Okay so now that I have gained my composure a little, I can explain a little of what happened today with Trax.
Actually things were going really well he was trotting out nicely, long and low and felt really really good. We incorporated some of that into smaller turns trying to get him to stay in frame and I am finally starting to feel the difference when he is in frame and not, or at least I think I am. To me it seems that when he is in frame he leads with his shoulder while keeping his body in line. That may not be the correct way to describe it, but he doesn't flip his hip out, which is what is "normal" for him.
We worked on the spin move and I really didn't push him hard. All I asked for was a couple of steps and although he was making a half hearted attempts he still sucks back into himself. But really I wasn't even upset about that. Because at least he was trying. His stops were decent, and even his backing up was not bad either. I was totally happy with what we were doing.
Sooooo I decided to turn on the camera. I thought I would just film some of the trotting to see if it looked as good as it felt. I thought that maybe we would do a few stops and backing up. Nothing fancy.
I got on.
His head went straight up
And he lost his f'n mind!
His feet were going about a million miles an hour in twenty different directions. He acted as if I was wailing on him and all I was asking him to do was trot, nice and relaxed just like he was doing before.
At this point I forgot all about the camera and tried desperately to figure out what the hell was going on.
He raced around wildly and I tried so hard not to get mad at him, but I failed. He kept trying to dive toward the open end of the arena, and finally I had enough. I took him to the opening and I side passed him back and forth about 30 feet in each direction. I made him back up. I did all kinds of hard working things and then took him back to the center to rest and to calm down myself.
I'm pretty sure there was steam coming out of my ears. So we just stood there and I took many deep breaths until I had calmed down.
I decided I needed to change things up so we went to the gate and worked the gate. He did it but he wasn't happy about it. He tried to crush my leg against the gate. Rotten little F'r!
So I asked him to trot again. Finally he did, but it never felt nice and easy like it did earlier. He was so locked up in his mind and I could feel it in his whole body. I knew we were getting no where. I asked for a stop and he did so I quit.
I don't know what happened. I mean there were times when he was ten million miles away and just running blindly, and I didn't ask him to do anything hard. Just trot. I didn't ram and jam on him. It was a totally unwarranted melt down on his part.
After playing the whole thing over in my mind all I can think is that when I got off to turn on the camera he thought we were done. When I got back on, he got pissed that he was having to do more. So was he having a melt down or was he throwing a temper tantrum?
After I put him away, I had my own meltdown. I still question my sanity trying to work with this horse, and even now as I sit here hours later and type this I am having to fight back the tears because I feel like giving up. But at least I no longer want to give him away to the first person who will take him.
Trax is who he is. He is a hard horse to reach, he always has been. He does not love arena work. He never has. I know this. I have always known this. He loves to go out to the desert. He loves to push cows in a cross county situation, he will push cows across the countryside long past the point where most horses will give up. There are other things he is good at. He is pretty good at trail obstacles, he can even get over that fear of ropes if worked with enough.
But when it comes to the basics of "reining" he fails completely. If I can't teach him the basics, he will never succeed. If he doesn't learn to relax and accept, I will never be able to teach him the basics. If I can't quit buying into his bad attitude, temper tantrums, or what ever they are, we are never going to get past where we are right now.
I have often considered sending him to someone else to get these basics. I know I should be able to do it, but I don't feel confident about it. I need someone who really knows their stuff. There is one person who I think that might could reach him. If anyone can, it would be this guy. I sent him an email to see if he'd be willing. If he is and I can afford it with my income tax return, I might do it; as much for Trax's sake as for my own. Then I will ask this man to work with Trax and I together so that I don't undo any good that was done. We will see. If he turns me down, then I will just have to keep going on my own.
After I put Trax away I went in and got something to drink and then went back out and got Sassy. I saddled her up and we rode around the round pen. I had attempted a lap around the arena yesterday while someone else rode Killian, but she was way to flighty and not ready for it yet so today we went back to the round pen.
She did pretty well, nothing to write home about, just more of the same, but I was quite pleased with her attitude, and even more that the only time she mis-stepped at all is if I turned her sharp. I did bute her last night and this morning, so that might have been some of it, but you may recall that for a long time she was on constant bute and still limped. So I would say there is improvement.
I didn't put the boots on her this time either. I wanted to, but yesterday I found that I can't keep them on straight at all. I think because her toes are so long her heels don't fit down inside now. The whole boot just spins all the way to the side. I want to file her down, but the trimmer gal has specifically asked that I don't so that she has plenty to work with when she comes this weekend.
She did fling her head an awful lot today in protest of the bit, but I just waited her out kept my hands steady and the minute she gave to the very slight amount of pressure I released. Finally she got that all she had to do was do was give and there was no head flinging needed to get her release.
Oh, I do have some other good news though. A called me Saturday and told me that there is a farrier in our area, one who believes in barefoot, believes in heel first landings, and one who believes that owners should know how to trim their own horses. He mentioned that they are trying to put together a clinic in our neighborhood for some time in April for owners who want some hands on guidance. He has said that he wants to keep it reasonably priced so that people can actually afford to attend and he is encouraging each person to bring their own horse to learn on. So I am excited about that.
I did specifically request that they don't schedule it the same weekend as the Dick Pieper clinic though.
So yes, we had a rough day. I have come to accept that Trax is not the super duper pleaser horse that I want him to be. I have come to accept that he is never going to excel at Stock horse, but we will keep working for now, so that I can get better, and who knows maybe someday he will quit fighting me quite so hard.
ps. I did finally remember the camera about 20 minutes before I had to leave for work. The battery was dead. Perfect. lol!