Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Regression Towards The Mean

I am stealing this from Megan, but it is quite fitting due to my last ride on Stinker.  In her post (which is much more eloquent than mine), she discussed how in order to have an average you have above average rides and below average rides.  Read her post, because like I said it is much better and has awesome graphics than mine.  I kind of touched on this in my last post, but I wanted to expand on it.

Horses are hard, and the more talent a horse has (at least I keep telling myself that), the harder they are.  Take Stinker for an example he makes me work for everything and if he doesn't appreciate something he will tell me.  One the other hand, Pongo is much easier.  He isn't as reactive, quick, or intelligent.  Don't get me wrong I don't think Pongo is dumb, but I am able to tell him do this.  With Stinker I have to leave the door open and let him figure things out.  Half of our issues are due to him over thinking things.  Bottom line, we have our ups and downs but we just have to sort out what we need to focus on.

Anyway, I knew that I was having above average rides on Stinker the last few times.  So, I knew I was due for a rough one.  As much as we want them to always progress sometimes, we have those rides in which there is regression.  I attempted to film (technology fail) the ride for D, but I messed up the centering for my camera system and it resulted in the camera only occasionally catching his tail.  While it is a fabulous tail, that doesn't do much good.

Starting with the good, we actually got the left lead and managed to maintain it for a full lap around the arena including circles at A and C.  The bad, we were in more of a gallop than an actual canter.  The ugly, we had motorcycle turns the entire time.  We were even leaning on the long sides.  How is that even possible??  But we did get the left lead and lets face it there was a fair amount of bolt/gallop with the right lead for awhile.

This ride actually solidified something which I knew.  I need to desensitize my horse to my leg.  Yeah, that sounds really smart.  Maybe desensitize is the wrong word, but basically I need to be able to slid my leg back without it cause him to A) bolt forward or B) start going up and down.  If I prevent the forward I get the stickiness.

This will help to improve pretty much everything.  Number one the leg yield.  Especially when he is traveling from the right to the left.  This is the shoulder he likes to brace and bring his haunches to the right.  He has a minor meltdown every time I ask the haunches to move over, he tenses and gets sticky or lunges to the side.  As in covers the quarter line to the rail in three strides max.  So trying to work with that is not going so well.  Secondly, the canter transition will improve because it won't freak him out.  Third, I will actually be able to start working on straightening him.  So this needs to be a priority.

I still want him to be reactive to it, but in an appropriate manner.  Which lunging forward and/or prancing in place are not considered to be an appropriate manner.  Overall, I am still pleased with his progress and like with everything we will get there in time.  It is just remembering that things take time and not letting myself get discouraged that I am not there yet that is the hard part.


  1. Ahh i relate to this post so much!! I like the "harder horses have more talent" haha I may steal that for my own mantra.

    Anyway, Tillie used to be (and still can be depending on the day) resistant to leg in that she would shoot forward. LOTS of changing rein helped with that and spiraling in and out on circles keeping that leg ON, even if they shot forward, and only taking it off once you feel the softening.

    1. You actually inspired me to right this. It was just very fitting with Stinker too. Gotta love the rocket launch that happens sometimes. If I block the forward I get the sticky front legs flinging, hind jigging, head up fun. Unfortunately for me he is so quick he can unbalance me to get the leg off (my butt sticks better than my legs...). But we are getting better he only rockets when I move my leg back.

  2. lol i hate regression to the mean - why can't things just always get better and better and be beautiful kittens and rainbows always?!? but seriously tho, the day a horse starts truly accepting leg aids is a very good day indeeeed

    1. I know! Why must things average out instead of a continual upward trend??? I will be ecstatic the day I can put my leg on and slide it back without getting a huge reaction!