Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A good ride

It was indeed!  Jessica, my hubby and I headed to Flying M last weekend for our little trail ride. Jess's mare Rio, Ladde and Eagle gave us an enjoyable morning on the trails and the weather was beautiful!

Eagle rode in Jess's trailer with her mare and my hubby followed with Ladde.  This gave Eags another experience of leaving in a strange trailer and coming home in his usual ride.  We found out that Ladde and Eags will fit in our trailer!  That's a relief!  Not that my boy prefers riding in the back, but other than shoving me out of the trailer because he wanted to get out, it was all good.  And yes, he did get in trouble for that!  He can shove me around like a beach ball when he wants to, and we just can't have that.

As for the ride, we arrived and saddled up.  My nerves showed up as expected, but because of the big rock parking area we couldn't warm up as I'd normally do.  So...get on, get moving and try to just relax.  He felt good, so other than a little nerves, I was alright.  Early on we had a nice, steepish hill to climb which is always a good way to warm up the horses.  :)  Eags climbed the hill with only one bit of encouragement required and then managed the trails for a good distance with me smiling all the way.  He feels sure and strong when we're going down the trails - exactly what I want.

We had to drop down on the gravel road for a short bit before catching the trail again, and this is where the trouble started.  Same thing that happened once before.  We're going along perfectly fine and then all of a sudden, Eagle abruptly turns around and heads back.  He's gone far enough and is done.  Just like that.  Can't have that, so I turn him around.  This isn't an easy feat because he is quite determined that going back is exactly what he wants to do, and it just doesn't matter what I want. He's decided.  So...argue we did, and after several attempts, back-ups, taking of the bit, throwing his shoulder in the direction he wants to go and using all his weight thrown in for good measure, I finally win this battle and he goes on down the road like a good horse.  For a little while...and then he ramps up his decision to go back and very firmly pulls out all his tricks and I start losing my bravado and become nervous about the whole situation.  Unless I'm willing to give him a resounding smack with my romal or really put my heels in him, I'm losing this time.  Can't have that.  And I just didn't feel confident enough in my ability to sit that big jump that I knew would be coming, so I got off and Jessica got on.  My very pregnant instructor with an iron will has no fear.  I said a little prayer for safety on her and little one's behalf.  Apparently she has velcro on her butt as well, because stick she did.  Eags made the mistake of trying the same thing with Jess.  Uh-oh...Eagle's bad.

He tried all his maneuvers to get his way and Jess just wasn't having it.  We sat patiently and watched while my horse tried all his best moves and eventually acquiesced.  But it wasn't easy.  Jess was working at him - like I've said, this horse is very strong-willed and just plain strong.  He doesn't try to buck, or rear or do anything but strengthen his resolve at refusal.  So, in the end it was several hard whacks on that shoulder he was throwing around that finally convinced him that he wasn't going to win the war.  He gets a whack, he reacts with a big sideways jump and repeat...I just sat there and watched.  The horse has my number and he knows it.  Gosh, I hate that!  It does help to observe his behavior though because more and more riding and having to face this, will (hopefully) give me the courage to get tough when I need and have to.  Just wish it didn't have to come to that, but apparently it does.  I've never, ever had a horse do this particular thing.  Outright refusal and a total battle of wills.  Kind of sucks, but I guess we have to get past this too.  Sure do hope this particular issue passes quickly...

Once Eagle decided it was in his best interest to move along, Jess rode him for a little ways.  He was a perfect gentleman and our enjoyable ride resumed.  I was riding Rio and we were getting along just fine.  We came to a creek crossing which was just about the halfway point in our ride.  Jess and I switched horses so I could finish the ride with my horse.  I can't say that I was a hundred percent relaxed, but I felt pretty good.  Eagle once again, felt very solid, sure and trustworthy.  We crossed the creek several more times on our way back and everything was just about perfect.  Ladde led the way heading back (typical) and it sure was good to follow that big, white butt all the way home.  So very thankful for his return to soundness.  Obviously, all of us were having a really nice time.  Eagle included.  (big brat!)  The weather was warming up, but under the canopy of the forest, it was just about perfect.  The leaves on some of the trees are already beginning to turn colors and fall, and the trails were just lovely.  *sigh*  My kind of ride - no mud, no insanely steep hills, beautiful weather, very little rocks to deal with, and a cool creek to ride along.  I can't wait to do it again!

With every ride, I can feel our bond growing.  Every new experience and wet saddle blanket builds a little more confidence in ourselves and in each other.  I've always been told that there are no perfect horses, and there are no perfect people.  We work with each other in the best way we can, and know how to.  That's all we can really do.  And all along the way, I grow more thankful for the big bay horse with the mind of his own.  Well...most of the time anyway.

I have no pictures to share of our ride.  I didn't even remember to bring my camera along, and I regret that, but I was a little busy.  Maybe next time.

Blessings all, and thank you for reading along.


DJan said...

Not being a horse person, I read this with a great deal of interest and admiration for what it takes to get a horse and rider to become a team. It sure does sound like fun when it isn't work! :-)

C-ingspots said...

Exactly! We're dealing with a mind. They have their own wills, opinions, likes, dislikes, moods and everything else that we humans have. Couple that with a lot of physical strength, size, athleticism and speed...we simply cannot force our will upon them, so we have to learn how to be respectful while being firm. They only respect those who they feel are worthy of the leadership position. It's so much fun though! I'll bet you'd enjoy it, you're a very brave woman DJan. And you are kind...that's what makes a good horseman. They are very sensitive animals and respond to being treated with kindness, respect and understanding - kinda like people. :)

Linda said...

Every horse has their issues--even the best of them. Cowboy about ran me over yesterday for fear of stepping on the plastic mats I had drying in the sun. It was awful..and unexpected. I think he will eventually stop that trick of turning around if he knows it gets him nowhere. That's funny that your instructor is pregnant! Wow!

Keep up the good work with Eags. You've got this! He's still very green.

Shirley said...

Good job by Jess. Sure hope he gets all this behind him. How old is he?

aurora said...

What a great ride, so happy for you!! Koda used to do similar, it did eventually all but stop (once in a while Koda still tries to turn back/refuse). Until it does, it is extremely frustrating. My trainer had to help out as well, no shame in that. It's good to know when you need help. What worked best for me is catching it before it happens, easier said then done. Pretty sure I mentioned this before, if so - sorry for repeating myself.

Grey Horse Matters said...

All in all it sounds like a pretty nice ride. All horses can get stubborn once in a while. I'm sure this will end one day. I think you did great with him. Hope you go out again soon.

C-ingspots said...

Shirley, Eagle was started under saddle last year. He is 16 this year. I got him from a rescue and he was very fearful and reactive. His confidence had been shattered. I know no history other than a month or so b4 I got him, he was used on a pack string by the gal I adopted him from. I spent the first 3-4 years doing groundwork and building trust. I really didn't think he or I were ready until then. He's a different horse now. I'm very pleased with how he's coming along. Just get frustrated when he gets the best of me sometimes.

Thanks for the words of encouragement everyone. I really appreciate all your insightful comments!