Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sometimes he's hard to love

(sure he looks all sweaty like some sort of horse that was actually cooperative or something. but it's all an illusion)

Trust me, there was very little to love about Canyon today.

You know those ads that say you can have the horse turned out in the pasture for months then come out for a ride and it'll be the same as if you were riding 'em every day?

That's not my horse.

I went out to the stables tonight. It was a beautiful late afternoon, the sky a perfect azure with a scattering of clouds hinting at more rain. It was cool but not windy, quiet but not eerily still.

It was perfect.

Apparently I was alone in this assessment.

I knew I was in trouble when we stepped in the round pen. There it was. The buck.

I know, I know, people say a buck in the round pen when you're just getting started is no big deal. But I know this horse. A buck means it's going to be one of those "let's re-establish this whole herd thing for the next three hours" thing.

So that's what we did. I rode down the road and he was blowing sideways at the reflector. Which apparently has recently become threatening. It went down hill from there.

Sensing his insanity, I got off just past the gate and started to line lunge him because he was just too distracted and nothing was working in the saddle. He was so freaked out he ran nearly sideways in the circle, even did a little tiny rear at one point.

We kept walking, stopping to lunge and work on ground manners, try to maintain a tiny bit of focus. I think I brought him down from a 9.9 to a 9.8 or 9.875.

Crazy. On the way back I got back on and he was jigging like a maniac. I had to turn him so much I briefly wondered if I'd be better off on a merry go round horse.

(Canyon with his "you're not the boss of me" face on.)

Then back in the round pen for a work out and some side pass work. I'm trying to teach him to side pass and had some new techniques to try. We had a millimeter of success.

By the end of our round pen session and during our walk back, he was down to a manageable level. 9.7 at least.

Just kidding.

And, to add insult to ... well, insult, since there was no injury, he knocked me on the head. Not that hard, really, but clearly he was crowding me.

That was it. I backed him hard, "bit" him, and then moved him around. He snapped a bit back into place.

Then he got a bath and a nice long lesson in patience.

I know how we got here. I haven't been able to ride and it's much too long between our sessions. This is what happens with him. I wish I could maintain leadership, but I guess the lack of consistency is really problematic.

There is good news: In my experience the next ride after one like this is usually great.

We'll see. Humph. Dumb ol' horse.


Pony Girl said...

Good summation of your ride. I have been in that place before. Not with my current horse though, luckily he is pretty good (under saddle.) But I get the leadership thing. I love the look in that photo of Canyon (the one where he won't look at you.) My horse does that when he doesn't want to be caught, he totally looks away from me.
Hope your next ride shows heaps of improvement. Canyon is a handsome horse!

Melanie said...

Hey there!!!
I feel like I have been MIA from blogland forever!!!
Ahhhh....Canyon is being true to his Arab roots again, isn't he?? LOL!!!
Can't wait to hear about your "next" ride. Hope it goes/went well. :)

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

WHAT A BRAT! I'm so glad you weren't injured. The jiggy, blowing sideways thing is what landed me in the hospital on my own horse, so you were wise to get off and teach him some manners and remind him who's boss.

I appreciate you sharing what happened (even though I'm late here in catching up, sorry about that). So many people only write about their good rides and never share stuff that goes wrong or when their horse acts up that when we have stuff happen we can't help but feel like we must have the worst horse (and we're the worst horse owners) on the planet......of which we are not. :)

I sure hope he behaves and shows some respect the next time, and you're able to dig deep for some extra confidance and perserverance, too.

Be safe!