Horse Riding and Dystonia. Progress Report 21

Crunch, crunch, crunch. Rip. Clunk.

Yes, folks, that’s the sound of me grinding my teeth, shredding my January dressage competition entry form and lobbing it into the bin.

All a result of this morning’s equine activities.

I can honestly say, that I cannot remember riding as badly as I did this morning, for a long, long time. Worst of all, while this has upset me hugely, I am more concerned that I successfully managed to annoy my peaceable (huge 17.3) equine partner so much, that he put in two big bucks. I’ve been riding him on and off for a number of years and he’s never done that to me before.

So, what went wrong?

First up. Total lack of sleep. The Offspring had friends over last night, for the night. I was tired anyway, but having to keep getting up to tell them to stop talking and GO TO SLEEP, was a bit of a drag. My final trip out of bed came at 2.40am. Was woken again, after this, by one of our cats, trying to get into the Offspring’s bedroom.

Second. Early morning furniture delivery meant that I was sitting in the kitchen decked out in all my riding gear at 6.45am. Ugh!

Finally, my temporary riding instructor’s idea of getting Harry warmed up was quite different to mine. I’ve ridden Harry quite a bit and I know his issues – main one’s being that, like me, he’s oldish and stiff in the joints until he warms up.

I always follow a set pattern of activities with him, namely quick transitions on circles, with gentle encouragement to bend his neck on his stiff side. This seems to be successful at getting him listening and, whilst we don’t rocket round the arena, we can still manage to leg yield and shoulder in (better on one rein than the other for both of us) and move at a reasonable speed.

My instructor’s idea this morning was, leg, leg, whip….whip, whip, whip, whip. And neither me, nor the old boy liked this at all. I’m not a great over-user of the whip, as I’m a massive softy, with a huge affection/sympathy for my riding school mounts. Having said that, I do always carry one, as I’m weaker on one side than the other, so a gentle flick can assist.

However, this morning, this whole change of approach just blew my brains and I just couldn’t ride how she wanted. Final indignity was when Harry bucked, which was definitely a case of him saying ‘I’ve had enough, WHAT are you doing?’.

Quite right.

Sorry, old fellow. I really am.

Hopefully, this was a one off and I can focus on February.

Have a good week.


About Dystonia Girl

Horse rider who loves to blog and do lots of other things too. Lives with, but is not defined by, a rare neurological condition called Dystonia.
This entry was posted in Dressage, Dystonia, Horse Riding and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Horse Riding and Dystonia. Progress Report 21

  1. saraannon says:

    Good for Harry! Whip and kick simply doesn’t work… here’s some brain food to get the point across:

  2. Today has really, really upset me.

    I felt useless after this morning, as I should have pushed back against what I was being told. I know better. Geez, how many years have I been doing this? The problem I think comes from being a “new” dystonia patient, which now makes me a bit un-confident about saying “no”. The thought of making Harry buck though, has absolutely horrified me, as he’s a total sweetie.

    I suppose my only defenses are that I was very tired and my dystonia symptoms are on the up, but the whole thing has just alerted me to the fact that sometimes, new people don’t know best.

    I’m not going to let this happen again.

    • saraannon says:

      There is a ‘kick and pull’ school of thought that has infiltrated the dressage world and the people who are that rough on their horses are often just as rough on their human students. It takes a lot of courage to stand up for yourself and your horse, which is why I sent you the link… You are not alone, and you have back-up all the way to Xenophon himself saying that force just doesn’t work.

  3. Sorry to read this 😦 I hope February comes up with better riding experiences.

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