Sometimes It's Not My Fault, and Sometimes It Is

I tend to put all of my thinking into one camp or the other, so this is to remind me not to do that. In my last post, I tended to think that because Rogo had been off for a week while I was away, he'd regressed in his training. Hmmm. He probably did a little bit, but I'm not being nearly careful enough to check that my own riding hasn't regressed while I've been away. It definitely does - I fall right back into bad habits - gripping with my knees and thighs, too much inside rein. Rogo's gotten so sensitive now that those things completely throw him off. Put that together with his down time, and we have problems. I need to remember to take responsibility for coming back with correct riding when I've been off, instead of assuming I'm picking up where I left off.
On the other hand, at other times I'll blame myself and maybe I shouldn't. Yesterday Rogo decided he was scared of a blanket hanging on a line. Hanging blankets are a long standing fear of this big, brave boy; don't know why. This led to a lot of high headed, nose pointing skyward with inverted back kind of work in the outdoor ring. I was doing lots of transitions and trying to stay quiet instead of grabbing at him and keeping my hands busy trying to fix him. It wasn't working and I felt my self growing more and more frustrated and discouraged with myself - "why can't I ride better than this?". Then Jane came along and said "Good job Carol. Keep working on the transitions with quiet hands." What? How can she walk by and see my horse's nose pointed skyward and say good job? It changed my perspective and I dropped the idea that I had to 'fix' him completely in order to have a successful ride. Quietly working on transitions that day was enough. He'd get over it. We did go on ot have some fairly good canter work with much improved transitions although the anticipation was back. No biggy. We'll get it.
So there it is - dressage isn't black and white despite our glorious show clothes :), it's shades of grey sometimes.


Everything comes with time and patience. It will all fall into place. I sometimes want to start where I left off too but most likely a refresher course is needed first.

As for the blankets, every horse has something they don't like. One of my horses was terrified of wheels and the color red. Another couldn't take it if a car trunk was open in the parking lot next to the arena. Probably thought it was a monster with a giant mouth. You can't figure them out at all.
Val said…
I liked this post. This is something worth reminding ourselves on a regular basis.

Like Grey Horse Matters said. Every horse has something that he or she doesn't like. Harley doesn't like the dark end of dead tree trunks and piles of dark mulch. He seems to think they are holes. I can get him to walk up to them and investigate, but he always gives a new one the "hairy eyeball".
TBDancer said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
TBDancer said…
My horse has no problem with puddles--even when the wind is blowing a gale and there are "waves" lapping the edges. But a wet spot on the ground? OMG!

I swear he thinks the puddle means the "horse-eating dragon" has piddled and flown on, but the wet spot means the dragon is "hovering overhead" and will get him if he isn't careful.

Those darned boogey-dragons be everywhere. ;o)

(and sorry for the deleted post above. Editing doesn't work after the fact ;o)
My trainer always reminded me to "look to your riding first before you blame the horse", and "ride the horse you have today". Sounds like you're doing just that. :)

Two steps forward, one step back is par for the course in dressage isn't it?

Val hates the "invader kitty" from next door. He loves our cats, but having to deal with bold IK, who confidently saunters through the arena or paddock at will, (the nerve of him) even overrides the lure of a bucket of warm mash, and puts Val in monitor the perimeter mode...
Oak Creek Ranch said…
Isn't this post the truth! It is usually shades of grey but its so easy to make it ALL my fault or ALL Winston's. Good lesson there -- thanks.
in2paints said…
I really like that last line... so true!! I think it's easy to blame things on our horses, especially when they've had a few days off. I wonder how often they wonder if we've had a few too many days off?! :)
Wendy said…
Great post! So true! I think it's all relative and you must ride the horse you have on that day to the best of your ability. You wrote a great reminder for all of us!
Jeni said…
You want to know what freaks Miss Rosie out? Do you? A CHAIR - in the CORNER of the arena!


You handled Mr. Rogo just fine - you ride the horse you have at the moment. Some days we have to keep it simple when the simplist things freak them out.
Carol said…
You guys make me laugh! Thanks for all of the comments and for telling me the silly things that make yur horses freak out.
I'm glad you thought this was a good topic and that I'm not the only one who could use a bit of a broader perspective at times :)