I had some very important and successful, if not exactly “good,” rides on Dandy this past weekend. I call them important because they were needed and they proved to me that I can keep working on this. They were not good because Dandy was a bit of a jerk.
I had a lesson last Thursday and when I first got on him he was more relaxed than I had felt in a long time. We just meandered around the ring because he was so quiet and it felt amazing. I can’t remember the last time we just relaxed and walked around. I had a really good feeling about how the lesson was going to go.
But Dandy has a way of keeping me humble.
Things were going along nicely when a trailer rolled up along the backside of the arena and Dandy went bonkers, trying to bolt and jump around. I won’t deny that I was nervous but JLE talked me through what to do and without too much hassle, we got back to work. About ten minutes later we were cantering and Dandy kicked some sand onto the liverpool. It made a little hissing sound and Dandy leaped into the air about ten feet. I crumpled and thought for sure I was going to go off. But I really didn’t want to fall so I held on and got my reins back. It’s still hard for me to immediately put him back to what we were doing because I usually get unbalanced or lose my reins when the silliness happens but it’s getting better.
The lesson ended up finishing nicely but we didn’t get to jumping because of all of that hoopla. That was slightly disappointing. I was really proud of myself, however, because I didn’t completely fall apart when the silliness happened. I stuck through it and, while I may have been scared in the moment, I didn’t let that control me. There’s still so far to go but I’m starting to see the first signs that my confidence is returning too. JLE said the big thing now is that I’ve got to stop thinking about falling or being worried that I will, I need to tighten my core and ride through it.
On Saturday, when I went out, Dandy decided to freak out before we even got to the ring. We were walking down the little path when all of a sudden a breeze came up and rattled the tarp that was lying in the ring. Dandy whirled and ran back up to the barn. I unfortunately let him because I had been fooling around on my phone and didn’t even have the reins in my hand. Yes. I know. Stupid.
So I gathered them back and we marched down to the ring. Dandy wanted to spook again but I rode him right past it. Then I got off him and had a CTJ moment with the tarp and him on the “lunge line.” I had him cantering over it, past it. I rubbed him all over with it, put it on him. Made him walk around with it on him and with me shaking it. He didn’t get to be done until he didn’t give a fuck about that tarp.
After that we had a really nice ride. I’m sure we’ll repeat all of that this week.