Spooking

Finally the weekend! I’m going to be even more in love with weekends than normal for a while. They are really going to be the only time I can ride until the sun starts staying up a bit later.

Saturday was the first ride we had in a while. I had given Scarlet a brief lunging on Thursday and Friday. He hadn’t been out at all for over a week until then. I was hoping to ride but it got dark too fast. I had maybe 20 minutes of light after I arrived at the barn. That was enough for a 10 minute grooming session and a 10 minute lunging. If I had put his saddle on, I would have hopped on for around 5 minutes and gotten back off. The lunging is good though. Its good for him to get some exercise without me on his back occasionally.

Saturday I just focused on taking it slow and doing a good warm up before riding. We did do some backing up at the end of the ride. I was able to get a few steps that were mostly straight. That’s going to always be out bane.

Along with being straight, I was trying to use the correct signals for backing. I’ve always just pulled on the reins and leaned backwards. I know that’s 100% not the right way but I had never been told off about it. I didn’t even thing about it being wrong until I started reading more riding books. So now that I know, I’m trying to do it right. Its not easy. Riding for most of my life, almost all of what I do while riding is subconscious. It takes a lot of concentration to focus on doing something specific. Not that I can’t, I just normally don’t. There was a little bit of confusion from Scarlet when I tried to lean slightly forward, press my legs to his side and vibrate the reins to ask him to back. He just dropped his chin into his chest for the most part. Things started to work a bit better when I used a bit more rein and said back out loud. I’ll keep working on it and hopefully we will slowly switch to being correct in all of our cues.

Riding on today was a whole ‘nother beast entirely. Something about today just set Scarlet off. EVERYTHING was scary. The corner he normally spooks at? Yeah, lets just walk sideways by that. I allowed it for the walking laps. I generally let him get his spooky out at first and just gradually nudge him closer to the thing that spooks him. Which normally works well. And we did just fine at the walk. Then trotting he spooked again, trying to plant and spin. I got annoyed at him for that. The stuff in that corner has not changed for six or so weeks. Get over it horse! So I rode him in circles in the corner until he stopped ignoring my leg and moved over to use the full corner. We did it both directions at the trot and I thought we were good.

I was wrong. Canter, here we go again. Plant and spin, pogo stick canter stride. I had to choke up on the reins in order to get control of him enough to circle and circle in the corner. Whenever Scarlet gets really scared, he sticks his nose in the clouds and I have a hell of a time using my normal light contact length of reins. We got the corner under control eventually at the canter but then someone two fields away started moving dirt around with a tractor. Now that was a scary monster. (Seriously horse its like a quarter of a mile away. You can barely even hear it…)

Its getting really frustrating to have to deal with spooking all the time. I haven’t been wearing spurs because I’m a firm believer of not wearing them if you do not have a perfectly independent seat and you have enough leg strength so that your legs will not swing around. I don’t feel like I am back to that point yet. I’m going to need to try to remember to ride with a crop more often so that I can get on Scarlet when he is ignoring my legs. That is not okay and will end up causing issues if it continues.

Despite the spooking, it wasn’t an awful ride today. I think I’m getting to ride so infrequently that any ride is a good ride. Lets hope that I’m able to get at least a ride in during the week this week.

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