Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I never got to the part about my which Steady transmits his inner Pokey.

You know Pokey?  Gumby's trusty steed, the little pony made out of clay?  Yeah him...

I am frustrated that I didn't get to this sooner simply because it helps me keep my mind focused on the recently absorbed information.  Ideally I would have put this all down on paper the day after my lesson but now it is a week and a day later and I am finally getting to it.  I had some extremely important breakthroughs in my lesson with Lee Ann Zobbe.

#1 I feel like gumby riding pokey sometimes with Steady's bendy neck.  It is hard to get a straight line when a horses face and head can be facing an entirely different direction than the direction that their body is moving in.  I have been told before that this was happening but was not given real clear instructions on how to correct the problem.  I am a reactive rider and try to fix the problem but with no success.  This is the point that we spent much of my lesson on.  I would be riding to a fence and Lee Ann would yell "is he straight?"  I and I would yell back "no!".  But then continue on to our jump then land and head toward the next one in worse shape than the first.  So Steady's head is facing right but his body is drifting left.  My reactive riding brain says "no I don't want him to go left.  Pull right, pull right.  Wait it isn't fixing the problem!  Shoot now Lee Ann is yelling.  We are getting closer and he is still crooked.  Shoot she is still yelling.  What is she saying?  She is saying left rein I don't want him to go left must use right rein.  She is yelling louder, "LEFT REIN!"  Ooops that jump was awful since we were so crooked.  What the heck is wrong with us?"  This repeated itself multiple times before Lee Ann finally said, "do you not know your right from your left?".  She was being dead serious BTW not sarcastic.  I frustratedly laughed and answered "yes I do"  She said "oh, I only asked because some people struggle with that and it seems everytime I say right you use left."

Has anyone ever seen the movie Cars?  You know the part where Doc is trying to teach Lightening Mcqueen to race on the dirt track?  Doc tells LM on the turn if you want to go left, turn right.  Then LM laughs and tells Doc he is crazy and says "Yeah, maybe in opposite world!"  Then he proceeds to try again again doing it his own way before he finally gives in and tries what Doc says and it works!  Well that was me.  I could not wrap my brain around the idea that if I want him to go right then I need to use my left rein.

Lee Ann taking the reins to show me what to do.
Lee Ann finally gives up and comes over and grabs the reins and from the ground gets Steady to move in the correct direction with the correct aides.  Then she gives them back to me and lo and behold!!  Nothing!  I still do the same thing...grrrr.  So after probably 30 minutes of her trying to explain to me in a hundred different ways how to make this happen I FINALLY figured it out.  She never got mad, she never just said forget it, she just kept looking for a different way to explain the same thing.  I think that is a sign of an amazing teacher!  I think it was about at the wheel barrow analogy and her making me hold my hands on top of her as she was using the reins that something finally clicked in my brain.  She demonstrated trying to steer a wheel barrow the way I am steering my horse and some how explained and showed me where my hands, elbows, shoulder, hip and leg all needed to be when asking him to turn.  And "DiNG" I got it, I felt it, I could finally get what she meant.  In my defense she did say the reason it was so hard for me to get is because when I ask correctly Steady fights it but if I stick with it he will "get it" soon too.  He wasn't being obstinent`he was trying his hardest to figure out what the heck I was trying to do up there.  He was getting frustrated but we were finally figuring it out.  We had a little time to try a few jumps with proper turns and called it a good day.  This break through is huge for me and it makes me love training with Lee Ann more than I already did.  I cannot brag about her enough, she amazes me. I have never walked away from a lesson with her without some break through and feeling like we can and will progress through it.

I touched on the fact that I am a reactive rider and that really causes most of my problems.  So when something is happening that I know shouldn't be happening the process my brain goes through is something like this, "No that is not right, I don't want that to happen, stop doing that, this just is not working, no, no, no."  So my mind is saying that so you can imagine what my body is doing.  A good rider should be proactive and the brain process should sound more like, "this is happening, but I want this.  Not that, but this, do this, do this, do this."  Then your body is giving direction not just attempting to put a stop to the unwanted behaviour.  I need to spend time retraining my brain to be proactive and not reactive.  I think alot of times the problem is that I know what behaviour I don't want and know what actions I do want but just don't know the right way to get them and that is where is all starts to go down hill.  The number one reason lessons are SO important for me and my horses well being.


  1. lol, that is Bear to a tee! I always call him Gumby horse because I can't remember the horse's name, now I know! With him I really have to use that outside rein to support him or his neck just flip flops one way with his body going another.
    Just remember support with that outside rein while pushing with the inside leg to push him into that rein. Sounds like a good lesson!

  2. Yeah, Drifter and I have gumby issues too and are working on it. Also remember that your mind and body have long established habits of responding in certain ways and it does take time and practice to reprogram.

    Same trick works on the ground - if you're leading the horse on your right and want to keep the horse's shoulder away from you, tip the nose towards you - works every time.

    Sometimes this stuff's counter-intuitive. Sounds like you've got a good instructor - you're very fortunate.

  3. Love lessons!! Wish I could take several a week. I always feel empowered afterwards.

    I have had people ask why my daughter and I still take lessons - we already know how to ride :)

  4. Wow that sounds like a really great ride! My trainer is the same way about explaining something a million different ways until it finally clicks with me lol. :)


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