Stubble Fields at Dusk

16 09 2015

Here is a transcript/translation of a conversation I had with Puzzle this evening:

Me: ‘Now, canter.’
Puzzle: ‘I’m gonna trot really fast behind Kira!’
Me: ‘No, canter.’
Puzzle: ‘Oh okay. Canter.’
Puzzle: ‘NOW GALLOP!’
Me: ‘No, canter.’
Puzzle: ‘Will this really fast trot do?’
Me: ‘NO. CANTER.’
Puzzle: ‘Gee, okay, I’ll canter.’
*canters for three strides to the end of the field*
Me: ‘Now walk, please.’
Puzzle: ‘HAPPY NOW?’

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Puzzleology

14 09 2015

There’s lots to update about from me, but as work, my social life and my horsey life are keeping me so busy it feels like there’s never any time to write about it!

Things are still going well with Puzzle. He still tests the boundaries with me from time to time, but it’s stopped being a terrifying experience and is now instead just something that makes me tut and roll my eyes, and I deal with it. He is so smart; I worked out that he worked out that I give him the benefit of the doubt if I think he’s frightened, so he started pretending to spook. Only, he wasn’t very convincing. He does seem to be genuinely terrified of the corner of the school where the electric fence clicks and makes a tiny flash, unless you put a cone in front of it, at which point the cone becomes an opportunity for him to show off how clever he is (much like gates).

He got fat at one point and his owner became quite concerned about him, eventually resolving to lunge him three times a week in the mornings. We also put him in what I termed a ‘VIP area’ a couple of times; an electric fenced-off starvation paddock within whichever field the herd were in at the time. He was completely unbothered by this and, if anything, seemed to enjoy having his own space, although he would sulk if the horses are moved into an uneaten paddock next to the one he’s in and he is left behind for a couple of days to give them a chance to eat it down before he can go in and engorge himself.

In terms of riding him, I seem to have gotten the measure of him. He is such a confidence-giver; once he’s gotten over his initial fit of ‘oh I’d rather not thanks’, he will do pretty much anything you ask him to. I have found that the trick to keeping him forward and engaged is to keep him doing lots of different things, so he doesn’t have time to think about anything that’s happening in the world around him. He is steady in his paces, and while he will get overexcited and run along on the forehand when asked for an upwards transition, it’s easy to bring him back by making him stop and repeat the exercise.

I do still feel like I would like some structure to my evening sessions with him, though, as well as someone there who can point out faults and give me suggestions of things to work on. I would also really like to learn to jump! Both because I feel confident enough to give this a go now, and because I know that it’s something Puzzle enjoys and is good at. There is a jump paddock next to the arena, and sometimes, while I’m trying to ride him into the arena, he will lean against the outside rein as if to tell me he would rather go in there and play. Unfortunately, while I have liaised with Puzzle’s owner’s regular instructor, we haven’t been able to set anything up because she’s always busy at the times when I could see her. I would like to find an instructor I can see regularly at some point, but as I said to Puzzle’s owner last time I saw her it might have to wait until life and work have calmed down.

So I’m still having my weekly riding lessons at the riding school. Actually, since the weather cooled down, they’ve been better, although this evening I was feeling a bit sensitive and got on a pony who is nervous and sensitive by nature. The results were, sadly, confidence-shattering, but we’ll see how things go. I will try and ride her again because often getting the feel of a horse or pony I’m not used to knocks me sideways a bit the first time.

In other horse-related news, I went to Bolsover Castle and saw the Grand Medieval Joust, in spite of the best efforts of the bank holiday weather to prevent it. I still want to become a knight and joust! I might be nervous and sensitive by nature myself… but I can overcome it with enough practice! 😀