Negative to Positive

I arrived for my lesson, hoping I would continue the learning curve I’ve been on recently. The horses had jumped the previous night so were on low work loads. I understood, but I confess was not happy about being back on Bella.

She’s lovely and has taught me so much but I was so afraid she’d take me several steps backward. So I felt pretty low as I brushed Shadow while I waited as I can’t brush bella. I then brushed another pony as Shadow didn’t take me long.

I was brushing away, talking gently to the lovely pony and felt something between his front legs. I called a girl over as I didn’t know if it was mud or a scab. I suspected the latter but didn’t want to assume. She looked with a light on her phone and confirmed my suspicions. I didn’t want to pick it like you do mud if it was a scab so glad I didn’t and got someone else to check.

I mounted Bella and I was pretty quiet. I was not looking forward to this lesson. She was going to make me feel like I was rubbish at riding and I didn’t really want that.

We got into the school and I was a mess. my RI told me to relax, pick up my rein contact and remember all that I had done on shadow. She said straight away she noticed my hands were better as Bella was seemingly liking them more.

I didn’t feel we were failing too greatly, and when she did drift, I used my newly learnt skills of leg yielding and the first time I did it, she moved over, one leg over the other. I was gob smacked!

My RI pulled me up and gave me a good talking to. Quite rightly so I would say. She said that see what happens when you drop all the negativity and ride her positively, she responds. She said, within ten minutes of being on Bella, having never really used the aid correctly before, I used a leg yeild and I got her going off my leg beautifully! She even said, I made it look easy to ride Bella and she is not an easy horse to ride for just anyone. I felt like crying then. I’d been unfairly negative to this horse and had neglected to remember that I could and did apply the skills Shadow had been teaching me.

Even after only two weeks, I was holding my hands quieter, using my legs more effectively and there’s more to come.

She said, that because it’s harder to then put all this into trot, we’d start by moving up and down from walk to trot and back again with three strides to make it a more positive experience. It fell apart a little, my hands getting busy but after doing three strides, then walk, then up to trot again and increasing the trot, we got there and even did a positive trot down each side of the school.

I also learnt to keep up my contact and when preparing her, give a little feel down the rein, and take up the contact to increase our chances of moving forward. My last few trots were as forward as they’ve been in the school and my RI was pleased. She said the trots were so beautiful and now I just need to work on from this and never come into the school with a negative vibe again. I agree. Bella was a really awesome reflection of what I’ve learnt so far and even just two weeks on Shadow taught me so much that I could then apply to Bella and she worked easier for me. Amazing or what? well done Bella!

I kissed that horse after the lesson. She had proven me wrong. Bella didn’t make me feel like I had stepped backward, she made me feel like I’d leapt forward in some ways.

Once I dismounted, I was chatting to a lady that was going on a hack. Then my hacking RI asked if I would tack up Harry for her. I was showing the lady how we saddle and bridle the horses. I felt a little beam of pride that I did it all by myself and nothing was wrong and he was on the fence so we all know that’s not an easy job with a hungry horse.

I also went to visit our little yearling who I blogged about last year when he was born. He’s getting big now and I got some kisses over the stable door. I am no expert but think he’s going to be a big horse. 🙂

Thanks for reading.


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I’m really pleased Bella proved her worth to you! I think it’s best to imagine how you would feel if someone automatically assumed you were going to be stubborn or difficult – why wouldn’t you behave as they expected?! Good for you for being so open to learning these new skills. I always tell people to get on a lazy horse and ride it as if its a racehorse – often they pick up the excitable vibe and transform. In Bella’s case perhaps you just need to raise your expectations and ride her as if she’s a top class dressage horse?! A real live diva. Great to read as ever – keep at it.

  2. Wonderful Marie! This is the benefit of changing horses: to learn different lessons, and to have each one work as a yard stick for your progression. It really sounds like some things are starting to click for you! Those horses that are like mirrors can be difficult, and you do learn in the end that every ride isn’t (and doesn’t need to be) an accurate reflection of your skill. When you get it on these horses though, you REALLY get it! So glad you had your frown turned upside down by Bella 🙂 Fab advice from Lorraine as usual about your approach to riding! Keep it up 😀

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