So, today I decided to tack Red up and start working him daily again. Because of the rain, we’ve had to stop lunging every day. Now the ground is dried up enough for more work…at least until it starts storming again. 😛 I had a few ideas for this ride. Red’s last ride was very good, despite a little bunny-hop. I knew that we needed to go back to some basics on some things because of his occasional attitude, he needed to be worked through his moments. I used my mother’s saddle today – my stirrups on roper are horrible, and I need to get a tool to lower them and I can’t find what I need and I knew I couldn’t ride with my stirrups that high again. So, we played dress-up a bit in Stormie’s tack. I also decided to use a training fork. The person who’s been giving me lessons loaned me one to try for his collection. I was told by a few people that it attached to the girth…then was told it was attached to the breast collar. My mother had only seen them used on the breast collar, I thought it went to the girth. So, we put it on the collar….and that was incorrect, lol. So excuse that in these photos. I never get good riding photos so I’m just ignoring the mistake. Oh well.
He ate, I fly sprayed, groomed, checked his hooves, then tacked him up. He stood like a gentleman and let me mount up, moved on kind of lazy and needed a tap with the over-and-under but then we were golden. I decided to ride him in my biggest “fear” area. You see,if he acts up, it’s almost always near the driveway. He’s barn sour and right near the barn…he knows he has a good running place to get to the barn…and he really likes to try to bolt me to the barn there. This is the only area at my farm where he’s ever offered to be a brat, this is the place where I fell off for the first time.
So. *tries to get over embarrassment of the training fork placement*
It was a good ride. Every time he started wanting to trot back home, I turned him tightly and stopped him. He responded to my “woah” very quickly, didn’t have to do any tugging on him at all, so that was nice. Stormie was out of the barn moseying around and being a goof, Jubilee was away from him eating..and he was very focused on what I told him to do. He did have a few moments where he wanted to sling his head for the barn again, but I summoned up confidence and turned him tightly away from the barn every time he did it and we stopped for a moment, then moved off the opposite way. Every time he did it, I made the ride longer.
It was a very easy ride but exactly what we both needed. No huge amount of work or trails. It was hot and we were both kind of tired because of that. Mom mentioned that he seemed to be enjoying himself throughout the ride. I know what his favorite things are, and that’s rides around on the buckle with me. He loves just walking around and hanging out, and I think he see’s rides like this as a reward. It shows him how he needs to act, and it shows him that we can have leisurely life when he’s good. It gave me time to nip his problems in the bud. I corrected him maybe 3 times the whole ride, by the end of it he was wonderful.
We did a little jogging at the end, I asked him to go as slowly and as collected as possible. Possibly the nicest jog I’ve ridden on him yet, and there was no silliness from him asking to go faster.
The main bad moment was when Stormie decided to walk over to us and I asked him to turn away from her – he wanted to follow her, threw his head up and tried to hop. I pulled his head down into a turn before he could even offer to hop up and gave a nudge, he walked away (unhappily…see above photo, lol) and then we stopped and turned again, facing her. He didn’t offer to take off after her again.
I’ve discovered exactly what I need to do to combat his sassy moments, and that’s just ride it out. Knock it out before it even happens, be confident and trust in my own abilities to stop him.I know that he’ll listen to me when I’m confident enough to give him directions clearly.
He even got to trot up and down the driveway once, and walked back up the driveway (TO the barn, and BEHIND Stormie!!) on the buckle. I made him pass up his stall and go away from it to the gate and stand…and he did it. With no head throwing.
Funny how these simple, silly rides end up making me feel 100% better in our situation. Feels like I have my good boy back.