Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Sixth Lesson! And a bad ride...

Happy New Year all! Sorry about the slightly late update. I haven’t been feeling very good. While this is probably the best New Year I’ve ever had, it wasn’t the best riding experience.

Today, I was scheduled with D’Alonzo again. And this time, I got to ride him. I was actually supposed to ride D’Alonzo last Saturday, but he was being very naughty apparently, and I was put on Mamat. So today, I found out what the trainers meant by naughty. I don’t think he’s naughty though. I’m not sure what his problem is. For one, the main body language I noticed while riding him, that told me it wasn’t just ‘naughty’, was that his ears kept folding back. Not totally flat on his head, but it constantly faced me, as if he was angry. The trainers told me to whip him really hard everytime he stopped moving and to jerk back on the reins if he fights back and bucks. But guess what I find? He moves faster if I only wave the whip around, anyway. And if I actually whip him, he bucks... There was even one time where the trainer took him by the bridle and whipped him 3 times... really hard. While I was on top of him, yes. Needless to say, D’Alonzo went in circles, trying to avoid the whip.

I can’t bring myself to whip a horse hard. I just can’t. In no way is hurting a horse to make him obey is necessary. I don’t know how they do things when training a horse, but D’Alonzo has been riden MANY times, by MANY riders. I’m pretty sure he’s already trained. And if ALL of those riders whipped him hard... Ouch :(

Another reason why I think D’Alonzo just doesn’t like being riden, is when the trainer guided him out of the ring when my session was up. I thought I was supposed to dismount and lead him back to the stables, but D’Alonzo just continued walking and I kinda rode him back. And the strange thing was, whenever he walked in the ring, he walked really slow. But once on the track back to the stables, he sped up o.o The walk became an active walk, as if he was eager to get back to his stall.

All I can say is, whatever I learned on Mamat with Mazlan, the Saturday trainer, has gone out the window... well, kinda. D’Alonzo stopped very suddenly a lot. Everytime I was ready to practice whatever Mazlan taught me, he stops. Everytime I’m ready to stop, he doesn’t stop. And then there was the problem with the trainers. The trainer I was scheduled with today, wasn’t feeling well. So I had to wait an entire half an hour after my session was supposed to start, for another trainer to take over. Everything went okay-ish... until he shifted me to the main arena ring. There was another trainer there with 2 riders. Mother and daughter, I presume. He shouted over to my trainer and all of a sudden, I was made to join the 2 riders. My ride went downhill. Not only could I not do much, because all D’Alonzo had to do was follow the other two horses, but the trainer spent most of the session observing. All we did was rising trot and a tiny bit of sitting trot. My progress suddenly depends on the other two riders. If they couldn’t keep up, I’m forced to stop. If I couldn’t keep up (due to a slower and stubborn horse)... well, I fall behind. I definitely do NOT like group lessons. Nothing went right today. It was not a good day at all.

Good news though, I managed to mount from ground up again :D This time, trainer taught me to stand next to the horse shoulder and twist the stirrup around. I guess D’Alonzo is also a smaller horse. I learned a tiny bit more about control today. D’Alonzo doesn’t seem to have common sense o.o He went off the track quite a lot. Mamat followed the ring well enough, but D’Alonzo acted as if he would slam into the fences if I didn’t direct him away. I think I’m doing quite nicely in turning a horse around too. I find that tiny gentle pulls on the reins is perfect when doing slight turns. Longer gentle pulls when making a sharper turn. I also understand what the trainers mean by looking up and forward. It takes a few seconds for a horse to actually make a correction when following a path. So looking down at the immediate track isn’t exactly going to help. The trainers didn’t make much comment on my posture when doing the rising trot, so I guess I’ve managed to improve there. I’m pulling my shoulders back and putting my heels down a lot more, since I wasn’t gonna be getting reminders, what with 2 other riders to care for *rolleyes*

I can feel myself softening when doing the sitting trot, but I can’t seem to keep my hands still o.o They jumped up and down along with me! >.< Meh, I want to ride Mamat again, with Mazlan teaching me. :( There were so much bumping on D’Alonzo that my thighs are sore and bruised now. *sigh*

Oh, and I got more pics :) I’m working on creating profiles for the horses so that I can recognise them. Right now, I can’t tell which is Ruby and which is Royal ._. Both are dark and both don’t have distinctive markings. Siti Mas has some very very VERY light brown patches on her neck and body. Other than that... complete brown horse. Oh dear =/ They also repainted the stalls, so the names were removed. I’m gonna have to wait till the names are put back up to get more pics.

Oh yeah! Was a bad day for the parents too, imagine that XD Dad has been happy to go to the club for one thing, and one thing only. Nasi Lemak LOL! It’s a Malaysian dish, google if you’re interested. Unfortunately, they only sell Nasi Lemak on Saturdays haha! And for mum, she was looking forward to eating Maggi Goreng (Fried Noodles), Indonesian style. They cooked her dish... and sent it to the wrong family... That family was so stupid as to eat the extra dish anyway. And the cook finds out that he was out of noodles and mum couldn’t eat! Hehehe, there was no breakfast for the parents today xD


  1. Just for the record, horses *always* move faster on the way back to the stable. Because that's where the food is kept, and horses are giant pigs. ;) Doesn't necessarily indicate a horse that doesn't like being ridden.

    However, what I suspect is the case with D'Alonzo is something that I've seen many times and drives me crazy. Chances are that he was "broken" instead of "trained" as a colt - basically that some people bring a horse along slowly and keep his trust through the whole process, while others literally tie the horse up, force a saddle and bridle on him, stick a rider on his back, and turn him lose. And that rider is incredibly harsh every time the horse "acts up" (like trying to fling this sudden and terrifying weight off of his back). The horse learns that you behave or there is pain - which is never a good way to teach any animal. So you get a horse that is scared and jumpy (if they were a milder personality to begin with) or a horse that is PISSED and keeps acting out (if they were a more intense personality to begin with).

    Horses are instinctively terrified of having weight on their backs. That is how wild cats will attack them - jump on the back, dig the claws in, and try to break the neck. So a horse that is broken that way generally never takes well to being ridden.

    People do that kind of "training" for different reasons. Some don't know any other way and honestly think it's the way to do it. Some get their rocks off by "mastering" the horse, makes them feel big and macho. Going the gentle route takes a LOT longer, which requires a lot more patience on the part of the trainer and is also a great deal more expensive, so many trainers don't think it's worthwhile. And probably a whole host of other reasons - but what it results in is a sullen, stubborn horse that tends to do fun things like start bucking when hit with the crop - which, when done properly, does not actually hurt the horse and is often a specific signal for the horse to do a specific thing. For example, the last horse I rode was trained that to canter, the rider would move their outside leg *behind* the girth and squeeze while lightly tapping with the crop and making a particular rhythmic "kissing" sound. Not a matter of "kicking harder", but a specific type of signal. Trot was achieved by squeezing with both legs while doing a rhythmic "clucking" sound. But these people were also the kind who do attachment raising of their foals and the trust-building training, so it's easy to train a horse to respond to a specific set of signals - the horse isn't scared or emotionally flooded, so he can pay attention to and learn from and respond to much more subtle cues.

    1. Well, of all the times I've led horses back to the stables, only D'Alonzo sped up xD Then again, I have been wondering if the horse follows the pace of the rider instead of the other way round. Everytime I lead a horse, I just... kinda follow along ._. I mean, they're already walking, why do I need to pull again?

      That seriously sucks. Is there anything that can be done for horses that got broken as colts in that fashion? I'd really like to help D'Alonzo get better, but I have no idea what to do. I'm only just a green rider afterall. His acting up could also dash my confidence. I still have no idea if I'd just get up and back in the saddle or sob and quit riding if I ever fell off. While I think latter is not possible right now, who knows what I'd feel when I do fall =/

      Right now, I told mum to tell them not to schedule me with D'Alonzo when she books my sessions. I thought it might be best if I stay away from him now. Got plenty of other horses to try out anyway lol

    2. It's possible, but it takes a very special kind of trainer, and you'd have to own the horse. Because it will take a very long time and "horse whisperers" aren't cheap. Plus, you'd have to be sure that the horse got very consistent training and correction for a long time after that (probably a few years at least, depending on how old the horse is, how severe his trauma, etc), which isn't going to happen with a lesson horse.

      Best thing *you* can do is what you are doing - work on your riding. The more confident you are, the clearer your body language in the saddle, the less you yank on the reins by accident, the fewer mixed signals you give, etc, the more confident he will be in you, and that will help ease his tension, which will make everything a little easier. Make him see that you know what you are doing and that you are not going to hurt him.

    3. Ah. He seems to be pretty young, but I don't think age shows very well on appearance and aura lol. Guess I'll just continue doing what I'm doing now then!