Well, I've been avoiding this post for a couple days.
I'm still kind of avoiding it honestly.
I've been a little... shaken? I think that's the closest word I can find. I just think I've lost some of my confidence.
Where to start?
Good news. That's always a good place to start. I think it's about time I started riding again. I really think I'm getting close. I've missed it a lot. It's been much too long.
This is the part where I put the less good news. I just feel like I've screwed up. In reality, probably not really. In my mind, a lot. I just think I've been pushing too hard at the wrong things. I've been working on some things lately that are hard for Jazz, and I think I've just been forgetting that too often. She has a really hard time backing a) straight and b) sometimes just in general, and I've been putting a fair amount of pressure on her to do so lately. I just think I've been putting too much pressure on her, asking too much without enough reward for doing what I'm asking.
Jazz is a sensitive horse. She can really easily get overloaded, and I just don't like the idea that I've been overloading her. On the bright side, (okay this next part may sound a bit counter-intuitive, but just hear me out) Jazz is a really expressive horse. This means that if she is not pleased with something, she will make that fact very clear to me. Those of you who have been reading a little while will recognize these objections as head tossing, rearing, blasting forward through her shoulders and most recently, biting. Believe it or not, as much as I don't love these behaviors, I find them a million times more preferable than the alternative. There are a lot of horses who simply aren't comfortable expressing themselves in this way, so they just trudge along quietly disapproving until eventually something sets them off and they have a huge blowout. Comparatively, Jazz has the easier of the two problems to work out. She's not a horse that lacks confidence in herself, all she needs is a little structure and direction to channel her into doing productive work.
So I think It's time for a little re-evaluation on my part. I stopped riding because Jazz wasn't being safe and respectful on the ground. Now she's getting closer and closer to safe, and quite honestly the biting only comes out when I'm really pushing her to back, so why aren't I riding yet? She is a thousand times better about respecting my space and listening to me on the ground. She's not perfect, but has any horse ever been perfect, really? I think I need to discuss a new strategy with my trainer, but at least I know that now. Better to try a new direction than to keep pushing against a wall.
Thing to work on # 5
Knowing when I'm just not heading in the right direction and when to reevaluate