What doesn't work

On Wednesday night me and Finn had a lesson with the barn's new trainer. I am not usually the type of person that takes a lesson with a new trainer without meeting her and watching her teach a lesson first, but everyone else in the barn loves her and I thought she'd be great for us too.
   We started the lesson walking on the rail and trainer commenting on how stiff he is. He is very stiff, but he has only been ridden 5 times in the past 3 months. I told her that I wasn't sure if we'd ever jump again, and that we'd hopefully be working to a future in dressage. She said that Finn will never be a grand prix dressage horse, that his conformation will really limit him, and that he is built very downhill. I understand that Finn will never be grand prix, and he is not a 17h, gorgeous mover, warmblood, but I do feel like he has potential for something. This trainer made me feel like he has potential for nothing. 
     After walking on the rail and talking to me for 5 minutes we were called into the center of the ring to work on "softening" Finn. I am very stiff through my upper body/elbows, which is something I've always struggled with. To get Finn to soften we stood in the center, I would completely let go of any contact on one side, and then I would turn him in tiny circles while putting my hand behind my thigh, with Finn's nose on his shoulder, or practically touching my saddle........for 45 minutes. I think I trotted all of a minute. Our entire lesson was spent in little, spinning circles, to get Finn to soften. Every time Finn would sigh she'd say "that's good! he's giving in!" I wanted to be like no, he's pissed...while he's grinding his teeth. There was no forward motion. There was Finn resisting and getting more and more confused. I think the final straw was when she told me to "not let him be a little dick", and "I don't care if he falls on his knees, just get him to soften". ........UM WHAT?! This is just not the way I do business with my horse. After 45 minutes of this, into what was supposed to be an hour lesson, she told me to "get off NOW!!!" I literally flew off Finn. She told me I need to get off when he gets the concept we've been working on. Pretty sure neither of us "got it". 
     Luckily we will be working with our old dressage trainer next week, and also have a few dressage clinicians out to work with us. I am all about brutal honesty, but at the same time, 45 minutes of spinning in circles, left both of us dizzy and confused. I want a trainer that will be honest, but also see potential in my horse. After that lesson I spent a long time hanging in Finn's stall and he kept coming over to me, nuzzling my neck, and breathing in my face. It was like he was asking me "mom...what was that?!" I've given him the past few days off, and tomorrow we're taking it easy and going out for a long trail ride-- exactly what we both need!

Cavalia Odysseo

This past Tuesday me and hubby had a date night at Cavalia Odysseo, which is similar to Cirque Du Soleil, but has horses! 

We had VIP seats, which included, dinner, open bar, a beautiful program from the gift shop, dessert at intermission, awesome seats (we were 6th row, dead center), and a stable tour after. It was beautiful, magical, and so extravagant. The horses were phenomenal, and I fell in love with a few grey arabians. What surprised me was how small most of the horses were, a lot of them were under 16h, and much closer to 15h. After the show, which ended in a flooding of the stage and a gorgeous grey piaffing his way through a few inches of water (gorgeous!), we headed backstage to meet the horses. While we weren't allowed to touch any of them, we were able to take pictures and see them up close. I think the coolest thing was that this entire world was housed under these tents: the show, the gorgeous VIP tent where we ate, and the stabling. 

VIP tent


Happy to see that nearly every horse had standing wraps on

Wash stalls...in a tent? Crazy!

One of my favorite grey's

After each show all the horses get their manes braided

Well deserved nap time


We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming

I know I haven't blogged in a long time. I haven't wanted to go up to the barn much, or really even ride, these past few weeks. I was gearing up for Finn's big move on September 1st, but yesterday the woman who trailers him asked if he could move today instead. Because I was out of state today I really didn't think I'd be able to get all the pieces in place. Somehow we made it work and Finn was trailered back home today, without me even being there to move him! This morning I got a text from BM that Finn had arrived safe and sound and was happily munching hay in his stall. He went out in turnout with his old buds around lunchtime and it was like he had never left. There was no galloping, or whinnying. He went up to his old BFF and started playing halter tag. When it was time to go in at night BM told me Finn tried to take her to his old stall. It's like the past few months didn't even exist...and I really wish they didn't!
   Me and hubby visited him on our way home tonight and hubby turned to me and said "it's like his whole expression has changed....he's happy again!" Even though the hour commute really, really sucks, the peace of mind I get from knowing he's happy and cared for is worth it. I won't have to worry about him getting his meds and supplements, hay, the correct food, getting turned out, etc. He'll be back to his old routine, and my horse really needs his routine. It felt so great to see my barn family again. The barn also just got a sweet new trainer, and I can't wait to take a lesson with her, as well as work with my old dressage trainer too. First ride tomorrow-- get ready for lots more posts, pictures, and a possible show in October!