Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Weekend Discovery

I have been having some trouble with Cole Train in the arena. He is trying to run down the walls—particularly in one spot. I will be doing a circle, and he tries to break out of the circle to go down the wall. We end up having a tug-o-war, and it isn’t pretty.

I decided he is doing it out of confusion. Maybe, on the circle, (since that is my more difficult direction) I’m not being precise, so since he doesn’t know for sure what I want, he is trying to get away. There was another spot on the circle that he was giving me trouble, but that was by our barn entrance, so he had incentive to try to break away. My plan was to make sure my aids were very clear in that spot.

On my next ride, I was very, very conscience of what I was doing. I could see that my body wasn’t automatically doing what I want, like it does when I ride the other direction. He started doing better. Now, he wanted to play in the shavings pile and stop and eat hay scraps on the floor. When I was on the far end of the arena, just walking, he bolted down the wall and ran to our barn entrance. I am so glad I insist on that door being closed when I ride. I stopped him until I stopped shaking. When I asked him to walk, he bucked in place, instead. I spun him about and vocally reprimanded him. He was then fine for the rest of the ride.

I had a new theory. My little horse was bored and wanted to play. Because of the weather and icy conditions, I have only ridden him in the arena for several months. The following day, we had a miracle—good weather. Instead of riding, I took him out on a lead line and we walked up and down the long driveway at the barn. I clicked for good behavior and proper stops. He did melt down once when a kid was jumping in puddles, but after a display of rearing and spinning, he calmed down. Then, the rain started up pretty hard. Alas, I had to bring him in because it wasn’t a warm enough day to allow him to get soaked.

The next day, I was back in the arena, and he was fine. I still made sure my aids were clear, and he didn’t try to break out of his circles, eat, bolt, play in the shavings or dance around. Yes, I think he was just bored.

His old girlfriend, Katie the Mule, came out and rode around with us when we were at the end of the ride and just walking. When I was ready to go in, I thought I would see how he did at a trot. Will he try to impress his sweetheart? Wow, from the first stride, he was full circus—a high stepping collected stallion showing off for his love. We all laughed, and I quit for the day.

I rode him again yesterday, and once again, he was very sensible.

I should be able to get him outside on a regular basis, now, and soon we will be at least leading down to the river. There was still a little ice on the hill. My sister and I attempted it with Cruiser and Ranger, and we had to turn back. We finished our ride up and down the driveway in the light rain. Even though it was the first time in 2011 that Cruiser was out of the barn, his behavior was impeccable. I hope that someday Cole will be as good and reliable on the trail as Cruiser.


Stacey Stearns said...

My gelding gets bored too - and tries to change things up. Maybe it is a Morgan thing? I don't have an indoor, so I have been trotting in hand up and down the driveway. He still finds excuses to misbehave though. We lost a lot of snow over the last few days, hopefully I will be riding again soon.

Judi said...

Alas, I never had this problem with my Paint. It might be a Morgan thing. Maybe I have been incorrectly blaming the Arab side.

achieve1dream said...

Lol it wouldn't surprise me that it's boredom. :) Think about how stir crazy you feel in the arena. I'm sure he's the same. I'm glad he settled down and you got things under control. Bolting can be scary too, although I'd still take that over bucking. I'm going to watch his video now. I'm excited! :)