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Redemption

Friday left me kinda sorta pissed off. I know he can be a really great uncomplicated horse. I also know that he can have a stick shoved up his abundant derrière and on those days I wish I could ride with a 2×4 in my hand to smack him upside the head with.

That was Friday.

A rare ears forward picture. He is more mare like than my mare. Look at that mane – sticking straight up even with how thin it is. I may roach it. 

Typically I give a day off after a ride. I don’t know why. I’ve always done that even with Gem. The more I stewed about his obnoxious behavior the more annoyed I became though. He can’t be like that. There isn’t any pain. There isn’t any fear. I’m riding the same as I always do. It’s a decision on his part to not participate and I’m not playing that game any longer.

Saturday afternoon after I finished mowing pasture #2, I decided to ride. If he was going to be an a-hole he could work more. Simple.

Not snot. The pollen this time of year is disgusting. Thick neon green layers on every surface. Even up my horse’s nose

All the conditions stayed the same. It was hot and sunny. The ground pole box remained in the center of the arena. The horses were still out across the driveway. Same tack. Same rider.

Not the same horse.

He was like butter in my hands. Seriously the best horse I’ve ever ridden. He flowed like a gentle river. He halted square and immediately with barely a change in my posture. He trotted in the same rhythm through my entire exercise with only a few needed half halts here and leg there.

When I asked him to canter, for the first time in my life I felt a horse under me who was relaxed and balanced on all four legs instead of leaning and rushing. I could have cantered him like that for days.

He was so good that I exited the arena and tempted fate in the big pasture. He wasn’t nearly as good out there as in the arena and had a very strong pull towards the side closest the other horses but he didn’t protest, he didn’t ignore me and didn’t put a foot out of line.

Being able to snap a picture is a big win out in the pasture

We only walked. Baby steps and all that but we made it up and down the big hill several times before I called it a day. Some day it will be a great conditioning hill once we can safely and sanely trot and canter our there.

When he is like that I’m invincible on him. We could conquer anything. No 2×4 needed.

Poor abused beast having t o work two days in a row. 
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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?