Stuck in A Rut

So, I’ve been stuck in a rut this week. I realize it’s a little extreme to call just a few days of semi-poor riding a “rut,” but here I am.

I flew home to visit my parents and boyfriend in Georgia last weekend. It was so good to see them, and the pony got a few days off, but I really don’t feel like I’ve had a productive ride since I’ve been back.

Ignoring the numerous things I’m doing wrong, Justin feels extra stiff. I am struggling to get him round enough, authentically through the base of his neck, while engaging his hind end, and when I do finally get there he’s so heavy on the front end. We just seem to be lacking a fluid connection.

Justin (1 of 3)

“But I’m so cute tho!”

I had a flat lesson on Wednesday. This helped a lot, and we worked through a lot of lateral movement to help him bend in his midsection – which he wasn’t really doing (only bending through his neck) which caused many of the problems I described earlier. I was happy with my lesson, but normally I walk away almost ecstatic, because Allison just GETS Justin. So on our scale this was a pretty OK lesson.

Justin (2 of 3)

The lower lip droops for days

The problem is – I am struggling to reproduce this at home. And, flatwork is becoming a point of tension for us both – the ring is, in Justin’s opinion right now, about the 6th level of hell.

Do any of you have mental or riding tips that help when you’re in a rut? Long trail rides? Come to Jesus moments with your pony? Come to Jesus moments with your trainer? tears? denial?

I think I’m going to go on a big hack out this afternoon… that seems to always clear my head. The ring for more than a few days in a row makes us both dizzy. Maybe next week I will see if Allison will do a training ride on him…

And now my pity party is over… If you stuck through this post – good for you! Hopefully we all have some fun rides today and this weekend 🙂


7 thoughts on “Stuck in A Rut

  1. the clueless but curious rider says:

    I ❤ flatwork! Said no one ever lol flatwork is meh but hey it makes them jump that much better right? One thing I noticed is that you didn't mention how you cool down. After a good ring ride, do you cool down in the ring as well, or do you leave it to cool down? I've worked with a lot of TBs in the past who would start to hate the ring if all they ever associated it with was hard work, and I noticed just walking them around the ring to cool down instead of leaving the ring right after a good ride made the world of a difference in their mental game. They didn't leave the ring feeling like poop, so they didn't associate the ring with poopy feelings, if that makes sense. Plus a cookie never hurt as a little "thank you for not killing me today." But that aside, I hope that helps?

    Liked by 1 person

    • shelbyrallen says:

      Flatwork is definitely a necessary evil! And I even actually like it sometimes (Don’t tell Justin that). I usually leave the ring to cool down… and sometimes I even do my flat out in a field. So I might try that next time I have to flat and see if it’s more relaxing for him 🙂 Maybe I should also go out and buy some more treats today…hehehe

      Liked by 1 person

  2. emma says:

    ugh wordpress keeps eating my comments this morning… anyway, as someone who feels stuck in a rut in every single dimension, i definitely commiserate and hear your frustration. hacking out does seem to help at least with clearing the mind, allowing the horse to move out and work out any kinks without structure or expectations, and just enjoying each others company. sometimes that’s enough to make things gel again. and sometimes it’s just providing some breathing room to get back to schooling the issues with renewed vigor (or letting your trainer try haha). who knows, maybe he just has to work out some of this stiffness in order to unlock a whole new level of fancy? good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. nadsnovik says:

    When I’m in a rut I definitely change it up. Or go back to the basics. Also, Georgie can get stiff and unbendable and I do lots and lots of lateral work. Super boring. It helpful. We will leg yield, do small circles and leg yield out, then some stretchy circles etc. Also do you do body work on him? Or I should say have body work done? Not sure how much difference I saw afterwards but Georgie loved it!


  4. Courtney says:

    I am frequently in a rut, and I need my trainer to motivate me. So I don’t have any wisdom there. But, I do find it fun to take a break and go for a trail ride! Also, I try to read a lot, and watch videos, sometimes that helps, other times I turn into a vegetable once I get on anyway.


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