My earlier post about riding Z got deleted by accident – user error on that one. Thanks Kathy and Julian for your supportive comments.
As readers know, Z went to the trainer last year for 120 days and then back to me where I paid someone to ride her under my supervision. Neither of these options were very satisfying for different reasons (see Blog History tabs above) and I knew that I needed to belly up to the bar and pay my tab – meaning either get on the damn horse and start the work, sell her or make her a pet.
While Z had moved up to Missouri this summer, I was still stuck in Oklahoma until recently. Time passed and I got up to Missouri in the fall, got employed and decided that, despite entering winter, we needed to pay that tab! The difficulty was that by the time husband got home from work it was dark… could I ride when no one was there? If I was thrown or injured I would be literally on my own because my cell phone doesn’t get coverage at the back end of nowhere (aka our country rental house). Keeping the horse between me and the ground is essential unless I want to drive myself an hour to the hospital.
Okay, lets’ bypass that doom and gloom. For the last 10 days I’ve been riding Z pretty regularly. What this actually means (nothing as grandiose as “riding” happening at all) is that I’m saddling her up and getting on her back without any supportive groundperson around. The upshot is that I’m getting on and Z is being agreeable for the most part about the procedure.
For those who have followed Z’s drama, the issue with her is not the ability to be ridden but her attitude. Her disagreeable, combative, “I don’t want too and you can’t make me” attitude which makes her body rock tense as she works herself up into a Conniption Fit. With that in mind these are the very simplistic goals we are working on (and having success too!):
1.) Changing the ‘Tude. Z has a habit of pinning her ears and giving the nasty eye when you are at the mounting block and she is next to it – or when you get on. That’s been ongoing (look at photos way back when I first started putting pressure on back). Going back to Mark Russell’s idea of relaxation and combining the knowledge I’ve learned doing the Masterson Method, I have been looking for the slightest sign of relaxation during these times.
I’ve been seeing a lot of progress with this issue however, it does seem to come and go and I chalk that up to hormones and probably just plain irritability.
2.) Moving Forward. Since balking is her favorite response, obtaining consistent forward movement when I ask is incredibly important. Since bucking is also a resistance of hers, horses can only buck if they pause for a moment – the horse stabilizes with the front legs while they kick out with the back. Having written that though, Z is the mistress of the running, kick out with one leg, maneuver.
Each ride my courage and confidence increase! We are getting there in little mini stages but are moving forward, literally and figuratively.