I rode Killian this morning, and in exactly 1.25 hours I was able to fix all of his major problems. It only took one time of pushing him sideways about 30 feet for him to stand still for mounting. He now stops when asked at any speed, backs up straight, lopes out the minute I ask (although almost always on the incorrect lead), moves off my leg, and does the most beautiful rollbacks of any horse I have ever ridden. I can move his hip from right to left, but cannot budge it from left to right. I personally could care less. He did however have an epic fail at the gate. We did eventually get it done, but it was never right.
We will however visit that again. The sad part of all of this is that the first time TC or Simon get on him, he will be ruined again. But such is life I guess.
One thing I learned with Killian is about why he backs up crooked. It is because he is anticipating the push on his shoulders. It was the easiest fix in the world. If he backed to the left, expecting the roll back to the right, I promptly rolled his shoulders the opposite direction. Once he realized that it was going to be like that, he backed up straight every single time.
He did well so I hosed him down (which he hates) and then put him away.
Then I got Trax out.
I shall refer again today to the book "Healing Shine" by Michael Johnson. (http://www.michaeljohnsonbooks.com/healingshine.html
I'm sorry if you all are sick of hearing about it but there are just too many real to life things that come out of that book. Or at least real to me.
Those of you who have read the book will recall the 11th commandment.
The 11th commandment states, "Thou shall not let the horse win."
In his book he goes on to tell how all good little christian cowboys and cowgirls know this commandment by the time they are 10.
Today we broke that commandment into a gazillion little pieces. It is shattered all over my arena buried in the dirt, with mismatched hoof prints stamped all over it. It is also covered in sweat and tears. Sweat from both of us and tears from me.
I am exhausted.
On the bright side, some good things did come to light for me today.
If a person could ever gain control of this horses feet at any speed other than a walk, they would find themselves with a horse who contains a gold mine in untapped energy, stamina, speed, and potential to do anything they wanted him to do.
The only down side to this realization is the other realization that in order to get control of his feet you have to get into his brain, and that brain is locked inside a cast iron shell with an unpick-able lock and I have yet to find the key to open that lock. I know there is one, but its location still alludes me.
We rode for well over 2 hours. Most of that 2 hours was just spent racing around the arena. Although in the beginning it was just walk, trot and obstacles and he was great. Then I asked for the lope and the race was on. I finally got tired of just being along for the ride and started asking him to slow down. That didn't work so I asked for more speed.
All I did was squeeze just a little and he took off like a shot, stretched out and just flew. I managed to hold on and kept waiting for him to get tired, but it never happened. He never did slow down, nor did he get tired. I finally did get tired, and started trying to pull him into smaller circles to slow him down. His circles got smaller, but never got any slower.
Finally I touched his nose to his butt and he spun to a stop, dang near throwing me off to the side in the process.
From that point forward there was nothing I could do with him. Finally I just asked him to walk.
At one point I reached down to adjust my reins and he tried to bolt. So our next lesson was strictly getting him to stay at a walk, while I played with the tail end of my reins. Once he came back to reality to recognize that I was still there, we did some trotting. It was pretty much a fight the entire time.
Finally I got sick of it all and just took him out and walked him down the road, doing lots of stops and back ups. Then we came home and called it a day.
He won today. He won big time. I'm going to have to do some thinking on this and figure out what I need to change up. If I never asked him to go faster than a trot, then we would not have these issues. But that is not how life works unless you are a horse on a dude ranch. He is not a dude ranch horse though, he is my horse, he is a broke horse, and by golly he needs to act like it at least once in a while!
I just might dose him with some mare-calm before I ride him next time. Just to see what happens.
Here is the thing I noticed about today. Usually after a while, Trax goes to his happy place, he slows down naturally, drops his head and from that point forward the lines of communication are open.
Today he never got there. I honestly would like to know why.