I came home from a business trip and hooked up with Trail Rider and watched Buck. It was a great movie, and I came home looking forward to my day off to go ride my horses.
I had been struck how much Buck B. was like Mark Rashid in energy and demeanor. We all know that most of these trainers in the Ray Hunt, Tom Dorrance, style of training do much of the same things - gentle consistent firm work with flags, rope halters, a sharp eye for detail. There are many scenes in the movie that linger, many I wish I hadn't seen, frankly.
But reality is like that, isn't it?
I came away renewed and ready to work. There's a scene where students are working cows and Buck talks about horses (and people) needing to have work to do.
I have a day off from the kids and Dad as well as the office today, so headed out early to ride. Lily and I just mounted up and did trail work, made it through a few balks, widened our circle of riding to down the road alone. It was good.
The trainer insisted we ride next door on the ranch. I didn't want to. I just wanted to have a nice day, not confront my issues. Work on a few things in the arena, do the little trails. Part of it is I could see Smokey was hot today, very up. When he had come into eat, tossing his head like a little mustang, I knew what space he was in and didn't really want to have to deal with it on my one day off in months.
We rode in round pen to warm up. Cantering to the right he threw a fit. We worked through it, but this was not a horse I felt like dealing with on the trail.
She insisted. I should have declined. I didn't. "He needs this," she said. "And you do too."
We had a few arguments on the trail, Smokey and I, and I did win them all. Then we heard the sound of animals running. A herd of five horses was running loose, having broken through some fences. I elected to dismount. This was not an argument I wanted to have with Smokey in the saddle.
We kept trying to chase the herd off, they kept trying to enlarge their herd by two horses. The trainer would attempt to shoo them off, but it wasn't working at all. Smokey did well, just a little prancy, but respected my space after a quick reminder, and settled, looking to me.
The herd kept tailing us, chasing after us as we tried to walk off. At one point they surrounded the trainer on her horse and I had to toss rocks at them to drive them off. Still they returned.
I finally got fed up. I poured my anger out at them full bore, yelling, and tossed a few rocks, hitting flanks here and there. They got the message. They took off and this time stayed gone.
People. Don't tick me off. I'm like a crazy woman.
I got back in the saddle and we rode home.
The ride home Smokey was up. He needed to run out some energy from that whole loose horse episode, and I didn't have it in me. We worked on trot walk transitions and trot halts. It was ugly. I didn't want to end on that note.
When we got back to our familiar trails I just hit those alone with Smokey and bushwacked around. Much better. Then Smokey and I worked on standing still.
Sometimes, I told Smokey, your job is to stand still. It took a bit, but he got it.
I think we are at a place where we need a job to get through this. I think of Cactus Jack Splash and his DOR and I think, a job would be good for us.
So I'm going to think about it. Maybe if we had something else to focus on other than each other this would be fun again.