Was it fun to go back to the very basic of basics and spend 45 minutes fighting to get a true halt? Nope.
Did I have moments day dreaming of selling her and riding a better behaved horse? Yup.
Did I deserve a shit ride that night? Probably.
Friday night was the first time I rode Gem in two weeks. Not smart and I know that. Between the rain and the flu and then Wyatt stealing Wednesday night from me, it was the first shot I had.
Beyond the two weeks off, it was dark, the wind was gusting hard and it went from 50 and raining Thursday to 79 and sunny Friday. So many reasons to have a tense and unhappy Gem.
I rode anyway and should have had low expectations given all the above and nearly a decade of experience with her. Instead I planned to jump. I even added a third jump and jacked it all the way up to 2′ (I know I’m a wimp).
As soon as I got on I knew that plan was screwed. She was jigging instead of walking and the moment I asked for trot she tore off at a gallop. Sigh.
Now, the bright side? A year ago I would have slid off her in defeat. Not now. Instead I changed my plan. If she couldn’t be trusted to walk or trot we would work on halting.
She has been amazing at halting for several months now. Friday night? It all went out the window and it was like we went back in time 12 months. She would walk through my aides. When she did finally stop moving forward she would swing her big old butt around to face wherever she wanted, mostly the gate, and then back up.
It was annoying.
I hung in there though and kept persisting. Once she stopped moving and right before her butt swung around, I praised the ever living crap out of her. Then we walked quickly forward before she could do something stupid. Repeat.
For 45 minutes until she finally halted three times in a row and didn’t move a muscle until asked to. Then I called it quits, went inside to cook dinner and wished I liked alcohol. I could have used a hard beverage.