Look. I know what you all are going to say. Get a trainer. Take lessons. Do boot camp.
And I may. Or I may just sell him and move on. I’m currently up in the air on which is better for the both of us.
I’m a realistic person. Or so I try to be. Tuesday evening was glorious. 65 and sunny after 6 straight days of thunderstorms, lightening and torrential rain that left the area with 3″ of standing water everywhere. Thankfully the clay soil around here drains quickly and after 36 hours of sunshine, the arena was usable again.
Add changing pastures to the back “sacrifice” area during the rain to the 10 days off and I knew he’d need to get some energy out on the lunge before I hopped on him. I’m ok with doing that if that is what he needs.
Except he lost his ever loving mind once on the lunge. He pulled a nasty buck/leap/bolt and maybe I should have been able to but he ripped the damn lunge line out of my hand and took off trailing it behind him.
I stood there and said out loud “I hope you break your f*%#ing leg on that line horse” as he tore around the arena screaming for Gem and Pete and eyeing ways to escape.
I immediately ran to the back fence line that happens to have a hole in it when someone ran the bucket on the tractor through it. Ahem. Oops. He eyed that hole as he ran around and then stopped at the far end to graze.
Thinking he was done, I walked over to grab the trailing line only to have him give me serious side eye and tear straight for that hole. He jumped over the fence and into freedom.
Or so he thought. There is a small alley of grass between the arena and the large pasture fence so all he did was jump into a smaller contained space which is why we haven’t bothered to fix the fence yet.
I walked through brambles, cursing his existence the entire time, and called to him. At which point he looked really sad that his evil plan failed and came trotting over to me.
I marched him back through the brambles, over the fence and into the arena where I proceeded to lunge his hooves off him before taking his heaving, sweating carcass to the mounting block to be ridden.
He wasn’t so proud of his little plan any longer.
He then got worked under saddle pretty hard. I held contact. I didn’t allow cantering instead of trotting. We worked hard. We worked long.
Finally I stopped and let him be done but I was angry. Angry that I couldn’t just enjoy a ride on a rare gorgeous free evening. Angry that he is still this obsessed with two horses who never call back for him, never run the fence looking for him, never care if he is gone. Angry that while he does not scare me he also isn’t being very enjoyable.
Sure he had 10 days off due to rain. Sure his friends were moved. But I don’t care. He should be able to function even with that.
Lessons may help. I’m not sure. They’d be at another facility so Gem and Pete wouldn’t be an issue. Who knows if he’d even behave like this while off property?
Boot camp doesn’t seem like a good idea. Sure it wouldn’t hurt. He’d get into a program, get fit and be tuned up while I could also lesson weekly but I’d fear when he returned home and I rode him away from Gem and Pete none of that would matter anyway.
I think back to when I met him. Horses were everywhere. Every paddock surrounding the arena was chock full of horses plus horses were in the barn as well. He was never out of sight of another horse. And he rode perfectly for me. I jumped. I cantered. He was foot perfect. I asked about other horses and got the answer that he didn’t care about them and chose to walk up to people instead.
Which is true. He will leave Gem and Pete in the pasture to come say hi to me every time. He will graze around the bend or 5 acres away and not care. But if he can’t see them he loses it.
So she didn’t lie. I’m guessing she never had him in a situation where he couldn’t see another horse and didn’t know it.
So what to do? Under saddle he was ok. I still had some issues with him trying to blow through me and canter instead of trot when he got tired but he went where I asked, returned to the trot quickly, jumped nicely over the vertical, had bend in my 20 m circles and I even worked purposefully on canter transitions and within the canter itself. Really the ride itself was good once we got there.
But the lead up. I nearly put together a for sale ad. In my head it was half written.
I don’t know. This month has been sporadic with the weather but let’s be real. My riding life will always be sporadic. I’m not a 6 day a week rider. Im a twice a week maybe possibly if something doesn’t come up rider. Those rides can’t suck. They just can’t.
Lots to think about.
In the meantime I’m trying to find someone who can give a lesson in the evening after 630 or a weekend. So far no luck. The one person I found who has an evening schedule is full with people more advanced than me so I can’t fit into the group at the moment. I’ll keep plugging away at it and keep working at home as well but he isn’t happy and I’m not happy and something has to give or he will need a new home and I’ll be back to horse shopping.