I would like to blame Koda's latest antics on Spring fever, but this last round surfaced during the deep freeze. We board at our trainer's barn, where earlier in the year she happened to catch Koda doing "it". You may recall on the second consecutive day of naughty behavior, she asked to ride him.
Since then I've continued a little loping each ride, but to be honest it's taken convincing. I dislike controversy. The last couple months we have been unable to consistently ride three times a week, some weeks not at all. It doesn't help the situation. I truly believe Koda needs consistent riding, I know I do.
Lately we have been loping without much collection, mostly half arena circles or transitioning gaits. I was trying to build back up, and get back to where we were with our riding. Before the hunching started. It was lovely, a place I thought both Koda & I were enjoying. I miss it.
We were progressing nicely, until last night. We had loped briefly both directions earlier in our ride with no issues. When I asked for a collected lope, Koda responded with a hunch!
I opted to get off and backed Koda up firmly, it produced the fear of god in his eyes. I got back on regardless. He was a wad of bundled nerves. Me too. We went back to doing successful things. Some bends, walking and trotting around cones. When the tenseness in his body (and mine) subsided, I tried again.
One step, two - hunch...after I managed to get him to stop jigging, so I could get off, I did more ground correction. But this time, I couldn't make myself get back on. I know I can't end rides this way, especially on a horse like Koda. My hubby said he would ride him. Gulp. It's not that I didn't think he could, he just doesn't know my horse under saddle. Nothing like handing him a time bomb. He got the same hunched response, but corrected it in the saddle and then loped. No, I didn't get back on Koda afterwards. I was toast after the second dismount. I began this ride in a really good place, but it sure didn't end that way.
I fully know I should have stayed in the saddle the first time, and not reward Koda's naughty behavior by giving him what he wants = less work. He wanted to be done with the ride, so he can go back to eating. Loping right away would have been ideal, but I needed to calm things down. Clearly a case of shoulda, coulda, woulda, but didn't. I have the knowledge and am capable of riding through most challenges, but.....I am so disappointed in the whole situation. I need to change my mind set, somehow. I am letting him push my buttons. Getting older has turned me into such a wuss. I just can't toss caution to the wind anymore. I could send Koda back into training for a tune-up, but it doesn't really solve the problem. Me.
When your horse responds with a hunch, how do you work through it?
9 hours ago