Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Taking A Few Steps Back

Training Oakley is like riding a roller coaster... in more ways than one. She has great days and she has horrible days... and even within single training sessions she has ups and downs. I know this competition puts a lot of pressure on me, which ends up putting a lot of pressure on Oakely. I've decided to take a step back and try to slow her mind down and do a week of just walking. I am still working on important things for the competition, but we are doing it all at the walk. I saw some improvement today. In the past she has been goosey about things touching her butt while I was in the saddle and today I was able to take my lariat and rub it all over her while we walked on a loose rein.

So I suppose I need to explain how I came to the decision to slow things down... Saturday there was an open show at West 20, a local tack shop/boarding facility. I decided it was high time to get Oakley out to a show, so we went. She was AMAZING for the morning classes. We entered 2 halter classes and a showmanship class. Nothing was bothering her, people, clapping, announcers, she took it all in stride. After that I saddled her up to get ready for a few riding classes. We were the only ones in the outdoor warm up arena and she did good for about 15 minutes at the walk and a little bit of trot. I could tell she was tense but that was the first time she'd been in a large outdoor arena, so I didn't think much of it. Well, long story short, I got bucked off. It was a soft landing, and I got back on and worked the kinks out, but the bucking kind of came out of nowhere. We were just walking... I rode it out for a while, but she got the best of me, again. I don't want anyone to think that she is a bad horse, or that she has huge holes in her training, she doesn't. She is just a reactive horse who anticipates what will happen next. She learns routines and training sequences quickly and then wants to rush through them. So I am once again taking a step back. Going back to the basics and spelling things out for her. I am frustrated with myself for several reasons that I won't go into here, but I want to do my best for Oakley and I don't always have the answers I need. I am lucky to be surrounded by really supportive trainers like Jessica Davis, TJ Clibborn, and Tracy Porter. They have all given me encouragement and great training advice and I can't thank them enough. I have scheduled a chiro appointment for her on Thursday. Maybe I'll get some clues then.

Anyway, I'll leave you with a good moment from Sunday. I took Oakley out on her first trail ride. My friend was on Remington and snapped this photo with her phone.


Charlie said...

Oh, no! Sorry to hear about the bucks. For myself, I was just freaking out when I saw the calendar a few days ago. It feels like crunch time. Had to remind myself that this is for fun...

aurora said...

It's so easy to focus on the bad parts of our rides (I do) especially when you land on the ground - but it sounds like a lot of good things happened at the open show too. I think you are making amazing progress with Oakley, and doing great things with, and for, her. Hope the chiro appointment helps!