Friday, August 5, 2011

Pie Is a Little Nervous On the Trail - and So am I

Pie and I went on a (somewhat) longer trail ride with Charisma and her owner, who is nice enough to let me know when she is riding so Pie and I can go along as riding alone still makes me too nervous.  Today we decided that we went too late - we need to go earlier - the bugs were terrible - both tiny flies and mosquitos were all over Pie and me despite the spraying I'd done of both of us before we left.

Pie is somewhat more reactive than he used to be - he "looks" at things like downed branches that he wouldn't have noticed before, and he also is more prone to startle at things that move fast - he startled at a car that drove by.  I think he's picking up some of my increased tension, and also I think for a young horse having someone fall off can be startling and even traumatic, and I'm sure Pie's never had anyone fall off him before.  The solution to his concern (and mine) is more miles for both of us - both with Charisma and her very thoughtful owner - and also just hand walking together on the trail so he can see and experience lots of things again.  We'll get there, one step at a time . . .

12 comments:

  1. That's too bad. It is probably a mixture of things, like you say. He's a good horse, though, so I'm sure he'll calm down again quickly. I'm glad you have a friend to ride the trails with.

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  2. I'm sure the rodeo on Dawn the other day didn't help, either--I'm glad you've got someone to ride with. I was thinking about your "black diamond horse" comment tonight and grinning.

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  3. I highly recommend the Cashel Bug Armor for riding. I know you want your horses to be kind of "tough" when you ride them, but protecting them from the flies is a real kindness.

    I do totally agree about Pie's picking up on your nervousness. Wish I could cure you, but do remember that your fall was the consequence of your heart issue which you have fixed. I think the more confidence you gain in your own body, the more confidence you will gain in your riding. Like Pie, you just need time and miles.

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  4. Jean - I just ordered the Bug Armor and also a long nose with ears riding mask - total cost including shipping less than $100 - there's not much riding around her without some sort of protection right now and the sprays aren't doing the trick at all - now I just need bug armor for me!

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  5. You're right on all counts. Pie will improve as you settle down and vice versa.

    Dan

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  6. Saw your comment on my blog...you will like the Armor and face mask...and you can school in it too.

    For people: well, here are some ideas--
    http://www.bugbaffler.com/
    http://www.wisementrading.com/insectprotection/bug_out.htm
    http://www.burfish.com/catalog/3805.html

    It's so miserable when the flies ruin a good day.

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  7. Kate--Being nervous after a fall is normal--for both you and Pie. Did anyone see your fall? From what I've understood you don't remember what happened. If you had some info on what actually occurred, it might be helpful to sorting out what Pie is feeling. I agree with you that more miles is the answer and that following a solid older horse is absolutely the best way to get those miles. You are a very thoughtful, astute, and positive horseperson, and I know you'll find the right path. But that nervous feeling is no fun, as I know from my own experience. Good wishes to you and Pie.

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  8. Laura - we're not really sure what happened when I fell - it could be that I had an arrhythmia and passed out and fell - or Pie could have spooked - when he's startled he can do a big, fast, spin and I've come close to coming off a few times before. Suddenly moving/appearing objects seem to be his biggest issue - he had a lot of trouble when I got him with bicycles and running children, neither of which I think he'd ever seen before. From when I fell, I have a vague (and perhaps unreliable) memory of some bicycles coming along the adjacent road with those tall flags on the back, and turning Pie to face them . . .

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  9. Kate--If, for the sake of a theory, Pie spooked at the bicycles and you came off--and were not immediately up and talking to him, making things "normal", which I assume you were not able to do, then it makes sense that he would retain the notion that there was something truly bad/scary about those moving things, and be worried about them. Pie has always struck me as a very well-intentioned horse, but spooking is part of the package with virtually every young horse, as I know you know. I think that following a solid horse on lots of rides and seeing that nothing bad happens and the horse is not afraid, even when bikes..etc are around, will help him a lot. I know I've said this before--but have you ever considered a western saddle for trail riding, with a horn you can grab? I'll be quite frank--I'd be scared to death to trail ride in an English saddle. That horn has kept me on more than once, and really helps me to relax my body.

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  10. I also have alot of fear issues when riding and I have found that Lemon Balm tea or tincture can help quite a bit. I used to take a xanax, when I was really bad after a few terrifying experiences, just to stop the negative nerves loop....you're nervous and so make your horse nervous, which in turn, makes you more nervous etc...I am sure you know it well : )
    now I find the Lemon Balm (aka Melissa) is perfect. a shot of alcohol might work too, just to ballz you up a bit, if you know what I mean....it works for fox hunters anyway heehee....
    some might criticize this activity, but I found that once the negative nerve loop is broken, one no longer needs any help.....happy riding!!

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  11. Laura - I'm planning to as much riding with Charisma as I can - her owner is very helpful and willing to walk when I need to. I also plan to do some hand-walking with Pie on the trail and help build his confidence. Your thoughts are good ones and probably meat for another post.

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  12. Laura - Also, I've always been comfortable in an English saddle, but I'm rethinking that. I was planning to get Pie a western saddle, and I need to get on that - I'm planning on a lightweight About the Horse cordura one that I can lift, but I needed to let him finish growing and filling out so I could measure him, and we're about there. A higher cantle would help me as much as the horn, I think.

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