Today was rainy and cold, just like last Sunday. I went to ride Mac, the Appaloosa gelding. He was very good for me on Wednesday. We successfully circled the lake twice on that day after early stubborn turn-arounds. Today, I am sad to report that we didn't make as much progress. I have only ridden him in the bitless. He tries to pull many stunts in the ring. I think he is used to frightening his lesson charges in the corners by side-stepping and pretend "shying". I got him to work through that by leaning over and dropping the reins while patting his neck. That sounds weird, but he has these buggy eyes and I don't think he can see too well. I like to lean over so he knows that I am there with him if he actually is scared. He stopped the silly side-steps and walked through the scary corners perfectly. Then, I sat back and pushed him through the corners seated properly. He was very good and obviously smart enough to get this exercise. I know he is attached to his ring from all the lessons there, so I wanted to take him outside to see if we could bond a little like we did on Wednesday. Sadly, just getting him through the gate to the lake trail was a feat this morning. I had a sinking feeling that I wasn't going to be as successful as I had been before, so I kept trying to ask for little things he could do well. Unfortunately, he kept making each goal smaller with each try. I walked him down the first straightaway on a loose rein. He got to the end and then wheeled around and attempted to head back toward the gate at a fast walk/jig. We did this a number of times in both directions away from the lake gate. For the first few minutes he would increase the distance, but after he figured it out, he started to decrease it before his quick return attempts. There is a steep hill leading down to the lake and I used the hill to work him in serpentines. He seemed interested at first, then, he was done with that and started rushing the hill, diving for grass - just being ill-behaved. The barn owner's daughter (age 8?) was out walking around in the lake area so I enlisted her help to be a "lead pony" for me. I encouraged her to make small talk (we couldn't really hear her because she got so involved in her conversation that she was walking way up ahead of us!). I gave him the reins and he plodded along super well until we made it 3/4 of the way around the trail. Then, stubbornly he wheeled around again in a nervous frenzy. I decided to make our return in a calm manner more important than finishing the full trail in the direction that he obviously didn't want to go. By asking for small circles, serpentines, and figure eights we did finally return on a soft (fake - looked soft, but really wasn't), long rein, but I was frustrated because it was clear that he wasn't happy throughout the whole process. That irks me a little, because it seemed like Mac enjoyed the ride around the lake on Wednesday. It was a damp, depressing day in Florida punctuated by a frustrating ride. I heard Feelin' Groovy on the way home from the barn and made a mental note that I felt many things, but not groovy.
Yup, bad days happen. Sounds like hes a horse that doesn't have much confidence in himself and his rider in different situations. Better luck next time.ReplyDelete
BUT! Your post encourages and informs me because Dream has fears like Mac's. So thank you for posting about the ride! :-)ReplyDelete
Thanks Allison for the pick-me-up - Silver lining and all of that!ReplyDelete
Yes, I can releate. Laz has those days where he is just scared and not comfortable with relaying on me for comfort. It's taken me almost 2+ yrs to get him on a loose rein and once we step outside in new territories, it's like day #1 again. He'll get there..it's good for him what you are doing and I think he's telling you what he can handle at that moment.ReplyDelete
Juliette, oh, I'm sorry you had such a difficult ride. Just one of those things, one of those days. You handled it well, though, with many creative and various changes. Good thinking!ReplyDelete
That sounds like a very naughty horse that is very hard to figure out! Still, I feel a little bad for him with his funny insecurities and big bulgy eyes! Isn't that silly to feel sorry for him when he gave you such a hard time? He had no idea he was being ridden by the world's most gentle and wonderful rider! At least you didn't give in! You let him know that he was worth taking the time for, and getting it right. Maybe you weren't feeling groovy, but inside, maybe Mac was thankful that you cared enough to not give up on him!ReplyDelete
I do hate frustrating rides though. It is all I can do to stop myself from crying a little on the way home. I am such a baby! I am not like a big tough cowgirl.
baystatebrumby - I am not a tough cowgirl either and I did cry on the way home. I cried because Mac doesn't know that I love him even though he was stubborn and I wanted him to have fun and he didn't. That made me cry. I felt horribly sorry for him the whole time I was riding him and after because I am never sure what the point is if the horse isn't having fun. I am never unkind to a horse, I know that, but still, I wonder what the point is if he didn't get that he could enjoy the ride. I feel sure that the tack wasn't hurting him but he still was miserable.ReplyDelete
Oh sweet horse lover heart...Mac surely knows you care...you may have been frustrated, but your talent and longsuffering for his well being showed up and...next time he would be better.ReplyDelete
Sorry for that ride, it its not personal, it's his lack of confidence, like Sydney said. Your confidence would surely rub off on him, with more times out. Sometimes, ya gotta let those bad ones go. I know, I get em too...even with my brave mare.
Hang tight to the rides that are pleasing ~ and shakeoff~those that cause pause!
Your horses will feel all that much more pleasing to you!