Believe it or not, after a very foggy morning we had a bit of sunshine in Berkshire - I so cannot wait for spring now!I felt like instilling some discipline in my riders at the weekly staff training today so boy did they work hard.
This is not to say I am easy on myself - rode my friend's 4-year old again and wow I am really starting to like that horse a lot.
He's not the easiest of horses to bring the best out of as he can be a little argumentative and the size of him can intimidate (long way down!) but when you do something right and get that machine going he feels very, very good.
We started off rather funny making sure we were in a way of another person jumping in the school! Very embarrassing but His Highness was not going to oblige! He did have some time off over Xmas and New year and was only ridden a couple of times since so I expected him to be rather difficult. He wasn't too bad though considering the circumstances.
The main problem was his little attitude/strop moments when he just planted himself and did not want to move. Normally I would just kick on but think I am slowly becoming more and more confident in trusting my instincts with youngsters and think twice before demanding obedience. It's not even that I am afraid of a major strop (would not want it but that's not the case), it's more a belief that things can be done equally well if only we listen to the horse not only tell.
And so when His Highness refused to budge I just sat there as if we had million hours to our disposition and waited for him to find out that the only possible way of pleasing me is to shift forwards. When I ride horses like that I usually just try to look away so to completely detach myself from the horse's problem and quietly wait until its brain starts focusing on me again.
It helps to soft-focus your eyes when doing it. My recent method is sheep counting ;)
So His Highness got to about 15 sheep and moved forwards as if he never said no!
There are of course moments when it just feels like a proper tantrum and then I just kick on regardless.
Once we got to the point when he realised it was much easier to please me than to fight me (you really never want the little buggers to know how much power they actually have!;)) I had a ball!
I think I keep saying it but he just gets better and better and while last time he felt resistant and rigid at times, tonight he just floated.
In a way I do know that I just sit there and press the buttons while my friend is doing all the hard work but was really pleased nevertheless to be able to ride him into such a soft, resistance free creature that he felt in the end. It's so rewarding and makes me feel on top of the world ;)
Did I say I love my job and everything that comes with it ???????!!!!