Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It's not always good

I rode Pal again last weekend. Saturday night he was pretty good with the exception of one 'bobble'. He pulled something that was a bit new for me. I had lengthened my stirrups a hole and we started out walking while doing some bending and softening exercises. Hand back to my hip, inside leg back, push the hip over. Circles to the left, circles to the right...

And while we were walking, I also worked on me. A few deep breaths, lengthen my spine. Reach down through my heels, deepen my seat and lengthen my legs. Soft and relaxed was on order for both of us...

Things were going well and I decided it was time to move on to the trot. Pal was responsive and light in the bridle, yet on the bit too and we were progressing.  We were going around to the left and working on the rail. At about the middle of the arena I used my seat, legs and rein and turned him into the fence. As he made the turn I released the rein and urged him on, clucking to him and squeezing with both legs.

Mondo in the foreground playing with Pal.

I may have gotten one or two strides of a trot before Pal had other ideas in mind.  He started crow hopping. He got about 3 hops in before I turned him into the fence again and made him stop. What the Hell was that all about?  His usually reaction of pouting was to stop, stomp a foot, raise his head up and to the right, then kick out with his right hind foot. That was his idea of defiance. This?  This was something new.

Apparently in Pal's mind he wasn't ready to move along yet. All righty then...  We did some more walking. More stops, rock back a half step then push off and go forward with impulsion. It was slow going, but progress is progress and sometimes slow is all you get. When that happens, you accept it and work with it.  You will get more later, but you have time to work towards that. With that in mind and our daylight fading fast, we stopped there and called it good. Things were looking up.

Mondo coming down the stretch...

Sunday night was a bit different.  We were a little crunched for time. By the time I had Pal tacked and ready to go, the sun was already on the horizon. It was still light out enough to get some work in, but we would be in a pinch and pushing it to get much done.  Something is usually better than nothing so I lunged him and got on.  Things were fine. Pal was relaxed, head down, he was balanced, on the bit, light in the bridle and moved off my leg without any issue or indication of what was to come.  We did a few stops, rock back, push forward and he walked on... 

Lucky for us we were in the middle of the arena at that point. I had him bent to the left and was working on our stretches and softening work, breathing, deepening my seat and lengthening my legs when he started to blow.  It was as if he tried to bolt, but then threw in the crow hopping again.  He got about three or four jumps in before he was at the fence and found his common sense again.

Yes my hands were up in my lap out of position. No I'm sure it was not graceful on my part, but I stuck with him and when he stopped at the fence I dropped my left hand, pulled him around and he started to walk off.  I let him because a moving horse has a bit of limited options as far as which direction they can go if they decide to get squirrelly again. A horse that is standing still- can go off in any direction. You may not be ready for it and could easily come off.

Hubby Johnie Rotten had been at the fence and seen this latest episode. What he seen and what I felt and remember are a bit different.  When Pal stopped at the fence he turned but then started shifting his weight back and forth on the front end. He looked as if he were ready to go up.  By dropping my hand and pulling him off and out to the side, I had diffused the situation and kept the option of up (and possibly over) out of the question.

We did some more walking, more bending and turning both directions and called it good. The extent of his 'punishment' was hearing me ask- "What the Hell was that and where did it come from? You know better than that." We were about out of light by then and going on would have been pointless. 

A good friend of mine told me I should wear my helmet from now on. I am definitely keeping it in mind, so I will keep my mind in!  Getting hurt or even doing an unplanned dismount is not exactly my idea of fun...  I doubt it is anybody elses plan either!


Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I feel naked without a helmet. I've also been flirting with someday purchasing body armor. It seems extreme, but anyone who has lost 6 months or more of their life recovering from a horse accident knows that all the protection is worth it.

I was telling my farrier about the time Gabbrielle bolted and wouldn't stop after I brought her home from the training barn. He asked where I was riding her. I said in the round pen, and he said, "Well, at least she can't go anywhere. You may as well ride it out."

I said, "I couldn't. Her movements were so jerky that I lost a stirrup and started sliding down the side of the saddle."

I've heard so many people say that you can't get hurt and nothing bad is going to happen to you as long as you are riding in a fenced area. That's ridiculous. You can fall off onto a fence and break a few ribs or knock yourself out.

Lostine used to crow hop all the time, so I know it's not fun. You always wonder when it will explode into a full on bucking bronc ride.

fernvalley01 said...

I like the comment you made a while back "Keep a helmet in mind , to keep your mind in your helmet" or something similar. I think Pal is "upping the ante " on the pouting , hope it doesn't get any bigger

phaedra96 said...

PUT. THE. HELMET. ON!!!!! What will your children do if he launches you and you come down on your head? If for no other reason, wear it for them.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Nuzzling Muzzles- been there before! When they bolt and run off, you really can't do much but hang on and ride it out. In a fenced area or not- they can dump you if and when they want to or if you get off balance. It happens to everyone at some point.

FV- yeah, he may very well be upping the ante on this one. Might be things he learned being next to Mondo, who also needs a job.

Phaedra- I know, right?!?! I am pretty much hit or miss with the helmets though. Will wear one if I drive out off the property, but not usually when working out back. Always for jumping, but sometimes for flat work. Western tack- rarely happens.

We all know shit happens any time, any where and sometimes for no apparent reason.

Bif said...

Are you sure his saddle is still fitting him the same, since it sounds like he's developing. Both times you made it sound like it was when you were working on deepening your seat, lengthening your legs... wonder if that with the turns was making something feel different to him.

kestrel said...

Hate it when they ask ya 'what are you going to do if I say no?!'

You have kids girl, so wear the helmet or they won't wear theirs! I made a deal with my kids years ago, I'd wear the helmet ALL THE TIME they'd wear their seatbelts ALL THE TIME. It sure paid off.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Good point Bif- I check his back every time, before and after though. No dry spots, no areas where he shows soreness, etc. As they develop though, they do change.

Kestrel- I know, lead by example. Right? No room for argument if that is just 'how it is' for everyone. They are strapped into car seat- I'm buckled in too. The horses should not be any different.

Bif said...

I know you are sharp on that sort of stuff. Just trying to think, since you said this is not his usual type of resistance. I was also trying to think if since you were working more on centering yourself if it made an area feel different or press differently.

I personally have found that dry spots don't always show up, and some horses just like things a bit different/wider/front to back angle/ what not as they change. Of course he could just be trying different resistance buttons, but if he was reasonably agreeable before, one leans more towards physical.

A fellow boarder was upset that her horse (a 3 y/o)had taken to rearing when she got on, and unaccountably at different times when they rode. I suggested trying a wider saddle, and he was back to his normal self immediately.

He never had a ruffled hair, dry spot, or a sore back from the saddle he didn't like. At a standstill it seemed not unreasonable of a fit. He just wanted more room for his muscles to move up in to.

NeighGirl said...

I just found your blog, I love your pictures.
Pal is so pretty, my mare used to do the same thing and a friend told me to stay at the gait and turn in circles. Another thing that works is to turn their head all the way to the side, it makes it a lot harder to misbehave that way.

I loved reading your blog and will pop by again,

Check out my blog: www.whinnyandwhimsy.blogspot.com

Amish Stories said...

We are having temps in the 80s the last few days, so its hard to think fall is really here. Richard

Cut-N-Jump said...

Bif- Sometimes you just never know what sets them off. If it is pain, habit, new tricks or ???, I will be checking a few things though before proceeding with him.

Pain, it would not be fair to punish him. Old habits or new tricks- it's a different set of rules and things need to be addressed.

Neighgirl- Thanks for stopping by. Staying at the gait works if you have been working on, at or in that gait when the issues started. We are walking and he is getting squirrelly to try to avoid work. Circling works, but not on all horses or in all circumstances.

Richard- it's actually been cooler here. In the mid to high 70's. LOVING it!