They took my sweet paint boy who has been trying so hard to be good and replaced him with a clone look a like who more closely resembles the jerk of a horse he was 2 years ago...only on steroids.
I was not feeling great when I got home, but better than I was early, so I drank some hot tea, took a 5 min cat nap and decided to go. When I got there Kim was not ready yet, so I had to wait on her. I did a few little lunge circles with him and a lateral flex on each side from the ground.
I can generally just step up and ride him without ground work if I know we are just trail riding, so I didn't worry so much about a lot of prep. That was mistake # 1.
Mistake #2 I forgot to pray first.
I stepped up on him and asked for a couple of bends each direction, which took some spinning to get. Typical for the first time so I was not concerned. Perhaps I should have been.
We headed out and he was just wanting to take off. Kim was on Schnizzle who is 2. Schnizzle was so calm and relaxed, he was the seasoned trail horse, Trax was the horse who had never been out in his life.
No that is wrong, Trax was the horse that wanted to fly like the wind...while I sat in the dirt.
Schnizzle is a good hand or 2 smaller than Trax and he walks very slow. Trax is a bigger horse who likes to trot, or lope, so to ask him to walk slow was killing him, and wasn't much fun for me.
|This is the trail we rode|
Every so often I would get tired of just holding him in so I would one rein stop him to the left. I have started choosing the left because it is his stiffest side. Well this would elicite about 20 spins before he would give in. Not just spins in the same place, but spins as he was trying to move down the trail. It was interesting to say the least.
I tried 2-tracking him down the path, I even started side passing him all the way down. I could feel myself being tense because he was so tense so I would have to stop and just really let myself relax, hoping he would as well. It didn't help much.
Then Kim says, "Do ya wanna trot?" Trax says, "Hell ya!" So she and Schnizzle proceded to take off in a nice smooth ground eating trot. For a horse as small as he is, the boy can move out. Trax had to either lope to keep up the pace or trot and stay behind. He was not about to be left behind by some 2 year old. Not once did we ever get that nice million mile trot that he has.
I do not know where my horse went in his mind, but it was not anywhere near me. I am not sure it was even anywhere in the same time zone.
I finally decided to just let him lope, but I also asked for that little bit of flex to the left and asked him to move off of my leg. I'll say he sort of gave into me but not really because he never really dropped his chin. Eventually he came back down to a trot but it was never nice, and never pretty.
When we reached the end and headed home, he turned the heat up a notch. We started all over again. I swear some of those "one reined stops" were down right nerve racking. I rode them out with MK's voice in my head, "When he gets like this if you can ride it out, it is good but don't risk your own safety." I seriously had to ask myself a couple of times, "Is this horse going to dump me today?" He didn't, and I rode out every single one of them, but I was questioning my sanity the entire time.
Finally about a mile from home he started to relax. I never could really let go of his mouth but he would at least drop his head and not hurt my hands so much. I tried letting go to see if he would just walk, but as soon as I did he started trotting. It was the nice trot, but it wasn't what I was asking for so I had to correct him. He did seem to be happier when he was in front, but we wanted to ride side by side so we could talk, so all this crap he slung at me was not cool at all.
As I lay in bed this morning after letting the dogs out and waiting for the alarm to go off, I analyzed what the issue really was. First off, we rarely trail ride with anyone else so he is used to being able to set his own pace, and I usually allow that. When we do ride with someone else they are usually on Killian. Killian is even bigger than Trax and his walk is (or can be) as fast as Trax's favorite trot. So for him to have to match a pace with a horse that is content to meander was hard for him. It was a new trail with a new horse that he didn't know. But none of that should have mattered.
I think I set us up for failure by not really ground working him first, and by not praying. He solidified that failure by not listening to me when I asked him to do something simple like walk. It wasn't like I was asking him to do some hard task or anything. All I wanted was for him to walk. We will try this again this weekend, just me and him. We will see if he will walk then.
It was not the best of rides, but it was an eye opener for sure. One of the things I remember reading in his personality assessment, is that horses like him make great endurance horses because they like to just set their own pace and move out. If they have to conform to another horses pace they can get frustrated. That was exactly what he was going through yesterday. Even though I said earlier that he wanted to run away and leave me in the dirt, I don't honestly think that was the case. He just wanted to do his pace and not worry about what that slow poke horse was doing. He wanted to get in his "zone' where he doesn't have to think about anything, or do any special tricks. Usually I allow that, this time I did not, and he did not understand.
With that in mind I have to ask myself...who failed who this time?