Sunday, July 16, 2017

Discouraging discouragement

By the title of this post, I'm not trying to say that discouragement can be even more discourging. Don't get me wrong, it can. But what I'm trying to convey by the title of the post is to discourage yourself from getting into a funk of being discouraged when things seem to wobble or even fall apart a little.

There will be good days and not so good days when working your horse or pony. Things won't go anywhere near according to plan. At least not Your plans of what you were hoping to accomplish that day.

Since the pic's in the last post were taken, the woman at the barn has been on the filly a few times and while eveything was going really well, she mentioned to me after the last ride that there were some serious holes in the filly's training. Major holes. As in the size of holes you could drive a truck thru.

The filly is 3 y/o and hadn't hardly been touched. She is what trainers call a Clean Slate. Nothing to go back and undo, because they haven't been taught anything wrong or developed bad behavior because of it. This is good. She has been working the filly in long lines and getting on her afterwards to walk around a little and cool her out, work on leg yielding, softness and bending and somewhat reinforce some of what was worked on in the lines.

The first time getting on this filly, she stood there and didn't move. Bumping with legs, tugging the reins one way then the other, kissing, chirping and clucking to her all had no effect. She wasn't budging. I went in and led them around, but as soon as I let go and the filly realized it, she stopped. The next few rides she did start walking off on her own, then walked a little more freely, would turn beautifully and stop often of her own accord, but walked off again with little pressure. The last two rides, with a bit of stronger forward encouragement they did manage to get some trotting going on but it was short lived. That's when the holes were discovered.

While the flly is working on a rather loose rein with little or light contact and she is responding to light cues and quiet signals, she is not relaxing enough to drop her head or engaging her hind end to push up into the bridle. Since this filly is just starting out, her owner decided to go back to long line work only and fix everything to keep her working correctly. It would need to be done at some point so why wait and let things get worse before addressing it?

Is it discouraging that thngs were going so well and everything was progressing rapidly and all of a sudden they have to back up? Not really. Not if you let it be discouraging. By looking at it that way, that hiccups and bumps are to be expected, when they show up, then they can be addressed before things get worse. That's where the title comes in. Discouraging ourself from getting discouraged because things aren't still progressing at mach speed and have slowed to a snails pace at times. It happens. There will be days when we can't get it right in how we ask them to do something and if we do't ask them right, how are they supposed to know what we want to respond correctly? There will be days that they don't feel like it. They're cranky, stiff, maybe even sore ad irritable as a result. We all have our days. It's up to us to find something acceptable and good in their work and call it a day. There's plenty of time to work it out.


Mrs Shoes said...

You wrote:
"We all have our days. It's up to us to find something acceptable and good in their work and call it a day. There's plenty of time to work it out."

Couldn't agree more.

Sherry Sikstrom said...

I don't see it as discouraging either, its all about the learning, and the curve isn't always a straight on arc, sometimes its more of a wave, ebb and flow