Whoah Boy We’ve Got Some Work To Do

Someone had some not so nice opinions about riding on the first hot, dry day of the year. Hint: it wasn’t me.

I can’t tell if he is getting dapples in or if he is just moth eaten and gross. I’m choosing to see dapples. Still need to figure out what to do with his zebra mane.

No clue what caused him to have such a large stick up his butt, but it was firmly lodged way up there Friday afternoon. I kept telling him that he was doing all of this to himself and if he insisted on being an a-hole well so be it. We would still be doing the exercise I wanted to do even if it took me an hour to get to it.

It was a simple enough exercise. I set up a box with four ground poles. Riding alone and not wanting to get off to reset the arena means that I tend to favor exercises that allow for multiple ways of riding over it. This simple box allowed me to go straight, make circles, and cut through the diagonal all without having to rearrange anything.

It was a real box until someone clobbered it and I was too lazy to get off and fix it

H’Appy had zero interest in working on such a gorgeous afternoon and made it well known to me to start. Lots of throwing his head around, pinned ears, curling to his chest and even a squeal or two of protest.

Eh. I’m over it at this point and figured Homeboy could throw his tantrums all he wanted. I have no idea how long it took but eventually he settled and returned to his lovely, rhythmic and slow trot that I love so much.

Finally settling down and getting to work

We worked over the box in all sorts of manners. My favorites were the diagonals and making a circle over them. His evasions are getting slightly humorous now as he is finding that nothing is working and I refuse to be bullied around the ring.

Once he was in defeatist work mode, it was quite pleasant. I’d work through the box a bit then go large and work on the canter and bring it back to the trot to work on the box again and around and around we went. I never got that beautiful slow and calm canter I had earlier in the week, but I know it is in there.

I’ve been eyeing the big pasture for a while now hoping to use the short but steep hill for conditioning work. The last time I had him out there he turned me into a lawn dart so I’ve been a bit hesitant to try again.

Spring is officially here and it is glorious

He was plenty sweaty and breathing hard when I called it quits in the arena, so I tempted fate. I’m not dead, so there is that. It wasn’t much fun though. He is so herd bound it is driving me crazy. I wasn’t brave enough to work him hard out there so I kept it to a walk. In doing so it allowed his mind to drift and he started screaming for his friends and any time I tried to turn him away from their direction he’d shake his head and threaten to pop up.

I’m not brave enough to deal with that. I made him walk in a big circle and once he did that without issue I hopped off. I’m not really sure what to do about that or if I’ll ever be able to ride him out there. I’ve got his number in the arena and know tricks to get his brain in the game and make him settle but the big open space is another beast.

Hopefully short cool out periods after arena work will all add up to positive experiences and an ability to push the envelope more with him. He has that tiny bit of a dirty streak in him that doesn’t allow me to fully trust him just yet. Maybe when he is 20?

20 thoughts on “Whoah Boy We’ve Got Some Work To Do”

  1. Glad you are riding the beast even if he is being a beast!! Also is there anyway that Gem and Dusty could ride out with you or Gem would let you pony H’appy? Just thinking of ways of legging him up that won’t turn you into a lawn dart! UGH it sucks he doesnt want to go for a nice hack after riding without worrying where his buddies are.

    I still envy your ring (even with part grass) it looks so flat!

    Spring is here too or was on Sat (70) today it is 32 degrees and yesterday while glorious sunshine was high 40s. BRGHHH Lucky I didn’t put my coats away (i almost did last week)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He generally does well after a few repeated attempts and I hadn’t even tried riding him out there since last summer so I gave him a break with that. His attitude in the arena was uncalled for thoufh


  2. You’re doing great, and making great strides. He’ll get it together, and most likely sooner than later.
    Now some blasphemy. Don’t pull his mane, cut it. Apps have thin manes and tails genetically and pulling makes it thinner because the hair takes longer to come back and usually comes back finer. It doesn’t make any sense, but hey…they’re appies. To help hair grow in now, Eqyss Mega Tek will grow hair on anything and it will help condition in what he already has. To get that look you get when pulling, after you straight cut it take another 1/4 inch off with thinning shears. I know, I know! the travesty of it all, but he’ll have a mane to work with!


    1. I’ve never pulled a mane and have no clue how to even do it. I left Gem’s long and natural and learned how to braid it. His is just so….floppy yet sticks straight up. I was going to roach it but now you scared me off of that. It does give him an impish charm and I have zero plans to ever show recognized so maybe his spiky fro won’t be an issue anyway. I’ll look into that product


      1. Roaching it is the other option. Most people really shy off of it, and it probably won’t come back in well. I drive the boarding stables nuts because I won’t cut Tricia’s unless we’re heading to a show or it gets scraggly. I think the less you mess with them, the better.Who doesn’t like fly protection, right?


      2. That’s why I always left Gem’s long and natural. Better protection. His is floppy yet spiky yet thin. It’s so weird! The person before me had roached it which is why it looks like it does now


      3. We had a borse at one of the barns I groomed at that had a 3 year old bare patch from a shot reaction. We used the megatek and he had hair by then end of the month. After 3 years, the patch was gone and invisible in 3 months. If I hadn’t seen it myself I wouldn’t believe it. The product is pricey, but it actually works and a little goes a long way. His mane looks awesome for having been roached and grown back in!


  3. i like that box exercise!! and your idea of using the field for normal relaxed cool-outs after rides sounds like a nice way to get the poneh used to it. isabel was always a terrible monster in the open field at her home barn, tho eventually we got sorta kinda a little bit better at it, maybe-ish haha….


    1. It was a neat yet simple enough exercise. I worked over it in a clover leaf pattern Saturday (spoiler I suppose for tomorrow’s post) and enjoyed it a lot. I’d go straight through over both poles, then circle right, go back straight over the poles on the next side (90 degrees away from exit point) circle right etc…it really helped me focus on feeling the difference in his body when straight versus having bend around the turn.


  4. Tips to stay focused when horse wants to get frisky: lateral work, transitions every few strides, turn on forehand/hindquarters. Ex. Halt, canter 6 strides, halt, quarter turn on forehand, canter 6 strides, halt, etc.

    Alternatively, you could keep the pasture session nice and quiet, and if he feels the need to pull you to the fence or gate, you work him very hard there, and then return to nice and quiet in the pasture. Make the write thing easy, and the wrong thing hard. Water will find its level.


    1. Most of the pasture issues is me not being brave enough to push the envelope. I know he does better when I work his feet. I also know that last time I worked his feet outside the arena he threw me over his head. Its hard to convince myself to do it, but I am working on it slowly


  5. It will take time. I would do what you did- take him out to walk in the field. If he becomes an ass head back to the ring, work him again, then head out. Irish did that crap on me when he was young and that worked out really well. He quickly figured out that being a jerk led to more work.


    1. That is what I did last summer when he threw me though to be fair to him, his feet hurt and his saddle didn’t fit so there were lots of reasons to get rid of me that are now gone. Anyway..back then I got back on and worked him hard in the arena then returned to the field and had a much more pleasant ride. I’n trying to find a balance between rewarding his good behavior with pushing the envelope for more right now. Friday I was pleased he finally settled to the work int he arena and felt like picking a fight in the field was punishing his give in the arena. Its hard to know exactly what is best


    1. Gem was always a pistol at home in big open spaces and I am hoping to teach him that isn’t acceptable straight away. Its the biggest fear I had out on xc – not the jumps so much as the in between and I’m hoping that I can build enough confidence out in the pasture to quiet that voice once we make it out xc again.


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