Well this is gonna be a fun entry to write.... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
For any of you who get tired of hearing how good my horses are, don't worry! They have their terrible days too. And apparently, Saturday was the culmination of quite a bit of pent-up naughtiness on Ruby's part. While it'd be easier to gloss over it and move on, in the interest of authenticity, I'm going to lay out everything I can remember here (I should have written all this right after it happened while it was fresh in my head, but alas, I did not).
|She looks so cute and innocent.|
Saturday was supposed to get up to about 50 -- not super warm, but better than the previous days, so my goal was to get both horses ridden. When by noon it was still gloomy and early 40s, I started to worry. Finally the sun peaked out and it felt decent outside, so I went to tack up Ruby. She was fine in the cross ties, and we tacked up in her normal gear (Megan
had a super interesting post last week about "range books" that professional shooters keep, and how she tracks her own rides. Of course this inspired me to get more detailed about my own ride tracking IF MY NOTEBOOK WOULD EVER GET HERE). We headed over to the arena and I turned on a Pandora station. She warmed up well, despite the boys playing a vigorous game of bitey face and Cinna doing airs above ground next to the arena fence, we did a handful of figures at the trot and canter. She was being excellent, the sun was shining, and I was a little bored of the arena, so I figured we could hack out on our trail as a reward (since you know, Ruby LOVES the trail and is always a super rockstar out there)..... Ha. Ha ha.
|The last time I smiled on this ride.|
As we headed through the back pasture, I decided to take a quick picture to send to some friends. While I had my phone out and only one hand on the reins, she spooked HARD and rocketed off. I turned her in a small circle and sorted the phone situation out, then pushed her back forward in the direction we were going. She got jiggy and tense and was on high alert. I figured she'd hit her stride once we entered the woods. Silly me. This was only a small taste of what was coming.
Once we were into the woods, she got even worse. She couldn't travel in a straight line, couldn't walk, basically couldn't horse at all. She danced from side to side on the trail, constantly testing the rein for enough slack to take off again. There was angry bit chomping and her ears were swiveling around at mach 10. The incessant jigging was starting to annoy me, so every time she broke from the walk, I'd make her stand, and wouldn't let her walk forward again until she could stand on a reasonably loose rein without angry bit chewing. This worked fine for a few minutes, and then she totally lost her marbles and started rearing.
|Not interested in participating, kthanxbai.|
Super. That's a fun new thing. This was about the time I was majorly regretting my life choices, and also the fact that not only was no one home, but also no one knew where I was. I gritted my teeth and soldiered on, praising her when she'd flat walk, and making her halt when she tried to jig. I thought maybe some of the problem was that she was anticipating heading back to the house, so I would switch directions and make her walk back the way we'd come for a bit, then turn and go back. This worked okay for a little while, until she decided that she could not
and decided to run us both into a tree.
|Unrelated media because I was too busy staying on to take photos. |
Finally we got out of the woods and into walking in the grass, which at least had the benefit of nothing for her to smash us into. We did a few passes up and down the driveway of the abandoned church, and she threw a few hissy fits when cars drove by us. Finally I felt safe enough to walk her back through the gap over to the house, and back to the barn. She booked it up the hill and started screaming for her friends. Yeahhhhhh. Sorry Ruby, that's not gonna fly.
|These fun nippers were on sale at TSC so I can so some more trail clearing this spring!|
So I took her back into the arena and we worked for 20 minutes solid at the trot and canter -- diagonals, quarterlines, centerlines, so many 20 m circles, an exercise I made up on the fly where we trotted like 12 m circles across the short side and overlapped them so that it took me four small circles to get from one side to the other, etc. We actually had really, really good work the second time in the arena, so it's a bit of a shame she had to be such a moron on the trail to precipitate it, but I guess that's beside the point. To cool out I hacked her back in the field again, and miraculously enough, she had regained enough of her brain to walk quietly.
|The face of a very tired pony who made poor life choices.|
By the time we finished up and she was cooled out, my legs felt like limp noodles. I made the executive decision to skip riding Cinna when I was already exhausted, so she just got a reasonably long lunge -- for which she was perfect. Apparently, they decided to switch personalities for the day! Thankfully that was DH's last Saturday at work, so I shouldn't have any future issues of trying to ride when no one is around. While it was a frustrating ride at the time, I'm not mad about it --horses are like people, they have off days. I have some theories on what precipitated some of the anxiety and I'm going to make some changes gradually this spring to see if I can suss out and fix the root cause. And at any rate, the fact that we rode for well over an hour and she still had 'go' (and I didn't die either, haha) tells me we could probably manage the exertion of some lessons, so I'll have to see about getting something on the books as the days get longer!
Unfortunately temps dropped again and we got snow yesterday, and the weather looks fairly crummy this week, so no idea when I'll get some solid saddle time again. But the days ARE getting longer, so just holding out hope the temps will gradually increase along with them. Could really use it cause last months electric bill was INSANE haha. How was your weekend? Any good rides? Superbowl parties? Inquiring minds want to know!
omg what an epic mare meltdown... geezus Ruby. gives me flashbacks to some of my more interesting trail outings with Izzy, tho she never dialed it up quite so high on the batshit crazy meter lol. ugh. but glad you were able to button things up for some productive work back in the arena again!ReplyDelete
Yeah and she's normally so laid back about...basically everything? that it totally caught me off guard, haha. Ah well. I knew there would be some bumps to work through when I brought her home. Fingers crossed it was a one-off and that she's back to her agreeable self next ride :)Delete
Oh, Ruby. I'm glad she calmed down eventually! Winter can go die in a hole at any point now; I'll happily take mud. And I'll regret saying that.ReplyDelete
Oh god I don't even wanna think about mud yet, but it's coming 🙈Delete
My weekend included a fox hunt that sounded a lot like your trail ride! Glad you were able to get some productive work in there, though.ReplyDelete
Haha solidarity! Yeah we started and ended on a good note, so I'll take that. Almost wish I had media of the end of the ride because she felt REALLY good, just annoyed I had to deal with all the jigging and rearing and general idiocy to get there. Horses! 😎Delete
You said it! 😂Delete
Yay random mental horse breakdowns. Gotta love those and the almost dying feeling. I'm ready for spring...ReplyDelete
Spring cannot be here fast enough!Delete
Oy. Horses. Maybe she smelled some kind of prey animal out there or something? Glad you ended on a good note though!ReplyDelete
No riding here, winter came back, and seems to be here to stay for awhile. Booo.
There's no telling what kind of demonic beasties lurk out in the woods... Well, besides squirrels? Haha.Delete
Booo. If it's any consolation, definitely back here as well. Ick.
I love your transparency on the subject. Bad rides are part of the progression. I like that you can have a sense of humor about them when they happen ;)ReplyDelete
I won't lie, a tiny part of me wanted to sum it up with "I took Ruby on a trail ride. She was naughty." and leave it at that...haha. But then I thought about how some of my favorite blogs are those gut-wrenchingly honest ones where people openly admit and contemplate even the bad rides -- it would be inauthentic to do anything else! And honestly, in the moment I probably wasn't as annoyed as the writing may have come off. I giggled a few times (well not at the rearing so much), and I think I did a decent job of not escalating the situation by getting tense and fighting. Bad rides happen, that's life. Tomorrow is a new day! 🙂Delete
I love how you handled all that. It's not easy. Obviously she had too much energy and had decided that she couldn't be separated from her posse. Or hormones. Or the moon rising in conjunction with venus....ReplyDelete
You forgot aliens, that's totally a plausible explanation too! Haha. Sometimes dramatic Spanish mares gotta be dramatic. Life goes on 🙂Delete
Ruby wants to come visit me 😉ReplyDelete
She does, but unfortunately you're too far for a weekend trip 😂Delete
Life. It is SO hard. Just ask Ruby!ReplyDelete
For reals. Poor thing. Her life is impossible and no one has any sympathy for her 😂Delete
I like that you still have a whoa button mid meltdown. That's cool.ReplyDelete
I mean on this particular occasion, it turned into a "stop and go up" button which kind of sucks, but yes, I technically still had brakes haha.Delete
I'm glad she did not successfully smoosh the both of you into oblivion!ReplyDelete
Haha you and me both!ReplyDelete