Monday, June 5, 2017

WE Playday

We have a show in three weeks, at Plane View Farm, where Ashke and I will be showing at L3 (Novice B). I had hoped for an opportunity to ride an EOH course before then and the BO at PVF heard my spoken/unspoken wish and scheduled a playday for anyone interested in working the obstacles. I signed up for a ride on Saturday, and then encouraged Amanda to join me with her Maggie. We ended up going and her sister and mom joined us. I was excited since it would give me the opportunity to look over the venue, would give Ashke and I some practice and exposure in a new environment.

We got to PVF way earlier than we expected and spent time outside warming up our horses. Ashke was looky but not too bad and once we were warmed up, he was really good. When it was time to go inside, I was feeling pretty confident that he would listen and not fight me to go faster. I tell you, getting him to understand the difference between EOH and Speed may be our biggest challenge. It's a real struggle. It's amazing to me that he will do any obstacle without hesitation, but I can't keep him from racing when I ask for the Canter. It became a fight because I didn't have the patience to do otherwise. I should have slowed down but I was feeling like I only had an hour to work through all of our issues. And I was a bit frustrated with his behavior. Plus, I might have been fighting the hangry monster as well.

At the end of our ride, I really wondered why we were still doing this. WE is hard. It's really hard to do well. Ashke is more fond of doing things fast than doing them right. I need to develop better coping mechanisms, remember that we should be having fun and that my relationship with him is the most important. I made a comment to Amanda and she said we did better than I thought we had. After reviewing the videos that J took, I can see that she is right. However, I can't allow the upfront fight we sometimes fall into to derail the really great moments we had.

Santori and Leslie

He's so brave doing new stuff in the arena but a complete skatterball when it comes to items on the fringes of the arena.

Maggie refusing to go through the water. Again.
She just decided no.

The first time over the jump was exciting.
Ashke completely took a long spot and jumped me completely out of the tack.

I think that a huge part of my issue on Saturday stemmed from my feeling like I was going to run out of time. That, and I wanted to treat it like a show, where there isn't an opportunity to school the obstacles. Ashke was of another mind. Once he overjumped the jump, we went back and schooled it at the trot, then the trot to canter and finally the canter. He was much more reasonable in his jump effort after the first time. 

Doing the drag an object for the first time

Again, I really thought this would be an issue for Ashke, especially since he is so nervous and anxious about dragging items behind him. But Braveheart was Brave. He was more anxious about the rope in my hand than the drag behind us. 

Maggie would do the water obstacle in hand, but not under saddle.
She finally followed Ashke through the water without a big fuss.

When we were fighting. He just was so reactive about the far wall.

And more.

Bridge. No biggie.

Double slalom

Dragging the log. 

He will not stand.

Hand on my hip telling him to stand still.

Rounding an Obstacle


Sidepass poles

At the end of the session, Ashke was hot and tired. His right hind was showing signs of fatigue and I was hot and sweaty. We spent the last few minutes just walking from point to point. Then we unsaddled, loaded up and headed home. I have some stuff to talk to Amanda about on Tuesday during our lesson. I want a solid strategic plan in place to help me deal with my frustration at Ashke's behavior. 

When we got back to the barn, I clipped Mez. He's a huge guy, very sweet, but covered in long hair. I offered to make him more comfortable and so we did that after our ride.

He didn't move. I had to use a step stool to reach his back and ended up covered in long black hair. He was so much happier when I was done. 

We picked up pizza for dinner then headed to bed. J rode Elephant Rock on Sunday.


  1. WE is very popular in Germany, the focus of Equitana, pretty much. I can see how hard it is when I watch the master - Stefan Baumgartner. What a pleasure it is to watch him! And he really does smile as he does it.

  2. WE is definitely hard to do, and especially correctly, but it's amazing to see the skills the horses develop in the process! I'm glad it's catching on here :)