Isis and I had a mixed ride today. I think it was more my fault than hers. I’ve been thinking about this a lot. She might have been reluctant because I wasn’t clear in what I was asking (probably because I’m still learning and figuring it out). She didn’t want to whoa when asked — instead she would walk for 6-8 additional steps before coming to a stop. She knows whoa. It’s the first thing we worked on.
My dressage instructor changed how to ask for whoa. So I worked on walk and whoa for quite a while. Instead of using my old cue, the new instructor has said to exhale and sit firmly in the saddle to whoa. So we did that a few times and each time Isis would pull on the bit and keep walking. Twice during our session I had to reach up with my feet and tap her on the point of the shoulder to get her to stop. (It’s almost
equivalent to tapping a horse on the chest — part of the cue used from the ground to get the horse to stop.) She stopped and it seemed to help her associate the new command better. After a few more times around, she started pulling again and walking through the whoa command. I raised my voice when I said whoa. No effect. So I had to hit her again. And she did get it after a little while. I hated having to do that. Every time she did it right I praised her and loved on her so she knew what I was asking for.
I feel like I used too much force. So I felt guilty from hitting Isis and having to yell at her a few times as well.
Before I got on, I had prayed for good communication. I don’t feel like I had very good communication — I shouldn’t have to get after my horse like that, you know? It must have been something I had been doing. (Of course, other people I’ve talked to have pointed out that some times your horse will test you and you have to push back so they don’t get away with things. Isis is back in training and that means we have to have more discipline than we have in the past year. Combine that plus PMS for *both* of us and I can see how the situation would have happened.
Maybe the point of the good communication prayer was just this: to have me review exactly how I’m riding and how what I’m doing is interacting with Isis.
When we were done riding in the ring, I opened the gate and we rode out to the fields along the path. Just a nice quiet trail ride (not too far, otherwise Rajiyyah would get really upset). When I untacked Isis she stood perfectly still. I took her bridle off and petted her. She pressed her head against me, and seemed really comforted by a cuddle. I apologized to her and pampered her.
I got a little frustrated with her and it could be for a few reasons. Isis is either in heat or just going out and I’m PMSing/cramping. I was also feeling frustrated with other things: taxes, another horse owner at the barn, and lack of knowledge about how the dressage instructor wants cues done. (I do have a solution for the lack of knowledge from lessons: I’ll call the other girl who takes lessons and see if she would like to ride together.)
Isis also tripped a few times. I think there might also be something going on with her hips. She wasn’t moving as well as she should. I wish the chiropractor was here.
Doh! I know what is causing the leg problems. Isis has been off of her supplements for the past few weeks and has rainrot all over her legs. That’s what it is! The rainrot makes her skin sore and causes her to move funny. I have to pick up some flax seed oil to mix in her feed to help the supplements be more palatable.