Regardless of the remnants from freezing rain, we headed out this weekend to see our horses. I was really happy to find them safe & sound in their stalls, munching away on lunch instead of walking across perilous ice. Especially after trying to walk myself from the truck to the barn. Every time I tried to shuffle my feet forward on the ice, I slidddd further back!
We shared the arena on Saturday with two other horses & riders, Cierra & Trainer Patty and a pretty black mare in training & her owner. Koda was forward, and listening. Near the end of our ride I cued him to collect in preparation for a lope - and he hunched while thinking about, well you know. It caught the attention of our trainer. I was able to get his mind back, and end with the lope I originally had asked for.
Koda wants to rush, and lope off before I've even asked. It is after all, the quickest way back to leisure. Nothing new. He always appears to be thinking something along the lines of "hurry up, let's get this over with". Koda knows what comes next, but needs to wait for me to ask. Consequently we've had some premature starts, stops and re-do's. I've tried to mix things up somewhat, so I am not asking the same thing at the same spot. I try adding in different circles, or transitions etc but the sequence of cues to lope off are the same.
Sunday we spent the lions share of the day at the barn, riding and helping out. With the warmer weather, the barn was busier then usual. By the time we rode, we had the arena to ourselves for the most part. Both Koda & Nemo were acting goofy on the far end of the arena. The combination of sun peeking through creating cast shadows, and freshly raked sand where no horse has ever gone, made the boys suspicious.
I kept Koda's mind busy warming up and weaving around the random cones, each time riding closer & eventually through the end of the arena. Our ride was going fine, although somewhat distracting. We tried to focus on our ride, and not what was going on elsewhere. A boarder had just finished trying out a new saddle, and the group headed out of the arena. We started another lope-off, and Koda gave me an even bigger hunched up response then the day before!! It caught our trainer's eye, and she promptly asked me to get off before I even had time to do anything but stop him.
I always feel defeated when this happens.
She said two days in a row is a huge warning sign, and wanted to ride him. Koda loped a lot, more and harder then I ever do, with stops and turns. He gave her some pushback in the beginning as well, but that didn't last long - she means business.
I asked if I was doing anything wrong, or if there was something I could do different on my lope offs. She said no, and I quote "I don't care if you want to stand on your head before you lope off, if you ask him to lope off - he better do it". Point taken.
When I got back on Koda I was asked to do exactly what I was doing before, cue & lope off the same way. I did both directions, but not long - once around was enough for me on a sweaty nervous boy. Just enough to see if Koda would respond appropriately to me. He did, but I felt the thought was perhaps still there - somewhere in that naughty head of his.
I cooled Koda down. He was pretty glad to be done, me too. I don't like rides like this.
I should just be happy our trainer was around, and is willing to jump in (or better said on) when a problem arises. Just wish I could solve bigger challenges on my own, or better yet - not have them at all. Our rides had been going so well...I need to get stronger. I don't think my horse will ever entirely keep his attitude in balance. Guess that makes him a horse.
To end on a brighter note, the new blue coolers I ordered for Koda & Nemo arrived just in time for the "winter coat in warmer weather, sweat". Koda has already put his to good use!
|Checking out his new cooler