Monday, July 2, 2012

Five and a half weeks are over ...

I didn't realize until I looked at the calendar that it's been five and a half weeks since I've ridden Toadie! She's been getting worked by me and Trainer K. and Trainer K. has been riding her, but through many circumstances it hasn't worked out for me to ride her till now.  There are many factors - the biggest being that I am still only riding her in lessons with Trainer K. because we are both green and time wise that just hadn't worked the last few weeks.  Not to mention Toad went through a sore back phase and my Wintec saddle (which is cheap but fit us both so perfectly!) now no longer fits Toad because the Cair panels need to be smaller but you can't adjust Cair panels cause they suck. So we finally ended up using Trainer K.'s saddle which isn't the best but doesn't pinch like my saddle does now that Toadster has built up some shoulder muscles.  And a couple of times Trainer K. and I may have had time Trainer K. got done with her training ride on her and said she was too much of a yahoo and didn't think it would be a positive ride for us.

I have been riding though - I've been practicing on Misty and Tasha when I have time. So, it isn't like I've been out of the saddle this whole time.  But the last time I road Toad was the day I fell off so I was starting to get a little worried that I would not want to ride her again after that.  I did get on and ride her for about five minutes at a walk after I fell off but I only lasted five minutes before the shock and adrenaline started to wear off and I realized my back and neck hurt so much I just wanted to go sit down somewhere and rest.  So, really, today was the first time I've ridden her since my fall and I was way too aware of that when I got on her back.

Of course we were totally out of synch once again when we started off.  I felt funny and discombobulated in this new saddle with stirrups that felt too short and of course I was thinking that 16.1 hh's felt a lot taller than I remembered so I started out imaging how I was going to prepare myself to tuck and roll and all that when I fell off.  Plus, Toad had gotten used to just Trainer K. riding her without my tense butt and my not so sure hands that kept forgetting to let go of the left rein completely when using the right rein, etc. and I was probably an unpleasant wake-up call to Toad of all the other riders in the world.  Plus, Trainer K. didn't want me to carry my crop because the whole reason I came off Toad last time was that when she initially spooked I stayed on just fine, but my hand with the dressage whip went up in the air and that spooked her more and that's when she managed to finagle me off or her back. 

But we started out at a less than stellar pace and Toad didn't feel like listening to me to the point where she was stopping and when I'd use my legs she'd side step and throw her head.  So Trainer K. gave me her dressage whip and said, "Just use it!"  When she means "just use it" she doesn't mean start whipping her or anything (if I did that I'd be guaranteed to end up either in the rafters or on the neighbor's property) she just means to tap her with it where my leg is.  And that's all she needs to start listening.   My biggest challenge is when I change direction I'm not confident about switching the dressage whip over because you have to do it a certain way or Toad will freak and bolt.   Trainer K. I think was concerned about me not coming off again too and at one point was yelling directions and sounding more stressed than I'd ever heard her sound, but as soon as I got it together to follow said directions Toad and I actually got into a nice rhythm together and she really started listening to me!  This was at a posting trot and it's so magical when you can actually get into rhythm with a horse at posting trot - it's like dancing with a partner who you really connect with.  It was very exciting for me to have a successful ride with her again even if it was too short because I had to come home and be available to pick up my daughter.

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