Friday, October 10, 2008


So perhaps I should've lunged him first, but I was already in the arena when I found out he hadn't been out of his stall since our lesson on Tuesday night, so I took a chance....and I just got on. How bad could he be? How bad, well, not TOO bad, just a little bad. We had to have a few conversations. I should've suspected something was not right when he was doing that "thing" he does in the stall, where he swings himself to the left so his ON side is pinned to the wall. He's done this since I brought him home. Not every time, just sometimes. Sometimes I just put the saddle on from the off side, thinking he'll get the picture that I'll put it on no matter what and it'll do him no good to try to get out of it. Sometimes I just scoot myself behind his rump (which extends from his tie location directly to the corner of the stall) and make him move is rump over and squeeze myself between him and the wall and make him move all the way out. But on Tuesday when I scooted myself behind his rump he actually pressed back against me. I wasn't pinned, but I was sure pissed. That is NOT acceptable. Absolutely not. So I set the saddle down by the stall door and I whalloped him until he moved all the way over. Then made him stand perfectly still while I grabbed the saddle and put it on. I'm not pleased that I had to do that, but that's just not acceptable. I am boss. It's not like I hurt him, my tiny size 7 hands and muscle-less "you hit like a girl" arms can't really hurt a 16.2 horse by slapping him on the rump. I MADE him move though and he did what he was commanded. Now, he pulled the same thing today. I should've made the decision right there to take the lunge line with me, but he's been so weird on the lunge lately that it just seems like a waste of time. I get more worked up than he gets worked OUT when I attempt to lunge him.

Anyway, he pinned himself to the wall and just as a test I went behind his rump and he pushed back on me again. We had a bit of a conversation about that and I spent the next 5 minutes or so putting the blanket on, walking out of the stall - scolding him verbally if he moves, walking back in the stall...over and over. By the time I put the saddle on he quit moving. It seems he needs a reminder of ground manners. I wish we had cross-ties at the barn. I could install some in the stall I guess, but when we're showing out of a trailer he'll need to behave on a single tie, so I want to make sure he stops this crap. I won't take it and I know he knows better.

But as I said, I got on anyway. He was a little hot but relatively okay. The trouble came when the horse that was working when we came in left. Then he became Mr.PITA. I was getting a bit frustrated with him...same stuff he pulls when we're alone...getting above the bit, fighting my directions, stuff he does. I should make it clear that we are making progress overall. I decided to lope him hoping it would burn a little of his energy off. His good lead was pretty good, relaxed, sort of a circle, so good. Decent lope-off and pretty good at keeping the gait until I asked him to come down. No rushing, good. BUT, when I asked him for the left it was like I asked him to fly to the moon. Ears back, backing up (this is fun, this used to be a simple refusal to go forward-solvable with a decent jab with both spurs (tiny english ones). Now we've moved on to that obnoxious backing up above the bit that I've seen other horses do. Eventually I got him to go forward and after a few wrong lead take-offs I finally got him on the left lead. It started as that weird shape with some curved sided and some straight sides...with him refusing to come of the long wall and turn left, insisting on turning right...hey dummy, you're on the left lead, you should probably go left...especially when my hands and legs are telling you very clearly to do so. I thought about letting him run into the wall once just so see what he'd do, but the vision of me flying over his head, over the 4 foot wall and on to the driveway (or into the wall of the building) didn't seem like a good Friday night, especially when noone else was in sight. I knew KAT was around somewhere, but still. So we tried that spot over and over again until I started turning him sooner and sooner and suddenly we were rolling along at a decent relaxed lope (still not WP, but good)..with no stumbling....and making a shape I can only describe as a 4 year old's circle...not quite totally round, and not quite complete, but really, really good for us! Super good for us! I wasn't even scared! I was in control of his body! He was WITH me! I pulled him back to a walk, but he didn't want to, so I asked him back up and we did it some more! When he started huffing and I saw he was sweating on his neck I pulled him back down. Not that I am afraid to make him sweat, but I'm a little afraid he'll still stumble if he gets too fatigued. I made him stop so I could let him sigh and I gave him a good pat and told him he was a good boy. I tried to walk him out but he would really rather just go back to the barn. I did make him walk a bit but he wasn't really that hot so I called it good. I put him up and brushed him out.

Progress, though appearing late in each session, is good. I'm sure we'll keep getting better and better and I'll get better at commanding his cooperation sooner. I know these things take time. And perhaps it's a good thing that he's a little frustrating because I have NO time to think about all the other frustrating crap in my world!

The plan for tomorrow is to let him out while I clean his stall and his leather halter and my headstall, then a ride, then he gets a full bath! It's supposed to be 82 degrees tomorrow and I'm so glad I'll get to give him a bath before his pictures next weekend! He's SOOOO dirty. So cute, but so dirty!

1 comment:

  1. You are going to be a great mother!