A Tale of Two Rides

I do so good for a bit with writing on here and then I fall off that wagon so hard. Oh well. I’ll figure it out at some point.

I’ve had at least two rides on Uno since that last time I wrote here. Maybe more. But since I remember these two, I’ll write about them.

Uno is very into jumping. I’d hopped him over a jump a time or two when Holly and I were riding together before but not recently. I was hesitant to do it for multiple reasons. First, I was really out of shape. The last time I jumped him was when I was using Holly’s saddle and I almost got jumped out of the tack. The only reason I stayed in was her oh-shit strap. So I needed to buy my own. I have one now. I’m still out of shape but there is some extra support if my own muscles can’t hold out.

Two, Uno and I were having some serious communication issues. He’s not an easy horse to ride. He doesn’t enjoy most parts of working and I’d been spending these many months with him just on working on forward and basics like that. I now feel like we’ve got the forward a lot more consistently now. There’s always issues with that first trot transition but I feel like we’ve gotten past the other bs after that.

Third… well he’s not Scarlet. Jumping Scarlet was 100% effortless to me because unless I fucked up badly, Scarlet got us to the other side. He had only ever refused to jump less than a handful of times. I trusted him implicitly. And any other horse I’d jumped with any consistency was a lesson horse. I trusted my trainers to put me on a horse that wasn’t an ass. And Uno had already shown he could be an ass. So I was scared.

But a week ago Friday, I decided I wanted to try. I did give myself the caveat of if Uno was horrible, we’d skip the jumping and be safe. I thought we might have to go with that when he gave a huge spook at one corner when we started cantering. But he recovered well and was good otherwise. So I shoved aside my fear and, making sure we had a good forward canter, pointed him at a small X. He was great. Went over it fine. We went for the larger X, him keeping his canter forward on his own now that we were doing something fun. My steering was… off and we went over the side of the X making for a much larger jump that I’d anticipated. He was great though. No playing or being stupid. Just hunting for those jumps.

I did the small and larger X a few more times on each lead and went over an X shaped oxer twice and then called it a day. Probably only 10 jumps but I was getting tired, even if Uno was NOT ready to finish. I definitely realized that I needed to get over my fear. I was relatively stable in my jumps, Uno behaved very well and we did just fine. I need to trust him more. He likes jumping too much to mess around.

This last Friday I just did a flat ride. I have alternating Fridays where my day is basically my own to do whatever future development I want on my skills. So my start times on those Fridays are completely in my control. So I’ll save jumping for those days.

Now that Uno and I are more in sync, I want to start pushing for more flatwork things. I didn’t have a concrete goal for this ride except to try some lateral work with him. I’ve been having issues getting the feeling of him actually connecting to either of my reins unless I’m yanking him along. I thought lateral work would help with that.

Guys, we struggled. We only ended up doing a bit of lateral work because everything was freaking broken. We had forward but omg could I not feel a single flipping part of his body doing what a horse’s body should do. I tried riding off the rail to get him listening to my aids. Didn’t really work. I tried the lateral work, had to basically kick a hole in his side to get him to move. Tried some counter cantering. He decided that on the left lead, he was going to begin a pirouette. I’ve never cantered in place quite like that.

I tried to end off with some serpentines and he felt like a handful of stiff pieces of wood connected with limp noodles. How on earth can a horse be so stiff and yet absolutely unconnected at the same time?! It was an extremely frustrating ride though we did accomplish small steps of what I wanted each time. It just… I’ve never had to really deal with anything like that when riding previous horses. Or if I did, I wasn’t experienced enough to know the difference. I don’t feel like I have the tools to deal with it other than just plugging away.

When I was bitching about it to L she said that Uno is a low tone horse and actively tries to suck the rider into being lone tone with him. She said that because of that, I’d have to ride with a lot more effort to get him to do things. He takes so much effort already that the task is a daunting idea. I’m not going to give up on working on harder things with him but its not appealing if I’m being honest. But I don’t want to just get on and ride in circles. I could totally do that and not change my amount of effort at this point. But I don’t want to do that. I want to ride and improve as a rider. So effort it is. I really need to get working out if I’m going to have to carry both my tone and Uno’s.