Friday, September 24, 2010

A Solution!

Remember my last post when I said I was being too handsy? Boy, was I right!

I finally got around to having my trainer down for a lesson. I needed one. I also wanted to find out two things: What's going on with Spider and how bad do I suck.

The verdict: Nothing's going on with Spider and I just suck. Ha!

Okay, that's not entirely accurate. What my trainer feels is going on is that I am causing him to trip by allowing him to get strung out. Spider tripped while my trainer was down (twice) and he saw it. But, he doesn't feel Spider has an actual unsoundness issue. I'm allowing Spider to get strung out, then his head pops up, his back gets hollow, his hind legs trail out behind and he trips. See, it's always the rider's fault!

That's not to say that his stifles aren't bothering him. I'm sure they are. He's getting older, and I've seen him trip from his stifle locking. But, my riding hasn't been helping because I've been riding poorly. I have been too rigid with my hands, not allowing the horse to come to the bit. I ask him for forward, he hits the brick wall that is my hand and starts to balk, he falls apart, then trips, then I back off because I think he's lame. It's an icky, icky cycle. I am the only one who can break it. I'm feeling better about pushing him, though. We pushed him pretty hard in my lesson and the more I pushed, the better he got. When I was actually riding (rather than sitting there like a rigid bump on a log, not paying attention to anything) he did not trip at all. Lesson learned, we will be returning to a normal training regime. I realized that in my "conditioning work" I have not been paying attention. I've been asking for the bare minimum, not enforcing standards of performance and basically just letting my horse (and myself) putz around.

So, that's the solution for now: Ride better. Well, that sounds easy!


  1. Keep riding - easier said than done!

  2. Yep, it always "sounds" easy. I don't think your conditioning work has been a failure, as Spider needed some fitness. Yes, trailing with his hind end would let him trip, but I still agree about the stifles. The more intense work is going to help that problem even more.

    You'll do fine. You care too much about Spider to not ride as well as you can. He's a lucky boy.

  3. Hey Shannon-

    I totally relate to your post. Sounds like we're dealing with the same issues.

    The best thing is - Spider doesn't think about your ride yesterday or last week. He's in the moment. If you ask correctly - he'll respond correctly.

    Good for you for accepting responsibility!

  4. Oh I love your blog, it is such a mirror of what is happening with me and Teena. Teena "hops" at the trot. Well One of the advanced rider at my new yard rode her. Did Teena hop once? Nope. Did Teena run her head high? nope. So I was pretty depressed because it was obvious how bad I rode her ...
    So next week I will book a lesson with a trainer!

    Teena and Spider are such great schoolmaster, because they stimulate us to ride well.


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