Abbey is a wonderful mare, incredibly non-mareish most of the time. Sweet, ready for affection (she's always ready for some love from kids especially). But.... there is that one time of the month that she gets terrible PMS, or for the uninitiated, Pissy Mare Syndrome. I totally get it. I, too, have the tired, crampy, want-to-pin-my-ears-at-everyone days.
Me: Abbey, show me nice ears for the photo so everyone can see how much you love learning how to neck-rein.
Abbey: (in four-year-old pouty voice) No.
No words... she's just so over it.
Abbey: You can't see me, I'm invisible. Invisible horses don't have to learn anything. Now, take me to my hay.
Yesterday was one of these days, maybe even for both of us (possible TMI territory, sorry) and it was a rough follow-up to such a warm fuzzy inducing ride on Monday. Abbey was tense, quick, and nervy as we warmed-up. She just didn't relax, and part of it was from me feeding off of her energy as much as she might have been feeding off of mine from being nervous about doing something new and challenging without the presence of a helpful mentor.
We soldiered on, and worked on practicing the one-handed tricks K taught us, but the spark just wasn't there and I found myself getting so annoyed at Abbey, and then at myself for getting annoyed with her. I am sure most perfectionist types out there experience the same mind-numbing fixation on getting something right that they just keep digging themselves even deeper into doing it wrong. I was having that day. I do try my best to catch myself, stop, and start over fresh. And I have to admit, I am getting better at this, but today was a little bit of a backslide.
We finally took a long walk/jog break from working the one-handed lope departs that looked like (in my mind) a fire-breathing dragon rearing its head, diving towards unsuspecting villagers in the center of the arena instead of the sweet, calm, graceful swan departs we had the day before. After a while of trying to relax into a steady cadence at the jog (not sure we really got there) we tried again. The dragon was back, but only for one depart. After a few strides, we halted, paused, pushed her forward into my hands with both reins, and got a nice swan depart. Hallelujah! Time to try one-handed again... and success! Change direction... dragon-neck. Halt, press, collect, two-rein, swan-neck. Halt, press, collect, one-hand, swan-neck! Whooo hooo!
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. When I got my first dragon-neck depart, I should have gone back to working with two reins to get her collected and correct rather than banging our heads against the wall because I was sure I could make it happen. Pride can be a problem sometimes. So, it finally all came together there at the end, and I was happy with one good swan depart each direction. We cooled down and chatted with one of my favorites at the barn, L, as we walked around the arena. I gave Abbey extra hugs and pats which made me feel better after calling her some not-so-nice names earlier. I think she was just happy to go back to her hay and her stall. Carbs and coziness... I guess all us girls are the same that time of the month.