I’ve spent a significant amount of time the past couple days thinking about why Koda does what he does, and how to best deal with it.
I’m not sure why he does what he does, other than an excuse to not do things he would rather not do. I always try to give him the benefit of the doubt (read as find an excuse for his behavior), and when that doesn’t work I start doubting myself. Let me ‘splain.
We’ve had a nice stretch of dryer weather. On Monday I expected the worse, having not ridden for an entire week. It was uneventful. We stayed in the pasture/arena and worked some cones etc. Tuesday, Koda was exceptionally good while riding in the arena/pasture. My father-in-law stopped by and watched us ride for a while. I thought for sure Koda would start his annoying “backing-up while trying to mount” new routine, and we would get off on the wrong embarrassing foot. However he had something else to think about besides giving me the business, and stood rock solid. ..I was relieved. Dad didn’t stick around long. Koda held his trot nicely, and was listening good in general. Nemo was riding out and listening well. We decided it would be a good day to head out on the trail. That’s where the fun stopped. So much for relief.
Koda has resorted back to “tripping” something he doesn’t do at the trainers. Patty had said if he is just walking, it’s likely caused by not paying attention. I need to wake him up. I agree, but also wonder if he thinks it might get him out of going where he doesn’t want to go? You would have to see it to understand. We head out on the trail instead of feeding, and he begins to “trip” on nothing. A blade of grass and then oops, another blade of grass. Darn invisible things jump out and trip him! Either that, or it’s a lot of work to lift his legs. No, it’s not neurological. It’s selective. He’s a player, and eventually stops. It was so excessive; I thought perhaps he had a rock stuck in his hoof (excuse)? I found out later, that wasn’t the case. This was just one of those days.
The real issue came when we rounded the corner by the cornfield, and crap – it was the water hole all over again (minus the water). Why is he acting this way? We have been walking by that corner since they were yearlings. We backed, jigged, encouraged, kicked, yanked, spanked, and circled – wow, nothing I tried worked. Many cues later, I’m not sure who was more confused Koda or me. I’m pretty sure it was me. Brad and Nemo tried to help. Let’s just say I was spun up. I had it, and jumped off. Something I don’t necessarily agree with doing. It’s too much like giving in, no – it was giving in. I walked on the ground towing my naughty horse past the dreaded corner, who was suddenly okay with the corner (edit profanity). A young bunny, the size of a real live monster in his eyes – jumped out from under the farm equipment parked on that corner (excuse. really it is, he’s seen plenty of bunnies and farm equipment in his life). With that behind us I hopped back on, and we rode away. He still wasn’t listening very well, and the mosquitoes were getting thick. We turned around, and all rode back down past the dreaded corner going the other way. Koda and I headed back to the pasture but not before riding back up around the barns several times, much to his ornery dissatisfaction. No, I didn’t try the dreaded corner again. I didn’t have it in me. I would try again tomorrow, fully knowing it would be twice as hard…
Nemo and Brad continued riding alone down by the road. Koda got what he earned, he got tied up to wait and watch. You should have seen the look on Koda’s face, as he gazed over the fence at Brad and Nemo. When they came back, Nemo got all the love. I like to believe Koda understood why he didn’t get to go, although he likely didn’t. I know tying him up didn’t serve a purpose, other then to make me feel better. For anyone who thinks it was mean, it was a short time. The horse that deserved the praise, got it. Nemo soaked it up like a sponge.
Wednesday I put my big girl pants on, as well as my helmet. I’ll admit, it’s been years since I wore my helmet. It helped squash my self-doubt. I was going to ride Koda past that dreaded corner, even if it killed me. I was ready. We did the usual warm up-n-ride before heading out. Koda only “tripped” a couple times on the way up, and…we rode past the dreaded corner without any issues. Sigh. Mosquitos were still thick, so we quickly called it good and headed back. Maybe that’s why Koda doesn’t like going up on the trail, who wants to get eaten alive? (excuse) We continued our ride together along the highway. Koda and Nemo crossed the small mud puddle, and rode along the mushy hillside. When we returned, Nemo had to share the love. Koda even got a little extra.
All this still leaves me wondering why? and how? does Koda do what he does - there must be an excuse, I just can’t think of one at the moment ;)
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