I had several great rides in a row. Which, as you know, can only mean one thing. I was overdue for a tough one. I don't know whether it's a law of averages, or just equestrian karma, or whether we get overly confident when things have been going well....
Started out okay, actually. We did lots of stretchy walk work, on contact but reaching down. I've been working on getting him to stretch down and walk forward while doing a leg yield, since he tends to carry tension in his neck through this movement, and he seems to be getting the concept.
When we were ready to trot he was a little stiffer on the left side than he has been, but we worked through it. We went back and forth between canter and trot for a bit and got him to loosen up his back in both directions. He really, really wanted to leap/flail going to the right and I managed to prevent it by counter-flexing and riding him really deep for a few strides. (I don't love having to ride that way because it feels hands-y, but any solution is better than leaping and flailing at this point.)
Then we worked on collecting the canter to the left, and he was doing really well. And I thought to myself, what's the harm in doing just one canter-walk transition? I know we just worked on these on Sunday but one couldn't hurt. So we did. And he nailed it. And I was quite pleased with myself.
I figured since that went so well I should do a walk-canter transition to the right. You know, our first real simple change through the walk. Never, ever gloat on horseback.
He did not canter, he threw his head in the air and trotted away like this.
Not what I wanted. Instead of realizing that his little brain was getting fried, and moving on to something else for a moment, I came back to the walk and tried again.
When I asked him to canter again, he locked his knees and wouldn't walk forward. At all.
So, naturally, being the genius that I am, I kicked him. Hard.
|Thanks for the image, Amanda.|
As soon as I did it, I knew it was a mistake.
He went straight up. Like this, but a lot more terrifying and a lot less romantic.
I had to wrap my arms around his neck. And then try to breathe while he proceeded to bounce up and down in panic mode. I think I momentarily forgot that I was on a very sensitive horse who gets super worried about anything he thinks is "punishment." We spent the rest of the ride trying to talk Tucker off the ledge.
We had to go back to "Things Tucker Excels At" in order to build his confidence back up.
And anytime he did something even remotely right, I had to praise the crap out of him so he wouldn't freak out wondering if maybe it wasn't right after all and maybe the next thing I'd ask him to do would be really hard and maybe I was still mad about the rearing thing and maybe I was going to sell him or worse he'd end up at an auction and people would probably think he was a mule and make him work on a farm and pull a plow and he's really not built for that kind of work and...
I texted Amy and set up a lesson for next week. I think we could use a little help on these transitions. Or, you know, maybe I should just refrain from kicking him like he's a 20-year-old short stirrup pony. WHOOPS.