Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Marathon Weekend Post #3

Thanks to those who comment.  I love reading your comments and knowing that taking all this time putting this stuff out there that people are actually reading and enjoying it despite my typo and grammatical errors.  So thanks!

There was a lesson between K and E so it was a couple hours later before it was E's turn to go out. She was supposed to be in a group of three pony clubbers but one didn't come.  The trainer had two of her older students ride out with them. On their REALLY hot horses. Great,  sweet and capable riders but their horses were hot AF. I thought Steady was hot?  He looked like 30 year old trail blazer next to them.   I was not a fan on how she structured the lesson.  She basically had all the horses follow her student over each jump.  That's fine if we were in a fox hunting clinic because that is essentially what a fox hunt is.  But this is XC schooling to prepare for rally in a month where you do not get a lead over any jump so you better know that you and your horse can get over them.  Alone. The following soon  turned into chasing. I've never seen Lego get worked up over anything but chasing hot AF horses apparently does it for him.  Elaina had no brakes.  She rides in an egg butt snaffle.  Used to ride in a Pelham jumping but he has always been so perfect we decided that it was unnecessary.   Well we may reevaluate that decision.  He wasn't awful or out of control at any point but it is not a good feeling when you are on a horse and feel like you have no brakes.  She handled it well but I could tell she was a bit rattled which is unusual for her.  I told her she needed to speak up to the trainer for herself and her horses sake.  So I know what it feels like when you speak up to a trainer about something that isn't going well or you aren't comfortable with and they blow you off like you are chicken or ignorant.  It is frustrating at least and demoralizing at most.  You already are scared, nervous, don't want to speak up.  Then they  treat you like your opinion doesn't matter.  I am sorry if I am the one on the 1000lb animal then my opinion matters most.  If you want to take over the ride and then tell me I don't know what I am talking about then that's fine with me.  It is just as frustrating watching your shy daughter build up the courage to speak up to an adult and get blown off.  But I didn't step in at all because honestly that is a lesson she has to learn on her own.  It will happen and she is old enough to have to figure out how to deal with it.  I know speaking up is really really hard for her.  It is hard to do when you aren't shy. Then add in that you are super shy and never like to be the center of attention.  This can be crippling for some.  But that is why horses are far more than just a hobby or extra curricular activity.  Because while it may be ok to not speak up for yourself when you are a horse owner it is your sole responsibility to be that animal's advocate.  No one else will make sure your horse is being thought of and they can't speak up for themselves.  She has been taught that it is her sole responsibility to be the voice for her mount.  Huge life lessons in there, huge.

So I watched as she told the trainer that following the other horses was getting her horse too excited.  I watched as the trainer blew her off.  Mind you I am not upset or offended that the trainer reacted that way. Clinicians have it hard.  I do not envy their position.  It happens and it is ultimately our responsibility to handle the situation for ourselves and our equine partners.  At the next jump the trainer told her to follow the horses and I watched as she made the right decision and waited.  Waited until the other horse got far enough in front of her that they were no longer chasing.  I saw how when the trainer said, "GO, go now.  I told you to go."  She just waited.  Waited until she knew it was safe for her and her horse to proceed.  She wasn't being rude.  She wasn't purposely ignoring the trainer.  She was being responsible.  She was advocating for her horse when words weren't working.  She was making the best decision for herself and her horse despite what was going on around her.  I watched as she was growing up before my eyes.

After that the lesson went great  well for Elaina at least.  They jumped all sorts of fun stuff ranging from Starter- Beginner Novice.  They too ended up at the water and the trainer did the same thing that she did with the little ones.  Which was far more ok. Elaina has done banks plenty enough times to add in a couple challenges.  The other girl I don't know all she has done but she is a good rider and super brave.  She asked who wanted to go first and the other girl volunteered.  She said trot up, turn around and canter down.  I was still thinking really?  See I have never seen banks, let alone banks into water schooled this way.  Any time I have seen it done you start walking then build up to each gait.  To make sure the horses are understanding the question and you are riding it correctly.  And for the other little girl in our lesson it ended quite the same as it did for Kelcie.  Scraped up and in the water.  It was warmer out by then which was a bonus.  But she had a point two air vest on which is what I think had her the most upset because it scared her when it went off.  Her horse stayed close by and was adorably concerned about what just happened to his little girl.  After a good cry and a "I'm not getting back on" before she got back up and continued on like a badass.  By the next jump she was composed and ready for action again.  Moral of the story?  Why the push to canter down the banks?  Who knows.  I still trot off banks at events and a bank into water.  They don't ask that question until Training and typically any bank that is a jump down into water there is a significant ground line to help them jump it well.  None of which were things we had in this situation.  Elaina actually never got to do this because once we got N back on she moved on to something different.

They did, ditches, banks, strung together little courses going away from the group and coming back.  Covered how to do each of those things.  Jumped a cool brick wall.  TROTTED, thank God! off the training level banks. 

Practiced what different speeds of gallop feel, sound like.  It was all great and fun learning experience after the rocky start.  But I always tell my kids that every experience is a learning experience.  One way or another you will learn something.  Sometimes we learn what not to do.