When I said Charlie makes me smile everyday, he really does. He's just so sweet, especially when compared to my last OTTB, Fuzzy. Now don't get me wrong, Fuzzy was awesome in many ways but easy to deal with is not how I would have described him. He was unpleasant to put it mildly when in his stall and acted like a bull in a china shop 90% of the time when being led. However, he was an amazing athlete and kept me alive and for that I'll always remember him fondly. Charlie is the polar opposite - he is kind of like the stereotypical golden retriever. It's such a novelty for me that I tend to let him off the hook at times. I often get told in lessons "he'll do pleasant all day long, it's up to you to make him brilliant!"
So this leads me to my ride yesterday. I was frustrated. Mostly I think in me because I've been out of the saddle for 7 months and my body doesn't respond as quickly or consistently. I'm a little frustrated in him but mostly because he's not the same horse I had 7 months ago. He's better educated and is much stronger and therefore doesn't understand my muddled "communication". At least that's what I tell myself and that frustrates me to no end. I know, I know, I should give myself a bit of a break seeing as I've ridden probably a grand total 15 times since I've been back. But gosh darn it, I want to be where I was when I left!
Then I question myself - am I at fault and letting him off the hook? Meaning I'm not pushing him through the resistance or does he really not understand what I'm asking? He's super long from head to tail (pretty sure his head is in California and his tail is somewhere in Maryland) which makes it tough for him to shorten and step under himself from behind. My friend, C, who had him for the last 7 months told me he'll have a bit of a temper tantrum and then he'll go to work. But maybe he's resisting because he doesn't understand what I'm telling him. I just don't know and that's what frustrates me the most.
So where do I go from here? Well, I taped yesterday's ride (as painful as that was for me) and made myself watch it (did I say painful? I meant excruciatingly painful!). Then I sent it to C - she's known me forever and I trust her advice over anyone else's. We'll see what she has to say. Unfortunately, I have reserves this weekend so I won't be able to ride again until Monday but after that I should be able to ride as much as I want. I'm kind of dreading what C has to say because she will tell it exactly like it is. On the flip side, I'm really looking forward to what she has to say because then I will hopefully be able to formulate a plan of attack for both myself and Charlie.
Keep your fingers crossed for me!