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Riding, Roman

[Riding] Rounding the Corner

If I thought Roman was a pill last week, that was absolutely nothing compared to this week. Last week, he was balky but finally started to do what I was telling him, with only a bit of grumbling. This week, he was having none of it.

First of all, he was a little twitchy because he's just gotten new tack this week, and it's not wholly broken in. (Well, same old saddle, but...) But even that wasn't enough to explain this behavior. When I was tacking him up, he wouldn't stay still.

But when we got out into the ring, he simply wouldn't move for me, at all. Even for audible cues from my instructor, Kara, he wouldn't move. Just sort of stood there, stubbornly. When I did get him to move, he'd go all of five steps and stop. It was, unquestionably, the most frustrating experience I have yet had, riding.

This went on for easily 20 minutes of the hour lesson, until I finally snapped at Roman, and started pushing him a lot harder than I usually would; he balked even more, doing precisely the reverse of whatever I cued him.

...and then, weirdly, it was like we'd suddenly crossed a line or rounded a corner. My classmate and instructor both saw it; suddenly, Roman started doing what I told him. I got him up to a trot, back to a walk, up to a trot, over the ground poles and even got him going quite fast. He was walking when I wanted him to, trotting when I wanted him to, and not fighting me on it.

It was almost like an entirely different horse. I guess we'll see what happens next Thursday, whether or not this is going to be a lasting change in behavior, or whether I just wore him down today.

When I got down, he was very affectionate again; he gave me a 'hug,' and generally was better behaved.

Overall Roman's gotten in better shape, having another regular rider. So you'd think, given that he's clearly doing better physically and mentally/emotionally having folks who are so devoted to him, that he'd put up less of a fight in the ring! I do love that horse, but sometimes he really makes me want to scream in frustration.

I did also miss the usual Saturday visits the past two weeks; week before last, I was in Canada, and then last week, I was getting ready for a memorial. Maybe that's contributed to his balkiness the past two lessons...

Comments

I think you've been chastized. I think he expects you in there on Saturday, and that's his way of telling you he's not happy about it.... it's a very horsey thing to do.

I can just hear the horse, in John Wayne's voice: "Now, look here, little lady...." Of course, you're going to up and be Kate Hepburn and give him what for... :)
You got tested plain and simple, and you have been tested in the past. This time, though ... you finally showed him who was boss. YOU, not the instructor, not anyone else. Before, when Kara'd help, she was the boss. And he knew it. His stubbornness once you stuck it to him was a last-ditch effort for him to try to be the boss, but since you didn't let it work, there you go. It's been done to me a million times before, and you've just kind of got to realize that y'know, you won't hurt him. If you did, he'd sure as hell let you know. But he's got about a thousand pounds on you, so chances are slim. ;)

Now, if Kara didn't realize this ... I'll withhold that particular judgement. ;p
Kara's been telling me for weeks I need to be more firm with him. And I have been progressively doing so.

I just /really/ snapped at him this time, though, and wouldn't relent when he wasn't going; evidently, even 'more assertive and aggressive' for me was still not enough so for Roman, until now.
Stubborn horses are fun in the painful and frustrating sense, yeah. I'm glad something finally worked.
Just to let you know, I think you're my icon hero. A Big Damn Hero -and- a Stewie in CK diapers?

You are cool. :)
Hee! Thank you. And of course I had to reply just to say I have the evil monkey in the closet, too. ;)