Temper Temper

Temper Temper

I’ve been sick for over a week, and am kind of over it.  I’d also be lying if I said this sickness had no affect on my mood.  I’ve been a little bit more short than I normally would, and when I drove the long trek to the barn and rode even though I didn’t feel good – I needed my horse to be good.

And he so wasn’t.

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To be fair, he was really fresh because I hadn’t been riding as much due to aforementioned plague, but it was beyond normal freshness.  It was ‘oh my god i’m gonna spook at the SCARY PONY i can’t possibly listen to you when there’s a FIERY BREATHING PONY over there look at how SMALL AND ADORABLE it is omggggggggggggg’ kind of ride.

I can’t begin to tell you how many ponies this horse has seen in his life.

He used to live with ponies.

Ponies are his jam.

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Anyway, I can’t expect every ride to be perfect and I can’t expect my horse to be 100% on his A game every time I get on.  That being said, I have a huge problem as a rider and the past few rides with Simon have brought that out in a major way.

I have a temper.

I don’t beat on him.  I don’t mercilessly hack at his mouth.  I don’t whip.  I don’t spur.  I will over-use a halt transition to a back.  I will have a tendency to nit pick too much.  I am not as good at quitting when I’m ahead.  Basically, our past few rides went something like this.

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We’re going to trot around on a loose rein to warm up, K?  K.

I am an amazing and powerful sport horse.  I will trot more betterly than any horse has ever trotted before.

Not quite so fast.  Relaxed trot.

Ermahgerd a pony!  It’s new!  I must stare at it but maintain my trot so I am an amazing sport horse.

Stop looking at the pony.

Pony!

Stop.

This part of the ring is boring, I will trot really slowly because it is not interesting.

Don’t trot so slow.

I will trot faster than any horse has trotted before!

Don’t trot so fast.

Lookit the pony is still there!  Hi Pony!

Damnit.  We are going to circle until you stop being an idiot.

By circle you mean oblong?

Pretty sure I mean circle.

Poooooooohneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

You are driving me crazy.  Halt damnit.

Oh my god I’m a bad horse.

You’re not a bad horse.  Listen to me.

I’m a bad bad horse.  

Trot.  Now.

I’m the worst horse that ever lived.  Now you will sell me and I will have to be a race horse again WHICH I ALSO FAILED AT.

I’m not going to sell you.  Trot this circle or I may murder you.

WHO CAN CIRCLE AT A TIME LIKE THIS?  AHHHHHH!

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And then it continues.  And then I get angry.  And then he gets more anxious.  And then I leave the barn feeling like the only productive thing I did was organize my tack trunk.

I sent a SOS text to my trainer asking for a private lesson this week.  She’s half Simon’s trainer and half his therapist… maybe she can do some relationship counseling for us and kill my temper once and for all.

31 thoughts on “Temper Temper

  1. I totally know how you feel! I am the exact same way (though I usually burst into tears after a ride like that because I feel horrible, like I went nowhere, and bad that I over-reacted). But we are human after all – none of us can be saints all the time. Just remember – usually the good rides outnumber the bad, thank goodness!

  2. Ah! Me too! It’s soooo hard to ride through moments like that! Luckily, my tack trunk was a mess, so organizing it is a big accomplishment.

    1. That’s brilliant! Ammy Angst ammy angst…. I have ammy angst, you have ammy angst, we all have ammy angst 😀 Our poor horses lol

  3. Sometimes I can feel my anger… and opt not to ride because I am the same way! But usually my anger doesn’t go away completely overnight (especially when work 8 hours before going out to the barn the next day), and you can’t just not ride for a week at time. Ugh, the conundrum of a working ammie!

    1. Oh! I know this feeling, and I see it so often in other riders! It’s so hard to let go!
      I started mentally putting that angst, frustration, and fear (or any negative emotions, really) into an imaginary box. No, seriously. I go through the motions to grab it from the air and stuff it in a box in my lap. Then, I close the box up, and I go through the motions of setting it outside the arena, or on a fence post, or off to the side of my horse… This really works for me!
      BUT! Then, I think it is important to look at my horse and say, “You are a perfect little pretty, pretty princess and you can do no wrong!” (or something equally gelding appropriate).
      I taught this to a young rider who can get very frustrated and hold a grdge for the rest of her ride. It worked mini miracles for her ride (even if she had to do it every 10 minutes), and she started doing it on her own!
      By mentally setting my box aside, I know I can come back later and pick it up. I never do, but acting out the physicality really seems to help get over it and have a more productive ride.

      1. I love this! I ride multiple horses a day and manage to not act like a red head most of the time but sometimes my patience snaps and omg. I know it is irrational, and I have mental tools to deal with it, I believe this will be going in my tool box.

  4. Breathe.

    I sometimes lose my temper too. Usually when I have an agenda that I think we need to acheive. Sometimes Ashke hasn’t read the memo and doesn’t realize we have an agenda. Then we argue because I am not meeting my agenda.

    Breathe.

    Try something else when you start feeling angry. Try something that connects you to the horse, and then go back to your agenda. I really think they are a lot like kids and sometimes they need a break in routine to shake them out of their focus. Be with your horse in the now, and let your expectations take a back burner to where you both are now.

  5. I will just say. There is a new pony at the other barn. My 13 yo 3’6 A/O – big derby horse literally was out of his skin about it. Because it’s paint. And smaller than the rest of the ponies. And in a paddock by the arena. And new. Mostly just because it’s new. So know it’s not just Simon, and that even big bad 3’6 derby horses have melt downs about ponies.

  6. This totally made me laugh, but only because I’ve been there like a million times. I had to learn how to deal, because me getting mad and having a meltdown was the fastest way ever to get Cash to completely lose his marbles. It’s not easy, and I still get frustrated way more than I’d like, but I can feel myself going there and know I need to stop, back off, and change things up before it can escalate. With Echo, usually I try to go back to something really easy so that we’re both feeling confident before moving on. Sometimes if he’s not listening, I’ll ask for lots of changes in bend/laterals/anything to make him think about me and not whatever it is that’s got his attention (Echo is fascinated by cows. FASCINATED.) My dressage trainer actually (tactfully) suggested I get off and longe Echo since we weren’t getting anywhere in our lesson. Point to her for diffusing the situation, even if I was super embarrassed to be called out like a kid and told to get off my horse. At least the ride ended really well and we got stuff done – even if it wasn’t stuff *I* thought we should be doing!

  7. Haha I love the way you wrote about your ride- that pretty much sounds exactly like what went down with Wiz and I and the ponies at the Richard Lamb clinic (except I ended up on the ground). I, too, tend to have a temper. I get mad pretty easy and have to have my trainer intervene when we have too many bad rides in a row. My trainer and I were talking about it, though, and I think it’s because it’s YOUR horse. Like, she can get on Wiz and right him emotionless because it’s not HER horse. She said she gets super frustrated with her big horse because he’s HER horse, and it’s like you take every little thing PERSONAL. When you’re riding someone else’s, you don’t take it personal. You’re just like, okay, you’re doing that, that’s wrong, let’s fix it. When it’s your horse, it’s totally the end of the world!

    But good move sending the SOS text. That’s what I had to do before my last event, ha. It can be helpful to have the trainer there to, as you put it, be half the trainer and half the therapist 🙂 Good luck!

  8. This seriously made me laugh out loud. Which wasn’t good, since I’m at work. But this also reminds me of my rides on Walker (minus the spookiness). Every two steps we have to agree to disagree about the stupidest things and I totally lose my temper in the same way – not violently, just getting frustrated. I usually leave the barn discouraged and wake up the next morning completely forgetting why I was angry (and overambitious for our ride) just to do it all again.

  9. This I can relate to… It helps me to take a breath and as I am riding really focus on the things that are going well. Then when it isn’t perfect (which lets face it is more often then not) I don’t lose my marbles. A good trainer is key to this relationship. I feel as though mine will call me on my cr@* and let me know when I am being unreasonable with expectations, nit picking (if it isn’t broken don’t fix it), and not being understanding.

    Hope the trainer can work some magic for you two. 🙂 You are not alone.

  10. I feel your pain, why is it that whenever we as riders want a good, calm, sensible “look how great we are as a team ride”… we get the rides that aren’t so easy.

    In other news, yours and simons convo made me laugh out loud, atleast there is humour in fire breathing ponies and oblongs.

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