Z had two weeks off: one week to heal and another week due to the rainy weather and holiday. Today it was over 50 degrees with a moderate wind so I had scheduled Rugby Player to come out.
Sometimes horses benefit from having a little time off. It gives them time to process their lessons, and can sometimes unstick a bad habit from forming. It also gives a break to the trainer. However, Z doesn’t need months off, even though we are heading into winter. She is still thinking that she can goof off and do what she wants, when in reality she is on my dime.
I don’t like this I-don’t-wanna attitude like riding is still such a big deal for her. Too much time off and she backslides. That was a bit of what happened today.
Groundwork went really well. I’m starting to introduce the shoulder-in and she gave me several very nice steps. She was a little unfocused at times but generally I thought she did very well and was looking relaxed and showing no signs of uneveness or pain.
When Rugby Player got on she decided that riding under saddle wasn’t in her program today. She did some bunny hops in the back – not quite a crow hop as the front end never comes off the ground. Since I was behind her, I shouted “NO!” and she rolled her eye back to me as only an Appaloosa (who has a white rim around the eyeball) can with a: “You’re kidding me, right?!”
RP worked through it and I assisted from the ground, telling her No or Hey! in a don’t-do-dare-do-that voice. RP says she behaves better when I’m in the arena (hm go see the dogs post before this one) so I stuck around til she was going smoothly and than exited.
Once she got going, she decided it was all okay and gave quite a bit of energy at trot and none of her balking behavior. There was some very nice relaxed work near the end on a very loose rein that I especially liked.
My agenda for this horse is quite simple at this point: WORK ETHIC.
When you have the bridle or saddle on, you work. PERIOD.
You act up? More WORK.
Reward: after you give a nice effort, you get a Major Award such as an hour eating a fat slice of Alfalfa.
Discussed with RP and if it is 48 degrees and above or, even 45 but with no wind, we will work. I don’t have an indoor and I’m not willing to put him, or me, through riding in hard wind such as a 35 degrees with -10 with a windchill! However, this area of the U.S. routinely gets nice winter days that can even reach 70, so we should be able to squeak in enough work in the next three months.
Hopefully, by the end of winter, balking and bunny-hopping will be a thing of the past.