How is that for a mindset? "Oh HELL no!!" Might not be the best of language, but when you fill your mind with those words, things happen. Attitude changes and "look out" ensues. Let me explain:
Pippi is a Spookin'Fool horse, as in a direct descendent of the aptly named APHA Stallion "Spookin' Fool" and the daughter of "Spookin' Cody." Whoever named this line knew what they were about. Pippi can spook and fly sideways quicker than a hummingbird, and with as much quiet and grace. We can just be riding a long, and without so much as a snort, a stop, a shake or a blink, we are across the arena, with me cursing at the pain that still persists in my right elbow. Can't imagine why that is not healing faster. Ahem!!
So, Denise the Trainer has now witnessed such an event, and was surprised at the swift change in Pippi. "Wow, really don't see that coming do ya?" Nope, sure don't. Not at all, no sirrey Bob, absolutely not, negatory! It's like trot, trot, trot, HOLY MOTHER of ^$*^#$&*!!! I think you get the picture.
What scares her? Strange sounds of things that she can not identify and/or can not see. That about covers it!
So, what is the plan? Ride calmly, as usual, but when she spooks (note, I did not say "if she spooks") I am to change my mindset from calm/supportive to "Oh HELL no!!" in the blink of an eye. Denise says I have to be louder, scarier and more obnoxious than the thing that spooked her to begin with. Sound easy? It's not because I am a slow little human, without the power and speed of a freaked mare. I have to force her entire attention back to me, whatever it takes.
"Break her neck if you have to!"
In case I actually believed that she meant that, Denise followed that up with:
"Well, you know...... you can't......... actually break her neck? I just want to do what it takes, okay?"
Okay!! This was told to me last Monday evening, and as luck ( ? ) would have it, I was able to practice this new mind set on Wednesday. I was riding along, trot trot trot, down the right side, when Pippi hopped sideways like a deranged equine Rockette. I stated "oh HELL no!!," fine - I yelled it!! Braced my legs, and pulled on the reins. And lo and behold we stopped about halfway across the arena. Stopped and stood.
What? No harm done, but I was in control again. Pippi was back to calm horse, and we continued as though nothing had happened. Awesome!!