I am going to have to write this, even if it is with gritted teeth.
I love Barnaby, I adore him,
he is my perfect horse, my one and only,
he is doing my head in
He cannot, and/or will not bend his neck properly!
There, I've said it.
If you want to go straight, he's your man.
I defy a draughtsman with a ruler to achieve a straighter line.
But ask this boy to bend to the right, and you've got no chance.
I got to the swearing stage last week. There we are, I admit it. We live in the only flat part of Derbyshire and I imagine my fishwife voice echoed across the plain. I am sorry.
But what the heck am I supposed to do?
The other thing that's really annoyed me is that I've put a 'distressed' post on my favourite forum and nobody has come forward with any suggestions or advice. Normally it's really good on there, and I feel quite let down. I only got the usual response, 'Get his back and teeth checked.' Now I'll be honest, I've got our lovely back lady coming out on June 18th, the earliest she can get here, but if one more person says, 'Get his back and teeth checked,' I'll scream. As if I hadn't thought of that.
When Barnaby first became mine, I was so thrilled, I didn't really care about his way of going. He is the safest hack you could ever wish for, and that's all I was bothered about. I knew Mr O let him cavort about the countryside in a very hollow manner, but that I'd be able to cure it, and I have. Our first few sessions in the school went swimmingly, because I was quite content to bimble about and just work on getting him off his forehand, which, to give him his due, he has, and is a lot lighter and softer in my hand.
It's like when you have those first few driving lessons, and you're full of confidence, thinking, "I can drive!" without realising the instructor is doing most of the work and has all of the control. Then after a while they release some of that control to the pupil and it all goes pear shaped. Barnaby is a bit like that. I am now asking for more than a 20m circle, and he can't do it to save his life.
When I am on the right rein (going anti-clockwise to those without horses) he swings his head over to the left constantly and sticks his right leg out. This is fairly bad in walk, awful in trot, and downright dangerous in canter, as he is virtually unsteerable (if there is such a word - there is now, okay?!)
So I am trawling the internet for advice, and I've turned to some of my tried and tested books. All of them say lungeing is beneficial, and I can see that it is. I lunged him on Saturday before getting on, and he was a lot more supple. I think I use lungeing as a last resort, or think of it just as 'exercise,' a handy thing to do in the winter, but I've underestimated the benefits to the horse. I don't find it boring, but I do feel I've given up a riding session for a lungeing session, does that make sense?
So I am going to have to lunge him a lot more often. It won't be his favourite thing, but I am struggling to ride him in a way that's beneficial to him. So the crunch is, I think I am going to have to have some lessons because I am sick of fannying about. The frustration is killing me.
The main things are:
1. When I ride him on the right rein, he looks over to the left. This leaves me with a loose rein on the left, and I don't know what to do with it to make him straight.
2. He leans to the outside going round corners. I am not capable of making him look where he's going. This is Mr O's fault for always letting him do it, but it's no use blaming him now. I'm more interested in how to sort it out.
Even writing it down like this is helping me to think, but it's making me really angry, too! I'm obviously having 'one of those days.' I either need a more experienced person to ride him for me or lessons. The only thing now is to decide who to ask...
I hope it goes without saying that any advice that you may have would not just be gratefully received, at this stage it would be fallen upon and devoured!
I am going upstairs now, to stick my head under the pillow and have a bit of a scream! Then I'm going to go out and play with the ducklings - that's bound to cheer me up.