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When You Don’t Know The Answer

Curse the Heavens and get very, very angry.

Being a very good, calm boy getting tacked up

Sunday I had set up three trot poles on the other side of an empty standard. It hadn’t even crossed my mind that this would pose an issue for my big huggable Doofaloosa. I mean, he jumps just fine. Trot poles should be remedial work for him.

It wasn’t.

The jump standard blew his mind. He leaped through it as though there was an invisible fence set up and that set the tone for the trot poles after it.

It took a while but he did eventually get it and I moved on not really thinking much of the exercise or his reaction to it.

I left the single pole after the standard and then moved the other to set up two trot poles on the diagonal creating a bending line

Last night I set up the above exercise. My main goal by moving two of them to the diagonal was to hopefully mitigate some of his tension about the imaginary fence. Plus I liked the idea of having a bending line for me to work on my precision steering.

I was caught a bit off guard when his reaction was nearly the same regardless.

Walking over them was no big deal. Well, no big deal the second time. The first time he threw his head around, tried to grab the bit and run off but a very strong half halt and voice command kept him to the walk.

She tells lies!

Once I asked him to trot though. Well. Let’s just say homeboy got extremely angry at the world in general and those poles in specific.

Turns out he does not like not knowing the answer. He doesn’t like to have to think. He likes knowing. His larger than life ego needs to have everything under control and know he is an awesome super star.

When I asked him to trot the poles and he really had zero clue how to do so, he threw a fit. Then he tried to barrel through them at approximately 100mph, clobbering each of them making them scatter. When that didn’t work, he flipped me the bird and just avoided the entire exercise by careening off and refusing to go anywhere near them.

The look of defeat

I laughed at him. He really was doing everything he could except trot nicely over them and it was really pissing him off.

I broke it down for him and just did the single pole on the long side. We walked over it. He got praised. We walked the other way over it and halted between the standards. He got praised.

I could visibly see his ego start to swell and so we tackled the two diagonal poles the same way. Walk. Praise. Walk. Praise.

Waggy introduced Einstein to the fun of ground poles.

Once he stopped caring about that I added the trot back in a few strides away from the poles going left over the two diagonal poles and then bending to the single and through the standard.

It took a lot of half halts and holding with my body coupled with more praise then I’ve given in 36 years total, but he trotted through that exercise like a big boy.

And then I made a near fatal mistake.

Once he was through the standard at a nice, calm trot I leaned forward, patted him and celebrated his very existence.

All good things.

Except he took this as party time, leaped into the air with a squeal of delight and took off on his own victory gallop like he had just won the Olympics.

It took a long time to settle him back down and at that point I called it a night. Part of me really wanted to go over it again and this time avoid the celebration but it seemed better to let him stop while feeling on top of the world versus drilling it and risking him getting it wrong.

The view out the barn doors

He is slowly teaching me what he needs to succeed. He does not like being wrong. He does not like not knowing. He does not like it when he faces the reality that he isn’t the second coming of Christ. He needs his ego stroked and he needs to feel like he is King.

Starting small and working up will be my best friend and I am getting even more excited about Friday!

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Why Eventing?

I was asked why I would choose eventing and the question stuck in my head long enough to percolate into a post. I understood where she was coming from: I have limited resources mostly in time and trainer access so why decide to pick up a sport that typically requires two or three different trainers, tack sets and a whole lot of time. Its a good question especially in light of the fact that I made the change from endurance: a sport known for its lack of trainers, minimal gear and a learn as you go attitude.

The empty standards blew his poor brain out his ears. He kept expecting a jump and would leap through them. I laughed an awful lot last night while riding him.

Endurance wore thin on me. I had reached my goals with Gem and the people I met at ride camp were pretty darn awful. Perhaps it was just my neck of the woods and the people I ran across as there are plenty of bloggers who do endurance and speak highly of all their interactions with others, but in my region they sorta, kinda really suck. At my last ride, I watched people move other’s corrals when they went out on trail to give themselves more room, my own stuff was picked up and thrown across the road in the crew area when a lady wanted to make room for 5 horses and my stuff (which had been there for 24 hours prior to her showing up) was deemed in the way (this nearly resulted in a fist fight and they returned my stuff back to its original setting as I watched with flames shooting out of my eyes), I had a friend’s brand new heart rate monitor grow legs and never be seen again, and I won’t even get into the debacle of the lady who decided to squeeze her rig into a half spot beside me and then declare that she did not like my tent and I should move it. Guess how well that went over. I will say that once out on trail, things always improved and I found nothing but the nicest people for the most part.

By the time I finished that ride, I was done dealing with petty, high school cliques and drama. I had a brief love affair with Ride and Tie as those people are the best group of people on the planet, but talk about time commitment to get both the horse in endurance shape and myself in ultra running shape. And you need a partner. Once Wyatt is old enough to safely stay in camp while Dusty and I are out on trail, we will be returning to this sport that I love so so so much.

Setting up the above exercise was difficult once one very happy pup joined me int he arena and mistook them for very large sticks to play with.

So I found myself at a cross roads. The lure of endurance was gone. Wyatt was old enough that he cared when I was gone for 8 hours on a conditioning ride and I found that the challenge, with Gem anyway, was taken out of the equation making those long hours alone on the trail not so compelling any more. I needed a change of pace that would fit into my life better.

Arena riding was the solution especially once the horses would be moving home. While I could no longer justify to myself or Wyatt the need to be gone on a weekend day for 5-8 hours riding, I could justify a quick spin on the horse in my own back yard. But what to do while in the arena? Toodling isn’t my style. I’m not an adrenaline junkie, but I do need something to focus on or I lose interest. Western was out of the question solely because it doesn’t interest me. Looking at the english disciplines I had dressage, jumping and eventing came to mind. It happened that during this transition period I was boarding at a private farm with an eventer. She gave me a few early lessons on Gem and I really liked the idea of mixing things up: doing dressage one ride, stadium another, and throwing in some cross country schooling here and there as well. The trail always will be my home and what I love best about it is that it is always changing. Sure you are still going down a trail, but the scenery changes, the topography changes and the terrain dictates a lot of the challenge. With eventing, it seemed as though I could capture that sense of wonder and change while still being in my own back yard.

She is getting a lot more playful these days as her legs continues to improve

And so I began my journey down the path of figuring out eventing. The more I got into it, the more I liked it. Sure, my current goal is to survive an amoeba level event and I highly doubt I will ever go beyond BN, if I even get brave enough to get that far, but thats something I absolutely adore about eventing and something that is lacking in endurance these days. There is no, or at least not in my area, looking down on someone or saying “you are only doing sticks on the ground that isn’t real eventing” as I hear so very very frequently in endurance when people say “that is only a 25 mile ride that isn’t real endurance” Next time I see or hear someone say that I will punch them in the throat. There is room in eventing for everyone it seems. Starting with me being happy to get through a w/t test and over 18″ sticks at basically a walk all the way up to those competing internationally at the highest levels. Perhaps in other parts of the country this isn’t the case as I am sure in other parts of the country endurance is one big happy family, but around here it is eventing heaven. Between Tryon and Aiken as well as local events, there is a show nearly every weekend all year round. The season never ends, though there is a shortage of events in the heat of summer.

I kept waiting for her to pick one up and carry it off, but she didn’t

I chose eventing not to become popular, hit the upper echelon, or smoke it around a prelim level course. I chose it based out of access, atmosphere, and curiosity and I plan to stick with it at my own wimpy adult ammy level. Who knows? Maybe H’Appy will give me wings and I’ll find myself moving beyond my current dreams and goals or I’ll be that 65 year old woman forever at starter. It really seems to me that nobody cares and everyone will cheer regardless. I agree that eventing can require 6 days a week to train, three different trainers and tack sets, and a lot of money to hit up all those recognized events. But eventing can also look a lot like an adult ammy squeezing in a ride as the sun goes down behind her barn, working sporadically with a trainer, and walking over 18″ fences on her way to becoming the amoeba champion of the southeast.

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Sticking

My last day working with H’Appy was Sunday when I made a whole lot of small changes that had a big impact. My intention was to check back in with him early in the week, but you all know how the best of intentions go.

Monday I canceled my afternoon and left early due to Wyatt throwing up everywhere. And when I say everywhere I mean everywhere: the floor in his classroom, my car, the side of the road, the line at Walmart trying to buy him ginger ale, my office, the kitchen floor. EVERYWHERE. So I left work and ended up snuggling on the couch all night with my favorite blonde haired boy.

Sick kiddo always wants to sleep on my pillow in my bed. Its a wonder I haven’t died yet.

Tuesday I was exhausted. Wyatt had been up until 2 am and I go to bed by 9 pm. This nearly 40 year old doesn’t do all nighters. Heck, the 20 year old version of me didn’t do all nighters. Dusty took off work to stay home with him Tuesday and by the time I dragged my butt home from work, I changed into pjs and crashed. I’m crazy like that.

Wednesday night I had a work dinner meeting which meant I didn’t have time to ride, but i did have time to bring the horses in for dinner. At first I was a bit worried when H’Appy was no where to be seen. The other two were nickering at me to go inside, because knee high green grass isn’t filling enough apparently, and typically H’Appy can be found trying to bulldoze his way between them and generally being a pest. But Wednesday night, i got both Gem and Pete inside and still no sign of H’Appy.

Old horses make my heart melt. Someday I’m going to have a small retirement farm

Eventually he came sauntering over to the gate with a dazed and confused look on his face and disheveled hair up his right side. The big orange man apparently fell asleep int he afternoon sunshine and the Dynamic Duo left him for the predators so they could come inside and eat the handful of ration balancer they get. Great herd mates.

But…..

Here’s the thing.

I slipped his halter on his head and gave him a pat. He swung his snake like neck around and tried to bite my hip. He got smacked with the end of the lead rope and then I thought “hmmm…lets see if Sunday stuck at all.”

Huh? where am I?

I asked him to walk on in a mini 6 ft longe circle with the lead rope and you know what? Big Boy walked on calmly with an ear cocked to me and licking his lips. I then asked him to halt and he did spot on right away. I asked him to walk on again and he did without trying to trot, or throwing his head around in a big tantrum.

Huh. I let him halt and gave him a pat as he lowered his head and chewed. We walked out of the pasture to the barn, where his friends were out of sight and which would typically cause some rushing and bullying on his part. I walked about 5 steps from the pasture gate and then stopped. He stopped, no tension on the lead rope. I took a couple steps back without touching the lead and without using my voice. He also took couple steps back. When I stopped, he stopped. When I walked, he did to.

I stared at him.

For all the grief I give him, he is actually really, really book smart. He has ZERO common sense, street smarts, but that is due to his upbringing being treated like a big dog instead of a horse. Give him a job and ask him to learn something and it sinks in a stays there.

Shedding season is upon us

I need to get smarter. Fast. This horse is teaching me the very definition of a horse that needs a job. When he has one, he is great. When he doesn’t, he will find something to occupy him and it will 100% not be something I like.

And to that end….

I HAVE A LESSON SCHEDULED WITH SOMEONE I AM SUPER EXCITED ABOUT ON 3/15!!!!!!!

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Changes Are Ahoof (Har, har, har)

Sunday morning I changed my riding routine with net positive results. Of course, I changed so many variables that there is no saying exactly what led to it but I think it is safe to assume it all added up to a lovely, if still highly flawed ride.

Change #1: No rushing

Riding is typically a rushed affair. When I see a spare hour before I have to get dinner going, or need to leave to get Wyatt or head off to the grocery store, I sneak in a ride. Not a terrible thing as it leads to riding but it also leads to a rush job to get in the saddle and a hurried atmosphere.

Sunday I had all the time in the world. I slowed way down. Gave a lot of praise. Gave even more scratches. This all led to a horse in the cross ties that was yawning big, gave a massive front leg/bow down stretch and had a hind leg propped up by the time I threw the saddle on his back.

Change #2: Ground work for the win

He was still not feeling too focused when I walked him out of the barn and to the arena. Instead of thinking “I’ll work you on the longe” and surviving the trek to the arena, I stopped in the pasture and made him back his rushing orange butt up.

The boys had a lot of fun at the fishing pond while I worked with H’Appy

He didn’t like this and tried to pop up instead. He got backed even more. Once he was backing I praised and halted then moved forward. He rushed. I stopped him and backed him. He blew forward. I decided to move his feet and do a mini longe with the lead rope.

Once he was calm he got to halt. If he tried to call for his friends, he got put back to work on the tiny circle at a walk. Once he was licking and chewing and no longer caring where his friends were, we entered the arena.

Change #3: Putting his brain to work more than his feet

I did still longe him a bit but he didn’t need much and was very good and tuned in to my voice and body. Once I got on him though he felt like a powder keg under me.

So I stopped and thought “How did I used to handle Gem when she was like this?”

Camouflage horse is the same color as the red clay we have around here. I also need to figure out what to do with his crazy mane. 

Lateral work. When Gem used to get all up her own stuff, I’d find stuff to do to work her brain more than her feet.

I halted H’Appy and decided to see if he knew lateral work at all. I held steady and lightly pushed him over with my right leg. He went back. I told him nope and asked again. He went forward. We worked a little while until he gave me a baby step sideways at which point I praised and let him go forward as a reward.

He may be a Doofus, but he is my Doofus and I’m keeping him

Then I halted him again and tried again. His brain was working at top speed. He got a little pissy when he couldn’t figure out the right answer, but you know what he didn’t do? Give a rats behind where his friends were.

After he gave me the beginnings of the right answer, I moved on and circled back around to it if he started to get a little quick or distracted. It worked really well.

Change #4: Talking to myself

Once I moved to the trot, I decided that maybe it was time to work on that 20m circle again more so to focus on myself than him. I find that when I work around the arena at large, even with a specific plan in my head, I tend to have a whole lot of wiggle room so that if he isn’t precisely where I was thinking, but close enough I don’t really care. This is wrong.

A 20 m circle is a 20 m circle, not an oval, not a square and not 15 m once around and then 30 the next. It gives me a very specific focal point that I hold true to. Or at least try to.

I put him on the path and began around but instead of getting frustrated with him or myself I started talking out loud:

Release the inside rein

Hold the outside rein steady

Turn my entire body inside

Look 1/4 turn ahead on the circle

He always slows down here to look out the hole in the fence get ready before that and squeeze gently 

And it worked! The more I acted like my own trainer on the ground, the better I rode. And the better I rode the more relaxed he became. By the end he was giving me a wonderfully rhythmic and steady trot and had bend around the circle which in turn gave him better balance and a better ability to do what I was asking.

Find the Berner! Waggy now has feeling below the ankle and is able to wear a new type of brace to walk properly. She is getting more outside time and loving it

I have no idea how long we worked but once he gave me a few rounds I praised him to within an inch of his life and slid off very proud of him.

Of course the moment I slid off he screamed for his friends, but hey at least he was quiet the entire time I worked him.

Overall it was really good. Not hoof perfect but we didn’t fight each other, I made a plan and kept my brain engaged and managed to work him through his own issues without it escalating. All big wins for team Doofaloosa!

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This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

This is the text I woke up to Sunday morning:

Three horses inside the arena. On the opposite side of the property from where they were put the night before

Ok…that’s interesting, but how?

Damn shoes gave him away. Dusty went on to add “ Your Dumbaloosa needs to learn how to be a real horse”

Sigh.

Let me back up a bit and explain this.

Saturday afternoon we finally tackled the back pasture. Currently the right half is included in the large pasture that runs along the barn, arena and up the driveway. The left side is the smallest on the property and has been used as our sacrifice pasture with all the rain since it has a shelter and a lot of trees.

The left side lasts about 3 weeks with all 3 horses before it is eaten down past my comfort level. The right side never gets used because it is attached to the largest pasture and the horses never see a need to wander down and around to it. So I mow it a lot in the summer and then mow it some more

I wanted to remove the cross fencing and block off the access to the large pasture to make this all one back pasture that could house the horses for 4-6 weeks allowing the other two a longer break during pasture rotation.

Sounds good.

Dusty worked to close off the bottom by the pond as well as the opening to the larger pasture while I took down the cross fencing and the horses ate dinner inside the barn.

Man was Saturday a gorgeous day to be alive in SC

We didn’t have time to pull the t posts but I figured our horses are sensible beasts and wouldn’t kill themselves overnight on t posts.

I was partially correct.

This folks is why I will never use high tensile wire. Ever. Damage was done to the fence without a scratch on my now loveably termed Doofaloosa

Best we can figure Doofaloosa went galloping about in glee at his large enclosure and remembered from last summer that this pasture opened into the large one. For some reason all the knee high green grass under his hooves wasn’t good enough and off he went.

Except the opening was no longer open.

Pete was really not sure about crossing through t posts. He is a GOOD BOY and good boys don’t go through fences. He eventually got it

The hoof print shows that he tried to stop but the ground is so saturated he slid instead and barreled through the newly strung fence.

This is also why I love having my entire property safely fenced in. Even when something dumb happens, there is no where for them to go.

Since they weren’t out in that pasture, I had been leaving the arena gate open. It’s old. It’s rusty. It’s half off the hinges and a royal PITA to open and close. Why on earth they decided that all the green grass in the now 15 acre pasture was not good enough and they needed to be inside the mostly dirt arena is beyond my reasoning.

Uh…thanks for helping with my arena maintenance issues?

But there they were bright and early Sunday morning looking for breakfast.

In the words of Dusty “He isn’t bad enough to get rid of but damn is he annoying.”

Yup. Just about sums up my lovable, huggable Doofaloosa.

Keep being you buddy.

Pete trying to pretend he was being a GOOD BOY by not entering the arena while still being in a pasture he wasn’t supposed to be in.

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Reflecting on February

This month really flew by in a whirlwind. Work has been slamming, I’m getting ready for my boards submission and the weather has been worse than awful. I think I may need to take up boating if this weather pattern doesn’t slow down. Everything is a swamp. On the bright side, I am enjoying the extra hours of daylight during morning and evening chores and have been able to sneak in some rides before the sun sets.

Early mornings are made better with gorgeous sun rises

February started off on track and then saw the wheels come off a little, however great strides were still made during the month for my life in general which is why I love doing these reflection posts. You can read back through January here if interested.

Riding

Heading into February, I wanted to start stringing fences together into a small course and that came to light in a big way on the 2nd. Man, was that ride amazing.

Re using without shame. I love everything about this picture.

I snuck in a total of 6 rides, with 1 jump school and 5 flat rides. Pretty on par with January and while I originally began beating myself up about it, with the weather the way it has been 6 rides is actually quite good. Looking back through my notes about those rides, 5 out of the 6 have either FUN! or a smiley face written by them which is why I keep track of that sort of stuff. Too easy for me to focus on that 1 bad ride when I had 5 others that were great.

How he spent most of the month – coated in a thick layer of nasty, disgusting mud. He is always filthy.

What sticks out to me the most about my riding in February was that I got more serious about the time I did spend in the saddle, focused on my position and use of the aides a lot more, and in turn had a more responsive horse under me. Quality over quantity and all that.

Heading into next month I plan to attend a local H/J show on 3/23. My only goal is to get him into the atmosphere and help him settle and learn. If that means I don’t enter any classes and instead spend the time hand walking him around the grounds and chilling ring side, I’m fine with that. If he seems capable of entering the arena, then I will add classes as we go. No pressure. And as always, plugging away at figuring out a lesson situation.

Running

After finding out that my butt has Alzheimer’s, running took a back seat. I still got in 5 runs with a total of 7.2 miles and I am thrilled to report that as of writing this my butt no longer bothers me for my typical 2 mile run/walk interval work outs. A big win for butts everywhere!

Foggy morning with the bradford pears in full bloom.

Heading into next month I’m looking to ramp my running back up while still doing all my PT exercises at home to avoid recurrence of gluteal amnesia.

Work/Life Balance

Yeah..big fail. No time off, no early days…thanks boards! It felt a little overwhelming at times mostly because the few hours I could sneak away were spent in the PT office getting dry needles poked into my butt cheek. Fun times, I assure you.

Retail therapy in the form of new gear is always beneficial.

A major win for me this month was scheduling the first physical I have had in 6 years and establishing myself with a primary doctor. I’m healthy, minus sinus bradycardia (a too slow heart beat) but that is hereditary from my dad and not treatable at this time, and good to go for another year. That is a big weight off my shoulders that I had been saying I would do for years.

Heading into next month, I’m not really going to see it change a whole lot. I was talked into signing up for medicine boards to become dual certified in surgery and medicine so the studying will commence in preparation for Part 1 testing in May and Part 2 in October. I will be scheduling one Friday afternoon free of any work related tasks for my own sanity though and am hoping that helps solve the lessoning issue.

Living Life

This category is where February really shines. Dusty and I have been talking about hosting a foreign exchange student for a couple of years now and I finally bit the bullet and filled out the application. If all goes well, we should be getting a girl from Sweden who is horse obsessed and has a background in jumpers come live with us for the 2019-2020 school year. Insane, yes. We are super excited and Wyatt is already counting down the days until he gets a sister, temporarily. This is actually a really big deal, because we are hoping to adopt again and are waiting until Wyatt is a tad older so this is going to act as a bit of a pacifier for me to cool my jets until the time is right to add to our family permanently.

Plus there is a completely selfish reason I chose her. She rides. She jumps. She is 17. She can ride H’Appy as much as she wants and show him if she’d like which will get him ridden a whole lot more than I am able to and I won’t have to pay someone or feel guilty about it. If this all pans out, it will be a giant stress relief on a lot of fronts.

Went bowling with Wyatt for his first time. He kicked my butt and I was trying my best. This was game 1 of 3 and I made a come back, but seriously how do you lose to a 6 year old who can barely even lift the ball?

We have been enjoying the increasing daylight in the evenings and using it to play soccer with Wyatt and umm..build a Burger King in the side yard. Don’t ask…it is as crazy as it sounds.

Oh! I also lost 5 pounds this month 🙂

He insisted on bowling the correct way without using a bowling aide or the between the legs technique. He did allow me to use the bumpers for him though.

Heading into next month, I would like to book our trip to Seattle in June and continue to find ways to step away from all the chores for at least one day during the month. Oh and keep my eating habits the same – 5 more pounds to go.

Favorite Part of the Month

Hands down, that day jumping H’Appy at home over my mini course. I still smile about it thinking back now.

Love this picture too.

Overall Feeling

Meh. February is typically my worst mental health month of the year and the constant rain didn’t help things any. Overall though, I think I managed to stay the course, keep steady and survive with some bright spots that stand out. Not too shabby for a dreary, unforgiving month.

H’Appy wants to continue to be a pig, eat the spring grass that is growing like a weed and take more naps.

Next month, I am looking forward to continue the healthy eating habits that saw me lose 5 pounds even without exercising much, ramp up the running and riding more, and hopefully find a darn trainer to work with. Oh! And be nicer to myself.

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Thoughts…I have a lot of them

Don’t believe his innocent look. I called him just about every nasty name I could think of right before taking this picture

Sigh.

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.

I’m not listening. I can’t hear you

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.

Lies. All lies.

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.

Having a good roll after dinner

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.

More nap time please

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.

Sigh.

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.