Where did my horse go?
|January 12, 2012||Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized|
Specifically, where did my fat little trustworthy pony go? It’s been replaced by a fire breathing monster who doesn’t seem to possess a shred of common sense in her walnut sized brain.
At first, I thought this change was a fluke – I would get this behavior at rides approximately 1 out of every 7 starts – so I knew it was in there. When I got it on a conditioning ride, I thought “GREAT! I can finally work through this behavior when I have plenty of time to train through it and really make an impression on her silly little pea sized (I mean walnut sized…) brain.
And then…….I continued to get this behavior on EVERY SINGLE FREAKIN’ RIDE.
I have 2 hypothesis’
1. Obviously our relationship has taken a hit during the year off.
2. Staying out in pasture, she hasn’t lost NEARLY the amount of fitness I thought she had.
My submissive little pony has decided that she knows her job far better than I do and is ignoring proper chain of command.
Normally I’d throw a horse who has made this poor decision into the round pen and have a discussion. Repeatedly if necessary.
BUT – I’m still being cautious of that tendon. Putting Farley in a round pen and being comfortable applying as much pressure (i.e. speed, turns) as necessary to get my point across is going to put a lot of torque on that LF and IMO it’s not ready for that. I haven’t asked for a canter under saddle, much less in a 20 meter circle.
So, I’ve made some compromises and modifications.
1. In the round pen I’ll ask for a trot both directions, canter to the right only. (round pen is large with good footing, and is level – no banked sides.)
2. Lots of hindquarter disengages for naughty behavior when I’m on the ground and in the saddle. (have to be careful, as she did take a swing at me).
3. Lots of standing still, relaxed.
4. Her behind my shoulder at ALL times when leading, enforced with a whip if necessary.
5. Lots of 180 turns and moving away from home when she tosses her head in the air and seems to have lost focus on the most important thing – ME!
6. Lots of walk trot dressage focusing on submission and a very low head.
What I’m not doing –
1. Any intense round pen work – including working her to the point where she’s tired. In addition to the torque, I DON’T need her getting tired and fatigued and thus making that tendon more likely to reinjure at this early stage of putting her back to work.
2. She has lost any “good horse privileges” – including being able to walk beside me, graze under saddle, graze on the line, and making any move towards my personal space without being invited.
3. My standard strategy for Farley to fix the running home thing – as we go towards home if she ignores my half halt and/or sticks her nose in the air, immediately reverse direction and head away from home at one gait higher than we were going home at. Thus, trotting towards home will result in a canter away, cantering towards home will result in a hand gallop away. And I want just as much energy and activity away as I was getting going towards home – no half-assed canters – it better be forward and engaged and happy!
What I have on my side:
1. She’s an honest horse. She’s not playing games and tricks to try and unseat me – it’s energy forward and the bucks are a result of that energy forward.
2. She’s not a spooky horse. I don’t have to worry about something “setting her off”.
3. She’s on pasture – I’m not dealing with a horse that has been confined for a long time.
4. she’s not “bad” all the time –
5. We have a relationship that stretches over years – I know what I can expect from her, and she should quickly relearn what she can expect from me. It’s not like I’m completely starting over, or have had a problem relationship with her.
6. Minx was so much worse than Farley can even dream of being.
On the bright side….
1. I’d rather be dealing with this problem than what I’ve been doing the last year – not riding and treating a tendon injury.
2. I can FINALLY replicate something at home that sparodically pops up at rides – naughty behavior under saddle. WHOOO HOOO!
3. I have MONTHS before my first LD to fix this – plenty of time to get my point across.
4. My first ride will be an LD – an LD that I will spend the entire time schooling if necessary.
This just goes to show – You can buy the calmest, sweetest horse – and there’s no guarantee that they will stay that way all the time, especially if they aren’t ridden regularly. I know people who want a perfectly trained horse that will be perfectly safe all the time – but they aren’t robots. They respond to their environment and use and even the best ones will require a tune up now and then!
Did I miss anything on my horsey boot camp list? Feel free to add in the comments!!!!!!!!
And once again…..I have come to the end of a discussion (discussing an osteomyelitis – infectious I believe) and have a lecture coming up (Nutritional Bone Disease if you must know) so must post this and start paying attention!