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