted to walk on a long rein for a long warm up instead of lunge, and I worked hard during our warm up to get her between my aides and reaching for the bit.
Our work started well. Good increases/lengthenings. Decent bend, and some good transitions. Baby lateral work was ok (shoulder in/haunches in.. both off the rail). Then we worked our half halts a bit, and reaaallly making them obvious. Pia was not a huge fan of that exercise, but she got it and was only fussy a couple of times before doing pretty well at it. P did start hre old tricks. Diving, refusing to go forward, blowing through my leg, the usual...
But, the wheels really came off the wagon when we started back up after a walk break for some counter canter. Once again, we never even GOT to the counter canter, because mare-face decided to tie one on about her transitions. We abandoned the counter canter and just worked a ga-zillion canter departs. Multiple departs on a circle, simple change on a figure-8, from the walk (!?!) you name it. She was snotty to the right when we were on the open side of the circle, but in reality we got some decent transitions, both up and down.
Thankfully the weekend of football, beer, and fundraising has clouded my memory, but essentially, Pia threw two MASSIVE fits. The first, I think was while we were in the canter, but I wasn't asking for much. Like nothing. I wasn't getting after her, wasn't asking for a transition, or for her to sit back.. nothing. She just went bonkers. Bronc-bucking-hopping-bonkers. BO made a dart to get out of the way (since we were popping all over the place), and honestly Pia almost got me off. She didn't, but she tried (again), which pissed me off. Also infuriating? when I wrestled her to a standstill she was so amped up I couldn't even whap her or kick hard for fear of getting murdered.
So. I took a deep breath, requested we return to the trot and let it go. 45 seconds later? BLAM-O, same thing. Buck-twist-kick-rear-buck-kick-twist-twist-bitch. That was it. I stopped her, flew off and prepared to lace her across the ass, when she beat me to it and flew backward knowing full well what my intentions were. So I let it go. Stopped, patted her, and proceeded to attempt some half steps on the ground. She was fussy and all freaked out, but she got it. We managed a full lap at the walk, with half steps every 10 meters or so, before I patted her, and got back on.
We finished with some decently nice trot work (getting to be a theme), but we didn't push the canter again. If she hadn't pulled those two massive fits, I would have felt pretty good about the ride. Aside from them, she was a twit about a few things, but ultimately put in some great work, and tried pretty hard. The bum out really was that I couldn't even think on the decent work, because I was so upset about the two fits. I sorta get why the mare explodes when I'm asking her hard questions, but the fact that she pulled two of her largest fits when we were just trotting merrily along? It's disheartening and makes me feel like I don't understand her nearly as well as I've led myself to believe.
- We've had some good rides in the last 10 days (That's Good!)
- There have been some totally mysterious mare-attacks (That's Bad)
- Pia is sound and strong and slobbering (That's Good!)
- My lessons seem to be less productive than my rides on my own (that's good/bad)
- I had a massive breakthrough in my effectiveness, as I learned (and can feel!) my left hip is ALWAYS pushed forward, regardless of direction, and my half-halts twist the same clockwise fashion (That's GOOD to know, BAD to do..)
PS- Has anyone else seen Secretariat?? I saw nothing but decent fan reviews... but boooooooo, even I was bored. I thought the horse footage was done well, and I love John Malkovitch as yet another eccentric character, but oof. I guess I was hoping to see a bit more of the grit of the story. I mean, really, the "financial strain" was represented by one passing conversation where by Miss Diane Lane stoically turned down $8 million for her big red colt.
Yeah, I get it, that takes balls. But I think it took more balls than we got to see. And also, literally all we see of Secretariat was him as a baby, him as a yearling, then winning the triple crown. Woo. What a struggle. For a two hour movie, I felt like they could have shown us more of the fairly incredible story. But whatever. No one ever likes a feature film that touches on their hobby.. I get that. Rant over.