Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

My mother always said there'd be days like this; she just never told me there'd be so many!

So some of you might be aware that Sienna and I have been having a bit of a rough week. *sigh* I get that she has just decided she's a teenager, and this is all part of the fun and games, but really???? She's SIX now. We should be about 2 years past this behaviour. Of course we should be about 2 years past her growing too and she's still doing that. Ah well.

Last Sat I jumped her around and she was absolutely incredible. One of the best jump rides I've ever had on her. Perfect little hunter pony. Ratable, listening. Hit every spot bang on, gave me every lead I asked for, lengthen/shorten/turn all no problem. Honest and confident. Just wonderful. One of those rides that makes you really glad you threw the schedule out the window and skipped dressage for one day *g*

So there's a line about "it doesn't matter how good a trainer you were yesterday, your horse wants to know how good you are today" -- that was our next ride. It got its own post. Something about Why do I ride TBs? Can't remember the last ride I had like that on her. Last time she lost her brain that badly was @ Grandview this spring, but this was different in that this time it wasn't total sensory overload it was just one specific thing that the tiny TB brain couldn't handle. Conveniently it happened when I was feeling entirely patient and I basically kept repeating the question till she figured it out.

So of course every day since we've been over the tarp. She's a long way from confident about it yet, but she's getting much better at it. Still wouldn't want to see one in competition though! hahaha not that I'm exactly concerned about that, but anything similar really. So the next day I decide to hop her over some baby stuff. Yeah that was bad. Very bad. It's as though our wonderful tarp school convinced her that A, everything is scary. And B, jumps are optional. Training rule #1: "Never teach your horse something you want them to forget." *sigh* I spent a very long time and eventually got her quietly trotting over a few fences and left it at that. Now you have to keep in mind, this is the *same* course she was jumping like a pro on Sat. Just lower :) But no, evidently in her world that's entirely irrelevant.

Next day... Theoretically a schooling jumper show. Yeah no, I know better than that. Not worth screwing her up entirely to go play when things are not going well at home. Instead normal ride. W/u includes tarp. She thinks about it a whole lot but no serious meltdown. The advantage to the whole tarp w/u thing is it *really* brings her back up. Made the following dressage ride pretty seriously impressive. hahaha so yeah, was actually a good ride. She was very strong and a little high and it took a long time to get to the "relaxation" phase of things but when we got there things were quite good. Of course hacking back to the barn we had to shy at everything and end up a bouncing ball of tension. Which resulted in us practicing walking around quietly (much to the amusement of those grazing... "Ummmm didn't you just leave?" "Yeah, we need to practice walking." *sigh*) I was tempted to walk her through the drivethrough, but managed to restrain myself *g* Mostly cause losing it on pavement would be very very bad for my pony :( Eventually though she walked quietly and halted properly and I could dismount.

I did end up going to the show -- entirely to socialize. Got talked into being a slightly useless groom (useless cause I kept wandering and talking to people :) but for people who don't actually need a groom so it's all good. Saw a friend and her superstar pony that I don't get to see nearly often enough. Chatted with a few people I haven't seen in years -- also entertaining. Generally not a bad evening. Of course anywhere there's horses and free wine is bound to be entertaining.

So then we get to today. Lesson time. I got on w/ enough time to get our tarp-school in before my coach got there. Not *quite* enough time to get her relaxed (he's *always* early!) but close enough. And he asked me how she's going. And I told him. And apologized *g* Figured we should just get that out of the way. So he watches for a minute and comments on her great trot. Well yeah, the plus side of all this is awesome dressage. hahaha So for the dq portion of the lesson we worked entirely on me. And I'm not quite sure how he did it, but he made me tall! hahaha like I seriously felt I was on a horse a hh taller. Was really quite impressive. It was one of those "take all the pieces apart and put them back together differently" type lessons. Where for a little while I felt completely, entirely incompetent (which was definitely not aided by the fact that my incompetency was making me giggle. Ego aside, after the amount of experience I've had feeling like a beginner again is really really funny. Like riding the rolly-polly paint pony western *g* Or vaulting in university -- a sport that should never be attempted after the age of 12!), but by the end the difference was... Wow. Will be interesting to see if I'm sore tomorrow. I noticed it in the lesson, but was fine after... We shall see. Anyways, the end result of fixing the rider was our impressive eventing dressage became real dressage. Like the kind of dressage Zelli used to do all by herself :) Well maybe not *that* good. But far closer than I ever imagined Sienna could get.

Only down side? Somewhere in the midst of the beginnerness I happened to mention that a lunge lesson would be potentially useful... That might've been a mistake. We'll find out next week *g* Superpony's never been lunged w/ a rider before. I've no problem galloping her at a 3' stone wall.... But going in a 20m circle w/ a line attached to us? Well that's scary! And I, well I have to admit I love lunge lessons. Of course I also love gymnastics. So yeah, basically I'm insane. You're not new here. This is not news. But, that being said, I haven't had one since I was riding with L... N that was in 2002. hmmmmmm

So then we start to jump. "So what do you want to do?" (Wait, I get a choice? ummm I *never* get to choose!) "Something easy." He just looks at me, looks pointedly at the course I designed, and rolls his eyes. "Something easy?" he asks. "Trot fences." I decide. Knowing fully well that cantering and jumping at the same time is a bad combination for Sienna's little brain at the moment. So he watched us trot around and saw some of what I've been seeing from her. I avoided the tarp entirely (having already told him about that game, and already done it that am, he didn't push it), but trotted over everything else. Including the bench (which got an "I really like that jump" from him. hahaha yeah eventers!). Which she trotted over in absolutely perfect form. Her anxiety lowered as we went around. Never got to confident, but got back to reasonably calm and willing, so that's a start for today. We left it at absolutely nothing challenging or interesting, but at least accomplishing point A to point B in reasonable form.

As for the show next week? It may well become a dressage show for us. But we'll see. It's all about the positive experience right? *sigh* The trainer side of me agrees with that entirely. The competitive side of me would like to get back to the winning. Like all three phases in one day. hahaha One day. Hopefully not TOOOOOO long from now.

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