This has been a really good and really disappointing week in Florida. Gus had last Saturday off. On Sunday I took him for a long walk to let him see the property and get his legs stretched out a bit. On Monday we began our week of “the Torture Circle”. It takes way too much time to explain, but it’s the thing that Dorothy starts out doing with all of her new students. I am starting to figure it out, but Gus has been rebelling like crazy. Yesterday we were supposed to school x-c. Gus started our really well, but then Jon Holling and a couple of students started doing gallop sets nearby. He started getting all wound up and would no longer focus on me. I put him back on the torture circle, but he was so mad that he tried to rear with me several times. Dorothy ended up getting on him (for the 3rd time this week) and finishing the lesson for me. In the end (after hour 2) she was able to get him to carry himself for short periods of time, and then he was allowed to jump a few small x-c fences. She said that if she would have had Gus at age 9 he would have been going to Rolex with her this year. I’m not sure if that was supposed to make me feel better or worse, but it definitely made me feel worse. I have always known that my horse was super talented and athletic. The problem with Gus is that he cannot get it together between his ears. I am so frustrated with him that I can hardly stand it. Dorothy is starting to have some doubts as to whether or not he will be an intermediate horse. In fact, she may even make me take him Novice at our first show this weekend, just to work on his ability to focus and not have to worry about the size of the fences.
We will have to see how the week goes. I know that some of you are wondering what the big hang-up is. What is he doing that is so bad? He has a very strong (mental) dislike of carrying himself. He does things with his body that make the rider (me) want to hold him up. He is such a light mover that Dorothy says it may just be that I lift my inside rein up 1 inch, and that would be enough for him to allow me to carry him without me even feeling it. His sensitivity has always been a huge issue, and Dorothy says it’s probably way more of an issue than I even know.
So here I am……entered in 2 trainings and a prelim event already. My horse is not cooperating, and I have yet to jump a single fence since I have been here. I have a show in 5 days.
So this is the plan for the week……. I will take lessons on Picadilly (Michelle’s Intermediate horse) this week so that I can practice on a horse that already knows about the “torture circle”. Michelle and Dorothy will ride Gus and work on his cooperation. Dorothy may ride Gus novice this weekend—-or maybe me. She says she doesn’t care if I get 1,000 points or if I get eliminated. Gus has to learn to listen even when he is excited and distracted.
She made me a chiropractor and massage appointment for tomorrow with her people. I am actually looking forward to that. My neck and arms are killing me from all of the “torture”. I’m sure Gus is sore too. (and he definitely deserves it—is that wrong of me???)
So …….week #1 has been interesting. I have learned more in one week than I ever thought possible. The riding has been a bit of a disappointment though, but I’m hoping week #2 will prove otherwise.