Wednesday 2 February 2011

New Year - same issues?

Where to start it has been so long since I updated! *blush*
Well at the start of the year I guess! I rang in the New Year in sunshine, while on a last minute get away holiday with a  friend. While I was away my sister kindly looked after Miss Kika for me, I had only asked her to lunge/put her in the walker as with K being pretty much out of work since November I wasn't about to ask my little sister to take back up the reins - although as from the video in my previous post I had ridden her in the mean time.
But the little sis with some encouragement from the mammy (it would appear) braved the big bad beastie and rode her in my absence. I got back late on the first frist friday of January and so didn't make it to see the ponio until the Saturday when i hopped up and had a peach of a spin.
For the next two weeks i was getting great work out of her, she was an angel and working lovely and balanced and using herself better! I started riding in the evenings with a girl around my age (who happened to be the year ahead of me at school but i didn't know her then) and her older gelding. She has asked me to ride with her as her horse doesn't relax when there isn't another horse in the arena with him, she also typically rode in one half of the arena while K and I used the lower end by the door, as her horse doesn't like passing the door or something - he's an older horse who is prone to a bit of messing and has had his fair share of problems as a result, so she does her best to facilitate him and keep him calm.
This repetive work out of me, I think along with an increase in temperatures that week (temps rose to 10C - and have now dropped back down to -4C yesterday and -1C and snow today! *rolleyes*) contributed to misbehaviour out of Kika. :(
The biggest kick of all was that that saturday she worked the best she ever has for me! I was just about to finish up and was walking to cool her off, when she decided (i think) that she had had enough of this staying on the same circle and in her moody mare way let me know about it by standing upright! She reared a good few times before i managed to get her moving again and pushed her on into some more work, back to our trotting circles with her settling right back down and working as she had before her outburst! So I hadn't let her get away with it.
It wasn't until i dismounted and put her away for the night that i got really annoyed at her. The next day i went back with a plan of action in mind, i was going to change things up and put down trotting poles for her to work on. I was a little apprehensive getting up but i powered through and as soon as we started working i forgot about the worry, taking her through the trotting poles and working in circles etc. Again, just as i was thinking of finishing up and brought her back to walk, in the same spot as the day before up she stood again, but she only reared twice (i think) then i moved her on again and we did some more trotting before finishing up.
After this i was beggining to get a bit more scared than annoyed, it probably didn't help that the girl i've been riding with thought it a good idea to tell me the horse is dangerous in what she does as she stands right up and without apparent reason - now if she hadn't said anything to me this thought would never have entered my head and i possibly wouldn't have started to question everything - thereby knocking my confidence. The following monday was a day off for her - it should have been sunday but after her escapade on saturday i had to ride her on sunday.
So Tuesday i hopped back up and was just walking near our companion when he turned on a circle and we were continuing straight on, she threatened to go up but i was aware of her and watching for her, so when she went to rear she got a whack of the stick on the neck (I didn't make it between her ears), but that seemed to knock the wind out ofher sails and she stopped and shook her head as in "what the hell was that!", before she got another chance to think i moved her on and we trotted then cantered, not going back to walk until we'd finished our work. Now I'll hold my hand up and admit the work we did was more about keeping her moving and guessing as opposed to 'working', but i still got what i wanted done and no more nonsense. We were walking around happy out, cooling down when after about 5mins she made a face and threatened to swing for my friends horse - which actually lead me to question whether or not this "new" behaviour might be connected to her hormones re-awakening with the weather changes...
Even though I felt i'd overcome that hurdle on tuesday by preventing her from rearing at the start, my confidence wasn't feeling any better. When i got to the barn last wednesday intending to ride she seemed down in herself, nose to the ground almost dejected when i got to her door so i decided against riding and popped her in the walker for a bit after which she seemed to be back to herself and so it was thursday before i was getting up again.
At this stage the nerves were at me and I asked another friend (who also has an uppidy chestnut mare who had offered to help should i want it) to come with me and talk to me as i rode in another arena that Kika usually behaved better in (my usual companion was going to join us later). She was great and kept telling me to do different things stopping me from getting lost in my head, thankfully the mare did not attempt or threaten to rear again but did throw a  few bucks and plunge a little on one of our circles - but I'll take that over rearing at the moment. She still didn't get out of what she was being asked to do and just had to get on with it. We finished up on a good note, but i knew in myself that my confidence was still a long way off being restored. I knew i wasn't going to make it to the barn on friday due to prior arrangments and had also planned to be gone most of saturday to Brussels with my usual riding companion and others to see horses for sale as someone was thinking of buying a new one. So i knew K wasn't going to be ridden those days as i couldn't forsee what time we'd be back from Brussels - I had just planned to let her run off some steam in an arena on her own on saturday but there was none free when i got back so her 30mins in the walker stretched to an hour then she was allowed back to her warm box for the night.
Sunday was a lovely dry and sunny but cold day, the ground was frozen so a lot of horses were being let out when we arrived at the barn (brought my mother with me for some moral support as confidence still shaky). Changed K into her outdoor rug, i was happy to get the chance to put her out for a bit as i honestly think that that's what she needs - as my Dad says she was a free range horse before i moved her out here and now she unfortunately spends most of her day in a stable.
Silly me forgot that she might go loop-dy with only having one field outing since October (Christmas day) and in my excitement to let her out for a bit didn't think to knock some of the spat off her with some lungeing or loose schooling. The poor eejit didn't know whether to come or go in the field, she stood near the gate where my mother and I were, like a ball of excess energy - she was all wound up like a spring. Rather than risk her running through wire (which i don't think was on and if it wasn't she wouldn't feel it through her rug) I brought her in to let her run around and work out some of the kinks, which she did by bucking and farting around the small indoor for 10-15minutes.
The mammy then rightly suggested i ride her now that she had let off some steam, my nerves were after getting so bad at this stage that it was an effort to get up. Most of this is (i know) in my head as she hasn't been bad since she got her slap last tuesday...apart from the bucking - but as i said i can get over that. I was also slightly more nervous (like i needed more nerves) by the fact that the smaller arenas were all in use and only the large one (and usually busier one) was the only one empty. So i swallowed (sort of) my fear and hopped up, nattering and chattering away to the horse like a spanner to try and keep myself calm. We were trotting away happy out when someone else came to the door to come in, I was at the other end of the ring and slowed to a walk, happy with how she had behaved till then. As we changed rein across the diagonal of the ring i could feel her slipping away from me and all her attention being focussed on the other horse and knew that if i asked anything else of her she'd try to stand up. So as we were already walking I dediced to  stop before she did anything damaging. Untacked and put her on the lunge to bring her to eat some grass as i wasnt sure she'd stay in a field.
I actually haven't had the chance to ride her since, i was caught late in work on monday and yesterday she got her vaccination done with vets instructions for a few easy days till the weekend. So the plan is for her to go in the walker this evening, then lungeing tomorrow and we'll see what we get up to on friday.
I spoke to the lady who does equine massages yesterday and asked if she'd come look at her for me, I think she also works with homeopathy so she might be able to tell me if it's hormones or something else. She's to ring me back to set a time for her visit, she said it's best to wait till 3 days after vaccines - minimum, so she'll probably contact me over the weekend.

I'm sure i probably shouldn't be posting such info on the net as it paints my horse and also my windy self in a bad light. I don't know why i am having such a confidence crisis at the moment, I think it is hitting me hard because she had been going so beautifully up until she wasn't and the reaction when she wasn't has left me a little weak in the knees. I hope to keep plugging away and hopefully my easily bored horse will bear with me as i rebuild the crumbling blocks of my confidence!
I don't know if it was the weather change, which has made her start shedding and now the temps have unfortunately dropped again - combined with my unimaginative and boring (to her mind) attempts at excercising her  along with her lack of turnout (which she probably didn't mind in the cold but couldn't fathom when the temps picked back up the other week) which led to her reaction.
I'll just have to suck it up and try to keep her distracted, and hope that it does the trick to allow me the time to regain my trust in her and thus my confidence.
I feel like a total windbag (aka chicken)! :(

1 comment:

  1. My horse can be a bad boy most days which is why I lunge him before every ride. He also went through a rearing phase and every now and again it crops up. My trainer had me carry a whip and when he would rear I bopped him between the ears, not hard just a thwack. He stopped after that.


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