Recently Solo has been so good it’s been boring. He has been getting better and better at going sideways and as a result, he is more through in his back and all his work seems easier for him.
Yesterday I thought he felt a bit sticky, not as free forward moving a I have been getting, so today I thought I would take him for a nice hack to take the pressure off. I have NO idea what was wrong with him but he didn’t even want to walk past the indoor arena. I don’t know if it is the bugs or what it is but he was reluctant right from the start. I should have taken notice and gone into the arena which is relatively bug free and quite cool with both the end doors open.
Partway up the driveway he stopped and started backing up. I backed him into a building and he went forward again until we were out on the cross country field. We were trotting really beautifully along the paths when he rounded a bend and came upon a newly fallen tree at the side of the road, the next thing I knew we were galloping home and I was pretty pleased with myself for just staying on!
I gathered him up together, got him stopped and turned around, by now halfway back along the tree lined paths. I could NOT get him to go forward and he started to seriously do everything he could to get me off, including continuous bucking without any forward progression and rears if I used my whip, looking behind and backing onto the river bank, he just KNOWS what will make me ease up, he is far too clever by half. In the end I was forced to get off, lead him all the way, lead him back and work him in the indoor arena. I was furious with him, but he had my number. He is so big and powerful, I just didn’t think I could stay on indefinitely and he has never bucked anyone off, or really tried to. He has never been as naughty as he was today.
Horses are very humbling. He has been going like a superstar and I really thought I had the whole ‘in front of the leg’ thing happening. Just goes to show how suckered in you can be with a big mover.
Needless to say, he will be a busy boy out hacking for the foreseeable future, I will take a rider with me to help me if I need it. In fact he will be hacking every day until he is obedient, bugs or no bugs!
The only other item I can offer in his defense is that he was not the only one who was edgy today. There was a very severe thunderstorm blowing in, which hit around lunch time. The horses that worked in the morning, were almost all very difficult and were bucking and spooking. Nobody at Hawkridge had a great ride this morning – whether the horses sensed the storm or not, I am not sure, but it is not the first time I have noticed that horses get anxious when a big storm looms.
I am hoping this is just a fly in the ointment and not the start of another serious run in. He hates the bugs and he is SO opinionated, he is not submissive enough and that is going to have to change. I think I may start working him twice a day for a while, he is in fabulous condition and on a lot of grain, he needs to practice obedience which he is not doing from inside his stall. Perhaps a hack in the morning and an exercise (dressage, lunging, jumping, poles) in the afternoon until he is more rideable and less opinionated. I will try to get the camera out, it’s difficult to do photos when I am the one doing the riding (or not as the case may be…..sigh).