There is so much to write about, but instead, I’ll explain my ride yesterday.
It was drizzly and miserable outside yesterday. It wasn’t cold, but there seemed to be a moist type nip in the air.
I do enjoy riding in weather like this, but I also have been craving the sunny, beautiful days and always seem to plan my rides on the days where the clouds or cold or fog is out. I’m looking outside right now and think how I was planning on giving Reason today off, potentially another beautiful day lost. Back to yesterday.. I’m still getting to know the ever complex, sensitive Reason and constantly trying to figure out a routine that works best for him. Have you ever heard of horses that their owners exclaim that have to have a certain routine or way of doing things or the horse just flips? I mean sometimes I wonder if the owner is just too afraid for whatever reason, to try something new but now I am finding there is some truth to it because I think I have a horse like that..
I tried lunging before riding, to somehow set a more positive tone for the following ride and get Reason warmed up mentally and physically. Did it help? At first, I thought yes. I could get through to Reason better on the ground and it appeared to help him when we got to the riding part. Then I decided that Reason was just too lazy sometimes during our rides. I fought back and forth between the idea that he just was just testing how I would get him to go forward and try to get away with not, or if he was actually lazy OR if he wasn’t going forward due to other reasons such as pain etc. The jury is still out. I decided ok, I’ll stop the lunging before the rides and just get on and work with whatever I have and hopefully he’ll be a bit more willing to go forward due to being fresher. I never lunged him to get the bucks out, I always lunged him for the sole purpose of just setting the tone, I guess you would say. Now I’ve been riding him without the lunging. And it’s true the last two rides; Monday and yesterday, were both a bit fresher. Monday was superb. Monday Reason was holding a nice pace and willing. I rode him in Ink’s old figure 8 bridle for the first time and in the jump saddle. Yesterday was quite different, but not out of ordinary. For whatever reason, my horse is moody. I have no idea how to get through to him and make him want to work. I’m leaning towards a pain thing and I know saddle fit could be a large part of it.. But some days I get the horse I got on Monday and some days I get a teen tantrum. Reason refuses to go forward, will even stop and resents any of my efforts. There is no quick fix with him. But I do know this, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and as long as I keep looking and keep trying and keep listening, the rides will always end positively. Yesterday was proof of this.
On occasion those rides where Reason is just not willing, just not into it are truly testing of my ability to turn negative into positive. To not give up, but see a solution through. The ride started like a brick wall. There was a vibe of, “I’m already over this,” before it even began. First, it was close to feeding time. That could explain some of the behavior, but oh well, I have to find a way to work him through that and make him go well and willing. But also, Reason doesn’t like the rain. As soon as I mounted to go walk him down to the indoor he was already over the drizzling rain hitting his ears and face. He gave me a frustrated head shake when I went to ask him to walk off. On our way down to the indoor he was making a noise that seems to be fairly unique to him. It’s an “eeeee” type of whine noise. He does this when he’s excited, nervous or irritated. He was doing that on our walk down. ‘Oh goody,’ I thought. He kept wanting to stop and turn around. Oh, even better. Once we got into the arena he was a fresh, easily spooked, looky-loo. I can work with this, but instead of being fresh and going forward, he was fresh and going backwards. It was a disaster waiting to happen. I’m sure a good rider, different than myself, could give him a crack on the rump and he’d probably dart forward, but then again, his mind was pretty lost, so it could have been pretty bad if it was handled that way. You never know how he could react to a different rider, different approach, but I know for him and I, at that moment, no way jose and I believe there is a reason I have yet to handle it like that.. I just don’t think there was anywhere to go at that point, then to back off and find a different way to manage. I’m obsessed in a way with discovering the missing piece. There is a piece I am missing regarding how to not get in this situation of anti-forward, NO. But one thing I’ve learned is not giving up and if I try and if I’m honest, I can find a way to turn these rides around.
I decided enough was enough. I got some trot steps, which were nice. I got some walking, but Reason was out of the building. He was starting to get irritated and annoyed, like before he reared that one ride he threw me off. I took him to the round-pen, maybe to salvage what horse I had left. It worked. I got him thinking about me, I got him relaxing a bit and then I took him back out and mounted up again. This time we went to the outdoor arena instead. There was some distractions in the indoor and he was being weird, so I thought, lets start fresh in a new area which to me, might be more inviting. It worked. At first Reason was still a bit ‘no,’ but he was much better and was actually paying some attention. I could put my leg on a actually get him to go. Once I got him walking nicely, we went up to the trot. In the beginning there was still some resistance, but then he settled and gave me a good, forward, pace. I felt like he was actually in front of my leg instead of far, far, behind it. Once I felt like he was with me, instead of where-ever else he was meandering, I finished the ride.
I have no idea what I could be doing wrong to possibly create the initial no reaction with Reason. I’m desperate to explore all options and see what could be rider/trainer error. But a part of me also thinks pain. I do however, think that it could be a number of things as it usually is with Reason. He needs front shoes, new saddle.. When the rides are good with Reason, they are good. But nearly everyday, I’m not sure what horse I’m going to get. I love riding him though and find it almost a driving obsession to figure him out.
Here is a video a couple weeks ago in our lesson. I’m not touching his face much, at this time it’s just about getting him forward..