Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tomorrow I will change & Today won't mean a thing

Perhaps it is my perpetual tendency towards pessimism that makes me believe that this streak of 'good' cannot hope to last. It has been nearly four weeks (as of this friday) that my horse has been phenomenal. We have had 'moments' where the old Eagle shows up but then he settles down into this sensible horse that I, quite frankly, don't know what to do with.

Everything I knew about my horse, have always taken as a certainty, is changing. Before, I could be confident in the knowledge that Eagle would jump a fence and jump it long. He'd leave long and jump too deep over the fence, landing long on the other side. I knew that I would have to sit up, sit down and collect. Touching him with your leg? Hell no. You'd never have to extend, you'd never have to use anything more than your hand (and keep him straight) and you'd have a fight to the fence and on the backside of a fence. He'd rush, get heavy and get unbalanced.

As life is wont to do, though, those certainties have been destroyed. He comes back after fences-he'll go to the base of a fence. I need to use my leg in lines so he doesn't have to chip in to make a good distance-and he would rather chip in than leave long. Seriously? This is screwing with my head, here.
And for an instant today, I thought I had my 'old' horse back.

Bounces, traditionally, have been difficult for us. Anything that could be a bounce could also become an oxer. However, once you get past that, they've always been a good exercise to get him to use himself. Today was the first time we've had one since we've returned. We started out warming up over a little vertical. (For the past two weeks, x's have not been spotted! Thank goodness!) He trotted to the base of the fence, even when I got ahead of him expecting him to leave long. Like, you know, he almost always does (/would.) However, we figured it out for me to stay with him (hard enough when you realize that I am constantly expecting to get pushed out of the saddle by him bumping up into the canter then launching long) and got that resolved.

Then we started playing with a bounce. Sigh. I'm very much not a fan of them. However, my horse returned to the one that I knew well! (I rode him well through it! Talk about regression.) He locked onto that set and bolted into a fast trot and then canter and tried to bull his way through them. Diane promptly made us halt (from rushyfastunbalancedcanter) and do a turn on the forehand off the right leg. Come back on it from the same line.

And--wait, what?
You're telling me that you think he did it again?
Well, that's what I thought, at any rate. I thought he had (finally!) reverted back to the horse I knew. Not neccessarily the horse I 'love" (I really do enjoy these changes, I swear. I'm just having such a hard time adjusting my riding after a year and a half of doing things a certain way!) but the one I'm familiar with.

However, Eagle continued on this most recent trend of "Let's confuse Mom!" He slowed down. Head came down, trot had impulsion but wasn't too quick. Let me keep him in hand. And, we went to the base of the fence without a canter step. The hell is going on, here? Exercise: repeat.
Horse: Continues to be doing this.

Then we graduated to a bounce to a trot in-canter out four line. We went in really well(I'm finally getting "the trot"-where we have impulsion but aren't too fast, but it isn't a slow crawl without any momentum) and..landed fantastically. And was so mellow that I had to (or should have) put leg on through it. Trotted around, came through it again...thought he'd get bolder and more aggressive at the fence... Nope. No dice.
I still needed more leg.

What the hell? I don't ride with my leg. Ever.
I'm really good at bending with it, but...asking them to go forward? This confuses me.

Regardless, we ended up cantering into the line. We tried cantering fences (on a circle) about two months ago. He was fantastic. We tried it about a month and a half ago, after a series of flat lessons. It was a wreck.
Well. Go figure. He was fantstic. After I figured out how to get him closer to the base of the fence and kept him straight, we had a really nice series of fences. Our issue though is that I don't leg him forward so we still leave long for the out fence. (Even had what should have been a canter-in, three become a collected four. I didn't ask for collected.)

And we even did a course! Trot into the bounce (coming off the left), canter into the line, trot after the line, ride through the corner that's directly after the line and then at the other corner, go into an angle-it was a small oxer, big whoop-towards the open side of the polo arena, and then come around to a roll top.
Yeah, go figure. Horse? didn't go crazy. Rolltop? He used himself.
is so confused. I Feel as if I don't know how to ride anymore, even though my riding is allowing him to be good, I feel like trash.
Oh well. We'll work through it. Just a bit discouraged, even though we're making huge strides.

Life. It continues. We get better. Always will. The day I stop improving, stop learning, is the day I die.

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