April 25, 2012

Oh-So-Ugly Field Ride Follow-up

Okay.  Back to last Thursday.

Thank you so much for all of the lovely comments and input.  Though I didn't respond in the comments, I read and mulled over every single one, and they all made me feel a lot better.  This whole green horse thing is right for me at this point in my career, but also sometimes a little overwhelming and scary because I don't yet know if there is a light at the end of the tunnel to some of these problems.

I'm glad I waited until my homework ride on Saturday and my lesson on Sunday were over to write this post, because after those two rides, all of the comments from you all, and discussing it with my trainer and Mary, I think I understood what happened.
Some of our cross-country fences in the big scary fields.
During/after that ride, he felt safe going on contact and doing the Dressage-type flatwork he was familiar with in the open field.  He was clearly not comfortable with the situation, but he sought out what was familiar and did it when I asked - hence how easy it was to get him to go on contact both then and since then.  In case you aren't aware, my biggest problem with him over the past several weeks has been that he goes on contact beautifully, but only after 20 minutes of asking and suppling, and if you stop working in the middle of the lesson, so help you, you're starting all over again.

What can I say, this is a horse that seems to learn in teeny, tiny, barely noticeable increments until he has a massive watershed moment about a concept and then never has a problem with it again.

I agree with everyone that said we need to do more of it, and that we need to go out with other horses.  We have done that before in the same field and on trails, and he's content with them.  That said, we'll be all alone on the cross-country course, so we need to do more alone as well.  He will, with time, hopefully learn to trust in me and in the familiar things he knows how to do in these situations.  He'll never be an easy ride in a new situation, but he will be manageable.

Of course, I'd settle for manageable, but I'm sure hoping for 'brave'!


  1. For what it's worth, he didn't sound that bad. Yeah, he lost his marbles, but he didn't buck, rear or do anything dirty. I think you can overcome that. Obviously, you rode it just fine.

  2. Thanks for the vote of confidence! He hasn't ever tried anything dirty, you're right. It's just something we've got to work through, and not ever having worked a horse through this before, it seems a little overwhelming at times.