Saturday, September 1, 2012

feeling stalled

Blah. I have been feeling so blah, but trying my best to spin the blah-ness in a positive light. 

Shyloh had been doing so well since the beginning of March when she started lessons. But then in July, she started being off and I have spent two months figuring out what the problem is and working on fixing that problem. When Shy was getting lessons, there was a measurable difference in her progress. It was: now she is backing better, now she can turn on the fore, now she is responding to leg pressure, now she is not scooting. And I was so happy that she was improving. I was even riding her and working on myself!

But as we are working to build those rear end muscles up. . .I am just blah. I feel stalled in our progress. There is not much improvement that I can see. How do I tell if we are working those muscles, they are developing, and they are developing correctly? 

Plus. . .I can only walk and trot in hand over poles for so long. It is really boring. The only good thing I can *see* is that she is learning to find her feet. Shyloh is still working on finding her feet when there are more poles to navigate. Part of still being young and not worked, I guess. The chiropractor had said the same thing about her having trouble finding her feet on his first visit. The first couple times over the poles it is hit, hit, step on, hit, but the more we do go through, the better she gets. Today, I even raised the middle bar so she will use her rear end more. I had a video, but seriously, it was too boring to watch.

To switch it up, we also worked on Shy's back up. She has a terrible in hand back up. I used clicker training and Shy did fairly well. Not awesome, but good. I was surprised. I want to get her to the point where she will back to the end of the lead and I am standing still. We also worked on lowering her head. She was a rockstar at that! So yay on clicker training!

But as for me and my riding. . .stalled. I feel that I should be further along than I am. I should have more rides and longer rides under my belt. New goals have been set for myself and Shyloh. I plan to continue in hand walk/trot over the poles. Then I plan to get on Shy and ride her, at a walk, over those poles. I must do this for myself and her. No more excuses. Wish me luck!

I also added to and updated the Goals Tab, but here is a fall/winter rundown:

1. Get Shy's butt, literally, in shape through the use of pole work, backing, and hopefully hill work
2. Get myself in shape through yoga and my deep water swim aerobics
3. Ride Shy consistently, plus lessons for us both with Beth
4. Teach neck reining


  1. I've read that the training/conditioning process is comparable to a series of plateaus. You work and work and work on something and nothing seems to be happening, then BOOM something clicks and you find yourself a step ahead. Then you work and you work and you work through the next plateau....
    Do you have any hills in your area for her butt muscles?
    Now go get on and ride! :D

  2. Totally agree with Carrott Top - it might feel like you're getting nowhere, but one day you'll look back and see how far you've come.

    Could you have few lessons on another horse while Shy is still "off"? It would help get you more riding fit.

    Don't be despondent, we're all rooting for ya!

    1. My barn really isn't a lesson barn. There are no school horses. I am going to keep at it though :)

  3. Hill work does wonders for those butt muscles, plus it wears the edge off them faster so you can get more accomplished in the arena right afterwards. Dido to Martine, lessons on another horse to build your confidence. Good luck, it's always good to have goals to work toward.

  4. You'll get there. One thing I've learned to have more of when getting back to horses is to be patient. With the horse, and with yourself.

  5. Ditto to all of the comments.
    I know that I always feel less confident in my riding when I'm not in good shape. I feel so much more sure of myself when my riding muscles work and don't hurt afterwards. If you could use another horse that you have confidence in, you could practice your skills, maintain your riding muscles and you could even try ponying Shy. That way you could go further and do more trot work.
    Have you tried lunging over the poles, or round pen work at liberty over poles?
    I had a little dirt hill in my pasture where someone decided they were going to make a thrilling ride for a 4-wheeler. I used to lunge the horses up over the hill and down. I recall that you have a manure pile... would you be able to lunge Shy so that she has to go up and down on it? I also have a nice gentle slope in part of my pasture that we lunged on.... for hours! I would change it up by having a flat section on the top or bottom, working on just the flat or working on just the hill. When we lunged, we'd go all over the place. The point was to get the horses using themselves to keep a steady rate up and down the slopes.
    Do you have any shallow standing water? That will also make her lift her legs, as well as going through snow or mud, and work on butt muscles.
    Ah, the heck with it, just enroll her in the gym!!

  6. Didn't the farrier say that working her was the best solution? I would definitely keep doing in-hand stuff and start riding her. Since she seems to be trying not to use those muscles because she thinks it will hurt (right?), I think the best thing for her would be to do something that will make her use those muscles. Hill work, as others have said, would be great I think.

    I know how you feel about having to get in shape. I'm starting to, but I still have a long way to go!

    1. I am definitely going to keep working her. It's the boring part of horse ownership, right? haha.

  7. I think you should be so proud. I have been reading through your blog. You took on a challenging horse with not a ton of serious riding under your belt and you are doing a great job. Not many people could do it. Learning always seems to go in spurts and stops. I would suggest looking getting the book 101 lunging exercises by Cherry Hill. It had lots of different things you can do to build her up.

    1. Good idea! I plan on checking that out now!
      And thanks! She is challenging, but so much fun!

  8. Backing is really good for them, but most horses (including Chrome) hate it. I'm still working on getting him to back calmly and relaxed. They need to back straight with their heads relaxed and they have to move the diagonal pairs together. You will get there. Just keep using the clicker training to fix one thing at a time. Try not to get swallowed up by the details like I do hehe. I really need to work on Chrome's backing again. :) You can try the target stick too. It helps to get their attention and to get their heads down.

    Also, raising the poles will make her work harder, just do it slowly so you don't make her even more sore and keep up with the stretching. :D

    You're doing a great job with Shy!!


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