November 17, 2011

Drink More Beer

I often have to remind myself these days of this post I wrote almost two years ago.  There is no "1, 2, 3, success!" in horse training.

Instead, I muddle along -- Encore is doing really well, but some things, he doesn't quite get yet. And sometimes he gets bored. And sometimes he'd rather go in the barn with his friends. And sometimes something in the woods is far more interesting than me. So he'll fidget or pull or try to rush and bend all kinds of wrong ways.

Which then makes me question myself: what am I doing wrong? Less contact? More contact? Less leg? More leg? I'm leaning! I'm uneven! I am riding like crap! Fail!

Amy wrote some very good reminders
here at the end of her recent post: progress is incremental. I remember when I first got him, I was trying to teach him one of my core cues: when I sit down, close my thigh and say whoa, you stop. It's very simple, we do it at a walk. Solo is a pro at this one and I love it. But it was a foreign concept to Encore and he didn't get it for a bit. I remember being so frustrated inside, wondering why he couldn't instantly get such a simple thing. Of course, I wouldn't let any of that frustration out, we just picked at the cue slowly.

And last night, at the end of our ride in which there were moments of good and moments of "omg, please cooperate," I sat down, closed my thigh and said whoa and Encore stopped right there, as he has every day this week.

We must not lose our perspective (perhaps I need to print this on the top of Encore's browband?) and we must remember that the journey proceedes one stride at a time. When we forget that, well, that's why there's beer. Then we try again tomorrow.


  1. Been there a thousand times on Moon! Sometimes I read what you guys post and think "Wow, must I ever suck because we're going sooo slow!"...then I read a post like this and realize we're all human, you've just been here before!

    Thanks for reminding us to not be so hard on ourselves or our horses. Rome wasn't made in a day!

  2. Indeed! Unicorn pony is magical, but he is NOT foolproof nor is he unhorselike, LOL.

  3. Sometimes I have to remind myself of this if I ride a different horse. I ask for something then I think to myself "Harley would be cantering/halted/turning/moving over right now, but this horse is clueless!" This tends to make me feel frustrated and since the horse I am riding is not mine, I feel like I do not want to take the time. I would rather get back on my horse. I am becoming a one-horse girl. ;)

  4. I reminded you now you are responsible for reminding me next time, mmmk? Cause it is so easy to get caught up and forget.

  5. Val -- this is definitely an issue! I JUST got Solo all trained before The VA Incident, dammit. Now all those buttons I took for granted...are not installed yet on this one!

    Hahha, Amy, I will try.

  6. Sometimes I feel like its two steps forward, one step back. Then I realize that doing the things we do with our horses takes time. I've given up having a timeline and I just take things one day at a time. Good to hear that other people have this realization too.