And, we’re back in business

Like a colicking horse in the trailer headed to the vet, or a toddler going to the ER, Johnny got one look at Koby in the arena and decided he would be on his best behavior today. That’s not to say he didn’t at least try some of his faithful responses to my requests for flexion (and to get off my dang leg!!!), but it’s like he understands an instructor will outsmart all his attempts at evading work.
For starters, I have to take 100% responsibility for the past couple of days of crappy rides. He gave me some excellent indications that he was ready to accept contact, and like any performance-oriented, perfection-crazed lunatic, I ran away with the inch he gave me. Instead, I should have gone back to asking for baby steps, slowly easing him into the contact. You can’t undo years of behavior and muscle memory in a few rides. I know this. And, now, it’s fully ingrained into my head: do not rush progress. In my defense, there is, in fact, more than one way to skin a cat, and throughout the course of my training, I have learned several alternate theories to teach a horse to move into contact. They just aren’t as successful for Johnny as Koby’s method.
What’s especially exciting, though, is that when he’s fully relaxed and stretched forward and down, his roaring almost completely disappears! It’s still ever-present at the canter, obviously, but he was so quiet at the trot, I couldn’t even hear it! I love the OTTB thought process: once he figured out I was about to ask for canter transitions, he started trying to throw them in everywhere. “This is what you want, right, Mom? I’m trying really hard; you don’t even have to ask. I can read your mind.” Not so good for the dressage ring, but I love their desire to please.
I’m so happy we got a really good ride in today, but it’s also disappointing that I have only five days left before my surgery. I know getting the hip fixed will ultimately be the best choice for the long run, but the idea of laying around while the Eventing season goes full force in such close proximity. Thank goodness I will at least have Internet access during bed rest this time. I predict countless hours of over analyzing videos of my rides, comparing them to pro videos on YouTube.

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