I was torn between writing another Willow post, or a post about Mike’s and I’s adventures at ATC this past weekend, but I figured the Willow post would be more more entertaining.
I trundled up to the barn last night after Mike got home. He’s been awesome about putting the monster to bed so that I can go ride every night (Thanks honey!). It was raining and yucky, but the barn owner was awesome a stuck Willow out in the indoor. I lunged her a bit before I got on, and we had the usual mounting block argument (she enjoys blowing past me while I try to time flinging my leg over as she’s zooming past). I won.
During our ride I was focused on myself, not her. Sitting tall, opening my hips, and asking her to trot with a bump-bump of my leg. If she bucked, I ignored it and we kept marching forward. I would bump and cluck. She would buck. I would ask again. She would buck. I would ask. She would buck. I would try to stop laughing and ask again. She would trot forward. I would give lots of GOOD GIIIIIRRRLLLLL!!!!!!! and pats. We would blunder around like drunken monkey’s then walk. I would ask. She would buck. I would laugh and ask again. She would trot. GOOD GIIIRRRRLLLL!!!!!!! By the time we were done, we had picked up (and maintained) the trot both directions with out a buck. No whip (I lost that in the battle of the mounting block). I think 98% of it had to do with my positions. I’ve been watching a lot of videos and tried to make it a point to “open myself up to the transition.” I sat back on my rear. Kept my hands soft (THUMBS UP!) and giving. Kept my leg quiet and just waiting. If she bucked I was good to go and I didn’t let it stop me from asking. I give her a moment, then ask in the same way. I think that sitting quietly, and just waiting for her to get with the program worked 100x’s better than beating her into it. Our last transition was quiet, soft, and she was happy to go when I asked. Boom!
Now for the entertaining part. After our work, I was ambling about the arena on a long rein, feet out of the irons, just letting her relax and stretch downward. The cat (who’ve I’ve made good friends with) decided that he needed to observe and was standing on the rail. My phone had just gone off, so we meandered to a drunken whoa, and I reached into my pocket. Coincidentally, that’s the same pocket that the kitty treats had come out of. He made a leap from the rail, and landed square on Willow’s behind.
Willow’s head shot up and I thought her eyes were going to roll right out of her head. She froze while I tried to quietly slip my feet into the irons. I turned to dislodge kitty and he went MEEEEOOOOOWWWW.
Willow then went OOOOOOOOHHHHHHHH SHHHHHHIIIIIIITTTTTT SOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNN!!!!! and vaulted straight up into the air. I didn’t stand a chance. I went up, and she moved out from under me so quickly I landed in the same spot we were standing. Square on my rear with a rather dignified SPLUNK. The hang time was just enough for me to think “this is really not going to feel great.”
Willow, in the meantime, is tearing around the arena with yeowling kitty firmly attached to her buttocks. All I could do was sit and admire the process. After lap or so, she stopped. Snorting. Kitty lept from her rear, still yeowling and hot footed it out of the arena.
Willow snorted quite loudly at his retreating backside and then ambled over to make sure that Mom was alright. What a sweetheart… Normally when I bite the big one, I scamper right back into the tack, but I made an exception in this case, and there were some extenuating circumstances. I picked myself up out of the dirt, and Willow followed me back to her house.
The kitty made a point of following me around the barn, giving me the evil kitty eye.
They have since made up. This picture, which looks to me like the animal version of a fist bump, makes me wonder if they planned the whole thing. 😉