As I cannot seem to have much luck finding a suitable horse to buy as a project I end up riding various peculiar creatures in an attempt to retain at least some of my riding skills!
My latest challenge was to get something out of a big woolly mammoth mare, who by the way is actually quite a sweetie and quite fun (she bucks for England in canter and does flying changes every second stride). She was checked by a vet by the way and there is no health issue underlying her ridden behaviour; she is however severely lacking in balance, straightness and general schooling etiquette ;)
There is a rather substantial amount of patience required while schooling that sort of horse (who has all the evasions you can imagine well practiced) I decided to have a go on her with music ;)) For those of you who haven't read some of my old posts - I love schooling with music.
All I can say is that Vivaldi seems to do the trick for me! We got some really decent canter work out of madam and managed to keep the trot rhythm under more or less passable control.
Her normally very busy head carriage steadied as a result of that better rhythm and she was actually pretty rideable!
I got off realising I actually enjoyed riding her.
Now, the thing is, horses like woolly madam above makes you realise all your weaknesses in an instant. I borrowed this interesting (and very entertaining too!) The Funnell Factor dvd from a friend and watching it made me really focus on what I was doing today. Although I am normally very critical about what I do in the saddle sometimes it is so easy to become annoyed with a horse that is so stiff and uncooperative it takes the pleasure of schooling away.
However, the truth is, when you really persevere, switch off all the distraction and concentrate you get the results you didn't think were possible.
Someone once said 'There are only two emotions that belong in the saddle one is patience the other humor" - how very true.
As mammoth madam was so all over the place she reminded me how weak my right leg is in comparison to the left (but then considering it was in plaster 8 times already it isn't much of a surprise) . Riding extremely crooked horses really makes you realise how much strength you need to straighten them and help them to work both their hollow and stiff sides equally.
It's world apart from schooling a green youngster!