Friday, March 22, 2019


Three nice rides after a month off, then Major decided "nope!" Definitely with an exclamation mark! We had taken it easy, three rides of increasing length but not speed: 4, 6 and 7 miles, over random terrain. He'd even seemed to have a grand time on ride three out on the lake trail (water-scooping helicopters practicing and all!).

curvy forest trail

lake view

Then came Tuesday. A weekend of relaxing in pasture (while I relaxed at the beach) he decided he just wanted none of that riding stuff. He was fine tacking up, but leading out of the stable, nope! Um, yes, we will. I thought that was all the argument I was going to get, as we headed down the lane and into the forest. Ha!

First water crossing was balked at. He NEVER balks at water. We stomped though it after a little fight (backing up, me circling him, oh fun). He wasn't that determined, so we got across fairly quickly. And then went back and forth a couple times to remember that balking is not an option!

maybe he objected to my wardrobe choices. Orange, plaid and swirl don't match?

Into the forest, I was planning on just walk/trot 4-5 miles. I went less than 1/2 mile into the forest and Major kept trying to turn for home and not listening to steering or speed instructions. So I set up my forest "arena." He was not a fan.

heading for the hill again

We worked on circles, backing and side pass on the forest road, especially at intersections for home. First he was fast and rushy, and I was super frustrated, BUT I figured out sooner rather than later (sometimes I'm a better learner!) that wasn't going to do any good.  So I sat deep and breathed and told him I had all the time in the world.

He was still rushy and dumb, but slowly came around. Maybe after the third time he had to WALK up the big hill, no trotting, no me getting off (the usual situation). Or maybe it was halting and finally backing nicely. Or backing up hills, or crossing the ditch without jumping. He was sweatier during this ride than trotting for 5 miles along the sandy lake!

I don't want to totally annoy him, just remind him of the supervisor situation, and he seemed to be much improved. So we began to walk towards home, and again, he forgot the previous 45 minutes, and we worked on trotting back and forth on the road towards home, and then crossing and recrossing a different creek, and standing nicely wherever I randomly tell you to stop.

I could have worked on all of this in the arena. Except he won't behave like this in the arena, so the forest seemed like a good option. There are enough slightly wider trails to do real work on, and good hills to engage brain and body!

sweaty Major regretting his life choices…

Coming home I got off half a mile from home (I always get off in different places) and walked him home, letting him snack on grass. The rest of this week I haven't ridden, but did do a good marching hike where he seemed to listen a bit better than usual.

But did any of it stick? I'm riding Sunday, so we'll see!

I love this view on my daily drive: mandarin farm and barn

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