There comes a time when you have to decide: is he being naughty, or is he still just green?
And then you have to face it: he’s being naughty.
With naughtiness comes circles, I’m afraid. And serpentines. And halts. And all sorts of boring dressage-y things.
Sigh. I had such a pretty new gymnastic set up, too.
The five-year-old attention span (lack thereof) was in full force today. I think I rode exactly two hours after morning feeding and isn’t that when the sugar high kicks in? Can’t remember. We would be trotting around just lovely, stretching into the bit, arch the neck, round the back, bend around the corner, and then it would be like Doug the dog in “Up!”: “I’m so good, I’m so good, I’m so – SQUIRREL!” Head up, ears pricked on unseen ghosts off on the horizon, balance shot.
It was most annoying.
Granted he originally warmed up out of it beautifully. When I took him out he was simply looking for trouble. After just a few minutes of trotting around, though, he relaxed. And the canter warm-up was perfect – I let him put his head down and we just went round and round and round at a lovely rolling gate.
But for some reason he didn’t want to come back to me after the warm-up. And so it was back to ups and downs, circle here circle there circle circle everywhere. And my favorite: Drunken Walk, in which you walk a “straight line” adjusting your horse to curve first right, then left… Such amusement… for me.
By the end of an hour we were back to smoother gaits, the ears curved back towards me, listening and waiting.
Which, honestly, I found a little sad. I like the silliness. Am I just being difficult and contrary? I like dressage – I really do – but if the horse isn’t feeling it, the question is – do you push through and insist on work? (That only works for a certain amount of time, of course. At some point you lose the power to insist.)
Today he felt buzzy and high and just wanted to put his head down and gallop. And I had to be mean mom and say, “No, we’re going to work.”
Do you ever feel like that? In “Dominating Thoroughbreds” I wrote about recognizing a horse who is having a good time, rather than a horse who is being bad. The problem is, at some point, the kid in the horse says “I don’t want to ever work. I want to have fun.”
And you know what, kid? So do I.