This cartoon pretty much sums it up! So...
we I have been working on contact for the past few weeks. It began with halt, transition to walk, on to walking, transition to trot, and trotting. And it has been going fairly well. Some roadblocks along the way, of course. And maybe yesterday was just a roadblock session and today will be totally fine.
But...I had a mental breakdown, which leads to me thinking all sorts of things and my very supportive husband trying to figure out what my problem is. Then I try to explain how I am feeling and it comes out kinda sorta all wrong, but partly right?
Those of you who read this blog know we are green on green. Neither of us have had consistant training until this year. Riva turns 5 next month and I am not in a big hurry to advance her training, have no lofty goals, dreams, or aspirations. I really try to remind myself of our progress and let what compliments come our way sink in.
So...what is my problem? Working with contact is hard work.period. I now know what it feels like to ride Riva when she is on the bit. I also know what is feels like when she is above or behind the bit...and I don't like that feeling. Yesterday, Riva went beautiful on the lounge in the side reins. But when I got on, I could not keep that contact one stride in trot. The more I tried different ways to keep the contact, the worse it became. My normal 'ride away and relax for awhile' place is the front area of the property, around the pond - away from the barn and arenas. Yesterday, I tried that and could not just relax and let Riva go. When I would ask for trot and she came above the bit, I had to bring her back to walk. I just could not stand the feeling of her dropping her back and hollowing out and for what ever reason, this made me more stressed!
When I struggle with a particular training issue, I most always turn to the internet. I know there is a ton of crap info out there and I try and go to the recognizable names - Jane Savoie's comes up a lot. I have watched some training videos of hers and like her methods. I found 2 articles today that relate to getting and keeping your horse on the bit and another about suppling exercises. They are easy to understand with clear steps and instructions. I want to give these a try in our ride this evening. I know this is the direction I need to keep heading.
But what went thru my mind last night and that I said to my husband, was that everyone keeps telling me what Riva needs, how I have to ride her...that she can't run around anymore with her head up, that she must accept contact, that she has to come round and use her back end vs her front end, etc. The practical side of me agrees and accepts all that. But the little girl in me knows all I ever wished for was a horse - to ride and enjoy - to brush and love on - to ride the wind on. Will those two sides ever meet?