Big Guy has character. He can worry and fret, and then it explodes outward with a buck and sideways kick. Or he will suddenly take a fright at something he’s seen a million times and take off at a hard gallop, imperious to any pull or one rein stop.
Usually, I deal with this type of explosion (generally short lived) by letting him go forward and work harder. But how do you deal with providing an outlet for the explosion when the horse cannot go faster, work harder, or he will become injured? Still yet you have need for the shunt.
That has been my dilemma and why I’ve been hesitant to ride him. On the lunge, if he explodes, he would let his own physical liability slow or stop him from performing too much. However, if I was riding him, I also know how worked up he gets just from the act of walking on and then the fretting begins, the chomping at the bit, the behind the bit behavior, and the tenseness… which all results as if a switch in his brain has been turned off and he has no ability to listen to the rider as he goes “hell bent for the horizon.”
Going back to these old ways (trained by other people prior to me) is his security blanket. It’s like someone who bites their nails when they think they did wrong, under stress or anxious. When he was healthy and I was riding him regularly, a lot of this got trained away – so I expect I can pull him out of these habits again… but how is the question.
Today, with hubby’s assistance, I did get him ridden and it was good. He almost felt like his old self when he was under me. I combined it with a little lunging, little riding, little lunging, little riding, interspersed with some clicker training in an attempt to keep the ADD horses’ mind on something.
While on the lunge I noticed his trot was almost normal; actually unless you knew what to look for you probably wouldn’t have seen it! So that gives me the option that if I want him to move out a bit more, I could do so to vent some of his energy.
The weather is to be nice the next couple of days; hope to get some more rides in on him and see how we fare.