I guess saying that is not totally fair. We actually had a pretty decent ride for the first hour or so.
That is not to say that he did not try some of his same crap of running off the minute I asked for the lope, but this time I shut him down before he ever had a chance to get started. If he started in with his, "I'm outa here!" bullshit, I immediately drove his butt into the ground, backed him up, turned his should and loped half way around the arena, and then repeated that exercise over and over again.
We also did a gazillion serpentine's. Not the nice pretty ones done by two tracking that Mark used to ask for. These were just "turn left, two steps, turn right, two steps, turn left, two steps, turn right." We did these at a trot, and by time we were done he seemed pretty mellow.
So then I asked for the the nicer, slower counter arch/two track serpentine's. He was happy to do them and I thought that maybe...just maybe...we were starting to make some progress.
We also did some other stuff, did a reining pattern (which he still remembers from a year ago), did the gate, did some side passing and really worked on our spins.
The only thing we didn't had not done yet was the log pull. So I went and grabbed it and we drug it around. I almost always drag with my reins in my right hand, loop the rope just half a turn around with my left and then hold both pieces of the rope that have tension on them in my hand. Doing so allows me the ability to toss that rope away if we get in to trouble.
For three steps he was a little snorty and hot, but then he settled down and things were "normal" (which a relative term with this horse). As we were doing this I realized that technically we are supposed to dally with the right hand and drag that way. I decided to stop him, switch sides and go from the right.
To steal a phrase from "Funder" I swear, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
He was fine till we started walking, the log was now in front of him and all he had to do is walk past it. Instead he backed sideways away from it, then around it. I kept talking him to take it easy and relax while asking him to just walk slowly forward. I had my reins pretty short on him, but it was irrelevant.
Do you see where this is going yet?
The next thing I knew he was gone, and I mean mentally, physically and without any clue that I was up there on top of him. I tried to toss the rope away so I could get a hold of him, but it didn't toss, instead a piece got looped up on the horn and the dead run he was moving at caused it to tie up in knots, around the horn.
So now there I was with no control of my horse, a rope tied around my saddle horn and a log chasing us from behind.
Trax on the other hand was running for his life and headed straight for the part of my arena that is not closed off yet. Beyond that is what is left of the original arena fence which is also...wide...fricking...open.
I knew right then and there I was in trouble.
Tc and his son in law and grandson were in the shop and I
I was torn between, hanging on for dear life, trying to figure out how to stop him, and trying to get the rope off my saddle horn.
The running martingale did not help in this instance and I could not get his head around to slow him down. There was no untying the rope, however the log did finally fall off.
Trax headed towards the pens and the tack room and I hoped that maybe he would stop at the tack room, but he didn't, he made a hard left to head out the drive and past the pens.
Looking back now I can see that he still had the mental fortitude to choose his path. Clearly he was thinking, "Oh the rocks in the drive hurt my feet so let me move over to the side where the dirt is soft."
Guess what else is in the soft dirt?
Big trees, and tractor implements and he was making a beeline for the harrow.
I believe my exact words were something like, "Son of Bitch Trax! Whoa! Don't hit the har-----mumph" (mouth full of leaves) as he jumped the harrow, putting my entire upper body into the nice thick limbs of the tree.
I thought, "This is it, I'm going off."
I still do not know how I stayed on. But I did. I was told later that he actually laid me all the way back across his butt, but I had a death grip on those reins and was not letting go. My hat and glasses however, did not fare so well.
Then is was out the front non existent gate, and down the road. I'm still screaming at him to "slow the F down you dirty rotten M-F'r!" when he made a hard right up the neighbors drive. I still had zero control but I at least saw a chance for stopping him. I steered him right for the building in front of us. He did end up swerving around it but stopped in a little alley way between their barn and Sassy's pen.
I was shaking.....he was really shaking. I was pissed, and I hurt, and I wanted to kill my horse.
I slowly untied the rope, and tossed it aside and then slowly walked him (still riding) back to the house.
I took him to the tack area, took off the martingale, lead him to round pen, took off the bridle and said, "You wanna run- do it!" And he did about 100 laps in each direction as fast as I could make him go.
Then I put back on his bridle, grabbed another rope, and took him back to the arena. I roped our log, put the rope on his right side and we dragged the log around....I was on the ground this time.
He acted like it was no big deal.
I got on my horse and we did serpentine's, and we did long trotting and we did flag work and when we were done if I said stop, he stopped.....right now. He side passed gracefully in either direction, and then we walked out the gate and down the road. I rode him to the end of the road and back and we did lots of stopping, backing up and moving of the shoulders.
Then I hosed him down, put him away, and went inside and bawled like a baby.
After I assessed my physical damage, which is just a big lump on the side of my head and one on my arm, I took a shower, took a short nap and headed to work. I made a phone call to a friend. I told the whole story, told her I was thinking of not working him the arena for a while, and just putting lots of miles on him in the desert before working him in the arena again.
She listened to the whole story, and then when I said, "What are your thoughts?" I got the truth.
I am trying to implement major changes on a broken horse. One who very well may have had a screw loose from the day he dropped four hooves on the ground.
I am expecting major changes in him without putting in the major work it takes to obtain said changes. He gets ridden maybe once a week. It takes a lot of riding to get him to the point of being physically able to execute the things I want him to do. It takes riding him every single day.
She made a suggestion, and it is a good one I think. Ride him every single day for the next 30 days. If he is doing good, then he can get off with 20 minutes or so. If he is being a dick, then work his ass of for at least an hour if not more. If at the end of 30 days we have not made any real progress, then I will know that he will never ever ever be an arena pony and I can switch gears on him towards something else.
Oh and the other suggestion made by TC....Shut the Gawl-dang gate!
One more thing I want to add. Even if we make real progress, I may not continue with him as an arena pony. I'm not making that decision today...but I can assure you that I will be alot more careful when working with ropes.
Ok...this is the last thing. I think I should clarify to others about what I want from Trax. I don't care if he never does a big sliding stop. I don't care if he ever does big fancy spins. The important things I am trying to teach him are the things he will need to know in order to be safe to ride anywhere, at any time. Also it doesn't mean we won't do any riding in the desert, that will still happen, but so will the arena riding.
I agree with her assessment because I clearly remember that when we were in WY and I rode 3-4 times a week...we made great progress.