After posting a comment on another blog a little while back, I got to thinking about it and realized how hypocritical I had been in asking that question? How often do you go out for a trail ride and just walk the whole time? When was the last time I had done that with Kat? I couldn't even begin to tell you, because yeah- it has been that long. I think the last time I took him anywhere or did anything with him where walking the whole time was the only thing on the agenda... was back when he had had his epic meltdown at the horse park.
The following day when I hitched him, we did nothing but walk for a few reasons. 1) I wanted him hitched ASAP so he did not get it in his head that this was the way to get out of having to work. 2) We did nothing but walk so it was all low key, no pressure and both of us could get our confidence back. 3) We did not go to the horse show (which I had originally planned to do) because we just didn't need a crowd, other horses or any more distractions to stir things up, set him off or be in the line of fire if he blew up again.
Weekend before last, I hitched Kat and we went for a walk. He was a bit wound and ready for action, I'm sure he thought we would be trucking along on the side of the road, working on his stamina and endurance levels... and he didn't quite understand that all we were going to do that day was walk. He didn't want to. He was ready to GO! I had to check him back a few times and remind him to just walk. Then he started getting a bit mad about it. I stopped him, backed him up and then let him walk forward. If he started jigging again, stop, back up and back off the bit. We went a little different route out thru the neighborhood and there were 'new' horses to see and show off for, hoping to impress them. Yeah, not so much.
More jigging, more stopping and backing and then walking forward. If he kept it at a walk, he could keep moving, but if it went beyond that, he was stopped and reminded to back off. We finally turned to come up a different road leading back to the house. We've gone this way before and there is a horse in a roundpen, right up by the road. I think it is a mare, but I'm not sure. Kat didn't care. He was either going to impress her or intimidate him, but either way he was acting like a total jerk. So we did some circles to the left. Tight circles to the left. When we straightened out, if he didn't give me an ear- we did some circles to the right. Again I would let him straighten out and see where he went with it. More circles? Suit yourself then...
It took a while to get past that horse because Kat was not behaving like he knows how to do, but once we did, he settled right down and walked on just as nice as you please. Grumble* snarl* grumble* grumble* snarl* But what did I expect of him, really? He creeps when I'm harnessing him up and putting him to the cart and a lot of times I am pressed for time, so when the last buckle is done, the excess thru the keeper, I hop on the cart and we GO! Work involves trotting and even some cantering because we need to work on both extensions and collections of the trot besides our working trot, so there it is. There's the cause of the problem.
Before going to Sonoita I had already made plans to start walking Kat in the cones between competitions. We needed to go back and do a lot of walking. I also want to move them in as narrow as I can so that there is little to no room for error. That way, when we get to the events and the cones are set a little wider- it's a piece of cake. He might be a little wild and might have some serious speed, but he needs to learn how to control when and where he uses it, saving it for when it's needed. Besides, the walk portion in dressage- it's worth double points. If you can nail a good walk portion in your test, the rest comes a little easier. Besides, don't you learn to walk before you can run?