Jonah is settling in well. He is the bottom man on the totem pole. In a lot of ways, he reminds me of Samson when I first got him, and I can't help wondering if he will come into his own once we get him feeling better. I have a sneaking suspicion he could have ulcers, so I am debating a few different treatment options to test out the theory. He was integrated into a small herd last night with Samson and Rosie, and I quickly discovered he would be chased off his hay if his pile wasn't put out pretty far away. Poor guy - he was standing in the trees with his head hanging low; didn't even attempt to fight for his food. No wonder he has a hard time keeping his weight up.
I tacked him up for a light hack last night. I know he is seriously out of shape and on the skinny side, so I don't plan to do much other than get him going at this point. He was good about pretty much everything. A little fussy about taking contact, but not nearly as heavy on my hands as the other day when I tried him. When he picked up his left lead canter he threw in a couple little bucks, but it was minor and the second I threw out a verbal correction he settled into a relaxed canter. He is a lot of fun to ride; not intimidating in the slightest.
We busted through the remaining chores, and I had about 40 minutes til rushing to dog class with Toby (aka not-so-tiny-Terror), my golden retriever. I tacked April up and headed out back to get in the second ride of the day. She was really good overall. I am working a lot on relaxing through my arms and carrying my hands correctly, and I have found that she really appreciates the difference of a softer contact. It has really started to eliminate a lot of the issues we were having, and I feel like we are making tiny improvements with each and every ride. I am working really hard on continuing to reverse my automatic reaction of going to the inside rein. Two and a half years of being taught the opposite on Delilah has been really challenging to overcome, but I think I am starting to make a little progress. I find myself becoming more and more aware of when I am doing it, so correcting myself has become more frequent.
It has been a weird couple weeks overall. I know that I need to get a couple of lessons in - that always helps. But it seems like everything has been beating my up a bit lately. I feel insecure about the entire Jonah situation - doubting whether I did the right thing. He has yet to get a single compliment, I'm not a trainer by any stretch of the imagination...so other than getting him fat, what can I possibly do for him?? I fight the inevitable insecurity in my riding ability, always wondering when I am going to "get it". Sometimes I feel like riding is the most unnatural thing in the world to me. I look at my friends and how easy it appears to be for them, and I wonder when everything will finally start to click for me. I wonder when my seat will become independent of my leg, when I will quit burying my hands in my lap, tensing up and having football arms, falling back on my butt instead of sitting correctly on my seatbones.....so many things I wonder about. I wish more than anything that I had the time and money to fully devote myself to developing as a rider, every single day, on a regular basis. But then I look at people like Kelsey and realize that it can be done without a trainer holding your hand 24/7. But can it be done for everyone? I can't help but think it is extremely rare. It is a natural talent to feel everything that is going on underneath you, and sadly it is something that I have yet to really develop. One day, I hope....
For now, the best I can do is what I am doing. Time in the saddle, time on the ground reading, watching, listening, and learning. Anything is possible if you set your mind to it....right?
|Jonah's arrival on the farm; Monday, February 20th|