Trax likes to get things right, just like any horse, because getting it right means he can go back to his nap. Some horses, on the other hand enjoy learning knew things and thrive off of the challenge. With all of his baggage, he thrives off of being left along.
Also, on the day that she rode him he was not feeling well. In fact he was not well for a couple of weeks, so that did contribute to his attitude that day. What else...well I wanted him to be something he wasn't yet and I was pushing him faster than he was ready for. This sort of behavior on my part puts up three more bricks in the wall that I just tore 1 down out of.
So lets see that was about a month ago. Alot has happened for the old guy since then.
He/we had a meltdown, which in turn brought about a few revelations on my part.
He is on a new diet. I was looking for a magnesium supplement but since I couldn't find it settled on a grain made for IR horses. He is also getting a vitamin supplement and a joint supplement. One at the behest of the trimmer to get those soles growing better, and the other at the behest of the chiro who thinks it will help the pain in his one hock.
He had a chiro adjustment which left him hardly able to keep his eyes open.
Today was our first ride since the melt down and since his chiro appt.
I won't say I had a new horse today, but he was different for sure.
First off I noticed today that my horse has withers. Did you know that my horse has withers? I know, you would think that I should have known, but truly today is the first time I have seen them. It kind of freaked me out. I thought "Argh, he is getting too skinny!" But then I felt for his ribs. Yes you can feel them, but the are not stick out. I looked at his butt. Not sunk in at all, still round and muscular. I felt his back bone, yes I can feel it, but it is not sticking up, it is just flat. But that big strap of fat over his withers is gone.
You can bet that I'll be watching his weight closely, in fact even now he is out in the pasture all by himself having a snack, but right now he looks great. After our ride today I hosed him down and really looked at him with all his winter hairs smoothed down. Not skinny, just has withers....go figure.
So we rode. We started with the lunging and he...started....at...a...walk. He has never done that. EVER.
We had a welcomed audience today of A, who is quite modest and does not call her self a trainer, but who has spent a lot of time around some of the bigger named trainers in the area, and does give lessons to young children. She just wanted to watch us for a bit.
When I got on, I asked for the later flex. He was good to the left still, really stiff to the right. We trotted around moved off my leg, counter arched, stopped, backed up. Stood still and reminded him that if he feels the slightest pressure on his mouth, if he drops his head the pressure will stop.
We ran our wild circles and then when he felt right I asked for a little more control. He gave it to me willingly. He was just so damn good.
We worked a little on our roll backs and she mentioned that if I sat back on his butt a little more it would encourage him to plant that hind foot a little better. Damn straight it did!
I side passed him for her, it actually felt pretty nice and she said that he only crab stepped once or twice before he moved gracefully and crossed over in front...both directions.
We loped the other way, working on our transitions of faster to slower and back again.
Then it was time for her to go so I kept riding, we worked on our lead changes. Did you know that Trax can almost do a flying lead change? I didn't. By time we finished with that exercised I was able break him down just one step ask for the change and get it. Can you see my grin from where you are?
We did a few more roll backs against the fence. He is so good in one direction but not the other...but we will get there. We did them at a trot.
Earlier when we were loping circles I had asked for a stop but got my cues all wonky and the stop was all wonky. On our last circle, I tried to pick up on his front end just a little, said, "Ready", sat down, and then said "Whoa". It was the best stop he has ever done.
We stopped right there, walked down the road and then came home for a hose down, a quick hoof file and now he is getting his pasture time.
He is becoming a willing partner. I don't know if it is me or him, the supplements, the chiro or a combination of it all, but it was tangible progress today and I could not be happier with my horse.
I have had 3 different people tell me now that I really ride much better than I give myself credit for. So I guess I'll quit saying I can't ride at all now.
One thing that A said she noticed that she thought was very cool is that Trax and I have constant conversation's going on. He asks, "This?" and I say, "No this." and so he gives what I want and then I reward with the release. Then he says, "Can I lift my head?" and I say, "No I'd rather it was down." and so he gives it back again and gets his release. I never realized that about us, but I guess it is true. I guess that is a good thing.
Late for work now.
PS. Done with the horse shopping.