Sunday, January 6, 2013

Meditation is my friend!

Well, Sunday's are lesson nights and tonight was a lesson and a half! Due to schedule conflict, our lessons have been less then regular lately! I also had the flu over Christmas and was very weak, so I believe Kali rode Jynx for me on a scheduled lesson night as she was quite heavy and was tiring me out.

Our night didn't start overly well as Jynx was brought in alone, but then Dove (her pasture buddy/best friend) was brought in part way through tack up and she started spinning so we got into a little scrap in the aisleway when I insisted she COULDN'T RUN ME OVER. At this point, her herdboundness was kicking in, so I did my best to remind myself to relax. We got into the arena and I could see her blood was going. Once mounted, she set off at the fastest walk known to man, tense and ears going, head up and trying to trot off. I partially gathered my reins to try and keep her to a walk, and probably started forgetting to breath as my anger at her silliness increased. I decided to put her to work so we worked on shoulder in, travers and leg yield along the wall at the walk. Although jumpy and sensitive, she listened quite well and managed not to blow up. I tend to trap her during lateral movements and that's the only time she'll pitch a tantrum and do a little rear and spin to evade.

So I put her into trot, and we RUSHED off. I worked on half halts, worked on softening her to the inside and she would listen briefly but clearly her mind was not in it. Mentally I tell myself to relax, and internally I can FEEL my body tighten in anger. It's my worst habit and blatantly leading cause of my show jitters. I seem to have an inability to mentally block myself from going to that place. I've sabotaged myself in lessons and the show ring before, letting myself believe I am a horrible rider. And my only saving grace is having a coach who nightlights as my therapist as well. That poor woman has dealt with more of my rage, tears, and emotional rollercoastering than any licensed therapist!

Kali arrived ten minutes in, and at that point, my willpower snapped. I coasted my tense and agitated horse to a stop, dropped my reins and immediately launched into a tirade about her ridiculous herdboundness and attitude problem. I told Kali I needed to learn how to meditate. Immediately Jynx stood quiet and relaxed because clearly, her savior was her to rescue her from this awful angry tense human she can't do anything right for! Poor Bella.

For the first time in my life, I managed to close my eyes, focus on my breathing and just LET IT GO. Jynx was standing, head low and hind foot cocked. Clearly she was capable of being calm and the X factor here was me. I opened my eyes and told Kali "ok, we are starting over. The last ten minutes didn't happen. I just got on." We set off on a loose rein warmup walk and magically, Jynx was back to being Jynx. Calm, slow, steady. We walked as I stretched and talked to Kali. Partway through, the door opened up and Dove came through. Immediate head up, whipping around, ears perked. I ignored it. And within three strides, she was back to loose rein walk. I avoided the silly fight over nothing! Dove ended up going back out again, and Jynx worried about it for awhile but I kept calm and steady and so did she.

Progress to real lesson time! Usually in these moments is when I sabotage. I managed to clear my mind for probably the first time in my life EVER and just listen to Kali and not get down on myself. Thankfully, for all the initial issues, Jynx decided to be quite light in my hands today. Between trying to manage my equitation and her softness, I tend to get most discouraged on days when she's SUPER heavy in my hands and exhausts me. I also have an amazing coach who is able to put a gauge on my mindset in every lesson and know what to work on. So we went back to basics today! I just bought Bella a GORGEOUS 18" Amerigo Vega saddles and although luxuriously comfortable, I'm still learning to ride in it after mashing my fat arse into a 16.5" Max Hofner for the last year! Bella is ridden in draw reins right now to help her softness and my steadiness. We did TONS of sitting trot today, and there just isn't any exercise in the world to make you feel more like putty by the end. We worked on serpentine's, and almost exclusively worked on a 20 meter circle at walk, trot, canter and transitions! The nemesis of every rider's core! For how dismal our warmup was, I was AMAZED that I managed to have such a productive lesson tonight!

Jynx did lovely, and we did a lot more work just off the snaffle rein tonight as we gradually start to work towards less draw rein work. Her canter transitions are coming along beautifully, and man does my new saddle ever make me enjoy her lovely canter more! We also worked on trot to halt transitions and halt to trot transitions. Let's just say they're a work in progress! We finished up the evening with some lovely soft leg yields, clearly becoming her favorite movement! Thank goodness it isn't quite freezing tonight because poor Bella was DRENCHED after a solid hour of Kali yelling at us! I was immensely proud of her tonight, and even prouder of myself for managing to come out of that horrible dark place and put in SUCH a productive ride. Usually Kali gets to spend 45 minutes listening to me bitch, whine, moan, complain and cry that "I'M TRYING AND I CAAAAAAAN'T, I SUUUUUCK, I SHOULD QUIT RIIIIIIIDING" anytime Jynx pisses me off! I'm starting to think my coach deserves a raise. ;-)

And since there are no pics from today, I'll share a pic of my perfect new saddle! Jynx LOVES it - never gotten so much happy snorting from her and Kali is thrilled at how much rounder she becomes in it. Saddles are love.

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